Did you go outside and smile for the camera last Friday, like Carolyn Porco (watch her talk) asked you to, while the Cassini probe snapped a photo of Jupiter with Earth in the background? In this hyper-detailed post from Diary of Numbers, the author calculates the odds that one of your photons is in the shot.
And you may be thinking: Oh, come on now. I know I wasn’t in that picture. Even though I made all that effort to go outside and smile, That’s it, Cassini: I’m over you. But you’ll fall in love again when you watch this 4-minute video compilation of Saturn images. Trippy and wonderful, it comes with a strobe effect warning, and gives a general sensation of floating in space, especially when you watch full-screen.
Last Sunday, Nicholas Christakis (watch his talk) published a provocative editorial — “Let’s Shake Up the Social Sciences” — suggesting that universities and professors just move on from already-well-established arguments in the social sciences. It’s time, he says, to apply the tools of neuroscience, behavioral economics and evolutionary psych to hunt for new insight into societies. Also take a look at this detailed critique of the piece at The Neuro Times.
Chineasy, the system for learning Chinese by connecting characters to concepts they resemble, is now on Kickstarter. ShaoLan Hsueh (watch her talk ) is looking to raise £75,000 to publish a book of the system.
Bob Gordon (watch his talk) gets the starring role in this insightful analysis of the economy in New York magazine. Describing him as “a declinist and an accidental social theorist,” the piece lays out the thinking of the 72-year-old economist: “He has held a named chair at Northwestern for decades and is one of the eminent macroeconomists of his generation, but the scope of his bleakness has given him, over the past year, a newfound public profile. It has been a good time to be bleak, and Gordon, bleaker than everyone else, commands attention.” TED gets a shout-out for setting up Gordon’s talk at TED2013 with a counterpoint from Erik Brynjolfsson (watch it here).
PoetsandQuants.com has gathered up — and graded — six TED Talks from business school professors. Agree with their ranking?
In an experiment evoking the work of TEDGlobal speaker Elizabeth Loftus, two MIT researchers have created a false memory in a mouse by manipulating memory-bearing cells in the hippocampus, using light. It’s on the cover of this month’s Science, and you can read more in the Guardian. The fascinating technique of using light to activate brain cells — called optogenetics — was pioneered by TEDGlobal speaker Gero Miesenböck.
Bill Gates: Book reviewer! On his site The Gates Notes, he writes detailed (and sometimes multimedia) reviews of books he likes. Last week, he posted a wonderful interview with Jared Diamond about his new book — well worth a look. Diamond talked about the new book at TED2013; we’ll bring you that talk this fall.
Kate Stone’s niece Charlotte posted her new music video yesterday — made with the help of the Paper Bass that Stone demoed at TED. She writes: “It’s so exciting to be part of my Aunt Kate’s amazing inspiring creations…and such a great opportunity to work with a fantastic DJ too :)”
PS: If you’re in Cambridge, UK, on Sunday, come down to Cambridge town centre to see Dr. Stone and Charlotte demo’ing the drum poster, DJ decks and paper speakers.