When Thinking Too Much Produces Negative Results
An assumption we often make about life's choices is that the larger the choice, the more deliberation is needed to arrive at the best plan of action. This isn't always the case, however.
An assumption we often make about life's choices is that the larger the choice, the more deliberation is needed to arrive at the best plan of action. This isn't always the case, however, and meticulous thinking can sometimes lead us astray. Consider a study led by psychologists Ap Dijksterhuis and Zeger van Olden in which participants were divided into three groups and asked to choose which art poster they liked best. One group deliberated on the qualities of the posters for seven minutes; another did anagrams for the same length of time and then chose their favorite; the third group was given no time to deliberate and had to choose immediately. Several weeks later when researchers checked in with participants, those who had done the anagrams were happiest with their choice.
Researchers concluded that a unconscious system of mental processing can sometimes lead us more to choose what will make us happier. While that system of thinking is not applicable to every situation, there are some personal choices that too much deliberation can harm. Columbia University business professor Sheena Iyengar discusses how having too many options to choose from can actually blind us to what is most important:
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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