Why Do Men Play and Watch Sports?


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Have you ever wondered why do you like to watch men running after a football? Why do you find sports exciting? As always, the answer might lie with our evolution.

In sum, there are reasons to believe that in ancestral human societies, young men, who faced the problem of gaining reproductive access to the reproductive capacity of the opposite sex, could solve it in two main ways. One way was to form male coalitions in order to fight other men and monopolize access to women. This path required displaying their physical capacities in order to be avoided as enemies and to be preferred as allies. It required also to monitor other men’s performance of physical fitness in order to be able to distinguish those men who were physically fit and could be preferred as allies or be avoided as enemies. Another way to do so was to be selected by fathers as husbands for their daughters. This path required also to display physical fitness, as well as to monitor the fitness displays of other men in order to keep up with the competition.The evolutionary problem of gaining reproductive access to the opposite sex through these paths can be partially solved by the mind interpreting the engagement in athletic competitions with other.

The complete article

Menelaos Apostolou — The Evolution Institute

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Buddhism, Science And The Western World


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Let’s start the weekend with two foundations of the world- religion and science. This needull explores whether Buddhism is more in tune with the modern world.

Part of the problem for Sharf and others is that by focusing only on the domains of inner experience (i.e. mindfulness via contemplative practice), Buddhist Modernism loses aspects of its function that were central to its history. “Look at how suspicious many Western Buddhists are of religious ritual,” he says in the Tricycle interview, “… when we downplay ritual, we risk weakening our bonds to community and tradition. That’s a pretty major loss.”

The complete article

Adam Frank — NPR

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Why, On Earth, Would Aliens Invade Earth?


In Hollywood movies, when aliens invade our innocuous little blue planet, they usually have a ludicrous motivation. Sometimes they’re after our water or want to colonise us or are just being plain nasty. Space travel is incredibly difficult and expensive — so why would aliens actually bother to come and invade us? Today’s Needull is an interesting book-excerpt that will give you a more logical perspective on alien attacks.

As an astrobiologist I spend a lot of my time working in the lab with samples from some of the most extreme places on Earth, investigating how life might survive on other worlds in our solar system and what signs of their existence we could detect. If there is biology beyond the Earth, the vast majority of life in the Galaxy will be microbial—hardy single-celled life forms that tolerate a much greater range of conditions than more complex organisms can. To be honest, my own point of view is pretty pessimistic. Don’t get me wrong—if the Earth received an alien tweet tomorrow, or some other text message beamed at us by radio or laser pulse, then I’d be absolutely thrilled. So far, though, we’ve seen no convincing evidence of other civilizations among the stars in our skies.

But let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that there are one or more star-faring alien civilizations in the Milky Way. We’re all familiar with Hollywood’s darker depictions of what aliens might do when they come to the Earth: zapping the White House, harvesting humanity for food like a herd of cattle, or sucking our oceans dry. These scenarios make great films, but don’t really stand up to rational scrutiny. So let’s run through a thought experiment on what reasons aliens might possibly have to visit the Earth, not because I reckon we need to ready our defenses or assemble a welcoming party, but because I think considering these possibilities is a great way of exploring many of the core themes of the science of astrobiology.

Full Book-Excerpt Here

LIT HUB – Lewis Dartnell

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‘Sheep’ of You


I was in high school when Dolly was born. Despite Dolly being a domestic sheep, from TIME to National Geographic, all the magazines had Dolly on its cover. Her birth was a milestone as this feeble lamb was the first mammal ever to be cloned. But then, maybe due to our ignorance or because of other discoveries taking prominence, we rarely heard anything on cloning, except sporadic false claims of human cloning and television debates on the morality of it.

Well, it’s time to get updated. Today’s Needull, an article from The Economist, helps you catch up with the developments in cloning technology post Dolly and reveals why, sooner than we think, a human ‘clone’ won’t be just a subject of clichéd Hollywood movies.

The fuss among scientists was due to the fact that many believed cloning animals was impossible. John Gurdon of Oxford University had cloned frogs by nuclear transfer in 1958—but his creations never developed beyond the tadpole stage. All efforts to do the same in mammals had failed. These failures had led biologists to believe that, although all cells in a body shared the same genetic material, they were not equally capable of the same reproductive feats. “Stem cells”, such as those found in early embryos, could develop into the various sorts of specialist cells found in skin, muscle or nerves. But those “differentiated” cells could not change back into stem cells. Development was a one-way street.

Full Article Here

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Juice It… Down!!


Food fads come and go. Some say carbs are the main villain, some put the blame on the sugar content. While some claim tea to be good for health, some term it as extremely harmful. Some swear by coffee, while for some, red wine is the timeless elixir.

But, today’s Needull, authored by renowned medical researchers and diabetes specialists, does the unthinkable. It targets the most innocuous of drinks, the harmless, the ever-so-colourful – JUICE. The authors argue that “fruit juice, even if it is freshly pressed, 100 percent juice, is little more than sugar water“.

Disclaimer: Needull, or your truly, doesn’t endorse or refute the above. As a matter of fact, I have just now gulped a fresh glass of mandarin juice.

At first glance, it is reasonable to think that juice has health benefits. Whole fruit is healthy, and juice comes from fruit, so it must be healthy, too. But when you make juice, you leave some of the most wholesome parts of the fruit behind. The skin on an apple, the seeds in raspberries and the membranes that hold orange segments together — they are all good for you. That is where most of the fiber, as well as many of the antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals are hiding. Fiber is good for your gut; it fills you up and slows the absorption of the sugars you eat, resulting in smaller spikes in insulin. When your body can no longer keep up with your need for insulin, Type 2 diabetes can develop.

Full Article Here

Washington Post – Heather Ferris, Elvira Isganaitis and Florence Brown

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Are you in Love with your Phone?


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Are you even aware how many times you end up checking your phone in an average day? Do phubbing and technoference words sound alien to you? Are you up for a quiz of 15 questions which would throw up startling results for you related to your beloved phone.
The Quiz
Go on, read this article then!

Practice phone etiquette. If you must look at your phone, announce that you are doing so. “I am just checking the score/weather/playlist for two minutes,” shows courtesy and indicates to your partner that you are aware that your attention is shifting. It may also make you more aware of how often you pick up your phone when your partner is present.

If your partner’s job demands round-the-clock availability, discuss reasonable boundaries that would satisfy both the job and you.

The complete article

LESLEY ALDERMAN – The New York Times

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What Makes a Genius?


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What is it that makes someone a genius? If it was just intelligence we would have many more geniuses around. “Some minds are so exceptional they change the world. We don’t know exactly why these people soar above the rest of us, but science offers us clues.”

But monumental intelligence on its own is no guarantee of monumental achievement, as Terman and his collaborators would discover. A number of the study’s participants struggled to thrive, despite their towering IQ scores. Several dozen flunked out of college at first. Others, tested for the study but with IQs that weren’t high enough to make the cut, grew up to become renowned in their fields, most famously Luis Alvarez and William Shockley, both of whom won Nobel Prizes in physics. There’s precedent for such underestimation: Charles Darwin recalled being considered “a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.” As an adult he solved the mystery of how the splendid diversity of life came into being.

The complete article

Claudia Kalb — National Geographic

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