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Science & Technology news & discussion

Labeled as discuss in The Break Room, started by CraigD, Oct 19, 2020

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  1. J Sokol

    J Sokol Top Contributor VIP

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    Hundreds Of Companies Call For U.S. To Slash Carbon Emissions

    More than 300 businesses have signed an open letter calling on the Biden administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States to at least half of 2005 levels by 2030. That would nearly double a previous target set by former President Barack Obama in 2015, who pledged a 25 to 28% reduction by 2025.

    The United States is not currently on track to meet either goal.

    The signatories include some of largest companies in the United States, including Walmart, Apple, McDonald's and Starbucks. "A bold 2030 target is needed to catalyze a zero-emissions future, spur a robust economic recovery, create millions of well-paying jobs, and allow the U.S. to 'build back better' from the pandemic," the letter said, echoing the president's economic recovery slogan.

    https://www.npr.org/2021/04/13/9867...panies-call-for-u-s-to-slash-carbon-emissions

    It looks like the corporate world is finally waking up.
     
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  2. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Noisy environments can have detrimental effect on plants, study finds

    As humans proliferate, we have penetrated deeper into wildlife habitats, creating a pervasive rise in environmental sound with our gadgets, traffic and industry. A growing body of research has shown how noise pollution adversely affects animal behaviour – but a study suggests the detrimental effects have trickled down to plants as well.

    “If you’re changing the ability for a seed to grow in some place because a bird is no longer dropping said seed there, that could change the habitat for a whole plethora of species.”

    Read the full article:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environ...tudy-finds-persistent-noise-natural-gas-wells
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  3. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    I agree. I think the first stage of a developing technological nation is copying, which brings fresh minds who approach ideas from a new angle which then leads to unique research and development.

    I'm interested in photography and music, and this technological progression was clearly seen in those two industries in Japan during the 1960's. In the space of a decade they went from copying musical instruments and cameras to being world leaders producing some of the most well crafted and revolutionary designs.

    That trend has continued elsewhere. Production facilities are established in poor countries where manufacturing costs and labour are cheap, and within a generation the bright sparks are soon leading the world in that field.
     
  4. Cannuck

    Cannuck 420 friendly VIP

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    US investment and consumer demand for cheap products, together with superior Japanese tooling fueled the growth of China's manufacturing, having cheap labour and a large workforce. Who is to blame for the insatiable greed of money and world resources? On the other hand, I'm no sympathizer to autocratic regimes (hyper-capitalistic in disguise of Communism) ...referring to themselves as a developing nation for the benefit of International aid. IMO. :xf.rolleyes:
     
  5. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Superbug killer: New nanotech destroys bacteria and fungal cells

    [​IMG]
    Drug-resistant MRSA before and after exposure to the nanocoating

    Researchers have developed a new superbug-destroying coating that could be used on wound dressings and implants to prevent and treat potentially deadly bacterial and fungal infections.

    The material is one of the thinnest antimicrobial coatings developed to date and is effective against a broad range of drug-resistant bacteria and fungal cells, while leaving human cells unharmed.

    The new research, published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Applied Materials & Interfaces, reveals that BP [black phosphorus] is effective at killing microbes when spread in nanothin layers on surfaces like titanium and cotton, used to make implants and wound dressings.

    “We need smart new weapons for the war on superbugs, which don’t contribute to the problem of antimicrobial resistance."

    “Our nanothin coating is a dual bug killer that works by tearing bacteria and fungal cells apart, something microbes will struggle to adapt to. It would take millions of years to naturally evolve new defences to such a lethal physical attack."

    "While we need further research to be able to apply this technology in clinical settings, it’s an exciting new direction in the search for more effective ways to tackle this serious health challenge.”

    Read the full article:
    https://www.miragenews.com/superbug-killer-new-nanotech-destroys-bacteria-543523/
     
  6. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Ingredient in Household Cleaner Improves Efficiency of Fusion Reactions

    Want to improve your chances of making electricity from fusion? Look no further than the cleaners under your kitchen sink.

    Research led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) provides new evidence that particles of boron, the main ingredient of Borax household cleaner, can coat internal components of doughnut-shaped plasma devices known as tokamaks and improve the efficiency of the fusion reactions.

    “Our experiment brings key insights into how this technique works,” said PPPL physicist Alessandro Bortolon, lead author of a paper reporting the findings in Nuclear Fusion. “The results will help clarify whether the controlled injection of boron powder could be used to support efficient operation of future fusion reactors.”

    Fusion combines light elements in the form of plasma — the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei — in a process that can generate massive amounts of energy. Scientists are seeking to harness fusion, which powers the sun and stars, to create a virtually inexhaustible supply of power to generate electricity.

    The researchers found that the boron injection technique makes it easier to produce reliably high-performance plasmas in tokamaks with interior components lined with light elements like carbon, commonly used in present-day devices. The results were derived from experiments on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility that General Atomics operates for the DOE.

    Read on...

    https://scitechdaily.com/ingredient-in-household-cleaner-improves-efficiency-of-fusion-reactions/
     
  7. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Space science is leaping ahead...

    For The First Time, Scientists Have Performed Atom Interferometry in Space


    To make some of the most precise measurements we can of the world around us, scientists tend to go small - right down to the atomic scale, using a technique called atom interferometry.

    Now, for the first time, scientists have performed this kind of measurement in space, using a sounding rocket specially designed to carry science payloads into low-Earth space.

    It's a significant step towards being able to perform matter-wave interferometry in space, for science applications that range from fundamental physics to navigation.

    "We have established the technological basis for atom interferometry on board of a sounding rocket and demonstrated that such experiments are not only possible on Earth, but also in space," said physicist Patrick Windpassinger of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany.

    "Undertaking this kind of experiment would be a future objective on satellites or the International Space Station ISS, possibly within BECCAL, the Bose Einstein Condensate and Cold Atom Laboratory, which is currently in the planning phase," said physicist André Wenzlawski of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany.

    "In this case, the achievable accuracy would not be constrained by the limited free-fall time aboard a rocket."

    In just a few short years, we could be using atom interferometry for applications such as quantum tests of general relativity, detection of gravitational waves, and even the search for dark matter and dark energy.

    Read the full article:
    https://www.sciencealert.com/for-th...s-have-performed-atom-interferometry-in-space
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  8. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    What I find interesting is that China was a world leader in science and technology for thousands of years. I believe it was the isolationist policy toward the end of the Ming dynasty that curbed further development.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ming_dynasty#Science_and_technology
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  9. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    The Google Doodle for the day...

    Johannes Gutenberg


    ... who introduced printing to Europe with his mechanical movable-type printing press. His work started the Printing Revolution and is regarded as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the modern period of human history.


    [​IMG]
    Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg
    c 1400 - February 3, 1468



    Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (/ˈɡuːtənbɜːrɡ/;[1] c. 1400[2] – February 3, 1468) was a German goldsmith, inventor, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe with his mechanical movable-type printing press. His work started the Printing Revolution and is regarded as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the modern period of human history; an overview of the wide acclaim of Gutenberg’s accomplishments is found in several sources.[3] In 1999, the A&E Network ranked Gutenberg no. 1 on their "People of the Millennium" countdown.[4] In 1997, Time–Life magazine picked Gutenberg's invention as the most important of the second millennium.[5] Four prominent US journalists did the same in their 1998 resume, ranking his impact high in shaping the millennium.[6] The Catholic Encyclopedia describes Gutenberg’s invention as having made a practically unparalleled cultural impact in the Christian era.[7] It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, and Scientific Revolution, as well as laying the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.[8][9][10][11]

    Gutenberg in 1439 was the first European to use movable type. His many contributions to printing include: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink for printing books;[12] adjustable molds;[13] mechanical movable type; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period.[14] His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system that allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike. Gutenberg's method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type. The alloy was a mixture of lead, tin, and antimony that melted at a relatively low temperature for faster and more economical casting, cast well, and created a durable type.[15]

    In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information—including revolutionary ideas—transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities; the sharp increase in literacy broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class. Across Europe, the increasing cultural self-awareness of its people led to the rise of proto-nationalism, accelerated by the flowering of the European vernacular languages to the detriment of Latin's status as lingua franca. In the 19th century, the replacement of the hand-operated Gutenberg-style press by steam-powered rotary presses allowed printing on an industrial scale, while Western-style printing was adopted all over the world, becoming practically the sole medium for modern bulk printing.

    The use of movable type was a marked improvement on the handwritten manuscript, which was the existing method of book production in Europe, and upon woodblock printing, and revolutionized European book-making. Gutenberg's printing technology spread rapidly throughout Europe and later the world. His major work, the Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible), was the first printed version of the Bible and has been acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Gutenberg

     
  10. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Flying giant pterosaurs had longer neck than a giraffe, say experts

    Intact remains, discovered in Morocco, may help engineers create stronger lightweight structures



    Pterosaurs, one of the first and largest vertebrates to learn to fly, have often been seen as the cool cousins of the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex.

    Now scientists have discovered the 100m-year-old secret to the success of the flying pterosaur: a neck longer than a giraffe.

    [​IMG]

    Palaeontologists from Portsmouth University have been puzzled at how gigantic flying azhdarchid pterosaurs have managed to support their thin necks as they take off and fly while carrying heavy prey animals.

    But thanks to new CT scans of intact remains, discovered in Morocco, the mystery has been solved.

    The findings, published in iScience, show a complex image of spoke-like structures, arranged in a helix around a central tube inside the neck vertebra, similar to that of a bicycle wheel.


    [​IMG]


    This intricate design is said to demonstrate how these flying reptiles had evolved to support their massive heads that often measure longer than 1.5 metres.

    Scientists suspect this “lightweight” construction offered strength, without compromising the pterosaurs’ ability to fly.

     
  11. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Dunning-Kruger Effect: Ignorance And Overconfidence Affect Intuitive Thinking, New Study Says

    In a newly published study, researchers say the Dunning-Kruger Effect can cause low-performers to overestimate their judgments during the intuitive decision-making process.

    According to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology on April 8, 2021, researchers found that persons with the highest number of errors demonstrated the highest degree of miscalibration, or overconfidence, in their actual performance on the cognitive reflection test.

    Researchers say study results have potential implications for the theoretical cognitive bias that persons with low abilities tend to overestimate their actual capabilities, also known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    [​IMG]



    “In our current world, this is arguably the most important skill that exists,” said Dr. Couchman. “We are swimming in a sea of misleading headlines, fake news, filtered pictures on social media, distorted context, and commentators who project a false sense of authority and trust. Almost all of which has the explicit goal of tricking our intuition. It is very hard to not feel the intuitive or natural reaction to anything you see in media, but if you can recognize the process and spot the trick, you are much more likely to avoid being swept up in something false.”

    Background: What Is The Dunning-Kruger Effect

    Most everyone can recall a time when they’ve encountered someone unabashedly declaring they are correct and everyone else’s contradictory opinion is uninformed and simply wrong. At times it may seem evident that this person doesn’t know what they are talking about, however, they appear to be blissfully unaware of their ignorance.


    In psychology, this phenomenon is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, aptly named after the two research social psychologists, Dr. David Dunning and Dr. Justin Kruger, who first described it in their paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1999.
     
  12. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Chronic work stress can change our personalities

    Employees dealing with work-induced stress can experience changes to their physiology, according to organizational behavior researchers, which may result in their personality traits fluctuating or even fundamentally changing over time.

    In their paper introducing the model, published March 16 in the Journal of Management, the researchers explain that work can be a powerful driver of personality change. Yet organizational research, which focuses on human behavior in the workplace, has historically treated personality traits as stable and unaffected by organizational influences.


    [​IMG]


    The paper proposes a new model based on genetics and epigenetics, the study of heritable changes in gene expression that can be passed down to offspring. They aimed to help organizational researchers better understand how stress on the job impacts the body's neurochemical processes to alter employee personality, potentially influencing company outcomes.

    Perceiving any stressful experience, such as an abusive supervisor or performance pressure at work, depends on both the event and the individual. Together, these factors determine the amount and type of psychological stress experienced by the individual, which consequently causes neurobiological responses in the brain, the authors said in the paper.


     
  13. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    The Science of Live Theatre
    A new study shows the benefits of attending live theatre.


    KEY POINTS
    • A new study finds that live theatre improves empathy and changes attitudes.
    • The more immersed theatre-goers are in a play's storyline, the stronger the effects are.
    • Live theatre has the potential to shape important behaviors such as political opinions and charitable donations.

    Theatre has been part of our lives throughout history, yet until recently, there has been little psychological study of its effects. Does seeing live theatre change us? Does it have benefits beyond pure entertainment?

    This question has become especially important in the context of COVID-19. Theatres around the world have been shut down for over a year due to COVID-19, arts organizations are struggling, and many theatre artists are unemployed at the moment. Theatre companies will require funding to survive past the pandemic, but it can be difficult to justify arts funding without data about its potential benefits.


    [​IMG]


    I recently published a study with Jamil Zaki and Leor Hackel in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that tested the effects of attending live theatre. We randomly assigned 1,622 theatre-goers to fill out surveys either before or after attending three different plays.


    Two of these plays were “Skeleton Crew” and “Wolf Play” produced by Artists Repertory Theatre. A third play was a tour of the Pulitzer-Prize winning play “Sweat” throughout various states in the Midwest, described as an attempt to have theatre reach out to communities that do not normally attend theatre.


    We found that attending these plays increased empathy for people depicted in them and changed people’s political attitudes about a variety of issues related to the show, such as income inequality.

    Additionally, seeing theatre changed behavior. After attending these plays, people donated more to charity — whether or not these charities were related to the show.
     
  14. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    A coronavirus epidemic may have hit East Asia about 25,000 years ago

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ancient-coronavirus-epidemic-east-asia-dna-covid

    "An ancient coronavirus, or a closely related pathogen, triggered an epidemic among ancestors of present-day East Asians roughly 25,000 years ago, a new study indicates.

    Analysis of DNA from more than 2,000 people shows that genetic changes in response to that persistent epidemic accumulated over the next 20,000 years or so, David Enard, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, reported April 8 at the virtual annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. The finding raises the possibility that some East Asians today have inherited biological adaptations to coronaviruses or closely related viruses."
     
  15. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    ‘First Steps’ shows how bipedalism led humans down a strange evolutionary path

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/first-steps-book-bipedalism-human-evolution-anatomy-behavior

    "A new book argues that upright walking had profound effects on human anatomy and behavior"


    "No other animal moves the way we do. That’s awfully strange. Even among other two-legged species, none amble about with a straight back and a gait that, technically, is just a form of controlled falling. Our bipedalism doesn’t just set us apart, paleoanthropologist Jeremy DeSilva posits; it’s what makes us human.

    There’s no shortage of books that propose this or that feature — tool use or self-awareness, for example — as the very definition of humankind. But much of our supposed uniqueness doesn’t stand up to this tradition. In First Steps, DeSilva takes a slightly different approach. Our way of walking, he argues, set off an array of consequences that inform our peculiar evolutionary history.

    Freed from locomotion, our arms and hands could become defter at creating and manipulating tools.
    ...Our bipedal locomotion was a gateway to many of the unique traits that make us human."
     
  16. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    Basically creating new forms of life?

    Frog skin cells turned themselves into living machines

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/frog-skin-cells-self-made-living-machines-xenobots

    "Using blobs of skin cells from frog embryos, scientists have grown creatures unlike anything else on Earth, a new study reports. These microscopic “living machines” can swim, sweep up debris and heal themselves after a gash.

    In a way, the bots were self-made. Scientists removed small clumps of skin stem cells from frog embryos, to see what these cells would do on their own. Separated from their usual spots in a growing frog embryo, the cells organized themselves into balls and grew. About three days later, the clusters, called xenobots, began to swim.

    Normally, hairlike structures called cilia on frog skin repel pathogens and spread mucus around. But on the xenobots, cilia allowed them to motor around. That surprising development “is a great example of life reusing what’s at hand,” says study coauthor Michael Levin, a biologist at Tufts University in Medford, Mass."
     
  17. Cal2

    Cal2 Top Contributor VIP

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    Along with the isolationism, another possible answer - the Chinese didn't develop the concept of 'hypothesis':

    https://books.google.ca/books?id=vs...sis edward de bono serious creativity&f=false
     
  18. Cannuck

    Cannuck 420 friendly VIP

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    I did a little experiment on creativity while teaching at a university in China. Students hadn't been exposed to many Western ideas, especially having to think intuitively and creatively, as most were 'programmed' through rote learning. It was difficult for them to take the risk to produce their own ideas. However, after providing the space for imagination, some inspiration and provided with different examples, which I called "Inventioneering", students managed to come up with some novel models, but most were very utilitarian, and viewed through a culturally acceptable lens.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  19. Cal2

    Cal2 Top Contributor VIP

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    Interview with Edward de Bono, author, physician and consultant

    The Report Company: To what extent do you feel your work could have an impact in China?

    Professor Edward de Bono: There’s been a lot of interest in China in my work.. The Chinese are very interested in my work because they know that they need creativity.. They realise that they need creativity and they realise that my approach fits a lot more with their thinking rather than just being mad and off the wall and so on.

    TRC: How does your approach work?

    EDB: Mine is a structured approach based on logical patterning systems. My background is in medicine and once you realise the brain is a patterning system then you see that there’s an absolute need for creativity.


    https://www.the-report.com/reports/...ward-de-bono-author-physician-and-consultant/
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  20. tupungato

    tupungato Wizard VIP

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  21. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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  22. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    If Planet Nine Is Out There, It May Not Be Where We Think

    If Planet Nine is out there, a large, mysterious planet lurking at the dark edges of the Solar System, it may not be where we thought it might be.

    According to astronomers searching for the hypothetical object, new information taken into account could mean that its orbit is significantly more elliptical than most recently predicted.

    The hypothetical Planet Nine made a big entrance in 2016, when astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown of Caltech published a paper in The Astronomical Journal. In it, they set out their case for an as-yet undiscovered planet in the outer reaches of the Solar System. The evidence, they said, lay in other objects from far beyond the orbit of Neptune.

    These objects are called Extreme Trans-Neptunian Objects (ETNOs). They have huge elliptical orbits, never crossing closer to the Sun than Neptune's orbit at 30 astronomical units, and swinging out farther than 150 astronomical units.

    Batygin and Brown found that these orbits have the same angle at perihelion, the point in their orbit that is closest to the Sun. The astronomers ran a series of simulations, and found that the gravitational influence of a large planet could cluster the orbits in this way.

    Since that paper dropped, the theory has become very controversial, with many astronomers finding Planet Nine's existence unlikely, but so far we have no firm evidence one way or the other. The most conclusive way the debate will be settled is if we find the slippery thing - and a new update from Batygin and Brown could help us try to do that.

    Read on:

    https://www.sciencealert.com/if-planet-nine-is-out-there-it-may-not-be-where-we-think
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  23. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Boomerangs return with greater insights into ample uses

    [​IMG]

    If you thought all boomerangs were used solely for throwing and – hopefully – returning then think again, because new research by a team of Griffith University archaeologists suggests that Aboriginal Australians employed the traditional curved wooden objects for so many more purposes.

    “Not all boomerangs come back. Most are used for hunting and fighting purposes, whereas the returning ones are often children’s toys or used for games and learning purposes,” ...

    Read on:
    https://news.griffith.edu.au/2021/04/15/boomerangs-return-with-greater-insights-into-ample-uses/
     
  24. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Why Do People Scream? Screaming Conveys at Least 6 Emotions

    Joy and pleasure are two of six distinct "alarm" or "non-alarm" human screams.

    New research (Frühholz et al., 2021) from the University of Zurich suggests that humans evolved with the unique ability to use positive, non-SOS scream calls to "signal the affective significance of events" to others. These peer-reviewed findings were published on April 13 in the journal PLOS Biology.

    • There are six distinct screams. Screams of anger, fear, and pain signal alarm. Screams of extreme joy, pleasure, and grief don't signal alarm.
    • Brain imaging suggests that people respond more quickly and accurately to non-alarm screams.
    • Non-alarm screams may have evolved to signal emotional significance to others.
    3 Alarm Screams and 3 Non-Alarm Screams
    1. Anger/Rage (alarm screams)
    2. Fear (alarm scream)
    3. Pain (alarm scream)
    4. Extreme Joy (positive non-alarm scream)
    5. Intense Pleasure (positive non-alarm scream)
    6. Grief/Sadness (desperate non-alarm cries)

    Read the article:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/int...ple-scream-screaming-conveys-least-6-emotions
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  25. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    @Cannuck, if you don't mind me asking, what were you teaching in China?

    A few of my friends have travelled there to work as english teachers and loved the experience.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021

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