Most of the brain's energy is used, not in 'thinking,' but in 'not thinking.' In part 3 of Inside Your Brain, CBC's Kelly Crowe learns that the idle brain might be the ultimate seat of human consciousness.
When listening, this oscillation synchronizes to the sounds we are hearing. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences have found that this influences the way we listen.
Saul Schleimer, a mathematician at the University of Warwick, and Henry Segerman, a mathematician at the University of Melbourne, are the co-creators of the Thirty Cell puzzle. They are both theoretical math researchers who also enjoy using 3-D printing—a technique for manufacturing a three-dimensional object from a computer program—to create mathematical art and visualizations. (In August, Scientific American featured some of Segerman’s sculptures in a slide show from the Bridges math-art conference.) This puzzle is a projection of a four-dimensional shape into our three-dimensional world. To explain how the projection was created, Schleimer brings it down a dimension and starts with a three-dimensional cube. Imagine a cube sitting inside a sphere. Now put yourself at the middle, holding a flashlight. The light projects all the edges and vertices out to the surface of the sphere. “We replace the usual cube that we know and love with a roundy cube on the sphere,” says Schleimer. This process is called radial projection.
Segerman and Schleimer use the company Shapeways to print their models. They use programs such as Python, Adobe Illustrator and Rhino to create files of an object that they send to Shapeways to translate into very precise 3-D models. Shapeways uses the computer files to program a laser to fuse powders into the shape of a 3-D object. It can even print objects with multiple interlinked components, such as the the fidget above. Another popular type of 3D printer, MakerBot, melts new layers of a material over previously deposited ones, so the models must be supported during the entire process. Shapeways doesn’t have that constraint, but its printers are more expensive. The company lets people upload their models and then ships the printed material out to them, rather than having users own printers themselves.
In the future, globalization will destroy local races and lower rates of rare traits like blue eyes.
According to Stephen Stearns, a Yaleprofessor of ecology and evolutionary biology, before the invention of the bicycle, the average distance between the birthplaces of spouses in England was 1 mile (1.6 kilometers). During the latter half of the 19th century, bikes upped the distance men went courting to 30 miles (48 km), on average. Scholars have identified similar patterns in other European countries. Widespread use of bicycles stimulated the grading and paving of roads, lending credence to the Fugate clan's excuse and making way for the introduction of automobiles. Love's horizons have kept expanding ever since.
Stearns says globalization, immigration, cultural diffusion and the ease of modern travel will gradually homogenize the human population, averaging out more and more people's traits. Because recessive traits dependontwo copies of the same gene pairing up in order to get expressed, these traits will express themselves more rarely, and dominant traits will become the norm. In short, blue eyes and pale skin is out, brown eyes and dark skin is in. Already in the United States, another recessive trait, blue eyes, has grown far less common. A 2002 study by the epidemiologists Mark Grant and Diane Lauderdale found that only 1 in 6 non-Hispanic white Americans has blue eyes, down from more than half of the U.S. white population being blue-eyed just 100 years ago.
The genetic mixing under way in the United States is also happening to a greater or lesser degree in other parts of the world, the researchers said. In some places, unique physical traits tailored to the habitat still confer an evolutionary advantage and thus might not bow out so easily; in other places, immigration happens much more slowly than it does elsewhere. According to Stearns, perfect homogenization of the human race will probably never occur, but in general, Earth is becoming more and more of a melting pot. A population forged from the long-term mixing of Africans, Native Americans and Europeans serves as an archetype for the future of humanity, Stearns said: A few centuries from now, we're all going to look like Brazilians.
Want to teleport through space or travel the world at will? Out-of-body technology can alter your sense of place and set you free. Visit Discover Magazine to read this article and other exclusive science and technology news stories.
Psychologists have discovered that while reading a book or story, people are prone to subconsciously adopt their behavior, thoughts, beliefs and internal responses to that of fictional characters as if they were their own.
"Brain Power" explores the connection between the developing human brain of a child and the emerging global brain of the Internet and aims to help us think about the best ways to nurture and strengthen both.
Don't judge a book by its cover - instead, try and wait for the last line. Following our massively popular and lovingly selected list of the 100 best opening lines from books, it's now time for the closing lines to shine.
Our left hemisphere tweaks the facts and allows us to feel like we’re in charge, experiments with split-brain patients reveal. . Visit Discover Magazine to read this article and other exclusive science and technology news stories.
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