July 15, 2013

Meditation Can Increase Compassion in Response to Suffering
David DeSteno: So take heart. The next time you meditate, know that you’re not just benefiting yourself, you’re also benefiting your neighbors, community members, and as-yet-unknown strangers by increasing the odds that you’ll feel their pain when the time comes, and act to lessen it as well. (The New York Times)

Vermont Genuine Progress Indicator
In a few weeks, a team of University of Vermont researchers will unveil a “Genuine Progress Indicator” to supplement more traditional economic metrics as a tool to help shape public policy. While GDP is a brute-force calculation of economic activity, Vermont’s GPI will incorporate environmental and social statistics to produce a more holistic measure for residents’ quality of life. (Michael Fitzgerald, Pacific Standard)

More on NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover
The Mars 2020 will primarily search for signs that something lived on Mars in ancient times, even though the technology exists to hunt for alien microbes presently living on or just beneath the surface. “It is the same old depressing story of NASA vetoing any proposal to do biological experiments on Mars,” says Paul Davies of Arizona State University in Tempe. “I personally think this is absurd.” (Lisa Grossman, New Scientist)

Studying “Microbial Dark Matter”
An emerging technique for analyzing genomes has given scientists a look at microbes that were until now difficult to study, revealing unexpected links among different branches of the tree of life. (Erika Check Hayden, Nature)

Q&A
Jerome Kagan

His seminal work, The Nature of the Child, was published in 1984 and again in 1994. When he started to work on a third edition in his retirement, he decided that so much had changed, he needed to write an entirely new book. That book, The Human Spark: The Science of Human Development, was published in June. (Karen Weintraub, The Boston Globe)

Category: Field Notes

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