July 10, 2013

How Combat Impacted the Religious Participation of World War II Veterans
“The more a combat veteran disliked the war, the more religious they were 50 years later,” Brian Wansink of Cornell University and Craig Wansink of Virginia Wesleyan College report in the Journal of Religion and Health. Their findings suggest that “the level of combat intensity—or perhaps the level of fear—one experiences may be related to subsequent religious activity, such as church membership and attendance.” (Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard)

The Brains of Social Influencers
Scott Barry Kaufman: It appears that effective social influencers are more likely to spontaneously think about how to communicate the information to others in a useful and interesting way during the encoding stage, rather than merely anticipating that viewers will find the information pleasurable. (Beautiful Minds, Scientific American)

Hallmark Cards for Grief and Death
The greetings-card industry, which studies social trends carefully, is a useful window on changing manners. Editors and art directors at Hallmark’s headquarters in Missouri say that customers now want candour, even about terminal illness. On shelf-sections marked “tough times” or “extended illness,” there are messages about Alzheimer’s (or, in card-speak, “the twilight that fell on your loved one’s mind”). The word cancer, long shunned, now appears on mass-market cards. Such frankness was last seen a century ago, when lives were short, health precarious, and loved ones routinely expired in the family home. (The Economist)

What Do We Know About Lake Vostok?
The body of water has been isolated from the planet’s atmosphere for millions of years, with limited nutrients and complete darkness. Would it be barren? Or would it contain living fossils? And what might that life tell us about the extreme conditions in which life can thrive—not only on Earth, but potentially on other icy worlds? This past week, Vostok has vaulted back into headlines, some of which are suggesting that scientists have now found life in the waters. Did they? (Carolyn Gramling, ScienceNOW)

NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover
NASA’s next mission to Mars should look for past microbial life and collect samples to eventually bring back to Earth, a science advisory group said on Tuesday. (Irene Klotz, Reuters)

Category: Field Notes


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