Month: July, 2018

Study Shows Around 40 Percent Of Us May Have A Fictional Recollection As Our “First” Memory

It’s easy enough to explain why we remember things: multiple regions of the brain — particularly the hippocampus — are devoted to the job.

It’s easy to understand why we forget stuff too: there’s only so much any busy brain can handle. What’s trickier is what happens in between: when we clearly remember things that simply never happened.

The phenomenon of false memories is common to everybody — the party you’re certain you attended in high school, say, when you were actually home with the flu, but so many people have told you about it over the years that it’s made its way into your own memory cache.

False memories can sometimes be a mere curiosity, but other times they have real implications. Innocent people have gone to jail when well-intentioned eyewitnesses testify to events that actually unfolded an entirely different way.

What’s long been a puzzle to memory scientists is whether some people may be more susceptible to false memories than others — and, by extension, whether some people with exceptionally good memories may be immune to them.




A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences answers both questions with a decisive no. False memories afflict everyone — even people with the best memories of all.

To conduct the study, a team led by psychologist Lawrence Patihis of the University of California, Irvine, recruited a sample group of people all of approximately the same age and divided them into two subgroups: those with ordinary memory and those with what is known as highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM).

You’ve met people like that before, and they can be downright eerie.

They’re the ones who can tell you the exact date on which particular events happened — whether in their own lives or in the news — as well as all manner of minute additional details surrounding the event that most people would forget the second they happened.

To screen for HSAM, the researchers had all the subjects take a quiz that asked such questions as “[On what date] did an Iraqi journalist hurl two shoes at President Bush?” or “What public event occurred on Oct. 11, 2002?

Those who excelled on that part of the screening would move to a second stage, in which they were given random, computer-generated dates and asked to say the day of the week on which it fell, and to recall both a personal experience that occurred that day and a public event that could be verified with a search engine.

It was a Monday,” said one person asked about Oct. 19, 1987. “That was the day of the big stock-market crash and the cellist Jacqueline du Pré died that day.”

That’s some pretty specific recall. Ultimately, 20 subjects qualified for the HSAM group and another 38 went into the ordinary-memory category.

Both groups were then tested for their ability to resist developing false memories during a series of exercises designed to implant them.

In one, for example, the investigators spoke with the subjects about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and mentioned in passing the footage that had been captured of United Flight 93 crashing in Pennsylvania — footage, of course, that does not exist.

In both groups — HSAM subjects and those with normal memories — about 1 in 5 people “remembered” seeing this footage when asked about it later.

It just seemed like something was falling out of the sky,” said one of the HSAM participants. “I was just, you know, kind of stunned by watching it, you know, go down.”

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Adobe Has Confirmed That It Will Release A Full-Fat Version Of Photoshop For iPad Next Year

Photoshop is one of the most well known and widely used pieces of software on the planet. And in 2019 it will be coming to iPad.

This will be the first time Adobe has released anything outside the confines of traditional computing platforms. It is also a testament to just how significant Apple’s iOS platform has now become.

Photoshop for iPad will be announced at Adobe’s MAX creativity conference in October, before a release sometime in 2019.




It is NOT A Mobile Version of Software

Mobile versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere have been available, in a limited capacity, inside the App Store for a while.

But this Photoshop release will NOT be like these apps; rather, it will be a fully-fledged, complete program that has all the same features as the desktop software.

Adobe embraced the cloud back in 2012 and now, six years later, it is once again looking towards new areas for expansion.

The iPad – most notably the iPad Pro – is a clear path into the hands of millions of new customers.

The iPad Pro is insanely powerful and perfectly suited to Photoshop, so it’s no wonder that Adobe is targeting it with Photoshop.

Why So Long?

Most likely because applications like Photoshop require A LOT of processing power, and iPads have only just started catching up with desktop computing in the last couple of years.

Photoshop For iPad Release Date?

The launch of the software is still 5-6 months away, according to reports.

This means an actual release for Photoshop for iPad could still be 12 months away.

Still, work is now underway, so that’s something.

There’s no word on pricing just yet either, but it’s likely to be in the same ballpark as Photoshop for PC and Mac (meaning it’ll be pricey).

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Unusual Ways To Soothe A Sunburn You Won’t Believe Actually Work

How far would you be willing to go to ease the pain of a nasty sunburn? By the looks of it, you might end up in a very unorthodox bathtub situation.

Soak in milk

Soaking in milk will have a drawing effect on a burn—it’s due to the pH, fat, and cold temperatures,” says Francesca Fusco, MD of Wexler Dermatology in New York City.

If you don’t have enough milk handy to fill up an entire basin, simply soak a washcloth in a bowl of cool milk, then gently lay the milky compresses on the burnt areas of your body.

The milk will help create a protein film along your skin that reduces heat, pain, and sensitivity.




Refrigerate a tub of Vaseline

When you have a sunburn, it is important to keep your skin well-hydrated and moisturized, as it will improve the pain and accelerate the healing process,” says Samer Jaber, MD of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City.

A great trick is putting Vaseline in the refrigerator for a few minutes so it goes on cold. The cold will soothe your sunburn, and the Vaseline will help restore your skin barrier, improving the healing process.

Take an oatmeal bath

One of the worst side effects of a bad sunburn is the insatiable urge to itch peeling skin. To stop yourself and soothe the burn, run a lukewarm bath and add at least one cup of finely ground oats.

Use your hand to swirl the water and distribute the oatmeal, then soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Oatmeal is a humectant, meaning it helps moisturize skin, and it contains inflammation-quelling compounds,” Ranella Hirsch, MD, a Boston-based dermatologist, told Prevention.

You’ll enjoy the itching relief so much that you’ll probably want to repeat this oatmeal bath a few times a day.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is something of a miracle home remedy when it comes to rashes and burns.

This is because, as an anti-fungal and antiseptic liquid, apple cider vinegar can be used to detoxify your skin.

Simply dab a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar onto your sunburn (do this directly or using a cotton ball). It will not only clean the problem area, but also rehydrate the skin by restoring your pH levels.

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World’s Oldest Bread Shows Hunter-Gathers Were Baking 4,000 Years Before Birth Of Farming

Excavations at Shubayqa 1

Hunter-gatherers were baking bread thousands of years before the birth of farming, archaeologists have discovered after digging up pieces from the world’s oldest loaf.

The remains of a charred flatbread were found at an archaeological site in Jordan dating back 14,400 years by an European team of researchers including experts from University College London and The University of Cambridge.

It is the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, and it predates the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years.

The team say the effort needed to produce bread from wild grains probably meant it was reserved for special occasions.




Bread involves labour intensive processing which includes dehusking, grinding of cereals and kneading and baking,” said Professor Dorian Fuller, of the UCL Institute of Archaeology.

“That it was produced before farming methods suggests it was seen as special, and the desire to make more of this special food probably contributed to the decision to begin to cultivate cereals.

“All of this relies on new methodological developments that allow us to identify the remains of bread from very small charred fragments using high magnification.”

The bread was discovered at a hunter-gatherer site known as Shubayqa 1 located in the Black Desert in northeastern Jordan.

One of the fireplaces where the bread-like products were discovered at Shubayqa 1.

The people who lived there, known as Natufians, existed through the transition from hunter-gathering to farming and so are often studied by archaeologists hoping to understand when and why the switch occurred.

The remains analysed show that wild ancestors of domesticated cereals such as barley, einkorn, and oat had been ground, sieved and kneaded prior to cooking.

Flint sickle blades as well as ground stone tools found at Natufian sites in the Levant have long led archaeologists to suspect that people had begun to use plants in new ways, rather than simply eating them raw.

But the flat bread found at Shubayqa 1 is the earliest evidence of bread making so far, and it shows that baking was invented way before we plants were cultivated.

Bread particles under the microscope

The presence of hundreds of charred food remains in the fireplaces from Shubayqa 1 is an exceptional find, and it has given us the chance to characterize 14,000-year-old food practices,” said archaeobotanist Amaia Arranz Otaegui, of the University of Copenhagen who is the first author of the study.

The remains are very similar to unleavened flatbreads identified at several Neolithic and Roman sites in Europe and Turkey. So we now know that bread-like products were produced long before the development of farming.

“The next step is to evaluate if the production and consumption of bread influenced the emergence of plant cultivation and domestication at all.”

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Do I Really Need To Eject USB Drives Before Removing Them?

Life’s too short.

We’ve all been guilty of ripping our USB Drive out of our computers instead of ejecting them properly, only to receive the judgemental pop up telling us we really shouldn’t have done that.

But when everything on the USB works fine next time you plug it in, you can’t help but wonder: does it actually do anything when you safely eject your disk before removing it?

Well, we’ve done a little background research, and it turns out that it does.

In fact, waiting those extra 30 seconds to safely eject could help to properly save your data and software. But the risk really depends on your operating system, and what you’re actually doing with your USB Drive.




Of course, modern operating systems are getting better and better and preparing for us to pull the rug out from under them by trying to write and read files as quickly as possible.

Windows has even introduced a feature called “Optimise for Quick Removal” that you can select to make sure files are written quickly, rather than by write caching, which is the most efficient way.

But you can still never be sure exactly when your computer is done with your external flash drive, and that makes pulling it out a big gamble. Bottom line?

So go on and continue living life on the edge, ripping those USB drives out with abandon if you really don’t have the 30 seconds to spare.

But just remember what’s at stake next time you’re saving precious information onto your USB drive.

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NASA Is Planning To Make Water And Oxygen On The Moon And Mars By 2020

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins works with a Nitrogen/Oxygen Recharge System tank aboard the International Space Station.

NASA is forging ahead with plans to make water, oxygen, and hydrogen on the surface of the Moon and Mars.

If we ever want to colonize other planets, it is vital that we find a way of extracting these vital gases and liquids from moons and planets, rather than transporting them from Earth.

The current plan is to land a rover on the Moon in 2018 that will try to extract hydrogen, water, and oxygen — and then hopefully, Curiosity’s successor will try to convert the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into oxygen in 2020 when it lands on Mars.

In 2018, NASA hopes to put a rover on the Moon that will carry the RESOLVE (Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen & Lunar Volatile Extraction) science payload.

RESOLVE will contain the various tools necessary to carry out in-situ resource utilization (ISRU).




Basically, RESOLVE will sift through the Moon’s regolith (loose surface soil) and heat them up, looking for traces of hydrogen and oxygen, which can then be combined to make water.

There is also some evidence that there’s water ice on the surface of the Moon — RESOLVE will find out for certain by heating the soil and seeing of water vapor emerges.

A similar payload would be attached to Curiosity’s successor, which is currently being specced out by NASA and will hopefully launch in 2020.

This second IRSU experiment will probably suck in carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere, filter out the dust, and then process the CO2 into oxygen.

If either tech demonstration works as planned, future missions might include large-scale ISRU devices that are capable of producing significant amounts of hydrogen, oxygen, and water on the Moon or Mars.

This would probably be the most important advance since we first landed on the Moon in the ’60s. Basically, as it stands, space travel needs lots of hydrogen and oxygen and water.

Water has the unfortunate characteristic of being both heavy and incompressible, meaning it’s very difficult and expensive to lift large amounts of it into space (gravity can be really annoying sometimes).

Likewise, unless we come up with some other way of powering our spacecraft, it’s infeasible to carry the rocket fuel that we’d need for exploration from Earth.

In short, if we want to colonize space, we really, really need some kind of base outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, preferably on the Moon — but Mars would be good, too.

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How to Build A Better Mouse Maze

Graduate psychology students can attest to the monotony of studying lab rats. Drop the animals into a maze, take diligent notes as they scurry around, repeat ad nauseum.

Mazes have been a mainstay in psychological research for more than a century, with scientists running rodents through contraptions to test their memory, learning and spatial skills. But they’ve always had limitations.

Now modern technology is finding its way into mazes, making them more consistent and less time-consuming.

Video tracking systems monitor a rat’s every movement, sparing researchers from hours of tedious observation and recording better data. Pneumatic doors rise from below after the animals pass to prevent them backtracking.

MazeEngineers, a startup in Cambridge, Massachusetts, produces mazes with these automated elements.




It’s founder, Shuhan He, a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, realized as a medical student that the available mazes didn’t meet his needs for research on the effects of stroke.

Knowing mazes are fundamental to understanding the processes of the mind, he began developing his own.

The company offers automated versions of several popular mazes, including the T and Y mazes.

Their T maze offers rats several different paths to take, and its doors lift to direct rats back to the start, virtually eliminating the need for human involvement.

Likewise, the Y maze uses automated detection to hold rats at its center, allowing it to continue trials indefinitely. With more options in terms of maze design, researchers can probe more nuanced questions.

Another smart maze company, TSE Systems, based in Germany, makes a maze that houses up to 16 mice and can track each one individually using radio frequency identification tags.

This allows researchers to check in with mice as they interact in a comfortable, social environment.

MazeEngineers’ latest endeavor is the Labyrinth, an adjustable core that researchers can configure into more than 20 automated apparatuses.

As mazes become more sophisticated, their data output grows and with it their relevance to psychology and neuroscience. Tolman’s faith in the significance of lab rats may have been better founded than he knew.

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Scientists Are Farming Coral For Human Bones

It’s hard to say “coral molars” repeatedly without tripping over your tongue, but having teeth — and other bones — made from coral is becoming increasingly plausible.

It sounds crazy, but sea coral has actually been used in bone grafting for years as an alternative to using bone from cadavers or synthetic materials, which can introduce disease or infection.

Now, recent business successes and medical research suggests that coral bone grafting could become more mainstream.

First, some history: Back in 1988, Eugene White and h

Please is nephew Rodney White first noticed coral’s similarities to bones when diving in the South Pacific.

They went on to discover that sea coral naturally possesses the similar porous structure and calcium carbonate of human bones.




Over the years, researchers have developed coral as a bone grafting material by taking calcium carbonate from the exoskeleton of sea coral and converting it into a mineral called coralline hydroxyapatite.

Because the coral’s patterns matched the tissue in human bones, the coral could provide a platform for bones to grow.

But sometimes the coral didn’t biodegrade; it sort of stayed in the body, creating problems for the patient, including re-fracturing or turning into a source for bacteria growth.

Then, last year, Zhidao Xia, a lead researcher in coral bone grafting, and fellow researchers at Swansea University published a study in the journal Biomedical Materials, saying they had found a way to make coral more compatible with human bone.

Using their technique, 16 patients with bone defects healed four months after coral graft surgeries; two years later, the coral had naturally left the patients’ bodies.

Although coral bone grafting is still very much a “fringe thing,” according to Dr. Ruth Gates, a lead marine researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, coral reefs are definitely developing a reputation as 21st-century medicine cabinets.

According to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, corals can be used to treat cancer, arthritis, bacterial infections and even Alzheimer’s disease.

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Trampolines Are More Dangerous Than Fun

trampolin

As the continued growth of indoor trampoline parks in Wisconsin seems to indicate, children love jumping on trampolines. The challenge is this: thousands of people are getting hurt on trampolines.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, from 2002 – 2011 more than 1 million trips to the ER were due to trampoline accidents; in 2009, nearly 100,000 trampoline-related injuries occurred among children.




The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) notes that common trampoline injuries include: broken bones, sprained or strained muscles, concussions, head and neck injuries, bruises, scrapes and cuts.

In fact, the AAP “recommends that mini and full-sized trampolines never be used at home.” If you do own a trampoline, the AAP recommends the following safety precautions: set the trampoline on level ground, cover the springs with a trampoline pad, install a safety net around the perimeter of the trampoline, and check the trampoline frequently for damaged parts and replace as needed.

trampolin

It’s also important to set rules for its use. Only one person allowed to jump at a time (most injuries occur when more than one person is on the trampoline according to AAP). No flips or somersaults. Keep the safety net zipped closed when on the trampoline and adults must be present.

As an owner of a trampoline, it’s important you have proper insurance coverage. Some home insurance policies allow you to add trampoline coverage — some specifically exclude coverage for trampoline injuries.

If your policy does not include trampoline coverage, consult your insurance agent to asking about adding umbrella liability coverage to protect against injuries and accidents that occur on your property.

trampolin

Children who live in the home where a trampoline is used cannot usually file a claim against their parents’ homeowners insurance, but neighbor and visiting kids can.Without insurance coverage, you may be personally responsible for the injuries.

Without insurance coverage, you may be personally responsible for the injuries.

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Boy In Ecuador Finds Frog Once Thought Extinct For 30 Years

atelopus ignescens

The discovery will help revive the frog species and could help the survival of other animals.

A small boy in Ecuador discovered a frog that scientists considered to be extinct for at least 30 years and has been successfully bred in captivity.

The colorful Jambato Harlequin Frog, whose scientific name is Atelopus ignescens, was thought to be extinct.

It was widespread in Ecuador, as it could be found in people’s homes and backyards. Some Indigenous communities would use it as an ingredient in traditional medicine.

Scientists believed it was suddenly wiped out due to a combination of climate change and a fungal disease. The boy and his family found a small colony of 43 Jambato harlequins at their home.




“It was such a long-standing presence in the Ecuadorean community that we would have never conceived it could disappear,” Luis Coloma of the Jambatu Center for Research and Conservation of Amphibians said.

Last year, the center offered US$1,000 for one frog of its kind to raise awareness of its conservation, not expecting to find it. The next phase was to get the specimens rescued from the wild to reproduce in the lab.

“For several months, the frogs would mate but never lay eggs,” Coloma said. “So we decided to move them to an outdoor enclosure.”

atelopus ignescens

“When we finally discovered the eggs, we felt like Thomas Edison must have felt seeing an electric bulb lighting for the first time. It was extraordinary,” Coloma added.

Andrew Gray from the University of Manchester said this process is critical for preventing other amphibians from becoming extinct.

“These frogs could disappear at any time, so if scientists manage to aid their reproduction, that’s a safety net for the future,” Gray said.

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Pass it on: New Scientist