The Week: Most Recent unknown Posts recent posts.en-usFri, 19 Sep 2014 06:08:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent unknown Posts from THE WEEKFri, 19 Sep 2014 06:08:00 -0400How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything<img src="" /></P><p>Here's one certain sign that something is very wrong with our collective mind: Everybody uses a word, but no one is clear on what the word actually means.</p><p>One of those words is "science."</p><p>Everybody uses it. Science says this, science says that. You must vote for me because science. You must buy this because science. You must hate the folks over there because science.</p><p>Look, science is really important. And yet, who among us can easily provide a clear definition of the word "science" that matches the way people employ the term in everyday life?</p><p>So let me explain what science actually is. Science...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:08:00 -0400Is it true that elephants never forget?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Elephants are incredible creatures. The largest land mammals on earth, they show a wide range of behavioral and emotional patterns in their up-to-60-year lifespans. They grieve over the bodies of dead herd members, and can even recognize their own reflections in a mirror. And, of course, there's that old saying: "Elephants never forget." While it may be an exaggeration, there's more truth to the adage than you might realize.</p><p>In the wild, an elephant's memory is key to its survival &mdash; and its herd's. Each herd has a matriarchal structure, with one older female in charge. When younger males...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Sean HutchinsonThu, 18 Sep 2014 17:10:00 -04006 super-helpful iOS8 tricks you probably don't know about<img src="" /></P><p>When we iPhone users download the latest iOS software update, the first thing many of us do is scour geek websites for lists of hidden, cool features. And sure enough, there are dozens of such lists already, because iOS8 is packed with helpful goodies. I've read nearly all of these lists, and below I've distilled what I think are the most useful hidden features &mdash; the stuff that gets lost behind the glamor of, say, enhancements to the camera app, widgets, intuitive keyboards, Continuity, and third-party app-sharing.</p><p><strong>1. Automatic notifications for important emails</strong>. I've been using a different...</p> <a href="">More</a>Marc AmbinderThu, 18 Sep 2014 10:10:00 -0400Will the Higgs Boson destroy the universe in a cosmic death bubble?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>No, it won't.</p><p>Some context: recently, several press outlets took a chunk of Stephen Hawking's latest book and ran a bit off the deep end with it, reporting that the "God Particle" was going to wipe out the universe. Here's what Hawking wrote in the preface to the upcoming book <em>Starmus</em>:</p><p >The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100bn gigaelectronvolts (GeV). This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Roxanne PalmerWed, 17 Sep 2014 08:47:00 -0400Why you make best friends in the worst circumstances<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Managers: Are you having trouble melding your employees into a cohesive group? Is getting them to trust and cooperate with one another proving to be a challenge?</p><p>Well, newly published research offers an effective, if not especially ethical, solution to your problem: Inflict some pain.</p><p>A new study from Australia suggests rituals such as arduous initiation rites serve a real purpose. It reports experiencing physical discomfort is an effective way for a group of strangers to cohere into a close-knit group.</p><p>"Shared pain may be an important trigger for group formation," a research team led by psychologist...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Tom JacobsWed, 17 Sep 2014 08:33:00 -0400Consider the hipster: An interview with PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel<img src="" /></P><p>PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel thinks that too many entrepreneurs today are incrementalists, content to simply tweak the familiar and stand on the shoulders of yesterday's giants, rather than undertake the hard work of imagining and building something completely different.</p><p>In <em>Zero to One</em>, his new book about entrepreneurship, Thiel posits that risk-aversion only partly explains this phenomenon. For some people, he speculates, it's a belief that the world has already been mapped. When you feel like the important problems have already been solved, why bother looking for a moonshot?</p><p>Thiel, however...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Andy MeekTue, 16 Sep 2014 06:13:00 -0400Is back pain ruining your sex life?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Sex and lower back pain might be the perfect recipe for a screwball comedy, but both the pain and the fear of exacerbating it are very real downers for a couple's sex life. Take heart, though: A new guide to sexual positions could help improve the mood.</p><p>Somewhere around four in five people will experience serious back pain at least once in their lifetimes, and a third or more of those report that pain affects their sex lives, says Natalie Sidorkewitz, a doctoral student at the University of Waterloo's Spine Biomechanics Laboratory and lead author of a new study that takes a look at how men's...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Nathan CollinsMon, 15 Sep 2014 09:25:00 -04005 animals that eat brains<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p><strong>1. Lumholtz' tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus Lumoltzi)</strong></p><p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p><p>Adorable though they may be, these marsupials have been known to add a dash of protein to their predominantly herbivorous diets by horking down the occasional bird brain. Unconcerned with waste management, tree kangaroos generally discard the rest of the corpse after consuming the gray matter.</p><p>(<strong><strong><span class="il">More</span> from <em><span class="il">Mental</span> <span class="il">Floss</span></em>: </strong></strong>The stories behind 10 Johnny Cash songs)</p><p><strong>2. Great tit (Parus Major)</strong></p><p><object id="flashObj" width="560" height="315" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" data="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=37869012001&amp;playerID=2227271001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAADqBmN8~,Yo4S_rZKGX0rYg6XsV7i3F9IB8jNBoiY&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="base" value="" /><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="" /><param name="flashvars" value="videoId=37869012001&amp;playerID=2227271001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAADqBmN8~,Yo4S_rZKGX0rYg6XsV7i3F9IB8jNBoiY&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="swliveconnect" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="pluginspage" value="" /></object></p><p>The great tit's powerful beak is an excellent nut-smashing tool. It also doubles as a handy-dandy bat-skull-crusher. Seeds and insects are the favored cuisine...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Mark ManciniSun, 14 Sep 2014 09:00:00 -0400Innovation of the week: Smart chopsticks<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Worried about tainted food? A new pair of "smart chopsticks" will gauge whether you can safely tuck in, said Yang Jie at <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. The utensils, unveiled recently by Chinese tech giant Baidu, feature built-in sensors that "can detect oils containing unsanitary levels of contamination." Called Kuaisou, the chopsticks link to a smartphone app, which displays a "good" or "bad" reading depending on the quality of the food&rsquo;s cooking oil. Baidu says Kuaisou will also measure temperature, calories, and nutritional information.</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 13 Sep 2014 12:00:00 -0400Is there really such a thing as a 'morning person'?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Benjamin Franklin once said, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." But in Franklin&rsquo;s time most people slept in an unconsolidated fashion: They went to "first sleep" shortly after the sun went down, and woke four or five hours later for a few hours of activity before returning to "second sleep." Franklin himself liked to use the time between sleeps one and two to read naked in a chair.</p><p>Industrialization and electric lighting put the unconsolidated sleep pattern to rest, so to speak, and today most adults in the U.S. are expected to work from mid-morning...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Clare Smith MarashThu, 11 Sep 2014 17:19:00 -0400