A Momentary Flow

Updating Worldviews one World at a time

Tag Results

835 posts tagged Science

Cognitive celebrity -Albert Einstein was a genius, but he wasn’t the only one – why has his name come to mean something superhuman? - Before he died, Albert Einstein requested that his whole body be cremated as soon as possible after death, and his ashes scattered in an undisclosed location. He didn’t want his mortal remains to be turned into a shrine, but his request was only partially heeded. Einstein’s closest friend, the economist Otto Nathan, took possession of his ashes, but not before Thomas Harvey, the pathologist who performed the autopsy, removed his brain. Family and friends were aghast, but Harvey convinced Einstein’s son Hans Albert to give his reluctant permission after the fact. The eccentric doctor kept the brain in a glass jar of formalin inside a cider box under a cooler, until 1998, when he returned it to Princeton Hospital, and from time to time, he would send little chunks of it to interested scientists. Most of us will never be victims of brain-theft and ash hoarding, but Einstein’s status as the archetypical genius of modern times singled him out for special treatment. An ordinary person can live and die privately, but a genius – and his grey matter – belongs to the world. Even in his lifetime, which coincided with the first great flowering of mass media, Einstein was a celebrity, as famous for his wit and white shock of hair as he was for his science. Indeed, his life seems to have been timed perfectly to take advantage of the proliferations of newspapers and radio shows, whose reports often framed Einstein’s theories as being incomprehensible to anyone but the genius himself. There’s no doubt that Einstein’s contributions to science were revolutionary. Before he came along, cosmology was a part of philosophy but, thanks to him, it’s become a branch of science, tasked with no less than a mathematical history and evolution of the Universe. Einstein’s work also led to the discovery of exotic physical phenomena such as black holes, gravitational waves, quantum entanglement, the Big Bang, and the Higgs boson. But despite this formidable scientific legacy, Einstein’s fame owes something more to our culture’s obsession with celebrity. In many ways, Einstein was well-suited for celebrity. Apart from his distinctive coif, he had a way with words and, as a result, he is frequently quoted, occasionally with bon mots he didn’t actually say. More than anything, Einstein possessed the distinctive mystique of genius, a sense that he was larger than life, or different from the rest of us in some fundamental way, which is why so many people were desperate to get hold of his brain. (via Why is Einstein the poster boy for genius? – Matthew Francis – Aeon)

Cognitive celebrity
-
Albert Einstein was a genius, but he wasn’t the only one – why has his name come to mean something superhuman?
-
Before he died, Albert Einstein requested that his whole body be cremated as soon as possible after death, and his ashes scattered in an undisclosed location. He didn’t want his mortal remains to be turned into a shrine, but his request was only partially heeded. Einstein’s closest friend, the economist Otto Nathan, took possession of his ashes, but not before Thomas Harvey, the pathologist who performed the autopsy, removed his brain. Family and friends were aghast, but Harvey convinced Einstein’s son Hans Albert to give his reluctant permission after the fact. The eccentric doctor kept the brain in a glass jar of formalin inside a cider box under a cooler, until 1998, when he returned it to Princeton Hospital, and from time to time, he would send little chunks of it to interested scientists. Most of us will never be victims of brain-theft and ash hoarding, but Einstein’s status as the archetypical genius of modern times singled him out for special treatment. An ordinary person can live and die privately, but a genius – and his grey matter – belongs to the world. Even in his lifetime, which coincided with the first great flowering of mass media, Einstein was a celebrity, as famous for his wit and white shock of hair as he was for his science. Indeed, his life seems to have been timed perfectly to take advantage of the proliferations of newspapers and radio shows, whose reports often framed Einstein’s theories as being incomprehensible to anyone but the genius himself.
There’s no doubt that Einstein’s contributions to science were revolutionary. Before he came along, cosmology was a part of philosophy but, thanks to him, it’s become a branch of science, tasked with no less than a mathematical history and evolution of the Universe. Einstein’s work also led to the discovery of exotic physical phenomena such as black holes, gravitational waves, quantum entanglement, the Big Bang, and the Higgs boson. But despite this formidable scientific legacy, Einstein’s fame owes something more to our culture’s obsession with celebrity. In many ways, Einstein was well-suited for celebrity. Apart from his distinctive coif, he had a way with words and, as a result, he is frequently quoted, occasionally with bon mots he didn’t actually say. More than anything, Einstein possessed the distinctive mystique of genius, a sense that he was larger than life, or different from the rest of us in some fundamental way, which is why so many people were desperate to get hold of his brain. (via Why is Einstein the poster boy for genius? – Matthew Francis – Aeon)

Love is the drug, scientists find -Cambridge University scientists find that those with drug addiction and sex addiction have similar neurological responses  - When Roxy Music star Bryan Ferry declared that ”love is the drug” he may have been speaking the truth. Cambridge University scientists have found that sex and drug addiction may be two sides of the same neurological coin. When diagnosed sex addicts looked at explicit sexual images, it triggered brain activity very similar to that seen in people dependent on drugs. But the researchers caution that this does not suggest pornography is generally addictive. Lead scientist Dr Valerie Voon, from Cambridge University, said: ”The patients in our trial were all people who had substantial difficulties controlling their sexual behaviour and this was having significant consequences for them, affecting their lives and relationships. ”In many ways, they show similarities in their behaviour to patients with drug addictions. We wanted to see if these similarities were reflected in brain activity, too. ”There are clear differences in brain activity between patients who have compulsive sexual behaviour and healthy volunteers. These differences mirror those of drug addicts.” Previous studies have suggested that up to one in 25 adults may be affected by an obsession with sexual thoughts, feelings or behaviour they are unable to control. Public awareness of sex addiction has been raised by celebrities seeking help for the problem, including actors Michael Douglas and David Duchovny. The Cambridge scientists recruited 19 male sex addicts and played them short videos featuring either explicit pornographic scenes or people engaged in exciting sports such as skiing or skydiving. At the same time, the men’s brain activity was monitored using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. The experiment was repeated with a matched group of volunteers not affected by sex addiction. Three regions of the brain were found to be especially more active in the brains of the sex addicts than in the healthy volunteers, the ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate and amygdala. All three are also known to be activated in drug addicts stimulated by the sight of drug-taking paraphernalia. (via Love is the drug, scientists find - Telegraph)

Love is the drug, scientists find
-
Cambridge University scientists find that those with drug addiction and sex addiction have similar neurological responses
-
When Roxy Music star Bryan Ferry declared that ”love is the drug” he may have been speaking the truth. Cambridge University scientists have found that sex and drug addiction may be two sides of the same neurological coin. When diagnosed sex addicts looked at explicit sexual images, it triggered brain activity very similar to that seen in people dependent on drugs. But the researchers caution that this does not suggest pornography is generally addictive. Lead scientist Dr Valerie Voon, from Cambridge University, said: ”The patients in our trial were all people who had substantial difficulties controlling their sexual behaviour and this was having significant consequences for them, affecting their lives and relationships. ”In many ways, they show similarities in their behaviour to patients with drug addictions. We wanted to see if these similarities were reflected in brain activity, too. ”There are clear differences in brain activity between patients who have compulsive sexual behaviour and healthy volunteers. These differences mirror those of drug addicts.” Previous studies have suggested that up to one in 25 adults may be affected by an obsession with sexual thoughts, feelings or behaviour they are unable to control. Public awareness of sex addiction has been raised by celebrities seeking help for the problem, including actors Michael Douglas and David Duchovny. The Cambridge scientists recruited 19 male sex addicts and played them short videos featuring either explicit pornographic scenes or people engaged in exciting sports such as skiing or skydiving. At the same time, the men’s brain activity was monitored using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. The experiment was repeated with a matched group of volunteers not affected by sex addiction. Three regions of the brain were found to be especially more active in the brains of the sex addicts than in the healthy volunteers, the ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate and amygdala. All three are also known to be activated in drug addicts stimulated by the sight of drug-taking paraphernalia. (via Love is the drug, scientists find - Telegraph)

Since the scientific revolution, one metaphor above all — the root metaphor — has dictated the nature and progress of science. This is the metaphor of the world as a machine, the mechanical metaphor. What questions are ruled out by this metaphor? One is about ultimate origins. Of course you can ask about the origins of the metal and plastics in your automobile, but ultimately the questions must end and you must take the materials as given. So with the world. I think the machine metaphor rules out an answer to what Martin Heidegger called the “fundamental question of metaphysics”: Why is there something rather than nothing? Unlike Wittgenstein, I think it is a genuine question, but not one answerable by modern science.

Does Evolution Explain Religious Beliefs? - NYTimes.com

Source The New York Times

Butterfly wings inspire cosmetics and bomb detectors
-
A tropical butterfly might not be the first place to look when seeking inspiration for the latest bomb sniffing technology for the US military, but the brightly coloured iridescent wings of a blue morpho provides one example of a promising branch of science - bio-inspiration. Other varied applications inspired by the South American butterfly’s shimmering wings include high-tech textiles, self-cleaning surfaces, cosmetics, and security tags. An exhibition called the Invisible Garden at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Flower Show is enthralling visitors with its displays of the microscopic world in gardens. “Oh wow!” cried one six year old school girl as she squinted into an optical microscope at the wings of a blue morpho. “It’s really shiny. It’s a really pretty one, that.” “They’re just like scales, like fishes have,” said her class-mate, “They’re really nice.” He was right about the scales. Lepidoptera is the Latin name for butterflies, which means “scaly wing”. But when an electron microscope is used to zoom in to the nano-structure of the wing scales themselves, a new world is revealed. This is what is inspiring scientists, like Professor Peter Vukusic, an optical physicist, at Exeter University. “They are aesthetically beautiful,” he said, “But scientifically, from the perspective of the physics which underpin the colour, they are hugely interesting. They are complicated. They are adapted to serve a set of complicated functions. The optical ingenuity that’s responsible for the appearances which we see is tremendous.” (via BBC News - Butterfly wings inspire cosmetics and bomb detectors)

Butterfly wings inspire cosmetics and bomb detectors
-
A tropical butterfly might not be the first place to look when seeking inspiration for the latest bomb sniffing technology for the US military, but the brightly coloured iridescent wings of a blue morpho provides one example of a promising branch of science - bio-inspiration. Other varied applications inspired by the South American butterfly’s shimmering wings include high-tech textiles, self-cleaning surfaces, cosmetics, and security tags. An exhibition called the Invisible Garden at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Flower Show is enthralling visitors with its displays of the microscopic world in gardens. “Oh wow!” cried one six year old school girl as she squinted into an optical microscope at the wings of a blue morpho. “It’s really shiny. It’s a really pretty one, that.” “They’re just like scales, like fishes have,” said her class-mate, “They’re really nice.” He was right about the scales. Lepidoptera is the Latin name for butterflies, which means “scaly wing”. But when an electron microscope is used to zoom in to the nano-structure of the wing scales themselves, a new world is revealed. This is what is inspiring scientists, like Professor Peter Vukusic, an optical physicist, at Exeter University. “They are aesthetically beautiful,” he said, “But scientifically, from the perspective of the physics which underpin the colour, they are hugely interesting. They are complicated. They are adapted to serve a set of complicated functions. The optical ingenuity that’s responsible for the appearances which we see is tremendous.” (via BBC News - Butterfly wings inspire cosmetics and bomb detectors)

Source BBC

Scientists Create a New Type of Ultra-High-Res Flexible Display
-
We are surrounded by imperfect screens. Our smartphones, laptops, televisions, watches, billboards, thermostats and even glasses all have screens with drawbacks: Some don’t work in sunlight, others mercilessly drain your battery; some can’t do rich color, and some can’t display a true black; most can’t be rolled up and tucked in your pocket. But something better may be on the way. In research published today in Nature, scientists describe what may be the first steps toward creating a new type of ultrathin, superfast, low-power, high-resolution, flexible color screen. If the inevitable engineering difficulties in bringing a product from the lab to the living room can be overcome, these displays could combine some of the best features of current display technologies. The new displays work with familiar materials, including the metal alloy already used to store data on some CDs and DVDs. The key property of these materials is that they can exist in two states. Zap them with heat, light, or electricity and they switch from one state to the other. Scientists call them phase-change materials (PCMs). “It is really fascinating that phase-change materials, now widely used in optical and nonvolatile electronic memory devices, found a potentially new application in display technology,” said Alex Kolobov, a researcher at Japan’s Nanoelectronics Research Institute who was not involved in the new work. (via Scientists Create a New Type of Ultra-High-Res Flexible Display | Gadget Lab | WIRED)

Scientists Create a New Type of Ultra-High-Res Flexible Display
-
We are surrounded by imperfect screens. Our smartphones, laptops, televisions, watches, billboards, thermostats and even glasses all have screens with drawbacks: Some don’t work in sunlight, others mercilessly drain your battery; some can’t do rich color, and some can’t display a true black; most can’t be rolled up and tucked in your pocket. But something better may be on the way. In research published today in Nature, scientists describe what may be the first steps toward creating a new type of ultrathin, superfast, low-power, high-resolution, flexible color screen. If the inevitable engineering difficulties in bringing a product from the lab to the living room can be overcome, these displays could combine some of the best features of current display technologies. The new displays work with familiar materials, including the metal alloy already used to store data on some CDs and DVDs. The key property of these materials is that they can exist in two states. Zap them with heat, light, or electricity and they switch from one state to the other. Scientists call them phase-change materials (PCMs). “It is really fascinating that phase-change materials, now widely used in optical and nonvolatile electronic memory devices, found a potentially new application in display technology,” said Alex Kolobov, a researcher at Japan’s Nanoelectronics Research Institute who was not involved in the new work. (via Scientists Create a New Type of Ultra-High-Res Flexible Display | Gadget Lab | WIRED)