The Week: Most Recent Science Posts recent posts.en-usFri, 24 Oct 2014 08:55:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Science Posts from THE WEEKFri, 24 Oct 2014 08:55:00 -0400How you judge politicians' attractiveness, according to science<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Beauty, they say, is in the eyes of the beholdee's in-group.</p><p>At least, that's what they say if "they" means researchers interested in how we perceive political leaders. According to researchers at Cornell University's Lab for Experimental Economics and Decision Research, people seem to be judging the cover in part by the content of the book: Democrats find their political heroes more attractive than Republican leaders, and vice versa.</p><p>Curious to know, essentially, how hot for their leaders partisans and average citizens were, the lab's co-director, Kevin Kniffin, and colleagues conducted a...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Nathan CollinsFri, 24 Oct 2014 08:55:00 -0400Painting the universe's portrait<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Humans have long strived to describe the universe they find themselves in, whether they believed it was carried on the back of a giant turtle, shaped by an old bearded guy, or came into existence in a fiery explosion.</p><p>As part of this effort to make sense of the totality of reality, people have produced a stunning array of images representing the universe and celestial phenomena, using everything from paintbrushes to supercomputers. Filmmaker and author Michael Benson has collected 320 pages' worth of these artistic portraits of the universe, composed over a span of some 4,000 years, in his new...</p> <a href="">More</a>By World Science Festival StaffThu, 23 Oct 2014 16:15:00 -0400Can science fiction spur scientific innovation?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Does science fiction help us innovate? According to Arizona State University's strange and strangely compelling Center for Science and the Imagination, the answer is, absolutely yes. The Center (yes, it's abbreviated CSI) has joint projects with organizations like IBM and the World Bank, and it was founded on the premise that imagination is an essential component of our society's greatest scientific and technological accomplishments. If we want to do big things, then we need to rev up our imaginations &mdash; with science fiction.</p><p>A perceived lack of imagination in our society prompted the creation...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Michael WhiteThu, 23 Oct 2014 09:33:00 -0400Why some men develop signs of pregnancy<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Harry Ashby, the 29-year-old security guard who was signed off work with morning sickness, cravings, a growing stomach and breasts during his girlfriend's pregnancy, was told he had Couvade syndrome.</p><p>Couvade is an involuntary manifestation of pregnancy in men with a partner who is expecting a baby &mdash; sometimes called "sympathetic pregnancy." It isn't a medically recognized physical or mental disorder, and it isn't explained by injury or illness.</p><p>A range of "pregnancy-related" physical and psychological symptoms include abdominal pain and bloating, back pain, pseudocyesis (euphemistically...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Arthur BrennanTue, 21 Oct 2014 08:44:00 -0400How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy<img src="" /></P><p>If you're reading this, it's possible you'll live for a few hundred years. Maybe even thousands. Even better: you could live those years at your peak physical state.</p><p>At first glance, that's an absurd statement, going against the experience of all human history. However, Oxford University's Aubrey de Grey, a leading theoretician of aging, believes there is a 50 percent chance that someone alive today will live for 1,000 years.</p><p>Aging, according to de Grey, is essentially the lifelong accumulation of molecular and cellular damage throughout the body. Using stem cells, hormone therapies, anti-aging...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/nicholas-warino" ><span class="byline">Nicholas Warino</span></a>Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:50:00 -0400These researchers have a novel way to classify every city<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Cities touch you, each in their own special way. Walk its streets, and Seattle feels different than Berlin or Johannesburg or Tokyo. Each has its own fingerprint.</p><p>Still, those fingerprints have just four types, exemplified by Buenos Aires, Athens, New Orleans, and Mogadishu, argue researchers R&eacute;mi Louf and Marc Barthelemy.</p><p>Louf and Barthelemy trained in physics but have an ongoing interest in how one part of a city's core infrastructure &mdash; its streets &mdash; evolves and how that evolution relates to, say, where people live in relation to work. It's part of an emerging science of...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Nathan CollinsFri, 17 Oct 2014 09:23:00 -0400Inside the rise of embryo adoption<img src="" /></P><p>Odessa Kershner is five weeks pregnant. However her babies, possibly triplets, have been inside her body for only three. And they're technically adopted. <em><br /></em></p><p>Here's how that's possible.</p><p>She and her husband, Jeff, have wanted more children for years. But Jeff, a computer programmer for the Oregon Department of Transportation, struggles with Crohn's disease and colitis, which they were just beginning to understand could be transmitted genetically after the birth of their biological daughters. Besides, they had always felt called to adopt.</p><p>Despite their qualifications as a stable, loving family, adoption...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/therese-oneill" ><span class="byline">Therese Oneill</span></a>Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:12:00 -0400The science of autumn colors<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Whether you make a point of going on leaf-peeping excursions or just enjoy the turning leaves shading your street, you probably wonder what the story is behind the autumn palette of maples, oaks, birches, and other deciduous trees. The answer lies in biochemistry.</p><p><br /></p><p>The cycle of colors in the leaves of deciduous trees is influenced by weather and temperature (more on that later), but one of the primary drivers is the lengths of nights and days, which govern a tree's growth cycle. As nights start getting longer, deciduous trees start to form what are called <strong>abscission layers</strong> at the intersection...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Roxanne Palmer and Julie RossmanThu, 16 Oct 2014 12:49:00 -0400All the diseases you should worry about at least as much as Ebola<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Ebola is serious business in the United States, particularly if you're in the media. Turn on a TV and you have 24-hour Ebola coverage on three cable networks, with anchors breathlessly discussing everything from your pet's role in spreading Ebola to any number of alerts, threats, and false alarms for air travel passengers.</p><p>The Ebola virus has killed exactly one person in a country of over 316 million.</p><p>While worldwide it's a true threat (the WHO just called it "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times"), Ebola has yet to pose the same kind of danger in the States. Indeed...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Gabriel BellWed, 15 Oct 2014 16:29:00 -0400The personality types of successful poker players, according to science<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Sure, you've got to know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.</p><p>But more importantly, you need to have the emotional temperament to follow through on that strategy, even when the stakes are high and the pressure is on.</p><p>That's the conclusion of a newly published study that examines the personality types of successful poker players. Confirming the clich&eacute;, it finds such people tend to be cool, calm, and difficult to rattle.</p><p>Writing in the journal <em>Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking,</em> a research team led by the University of Helsinki's Michael Laakasuo suggests such steadiness...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Tom JacobsTue, 14 Oct 2014 14:13:00 -0400