From a personal essay about interacting with people who have auditory hallucinations, to mosquito males mating with females from other species. Plus “neurosexism,” the possibility of maths killing computers and Spider-Man.
Need I say more? This week has been awesome.
Christina Clark writes about people with auditory hallucinations in I, Science’s new blog, Ravens And Writing Desks. Christina’s post is a humbling skid into the world of those who hear voices. She pours in emotions from her own experiences at Nursing College and makes us realise that mental illness is not necessarily always the “silent disease.” This is her first post and I’m already looking forward to more.
I recall being a small child sitting opposite an old dishevelled man on a train. His clothes had turned from emerald to russet with all the accumulated dirt. He was laughing hysterically, pointing at me with one hand and holding his stomach with the other as if I had said something mind-blazingly hilarious to him. He was muttering so incoherently amidst his roars of laughter that I could barely comprehend a word.
Charles Ebikeme writes about the frighteningly big Asian tiger mosquito for Australian Science. They’re big for good reason too as they’re rapidly driving the native American mosquito to extinction. Oh, also, males Asian tiger mosquito mate with females mosquitoes of other species. Cool and gross at the same time.
Invasion of the Asian tiger mosquito
Sometime during that glorious decade known as the 1980s, a shipment landed in Houston, Texas. A shipment carrying more than its cargo. The point of origin was Japan. The shipment was used tires. The payload was Asian tiger mosquitoes.
Men like sports, women like shopping. We’ve all heard about those seemingly sex-linked differences. And in recent times, many neuro-ahem-scientists have investigated whether those differences can be traced back to our brains, prompting a variety of sensationalistic articles by the Daily Mail. In Spark Magazine, Rebecca Debnath takes a critical look at “neurosexism.”
A Case of “Neurosexism”
Men don’t talk about feelings and women aren’t good at maths. Right? “Men and women are fundamentally different”. It is likely that you will have encountered some variation of this concept in your lifetime. It is even more likely that you will have done so several times. A host of bestselling popular science books such as “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” and “Why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps” highlight and explain such sex-linked differences by suggesting that men and women have different neurologically hardwiring.
Natalie Wolchover dwells into the obscure world of theoretical mathematicians and their computers for Simons Science News. Mathematicians and computers are making a great tandem and pushing frontiers. But as the maths becomes more complex, who will survive? Mathematicians or computers?
In Computers We Trust?
Shalosh B. Ekhad, the co-author of several papers in respected mathematics journals, has been known to prove with a single, succinct utterance theorems and identities that previously required pages of mathematical reasoning. Last year, when asked to evaluate a formula for the number of integer triangles with a given perimeter, Ekhad performed 37 calculations in less than a second and delivered the verdict: “True.”
This, this, this, a million times this! Nicholas St. Fleur for the National Association of Science Writers (NASW).
Lunging leviathan: A look at the blue whale’s 360-degree spin
The blue whale — owner of the world’s largest mouth — has some newly discovered prey-catching tricks. In a Jaws-like fashion, the whale ambushes huge patches of prey from below with a powerful 360-degree barrel roll.
Eating snacks at odd hours of the night (which I do by the way) can lead to very bad problems like cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Thorough blog post by Beth Cotter for Mind the Science Gap. Thanks for spoiling the fun, science (and attempting to save my life).
Late-night snacking: The tease that doesn’t always please
It is the night before an exam. Midnight is quickly approaching and the nerves are starting to settle in. As you reach to grab your calculator you hear your stomach grumble and realize that your mind has wandered – you are wishing that your calculator were actually a late-night snack. How could six hours have already passed since you last ate dinner?! Out of impulse you head downstairs to the kitchen to grab the first goodie that you see when – HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Take a minute to think twice about grabbing that moonlight meal. By snacking after 8pm you may be inching your way closer towards developing risk factors for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease!
Humans, not spiders, are mimicking Spider-Man. Nadia Drake at Wired explains how. (I’m amazed I wrote those two lines without any exclamation marks… !!!!!)
Spider-Man Physics: How Real Is the Superhero?
Spider-Man might be a fictional superhero, but at least two of his tricks exist in the real world. Now, scientists have shown that it’s possible spin silk strong enough to stop a train, and are crafting a new super-sensory suit that warns its wearer when someone — or something — is approaching.
Feel free to post some more awesome stuff in the comments. Over and out.
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