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The Minecraft Chemistry Challenge

Minecraft is an truly awesome game. Think of it as digital lego set in a infinitely explorable world. But its real draw is that is encourages creativity on so many level. Players can build what they like, but also the code is open source, allowing creative coders to fiddle with rules and resources in the game. The … Continue reading »

Do cats see these optical illusions? Study and video say yes.

Further insight, in this study, on what cats have in sight: “Cats and Illusory Motion,” Rasmus Bååth [pictured here], Takeharu Seno, Akiyoshi Kitaoka, Psychology, vol. 5, 2014, pp. 1131-1134. The authors, at Lund University, Sweden,Show More Summary

Ig Nobel winner Audoly on the physics of the lasso

Basile Audoly — who shared the 2006 Ig Nobel prize for physics with Sebastien Neukirch for insights into why, when you bend dry spaghetti, it often breaks into more than two pieces — has a new study about the physics of rodeo lassoing. The new paper is: “An introduction to the mechanics of the lasso,” Pierre-Thomas Brun, Neil […]

Be You Very Well

For a good year or so of my life, I wanted to be Gretchen Rubin, the bestselling author of The Happiness Project. I had coffee with her a few months before our books came out (both were published the first week of January 2010). Hers became an instant New York Times bestseller. She appeared on […]

Should we hope to live to very ripe old ages?

I say yes.  A number of you have been asking me for comments on this now-famous Atlantic piece by Ezekiel Emanuel.  You should read his whole argument, but here is one bit: …here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of […]

Islam and the Perils of Psychological Projection

I have found that it is dangerous to assume that others are essentially like oneself. Psychologists speak of projection. As I understand it, it involves projecting (etymologically, throwing outward) into others one's own attitudes, beliefs, motivations, fears, emotions, desires, values,...

Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris explains the clockwork saw

Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris savors the clockwork saw, in this brief video: (Thanks to Adam Rutherford for bringing this to our attention.) BONUS: Additional detail, from someone else who saw the saw

An ethics discussion of the “leg of lamp” medical case

This ethics discussion, broadcast in The Netherlands, concerns the man who lost his leg and gained a floor lamp, which we discussed here recently. Dr. Erwin Kompanje is the main medical discussant here:

Separating Marriage from Childrearing: The Mosuo

In the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China lives a small ethnic group called the Mosuo. Among the Mosuo, romantic and family life are separated into different spheres by design. Children are usually raised in the home of their maternal grandmother with the help of their mother. She may maintain a long-term, monogamous romantic relationship […]

Why do leaves change color in the fall? (video)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2014 — It's the first day of autumn, and the telltale signs are here: crisp weather, pumpkin spice lattes and, most importantly, the leaves are changing colors. Ever wonder why some leaves turn red, others yellow...Show More Summary

Around the Web Digest: Week of September 14

In case you missed it, here are some of the best things provided by the internet this week. If you have something that you want me to post next week, email it to me at or hit me up on Twitter at @dtpowis. Now go ahead a procrastinate a little. Dr. Todd and Natalia are talking shit […]

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