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Science of TRON

Listen to audio from the "Science of TRON" panel, featuring director Joe Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey, and science consultants Sean Carroll & John Dick. Learn More

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Memories: It’s All in Your Head

Memories are consolidated from short-term to long-term in the hippocampus.Forgetting is as simple as walking through a doorway – that is the finding of a new study that experimented with memories and ways to walk through a home. Researchers asked participants to complete a simple task (exchanging one object for another) in either the same room or by walking through a doorway to another room. The result: people asked to complete the task in the other room were two to three times more likely to forget what they were supposed to do.

Science Helps You Cook the Perfect Turkey

Let’s talk turkey, science lovers. We’ve already showed you how to incorporate science into Halloween but now it’s time to “science up” Thanksgiving. No, we are not suggesting something along the lines of Schrodinger’s Turkey. Instead, we’ve rounded up ideas on how to cook the big, tasty bird with the help of chemistry!

Whether you are a fan of dark meat or light meat, you have to agree that turkey is delicious – and not easy to cook. How many movies and TV episodes feature a turkey mishap? More than we can count. Think of the turkey burning to a crisp when the Friends gang accidentally locked themselves out of the apartment, or the shuffling of the turkey from oven to oven in 2003’s Pieces of April. The bird is the word, and you can't have it run “afowl.”

In Time and Immortality: Is It Only a Matter of Time?

Time is money, so the saying goes, but in Andrew Niccol’s latest film In Time, time is money. A bus ride home will cost you 2 hours, a cup of coffee is 4 minutes, and a car could cost you years. Time is the currency, and you are given only a year. In the future, In Time posits, humans stop aging at 25. After that each person receives 365 more days to live, which they watch countdown on a clock glowing bright green on their arm. The poor work each day for more time, dying as the cost of living rises. (As Justin Timberlake’s character remarks, “For one day, I’d like to wake up with more hours on my arm than there are in the day.”) The rich are immortal.

Eight Facts You Didn't Know About Fear

The only thing you have to fear is fear itself … in which case you are suffering from phobophobia, the fear of fear. Okay, phobophobia is probably not what Franklin D. Roosevelt was referring to in his famous speech but how odd is a phobia of fear? And what you might find even more peculiar is the science behind fear. Neurologists and psychologists are studying fear to determine how phobias and anxiety disorders form, how to treat them, and even how to predict them.

Science Sings the Blues

 When you hum to music from the radio, you probably aren’t thinking of mathematics. Equations aren’t forming in your mind and you aren’t solving for x as the tunes hit your ears. But according to Jason I. Brown, professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Dalhousie University, human physiology, for some reason, is particularly suited to discovering the mathematics inherently in music. “Our bodies, our ears, and our minds are built to recognize the mathematics that lies here,” he said during his Distinctive Voices @ The Beckman Center talk on May 25, 2011.

All About the Science

The internet is buzzing over the trailer for War Horse, Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film about a horse sold to the cavalry during World War I. Here at The Exchange, we’re excited Spielberg is (once again) filming a movie with science. No, we aren’t talking about engineering weapons, the physics of warfare or the trajectories of bullets in a battlefield – it’s the horse that caught our attention.

The Nose Knows: An Electronic Nose

Dog noses are more sensitive to many chemicals than human noses are.Readers of this blog already know how fiction can inspire real science and we’ve got another example to show you today: the electronic nose. Ray Bradbury’s science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451 features the concept, as does the 1994 children’s film Richie Rich

In Richie Rich, Professor Keenbeam (who heads the research and development department for the Richs’ company) invents all sorts of technology, including an electronic nose that resembles a hairdryer with a pig’s nose on the front. It sounds strange but it becomes essential to the plot – it saves Richie’s parents from explosives hidden on their airplane. (Richie also uses it to detect what’s in his birthday presents.)

Villain Science: The Magnetizing Magneto

Something strange seems to be happening in Eastern Europe as of late. Something very, very strange. Something … magnetic. Recently circulated videos showcase the so-called magnetic children of Croatia and Serbia. One video shows 6-year-old Ivan Stoiljkovic’s bare chest covered in spoons and forks. In another video, 10-year-old Jelena Momcilov places a metal ladle against her “magnetic” palm, letting it dangle with her fingers outstretched.

What You Need to Know to Survive a Zombie Disease

It's going to take more than washing your hands to save you from the zombie diease.If you stay up late at night worrying about the impending zombie apocalypse, you will be happy to hear the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a blog post outlining exactly what you need to do to keep yourself (and your family) safe from the undead. But while the CDC provides great tips for preparing for an emergency of epidemic proportions, if you want to survive the zombies, you will also need to arm yourself with knowledge of infectious diseases and how they spread.

Annoyed? Blame Your Brain

Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world? Harry and Lloyd from Dumb & Dumber are clueless about almost everything around them – except a surprising expertise in how to be annoying. Lloyd’s “most annoying sound in the world” hits all the right, aggravating notes; it’s unpleasant, distracting, difficult to ignore, and you do not know when it will stop – it’s pure obnoxiousness. How could it not be annoying?

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