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Do Music Lessons Make You Smarter?

Practice makes progress, if not perfection, for most things in life. Generally, practicing a skill—be it basketball, chess or the tuba—mostly makes you better at whatever it was you practiced...

March 1, 2013 — Ingrid Wickelgren

What Happens When Forest Elephants Are Wiped Out in an Ecosystem?

As go the elephants, so go the trees. That's the message of a new study published in the May 2013 issue of Forest Ecology and Management that found more than a dozen elephant-dependent tree species suffered catastrophic population declines in new plant growths after forest elephants were nearly extirpated from their ecosystems...

March 1, 2013 — John R. Platt

The challenges of objectivity: lessons from anatomy.

In the last post, we talked about objectivity as a scientific ideal aimed at building a reliable picture of what the world is actually like . We also noted that this goal travels closely with the notion of objectivity as what anyone applying the appropriate methodology could see ...

March 1, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel

The Messy (and Risky) Ways That Governments Try to Manage Risks

The very concept of risk is tricky. To you and me, it means pretty much what the dictionary says…the probability that something bad might happen. And to us, the part of that definition that most influences how worried a risk makes us feel is the subjective ‘bad’ part, more than the objectively quantifiable likelihood...

March 1, 2013 — David Ropeik

The Taxonomy of Wonder

Wonder and amazement at the natural world inspire many blog posts, projects, and even careers in science, but it's rare that you'll see wonder break through the soul-crushing passive voice of the scientific literature...

March 1, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Having Fun with the 4-Color Theorem

A four-coloring of most of Europe. The 4-color theorem is fairly famous in mathematics for a couple of reasons. First, it is easy to understand: any reasonable map on a plane or a sphere (in other words, any map of our world) can be colored in with four distinct colors, so that no two neighboring countries share a color.Second, computers were instrumental in the proof of the four-color theorem...

March 1, 2013 — Evelyn Lamb

Khalil s Picks (1 March 2013)

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...

STAFFMarch 1, 2013 — Khalil A. Cassimally

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Science or SciFi?

Science or SciFi?

Vanishing Particles. Spooky Action.