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Five myths about daylight saving time

No, Daylight Saving Time was not created to help farmers (actually, they hate it) and no, it doesn’t save energy (running the air conditioner longer in the evenings costs more than we save by turning on fewer lights in the morning). And why are we on “Daylight Standard Time” just four months out of the year? Reading about these myths will make you an *informed* sleep-deprived Monday morning grump. Daylight…

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Downsides of being a convincing liar

Test subjects whose test papers “accidentally” included the answer key had an inflated sense of how well they would do on a follow-up test that did not include answers, suggesting that the cheaters were not aware how much their performance on the first test was dependent on their access to answers. The people who’d had access to the answers predicted, on average, that they’d get higher scores on the follow-up…

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The Hubble spotted this smiley face in space

Reading each other’s facial expressions is so important to our survival as a species that our brains are hardwired to respond to expressions on faces that aren’t even there. This adorable image — in which the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 seems to be smiling at the camera — comes courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope. It was spotted by Judy Schmidt, who submitted a version of the image to the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures…

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You’re Just Gonna Be Nice by A. Lange

In a study, over 1000 gamers were surveyed to see how the average player interacts with a game system that allows the player to choose a “good” or “evil” path through a game story. The finding was that the average gamer prefers to be good or heroic in such games. Gamers are most interested in exploring a character whose moral choices closely match to their own. However, those players that…

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How Not to Be a Jackass at Your Next Academic Conference

Okay, I confess, I was once in the audience at an MLA session about medieval drama, when someone brought up a relevant computer simulation, and there was a disagreement over how to interpret the results. I raised my hand and said, “I created that simulation,” and weighed in on one side of the debate. It all happened very fast, and I didn’t think to consider how it might have looked.

THE LEARNING MAZE by Robert Bloch

I read this short story as a kid. Not sure how I came across it, but details from this story are burned pretty deep in my head. Jon’s orientation came from the screens. As he grew older, he became aware of the world beyond—the real world outside the Learning Maze. The world which had once existed without mazes of any sort and in which human beings had lived all their…