Neurosciency Friday: Space Aliens, Dog fMRI, and more

It’s time for this week’s installment of Neurosciency Friday (inspired by NPR Science Friday!), in which I bring you science news and tidbits from around the web!

Happy Friday!  TGIF – this week seemed to drag on forever.  Anyway, here’s what’s going on in science lately:

– On Wednesday, The US House Subcommittee on Science, Space, and Technology held a panel on extraterrestrial life.  The panel was called “Astrobiology: The Search for Biosignatures in our Solar System and Beyond,” and featured prominent PhD scientists in the field.  I guess Wednesday would have been a good day to watch CSPAN, if only to watch Rep. Ralph M. Hall ask the panel, “Do you think there’s life out there, and are they studying us? And what do they think about New York City?”  Oh, and speaking of space, NASA says there will be lettuce growing on the moon by 2015.

– Research from Yale University indicates that treatment with the hormone oxytocin may make children with autism more attuned to social cues in others.

– Two words make coffee more delicious.  You’ll have to check out the LA Times to find out which two.  While we’re on the topic of words, ‘science’ was named word of the year by Merriam Webster.  This is pretty surprising to me considering that the Washington Post recently reported that students in the United States are around average in science and math when compared to their international counterparts.  I think I agree more with Oxford dictionaries’ word of the year: ‘selfie.’

– Using canine brain imaging, a multi-dog study based out of Emory University demonstrated that the anticipation of dog treats activates the caudate, a region of the brain involved in processing rewards.

– Finally, Microsoft has developed a “smart bra” to detect stress eating.  The garment, which was revealed in this paper, works by monitoring vital signs such as EKG.  However, the company has said they have no plans to turn it into a commercial product.  Too bad for me.  Oh well…

Have a great weekend!

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One thought on “Neurosciency Friday: Space Aliens, Dog fMRI, and more

  1. The thing about those science and math scores is that even though other countries are good at rote memorization, I am not entirely convinced that determines their future success.

    I mean, the U.S. is ranked at 36 in the world, but Americans also have great creativity in a very free environment that lets them be less structured. You can’t teach that in school.

    Is rote memorization always equivalent to determining your success? In school yes, but when applied to the real world, it isn’t as easy as memorizing your way to a perfect A.

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