In this special Halloween video, we examine June and Jennifer Gibbons, twin girls who became known as the “Silent Twins” due to the fact that they never spoke except to each other, and even then, they did so in their own language nobody else could understand.
As they grew older, they became obsessed with their twinhood, and their obsession consumed them, leading them into violence and crime.
The twins were trapped in their relationship. They couldn’t be together and they couldn’t function apart. They came to believe that the only way either of them would be happy was for one of them to die.
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Do you make your own decisions? Science says maybe not. Not really, anyway.
Starting in the 1950s, neuroscientists turned to split brain surgery in an effort to cure epileptics with uncontrollable seizures. Split brain surgery cut the corpus callosum, a band of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain.
By doing so, they discovered some amazing side effects that basically suggest that there are subconscious modules in your brain that make decisions without your conscious awareness, and an interpreter module in your brain that translates those decisions to your conscious brain.
These tests, performed by Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga, have brought up endless questions about how we make our decisions, who’s actually in charge in our brain, and whether we have actual free will.
There was a time when traveling circuses and freak shows were the preeminent form of entertainment of the day. Some people made a great living as human oddities, showing off their natural (and unnatural) bodies. Here are 10 of the most famous.
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With rising global temperatures and a rising population, the way we produce and consume food is going to have to undergo a fundamental change around the world. Here are some of the technologies and innovations that could find their way to our dinner plates in the future.
The United States faced a crisis in the Great Depression, not just of economic issues, but ecological as well. The Dust Bowl turned some of the most fertile land in the country into a desert due to overproduction of crops.
Today we face similar, even more intractable issues with population rise and climate change, and our current methods of production and consumption are going to have to change for things to be sustainable in the future. So here are some of the most promising techniques and technologies that could make their way to our dinner plates in the future.
Edible insects are a thing in many cultures around the world, and due to their high protein content and feed consumption ratio, we may find ourselves following suit.
Companies like Impossible and Beyond Foods have created meat from plants, with blood and everything. The science behind it is remarkable and could transform how we eat.
Nebraska is not known for growing warm-weather foods like oranges and citrus, but Russ Finch has created simple and effective geothermal greenhouses that make it possible for people to grow their own food in extreme environments.
As we approach 9 billion people on Earth, the need for leafy greens will go up, and we don’t have much more space to plant them. Luckily plantscrapers and vertical farms make it possible for a lot of food to be grown in a small space.
And a potential replacement to the plastic bottle could be found in water balls, made of digestible and biodegradable seaweed extract.
70,000 years ago, the human population hit a major bottleneck, and scientists aren’t exactly sure why.
One of the more popular explanations has been the Toba explosion, the massive explosion of the Toba supervolcano that occurred at roughly that same time, but has been mostly disproven.
DNA evidence shows that African populations, especially the ancient Khoi and San people of Africa, show far more genetic diversity than those who came out of Africa according to the “out of Africa” theory. The study showed that those that came out of Africa descended from between 1000 and 10,000 breeding pairs.
Want to get away? Want to get far, far away? Voyager 2 has you beat: The spacecraft, launched in 1977, is approaching the edge of the solar system, according to a NASA statement released today (Oct. 5).
That announcement is based on two different instruments on board, which in late August began noticing a small uptick in how many cosmic rays — superfast particles pummeling the solar system from outer space — were hitting the spacecraft.
That matches pretty well with what Voyager 1 began experiencing about three months before its own grand departure in 2012, but scientists can’t be sure of the milestone until after it has been passed.
“We’re seeing a change in the environment around Voyager 2, there’s no doubt about that,” Voyager Project Scientist Ed Stone, a physicist at Caltech, said in the statement.
“We’re going to learn a lot in the coming months, but we still don’t know when we’ll reach the heliopause. We’re not there yet — that’s one thing I can say with confidence.”
The team behind Voyager 2 knows that the spacecraft is currently almost 11 billion miles (17.7 billion kilometers) away from Earth.
But it’s hard to predict when the spacecraft will actually leave the solar system by passing through what scientists call the heliopause.
The heliopause is the bubble around our solar system formed by the solar wind, the rush of charged particles that constantly streams off our sun.
But that solar wind ebbs and flows over the course of the sun’s 11-year cycle, which means that the bubble of our solar system itself expands and contracts.
And because Voyager 2 isn’t following precisely in its predecessor’s steps, scientists aren’t positive that its cosmic exit will result in identical changes to the data that the spacecraft reports.
So until Voyager 2 passes through the heliopause, there’s no way to be sure precisely where it is with regard to the heliopause.
Whenever it does successfully flee the solar system, Voyager 2 will become just the second human-made object to do so.