Memory is difficult to define without being circular. People often define memory as ?something you can remember." But we cannot deny the existence of a memory when there is no recollection.
In new book, NIU Professor David Gunkel examines ethical questions raised by 21st century computers, robots and artificial intelligence
It would be a shock if it does but a series of nine experiments done in 2011 by Daryl Bem a professor at Cornell University and published in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology seemed to fi
Standard head movements made while exposed to one of the three electromagnetic fields produced by a heavy duty MRI scanner seem to temporarily lower concentration and visuospatial awareness, shows an experimental study published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
A new "nano machine shop" that shapes nanowires and ultrathin films could represent a future manufacturing method for tiny structures with potentially revolutionary properties.
Legend has it that Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." University of Missouri researchers are doing just that, but instead of building mousetraps, the scientists are targeting cancer drugs.
“During the drying of drops of nanoparticle suspensions, segregation can occur by internal fluid flows toward the contact line, if the contact line is pinned. This leads to a characteristic ring deposit or coffee stain. On solid substrates coffee staining can be eliminated through the use of solvent mixtures that promote Marangoni flows to oppose these drying-induced flows. Here it is shown that a suspension, optimized to eliminate the formation of coffee stains on a range of solid surfaces, shows coffee staining on a number of porous surfaces. This behavior is shown to be consistent with a mechanism of fluid removal through capillary flow (draining) of the solvent into the porous substrate, combined with filtration of the particles by the small pore size, in addition to the flow from solvent evaporation. The extent of capillary driven coffee staining is a function of substrate pore size: if the pore size is small, capillary flow is slow, reducing the observed coffee staining. However, if the pore size is too large, the nanoparticles are absorbed into the material along with the draining solute and no deposition of particles is observed.”
So, what's wrong with Muslim countries, eh? That's something I hear with increasing frequency - usually by people who are implying some kind of cultural superiority over the faithful.
After all, Muslim countries are mostly autocratic, and even after the Arab spring real democracy seems like a distant hope for most.
Among academics, there are two popular theories for why democracy does not take root in Muslim countries. The first says that it's down to a lack of modernization - stronger economies would "produce a more articulate, liberal, and tolerant public".
The second theory asserts that Islamic societies don't embrace the spirit of democracy - that is, they do not score well on essential civic values, such as interpersonal trust, social tolerance, support for political equality, and civic engagement.
To investigate these ideas, ManLi Gu and Eduard Bomhoff (Monash University, Sunway, Malaysia) analysed data from the World Values Survey, hoping to find out whether Muslims support democracy, and why. They looked at a selection of Catholic and Muslim Countries, chosen because there are a number of Catholic countries (in South America) with low levels of economic development.
They used a statistical technique to isolate clusters of opinions. In particular, they were looking at how attitudes to religion cluster with political attitudes.
The first thing they found is that Muslim and Catholic countries had similar levels of desire for democracy, and that all the countries they looked at had a sizable cluster of people who were both highly religious and very much in favour of democracy. What's more, there didn't seem to be any notable clusters of religious, anti-democratic individuals (except in Columbia and Mexico).
Incidentally, France, Spain and Uruguay were the only nations to have a sizable non-religious, pro-democracy group - presumably because the other countries had few non-religious people over all.
So, neither religions seem to form an intrinsic barrier to democracy. However, support for democracy was linked with very different attitudes among Catholics versus Muslims.
Gu and Bomhoff found that in Catholic countries there were sizeable groups of people whose support for democracy was linked to support for other liberal ideas - such as racial diversity, sexual liberation, gender equality, trust and social tolerance (see graphic).
In Muslims countries, these clusters mostly did not exist. But what did exist was the exact opposite - large goups of people who combined support for democracy with rejection of liberal values!
Further analysis showed that support for democracy in Muslim countries was linked not with liberal values but desire for prosperity and wealth redistribution. They conclude:
Support for democracy in the Catholic countries stems from a pro-democratic civic culture that embodies certain distinct attributes such as tolerance of diversity, mutual trust, and an emphasis on gender equality ... Citizens in Islamic countries, on the other hand, endorse the term democracy without necessarily embracing those liberal values that arguably are crucial for a vigorous and open democracy.
We concur with the Culturalist theorists that there is a cultural basis for the absence of democracy in the Muslim world ? the democratic deficit has something to do with a shortfall in deeper democratic values and a lack of appreciation of freedom and openness at the mass level.
The idea of a needle and thread being used to sew up a wound makes me queasy, but sutures are a very routine and simple method of treating open wounds from an injury, surgery, or small procedure. The method of closing a wound with a needle and thread is thousands of years old. Although little ha
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This afternoon, President Barack Obama surprised the internet with an appearance on a reddit IamA. Reddit, a social news site billed as the "front page of the internet," regularly hosts "IamA" threads that allow reddit users to ask the submitter, often a celebrity, anything they want. The submitter then answers a selection of questions live over the internet. As evidence that Obama is truly answering the submitted questions, his campaign sent out a tweet and image of him in front of his computer.
So far, Obama has answered a few questions. Most notably for physics fans out there, here's what Obama said in response to a question from the user ormirian about potential increased funding for the U.S.'s space program:
"Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight."
Maybe this will translate into budget increases in the future. We shall see.
Top image courtesy of Pete Souza via Wikimedia Commons.
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