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What's So Special about Mirror Neurons?

In the early 1990s, a team of neuroscientists at the University of Parma made a surprising discovery: Certain groups of neurons in the brains of macaque monkeys fired not only when a monkey performed an action – grabbing an apple out of a box, for instance – but also when the monkey watched someone else performing that action; and even when the monkey heard someone performing the action in another room.In short, even though these “mirror neurons” were part of the brain's motor system, they seemed to be correlated not with specific movements, but with specific goals.Over the next few decades, this “action understanding” theory of mirror neurons blossomed into a wide range of promising speculations.

November 6, 2012 — Ben Thomas

Learning the Language of Rivers II: The Basics

This post was originally published at En Tequila Es Verdad. For those who haven’t yet seen it – enjoy! ***The Marys River at Avery Park had me staring in incomprehension like a kid on the first day of a foreign language class.

November 6, 2012 — Dana Hunter

No rats in Ryder Alley

Last week, in the wake of superstorm Sandy, I saw a number of people asking questions on social media (and some traditional media picking up on it) about a potential for ratpocalypse, i.e,.

November 5, 2012 — Bora Zivkovic

Astronomers Spot Most Distant Supernova Yet

Simulation of an early galaxy hosting a superluminous supernova. Credit: Adrian Malec and Marie Martig (Swinburne University) A superluminous supernova may sound like a designation dreamed up by someone with a penchant for hyperbole, but such explosions are deserving of the extravagant language.

November 5, 2012 — John Matson

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