Month: April 2014

  • Smells, senses, science…

    It used to be thought that human noses could only detect around 10,000 smells, although many scientists thought that was probably a bit too low. A new study suggests that number is much higher–that humans can distinguish among 1 trillion different scents. (1) Even though we may not be able to name them, the “study” […]

  • Facebook, face detection, our lost soul…

    Facebook researchers have built DeepFace, an algorithm that can pick a face out of a crowd with 97.25 per cent accuracy. That means it is almost as good as we are at recognizing a face. (1) But is that correct? Can this be correct? Is our face simply a pattern of lines and colours? Do […]

  • Quartets, music, One…

    String quartet players continuously adjust the timing of their notes to stay in sync. But exactly how players do it has been unclear. New data tracking millisecond-scale corrections suggests that some ensembles are more autocratic — following one leader —while other musical groups are more democratic, making corrections equally. Researchers had two well-established quartets play […]

  • Pythons, Philosophy, going home…

    Burmese pythons can find their way home even if they are taken dozens of kilometers away. It is the first demonstration that big snakes can navigate at all, and far exceeds the distances known to have been traveled by any other snake. (1) We all seek home. We all try to return home. The problem […]

  • The first time, memories, philosophy…

    When the influential American conservationist Aldo Leopold canoed down the Colorado River delta to the Gulf of California in 1922, he was awestruck by endless wetlands teeming with wildlife. Leopold vowed to never return, fearing that the wilderness wouldn’t live up to his memories. He was right: After the U.S. government repeatedly dammed the river […]