Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Lizards develop new chemical language to attract mates in predator-free environments

Researchers decoded the love signals of lizards "spoken" through chemical signals.

Photo Credit: Colin Donihue
  • Scientists discovered that lizards developed novel chemical communication signals when relocated to tiny island groups with no predators.
  • Male lizards began to rapidly produce a new chemical love elixir, not unlike cologne, to call on potential mates.
  • With new technology we're increasingly able to detect and identify the chemicals that make up much of the language of non-human nature.

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Ask an astronomer: How do astronauts deal with isolation?

Being stuck at home is not as intense as being away from Earth, but there are ways to cope in either scenario.

  • While she has not personally been to space, NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller has heard from friends and colleagues what it is like to truly be isolated. Coping mechanisms for these extreme cases can also benefit people here on Earth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Setting and maintaining a schedule can help you and your body return to a more normal state, as can finding familiar sensory inputs. For astronauts, that includes Earthly scents like citrus.
  • Speaking personally and making a point about silver linings, Thaller shares a story about how COVID-19 has given her more time with her sick husband for what are likely his final days.

Design hack: 10 joy-inducing aesthetics you should know

Why finding joy is more easily attainable than the pursuit of happiness.

  • Joy and happiness are often used synonymously, but designer Ingrid Fetell Lee argues that there is an important distinction between the two: time. Happiness is something that measures how good we feel over time, while joy is about feeling good in the moment.
  • Noticing visual and sensorial patterns in the things that brought people joy, Lee was able to identify 10 "aesthetics": abundance, harmony, energy, freedom, play, surprise, transcendence, magic, renewal, and celebration.
  • In this video, we learn more about each aesthetic and why focusing on joyful moments is the key to getting the most out of life.

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A new AI passes the smell test almost 100% of the time

Our remarkable olfactory senses are modeled in a new research chip.

Image source: Peshkova/Ilona Rainbow/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Two researchers have created an algorithm that can accurately identify 10 different smells.
  • The AI algorithm runs on an Intel chip that has 130,000 silicon "neurons."
  • The natural mammalian olfactory bulb grows new neurons even in adults.
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Photo credit: Iswanto Arif on Unsplash
  • Asian elephants often leave protected areas to feed and come into conflict with humans.
  • The elephants, it turns out, can recognize the largest quantities of food by smell.
  • This insight could lead to keeping Asian elephants out of harm's way via redirection using olfactory cues.
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