Tag: Science


Parents Who Mistrust Vaccines

I found myself quite engaged recently while reading a deeply personal, highly moving piece in the Washington Post, “Why Parents Want to Believe in a Vaccine Conspiracy.” That headline on Susan Senator’s essay drew me in, as it certainly signals that parents averse to immunizations are misguided and even self-deceptive. On the other hand, the author at least engages the error-riddled thinking of those whose views she explains… or is that, explains away? By explaining why people would trust unsubstantiated conspiracy theories as a means to coping with the pain of raising......

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Conceiving Babies With Three 'Parents'

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This week, the United Kingdom’s House of Commons approved a new fertility treatment that would incorporate DNA from three sources – a mother, a father and an egg donor – to be used in cases where children have a substantial chance of inheriting genetic diseases. The ensuing ethics controversy prompts me to question, “Is the fear of our capacity to exercise remarkable power to save life going to get in the way of our doing this very sacred thing?” Watch my video below for......

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Taking Control of Our Memories

Our memories are the things that make us who we are.” So says neuroscientist and New York University professor Joseph LeDoux in this brief, very fascinating article which aims to explain the way our brains store our sad, glad and bittersweet memories. In other words, the memories we feel most strongly about. To quote this piece further: “When a memory is stored at a time of emotional arousal, the imprint is more powerful, possibly due to the neurotransmitters — comparable to hormones in the endocrine system — that the brain secretes in......

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Who Should Be Person of the Year?

The 2014 Person of the Year according to Time magazine is “the Ebola fighters.” Do you agree? It’s hard to argue with recognizing the men and women who have fought, and continue to battle, this terrible disease for which there’s no established cure. These people genuinely put their lives on the line. They run into the burning building, so to speak, as most others are running out. And if that isn’t worthy of recognition, what is? And yes, that praise also extends to firefighters, cops and all first responders who do the......

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The Shocking Fear of Being Alone with Our Thoughts

Here is something frightening. Do you know what one of the most difficult tasks is for people? To do nothing but think! We do not like to be alone with our thoughts. In more than 11 separate studies,?psychologists at Virginia?and Harvard Universities showed that people so hated being left alone to simply think – regardless of their age, education, income or the amount they used smartphones or social media – that they chose to give themselves mild electric shocks in an attempt to break the tedium of solitude. Two-thirds of men and......

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Science Is Not the Opposite of Religion

John Lennon had it right when he sang, “Imagine no religion.” Let me explain. According to a recent study from the Public Religion Research Institute, 41% of Americans either completely disagree (27%) or mostly disagree (14%) with this statement: “Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on Earth.” Surprised? Disturbed? I’m not surprised, but I am disturbed – though perhaps for reasons you might not expect. I’m not surprised because in this country we remain a nation of believers, and most of those believers are regularly subjected to......

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Our Duck Penis Problem

Did you know that duck’s have spiral penises? You would, if like most people who access PLOS – the Public Library Of Science – you chose to read their second most popular article, one describing the corkscrew shape of male ducks’ genitals. Or, you could read their most popular article, the one detailing the fact that bats engage in oral sex. The fact that these articles, not ones more relevant to most of our lives, even if they have less sexy topics, are the most read is the subject of Alice Robb’s......

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Move Your Body, Free Your Mind

I love when science confirms, and even deepens, the intuition of an ancient practice. A study conducted by Stanford researchers Daniel Schwartz and Marily Opprezzo, reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for people when they were walking compared to people who were sitting. In one sample, walking subjects thought of 81 to 100 percent more potential uses for an object than their seated counterparts did. In another sample, people thought of a greater number of linguistic analogies while walking than they did......

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Make a Mistake, Make a Discovery

What is your attitude toward mistakes? Well, recently researchers at IBM announced that they found two new kinds of industrial polymers that are strong, lightweight and crack-resistant, ideal for utilizing in several industries from aerospace to microelectronics. These discoveries could enable development of plastics that are easily recyclable (currently plastics are?notoriously difficult to recycle), creating far less plastic waste. Scientists had long assumed that all major types of plastics had already been discovered. But here’s the amazing thing: Jeannette M. Garcia, an IBM research chemist, found the new polymer by mistake! She......

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Does Love Make Us Stupid?

A recent study about people with relatively new significant others has come to the conclusion that being in love essentially makes you stupid – or, rather, less capable of distinguishing relevant from irrelevant information. We’ve all had romances, relationships or other emotional issues distract us from the task at hand. Is that type of preoccupation the equivalent of becoming dumber? Or could it be us getting smarter and re-focusing on our true priorities? According to one researcher, the results of the study prove that if you’re in a relatively new relationship, you’re......

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