Summary of “Scientists have shown the perfect way to make pancakes, and that has huge implications”

Admittedly, flipping pancakes seems like a frivolous thing to do in a lab, but experiments that sound silly often help scientists answer important questions – the implications of which stretch far beyond the kitchen.
The simpler the experiment, the easier it is to analyze the results, draw conclusions, and design future research.
Many of these experiments involve everyday objects or tasks that seem too basic for scientists to investigate.
Doing an experiment to establish evidence for a long-held belief can yield unexpected results.
Scientists do these experiments because they need evidence for basic principles before studying more complex processes.
That’s why doing a simple experiment to prove something that seems obvious is good practice.
Press coverage about these types of experiments sometimes omits important details about the scientists’ motivations or the wider implications of their findings, leaving readers with a false impression.
Carrying out an experiment and publishing the results is a lengthy and expensive process, so no scientist would waste time on something frivolous.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Science Says the Most Successful Kids Have Parents Who Do These 9 Things”

If you’re a parent, a more compelling question may be: “What can I do to make sure my kids succeed in life?” Here’s what researchers say.1.
According to a nonprofit organization operating out of Harvard University, kids who eat with their families roughly five days a week exhibit lower levels of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, obesity, and depression.
Researchers have found that the brains of little kids can be permanently altered when they spend too much time using tablets and smartphones.
For kids ages two to five, it recommends limiting screen time to one hour a day.
To help kids build this skill, train them to have habits that must be accomplished every day-even when they don’t feel like doing them.
Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine have found that babies whose parents read to them have better language, literacy, and early reading skills four years later before starting elementary school.
Kids who like books when they’re little grow into people who read for fun later on, which has its own set of benefits.
According to Dr. Stephanie O’Leary, a clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology and author of Parenting in the Real World: The Rules Have Changed, failure is good for kids on several levels.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Everything We Know About Birds That Glow”

“We thought, ‘Well, why don’t we see what happens.'” So they pointed the light at the bird in question-a preserved specimen-and switched it on.
To properly understand bird glowiness, you have to first understand ultraviolet light, and the various ways in which it makes things visible.
We can’t see it, but a fair number of birds can access at least some of this part of the spectrum.
Studies have shown that seeing in UV helps birds with all kinds of tasks, from finding food to differentiating their own eggs from those of nest parasites.
“There are probably thousands of species of birds that have UV reflective patches on their plumage,” explains naturalist Scott Weidensaul.
New feathers glow brightly, while older ones have lost some of their pigments, and so appear darker or duller under the blacklight.
In most cases, we’re not quite sure what the birds themselves use it for.
Unlike, say, parrots, owls probably can’t even tell that their feathers are glowing-the moon doesn’t emit enough UV light to kick off the fluorescent effect.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This AI Can Spot Art Forgeries by Looking at One Brushstroke”

In onepaper, researchers from Rutgers University and the Atelier for Restoration & Research of Paintings in the Netherlands document how their system broke down almost 300 line drawings by Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, and other famous artists into 80,000 individual strokes.
Looking at the output of the machine-learning algorithm also provided some insight into the RNN, which acts as a “Black box”-a system whose outputs are difficult for researchers to explain.
Since the machine-learning algorithm was trained on specific features, the difference between it and the RNN probably points to the characteristics the neural network was looking at to detect forgeries.
The researchers also commissioned artists to create drawings in the same style as the pieces in the data set to test the system’s ability to spot fakes.
The system was able to identify the forgeries in every instance, simply by looking at a single stroke.
The most promising part of the research might be the way the researchers used the second method to make clear what the RNN is doing, says Eric Postma at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, who has done work in detecting art forgeries with AI for more than a decade.
There could be more applications for artificial intelligence in art, he says, but art historians and researchers, steeped in centuries of tradition, have been slow to embrace such techniques.
That’s in part because it can be difficult to understand how a machine arrived at its results-a problem this latest research could help solve.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Neuroscience Shows That Our Gut Instincts About Only Children Are Right”

Conventional wisdom has it that only children are smarter and less sociable.
Conversely, since those only children never have to share a toy, a bedroom, or a parent’s attention, it is assumed they miss out on that critical life skill of forever-having-to-get-along.
On the behavioral tests, only children displayed no differences in terms of IQ, but higher levels of flexibility-one measure of creativity-and lower levels of agreeableness than kids with siblings.
The brain scans then confirmed these findings, showing significant differences between only children and non-only children in the brain regions associated with flexibility, imagination, and planning and with agreeableness and emotional regulation.
The study concluded that the family size we choose, or end up with, affects not only the environment in which children grow up, but also the architecture of their brains.
Having worked on the 1896 study “Of Peculiar and Exceptional Children,” Hall cast only children as “Oddballs” as “Permanent misfits,” descriptions that have stuck over the years with remarkable persistence.
Toni Falbo, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and research methodologist Denise Polit undertook a meta-study looking at only children and intelligence and personality.
Parents of only children may interact more with their children, and seek out more opportunities to extend their children’s creativity.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Open-Minded People Have a Different Visual Perception of Reality”

Recent studies suggest that personality traits don’t simply affect your outlook on life, but the way you perceive reality.
One study published earlier this year in the Journal of Research in Personality goes so far as to suggest that openness to experience changes what people see in the world.
In the study, researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia recruited 123 volunteers and gave them the big five personality test, which measures extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.
This isn’t the only study that connects personality with perception.
The authors speculate that overlapping neurochemicals in the brain may link perception to personality.
While studies show that personality can shift over time, there’s currently little research on whether perception also changes to correspond with new personality traits.
Given the above cited evidence that meditation can shift perception, Antinori believes the way we see the world may well change in line with personality.
Mounting evidence suggests that our personalities are affecting our experience of the world in more ways than we realize.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Kids Want Things”

It’s really a fraught time, and there’s all this insecurity that kids have about Who am I? Do people like me? What kind of person am I? So how do we navigate that? Well, our appearance is one of the things we navigate with.
Pinsker: Can you talk a bit about what the alternative is to dwelling on physical stuff-the “Intangible resources” that kids have for making conversation, like who they are and things they’re good at?
So if kids have more things like athletic skills or activities that they can talk about or form connections with friends over those things, they can feel good about themselves through many different kinds of things.
She gives them words on paper and asks, “How important are these things to you?” And then they put the most important things on their collage.
As the kids get to middle-school age, more and more tangible things get on there and a larger percent of them are actual things, as opposed to activities or other people.
The helpful thing for parents here-and also the harmful-is yes, peers are really important, but our kids are watching us.
So that’s another reasonably strong association: Children who recall that their parents just bought them stuff when they wanted it, or who paid them money or bought them things when they got good grades, there’s a very consistent association that when these things happen in childhood, when that person is an adult, they’re more likely to be materialistic.
I never thought it was a good idea to reward children tangibly for the things that they do, because I don’t think life works that way-there are a lot of things you have to do and you don’t get any reward for them.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Will there ever be a cure for chronic pain?”

After decades of research into the cellular basis of chronic pain, McNaughton believes he has discovered the fundamentals of a drug that might eradicate it.
Today the team was assembled to hear a presentation by Rafaela Lone, a Brazilian scientist, who had spent the past six months in McNaughton’s lab breeding mice with symptoms that mimic fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes widespread pain and chronic fatigue.
Using genetic and pharmacological methods based on McNaughton’s research, she had achieved a consistent eradication of the mice’s pain.
From previous research, he knew that a group of ion channels, known as the HCN family, modulated pain sensation.
Then they tried HCN2. The team bred genetically engineered mice from embryos that had HCN2 excised from their DNA. Subsequent experiments showed that these mice did not develop neuropathic pain.
Chronic pain is estimated to affect a fifth of the global population, or 1.5bn people.
“The answer is no.” Instead, if his drug survives Merck’s rigorous clinical trials, he will be content that he has helped people like the elderly woman in rural Canada who recently wrote to him pleading for assistance in a life blighted by pain caused by type-2 diabetes.
“Give them a pill that makes the pain go away and then their life blooms once more!” he said, delighted by the thought.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Just Being Outside Can Improve Your Psychological Health, and Maybe Your Physical Health Too”

Reason one: Just being in a wooded area boosts your immune system.
These cells provide rapid responses to virus-infected cells and respond to tumor formation, and are associated with immune system health and cancer prevention.
Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better-inhaling phytoncides seems to actually improve immune system function.
As we’ve come to understand better over the past decade of research, our immune system depends on the health of our gut microbiome-which in turn depends partly on how much of the natural world’s microbiome we let infiltrate our bodies.
Evidence is growing to suggest our immune system is linked to our brain, which means it’s likely that nature’s microbiome plays a big role in our mental health, too.
Exposure to the bacteria in soil, specifically, appears to be good for mental health, and is being investigated as a treatment for depression.
The more we learn about the health benefits of exposure to the outdoors, the more it seems like a good idea to spend more time in them.
Researchers have found that just looking at the sea or at trees can have health benefits.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This med student was given last rites before finding a treatment that saved his life. His method could help millions”

Fajgenbaum then earned a master’s degree at Oxford University, where he learned how to conduct scientific research so that he could fight the disease that took his mom.
Fajgenbaum entered medical school at the University of Pennsylvania to become a doctor like his father – specifically, an oncologist, in tribute to his late mother.
Castleman disease struck Fajgenbaum four more times over the next three years, with hospitalizations that ranged from weeks to months.
Rather than starting a residency like most of his medical school classmates, Fajgenbaum began an MBA at Penn’s Wharton School in 2013.He also founded the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, a global initiative devoted to fighting Castleman disease.
Fajgenbaum has been in remission from Castleman for more than five years.
Fajgenbaum is now an assistant medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania, running a research lab and enrolling patients in a clinical trial for the drug that’s given him his life back.
The organization’s science policy director, Tonia Simoncelli, told CNN it’s highlighting Fajgenbaum’s CDCN as a model for how to rally a community together to best a rare disease.
So for the last 10 months Fajgenbaum’s group and the CZI have been working together to help rare-disease communities bring together patients, researchers and doctors to get the right research done as fast as possible.

The orginal article.