2019年2月8日 星期五

Daily Bulletin for 02/08/2019 

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What We Get Wrong About Psychopaths

Julia Shaw, Psychology Today

We have an unhealthy obsession with psychopaths.We tune into true crime shows, podcasts, and movies, and say that we want to understand them, to get into their heads and figure out their malicious ways. But sometimes it's not really the psychopaths we want to understand. Instead, we want to establish a stark contrast between how they think and how we think. We want assurance that we are better than these modern monsters.

Green New Deal Is the Dr. Oz of Environmental Policy

Alex Berezow, ACSH

Imagine if Dr. Oz, who peddles all sorts of pseudoscientific, nonsensical miracle cures on his daytime television show, proposed an environmental policy. That's the Green New Deal.If any among you thought that environmental activists might have a few good ideas about the future of our planet, let this resolution remove all doubt.

The Mystery of the Universe's Only Magnetic Monopole

Ethan Siegel, Forbes

Imagine that you're a scientist, going out on a limb to design and build an experiment that everyone expects will see absolutely nothing. You're invested in physics at the fringes: looking for a sign of an unlikely, but theoretically not impossible, particle that's never been seen before. A few scientists have speculated, over many decades, that such a particle could potentially exist, but all attempts to detect its existence both direct and indirect have come up empty.

The Battle for Truth in Soviet Science

Michael D Gordin, Aeon Magazine

Zhores Medvedev was not crazy. But the prolific Russian scientist and author who died at the end of last year, a day after his 93rd birthday, made many powerful enemies who repeatedly claimed otherwise.By 1961, Medvedev had established a strong reputation both within the Soviet Union and abroad as a pioneering gerontologist, arguing that ageing was the accumulation of errors in the synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids.

Can Fish Be Self-Aware? The Answer Isn't Easy

Stephen Fleischfresser, Cosmos

A new paper published in the journal PLOS Biology has demonstrated that a species of fish meets the experimental criteria for self-awareness.But the research itself deliberately calls into question one of the key tools used to assess such cognition, and an accompanying primer by the legendary Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal invites us to rethink the very notion of self-awareness itself.

How Supermassive Black Holes Were Discovered

Mark Reid, Nautilus

In the 1700s, John Michell in England and Pierre-Simon Laplace in France independently thought way out of the box and imagined what would happen if a huge mass were placed in an incredibly small volume. Pushing this thought experiment to the limit, they conjectured that gravitational forces might not allow anything, even light, to escape. Michell and Laplace were imagining what we now call a black hole.

Why Some People Pee Way More Often Than Others

Kate Willsky, Vice

Certain people just need to pee more frequently than others. Ever since high school, I've known that I'm one of these people. That means always being vaguely stressed about where the closest bathroom is, and spending a lot of time debating whether or not to have another sip of water before getting into bed.

Living Near Your Grandmother Has Evolutionary Benefits

Jonathan Lambert, NPR

Killer whales, Japanese aphids and Homo sapiens they're among the few organisms whose females live on long past the age of reproduction.Since the name of the evolutionary game is survival and reproduction, the phenomenon begs explanation why live longer than you can reproduce?

A.I. Is Too Rational to Conquer Humanity

Alfredo Metere, Cosmos Magazine

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has progressed enormously in recent years, to the point that people now seriously wonder whether or not machines will ever take over from humankind. In this article I will explain why we should not worry about it.It has to do with the fact that computers, as we know them today, operate with a finite set of discrete states, known as binary logic. If a state can only assume two possible values, namely either 0 or 1, it is called a bit (which stands for Binary digIT).

World of the Maya Finally Emerging From the Jungle

Nathaniel Scharping, Discover

Thomas Garrison pauses in the middle of the jungle.That's the causeway right there, he says, pointing into a random patch of greenery in the Guatemalan lowlands.I squint, trying to make out features in the tangled rainforest undergrowth. There's a small lump, rising no more than a foot or two from the forest floor.

Rare Case of Cancer Found in Fossilized Leg

John Pickrell, National Geographic

About 240 million years ago in what is now Germany, a turtle that hadn't yet evolved a shell developed something much less fortuitous: a kind of bone tumor that afflicted one of its hind legs.The fossilized tumor, described today in the journal JAMA Oncology, shows that even in the Triassic period, at around the time the first dinosaurs appeared, animals could be plagued with mutations in their DNA that led to cancer.

The Complex Morality of Anti-Vaxxers

Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard

The World Health Organization recently named a reluctance or refusal to vaccinate one's children as one of the 10 most pressing health issues of 2019. Solving the vaccination gapand thus preventing problems like the current measles outbreak in Washington Statewill require a better understanding of what drives loving mothers and fathers to make the dangerous decision not to inoculate their children.

The Richest Man Who Ever Lived

Jason Daley, Smithsonian

The title of richest person on Earth seems to ping-pong between tech titans every few years. But for all their wealth, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates won't come close to being the richest human of all timethat would mean besting people like Augustus Caesar who personally owned all of Egypt for a period or Song Dynasty Emperor Shenzong, whose domain at one point accounted for 25 to 30 percent of global GDP.

How We Identified Brain Patterns of Consciousness

Davinia Fernndez-Espejo, Conv

Humans have learned to travel through space, eradicate diseases and understand nature at the breathtakingly tiny level of fundamental particles. Yet we have no idea how consciousness our ability to experience and learn about the world in this way and report it to others arises in the brain.

Did Our Ancestors Think Like Us?

Joshua Conrad Jackson, Psychology Today

Imagine that you are a time-traveler, able to travel back roughly 100,000 years to the age of the first anatomically modern homo sapiens. Imagine stepping out of your time machine and standing face to face with one of your ancestors: Another human with a brain just as big as yours, and genes virtually identical to your genes.

An Area of Psychology Where Results Actually Replicate

Christian Jarrett, R-Digest

While psychology has been mired in a replication crisis recently based on the failure of contemporary researchers to recreate some of its most cherished findings there have been pockets of good news for certain sub-disciplines in the field. For instance, some replication efforts in cognitive psychology and experimental philosophy or X-phi have been more successful, suggesting that results in these areas are more robust.

Odd Grid Reveals Hidden Connections Between Numbers

Kevin Hartnett, Quanta

In 1983 the prolific conjecturer Paul Erd?s posed a math problem: Take any set of numbers you like. These could be the whole numbers from 1 to 12, the first 10,000 prime numbers, or the dates of every birthday in your extended family. Arrange these numbers in a square grid, with your list of numbers arranged both across the bottom and up one side. Then fill in the grid with either the sums or the products of the crosswise pairs.
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