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Thinking in a Foreign Language Helps Economic Decision-Making

April 30, 2012 2 comments

In this article research supported by the National Science Foundation has presented evidence that runs contrary to establish economic theory.  In this study researchers studied the difference between when someone makes a decision in a foreign language as opposed to their mother tongue. As it turns out people have a better chance of making more advantageous if they consider their options in a foreign language. This is due to the fact that when someone thinks in a foreign language their brain functions in a more deliberate manner which makes way for better decision making. Image

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America’s New Stand On Climate Change

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

The other day I read this article on the current standings of global warming It was a pretty interesting read for me, as my final project has to do with science communications relating to global warming.  This article reiterates the fact that a mounting body of scientific research shows that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise as a result of human activity. Study of these greenhouse gasses has allowed an indication to be made of a trend in their emissions and at this point scientists fear that it will be extremely difficult to preempt tremendous climate change in the future. With that being said the United States is spearheading an entirely new international effort aimed at reducing these greenhouse emissions.Image

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Man’s Best Friend

April 30, 2012 1 comment

            For as long as I can remember my family has always had a dog living with us in the house. Arriving at this realization got me to start to think about why we as human beings generally accept having a different species live amongst us in our homes.  As it turns out the earliest archaeological evidence of the domestication of dogs dates all the way back to China in 7000BC. Scientists have also determined by comparing the proportions of grey wolf haplotypes to modern dogs that the Middle East is the most probable location of the origins of initial domestication of dogs. This early form of domestication probably begun with the domestication of orphaned wolf cubs that studies have shown is possible to be done before a cub is twenty one days old. Over time the DNA of wolves and dogs split giving humans the opportunity to domesticate and cross breed dogs to use as guard animals and beasts of burden. This cross breeding based upon favorable attributes yielded dogs with increasingly juvenile characteristics that prompt cross species protective behavior in most adult mammals, including humans. Image

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Synthetic Society

April 23, 2012 1 comment

Last week I downloaded this amazing new program from Native Instruments called Razor. Native Instruments’ Razor is an additive synthesizer, which means that it utilizes individual sine waves that vary in amplitude and frequency to create one clear waveform. This particular synthesizer is unique in the fact that it simultaneously fires up to three hundred and twenty sine wave partials that can be manipulated in such as way as to create everything from filters to vocoders. While I was messing around with the sleek 3-D interface I got to thinking about how far we’ve come as society technologically that even our music is created using electronics. If you went back even one hundred years and tried to explain to a musician that you create your bass lines by using and additive synthesizer to run sine wave partials through a modulated formant filter his head would explode (let alone trying to explain how the computer that powered it works, if you could even manage that). Nowadays a huge percentage of music we hear is completely or at least somewhat synthetically generated and no one really stops to think about how that has just recently become the case (relatively).

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The Spirit Molecule

Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is a natural psychedelic substance that occurs in plants and animals (including humans). While the significance of its ubiquitousness is unknown in some cultures it has been used as an entheogen, or a psychoactive substance used in a religious or spiritual context. Depending on the dosage DMT can induce immersive psychedelic states that can be so idiosyncratic that often times cannot be described in words. Studies engaged by biochemists around the world have allowed scientists to hypothesize on the use purpose of the compound in humans and state that DMT may play a key role in bringing about the visual effects associated with dreaming, near death experiences, and religious visions ( as well as other states). Although the compound is classified as a schedule I drug in the United States and is highly illegal people still take part in the ingestion of this mysterious substance in order to receive strange visions of self-transforming machine elves ( My question to the class blog is what kind of significance do you think a naturally occurring substance that causes you to trip ridiculously hard upon birth and prior to death has in the human body?Image

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Cheating Hearing Loss

February 27, 2012 4 comments

Have you ever left an event or show and noticed that incredibly annoying ringing sound in yours ears? Well if so than you’re most definitely not alone as was I and the many other concertgoers around the world on Saturday night (the damage done to my ears that night was probably as close as I’ll get to knowing what it feels like to know what it’s like to get hit with a flash bang grenade). This irritating sound is caused by over excitation of a part of the inner ear called the cochlea. Once the cochlea becomes too stimulated from the extraordinarily loud sound or music you were listening to the nerves that carry auditory information to your brain die and thus causes ringing in your ears or tinnitus. For those of you that are constantly exposed to loud music or noise this is probably old news and if it isn’t it’s probably a horrible feeling to find out how bad the shows you enjoy so much are for your hearing. However there may be hope (<- I instinctually turned my music down to close to zero volume while reading this)

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