Reporting in Science, researchers write of linking a mouse's innocuous memory of a room with a more fearful memory of getting an electric shock — causing the mouse to freeze in fear upon seeing the safe room. Study author Steve Ramirez of M.I.T. and memory researcher Mark Mayford of The Scripps Research Institute discuss the implications for modifying human memories.
Best-selling novelist Jonathan Franzen has fallen in love...with birds. Writing for the July issue of National Geographic magazine, Franzen describes how migrating songbirds are being hunted in high numbers in Egypt, Albania, and other places along the Mediterranean. Franzen tells SciFri about the songbirds' plight and how his passion for birds has evolved.
One of the biggest mysteries of the new detective novel The Cuckoo's Calling was the identity of the author. It was written by Robert Galbraith, which was revealed to be the pseudonym of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. Patrick Juola, professor of computer science at Duquesne University, discusses how he used computerized text analysis to uncover the mystery.
Think moths are nothing more than drab, little brown fliers stalking your wool sweaters? The folks behind National Moth Week, happening now, want to change that perception. Rutgers University moth expert Elena Tartaglia describes the diversity of moths and the role that they play in nature, and gives some tips on how to become a "moth-er."
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. This next segment is specially dedicated to people for whom midsummer means lush greens, maybe a little sand and hopefully a lot of birdies. We're in the thick of golf season. The U.S. Open wrapped up last month, the British Open last weekend. And in just a few weeks, the PGA Championship begins. Up next, a look at the science of this sport. What sets the pros apart? Stroke mechanics, swing thoughts, physics, psychology?
It's high summer, yes, but blink and soon it will be fall, and trees will turn red, brown, beige, yellow, pale green and gold. But not cars. Cars may be making the Earth warmer, but their colors, I notice, have turned wintry.
Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 12:29 pm
Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog, and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.
Explorer Ben Saunders wants you to go outside. Not because it's always pleasant and happy, but because that's where the meat of life is, "the juice that we can suck out of our hours and days." In 2004, Saunders skied solo to the North Pole. Saunders' next outdoor excursion? To try to be the first in the world to walk from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again.
From madness to seizures, to crime and lack of sleep, people have long blamed the full moon for a range of problems. Research, on the other hand, has found little evidence over the years to support these anecdotal accounts of the moon's powers over the human body and brain.
But scientists in Switzerland decided to look again at one of those putative effects — disturbed sleep — and were surprised to see there might be something to the claim after all.