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The No-Nonsense, Non-Alarmist, Essential Guide to the Flu – Kicker

Let’s get this straight first… Flu is the respiratory sickness caused by the influenza virus that threatens the functions of your nose, throat and lungs. Flu is a virus that spreads by injecting its genetic information into the nuclei of your cells. In other words, it hijacks the good cells and controls their function to turn them against you. And you get it simply by breathing it in. –The No-Nonsense,…

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Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?

The Twitter version: There’s a slight decrease in violent crime when violent movies are playing. People who like violence tend to go watch the movie instead of going out and doing violent things. Laboratory experiments in psychology find that media violence increases aggression in the short run. We analyze whether media violence affects violent crime in the field. We exploit variation in the violence of blockbuster movies from 1995 to 2004,…

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On Stephen Hawking, Vader and Being More Machine Than Human

In one version of Hawking’s eulogistic story, we praise the smartest person in the world, the brilliant physicist, one of the greatest cosmologists of our time. He fits perfectly well with our conception of how science and its heroes work: To be a genius all one needs is a powerful – a “beautiful” – mind. And indeed, because of his disability, Hawking embodies the mythical figure capable of grasping the…

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At Age 11, I Named the Curiosity Rover

Wonderful story! I still remember that chilly December day, sitting in science class. I’d finished a worksheet early and decided to get a TIME for Kids magazine off of Mrs. Estevez’s bookshelf. It was the 2008 Invention Issue, but that wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye. In the magazine, there was an article about a girl who named the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. The article also…

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Monsters are People Too

Study used D & D characters to test how subjects responded to eyegaze in human, humanoid, and monster characters. Observers were presented with images selected from the popular fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D; figure 1a). The images could be of humans, creatures with eyes in the centre of the face (humanoids), and creatures with eyes that are not on the face but broadly distributed on other parts of the…

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Mathematics and What It Means to Be Human

A humanities faculty member and a math faculty member collaborate on a course about the meaning of math. “Don’t worry;” I told them. “You can’t find this more frightening than I do.” And it was true. Ever since the word problems my father forced on us at dinner, I’ve always been terrified of math. I probably skipped dessert for all of fourth grade in order to escape some design to…