You're Different, Just Like Everyone Else
How is it that in our search for individuality we all end up in the same place, chasing the same trends while drinking the same drink while staring at the same app on the same phone.
What's the Latest Development?
Why do we strive to be unique, to be distinctly not like everybody else? Two sociologists recently asked themselves this question and came to some surprising conclusions. They designed an experiment requiring college students to write about a time they felt "distinct" and "separate from the group". Compared to the control group who wrote about an unrelated topic, those prompted to think about their own distinctiveness were later willing to go to further lengths (walk further, pay more) for the things they desired.
What's the Big Idea?
How does our drive for distinctiveness compare to our other base needs for food, sex and love? It turns out they are intimately intertwined but perhaps not in ways that we would expect. Individuals primed to think about sex, for example, desire distinctiveness. "We can [no] longer write off the 'drive for distinctiveness' as merely a habit of insecure teenagers. Instead, it appears to be a pretty essential component of Westerners—that’s why it's engaged in a deep psychological dialogue with rewards for food and sex."
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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