Surveillance society

Posted on May 7th 2011 in Blog with Comments Off on Surveillance society

Ever found yourself doing something that you know you probably shouldn’t be doing? And, when you’re doing said unscrupulous act, are you constantly wary of anyone who might discover and judge you? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It turns out this fear of being caught is part of our evolved psychology. Acts of moral dubiousness are seen as being far worse when in the presence of another – as a study published this week has shown. To test this idea, the authors of the paper wrote two stories of malfeasance – one involving taking money from a missing wallet,…

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Beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder, it’s in the eye

Posted on May 1st 2011 in News with Comments Off on Beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder, it’s in the eye

Yes, maybe it’s true that there are differing opinions on who we think of as attractive. Indeed, some people think Simon Cowell is good looking. Still cant get my head around that one,  but I digress. Yes, people have their own personal prefernces – blonde or brunette, brainy or brawny, etc.  However, numerous studies have shown that there are a significant number of traits that we all find attractive, no matter who we are. These include big eyes in women, big jaws in men, and symetrical faces (just think of Brad Pitt vs Steve Buscemi).  These features are all signal to potential…

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Grasping for attention

Posted on April 27th 2011 in Blog with Comments Off on Grasping for attention

Collectors come in all shapes and sizes. Some are relatively tame, such as the humble stamp collectors and comic book hunters. Others are harder to understand. For example, Michael Lewis has a handsome collection of Moist Towelettes. Sergei Frolov has over 150 Soviet Calculators. Most bizarrely though, for 27 years Graham Barker has been scouring the globe for only the finest examples of belly button fluff. Why do these people waste so much of their time and money (and sanity) on amassing large numbers of similar items. Many ideas have been suggested over the years. Some have said its purely…

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The unseen threat of nitrogen

Posted on April 16th 2011 in Blog with Comments Off on The unseen threat of nitrogen

Nitrogen is one of those elements that never really gets much attention. It’s colourless, odourless and mostly inert. For the most part, it’s a bit of a loner as well, only bonding with itself in the form of N2. Unfortunately, it’s the quiet ones that can prove to me the most dangerous, as an international report published this month confirms. The report – published at the Nitrogen and Global Change conference – shows that nitrogen pollution is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in Europe. Nitrogen concentrations have increased dramatically over the years, from agriculture in the form of…

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The beautiful

Posted on April 14th 2011 in Blog with Comments Off on The beautiful

I know many of us are revising frantically at the moment, spending every waking moment trying to cram as much knowledge into our delicate little brains as we can. Either that or feeling guilty for not doing as much as we should. It can feel like our lives have been dominated by the need to ingest as much science as possible, for fear of not making through the famine of exam season that is nearly upon us. However, when you over-indulge, with anything, the pleasure you once got is replaced inevitably by apathy and disgust. This youtube video, by the…

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