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October 27 2014

This video game might be the future of ADHD and Alzheimer's treatment


On October 6th, I find myself in the gleaming office of a Boston biotech. I've been seated in a clear plastic chair, where I am about to try an experimental medicine for a brain disorder I don't have.

The space is home to PureTech Ventures, the parent company of Akili Interactive Labs, which makes the new medicine. Since December, children in Florida and North Carolina have also tried the treatment as part of a formal clinical trial for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The medicine is unusual because of its delivery system: an iPad or iPhone.


Related: Can Video Games Curb Racism?

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October 27 2014

In the Future We’ll Search in Three Dimensions


Search engines have come to define how most of us interact with digital information. But, if you think about it, they’re still pretty limited. We can search for words and, in recent years, Google Images allows us to search by picture. Want to search, though, for the flavor of apple, or the notes of the song you can’t remember the name to? You’re still out of luck.

However, researchers are making headway in another kind of novel search — searching by 3-D object. And that’s only going to become more useful in a world with growing access to 3-D printers.

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October 27 2014

Three More UFOs Spotted Outside the Space Station


One reflection in the International Space Station window caused by a light? Believable. Two reflections? Possible. Three reflections? Those are UFOs. That’s the conclusion arrived at by many looking at a video taken this week from the ISS live camera which shows what appears to be three unidentified objects hovering outside the station.

The UFOs were spotted by a YouTube user named Streetcap1, who has posted a number of similar videos of anomalies seen through the window of the ISS. The video was taken on October 21 and shows two large flat lights and one small round one slowly approaching the station.

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October 27 2014

UFO Turns Brazilian Night Into Multi-Colored Day


A spectacular multi-colored UFO light show illuminated the skies over parts of Brazil last week, turning night into day for five seconds at about 10:20 pm. Besides being seen by scores of eyewitnesses, the UFO and its subsequent aerial flash was captured on numerous traffic cameras. It was the best light show since Carnaval do Brasil. Was there anything else besides the flash?

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October 27 2014

NASA identifies ice cloud above cruising altitude on Titan


NASA scientists have identified an unexpected high-altitude methane ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan that is similar to exotic clouds found far above Earth's poles.

This lofty cloud, imaged by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, was part of the winter cap of condensation over Titan's north pole. Now, eight years after spotting this mysterious bit of atmospheric fluff, researchers have determined that it contains methane ice, which produces a much denser cloud than the ethane ice previously identified there.

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October 27 2014

Powerful X-Class Solar Flares Hit Earth, Cause Radio Blackouts (Update)


At 17:09 UT (12:09 p.m. EDT) today (Saturday), active region (AR) 2192 erupted with another X-class flare directed at Earth. This is the second powerful eruption in less than 24 hours to be triggered from the large sunspot that occupies the region. Today's flare registered at X1 on the solar flare Richter Scale, the most powerful class of flare, but weaker than Friday's X3-class flare. Further radio black-outs have been recorded on the daytime side of the Earth, but, once again, today's flare did not generate a significant coronal mass ejection (CME).

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October 27 2014

Strange Triple Asteroid System Observed


“Combined observations from small and large telescopes provide a unique opportunity to understand the nature of this complex and enigmatic triple asteroid system,” said Franck Marchis, senior research scientist at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute. “Thanks to the presence of these moons, we can constrain the density and interior structure of an asteroid, without the need for a spacecraft’s visit. Knowledge of the internal structure of asteroids is key to understanding how the planets of our solar system formed.”.

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October 27 2014

A quantum world arising from many ordinary ones


The bizarre behaviour of the quantum world — with objects existing in two places simultaneously and light behaving as either waves or particles — could result from interactions between many 'parallel' everyday worlds, a new theory suggests.

“It is a fundamental shift from previous quantum interpretations,” says Howard Wiseman, a theoretical quantum physicist at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, who together with his colleagues describes the idea in Physical Review X.

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October 27 2014

You’re powered by quantum mechanics. No, really…


For years biologists have been wary of applying the strange world of quantum mechanics, where particles can be in two places at once or connected over huge distances, to their own field. But it can help to explain some amazing natural phenomena we take for granted.

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October 26 2014

Einstein's Gravity Waves Could Be Found with New Method


Gravitational waves, invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time, might be detected by looking for the brightening of stars, researchers say.

These mysterious ripples were first proposed by Albert Einstein as part of his theory of general relativity. The waves' size depends on the mass of the objects creating them.

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October 26 2014

The Surprising Problem of Too Much Talent


Whether you're the owner of the Dallas Cowboys or captain of the playground dodge ball team, the goal in picking players is the same: Get the top talent.

While there is no denying that exceptional players like Emmitt Smith can put points on the board and enhance team success, new research by Roderick Swaab and colleagues suggests there is a limit to the benefit top talents bring to a team. Swaab and colleagues compared the amount of individual talent on teams with the teams’ success, and they find striking examples of more talent hurting the team.

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October 26 2014

Brain scans show cause of seasonal affective disorder


Scientists say they have identified the underlying reason why some people are prone to the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

People with Sad have an unhelpful way of controlling the "happy" brain signalling compound serotonin during winter months, brain scans reveal.

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October 26 2014

Are Women Better Decision Makers?


RECENTLY, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said that if we want to fix the gridlock in Congress, we need more women. Women are more focused on finding common ground and collaborating, she argued. But there’s another reason that we’d benefit from more women in positions of power, and it’s not about playing nicely.

Neuroscientists have uncovered evidence suggesting that, when the pressure is on, women bring unique strengths to decision making.

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October 26 2014

Can Changing How You Sound Help You Find Your Voice?


Just having a feminine voice means you're probably not as capable at your job.

At least, studies suggest, that's what many people in the United States think. There's a gender bias in how Americans perceive feminine voices: as insecure, less competent and less trustworthy.

This can be a problem — especially for women jockeying for power in male-dominated fields, like law.

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October 26 2014

Gossip Can Help People Learn And Grow Through Self-Reflection


Nobody likes a gossip queen, or do they? The hand-cupped whispers into your friend’s ears, the peering eyes scanning the room to see if anyone is watching the exchange of information, and the gasping, wide-eyed reactions of the listener are all tell-tale signs you’re involved in gossip. There’s no need to feel ashamed; nearly everyone gossips. It just depends if it’s positive or negative, because researchers have found gossip has the power to improve or threaten a person’s wellbeing.

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October 26 2014

Let the Body Rest, for the Sake of the Brain


We take it for granted, but most people have to wake up for work (or school or other morning obligations) long before they want to. Sleeping in is treated as a cherished luxury—it’s somehow become normal that people wake up still exhausted, and anything but is a notable exception.

But rising before the body wants to affects not only morale and energy, but brain function as well.

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October 26 2014

Get ordered to eat a brownie, and you’ll feel good about it


Normally, people do not enjoy being forced to do something. People also do not enjoy the guilt that comes with doing something that is bad for them. Surprisingly, these two wrongs seem to make a right: when people are compelled to engage in vices, they feel better than when they freely choose the vice for themselves. According to a new paper in the Journal of Consumer Research, persuading a friend to share a dessert removes the burden of choice from them, reducing their feelings of guilt and making them less conflicted about the decision.

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