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  • September 29, 2015
  • 02:37 PM

Scientists to bypass brain damage by re-encoding memories

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at USC and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed a brain prosthesis that is designed to help individuals suffering from memory loss. The prosthesis, which includes a small array of electrodes implanted into the brain, has performed well in laboratory testing in animals and is currently being evaluated in human patients.... Read more »

  • September 29, 2015
  • 01:40 PM

How Sheep Are like an Avalanche

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Sheep are rarely dangerous to skiers, but otherwise they have a lot in common with avalanches. That's what physicists say after mathematically modeling the ungulates' behavior (and staying well out of their path).

Francesco Ginelli, who researches complex systems at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, had already studied flocks of birds and schools of fish. But he was curious to learn what was different about the movement of sheep or other grazers. Animals like these have a simple goa... Read more »

Ginelli, F., Peruani, F., Pillot, M., Chaté, H., Theraulaz, G., & Bon, R. (2015) Intermittent collective dynamics emerge from conflicting imperatives in sheep herds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201503749. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1503749112  

  • September 27, 2015
  • 01:02 AM

Neurohackers Gone Wild!

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Scene from Listening, a new neuro science fiction film by writer-director Khalil Sullins. What are some of the goals of research in human neuroscience?To explain how the mind works.To unravel the mysteries of consciousness and free will.To develop better treatments for mental and neurological illnesses.To allow paralyzed individuals to walk again.Brain decoding experiments that use fMRI or ECoG (direct recordings of the brain in epilepsy patients) to deduce what a person is looking at or sa........ Read more »

  • September 23, 2015
  • 03:27 PM

What motivates ‘Facebook stalking’ after a romantic breakup?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Social networking makes it easy to monitor the status and activities of a former romantic partner, an often unhealthy use of social media known as interpersonal electronic surveillance (IES) or, more commonly, “Facebook stalking.” Psychological and relationship factors and how individuals cope with the termination of a romantic relationship can help predict their use of online surveillance, according to a new study.... Read more »

  • September 21, 2015
  • 09:05 AM

And even more on motivation

by Mirjam Sophia Glessmer in Adventures in Teaching and Oceanography

Last week we talked about motivation quite a bit: First about why do students engage in academic tasks?, then about how motivation is proportional to the expectation of achieving a goal. Today I want to bring it all together a … Continue reading →... Read more »

Ana T. Torres-Ayala, & Geoffrey L. Herman. (2012) Motivating Learners: A Primer for Engineering Teaching Assistants. American Society for Engineering Education. info:/

  • September 17, 2015
  • 09:00 AM

The Martian: Getting Home Is Just Half The Problem

by Mark Lasbury in The 'Scope

"The Martian" movie opens soon! It's about an astronaut stranded on Mars who is trying to survive and find a way to get back home. But today, we humans here on Earth still have to think of clever ways to survive a trip to the red planet in the first place.... Read more »

  • September 16, 2015
  • 05:11 AM

Motivation proportional to the expectation of achieving a goal?

by Mirjam Sophia Glessmer in Adventures in Teaching and Oceanography

In the last post I talked about a paper on “Motivating Learners: A Primer for Engineering Teaching Assistants” by Torres-Ayala and Herman (2012). Today, I want to present a different motivation theory, also described in that paper: Attribution theory Attribution … Continue reading →... Read more »

Ana T. Torres-Ayala, & Geoffrey L. Herman. (2012) Motivating Learners: A Primer for Engineering Teaching Assistants. American Society for Engineering Education. info:/

  • September 14, 2015
  • 03:15 AM

Motivation: dangle a carrot rather than threaten with a whip!

by Mirjam Sophia Glessmer in Adventures in Teaching and Oceanography

Why do students engage in academic tasks? Next week I am giving a workshop on teaching large classes at TU Dresden. I gave a similar workshop there in spring, but because of its success I’ve been given twice as much … Continue reading →... Read more »

Ana T. Torres-Ayala, & Geoffrey L. Herman. (2012) Motivating Learners: A Primer for Engineering Teaching Assistants. American Society for Engineering Education. info:/

  • September 10, 2015
  • 02:26 PM

Physicists show ‘molecules’ made of light may be possible

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It’s not lightsaber time… at least not yet. But a team including theoretical physicists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has taken another step toward building objects out of photons, and the findings* hint that weightless particles of light can be joined into a sort of “molecule” with its own peculiar force.... Read more »

M. F. Maghrebi, M. J. Gullans, P. Bienias, S. Choi, I. Martin, O. Firstenberg, M. D. Lukin, H. P. Büchler, & A. V. Gorshkov. (2015) Coulomb bound states of strongly interacting photons. Physical Review Letters. arXiv: 1505.03859v1

  • September 8, 2015
  • 03:12 PM

Artificial ‘plants’ could fuel the future

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Imagine creating artificial plants that make gasoline and natural gas using only sunlight. And imagine using those fuels to heat our homes or run our cars without adding any greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. By combining nanoscience and biology, researchers led by scientists at University of California, Berkeley, have taken a big step in that direction.... Read more »

  • September 7, 2015
  • 05:37 AM

Can there be “too much” instruction? Apparently yes!

by Mirjam Sophia Glessmer in Adventures in Teaching and Oceanography

I recently, via the blogpost “lessons from a toy” by Eyler (2015), came across the article “The Double-edged Sword of Pedagogy: Instruction limits spontaneous exploration and discovery” by Bonawitz, Shafto, Gweon, Goodman, Spelke and Schulz (2011). The article sets out to find out whether children primarily … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 05:22 AM

When math hurts

by Mirjam Sophia Glessmer in Adventures in Teaching and Oceanography

One of the larger projects I am currently working on deals with connecting the math courses, which are compulsory for all freshmen at my university and taught for most students together, with the other subjects they are taking at the same … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 19, 2015
  • 03:43 PM

Happiness spreads, but depression isn’t contagious

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Having friends who suffer from depression doesn’t affect the mental health of others, according to research. The team found that having friends can help teenagers recover from depression or even avoid becoming depressed in the first instance. The findings are the result of a study of the way teenagers in a group of US high schools influenced each others’ mood. The academics used a mathematical model to establish if depression spreads from friend to friend.... Read more »

E. M. Hill, F. E. Griffiths, & T. House. (2015) Spreading of healthy mood in adolescent social networks. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. info:/10.1098/rspb.2015.1180

  • August 17, 2015
  • 01:55 PM

How influential are peer reactions to posts on Facebook news channels?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

An experiment to determine the effects of positive and negative user comments to items posted by media organizations on Facebook news channels showed, surprisingly, that the influence of user comments varied depending on the type and number of user comments. Negative comments influenced the persuasiveness of a news article, while positive comments did not, and a high number of likes did not have the expected bandwagon effect.... Read more »

Winter, S., Brückner, C., & Krämer, N. (2015) They Came, They Liked, They Commented: Social Influence on Facebook News Channels. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(8), 431-436. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2015.0005  

  • August 15, 2015
  • 01:26 PM

On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Wikipedia reigns. It’s the world’s most popular online encyclopedia, the sixth most visited website in America, and a research source most U.S. students rely on. But Wikipedia entries on politically controversial scientific topics can be unreliable due to information sabotage.... Read more »

  • August 8, 2015
  • 04:37 PM

Good for the relationship: A reframing of sexting

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The practice of sexting may be more common than generally thought among adults. More than eight out of 10 people surveyed online admitted to sexting in the prior year, according to new research.... Read more »

Gordon-Messer, D., Bauermeister, J., Grodzinski, A., & Zimmerman, M. (2013) Sexting Among Young Adults. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(3), 301-306. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.05.013  

  • July 31, 2015
  • 05:01 AM

Of the importance of giving opportunities to practice

by Mirjam Sophia Glessmer in Adventures in Teaching and Oceanography

When you are short on time and want to teach as much as possible in a given time, how do you allocate time to different activities and are there any that you might be able to drop? Classically, practice is … Continue reading →... Read more »

Martin, F., Klein, J., & Sullivan, H. (2007) The impact of instructional elements in computer-based instruction. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(4), 623-636. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2006.00670.x  

  • July 29, 2015
  • 02:09 PM

The “Invisible Web” Undermines Health Information Privacy

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

What do the third parties do with your data? We do not really know because the laws and regulations are rather fuzzy here. We do know that Google, Facebook and Twitter primarily make money by advertising so they could potentially use your info and customize the ads you see. Just because you visited a page on breast cancer does not mean that the "Invisible Web" knows your name and address but they do know that you have some interest in breast cancer. It would make financial sense to sen........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2015
  • 02:53 AM

How do you make sure your students come prepared to your flipped course?

by Mirjam Sophia Glessmer in Adventures in Teaching and Oceanography

As I mentioned a while back, we are preparing a flipped course. And the biggest question always is how to make sure students actually prepare for class. Because if they weren’t prepared, what would you do? Repeat the content they … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 21, 2015
  • 03:43 PM

Drawing a line between quantum and classical world

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Quantum theory is one of the great achievements of 20th century science, yet physicists have struggled to find a clear boundary between our everyday world and what Albert Einstein called the “spooky” features of the quantum world, including cats that could be both alive and dead, and photons that can communicate with each other across space instantaneously.... Read more »

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