Mind & Brain, Neurology, News, Studies

Many parts, but the same mold – how the brain forms new thoughts

Image via firstconcepts

A recent study, described in the Sept. 17 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and co-authored by postdoctoral fellow Steven Frankland and Professor of Psychology Joshua Greene, takes a look at exactly how the human brain creates new thoughts. Their findings indicate that two adjacent brain regions are the cornerstone of the process, using a sort of conceptual algebra similar to the workings of silicon computers that represent variables and their changing values.

Archaeology, News, Videos

Video: Jaw dropping drone footage of Sudan’s pyramids


Sure, we’ve all heard of Egypt’s pyramids, but have you heard of Sudan’s pyramids? Well, you really should have – they’ve survived in the African desert for 3,000 years, and they’re absolutely spectacular, as we can all see, thanks to this National Geographic drone footage. These pyramids were built by Nubians, the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms. The Kushites were

Environment, News

Third of all cactus species are endangered, mostly because of illegal trade


The International Union for Conservation of Nature assessed the state of cactus populations around the world and found almost a third of all species are endangered. The report summarizes that human activity is threatening hundreds of species with extinction. This includes illegal trading, agriculture and aquaculture, but also land-use change.

Astronomy, News

China is building the world’s largest radio telescope – and it’s almost done


China is currently building the world’s largest radio telescope, that will be capable to detect signs of life from billions of light years away. A new drone video has been released by China Central Television Station showed the latest progress of this telescope, and it’s absolutely amazing.

News, Psychology

Time slows down when people try to fight their racial bias

(Credit: Ollyy via Shutterstock/Salon)

Watches might keep time in an absolute manner, but people don’t. Each person perceives time differently depending on mood, and moreover this perception changes with age. “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity,” Einstein famously said. Apparently, time slows down even when white folks are concerned not to appear racially biased, according to a study published in Psychological Science.

Animals, Environmental Issues, News

British Petroleum fined a record $20.8 billion for oil spill

A pelican affected by the oil spill. Image via Wikipedia.

In a monumental decision, British Petroleum (BP) was fined $20.8 billion for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; this upgrades the initial deal from the $18.7 that were previously discussed and represents the largest corporate settlement in US history. This money is additional to the reported $28 billion spent on cleanup and compensation.

News, Renewable Energy

China speeds construction of national electric car network

Image via Tech Times.

China has set up an ambitious goal of getting 5 million or more electric cars on the streets, and this is not just a pipe dream – the government is taking active measures to speed up the production by building more charging stations.

News, Space

How to weigh a star: a new mathematical method

Artist illustration of Pulsar in J140135. Credit: NASA

A novel mathematical model can weigh the mass of a pulsar – a rapidly rotating magnetized neutran star – using principles of nuclear physics, rather than gravity. Up until now, the mass of a star could only be determined in relation with other bodies, based on the gravitational pull these exerted. Now, using the new model scientists will be able to study pulsars in isolation, allowing for more precise measurements than ever before.

Animals, News, Science

Wildlife flourishes in Chernobyl’s post-apocalyptic exclusion zone

Elks photographer in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Image: Valeriy Yurko/University of Portsmouth

In the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in 1987, hundreds of thousand had to move immediately without notice. Their lives changed forever. Many didn’t have time to pack anything, as documented by the ghost towns around the fallout site still littered with toys, valuable items and other personal belongings. But while humans had much to suffer, the same can’t be said about the wildlife. In the almost four decades since the dramatic disaster, wildlife and vegetation has simply sprung to life like never before. In some instances, there are more wildlife per square meter than in some of the busiest protected natural parks in neighboring Belarus. Turns out wildlife doesn’t mind that much radiation – what they mind is humans.

Health & Medicine, News, Nutrition

Eating chili peppers makes life longer, not just hotter

red peppers

Chilly peppers: hate them or love ’em. Few could have imagined the impact of Columbus’ discovery of a spice in the XXVth century so pungent that it rivaled the better known black pepper native to South Asia. In only a couple of years ago, the red chilly was planted all over the globe after being brought from South and Central America. Today, it’s one of the most widely used spices in the world. But is chilly actually healthy? Many studies seem to contradict one another, so the debate is far from over. Some scientists claim chilly acts against cancer and helps us stay healthy, but at the same time chilly can hurt the inside of the stomach and esophagus and can even lead to internal bleeding. All foods have their good and bad sides, though, so probably people are more interested in the net effects of ingesting a certain food, chilly or otherwise – doesn’t matter. And finally, there’s a study that seems to suggest that, overall, chilly is our friend. That’s according to Chinese researchers who tracked the eating and health habits of 500,000 individuals and found those who ingested chilly at least two times a week had a mortality rate 10% lower than those who only seldom ate chilly or not at all. Those who ate the devilish spice six or seven days a week had an even lower risk of dying.