If you have been puzzled by Mona Lisa's smile - how she's radiant one moment and serious the next instant - then your worries are over. It happens because our eyes are sending mixed signals to the brain about her smile.Different cells in the retina transmit different categories of information or "channels" to the brain. These channels encode data about an object's size, clarity, brightness and location in the visual field."Sometimes one channel wins over the other, and you see the smile, sometimes others take over and you don't see the smile," says Luis Martinez Otero, a neuroscientist at Institute of Neuroscience in Alicante, Spain, who conducted the study along with Diego Alonso Pablos.
Checking in with NASA's Cassini spacecraft, our current emissary to Saturn, some 1.5 billion kilometers (932 million miles) distant from Earth, we find it recently gathering images of the Saturnian system at equinox. During the equinox, the sunlight casts long shadows across Saturn's rings, highlighting previously known phenomena and revealing a few never-before seen images. Cassini continues to orbit Saturn, part of its extended Equinox Mission, funded through through September 2010. A proposal for a further extension is under consideration, one that would keep Cassini in orbit until 2017, ending with a spectacular series of orbits inside the rings followed by a suicide plunge into Saturn on Sept. 15, 2017. (previously: 1, 2, 3). (23 photos total)
This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people's behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or something entirely different, just so long as it's change for the better.
Adults who learn new tricks such as juggling can improve the "wiring" of their brains, British scientists said on Sunday."We tend to think of the brain as being static, or even beginning to degenerate, once we reach adulthood," said Heidi Johansen-Berg of Oxford University's department of clinical neurology, whose study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience on Sunday."In fact we find the structure of the brain is ripe for change. We've shown that it is possible for the brain to condition its own wiring system to operate more efficiently.
On September 30th, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added 76 new items to its "List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity", for safeguarding and preservation. The "Intangible" list is a companion to UNESCO's World Heritage list, which focuses on physical sites worldwide. Submitted jointly by member states Argentina and Uruguay, the "symbolic universe" of tango was among the traditions added to the list. Tango is a deep-rooted tradition of dance, poetry and song, tied closely to the Rio de la Plata region of the two countries, and remains popular in competition, for pleasure, and for health - doctors worldwide are experimenting with tango as dance therapy to treat problems ranging from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease to phobias and marital breakdowns. (29 photos total)
After months of complaints by European dairy farmers angry over low prices, protesters in Brussels on Monday poured milk onto the streets, hurled eggs and other missiles, and started fires that filled the air with black smoke.
Columnist and presidential speechwriter Bill Safire was one of only three non-disloyal Jews President Nixon could name. Here is the speech he drafted for Nixon to read in case the Apollo 11 Astronauts became stranded on the moon!It is a wonderful piece of alternate universe American history, in which President Nixon had to explain to a nation that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were going to die on the moon.
Violence in Afghanistan has reached its most intense of the eight-year-old war despite record levels of U.S. and NATO troops being sent to fight the Taliban. July and August were the two deadliest months to date for coalition forces, and September is already the 3rd-deadliest, with 38 U.S. deaths - 68 total including all coalition members. With an apparently resurgent Taliban and over 120,000 foreign troops on the ground, and a recent push for the U.S. to consider sending 40,000 more (beyond the additional 21,000 troops still committed but yet undeployed), the situation in Afghanistan could possibly become even more intense in the near future. Collected here is a one-month collection of photos related to Afghanistan for September, 2009.
PRIVATE health funds paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars for homeopathy last year, triggering calls for a clampdown to prevent taxpayers' money being spent on unproven treatments. Four of the biggest health funds confirmed yesterday that they pay members for homeopathy to some degree, with more than one-third of that money in turn coming through the federal government's private health insurance rebate. MBF was the largest supporter of homeopaths, paying members about $230,000 in 2008-09 for homeopathic treatment, or up to $28 a visit. NIB paid out $118,511 in benefits for homeopathy. Homeopathy "can only work if all of the physics and chemistry that we know today is wrong" and the fact that health funds supported it showed that "marketing and public relations trump science".
This fullscreen panorama was published in connection with the 50 year anniversary in May 2003, for the first who reached the top of Everest