News and developments from the field of interdisciplinary research.
Among other topics, you can find stimulating reports and articles related to microsystems, emotions research, futures research and stratospheric research.
It’s official: English football teams score fewer goals.
Soccer teams worldwide are scoring more goals than they ought to be, whereas English teams seem to follow statistical expectations. The news may delight fans outside England, but it is puzzling the physicists who have found that the chance of a high-scoring game is significantly greater than it may first appear 1 .
John Greenhough and colleagues at Warwick University in Coventry, England, analysed the s
The secret of a steady hand is tightening the right muscles.
Controlling the stiffness of some of our muscles lets us manage tricky feats of manipulation, such as keeping a screwdriver in a screw, researchers have found 1 . We tune the stiffness to oppose motions in the direction of instability, such as the sideways slips that would let the screwdriver slide out of the slot.
Although demanding on the brain, this is the most energy-efficient strategy, say Mitsu
It’s an enduring enigma in paleoanthropology: when and where did modern human behavior arise? The fossil record suggests that anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa sometime between 150,000 and 100,000 years ago. Yet the earliest convincing indications of behavioral modernity in our species, archaeologists have argued, date to tens of thousands of years later and have turned up in Europe, not Africa. With that in mind, some theorists posited that modern behavior blossomed late and rather sudd
Our brains use angular measurements to decide how far away objects are.
Even if trigonometry wasn’t your strong suit in school, your brain uses it constantly. You judge distance by measuring the angle between the ground and your line of sight to an object, a new study shows. The finding could improve the design of robots and artificial vision systems 1 .
Volunteers who looked through prisms that increased this angle thought objects were closer than they reall
Paying attention isn’t the only way to learn.
You must pay attention to learn, teachers say. Not necessarily, US psychologists now argue: sights we are unaware of can have a lasting impact on our brains.
Subliminal training can improve our ability to see moving dots, Takeo Watanabe and his co-workers at Boston University, Massachusetts, have found. “Without noticing, we are unconsciously learning,” Watanabe says. Repeated exposure to objects we are oblivious to “could have
Mathematician Ian Stewart talks to Nature Science Update about snowflakes, sticklebacks and a new kind of science.
Ian Stewart was turned on to mathematics at the age of seven. A broken collarbone freed him from an uninspiring teacher allowing his mother to ignite his interest in numbers while he was laid up at home.
His writing career began with a series of how-to manuals for now-defunct early 1980s microcomputers. It has since broadened into popular science and science fi