Atheists who love Science!

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Atheists who love Science!

A group for science enthusiasts of all types -- professionals, amateurs, students, anybody who loves science.

Members: 1579
Latest Activity: on Wednesday

Whether you're a professional, a student, an amateur, an enthusiast, whatever! Lots of atheists love science. Might as well have a group for it!

Feel free to nerd out, link articles, talk about your favorite field of research, whatever!

The icon is from www.wearscience.com.


9/28/2008
I've been super busy with school this semester -- no time for Atheist Nexus, sadly!!
If anyone who's around here a lot wants me to toss them moderation privileges to run this group or anything, just send me (Sara) a message! Thanks!

11/14/2009
Removed ability to send mass messages to everyone in the group. At 1000+ members, that seems like asking for spam.

Offer still open if anyone active in the group wants moderation privileges, but it appears everything has been going smoothly with all kinds of great discussions without moderation. Fantastic! :)

Discussion Forum

The Web is not the Net.

Started by Visvakarman Svetasvatara-Upanish on Wednesday. 0 Replies

Intelligent life 90% less likely

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Tom Sarbeck Dec 9. 3 Replies

100 Billion Frames per second camera

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Dec 4. 0 Replies

Stem

Started by C.L.A.W.S.. Last reply by Sean Murphy Oct 31. 2 Replies

Green Tea Boosts Brainpower

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by John Jubinsky Oct 28. 5 Replies

Quick Ebola tests on the horizon

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Deidre Oct 18. 2 Replies

Tenured Professor shouts "Fire!" in crowded theatre

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by David Layton Sep 27. 4 Replies

Max Planck on New Scientific Truth?

Started by Tom Sarbeck. Last reply by Luara Aug 13. 5 Replies

Electric Bacteria

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Luara Jul 18. 3 Replies

Vantablack

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Sean Murphy Jul 15. 1 Reply

Roundup Ready Corn IS Toxic

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jul 13. 7 Replies

Crowded rooms make you dumb

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Pat Jul 5. 4 Replies

American Lysenkoism

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Jun 6. 1 Reply

Comment Wall

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Comment by Kelly M on November 13, 2010 at 2:07pm
That better?? Geez
Comment by Kelly M on November 13, 2010 at 2:04pm
I wonder what finding that planet in our galaxy that is within the habitable zone of it's star will do the Drake Equation?
Comment by Mrina on November 13, 2010 at 10:30am
Can you two take it to private chat? Thanks.

Lead ions are a lot heavier than just hydrogen ions, but still the temperature is so hot you get a sticky soup of gluons. So cool!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11714101
Comment by Kelly M on November 13, 2010 at 8:54am
I think it's because your mind is FREE Mike...that has a pretty profound effect on one's outlook....
Comment by Mrina on November 13, 2010 at 8:42am
Lol, I read this article yesterday, too. I daydream all the time and had the motivation to follow those dreams in real. I am doing very well! You're right Mike K. If daydreaming means unhappiness, then I /should/ be depressed as hell.
Comment by CaptainCook on November 13, 2010 at 7:37am
For Mike:

Happiness evades wandering minds?

Friday, 12 November 2010 Carl Holm
ABC/AFP
From happy to unhappy

Does a wandering mind make us unhappy, or does unhappiness make us wish we were elsewhere?(Source: James Steidl/iStockphoto)
Related Stories

* Happiness more than gene deep, Science Online, 05 Oct 2010
* Happiness linked to healthy heart, Science Online, 19 Feb 2010
* 'Happiness meter' analyses blogs, tweets, Science Online, 03 Aug 2009

Chasing happiness A leading Australian psychologist debates the findings of a US based research team which suggests that allowing our minds to wander makes us unhappy.

People spend about half of their time thinking about being somewhere else, or doing something other than what they are doing, and this perpetual act of mind-wandering makes them unhappy, according to the study, published today in Science.

Psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert of Harvard University argue that the human mind "is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind."

The ability to think about what is not happening "is a remarkable evolutionary achievement," they say, "that allows people to learn, reason and plan", but they argue that it comes at an emotional cost.

The study tracked 2,250 people via a smartphone application, or app, that contacted volunteers at "random intervals to ask how happy they were, what they were currently doing, and whether they were thinking about their current activity or something else that was pleasant, neutral or unpleasant."

When the results were tallied, it appeared that people's minds were wandering 46.9 percent of the time.

The study reports that subjects were happiest while having sex, exercising or having a conversation. They reported being least happy while using a home computer, resting or working.

By examining the mind-wandering responses, researchers found that "only 4.6 percent of a person's happiness in a given moment was attributable to the specific activity he or she was doing, whereas a person's mind-wandering status accounted for about 10.8 percent of his or her happiness."

The study said "time-lag analyses" suggested that "subjects' mind-wandering was generally the cause, not the consequence, of their unhappiness."

According to the study, subjects tended to be most focused on the present, and least prone to mind-wandering, during sex.

Minds were wandering at least 30% of the time during every other activity.

"This study shows that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the non-present," says Killingsworth.

"Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness."
Unhappiness is not the default state

Robert Cummins, Professor of Psychology at Deakin University, Melbourne, and author of the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, disagrees.

"I don't think this study shows us very much", he says, "and it certainly does not show us that a wandering mind produces unhappiness."

"What happens when people are in a contented set-point kind of a mood state is that their minds aren't enormously engaged in anything, so they'll think about their holidays, or their hobbies or exercising. But thinking about exercise will not elevate the mood as much as performing the exercise."

Cummins says exercise is a well documented way of elevating mood, "as long as you're not breaking rocks in a chain gang. If it's voluntary exercise that you're doing then this will elevate mood."

He also says that conversation, engaging with other people, makes us feel better because it's shared activity and we're choosing to do it. And that is the key, he says.

"What it shows is that when we engage actively in chosen activities, then it elevates our mood briefly, and then it comes back again. But where it comes back to is not unhappiness. It's 75 on a 0 to a 100 scale. These authors have not recognised that."

"The absolute basis for a scientifically credible study is that you absolutely must know your baseline measures", he says.

"If you don't know where your baselines are then the measurements that you make are meaningless."

"The thing that twigged me onto the silliness of it all was the statement that people were least happy when they were sleeping, resting, or using a home computer," he says.

"Those activities are baseline activities. We know people are perfectly happy when they're resting or sleeping."
Comment by CaptainCook on November 13, 2010 at 5:29am
While I have not yet read the article, I know this premise to be ridiculous. First: daydreaming (more properly called reflection, perhaps) is necessary for creativity in the arts and science. Second: how is "happiness" defined? Humans have a range of emotional peaks and troughs, the dynamics of which make life worth living. I will read the article when I have time.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on November 11, 2010 at 7:06pm
The research on Glia cells is fascinating. And it puts a whole new perspective on the difficulties of modeling the human brain. No model that I know of is even considering the function of the Glia cells in cognition - if they are communicating they are effecting it in some manner.
Good article!
Comment by A Former Member on November 6, 2010 at 5:17pm

From Primitive Parts, A Highly Evolved Human Brain


From one perspective, the human brain is a masterpiece. From another, it's 3 pounds of inefficient jelly. Both views are accurate, and that's because our remarkable brain has been assembled from some very primitive parts.


Read the rest, or listen to the story, on NPR.

Comment by A Former Member on November 6, 2010 at 4:35pm

Glia: The new frontier in brain science


The current issue of the journal Science (November 5) marks a turning point in research on the brain. This event is fascinating not only for the wealth of new information about how the brain functions and how it fails in mental and neurological illness, but equally as a rare display of a field of science changing course. Such transitions are the lore of scientific history, but rarely do we have the opportunity to witness such pivotal moments in real time.


The journal Science is a premier international journal covering all areas of science, and this issue contains a special section on glia. Glia, in contrast to neurons, are brain cells that do not generate electrical impulses, and there are a lot of them—85 percent of the cells in the brain. Yet, these cells have been largely neglected for 100 years. I call this new frontier of neuroscience "The Other Brain," because we are only now beginning to explore it. The new findings are expanding our concept of information processing in the brain. They are leading rapidly to new treatments for diseases ranging from spinal cord injury to brain cancer to chronic pain, and Alzheimer's disease. And they are overturning a century of conventional thinking about how the brain operates at the most fundamental level.


In the past, glia were understood to support neurons; to feed them and clean up after them, and to respond to brain injury. But these functions were regarded as peripheral to the exciting functions that neurons perform in processing information and storing memories. Consequently, research on glia did not fare well in the fierce competition for the limited grant funding for brain research. Neuroscientists were not trained in glial science, and the standard texts cover glia superficially, if at all. Editors at major journals were not well versed in these odd and very complicated brain cells. As a consequence, glial research was rarely published in high-impact scientific journals. These forces dragged on glial researchers for decades. Now all of this is changing.


Read the rest on Scientific American.

 

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