Bright Lights, Big Emotions. To Turn Down the Heat, Turn Down the Light

By Don Campbell, University of Toronto, Futurity.org The next time you want to turn down the emotional intensity before making an important decision, you may want to dim the lights first. A new study shows that human emotions, whether they are positive or negative, are felt more intensely under bright lights. “Other evidence shows that on sunny days people are more optimistic about the stock market, report higher well-being, and are more helpful while extended exposure to dark, gloomy days …

Who Knows All, Sees All, (and Now) Tells All? Your Dog

Researchers at Newcastle University in England are onto something big: Your dog may know lots more about how you’re feeling – and about how you’re doing generally – that anyone has heretofore believed. Except maybe you. Using high-tech movement sensors, the researchers tracked the behavior of 17 types of canine companions – from mutts and miniature Jack Russell Terriers to Labrador Retrievers and Great Danes – both at home and out and about. They did this by attaching “a wearable …

Scott Carpenter: The Luckiest Astronaut

In May 1962, Scott Carpenter became the second American astronaut, after John Glenn, to orbit the Earth – and the first to survive  a series of mishaps that might have ended in catastrophe. After orbiting the Earth three times in his Mercury capsule, the Aurora 7, and reaching a height of 164 miles, Carpenter prepared for re-entry. But then, according to an account on his website, things started to go wrong. The automatic system that stabilized and controlled the retro rockets …

She Conquered Wrinkles … in Cotton Fabric

If you grabbed a cotton dress shirt out of the dryer this morning and put it on without ironing it, you probably should be thanking a chemist named Ruth Benerito. In the mid-1960s, Benerito and two colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture developed and patented a process for chemically cross-linking and reinforcing the chains of cellulose molecules in cotton fibers, which enabled them to stay in place under the stress of washing and wear. The “wrinkle-free” garments that manufacturers produced …

Endeavour’s Last Crawl

It crawled through the city like part of a slow-motion scene from a science fiction movie, towering over the southern part of Los Angeles toward the open heart of our history. There were applause, tears, cheers and even a salute as the 170,000-pound space shuttle Endeavour made its way from L.A. International Airport to its new home in the California Science Center just 12 miles away. During its 20-year life span, the gleaming, almost glowing, Endeavour soared through space at …

With the Aid of Science! Human on Our Own Terms

Medical science routinely offers solutions to problems that our bodies or environment can not naturally fix. It’s great when these are cool re-imaginings and re-purposing of existing products and procedures. Other times its fine-tuning that leads to good results. This week had a bunch of cool and slightly weird stories about solving some health related issues. Wheelchair Car: There aren’t many options for driving for those in wheelchairs. Existing cars often need remodeling to accommodate the systems that allow those …