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Distance From The Equator and The Way We Think Are Linked

In the past decade, psychologists, in their desire to include people from all over the world, have expanded their narrow focus away from just North America, Europe, and Australia. This has given them a greater insight on global distribution of cultural features such as the society-level differences in psychological phenomena like individualism and happiness. This greater knowledge can help us better understand the various roots of cultural similarities and differences.

Powerful cases in point are studies demonstrating that countries differ substantially in terms of mean happiness and the additional finding that this pattern is anything but random. In both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, happiness is higher in countries farther away from the equator (such as Denmark or New Zealand) than those closer to it (such as Vietnam or Cambodia).
Even more intriguing, we have uncovered the same pattern for individualism and creativity. Like happiness, these cultural features trend higher as one moves away from the equator. When we looked at aggressiveness, we found the opposite pattern: the closer you live to the equator, the more likely you are to exhibit aggressive behavior. To explain these robust links between latitude and culture—from happiness to aggressiveness and beyond—science needs a new field. Latitudinal psychology seeks to explain why societies differ so much and why location on the north-south axis of the earth is so critical.

What is latitude psychology? And why are the people near the equator more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior? Find out the answers over at the Scientific American.

(Image Credit: Pixabay)


A 3D Map of the Whole World Before Climate Change Ruins It

The Earth is changing rapidly, faster than anyone could comprehend. As the days pass by, more forests are burned, and more glaciers melt. As a result, the evidence of the world’s ancient cultures disappear quickly.

Change of some kind is, of course, inevitable — but it is happening more quickly and more severely because of the effects of human-caused climate change. And that has some scientists worried: The quicker Earth changes,the less time there is to learn from its past and understand its mysteries.

In hopes to preserve a record of our planet in its present state, two researchers proposed that lasers be used to create a high-resolution, 3D map of the entire world. In other words, we would need a lot of lasers.

What are your thoughts on this one?

(Image Credit: LionFive/ Pixabay)


How Binary Stars Form

How are binary stars made? To investigate, ESO's Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), captured one of the highest resolution images yet taken. The image is of a binary star system in formation.

Most stars are not alone -- they typically form as part of a multiple star systems where star each orbits a common center of gravity. The two bright spots in the featured image are small disks that surround the forming proto-stars in [BHB2007] 11, while the surrounding pretzel-shaped filaments are gas and dust that have been gravitationally pulled from a larger disk. The circumstellar filaments span roughly the radius of the orbit of Neptune. The BHB2007 system is a small part of the Pipe Nebula (also known as Barnard 59), a photogenic network of dust and gas that protrudes from Milky Way's spiral disk in the constellation of Ophiuchus.

The binary star is said to be formed completely within a few million years.

It’s amazing how, from dust and gas, stars and planets and other heavenly bodies are formed. The universe indeed is a magnificent creation.

(Image Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), F. O. Alves et al.)


“Click To Pray”: A Wearable Rosary Device

Check out this eRosary released by the Vatican itself: a wearable device designed to teach people about the Catholic Church.

The eRosary, which is connected to a smartphone app, can be activated by making the sign of the cross, Engadget reported. Made up of 10 black agate and hematite rosary beads and a “smart cross” that stores data, the wearable device can be worn as a bracelet and enables individuals to pray on the go.

Once you activate the device by making the sign of the cross, you can then choose which of the three different rosaries you will pray. There is the standard rosary, the contemplative rosary, and the thematic rosary.

The eRosary, which retails for $110, is available for pre-order at Amazon and Acer’s online store.

What are your thoughts on this one?

(Image Credit: The Vatican)


Big Cats vs. Boxes

The folks at Big Cat Rescue in Florida are always looking for ways to enrich the cats' experience that will also look good on YouTube. They were recently gifted with large cardboard boxes decorated with autumn motifs. It appears that both goals were fulfilled!


This Terrible Mammoth Drawing Was an Important Key for 19th-Century Naturalists

Who would've thought that a hunting activity for reindeer with his family would lead Ossip Shumachov to spot a strange, dark lump poking out of the ice, which consequently led to a yearly ritual of checking it, and eventually revealed a long-dead and largely intact carcass of a mammoth? And who would've thought that sketching it would be a great help in documenting the Animal Kingdom's history?

The drawing is crude, and depicts a strange swine-like creature with tusks pointing in opposite directions. The sketch “is a very good example of a reconstruction hindered by extreme ignorance of basic animal anatomy,” paleoartist Mauricio Anton wrote in an email. “The body and legs are shapeless, and each foot ends in a sort of hoof-like structure unlike anything seen in elephants (or any other animal).” Even so, this somewhat laughable caricature was the first reconstruction of a mammoth known to science that was based on more than bones, McKay writes on his blog Mammoth Tales. Much to the chagrin of stuffy Russian biologists, it played a pivotal role in science’s early understanding of mammoth anatomy.

Image credit: Roman Boltunov


Family Living In A Farmhouse Basement For 9 Years Waiting For “The End Of Time”, Discovered

A 58-year-old man and six siblings, aged 18 to 25, lived in a farm basement in Drenthe, Netherlands, waiting for the world to end. The 58-year-old man is not their father nor the owner of the farmhouse, and the siblings’ mother is believed to have died before the family moved into the farmhouse. Dutch media revealed that the children were not registered, and that the family had no contact with the outside world, living self-sufficiently off a vegetable garden and a few animals. 

The family wouldn’t have been discovered if the eldest of the siblings hadn’t escaped and asked the staff at a pub in Ruinerwold for help. The family is in a safe place now, Mayor Roger de Groot said.

(via CBS News)

image credit: via CBS News


Humans Have Salamander-Like Ability To Regrow Cartilage in Joints

Contrary to popular belief, cartilage can restore itself in a process much like what salamanders and zebrafish to regenerate limbs.

The researchers at Duke Health, in their study, which was published online on October 9 in the journal Science Advances, identified a mechanism for repairing cartilage, which seems to be “more robust in ankle joints and less so in hips.” This finding could be helpful in treating osteoarthritis, the most common joint disorder in the world.

"We believe that an understanding of this 'salamander-like' regenerative capacity in humans, and the critically missing components of this regulatory circuit, could provide the foundation for new approaches to repair joint tissues and possibly whole human limbs," said senior author Virginia Byers Kraus, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the departments of Medicine, Pathology and Orthopedic Surgery at Duke.

What are your thoughts on this one?

(Image Credit: Camazine/ Wikimedia Commons)


An Honest Trailer for Zombieland

The 2009 film Zombieland was not the first zombie comedy, but it was a shining example of what the sub-genre could be. As such, this Honest Trailer from Screen Junkies is less a takedown than a homage that will make us yearn for a sequel to Zombieland. Oh yeah, right, the sequel Zombieland Double Tap opens this weekend.


The Sauna as a Solution for Loneliness

Traveler Adam Rang loves to visit Estonia. In that nation, the sauna is a revered institution. He has found that the sauna is a social nexus and, possibly, a treatment for loneliness:

I bought my own home in Tallinn with a sauna and made a new group of friends around the same time that showed me how to use it properly. We had regular sauna sessions together and I came to realise that the most important benefit of going to the sauna was simply getting to know people better and developing friendships. We can talk endlessly about the physical health benefits of the sauna, but one of the biggest problems in this world right now is actually loneliness, and that affects everything from our happiness to social cohesion. Sauna is one way we can cure it.

I've never been in a traditional sauna, but I can understand how it could connect people. Because it would be a poor place to bring cell phones, it could encourage people to simply sit and talk to other humans.

I'm an evangelist for tabletop role-playing games because, among other benefits, it's an ideal social activity for developing friendships among several people. And, unlike saunas, there's no nudity involved. I mean, I love my role-playing game friends, but I absolutely do not want to see them naked.

-via Marilyn Terrell | Photo: Taavi Randmaa


True Facts : The Sand Bubbler Crab

Henry, Emma, and David are sand bubbler crabs. They are tiny, and they eat the even tinier creatures that live between grains of sand in the ocean and on the beach. Ze Frank makes it clear how very weird this lifestyle is in his latest edition of True Facts.  


Waking Up in Your Arms

This intriguing photograph was taken by Sara Germain for the Lynx Project. It shows the moment Nathan Berg realizes that the large predator he's carrying is waking up from sedation. The Canada lynx is focused on the photographer but is most likely surprised to be in the arms of the very species he's spent his life avoiding. We can assume that no harm was done because the photo managed to be posted.

After we place a satellite collar on each lynx, weigh them, record measurements, and collect samples for genetic and isotope analysis, we place them back in their enclosed log box trap until they have fully recovered; then we release them. This adult male was just beginning to wake up as we carried him to and placed him back in his enclosure to recover. Thanks @sara.germain for the fantastic photo!

The Northwest Boreal Lynx Project is studying the movements of Canada lynx in relation to their main prey, the snowshoe hare. Read more about their work here.  -via Bored Panda, where you'll see plenty more images of Canada lynx.  


The Epcot Ball Gown

The biggest Disney princess (at least, at 2.35 million cubic feet, by volume) has to be Princess Epcot. Cosplayer @skygetsfancy made this dress inspired by the Spaceship Earth geodesic sphere at the Epcot Disney theme park. She writes:

This is one of my absolute favorite photos from this shoot, I love how much of the tetrahedron skirt this photo shows! I studied the pattern on Spaceship Earth A LOT and went through several patterns to figure out the perfect height and width for them. My original design for this gown actually included them going up into the bodice too, I’m way happier that I went with this version!

-via Cosplay in America


Biohacking and Ethics

Back in 2017, a biophysicist tried to edit his genome live onstage at a conference. Using the gene-editing tool CRISPR to modify his DNA, the man pulled out a syringe and injected it into his arm. The whole event was livestreamed on Facebook, and the man made headlines that year. The man was Josiah Zayner.

This wasn’t the first time that Zayner did something really crazy. A year before that, in 2016, in a California hotel with Reset host Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Zayner performed a “full-body microbiome transplant”, with goals to fix gut issues and take control of his own medical care, as he found traditional methods very frustrating.

“He set about killing the collection of microbes that live on and inside his body, and replacing them with microbes he’d collected from a friend. The first step was getting that friend to give up his microbes — via skin swabs and poop,” Duhaime-Ross explains on the first episode of Reset.
To launch Reset, a new podcast from Recode and Vox in association with Stitcher about how tech is changing our lives, Duhaime-Ross revisited her 2016 story and interviewed Zayner once again. This time, as she explains below, they discussed what it means to be a biohacker in 2019 and where it might lead in the future.

The full podcast and the transcript is on Recode.

What are your thoughts on this one?

(Image Credit: EliasSch/ Pixabay)


The Pigs Are Evolving

Pigs are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, along with the elephants, crows, and dolphins. The pigs, however, are not recorded to have used tools like the latter animals mentioned, until now.

A team of scientists has recently released the first known video of pigs using tools.

The ecologist behind the video, Meredith Root-Bernstein, told National Geographic she was watching a family of Visayan warty pigs at a zoo in Paris when she noticed one the animals picking up a piece of bark in its mouth and using the wood to dig around in the soil.
“I said, ‘Whoa, that’s pretty cool,'” she recalled to National Geographic. “When I looked up tool use in pigs, there was nothing.”

(Video Credit: Meredith Root-Bernstein/ YouTube)

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