Boing Boing 

What happened when Colorado offered free birth control? Teen birthrate and abortions plummeted.

Shutterstock


Shutterstock

The state of Colorado has been conducting a massive experiment with birth control over the last 6 years. Teens and low-income women were offered free IUDs and implants that prevent pregnancy for years. Officials wondered if women would sign up for the family planning assistance if it were free.

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Interactive chart displays opinion gaps between scientists and public

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Pew Research Center just released an interactive chart showing gaps between scientific consensus and public opinion. Refine results by gender, age, race, education, ideology, political party, and level of science knowledge.

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North Korean defector to Finland claims evidence of illegal human experiments

The researcher, "Lee," worked in Ganggye, Chagang, and escaped with what he says is 15GB of data detailing illegal human subjects biochemical research, which he is due to present to the European Parliament this month. (Thanks, Sulka!)

Brown fat therapy reverses Type I diabetes in mouse trial

A Vanderbilt University School of Medicine study published in Endocrinology and Metabolism found that mice with Type I diabetes that received brown fat transplants had their diabetes reversed 53% of the time.

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Flatworms inject sperm into their heads to self-fertilize

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When alone, a hermaphroditic flatworm is known to stab itself with its needle-tipped penis and inject sperm to self-impregnate. It's called "hypodermic insemination."

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Incredible weather photos

4D8999AD-165D-4FCE-A6A853AC147E8657-1 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association announced the winners of its "Weather in Focus" photo contest. Here are two of the absolutely marvelous honorees. Above, Brad Goddard captured this tornado in Traer, Iowa. Below, Ken William's photo of a "proton arc over Lake Superior." "NOAA photo contest winners announced" (via Scientific American)

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WATCH: What is the resonant frequency of googly eyes?

433 Hz. Now you know.

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Today we gain a leap second. Why?

At 23:59:59 (UTC), time will "stop" as the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US and other official timekeepers around the world add a second to our clocks. They last did this in 2012.

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The real state of neuromarketing

Remember the hype about neuromarketing, the use of brain imaging and other technologies to directly measure consumer preference or the effect of advertisements on our unconscious? In The Guardian, Vaughan "Mind Hacks" Bell looks at the latest in neuromarketing and breaks it down into "advertising fluff, serious research, and applied neuroscience." From The Guardian:

First, it’s important to realise that the concept of neuroscience is used in different ways in marketing. Sometimes, it’s just an empty ploy aimed at consumers – the equivalent of putting a bikini-clad body next to your product for people who believe they’re above the bikini ploy. A recent Porsche advert (video above) apparently showed a neuroscience experiment suggesting that the brain reacts in a similar way to driving their car and flying a fighter jet, but it was all glitter and no gold. The images were computer-generated, the measurements impossible, and the scientist an actor.

In complete contrast, neuromarketing is also a serious research area. This is a scientifically sound, genuinely interesting field in cognitive science, where the response to products and consumer decision-making is understood on the level of body and mind. This might involve looking at how familiar brand logos engage the memory systems in the brain, or examining whether the direction of eye gaze of people in ads affects how attention-grabbing they are, or testing whether the brain’s electrical activity varies when watching subtly different ads. Like most of cognitive neuroscience, the studies are abstract, ultra-focused and a long way from everyday experience.

Finally, there is the murky but profitably grey area of applied neuromarketing, which is done by commercial companies for big-name clients. Here, the pop-culture hype that allows brain-based nonsense in consumer adverts meets the abstract and difficult-to-apply results from neuromarketing science. The result is an intoxicating but largely ineffective mix that makes sharp but non-specialist executives pay millions in the hope of maximising their return on branding and advertising.

"The marketing industry has started using neuroscience, but the results are more glitter than gold" (via Mind Hacks)

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Cross-sectioned brain sample drink coasters


Thinkgeek's Brain Specimen Coasters come in a set of ten, stacking to form a 3D brain. (via Geeky Merch)

Watch this great documentary about people who think they are gods

"Those Who Are Jesus" is Steven Eastwood's fascinating 2001 documentary about three people who have true delusions of grandeur based on "profoundly religious or revalatory experiences."

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Watch this to learn why people love bacon

The Science of Bacon

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How we learn to be helpless—and unlearn it

Learned helplessness keeps people in bad jobs, poor health, terrible relationships, and awful circumstances despite how easy it may be to escape. Learn how to defeat this psychological trap, thanks to the work of Martin Seligman.Read the rest

Parasite playing cards

The lucky attendees at this year's meeting of the American Societe of Parasitologists got a gorgeous deck of parasite-themed playing cards into their conference bags.

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Fire-pistons: start fires by compressing air


The Survival School Fire Piston is a gadget that uses a hand-pumped piston to compress air, creating enough heat to spark a bit of tinder.

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$8 microscope clips to smartphone

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I have one of these tiny inexpensive microscopes, and it is surprisingly good. But it didn't come with a clip to attach it to a phone camera, like this. It has a white LED and an ultraviolet LED so you can illuminate your specimen.

KingMas 60X Clip-On Microscope Magnifier with LED/UV Lights for Universal SmartPhones ($8) on Amazon

Here's a video of a Russian guy unboxing it and trying it out:

Researchers developing tiny robots to travel through body and fire projectiles

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Researchers demonstrated an early proof-of-concept system in which tiny robots inside your body, controlled by an MRI machine, could self-assemble into a Gauss gun and fire projectiles to clear blockages or deliver drugs. Video below.

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