May 31, 2013

Using Belief in Science to Cope With Stress and Existential Anxiety
“Our findings suggest that belief in science may help non-religious people deal with adverse conditions,” reports a research team led by University of Oxford psychologist Miguel Farias. “Despite their different methods, both science and religion offer powerful explanations of the world,” the researchers write in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, “which may work at an intuitive level to provide comfort and assurance.” (Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard)

Brain Activity Guilt Detection Tests Can Be Beaten
Says researcher Zara Bergstrom: “Brain activity guilt detection tests are promoted as accurate and reliable measures for establishing criminal culpability. Our research has shown that this assumption is not always justified. Using these types of tests to say that someone is innocent of a crime is not valid because it could just be the case that the suspect has managed to hide their crime memories.” (Kelsey Atherton, Popular Science)

More Evidence of Past Water on Mars
Smooth, round pebbles found by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity provide more evidence that water once flowed on the Red Planet, according to a new study. The Curiosity rover snapped pictures of several areas with densely packed pebbles, and by closely analyzing the rock images, researchers discovered that the shapes and sizes of the individual pebbles indicate that they traveled long distances in water, likely as part of an ancient riverbed. (Denise Chow, Space.com)

The Body Art of Victoria Gugenheim
Body painting was one of the first forms of art known to man. “We wanted to adorn ourselves, whether to access spirits or to make us seem bigger and bolder than we really are.” As a canvas, the body is very different to a sheet of paper, and far more personal. (Martin Robbins, The Lay Scientist, The Guardian)

BOOK
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember

Our destruction could transpire in a blink of geologic time, or be at some future point millions of years hence. What will make all the difference is our ability to learn from the past and how we use that knowledge to construct the foundation of our future. In Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, io9 editor-in-chief Annalee Newitz considers just that in an optimistic exploration of how the key to our long-term survival can be forged from prehistoric clues and technological possibilities. (Brian Switek, Laelaps, National Geographic)

Category: Field Notes

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