Friday, May 12, 2017

Learning! Roundup: Scary clowns explained, artificial wombs, book-based ethics, robot overlords, and more

Photo by Commander Keane

Scary Clowns

Whether it's the remake of Stephen King's It or the fact that people were dressing like creepy clowns and terrorizing suburbanites a few years back, we all seem to accept that clowns are scary. Why? Here is a video with the potential explanations, including the uncanny valley.


Artificial Womb

A premature lamb was kept alive for four weeks in an ARTIFICIAL WOMB. It looks like a giant ziplock bag. It's so weird. Also, they are now looking into human trials of this artificial womb business.

Ethics and Books

Turns out that you can pretty accurately predict someone's ethical leanings based on the genre of books they like to read. People who like literary fiction and science fiction are more likely to be open to considering morally dubious situations as acceptable, as opposed to the more rigid compasses of those who read romance or crime thrillers.

This makes the "what books do you like?" an even better first date question.

Robot Overlords are Practicing

In early steps towards ruling the human race with an iron (or perhaps titanium) fist, a robotic parasite can control the turtle it lives on by giving it snacks. Pavlov would be proud.

Star Travel

Want to catch a star? The closest one is 69 years away, and we could visit it.

Sleep Loss and Post-Fight Inflammation

We all know that lack of sleep can make us more grumpy and more likely to get into a fight, but new research says that being tired also worsens the physical impact of a fight. Apparently, it's already known that marital conflict increases inflammation in our bodies as a stress response. Well, now it's also known that lack of sleep increases the inflammation that comes after a fight. So, hooray! Everything makes everything else worse.


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