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Scientific American Topic – Thought & Cognition February 6, 2008

Posted by prasannam in Articles, Reports, Research, Scientific American, Syndicate:News.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=can-fractals-spot-genuineA new study attacks the technique of using fractals, the repeating patterns found in everything from coastlines to fern fronds, to help distinguish authentic Jackson Pollock drip paintings from paint splattered by lesser hands.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=how-the-brain-maps-symbolIn a study that involved teaching monkeys to associate Arabic numerals with their corresponding quantities, German researchers fingered the prefrontal cortex as the part of the mammalian brain that is responsible for relating symbols with abstract…
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=climate-changes-uncertainty-principleThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its first report in 1990 predicted that temperatures would warm by 0.5 degree Fahrenheit (0.3 degree Celsius) per decade if no efforts were made to restrain greenhouse gas emissions. But the panel of…
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=simplest-computer-new-kind-scienceFive years ago, grown-up wunderkind Stephen Wolfram did his darnedest to alter the course of scientific history. The former particle physicist, who is by all accounts a genius, poured two decades worth of heady thoughts on the nature of computers,…
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=how-to-win-an-election-maHey, candidates. Want to win an election? Simple. Just appear competent–even if you’re not. A new report confirms what may be some politically inclined people’s worst nightmare: looks matter.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=coal-friendly-climate-changes-in-kansasNew coal power plants won’t find a home in Kansas, according to the state’s Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). The agency, tasked with protecting the state’s environment and public health, denied air quality permits for two 700-megawatt,…
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=cave-speak-did-neandertalGerman researchers have discovered Neandertals apparently had the human variant of a gene that is linked to speech and language. A team of scientists, primarily from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, made the discovery…
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=elephants-smell-fearThey say elephants never forget, but their brainpower does not stop there. A new study suggests that pachyderms can distinguish threatening groups of people from those who mean them no harm.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=distortion-free-lens-techFor years, researchers have struggled to find an efficient way to develop lenses that do not lose portions of light as it passes through–an effect that hinders the performance of lasers, medical diagnostic imaging equipment and sensor systems. Now…
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=earliest-known-seafood-diWhen the going got tough, early humans went to the beach for seafood and possibly a dose of symbolic thought, according to a new study. Researchers excavating a cave on the southern coast of South Africa discovered a bowl’s worth of edible shellfish…
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=successful-malaria-vaccinA baby born in sub-Saharan Africa faces a lifetime of health risks, but none more challenging than surviving its first five years. A major reason for that is malaria, a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes. Of the more than one million malaria deaths…
Scientific American Magazine: The Forgotten Code CrackerIn the summer of 2006 Marshall W. Nirenberg chanced on a just published biography of a prominent molecular biologist. It was entitled Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code.

Scientific American Mind: Shocked into ConsciousnessA severely brain-injured man showed marked improvements after treatment with deep brain stimulation, a technique in which surgically implanted electrodes deliver electrical impulses to the brain. For six years the patient, who sustained head trauma during…
Scientific American Mind: Ambiguities and PerceptionThe brain abhors ambiguity, yet we are curiously attracted to it. Many famous visual illusions exploit ambiguity to titillate the senses. Resolving uncertainties creates a pleasant jolt in your brain, similar to the one you experience in the…
Web Features: How Do Artists Portray Exoplanets They’ve Never Seen?Stargazers have yet to lay eyes on any of the nearly 240 planets detected outside our solar system. These so-called exoplanets are too faint for current telescopes to distinguish from the stars they orbit*; instead astronomers rely on indirect methods to…
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=dont-forget-drink-a-beerYou may be hard-pressed to recall events after a night of binge drinking, but a new report suggests that low to moderate alcohol consumption may actually enhance memory.

Scientific American Magazine: How Does Consciousness HappenHow brain processes translate to consciousness is one of the greatest un­­-­solved questions in science. Although the scientific method can delineate events immediately after the big bang and uncover the biochemical nuts and bolts of the…
Scientific American Magazine: Rapturous Sociability–Armageddon Avoided–The Allure of VenusSHYNESS: HOW NORMAL BEHAVIOR BECAME A SICKNESS

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=fetal-neurons-still-operaA population of nerve cells crucial for proper brain wiring may serve a completely different function in adult and fetal brains, according to a new study in The Journal of Neuroscience.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=human-toddlers-trump-apes-sociallyIn the first study to compare social skills of different species performing the same tasks, a team of German researchers found that two-year-old toddlers are more socially mature than adult apes.



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