Conventional wisdom suggests that women are better than men at facial recognition and categorizing facial expressions. Penn State psychologists found no evidence for that, despite using both behavioral and neuroimaging tests.
Recent studies simply do not support the contention that having lofty personal standards or being highly organized is, per se, a negative psychological trait. So concludes Robert B. Slaney, Penn State professor of clinical psychology, according to a press release.
Imagine an airplane in 2002. What does it look like? How does it fly? Can it land in your own backyard?
Maybe. The V-22 Osprey tiltrotor combines the vertical take-off and landing ability of a helicopter with the long range and fuel efficiency of a plane. At the tip of each wing it has a triple-bladed rotor. The blades of these rotors face forward during flight, like propellers, and rotate upward for landing and takeoff, like helicopter rotors.
Everyone's known at least one perfectionist. The annoying kid in math class who complained about his A minus; the sister who spent hours in the bathroom getting ready for a date. My mother used to groan about her favorite couch pillows being out of place. I would ask her, "Why does everything have to be so perfect with you?"
But most of us set high standards in some part of our lives. Athletes and their sport. Doctors and their practice. Does this mean we're all perfectionists? Is it abnormal to want the best from ourselves?
What will afternoon rush hour be like on State College's North Atherton Street in the year 2006, or 2016? How would a new strip mall or three affect the flow of fall football traffic along Route 26?
Accurately predicting the future is a tricky problem for city planners—and for traffic engineers.
Konstadinos Goulias is trying to get a little closer to reality by looking at the bigger picture.
Fifth Philosopher's Song
A million million spermatozoa All of them alive; Out of their cataclysm but one poor Noah Dare hope to survive.
And among that billion minus one Might have chanced to be Shakespeare, another Newton, a new Donne—But the One was Me.
Shame to have ousted your betters thus, Taking ark while the others remained outside! Better for all of us, froward Homunculus, If you'd quietly died!
—Aldous Huxley (1920)
We'll never get wet the same again.
Results from a Space Shuttle experiment have disproved Young's equation, the accepted explanation for how liquids wet solids. Liquids form regular "beads" on a solid surface, like rain on a polished car hood, as Young's equation predicts, only when the surface is horizontal to gravity. On any other surface on Earth—or in space—the drops are irregular, like teardrops.
China is given credit for four major contributions to the world—paper, printing, gunpowder, and the mariner's compass. Additionally, the Chinese get credit for silk, tea, porcelain, various plants, herbal medicines, lacquer, playing cards, dominoes, wallpaper, the folding umbrella, the kite, zinc in coins, goldfish, and the discovery of coal. Overlooked are rubbings. I want to propose that rubbings represent the first successful copying process and therefore deserve more recognition in the technological scheme.
The river will have its day. The rains will come and the river will rise. The river will rise and spill its banks and spread, fanning hungrily over the lowest land, widening, seeking its rest. Spreading its chaos. An angry current, long pent up, unimaginable: a thundering coffee-brown tumble of mud-water, miles across, bobbing with tires and tree limbs, porch roofs and garbage cans. Mesmerizing. Running on, drowning cornfields, wheat fields, bean fields, baseball diamonds. Unrelenting.
I'd heard of the firefly trick—taking the gene that makes the bug blink and sticking it into a heretofore unblinking cell, say, a human red blood cell. I was hoping to see it done when I scheduled an afternoon last April in Penn State biochemist Ross Hardison's lab. But my tourguide, undergraduate researcher Monette Aujay, merely shrugged.
That work was years old.
But did she use it?
She tilted her head, eyed me calmly. Well, yes.
Braveheart was a good film," Gerard J. Brault graciously admits, but not an especially accurate one. "The Scottish noblemen don't seem to have any coats of arms in the movie," he notes with disappointment. "And we know, at that time"—the turn of the 14th century—"that some of them did."
Ask any elementary school teacher about the kid whose foot never stops tapping, whose books and pencils keep falling off his desk, seemingly of their own volition, who shouts and pushes and forgets his lunch, his jacket, his head—and is impossibly distracted from taking a test by the hum of the overhead lights.
Liquid crystals, that curious phase of matter between solid and liquid, play tricks with light: they change its direction of vibration as it traverses them. Some liquid crystals split light into left and right-handed rays, whose vibrations describe opposing spirals as they pass through a crystal's layers. "One ray rotates clockwise, the other counterclockwise, at different velocities," explains Akhlesh Lakhtakia.
"It's a little ripe today," Ralph Mumma remarks. He nods out the window of the Pesticide Research Lab. "As you came into the building, you might have smelled that manure pile behind the hill. I could smell it. The University stores its manure in a little shed just over the hill. So now we are working on manure odors."
A light has gone out on the prairie.
Roger Martin, editor at the University of Kansas, has doused his research magazine, Explore.
The cessation had been rumored, but a final installment, in spring of last year, made it official. No longer will we thrill to the cosmic curiosity and occasional high jinks of Martin and staff as they bend the limits of research-magazine journalism.
"Surveying on the summit of Merapi at dawn is marvelous," we quoted geophysicist Barry Voight as saying in the March 1990 Research/Penn State. "An array of dark cones—Sumbing (9,000 feet high), Sundoro (7,500), Dieng (7,500), and Slamet (9,000)—pierce the sea of clouds, marking the spine of Java. A golden band rims the horizon.