Banner Archive

Marvel Comics Timeline
Godzilla Timeline



« Science: November 2011 | Main | Science: January 2012 »


That must have been some pool party

Syphilis U.S. Public Health Service poster, 1949.  Found in the September 2011 issue of Scientific American.

By fnord12 | December 22, 2011, 9:48 AM | Science | Comments (1)| Link

Brain-Eating Amoeba Update

If you thought winter would kill it, you'd be wrong.

Somehow they can slip through the microbial Fort Knox of some U.S. water treatment plants and make it into tap water (at least in Louisiana).

This is not a problem if you drink the water and they end up in your stomach, where they are digested. This is very much is a problem if you dribble them through your sinus system, where they seem to occasionally find their way brainward with the same efficacy they display in unlucky swimmers who accidentally inhale some protist-infested pond water while swimming. Once they wander into your brain, death is almost certain.

Thankfully, nobody would actually dribble water from a pot into their nostrils, so no worries.

In other gross news, if you scroll down to the bottom of the article, you'll learn that you and everybody else around you likely has about 0.14grams of poo clinging to your bottoms. Think about that next time you have friends over to sit on your couch.

By min | December 21, 2011, 7:53 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

I Need to Upgrade My RAM

In my brain.

Do you ever walk to another room and then, when you get there, you can't remember what the hell you are there to do? That happens to me all of the time. Now i know why. It's cause of those goddamned doorways.

In one study, Radvansky and his colleagues tested the doorway effect in real rooms in their lab. Participants traversed a real-world environment, carrying physical objects and setting them down on actual tables. The objects were carried in shoeboxes to keep participants from peeking during the quizzes, but otherwise the procedure was more or less the same as in virtual reality. Sure enough, the doorway effect revealed itself: Memory was worse after passing through a doorway than after walking the same distance within a single room.
The doorway effect suggests that there's more to the remembering than just what you paid attention to, when it happened, and how hard you tried. Instead, some forms of memory seem to be optimized to keep information ready-to-hand until its shelf life expires, and then purge that information in favor of new stuff. Radvansky and colleagues call this sort of memory representation an "event model," and propose that walking through a doorway is a good time to purge your event models because whatever happened in the old room is likely to become less relevant now that you have changed venues. That thing in the box? Oh, that's from what I was doing before I got here; we can forget all about that.
Why would we have a memory system set up to forget things as soon as we finish one thing and move on to another? Because we can't keep everything ready-to-hand, and most of the time the system functions beautifully.

Sometimes it happens when all i've done is shift my visual focus from one thing on my desk to another. I think mebbe my brain is broke. Does anyone have a spare they can give me?

By min | December 13, 2011, 10:25 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

« Science: November 2011 | Main | Science: January 2012 »