All animals are hard-wired to want food and sex, which are necessary for survival and reproduction. Surprised scientists now believe that we are also hard-wired to be good to others.
In the past, experts have looked at goodness, or altruism, as a type of well-developed moral faculty. National Institutes of Health neuroscientists, Moll and Jordan Grafman, were surprised to discover during research experiments, that the same primitive region of the brain that responds to the pleasure of food or sex (often called the reward center) also lights up in response to altruism and generosity. This seems to indicate that being “good” is one of our most primitive, instinctual desires.
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"What if your photo collection was an entry point to the world, like a wormhole that you could zoom through and explore..."
Using photos of the world's natural and human wonders like Notre Dame and ancient Mayan ruins scraped from around the Web, Photosynth creates breathtaking multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that showcase the future of the Web. Its creator, Microsoft's Blaise Aguera y Arcas, takes us on a mind-blowing tour, diving into a freefall, racing over wild rivers and mountains, and watch as a speck becomes a gargoyle.
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You wouldn’t believe it, but our own sun is actually relatively small and uneventful. According to Rosina Iping, of the Catholic University, Washington, our sun has remained pretty much the same for four billion years. However, a cosmic event of massive proportions taking place in a galaxy orbiting the Milky Way is providing astronomers with insights in to the lives of much larger celestial bodies.
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Mahalo joins Powerset (see prior post) as the more interesting new engines to launch in 2007 and is deja vu all over again as a reincarnation of the original human-editor created Yahoo search directory, LookSmart, and Mining Company, now Ask.
Mahalo showcases one of the guiding mantras of the Web 2.0 era: "People are the new algorithm."
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To the untrained eye, the image of the Grand Design galaxy, or M81, looks strikingly like what our own Milky Way would look like from space. The sharpness and clarity of the new photo, taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, makes it the most detailed image ever taken of the galaxy. The subtle differences between M81 and the Milky Way, however, include a smaller black hole and a smaller bulge at our center, as well as cleaner-looking spiral arms.
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The Web 2.0 boom has brought with it many wonderful websites and tools for us to implement in our lives. I’m a member and user of most of them and they are just new ways of doing old stuff. But this doesn’t mean that I like them any less, o’contraire, it means I like them that bit more. And one of my favorites is the music community Last.fm.
Last. fm. launched five years ago and has become a social networking favorite with 15 million active users. It has become a massive repository for music information (artist and song wikis, listening data from users). In the U.S., companies like Pandora, MOG and iLike, now featured on Facebook, all compete with some of Last.fm’s features, although none of those startups has built the basic social network/community of last.fm.
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If you liked Bill Bryson’s Short History of Nearly Everything, I suggest delving into Natalie Angier’s The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science. Angier, a Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times science writer and author of a previous best-seller, leads her reader through a reexamination of repressed science knowledge from those high school and college days.
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