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Intelligent Life in the Universe and Steve Jobs

[Every so often Life, Unbounded allows itself a little more speculative leeway, a little bit of armchair musing, this post is very much in that vein, and yes, it was written on a Mac] Exhibit A Like many scientists of my generation the first time I experienced Steve Jobs was through the almost magical interaction with a mouse, a crisply black and white screen, and Mathematica.As a budding astronomer back in the early 1990's most of my computational needs were taken care of by a hulking great machine called a VAX...

October 26, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

What Makes a Rabbit's Foot Lucky?

Ed note: As Halloween rapidly approaches in the US, AiP will be exploring superstitions, beliefs, and the things that go bump in the night. [Evil laugh.] At some point, most of us have likely had a token that we believed would protect us or bring us luck...

October 26, 2011 — Krystal D'Costa

Plastic from bacteria - now in algae!

Bacteria are capable of producing a wide range of exciting and important materials, and one of the most unusual is probably bacterial plastics. Used by the bacteria as an energy store, these bioplastics are of particular interest as not only could they be a non-oil-based form of plastic but they are also biodegradable...

October 26, 2011 — S.E. Gould

SciArt Plugs 5: Lectures, Exhibits, News and more

New this week: a New York City gallery is featuring three-dimensional topographic maps designed by cartographer Jeffrey Ambroziak; science artist Lynn Fellman hosts an open studio in Minneapolis; the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Greater New York Chapter's member show closes; and ScienceOnline2012 nears registration time (Nov...

October 26, 2011 — Kalliopi Monoyios

Lessons from Sherlock Holmes: From Perspective-Taking to Empathy

Last week, I wrote about the importance of perspective-taking. This week, I'd like to continue with one of its close relatives, a state that would indeed be largely impossible without its existence: empathy.Empathy, a concept originally introduced as Einfühlung by Theodore Lipps, is a state that allows us to share in the experiences and mental states of others...

October 25, 2011 — Maria Konnikova

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