Psychologists hypothesise why the return trip ‘home’ seems to go by a lot faster than the outbound journey. It has all to with our expectation of the end of the journey. Here’s what van de Ven thinks is going on: “Often we see that people are too optimistic when they start to travel,” he says. So when they finish the outbound trip, they feel like it took longer than they expected. That feeling of pessimism carries over to when they’re ready to return home. “So you start the return journey, and you think, ‘Wow, this is going to take a long time.’” But just as initial optimism made the trip out feel longer than expected, this pessimism starting back makes the trip home feel shorter. “It’s really all about your expectations — what you think coming in,” says Michael Roy, a psychologist at Elizabethtown College and a co-author with van de Ven on the article describing this effect in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.
Psychologists hypothesise why the return trip ‘home’ seems to go by a lot faster than the outbound journey. It has all to with our expectation of the end of the journey.
Here’s what van de Ven thinks is going on: “Often we see that people are too optimistic when they start to travel,” he says. So when they finish the outbound trip, they feel like it took longer than they expected. That feeling of pessimism carries over to when they’re ready to return home. “So you start the return journey, and you think, ‘Wow, this is going to take a long time.’”
But just as initial optimism made the trip out feel longer than expected, this pessimism starting back makes the trip home feel shorter.
“It’s really all about your expectations — what you think coming in,” says Michael Roy, a psychologist at Elizabethtown College and a co-author with van de Ven on the article describing this effect in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.
The antibiotic mechanism of Penicillin.
I want all of science to be described through rage comics. Its the only we way we can reach the kids. Won’t someone please think of the children!
Using Darwin’s idea and other branches of science, we’re seeing researchers describing works of fiction in a new light.
Carroll and his colleagues then drew on anthropological research to argue why this behavior appeals. In our fraught hunter-gatherer days, when humans roamed about in small bands, people had to sacrifice selfish interests and work together, or they’d perish. In contrast, self-aggrandizing or dominant behavior threatened group survival. Victorian novels, in this view, merely dress up these ancient, evolved preferences in crinolines and top hats.
Interpretation of Hamlet through neuroscience of depression or how the wars in The Illiad and The Odyssey were fundamentally wars for marriages and evolutionary legacy. All these texts can be described using modern science, but scientists who are championing this form of research seem to finding hostility from the field of humanity:
Gottschall says the resistance to Darwinian lit crit among literary scholars reminds him of resistance among religious groups to evolution itself. “There’s the fear that if you were able to explain the arts and their power scientifically, you’d explain them away,” he says. “Humanities are the last bastion of magic.”
Pdf of the article here for non-subscribers.
There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this can be cleared up if you just look at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”. I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language about magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events. A grimmoir for example, the book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar. Indeed, to cast a spell, is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people’s consciousness. And I believe that this is why an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world that you are likely to see to a Shaman.
I believe that all culture must have arisen from cult. Originally, all of the faucets of our culture, whether they be in the arts or sciences were the province of the Shaman. The fact that in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation, is, I think a tragedy. At the moment the people who are using Shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than try to wake people up, their Shamanism is used as an opiate to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable. Their magic box of television, and by their magic words, their jingles can cause everyone in the country to be thinking the same words and have the same banal thoughts all at exactly the same moment.
In all of magic there is an incredibly large linguistic component. The Bardic tradition of magic would place a bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician. A magician might curse you. That might make your hands lay funny or you might have a child born with a club foot. If a Bard were to place not a curse upon you, but a satire, then that could destroy you. If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates; it would destroy you in the eyes of your family. It would destroy you in your own eyes. And if it was a finely worded and clever satire that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries. Then years after you were dead people still might be reading it and laughing at you and your wretchedness and your absurdity. Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magic. In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river. They have accepted the prevailing belief that art and writing are merely forms of entertainment. They’re not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being; that can change a society. They are seen as simple entertainment; things with which we can fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we’re waiting to die. It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.
Nature seems to be on a roll here with a publication on a new fungul phyla tentatively name cryptomyta. Characterised by a ‘fungaly’ uncharacteristic non-chitinous wall, this group potentially rewrites the fungal evolutionary tree and describes a group of organisms that deviated from the fungal species we know today.
But what sets the cryptomycota apart from the rest of the fungi is their lack of a cell wall made from chitin, the chemical from which insect exoskeletons are built. Development of a chitin-rich wall was one of the most important developments in fungal evolution, driving their success and diversification by allowing them to control how minerals and nutrients flowed into and out of their cells. The cryptomycota “must be a really ancient group of organisms that diverged from the rest of the fungi by the loss of chitinous walls”, says Hawksworth.
They seem to be closely related to the Rozella species, which was traditionally thought to be just a small ‘twig’ within the fungal tree.
The only previously known fungus that the team found to fall within the new group is the genus Rozella — long thought to be an oddity because of its lack of a chitinous cell wall — which diverged from the rest of the fungi very early on. “We thought that the Rozella branch of fungus was just a twig that had hung on over the course of evolution,” says James, “but this paper shows us it’s part of a whole evolutionary bush.”
Edit: Here’s the pdf for further info.
Scientists debating whether to name an entire geological period due to the human effects on the planet. Calling it ‘Anthropocene’ it could be anything from 5000-10,000 years ago to 1945 onwards.
The “evidence for the prosecution”, as Zalasiewicz puts it, is compelling. Through food production and urbanization, humans have altered more than half of the planet’s ice-free land mass, and are moving as much as an order of magnitude more rock and soil around than are natural processes. Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are expected to make the ocean 0.3–0.4 pH points more acidic by the end of this century. That will dissolve light-coloured carbonate shells and sea-floor rocks for about 1,000 years, leaving a dark band in the sea-floor sediment that will be obvious to future geologists. A similar dark stripe identifies the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum about 55 million years ago, when global temperatures rose by some 6 °C in 20,000 years. A similar temperature jump could happen by 2100, according to some high-emissions scenarios.
If scientists can agree in principle that a new time division is justified, they will have to settle on a geological marker for its start. Some suggest the pollen of cultivated plants, arguing that mankind’s fingerprint can be seen 5,000–10,000 years ago with the beginnings of agriculture. Others support the rise in the levels of greenhouse gases and air pollution in the latter part of the eighteenth century, as industrialization began. A third group would start with the flicker of radioactive isotopes in 1945, marking the invention of nuclear weapons.
An ode to female scientists everywhere.
Natalia Avseenko getting up close and personal Beluga Whales at the White Sea (the Polar circle, Russia).
Uses for your college education in these recessionary times. I’m quite found of the culinary arts one!
Myers delves into how the physiological features of the kidney can be explained in an evolutionary framework. Going from the basic pronephric kidney in the embryo to the metanephric kidney, we see how to it changes over time and how it is synchronous with the development of the reproductive organs.
I think you can see what’s cool about the kidneys — they follow a sequential pattern of development that also happens to reflect the evolutionary history of kidneys. You might be tempted to speculate that it follows a Haeckelian model, where development necessarily follows an evolutionary trajectory because change can only come by addition of new features, but don’t be fooled. There are a couple of reasons why this peculiar pattern of retaining ancient kidney types is maintained.