When does an idea die? Plato and string theory clash with data

How long should one wait until an idea like string theory, seductive as it may be, is deemed unrealistic?

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  • How far should we defend an idea in the face of contrarian evidence?
  • Who decides when it's time to abandon an idea and deem it wrong?
  • Science carries within it its seeds from ancient Greece, including certain prejudices of how reality should or shouldn't be.
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Neanderthals could produce and hear human speech, new study finds

Their ear structures were not that different from ours.

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  • Neanderthals are emerging as having been much more advanced than previously suspected.
  • Analysis of ear structures indicated by fossilized remains suggests they had everything they needed for understanding the subtleties of speech.
  • The study also concludes that Neanderthals could produce the consonants required for a rich spoken language.
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BDSM therapy: Are there therapeutic and relational benefits to being submissive?

In-depth research suggests BDSM practitioners can experience altered states of consciousness that can be therapeutic.

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  • BDSM is an acronym encompassing a variety of sexual practices that include: bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism. The practice of BDSM usually consists of partners taking on specific roles in which one partner is dominant and the other is submissive.
  • BDSM practitioners (individuals who frequently engage in BDSM play) can experience various mental health benefits from engaging in their scenes.
  • According to the research, subspace is often characterized by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the release of epinephrine and endorphins, and a subsequent period of non-verbal, deep relaxation.
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Nerves that sense touch may play role in autism

This small-scale study may have uncovered a new link between the peripheral nerve system and autism.

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  • Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. According to the CDC, autism impacts an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States.
  • An October 2020 study suggests that the peripheral nervous system may play a role in autism.
  • The parameters of the study may not show the entire picture —more research is needed in this area.
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Aphantasia: the rare brain condition that darkens the mind’s eye

A new study provides validation for the recently identified phenomenon.

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  • Aphantasia, a recently identified psychological phenomenon, describes when people can't conjure visualizations in their mind's eye.
  • A new study published in Cortex compared the visual memories of aphantasic participants with a group of controls.
  • Its results found experimental validation for the condition.
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