Monthly Archives: February 2012

The myth of the eight-hour sleep

We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night – but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. In the … Continue reading

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Babies know what’s fair

“We think children are born with a skeleton of general expectations about fairness,” explains Sloane, “and these principles and concepts get shaped in different ways depending on the culture and the environment they’re brought up in.” Some cultures value sharing … Continue reading

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The Need for “Wild” Play: Let Children Be the Animals They Need to Be

We’re big-brained altricial mammals, born helpless and requiring extensive adult care, who learn a wide variety of skills through different sorts of play. Much of what applies to the social development of nonhuman mammals and other animals also applies to … Continue reading

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How the brain works to select what we want to see

If you are looking for a particular object — say a yellow pencil — on a cluttered desk, how does your brain work to visually locate it? Neuroscientists has identified how different neural regions communicate to determine what to visually … Continue reading

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The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking

Eating is a multisensory experience, yet chefs and scientists have only recently begun to deconstruct food’s components, setting the stage for science-based cooking. In this global collaboration of essays, chefs and scientists advance culinary knowledge by testing hypotheses rooted in … Continue reading

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Neurogastronomy – How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters

Leading neuroscientist Gordon M. Shepherd embarks on a paradigm-shifting trip through the “human brain flavor system,” laying the foundations for a new scientific field: neurogastronomy.  Challenging the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution, Shepherd argues that … Continue reading

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Rediscovering the uses of ancient plants in modern medicine

Researchers and historians band together to create novel treatments for illnesses. Dr. John Riddle, a professor of history, actually started off with an education in medicine, eventually earning an MD. He became interested in history through studying traditional medicinal plants–plants … Continue reading

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Probing for principles underlying animal flock patterns

“Self-organization phenomena surround us on all levels of our lives,” For the casual observer it is fascinating to watch the orderly and seemingly choreographed motion of hundreds or even thousands of fish, birds or insects. However, the formation and the … Continue reading

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What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?

Every year for more than a decade, intellectual impresario and Edge editor John Brockman has been asking the era’s greatest thinkers a single annual question, designed to illuminate some important aspect of how we understand the world. In 2010, he … Continue reading

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Life on Earth: The Infinite Variety

It traces the dramatic history of life on earth from its very beginnings, some 3.5 billion years ago, to the final emergence of man and the array of animals that share the world with us today. Life On Earth began … Continue reading

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