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Links for 2021-08-22
1 min read

Links for 2021-08-22

  1. Your ability to bullshit your way through life is a sign of intelligence. clears throat
  2. Why Do We Listen to Sad Music? “Although people generally avoid negative emotional experiences…they often enjoy sadness portrayed in music and other arts. This is the ‘paradox of pleasurable sadness,’ and it has puzzled music scholars for decades. […] In addition to sadness, such music also produced a range of more positive, aesthetic emotions, like nostalgia, peacefulness, and wonder. […] The team proposed an evolutionary reason behind our strong physical reaction to somber music: The voice-like emotional expression of the music activates an empathetic response called ‘the contagion mechanism.’ That’s why violins and cellos sound especially sad: They resemble human voices.”
  3. The science behind heat waves.
  4. Neurons unexpectedly encode information in the timing of their firing. "These studies suggest that phase precession allows the brain to link sequences of times, images and events in the same way as it does spatial positions. ‘Finding that first evidence really opens the door for it to be some sort of universal coding mechanism in the brain — across mammalian species, possibly,’ Qasim said. ‘You might be missing a whole lot of information coding if you’re not tracking the relative timing of neural activity.’ […] Phase precession organizes the timing so that learning happens more often than it could otherwise. It arranges for neurons activated by related information to fire in quick-enough succession for the synapse between them to strengthen. It would point to this notion that the brain is basically computing faster than you would imagine from rate coding alone.”
  5. New plasma thruster concept could make space missions 10x faster. "In addition, while current thruster concepts rely on electric fields and heavy gases made of atoms like xenon, the magnetic fields in Ebrahimi’s concept would allow the plasma inside the thruster to consist of almost any type of gas. This would create more flexibility and allow more variation in the amount of thrust. […] Ebrahimi's plasmoid thruster would be more efficient than the current concepts, partly due to its use of electromagnets to adjust the thrust. The design would allow astronauts to increase or decrease the velocity of their rocket as needed."
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