The appeal of the Stanford prison experiment seems to go deeper than its scientific validity, perhaps because it tells us a story about ourselves that we desperately want to believe: that we, as individuals, cannot really be held accountable for the sometimes reprehensible things we do. As troubling as it might seem to accept Zimbardo’s fallen vision of human nature, it is also profoundly liberating. It means we’re off the hook. Our actions are determined by circumstance. Our fallibility is situational. Just as the Gospel promised to absolve us of our sins if we would only believe, the SPE offered a form of redemption tailor-made for a scientific era, and we embraced it.

nasa Great ball of fire! 🔥 This close-up view of the Sun is from a two-hour period on August 13, 2018, showing a minor eruption of charged particles rising up and twisting about before falling back into the Sun. Captured in extreme ultraviolet light, these kinds of events are difficult to see except when they occur along the sun’s edge. At its peak, the plasma rises to heights that are several times the diameter of Earth.

We use the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which captured this view, to better understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere in many wavelengths simultaneously. This allows us to better understand the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity’s technological systems by looking for solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance that lead to better predictions of space weather events.

Credit: NASA/SDO

Why does the deep sea matter? And what’s down there?

The ocean is the lifeblood of Earth. It covers more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, drives weather, regulates temperature, and supports all living organisms. But we’ve explored, mapped, and observed less than 20 percent of it.

The deep sea is one of the least explored areas within the ocean – but new technologies like remotely operated vehicles are changing that. So what are we finding?

GIF transcript beneath the cut. 

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hey, do you want to see something cool that makes writing things on google docs a lot easier?

Google Docs Add-ons.

All you gotta do is open ‘Add-ons’ in a document and select ‘Get add-ons’.

You can then click on any add-on on the opening page to install it in your Google Docs account, as well as search for more to install in the “search add-ons” bar.

It will have you confirm your account and will then return to whatever document you had open. Typically, add-ons will install in seconds and then notify you that the installation process is done.

To access an add-on, open the ‘Add-ons’ tab and find the add-on you installed. 

For an example, let’s say that I just installed the EasyBib add-on, which would let me open EasyBib (a bibliography/citation creator) directly in Google Docs and would save me a lot of time whenever I wrote research papers. To access the Easy Bib add-on, I would go to the ‘Add-ons’ tab, select ‘EasyBib Bibliography Creator’, and click on “Manage Bibliography”.

This sidebar would open.

I could then select what sort of media I am citing and what format I want to cite it in, just like on, only so much more conveniently. If you’re like me and prefer to hyperfocus on content in one tab instead of content in five separate tabs, this can help you stay on task.

There are also add-ons for accented letters, speech-to-text, Google Translate, formatting shortcuts, clip art, and more.

In conclusion, I am a slut for Google Docs add-ons.

☆.。.:* planetary correspondences .。.:*☆

✩ the sun (sol)
zodiac: leo
metal: gold
day: sunday
colour/s: yellow, orange, amber
stone/s: amber, topaz, ruby, diamond, cat’s eye, chrysoleth, carbuncle
herbs: angelica, poppy, acacia ash, sunflower, marigold, eyebright, heliotrope, hibiscus, st john’s wart, calendula, mistletoe
symbols: lion, hexagram, sparrowhawk, dragon, head, heart, swan
influences: renown, potency, success, fortune, tyranny, pride, ambition, masculinity, arrogance, bigotry, vitality, health, leadership, money, prosperity

✩ the moon
zodiac: cancer
metal: silver
day: monday
colour/s: white, blue, silver
stone/s: moonstone, pearl
herbs: eucalyptus, coconut, jasmine, lotus, myrrh, gardenia, sandalwood, orris, ginseng
symbols: the high priestess (tarot card), the chariot (tarot card), bow and arrow, crab, cat, turtle, sphinx, owl
influences: gratitude, friendliness, safe travel, physical health, wealth, protection from enemies, deception, illusion, women, emotions, healing, dreams, prophecy

✩ jupiter
zodiac: pisces, sagittarius 
metal: tin
day: thursday
colour/s: blue
stone/s: sapphire
symbols: eagle, dolphin
influences: gains, riches, favour, peace, cooperation, appeasing enemies, dissolving enchantment, recognition, councils

✩ mars
zodiac: aries, scorpio
metal: iron, red brass, steel
day: tuesday
colour/s: red
stone/s: ruby, garnet, bloodstone, diamond
herbs: gentian, ginger, mustard, nettles
symbols: sword, pentagram, the tower (tarot card), horse, bear, wolf, vulture
influences: war, victory, judgements, submission of enemies, bleeding, stripping one of rank, bareness, discord, conflict, aggression, lust, conflict, power, courage, goals, protection, motivation, ambition, strength

✩ mercury
zodiac: virgo, gemini
metal: aluminium, mercury 
day: wednesday
colour/s: violet, gray, purple, indigo, yellow
stone/s: opal agate
herbs: hyssop, juniper, betony, carrot, caraway, chervil, chickweed, cinquefoil, mullein
symbols: wand, caduceus, octagram, the mind, the lovers (tarot card)
influences: good fortune, gratitude, gain, memory, understanding, divination, dreams, selfishness, poverty, forgetfulness, communication, business, cleverness, contracts, creativity, information, intellect, memory, perception, science, wisdom, gambling, writing, root of dishonesty and deception

✩ saturn
zodiac: capricorn
metal: lead
day: saturday
colour/s: black
stone/s: onyx
herbs: aconite, alder, apple, ash, asparagus, baneberry, beech, belladonna, bistort, hellebore, blackthorn, comfrey, corn, cypress
symbols: lapwing, cuttlefish, mole
influences: safety, power, success, positive response to requests, intellect, causes discord, strips honours, melancholy

✩ venus
zodiac: taurus, libra
metal: copper
day: friday
colour/s: green, pink
stone/s: turquoise, emerald, sapphire, jade
herbs: jimsonweed, violet, rose, coltsfoot, alder, alkanet, apple, angelica, olive, sesame
symbols: the heirophant (tarot card), sparrow, dove, swan, girdle, heptagram, pentagram
influences: peace, agreements, cooperation, fertility, joy, love, good fortune, jealousy, strife, promiscuity

✩ neptune
zodiac: pisces 
mineral/s: coral, aquamarine, platinum, neptunium 
colour/s: green, blue, lavender
herbs: bulrush, lobelia, morning glory, night-blooming jasmine, phragmytes, perilla, pine, reed, reed canary grass, water lily
symbols: the sea, trident, the spine
influences: dissolving boundaries, expanding upon ideas, changing established rules, intuition, idealism, sacrifice, glamour, illusion, evolution, decay, visions, art, healing, inspiration, dreams, creativity, compassion, drifting from reality, carelessness, stubbornness, absent mindedness

✩ uranus
zodiac: aquarius
day: thursday
colour/s: blue-green, electric blue
stone/s: quartz, labradorite, blue topaz, zircon, amber, amethyst, garnet, aventurine, diamond
herbs: clover, bryony, pokeweed, snowdrop, foxglove, valerian, love, rosemary, tree of heaven, hellebore, morning glory, houseleek, sage, wintergreen, caraway, orchids, sweet woodruff
symbols: dragonfly, butterfly
influences: breaking convention, sudden and unexpected change, freedom, originality, radical and revolutionary ideas, enlightenment, equality, individuality, rebellion, instability, loneliness, boredom, mistrust of self

✩ pluto
zodiac: scorpio
metal: plutonium, tin, chrome, steel
day: tuesday
colour/s: mauve, maroon, dark red, purple, white, black
stone/s: snowflake obsidian, white howlite, hypersthene, black tourmaline
herbs: rhododendron, pomegranate, chrysanthemum, rosemary, vanilla, basil, poppies, belladonna, foxglove, hemlock
symbols: phoenix, snake, scorpion, fox, eagle
influences: destruction making way for renewal, rebirth, knowledge, spirituality, transformation, destiny, the subconscious, renewal, desire, arrogance, death, insolence, obsession, destruction

It’s alive! It’s ALIVE!

After 30,000 years, a giant virus has been brought back to life from the Siberian permafrost; a layer of permanently frozen soil that rings the Arctic. After isolating the microbe and sequencing its DNA, it was classified to the genus pithovirus; a giant virus group which shares only a third of its genes with any known organisms and only 11 percent of its genes with other viruses.

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Experience High-Res Science in First 8K Footage from Space

Fans of science in space can now experience fast-moving footage in even higher definition as NASA delivers the first 8K ultra high definition (UHD) video of astronauts living, working and conducting research from the International Space Station.

The same engineers who sent high-definition (HD) cameras, 3D cameras, and a camera capable of recording 4K footage to the space station have now delivered a new camera– Helium 8K camera by RED – capable of recording images with four times the resolution than the previous camera offered.

Let’s compare this camera to others: The Helium 8K camera is capable of shooting at resolutions ranging from conventional HDTV up to 8K, specifically 8192 x 4320 pixels. By comparison, the average HD consumer television displays up to 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution, and digital cinemas typically project 2K to 4K.

Viewers can watch as crew members advance DNA sequencing in space with the BEST investigation, study dynamic forces between sediment particles with BCAT-CS, learn about genetic differences in space-grown and Earth-grown plants with Plant Habitat-1, observe low-speed water jets to improve combustion processes within engines with Atomization and explore station facilities such as the MELFI, the Plant Habitat, the Life Support Rack, the JEM Airlock and the CanadArm2.

Delivered to the station aboard the fourteenth SpaceX cargo resupply mission through a Space Act Agreement between NASA and RED, this camera’s ability to record twice the pixels and at resolutions four times higher than the 4K camera brings science in orbit into the homes, laboratories and classrooms of everyone on Earth. 

While the 8K resolutions are optimal for showing on movie screens, NASA video editors are working on space station footage for public viewing on YouTube. Viewers will be able to watch high-resolution footage from inside and outside the orbiting laboratory right on their computer screens. Viewers will need a screen capable of displaying 8K resolution for the full effect, but the imagery still trumps that of standard cameras. RED videos and pictures are shot at a higher fidelity and then down-converted, meaning much more information is captured in the images, which results in higher-quality playback, even if viewers don’t have an 8K screen.   

The full UHD files are available for download for use in broadcast. Read the NASA media usage guidelines
Imaging tool unravels secrets of child's sock from ancient Egypt
Non-invasive technique devised by British Museum sheds light on dyeing and weaving process
By Caroline Davies

The ancient Egyptians famously gave us paper and the pyramids, but were also early adopters of the stripy sock.

Scientists at the British Museum have developed pioneering imaging to discover how enterprising Egyptians used dyes on a child’s sock, recovered from a rubbish dump in ancient Antinoupolis in Roman Egypt, and dating from 300AD.

New multispectral imaging can establish which dyes were used – madder (red), woad (blue) and weld (yellow) – but also how people of the late antiquity period used double and sequential dying and weaving, and twisting fibres to create myriad colours from their scarce resources.

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Vampire Trees

This is an image of the branch of the rare albino redwood tree. They completely lack the green pigment chlorophyll.

Albinism is a genetic mutation that prevents cells from producing pigment. It’s normally not a big deal. But albinism in plants means that they can’t utilise chlorophyll to photosynthesise. Instead, they suck the life from surrounding trees!

They remain attached to the roots of their healthy, normal, parent trees and survive by sucking energy from them.

Only about 25 of these trees are known to exist around the world, eight of which are at Henry Cowell State Park in California. This park has the largest known concentration of albino redwoods anywhere branding it the epicentre for a scientific mystery.


Image courtesy of wikimedia commons
Huge reduction in meat-eating ‘essential’ to avoid climate breakdown
Major study also finds huge changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying Earth’s ability to feed its population
By Damian Carrington

Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses.

The research also finds that enormous changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed the 10 billion people expected to be on the planet in a few decades.

Your Gut in Space

Finding the Right Balance for the Microbiota

Trillions of microorganisms live on and in the human body, many of them essential to its function and health. These organisms, collectively known as the microbiota, outnumber cells in the body by at least five times. 

Microorganisms in the intestinal tract, the gut microbiota, play an especially important role in human health. An investigation on the International Space Station, Rodent Research-7 (RR-7), studies how the gut microbiota changes in response to spaceflight, and how that change in turn affects the immune system, metabolic system, and circadian or daily rhythms. 

Research shows that the microbiota in the mammalian digestive tract has a major impact on an individual’s physiology and behavior. In humans, disruption of microbial communities has been linked to multiple health problems affecting intestinal, immune, mental and metabolic systems.

The investigation compares two different genetic strains of mice and two different durations of spaceflight. Twenty mice, ten of each strain, launch to the space station, and another 20 remain on the ground in identical conditions (except, of course, for the absence of gravity). Mice are a model organism that often serves as a scientific stand-in for other mammals and humans. 

Fecal material collected from the mice every two weeks will be examined for changes in the gut microbiota. Researchers plan to analyze fecal and tissue samples after 30 and 90 days of flight to compare the effects of different durations of time in space. 

With a better understanding of relationships between changes such as disruption in sleep and an imbalance of microbial populations, researchers can identify specific factors that contribute to changes in the microbiota. Further studies then can determine proactive measures and countermeasures to protect astronaut health during long-term missions. 

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If you hold your nose and take a sip of coffee, mostly what you’ll taste is a bitter liquid. Much of the gustatory pleasure we take from coffee comes from its aroma.

But a new study suggests people’s sensitivity to that bitter taste plays a role in how much coffee they drink. And though it seems counterintuitive, the study shows that the more sensitive you are to the bitter taste of coffee, the more of it you tend to drink.

A team of researchers conducted their analysis using data stored in something called the UK Biobank. More than 500,000 people have contributed blood, urine and saliva samples to the biobank, which scientists can use to answer various research questions. The volunteers also filled out questionnaires asking a variety of health-related questions, including how much coffee they drink.

Part of what determines our sensitivity to bitter substances is determined by the genes we inherit from our parents. So the researchers used genetic analysis of samples from the biobank to find people who were more or less sensitive to three bitter substances: caffeine, quinine (think tonic water) and a chemical called propylthiouracil that is frequently used in genetic tests of people’s ability to taste bitter compounds.

Then they looked to see if people sensitive to one or more of these substances drank more or less coffee than people who were not sensitive. To the researchers’ surprise, people who were more sensitive to caffeine reported increased coffee consumption compared with people who were less sensitive.

How to explain these results? Marylin Cornelis, assistant professor of preventative medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and one of the study authors says people may “learn to associate that bitter taste with the stimulation that coffee can provide.” In other words, they get hooked on the buzz.

Buzz, Buzz: Bitter Tasters Like Coffee Better

Image: Dimitri Otis/Getty Images