Capturing an Asteroid, De-extinction and Other Mind Memes

 

1. The Secret of Musical Pleasure


"Without music," Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, "life would be a mistake." And yet, we still don't know why listening to music, which doesn't seem to have any evolutionary value like sex or food, is such a rewarding experience. 

These neuroscientists are trying to find the answer

2. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was...

"In the past 10 years, sequencing has gotten approximately 500,000 times more efficient. Nothing in the history of civilization or technology has ever gotten that much more efficient that fast."

That is Johns Hopkins Biostatistician Steven Salzberg, quoted in Wired, and this is the reason why the movement to use genetic sequencing to bring back extinct species has taken off. 

A recent development includes the revival and reactivation of the genome of an extinct Australian frog. Read more here

3. How to Catch an Asteroid

The Obama administration's space goals call for NASA to "improve detection and characterization of asteroids, pursue solar electric propulsion demonstration, develop a mechanism to capture an asteroid and redirect it to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system and begin designing a mission to send humans to it using the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft."

Here's how NASA plans to do it:

"We're on the threshold of being able to tell my kids and my grandkids that we're almost there," NASA administrator Charles Bolden said.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
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Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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