05 August, 2010 – This Week in Science


Solar Flare Watch, Keep That Inner Child, Imaginary Dinosaurs, Gamers Beating Computers, Global Warming Benefits, Cultural Brain Wiring, And A Bit Of Artificial Intelligence.

Blow Out Your Flares and Make a Wish
The first solar flare of this cycle kicked off on Dr. Kiki’s birthday, August 1st. It continues, and earth’s magnetic field is still reverberating. It has sparked auroras as far south as Wisconsin and Iowa, so look out for increased auroral activity.

People Never Change
A study found that teachers assessments of certain personality traits in children remained true after four decades.

Triceratops Didn’t Exist
Scientists now believe that triceratops is actually just a younger version of a torosaurus.

Humans Are Still Smarter Than Computers
Fold it is an online game that uses humans ability to recognize patterns to solve the problem of how to fold proteins. A computer program is used to fold them, but the algorithm isn’t able to quite complete the protein, so this game was created to harness the power of people to get past the threshold of an algorithm’s ability.

Check out Monty Harper’s Kickstarter project!

Join the TWIS BookClub in reading this month’s book:

The Silver Lining
Justin looks at the ‘bright’ side of global warming by listing some animals that will benefit from its effects, including sharks, starfish, and jellyfish.

Culture Wires the Brain
A study looks a the way the collectivist nature of eastern cultures versus the individualistic nature of western culture has wired the brains of participants in that culture.

This Week in World Robot Domination: Digital Life
Avidians “live” in a computer world called Avida, and they replicate using strings of coded computer instructions rather than DNA. When “released” into a competitive “environment” they have been able to evolve memory. Could we possibly evolve a computer program to have artificial intelligence comparable to our own?

The Sponge In You
Sponges look, well… spongey. But, you have a lot in common with the absorbent creatures, and they may just divulge secrets from our ancient common ancestor.

Have comments on today’s episode? Response to Justin’s ideas about advertising and psychology? Make them below…

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