July 1, 2013

Analyzing the Language Christians and Atheists Use on Twitter
Scouring nearly 2 million tweets from followers of five Christian leaders and five well-known atheists, a research team led by University of Illinois psychologist Ryan Ritter found that “Christians express more happiness than atheists in everyday language.” (Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard)

Bible With an Inscription by Albert Einstein Sells for 68,500 Dollars
The German-born physicist and his wife signed it in 1932 and gifted it to an American friend named Harriett Hamilton. The auction house says Einstein writes in the German inscription the Bible “is a great source of wisdom and consolation and should be read frequently.” (Associated Press)

Expanded Body Postures, Power, and Dishonesty
A new study to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science finds that sitting at a large workspace or in a big seat in a car can make people feel more powerful—and therefore, lead them to act more deceptively. (Jena McGregor, On Leadership, The Washington Post)

Versu
Flirty, shy, or gossipy … these aren’t the typical traits of a bit of computer code. But a simulation system that gives computer-controlled agents a sense of social propriety could change that, leading to more realistic interactions between humans and characters in games. (Douglas Heaven, New Scientist)

Three Planets Found in the Habitable Zone of Star Gliese 667C
Aliens could be watching aliens watching aliens. That’s a realistic prospect now that three potentially habitable planets—a record—have been glimpsed orbiting the same star. (Lisa Grossman, New Scientist)

No Trial for Dutch Social Psychologist Diederik Stapel
Diederik Stapel, the former Tilburg University professor who fabricated dozens of research studies, has been spared a trial after reaching a settlement with Dutch prosecutors. He will do 120 hours of community service and forgo benefits from his former employer that would have been equivalent to 1.5 years of salary. Stapel was a high-profile social psychologist whose career unraveled in 2011 when it was discovered that he had been fabricating data for more than a decade. (Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, ScienceInsider)

Q&A
Mike Parker Pearson

Archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson and his colleagues at the Stonehenge Riverside Project, whose research was funded in part by the National Geographic Society, spent seven years excavating Stonehenge and its surroundings. This month, Parker Pearson published the project’s findings in a new book, Stonehenge—A New Understanding: Solving the Mysteries of the Greatest Stone Age Monument. (Rachel Hartigan Shea, National Geographic)

MOVIES
Interstellar

Christopher Nolan, who directed the Dark Knight trilogy, has assembled Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine to star in what has been billed as “a heroic voyage to the farthest borders of our scientific understanding.” The real star, however, will be Kip Thorne and his planet-sized brain. The 73-year-old scientist is already revered among peers for advancing some of Albert Einstein’s most intriguing theories about relativity and gravity fields. The film will splash one of Thorne’s big ideas—traversable wormholes through space and time—across popular culture. (Rory Carroll, The Guardian)

Category: Field Notes

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