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   Srijeda, 22 Veljača 2012 00:00

If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking?

John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”

David Deutsch Interview – Beginning Of Infinity
I can see the argument that it should be, which is basically a sort of betting argument: death has a utility of minus infinity, so you should subordinate all other values to the value of increasing the probability of staying alive, even by the tiniest amount. But I don't think that's actually a valid argument. I do think that too little research is being done into technologies that might lead to immortality, and part of the reason for that deficiency is irrational: it's the deathism that is currently widespread in intellectual life — but that doesn't mean I think the right amount is 99% or even 10% of the whole human economy, because science is the art of the possible, as Peter Medawar said, and we have to pursue things that can be pursued.

Did Yale University plan to create an intellectually superior race of children to repopulate Britain after World War Two?

Yale University has been accused of trying to create a super race of British children during War World Two, it emerged today. The university offered to evacuate children of Oxford University staff in 1940, but it appears there could have been a sinister motive behind their seemingly kind offer. There are now concerns that leaders of the eugenics movement at Yale University may have extended the invitation because they planned to repopulate a devastated Britain with a race of intellectually superior children.

Could graphene be the new silicon?

It started with a few experiments with Scotch tape and a pencil. Then graphene, stronger than steel, one atom thick and a super-conductor, was born, a wonder material that could be as revolutionary as silicon, say its Nobel prize-winning creators. Now with £50m from the UK government, they're out to prove it

First Neanderthal cave paintings discovered in Spain

Looking oddly akin to the DNA double helix, the images in fact depict the seals that the locals would have eaten, says José Luis Sanchidrián at the University of Cordoba, Spain. They have "no parallel in Palaeolithic art", he adds. His team say that charcoal remains found beside six of the paintings – preserved in Spain's Nerja caves – have been radiocarbon dated to between 43,500 and 42,300 years old.


Defeat for Mandelson's billionaire as judge backs the Mail over story of Rothschild and the Russian oligarch
Billionaire financier Nat Rothschild exposed his friend Peter Mandelson to accusations of a conflict of interest while the Labour peer was an EU trade commissioner, the High Court ruled yesterday. The Swiss-based hedge-fund manager had launched a libel battle against the Daily Mail over his trips to Moscow and Siberia with Lord (then Mr) Mandelson and a Russian oligarch. He claimed an article painted him as a ‘puppet-master’ willing to exploit his friendship with the former Labour spin doctor to impress his business associate, metals magnate Oleg Deripaska.

Entraining Tones and Binaural Beats - by Dave Siever
Sound can have profound effects on people. Although sounds appear to be a personal experience, humans around the world are hard-wired to have similar experiences to certain sounds. The sound of chirping birds in a forest produces even harmonics and will be more relaxing than the sounds from a factory (odd harmonics), not just because of the associations people make with sounds of nature versus factories, but also because of the harmonic content. However, if a person has a fear of birds (ornithophobia), then chirping birds might be quite distressing.

Eugenics Before the Nazis
Although the literature of eugenics extends back to Plato, its modern impetus was the work of one man. Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, was impressed by the frequency with which genius seemed to be manifested in some lineages more than others.

The Delphi Method: An Experimental Study of Group Opinion

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