Bitcoin and the grand illusion of money
There was a great piece in the satirical news source the Onion a few years ago in which it "reported" that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke experienced a moment of existential panic during a congressional hearing as he paused, shook his head and said, "It's just an illusion. Just look at it: meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."
Why your brain loves that new song
When jazz legend John Coltrane first heard Charlie Parker play the saxophone, the music hit him "right between the eyes," he once said. According to neuroscientists, Coltrane was exactly right. When we hear music that we like, even for the first time, a part of the brain's reward system is activated, a new study has shown. The region, called the nucleus accumbens, determines how much we value the song-even predicting how much a person is willing to pay for the new track.
- Medical School at $278,000 Means Even Bernanke Son Carries Debt
- Boomers Push Doctor-Assisted Dying in End-of-Life Revolt
- Brain Signature Reveals Our Level of Pain
- Why Your Brain Loves That New Song
Edible Electronics Will Spy On Your Intestines
Devices inside pills could monitor health issues or deliver targeted cancer drugs.
Just how bad Is the new bird flu?
Water birds, to an influenza researcher, are more than majestic swans and charming mallards. They are instead stealthy vectors of novel influenza viruses, some of nature's bioterrorist agents, chauffeuring dangerous microbes from place to place without showing symptoms of infection themselves. Wild waterfowl are reservoirs for every imaginable combination of influenza viruses, though the vast majority of those viral cocktails don't seem to infect humans.
Fossils show ancient ancestor had unique anatomy for tree-climbing, walking
The fossilized remains of a human- like species that lived 2 million years ago suggest the ancestor ate forest food and used its unique anatomy to climb trees and walk upright on the ground to fetch it.
Invisibility cloak is a visible burden on physicists
Invisibility cloaks seem to be an enduring staple of science fiction and fantasy. When I was growing up, this was most evident in "Star Trek." For the last decade or so, it's been Harry Potter. The allure is not surprising — I expect that everyone has had a fantasy, at some time or another, about being invisible. Whether the motivation is to get a free peep show or escape out of, or into, dangerous situations, the freedom offered by disappearing into the background is compelling. The real question, of course, is: Will it ever be possible?
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