Tag Archives: Science

Peak Cuteness, and Other Revelations from the Science of Puppies | The New Yorker

A new book explores how dogs and people grow up together.

By Rivka Galchen, September 18, 2022

Photographs by Peter Fisher

Alexandra Horowitz, the head scientist at Barnard College’s Dog Cognition Lab, has conducted a longitudinal observational study on the first year of life of a member of Canis lupus familiaris. In other words, like many others, Horowitz got a pandemic puppy. And she paid a lot of attention to that puppy, whom she and her family named Quiddity, or Quid, meaning “essence of.” She chronicles this in “The Year of the Puppy,” a book with an unsurprisingly adorable cover.

Since Horowitz already had two dogs, a cat, and a son, her motivation for getting a puppy is somewhat convincingly presented as being in the service of science. Horowitz has written several popular books about dogs and dog science: “Our Dogs, Ourselves,” “Being a Dog,” and “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.” In her new book, Horowitz’s goal is to think and write about dogs in a way that is distinct from usual pet-related fare about how to teach a puppy not to lunge at children and not to increase your household paper-towel budget. Instead, she aims to try to better understand a young dog, from Day One to day three hundred and sixty-five, as a being in transformation. She wants to write about puppies developmentally.

Source: https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/peak-cuteness-and-other-revelations-from-the-science-of-puppies

The staggering lack of female artists in America’s museums | Axios

By Anna Braz, Nicki, Camberg, Victoria Ellis, Sept 10, 2022 – Science

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Women are the muses of the art in our museums, but rarely the creators.

Why it matters: Female artists’ work is a fraction of what’s displayed in museums, but that’s not due to a lack of women in art.

By the numbers: A recent analysis of major U.S. art museums by researchers at Williams College found that just 13% of artists featured in those collections were women. But some 55% of working artists are women, per data from the career platform Zippia.

The big picture: Kelema Moses, an art history expert and professor at the University of California, San Diego, points to a centuries-old pattern of women being left out of the art world.

  • “Let’s think back to the renaissance,” she says. “Women were kept out of art schools and institutions, and therefore could not become artists with a capital ‘A’.”

Now, women make up the majority of art students and working artists, but they’re still catching up to that long history of exclusion.

  • And museum directors or those in charge of curating the art are majority male, Moses notes.
  • “It’s sort of cliche to say that representation matters, but it really does. To see yourself, or at least a portion of your identity represented in museum spaces is critical because it can act as a vector for social change,” Moses says.

What to watch: Change is coming — albeit gradually.

About BHL – Information about the Biodiversity Heritage Library

By BHL, Noted July 18, 2022

About the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Source: Flickr image, Edinburgh journal of natural history and of the physical sciences.
Edinburgh [etc.] :Published for the proprietor [etc.],1835-1840.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. BHL is revolutionizing global research by providing free, worldwide access to knowledge about life on Earth.

To document Earth’s species and understand the complexities of swiftly-changing ecosystems in the midst of a major extinction crisis and widespread climate change, researchers need something that no single library can provide — access to the world’s collective knowledge about biodiversity.

While natural history books and archives contain information that is critical to studying biodiversity, much of this material is available in only a handful of libraries globally. Scientists have long considered this lack of access to biodiversity literature as a major impediment to the efficiency of scientific research.

Headquartered at the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives in Washington, D.C., BHL operates as a worldwide consortium of natural history, botanical, research, and national libraries working together to address this challenge by digitizing the natural history literature held in their collections and making it freely available for open access as part of a global “biodiversity community.”

See also: Images on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/biodivlibrary/sets/

Source: About BHL – Information about the Biodiversity Heritage Library

How to Improve Your Happiness, According to Science – CNET

There are things you can do every day to improve happiness.

By Alison DeNisco Rayome, June 28, 2022 6:36 p.m. PT

man in white crew neck t shirt sitting beside woman in blue denim jacket
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

In 2014, two psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, launched an online course with a lofty goal: teaching students how to be happy, through both science and practice, in just eight weeks.

No big deal, right?

The amazing thing: It seemed to work. Thousands of students took the Science of Happiness course (which is still free to audit on edX, a provider of open online courses) and learned about the science of connection, compassion, gratitude and mindfulness. Perhaps more importantly, they also completed a series of simple activities that research suggests increase happiness.

Those who fully participated saw their positive feelings increase each week. They reported feeling less sadness, stress, loneliness, anger and fear, while at the same time experiencing more amusement, enthusiasm and affection, as well as a greater sense of community. During the course, students’ happiness and life satisfaction increased by about 5%. And that boost remained even four months after the course ended (though it’s difficult to fully untangle that result; it could’ve been from doing the activities, the students’ new understanding of the psychology of happiness, or something totally different).

Source: How to Improve Your Happiness, According to Science – CNET

What is time? The mysterious essence of the fourth dimension | New Scientist

The true nature of time continues to elude us. But whether it is a fundamental part of the cosmos or an illusion made in our minds has profound implications for our understanding of the universe

Physics 15 June 2022, By Richard Webb


WE ARE BORN; we live; at some point, we die. The notion that our existence is limited by time is fundamental to human experience.

We can’t fight it – and truth be told, we don’t know what we are fighting against. Time is a universal whose nature we all – and physicists especially – fail to grasp. But why is time so problematic?

“If we had a really good answer to that question,” says Astrid Eichhorn, a theoretical physicist at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, “then it wouldn’t be so problematic.”

On a certain level, time is simple: it is what stops everything happening at once. That might seem flippant, but it is at least something people can agree on. “The causal order of things is really what time is all about,” says Eichhorn.

Viewed this way, the existence of time can be interpreted as a necessary precondition for the sort of universe where things lead to other things, among them intelligent life that can ask questions, such as “what is time?”.

Beyond that, time’s essence is mysterious. For instance, why can things only influence other things in one direction in time, but in multiple directions in the three dimensions of space.

Most physical theories, from Isaac Newton’s laws of motion to quantum mechanics, skirt such questions. In these theories, time is an “independent variable” against which other things change, but which can’t be changed by anything else. In that sense, time exists outside physics, like the beat of a metronome outside the universe to which everything inside it plays out.

Source: What is time? The mysterious essence of the fourth dimension | New Scientist