This is your brain. This is your brain on Super Mario 64. See how the gray matter is increased? A new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry suggests a whole lot of benefits to playing video games.
When humans see a dog wagging its tail, we pretty much equate that with a happy dog. It turns out that a dog's tail may be much more expressive than we realize. Research has shown that happy dogs tend to wag more to the right, while anxious dogs go more to the left. A new study published in the journal Current Biology delves into the question of whether other dogs read this response.
This asymmetry of wagging is traced back to left- and right-brain action. Researchers showed dogs videos of other dogs, or silhouettes of dogs wagging their tails, with a preference in one direction or another. The viewing dogs had their heart rates measured and were monitored for their responses.… Read more
It might be possible to tell from looking at Facebook whether a relationship is going to last, researchers say.
And, they add, clues on the social-networking site may reveal whom you're dating even if you don't broadcast your relationship status.
In a recent study, Lars Backstrom, a senior engineer at Facebook, and Jon Kleinberg, a computer scientist at Cornell University, started off with this question (PDF): "Given all the connections among a person's friends, can you recognize his or her romantic partners from the network structure alone?"
To determine the connection and potential romantic links, the researchers created a new measurement they call "dispersion." They define dispersion as "the extent to which two people's mutual friends are not themselves well-connected." … Read more
Google Glass too expensive or unobtrusive for you? How about strapping an iPhone to your head?
That's not quite the idea behind Neurocam, a prototype wearable technology from Japan. But it does involve placing an iPhone next to your scalp.
Many people walk around with smartphones glued to an ear anyway, so radiation be damned. This rig comes with a brain wave scanner and will record what interests you. … Read more
Two different oarfish, massive eel-like fish from the deep, have washed up near the California coast over the last two weeks. Considering the scarcity of sightings, it's been a veritable plague of oarfish. It has also been an unexpected gift for researchers.
Parasitologists at the University of California at Santa Barbara got their hands on pieces of the longer of the two fish, the 18-footer that appeared near Catalina Island. They took the opportunity to dissect samples from the fairly intact sea beast. Inside, they found a host of parasites.… Read more
Whenever I see a social-media expert, I bow.
Little do they know I'm doing it in the hope they don't recognize me. Otherwise, they'll regale me with their latest homilies -- I'm sorry, I mean theories -- about how to get more of, oh, something on social networks.
Social-media experts are today's witch doctors. They promise they have the requisite potion. All you have to do is believe.
The problem for many of them is that they are self-proclaimed experts/gurus/visionaries. Usually because they've bought themselves 10,000 Twitter followers from an Australian … Read more
There are a couple of competing tar-pitch drop experiments going on in the world. The oldest is taking place at the University of Queensland in Australia. It has given us eight drops of pitch over its 86-year history. The ninth drop could happen at any time.
In honor of the impending occasion, the university has launched The Ninth Watch, a site where anyone can sign up to view a live feed of the experiment and have their names on the official list of witnesses if they happen to be online and watching when the drop finally falls.… Read more
As anyone who has attempted a bakasana knows, perfecting certain yoga poses takes time, and watching an instructor twist and bend into position can help a lot.
The blind or sight-impaired, however, don't have the advantage of being able to see a teacher's movements.
Enter Eyes-Free Yoga, a software program out of the University of Washington that works with the cameras in Microsoft's Kinect motion sensor device to track users' position and offer spoken feedback in real time. "Rotate your shoulders left," it might say. "Lean sideways toward your left," "Bend your right leg further," or "Bring your arms closer to your head." … Read more
The Yeti, Bigfoot's cold-climate cousin, is back in the limelight. There's no mysterious giant footprint or shaky video footage, but there is a well-regarded British geneticist at the center of it all. Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford, is featured in an upcoming documentary called "Bigfoot Files" on Channel 4 in the UK.
Ahead of the show's October 20 debut, Channel 4 released the news that Sykes conducted DNA research on hair samples purported to be from Yetis. What he claims to have found is a genetic match for an ancient polar bear.… Read more
The lovely thing about startups is that the minute you create one, you know you're going to change the world.
Users will flock to you, your fellow men and women will adore you, and, in 20 years' time, your name will still be uttered with reverence and awe.
This must be the feeling of those behind a startup called Bevii.
As soon I tell you its slogan, you will be slapping your head and wondering why you didn't think of it: "Social Network. Meet Real Life."
As if a slave to its own motto, Bevii, run … Read more