Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 6.15

  • Butterfly wing  colors come from space-age structures – “Using microscopes with three-dimensional nanoscale resolution, Yale University researchers found that shades of green in the wings of five butterfly species are produced by crystalline structures called gyroids.” From Steve.
  • Introducing Innergy: A game about breathing – From Sunioc: “At Ubisofts E3 press conference today, they showed a demo of a quack medicine game. It’s called Innergy, and it claims to increase energy and “boost your immune system” by having you breathe in rhythm with the game.”
  • Study claims murder rates affect IQ tests scores – “If a murder occurred in a child’s neighborhood — an area of roughly six to 10 square blocks as denoted by the U.S. Census — the children’s test scores fell by an average of half a standard deviation.” From Infinite Monkey.
  • Brain distorts own body image – “Scientists at University College London discovered people tend to think that their hands are wider and their fingers are shorter than they truly are. They say the confusion may lie in the way the brain receives information from different parts of the body.” From exarch.

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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6 Comments

  1. I watched the ubisoft E3 presentation this morning and when I heard them say that breathing could boost your immune system for up to six hours my bullshit detector damn near exploded.

    I suppose it is partly true in that my immune system does work a lot better whilst I’m breathing, in fact I would even go so far as to say breathing is probably one of the most important things I do everyday to keep my immune system working properly.

  2. Optimal strength for a minimal amount of material/weight. Isn’t that something you’d expect evolution to end up with (in a butterfly wing in this case, or anything else really)?

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many mathematical shapes turn out to be rather common in nature (spirals, circles, etc…). And a designer has nothing to do with it. Well, apart from the fact that the laws of physics are the designer and therfore the “optimal designs” they result in are the way they are because of the (mathematical) equilibrium that has been reached.

    Do you suppose we’ll ever find carbon nanotubes occuring naturally anywhere?

  3. @Exarch – I agree.
    Also, do they know if the children were actually aware of the murders?
    It is an interesting correlation though and probably deserves to be looked at.
    I wonder if they verified if the children were aware of the murders?

    You do have to admire the ingenuity of the quackery these days. Breathing game. Now, I might say that it might be beneficial to people who need to exercise their lungs. Since that represents a huge chunk of the population, why not test that and market it that way? Why make it into snake oil? My guess is they did test that and it had not positive effect on people with Lung problems, so…lets make it snake oil.

  4. Heh, you want a quacky “video game”? Try Wild Divine, which couples biofeedback-esque sensors with meditation training by such luminaries as Deepak Goddamn Chopra.

    Hm… I’m heading home briefly next week, maybe I should pull mine out of storage. :-P

  5. “Scientists at University College London discovered people tend to think that their hands are wider and their fingers are shorter than they truly are. They say the confusion may lie in the way the brain receives information from different parts of the body.”

    That must mean that my hands are freakishly narrow and my fingers are freakishly long…. Ha…. I always knew I was a mutant…

    and if a murder occurs IN the classroom where the test is being given… I bet test scores plummet.

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