Learning! Roundup: Brain vs. Brawn, Sarcastic Fringehead, Fixing Gender Imbalances, Nose Tricks, and More!

Photo by Ben White

The Brain and the Brawn

Looks like animals with bigger brains really do have less muscle mass. If you are brainy, you are less likely to be brawny!

The Sarcastic Fringehead

Mostly I just wanted everyone to know that there is a fish out there called the sarcastic fringehead. I mean, did someone let a toddler Jerry Seinfeld name the fish? They have huge mouths with fluorescent lining.

Fixing Imbalances

This science writer spent two years fixing gender imbalances in his reporting. It was extra work, but not a ton of work, and mostly boiled down to keeping records of what he was doing. It's a great article for anyone who a) still needs convincing that there is a gender gap in science (he quotes tons of studies to back up that there is a problem), or b) wants a case study in how to fix it.

"Crucially, I tracked how I was doing in a simple spreadsheet. I can’t overstate the importance of that: It is a vaccine against self-delusion. It prevents me from wrongly believing that all is well. I’ve been doing this for two years now. Four months after I started, the proportion of women who have a voice in my stories hit 50 percent, and has stayed roughly there ever since, varying between 42 and 61 percent from month to month."

The Nose Knows

A person with a thermal camera can now tell how much of a cognitive workload you are under, because the temperature of your nose changes. Really, your whole face changes in temperature, but it's more obvious in the nose, possibly because our breathing changes as we focus on a task. Creepily, they want to put thermal cameras around so that workers can be monitored for their level of focus and mental load.

Monkey Curiosity

If you've seen an orangutan in captivity, you would probably expect them to be a curious lot. That's because they are - but only in captivity. Wild orangutans are not curious in the least. Living with humans changes them.

Effortless Memory Boosters 

This is one of those tricky headlines: an effortless way to strengthen your memory. It's not telling lies: the way to strengthen your memory is to take a break while trying to memorize or learn something and literally do nothing for 10-15 minutes so your brain can process what it's learned. But of course, doing nothing is hard for a lot of us, so this effortless activity is pretty dang challenging.


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