There is a good reason for colonizing another planet, which is to avoid extinction if the Earth is hit by a 10km or larger asteroid, as has happened many times in the Earth's history. Colonization of Mercury appears to be a very real and practical possibility, whereas colonization of Mars or the other planets, moons or asteroids is really more in the realm of fantasy.
https://www.inverse.com/science/wild-hummingbirds-can-see-colors-that-humans-cant-study, posted Jun '20 by peter in bird color science
Humans can't see UV light, but birds can. By combining spectral light with UV, researchers proved that birds can differentiate between those colors. This means that when the birds look at objects we can see as spectral light, they are likely seeing many more colors because that fourth cone gives the ability to see more color combinations.
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/04/28/1910114117, posted May '20 by peter in environment science
We show that for thousands of years, humans have concentrated in a surprisingly narrow subset of Earth’s available climates, characterized by mean annual temperatures around ∼13 °C. This distribution likely reflects a human temperature niche related to fundamental constraints. We demonstrate that depending on scenarios of population growth and warming, over the coming 50 y, 1 to 3 billion people are projected to be left outside the climate conditions that have served humanity well over the past 6,000 y. Absent climate mitigation or migration, a substantial part of humanity will be exposed to mean annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today.
https://www.popsci.com/story/science/charted-pale-blue-blip/, posted Apr '20 by peter in history science visualization
Humans have gotten a lot done in 300,000 years: We invented agriculture, developed writing systems, built cities, created the internet, and shrugged off gravity to land on the moon. These innovations make our past seem long—and stuffed with significance. But in the brief history of life, everything we’ve ever accomplished fits into a tiny sliver of time—just 0.008 percent of the entire continuum shown below. This is how the rise of the animal kingdom stretches out compared with our relatively insignificant existence.
https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/04/two-scenarios-if-new-coronavirus-isnt-contained/, posted Mar '20 by peter in health science
“It’s not too soon to talk about this,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “We know that respiratory viruses are especially difficult to control, so I think it’s very possible that the current outbreak ends with the virus becoming endemic.”
Experts see two possibilities, each with unique consequences:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/29/health/coronavirus-n95-face-masks.html, posted Mar '20 by peter in health science security
“Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” the surgeon general, Jerome M. Adams, said in a tweet on Saturday morning. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
Bipartisan Alliance: We identified the â€œwalkabilityâ€ of a city, how easy it is to get things done without a car, as a key fa
https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2019/10/we-identified-walkability-of-city-how.html, posted Oct '19 by peter in politics science toread urbanism
Intergenerational upward economic mobility—the opportunity for children from poorer households to pull themselves up the economic ladder in adulthood—is a hallmark of a just society. In the United States, there are large regional differences in upward social mobility. The present research examined why it is easier to get ahead in some cities and harder in others. We identified the “walkability” of a city, how easy it is to get things done without a car, as a key factor in determining the upward social mobility of its residents.
https://psmag.com/social-justice/confident-idiots-92793, posted Oct '19 by peter in cognition management science
But here is the real challenge: How can we learn to recognize our own ignorance and misbeliefs? To begin with, imagine that you are part of a small group that needs to make a decision about some matter of importance. Behavioral scientists often recommend that small groups appoint someone to serve as a devil’s advocate—a person whose job is to question and criticize the group’s logic. While this approach can prolong group discussions, irritate the group, and be uncomfortable, the decisions that groups ultimately reach are usually more accurate and more solidly grounded than they otherwise would be.
For individuals, the trick is to be your own devil’s advocate: to think through how your favored conclusions might be misguided; to ask yourself how you might be wrong, or how things might turn out differently from what you expect. It helps to try practicing what the psychologist Charles Lord calls “considering the opposite.” To do this, I often imagine myself in a future in which I have turned out to be wrong in a decision, and then consider what the likeliest path was that led to my failure. And lastly: Seek advice. Other people may have their own misbeliefs, but a discussion can often be sufficient to rid a serious person of his or her most egregious misconceptions.
Interesting article written by David Dunning, of Dunning—Kruger effect fame.
https://parenting.nytimes.com/health/fatherhood-mens-bodies, posted Aug '19 by peter in health parenting science
Dr. Ruth Feldman, Ph.D., a social neuroscientist based in Israel, published a study of 112 mothers and fathers in 2010 which found that peaks in oxytocin (and by association, dopamine) occurred for women when they nurtured their children. In contrast, the peak for men occurred when they took part in rough-and-tumble play. Because young children’s brains seem to mimic the same oxytocin levels as their parents’ — meaning they’ll get a similar blast of feel-good oxytocin when playing with Dad and when being nurtured by Mom — they’ll be more likely to engage in that behavior over and over again specifically with that parent, which is critical to their development. Rough-and-tumble play not only cements bonds between father and child, but also plays crucial roles in a child’s social development.
Like humans everywhere, Native Americans shaped their environments to suit them, through burning, pruning, tilling and other practices. And the Amazon is no different: Look closer, and you can see the deep impressions that humans have made on the world's largest tropical rainforest, scientists reported yesterday in the journal Science.