A theory Malcolm Gladwell popularized in Outliers—that 10,000 hours of practice can turn anyone into an expert—probably isn’t true, a new study says.
From the TED-Ed Lesson How do pain relievers work? - George Zaidan
Animation by Augenblick Studios
“According to Nathan Han, a 15-year-old from Boston, his program has an 81% accuracy rate in identifying cancer-causing mutations, while existing algorithms have an accuracy rate of about 40%.”
Tell a caffeine addict she can’t drink a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and things could get a little ugly—or maybe not.
Coffee is more than just a fetishized drink or a daily ritual. It has the power to transform your productivity. But maybe we’ve been going about it all wrong.
Researcher Steven Miller of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesada found that because our bodies already produce natural hormones that make us feel more alert at certain times in the day, we should curb our caffeine consumption during these times so as not to diminish its effect when we need it most.
He found that the best times to drink coffee (or any caffeinated beverage) for those who wake up between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. is from 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and between 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., since this is when our cortisol levels usually drop off and we begin to feel sluggish.
In other words, having a cup of coffee when you first get up doesn’t actually make you feel more awake.
While the science behind this seemed pretty sound, we wanted to know if the payoff for adjusting our coffee consumption is worth the sacrifice. Some were able to pull it off and loved the results, while others weren’t even able to make a dent in the challenge.
If our willpower is indeed like a muscle as some scientists say, then these tricks may help you bulk up.
We are on a constant quest to get as much done as possible, but it’s time that we all become a little more realistic about what can and can’t be achieved through sheer willpower.
Repeat after me: My willpower is limited.
Columbia psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson argues that our willpower is often not up to the task of resisting temptation. She offers, instead, that we use if-then planning to reduce our reliance on our willpower.
Rather than making a decision when the time comes, if-then planning allows you to plot out your defense ahead of time so that you’ve already made the right decision when the time comes.
Unfortunately, though, we can’t always plan for what’s ahead, which is when our willpower really needs to kick in.
Psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and science writer John Tierney, who wrote a book all about willpower, believe that willpower is like a muscle. It is something that we can build up through the right sustenance and exercise, and it is also something that can get worn out.
Here are some quick tips to boost your mental strength and fortitude:
Anyone with an Internet connection can now explore where Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Zoom out far enough (really far), and you can access Mars as well.
A tattoo machine causes a wound that alerts the body to begin the inflammatory process, calling immune system cells to the wound site to begin repairing the skin. It is this very process that makes tattoos permanent.
From the TED-Ed Lesson What makes tattoos permanent? - Claudia Aguirre
Animation by TOGETHER
A new smartphone accessory could democratize scientific research on an unprecedented scale.
Hate to break it to you but downloading an app won’t get you to your habits. Here’s the science of what will.
“Dreams are a great resource for me—I’m constantly getting dream imagery and writing things down.”
Can you survive in space without a spacesuit?
You know the answer to the question “what happens in space if you aren’t wearing a spacesuit” is going to be “very bad things”, but just what those bad things are is the interesting part.
Also, hi Eric!
(that’s my friend Eric in the video)
Operating successfully for over a year, the Bio Intelligent Quotient (B.I.Q.) building in Hamburg, Germany is the first to be fully powered by algae. The building is covered with 0.78-inch thick panels—200 square meters in total—filled with algae from the Elbe River and pumped full of carbon dioxide and nutrients. The panels, which display the bright green algae, are not only aesthetic, but performative. When sunlight hits the “bioreactor” panels, photosynthesis causes the microorganisms to multiply and give off heat. The warmth is then captured for heating water or storing in saline tanks underground, while algae biomass is harvested and dried. It can either be converted to biogas, or used in secondary pharmaceutical and food products. Residents have no heating bills and the building currently reduces overall energy needs by 50%.