For about a decade now we have had wave after wave of advertising and op ed pieces telling us that brain training games can improve your memory, your cognition and even stave off dementia. The problem with all this is that it is not true. In fairness, until recently the picture was complicated by a… Read More The Brain Training Myth
It is fairly well established in humans that a good night’s sleep is important for long term memory formation. Deep sleep seems to be a part of the mechanism by which we process the days events and data and lay down the appropriate memories. People who regularly don’t sleep properly are prone to anxiety, irritability,… Read More Elephants Never Forget… Or Sleep
Last time out I wrote about the incredible scientific goals of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), due to launch towards the end of next year. The earliest light in the universe is its main goal along with analysing the birth of new solar systems and the spectra of exoplanets. Today I am going to… Read More James Webb Space Telescope Part 2: The Engineering
More astronomy today. This week it occurred to me that we’re approaching one year to go until the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The JWST is very big news for anyone interested in learning about the early universe and also for anyone who has enjoyed the cornucopia of stunning imagery that the… Read More James Webb Space Telescope Part 1: The Science
What’s the harm? That’s the question I’m sometimes asked when I’ve explained why a particular pseudoscience or alternative medicine is nothing but BS. If someone wants to have a few needles stuck in them or to swallow a sugar pill, who cares? They’re happy and they’re not harming anyone. My answer is that belief in… Read More What’s The Harm?
Two astronomical updates for you today; one good, one bad. Let’s start with the bad news. Two faulty helium valves on the Juno spacecraft mean that it is unlikely that it will be able to make the super close orbits that had been intended. The plan was that Juno’s elliptical orbit would be ever curtailed… Read More Jupiter Update: Good News and Bad News
In a statement released last Thursday the British Antarctic Survey commented on data showing that sea ice in the Antarctic this summer reached a record new low. Satellite data shows that sea ice contracted to 2.28m sq km on February 13th beating the previous low from February of 1997. It would be easy to assume… Read More Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Low
I grant you, the title of this post makes a bold claim but I’m confident I’m not misrepresenting the science. A couple of weeks ago an interesting, open access paper was published in PLOS Biology. It detailed how people that were completely paralysed were able to use a brain-computer interface (BCI) to communicate. The subjects… Read More Device Reads Mind of Completely Paralysed Patients
Today it is widely accepted that the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs was caused by the giant meteorite impact at Chicxulub, Mexico; this has not always been the received wisdom, however. Fifty years ago it was thought that the enormous amount of volcanic activity of the Deccan Traps was what wiped them out. The reality… Read More Meteor Impact Or Volcanic Eruption; That Is The Question
Happy Darwin Day everyone.