This week: Intriguing hints about the origin of life, autonomous cars are learning our tics, preventing post-traumatic stress disorder, technology keeping us young, and biologists engaged in a cute off.
Continental Break-Up May Have Set The Stage For Life
The break-up of continents may have allowed life to emerge on Earth. One hint of this has emerged from rocks deep beneath the sea floor off Portugal, which date back 125 million years, to the break-up of the super-continent Pangaea.
Frieder Klein of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and his team have found fossilized microbes in these rocks, using samples collected in 1990s.
Autonomous Cars Learning to Deal With Human Unpredictability
IN THE near future, you may have to share the road with a robot. Or perhaps we should say that a robot will have to share the road with you.
At the University of California, Berkeley, engineers are preparing autonomous cars to predict what we impulsive, unreliable humans might do next. A team led by Katherine Driggs-Campbell has developed an algorithm that can guess with up to 92 per cent accuracy whether a human driver will make a lane change. She is due to present the work next month at the Intelligent Transportation Systems conference in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
Blocking This Memory Pathway Could Stop PTSD
In a newly published study, a team of researchers show that blocking amygdala cells’ interactions with serotonin after trauma may prevent post-traumatic stress disorder.
About 8 million Americans suffer from nightmares and flashbacks to a traumatic event. This condition, known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is particularly common among soldiers who have been in combat, though it can also be triggered by physical attack or natural disaster.
Increasing Demands of Technology Improve Cognitive Functions
50 is the new 42, scientists have concluded, after discovering that the brains of middle-aged people are getting sharper and younger to keep up with the demands of modern technology.
People over age 50 are scoring increasingly better on tests of cognitive function and researchers believe it is because of the increased mental stimulation of computers and mobile phones.
Last week, scientists on Twitter started the #JunkOff hashtag, filling Twitter with well, animal genitalia. But this week, there’s a more adorable hashtag to follow along. It’s appropriately named #CuteOff, and here are a couple of our favorite contenders. It’s certainly a tough field.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!