Brian Williams-Like "False Memories" Are Common

If we all lived under the intense scrutiny to which we are currently subjecting national news anchor Brian Williams, each of us would be discredited, say neuroscientists who study memory.

Brian Williams-Like "False Memories" Are Common

If we all lived under the intense scrutiny to which we are currently subjecting national news anchor Brian Williams, each of us would be discredited, say neuroscientists who study how memories behave in the mind.


While personalities like Rosie O’Donnell compare Williams to Lance Armstrong and quip that, "I think you would know if you were in a helicopter that was actually hit by a missile," understanding how memories work offers a different context.

To be sure, public personae are and should be held to a higher standard because, especially in the field of journalism, truth-telling is paramount. As former ABC News head David Westin explains, nobody, absolutely nobody, is above the truth:

Credit: fergregory via Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • Australian scientists found that bodies kept moving for 17 months after being pronounced dead.
  • Researchers used photography capture technology in 30-minute intervals every day to capture the movement.
  • This study could help better identify time of death.
Keep reading Show less
Credit: Willrow Hood / 362693204 via Adobe Stock
13-8

The distances between the stars are so vast that they can make your brain melt. Take for example the Voyager 1 probe, which has been traveling at 35,000 miles per hour for more than 40 years and was the first human object to cross into interstellar space. That sounds wonderful except, at its current speed, it will still take another 40,000 years to cross the typical distance between stars.

Worse still, if you are thinking about interstellar travel, nature provides a hard limit on acceleration and speed. As Einstein showed, it's impossible to accelerate any massive object beyond the speed of light. Since the galaxy is more than 100,000 light-years across, if you are traveling at less than light speed, then most interstellar distances would take more than a human lifetime to cross. If the known laws of physics hold, then it seems a galaxy-spanning human civilization is impossible.

Unless of course you can build a warp drive.

Keep reading Show less

Just when the Middle Ages couldn’t get worse, everyone had bunions

The Black Death wasn't the only plague in the 1300s.

By Loyset Liédet - Public Domain, wikimedia commons
Culture & Religion
  • In a unique study, researchers have determined how many people in medieval England had bunions
  • A fashion trend towards pointed toe shoes made the affliction common.
  • Even monks got in on the trend, much to their discomfort later in life.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast