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Science

SOMETHING WE CAN ALL HATE THE UN FOR

IT USUALLY DOESN'T START UNTIL WINTER, BUT AT SOME POINT EVERY YEAR I START LOOKING AT NWS WEATHER ALERTS AND AM AMUSED TO FIND THAT THEY'RE ALWAYS IN ALL CAPS, WHICH INCREASES THE IMPRESSION THAT THERE'S SOMETHING ALARMING GOING ON (THIS TIME THE EVENT IS, OF COURSE, HURRICANE SANDY, WHICH IS APPARENTLY WORTH BEING ALARMED ABOUT: "I've never seen anything like this and I'm at a loss for expletives to describe what this storm could do.").

KEVIN DRUM SAYS THE REASON FOR THE ALL CAPS IS DUE TO INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS, BUT IT COULD CHANGE.


By fnord12 | October 26, 2012, 2:30 PM | Science & Ummm... Other? | Comments (0)| Link



Put your liberty where your mouth is

Putting scientists in jail for failing to predict an earthquake, or failing to contradict a false prediction, is, of course, ridiculous, but on the other hand i would be tempted to vote Yes on a referendum putting the same stakes in play for our economic and political pundits.


By fnord12 | October 23, 2012, 1:54 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (1)| Link



Scientists Secretly on the Payroll of Vampires

That's the only logical explanation i can come up with for this study to have even taken place.

Saul Villeda of Stanford University, who led the work, found that blood from young mice reversed some of the effects of ageing in the older mice, improving learning and memory to a level comparable with much younger animals. He said that the technique could one day help people stave off the worst effects of ageing, including conditions such as Alzheimer's.

And let me just say that starting off your article with "Kim Jong-il did it, too" doesn't exactly help your case.


By min | October 18, 2012, 11:51 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



I Should Have Been a Behavioral Psychologist

Cause i think it's awesome to get to do psychological experiments on children! I'm so jealous of these researchers.

The Marshmallow Test Revisited:

For the past four decades, the "marshmallow test" has served as a classic experimental measure of children's self-control: will a preschooler eat one of the fluffy white confections now or hold out for two later?

Now a new study demonstrates that being able to delay gratification is influenced as much by the environment as by innate ability. Children who experienced reliable interactions immediately before the marshmallow task waited on average four times longer--12 versus three minutes--than youngsters in similar but unreliable situations.

...

The research builds on a long series of marshmallow-related studies that began at Stanford University in the late 1960s. Walter Mischel and other researchers famously showed that individual differences in the ability to delay gratification on this simple task correlated strongly with success in later life. Longer wait times as a child were linked years later to higher SAT scores, less substance abuse, and parental reports of better social skills.

Because of the surprising correlation, the landmark marshmallow studies have been cited as evidence that qualities like self-control or emotional intelligence in general may be more important to navigating life successfully than more traditional measures of intelligence, such as IQ.

The Rochester team wanted to explore more closely why some preschoolers are able to resist the marshmallow while others succumb to licking, nibbling, and eventually swallowing the sugary treat.

...

In the unreliable condition, the children were provided a container of used crayons and told that if they could wait, the researcher would return shortly with a bigger and better set of new art supplies for their project. After two and a half minutes, the research returned with this explanation: "I'm sorry, but I made a mistake. We don't have any other art supplies after all. But why don't you use these instead?" She then helped to open the crayon container.

Next a quarter-inch sticker was placed on the table and the child was told that if he or she could wait, the researcher would return with a large selection of better stickers to use. After the same wait, the researcher again returned empty handed.

The reliable group experienced the same set up, but the researcher returned with the promised materials: first with a rotating tray full of art supplies and the next time with five to seven large, die-cut stickers.

...

Children who experienced unreliable interactions with an experimenter waited for a mean time of three minutes and two seconds on the subsequent marshmallow task, while youngsters who experienced reliable interactions held out for 12 minutes and two seconds. Only one of the 14 children in the unreliable group waited the full 15 minutes, compared to nine children in the reliable condition.

Kids are smart. If they're used to living in an unreliable environment - whether it's from broken promises made by adults or because they are living in a shelter - they're not going to wait and hope something better comes along. They're going to get what they can while they can.

I would first test them in an unreliable environment and then see how long it would take to regain their trust. And then, mebbe take it away again! Fnord12 says it's prolly good i am not allowed to experiment on children.

Too bad they don't have this experiment on YouTube or something. I'd love to watch the more creative things the kids did.

Kids danced in their seats, sang, and took pretend naps. Several took a bite from the bottom of the marshmallow then placed it back in the desert cup so it looked untouched. A few then nibbled off the top, forgetting they could then longer hide the evidence since both ends were eaten, she said. "We had one little boy who grabbed the marshmallow immediately and we thought he was going to eat it," recalled Kidd. Instead he sat on it. "Instead of covering his eyes, he covered the marshmallow."

Kids in real life are alot of work. Kids in psychological experiments are super fantastic! I want!

I only wonder if they made sure these kids actually liked marshmallows before allowing them to participate.


By min | October 15, 2012, 1:01 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



Cancer Patient Grows Replacement Ear

On her arm.

Another squicky warning. If you don't want to see an ear growing out of a person's forearm, don't click on the link.

Byrne and a team of doctors harvested cartilage from Walter's ribs, shaped it into an ear and placed it under the skin of her forearm. Nourished by surrounding blood vessels, the new ear developed skin of its own and, after four months, the surgeons removed it. Next, they attached it to blood vessels in Walter's head, sculpting tissue to affix it permanently in March of this year.

Since March, Walter's surgeons have focused on the more cosmetic aspects of the process, shaping and sculpting the new left ear to match the right one as much as possible. Though she still needs to undergo a few more surgeries to complete the process, Walter's hearing has been restored with the help of a special hearing aid.

Gross, but amazing. So, yay science. I'm glad it exists, but I don't want to have to see it.


By min | October 3, 2012, 10:59 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



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