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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Learning while you sleep and a case for more Zzzzzs

Posted by dorian on April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010 | ScientificAmerican.com

Sounds Make Memories Stick During Sleep

Hearing certain sounds during slumber can spur learning, according to research detailed at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting in Montreal

By Ingrid Wickelgren


MONTREAL—A good night’s sleep, or even just a nap, can be an aid to memory. Psychologists have known for years that sleep solidifies what we’ve learned during the day, transforming tenuous associations into stable ones. Learning while you snooze seems supremely efficient, and so people have long dreamed of co-opting this process so that their dozing brain shores up what matters to them—say, material they’ve studied for a test or a talk, or verbiage in a foreign language they want to master. But until now there has been little support for the notion that studying in your sleep is useful. Psychology graduate student John Rudoy at Northwestern University in Illinois reported findings here on Monday at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society 2010 annual meeting that hint at a way to do that. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Health, Nerdus Momentus, Science | 4 Comments »


Posted by princessxxx on February 11, 2010

e-e, wedding anniversay 2/13/10. congratulations.

i don’t recall either dorian or the BRAIN‘s birthdays, but they are both aquarian airheads. Read the rest of this entry »

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If grumpy people are more evolved…

Posted by 1minionsopinion on February 4, 2010

I don’t know what to make of this new evolutionary theory. There was a study recently done of chimps and bonobos (our closest relatives) to see which species could learn quicker.

The two types of ape are very close to each other, genetically, but the clear differences are believed to be down to simple evolution, said lead researcher Victoria Wobber.

Her team put both chimps and bonobos through a variety of skill tests with rewards for those who completed various tasks the quickest.

They included a sharing exercise and a begging exercise in which they had to work out which of their keepers was most generous. In all cases the chimps learnt the tasks fastest and to their better advantage.

She believes that the ability to “restrain” their sociability was one of the reasons they were more intelligent and more civilised.

She said: “Bonobos took longer to develop the same skill level shown even among the youngest of the chimpanzees that were tested.

To paraphrase, chimps get ornery as they get older with more aggression and less desire to share their stuff. And their research suggests this could be a good thing.

Pity the poor bonobo who’s too laid back and easy going? Not quite yet. Instead of getting that aggressive, they just have lots of sex. And this is worth quoting:

Just imagine that we had never heard of chimpanzees or baboons and had known bonobos first. We would at present most likely believe that early hominids lived in female- centered societies, in which sex served important social functions and in which warfare was rare or absent. In the end, perhaps the most successful reconstruction of our past will be based not on chimpanzees or even on bonobos but on a three-way comparison of chimpanzees, bonobos and humans.

Maybe it looks like the chimps have an edge, but there are benefits to both types of lifestyle exhibited by our kin. No doubt more research will go into their findings to expand on or disprove what they discovered.

(this has been a cross post)

Posted in Nature, Science | 1 Comment »

Evolution’s Rainbow – Joan Roughgarden – Gender Studies

Posted by princessxxx on December 23, 2009




Posted in Ancient Origins, Anything Goes in this Post, Debate, Educational, Opinion, Pioneers, Religion, Science, Sex | 134 Comments »

Monkey Linguistics

Posted by dorian on December 12, 2009

Monkey alarm calls provide clues to origins of human language

Monkeys form very primitive sentences, scientists have discovered, in research that brings us closer to understanding the origins of language.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent

Photo: National Geographic Animal Gallery

Published: 2:15PM GMT 11 Dec 2009

A team found the Campbell’s monkey can add a simple sound to its alarm calls to create new ones and then combine them to convey even more information.

Human language is incredibly complex, but one defining feature is the process of adding a prefix or suffix to a word to change its meaning.

For example, adding “hood” to the word “brother” to form “brotherhood”.

Researchers looking at Campbell’s monkeys (Cercopithecus campbelli campbelli) in the Ivory Coast’s Tai National Park found that these primates do a similar thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nature, Nerdus Momentus, Science | 7 Comments »

Thoughts about Earth as it is

Posted by 1minionsopinion on November 25, 2009

Olivia Judson has an interesting take on an Evolve-By Date that’s worth commenting on. I offer my own thoughts between paragraphs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nature, Opinion, Science | Leave a Comment »

Protecting kids goes beyond skin deep

Posted by 1minionsopinion on November 21, 2009

Now that I’ve joined a Freethinkers group, I’m meeting a lot of new people. Some I doubt I’ll have much in common with outside the group’s raison d’etre, but others I could see hanging out with fairly often. Today, as it happens, I had lunch with one of the gals. She’s a married mother of two with both kids under 7 and hasn’t gotten either of them vaccinated for flu, H1N1, or anything else.

I’m appalled by this growing trend, frankly. The whole point of vaccination is to keep childhood death at a minimum, is it not? They’d never take their kids in a car these days without protection from fender benders (special chairs, harnesses, seat belts, etc) but they won’t protect their immune systems from preventable diseases? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Opinion, Science | 18 Comments »

Water on the Moon!

Posted by Enkill_Eridos on November 14, 2009

Today there was a different Google Icon. Each Google Icon has a news worthy story so I clicked on it and this is what I found.

Splash! NASA moon crash struck lots of water

By ALICIA CHANG (AP) – 1 hour ago

LOS ANGELES — The lunar dud for space enthusiasts has become a watershed event for NASA.

Spacecraft that crashed into the moon last month kicked up a relatively small plume. But scientists have confirmed the debris contained water — 25 gallons of it — making lunar exploration exciting again.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nerdus Momentus, Science | 4 Comments »