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Discover December 2018

Discover Magazine will amaze you, enlighten you, and open your eyes to the awe and wonder of science and technology. Discover reveals secrets, solves mysteries, and debunks old myths. Discover shares new findings and shows you what makes our universe tick.

United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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SPECIAL: Get 40% OFF with code: LOVE40 - Web purchases only
10 Issues

In this issue

1 min.
a dose of patience

A core tenet of yoga is the inherent connection between the mind and body. What happens in the brain can manifest in the gut, shoulders or lower back. This was only too apparent one recent Sunday morning in yoga class. My hips were talking, not happy about merely sitting cross-legged on the floor. The hips often reflect — and hold onto — our stress. And when that happens, yoga poses become exercises in patience, working through and accepting the tightness in both body and brain. For researchers and clinicians who study Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, it’s been one long exercise in patience. After watching pharmaceutical companies chase supposed one-drug solutions, a growing number of physicians are focusing on a whole-body, systemic approach to Alzheimer’s. How do we sleep? How do we…

1 min.
print feedback

Common Misconception (“Tongue Twister,” September 2018) The Vital Signs feature in this issue perpetuates a misconception with an unfortunate and undeserved stigma. The article correctly notes that the herpes simplex virus, specifically herpes simplex type 1, is the common cause of both herpes encephalitis and common fever blisters. However, it is not commonly a sexually transmitted disease, but rather transmitted by oral secretions or skin-to-skin contact. Kissing and sharing eating and drinking utensils, plus any other contact with infected oral secretions, are typical ways the virus is acquired. It may also be shed in the saliva whether or not a fever blister is present. Although it can be transmitted sexually, that is not the usual route of acquisition for this very common virus. Herpes simplex type 2, on the other hand, is the usual…

1 min.
multimedia feedback

Under Pressure People aren’t the only ones capable of peer pressure, it seems. A recent study says robots can influence kids as young as 7. We covered the news on our website, where it sparked quite the debate. John Little - omegashock - com: So, this means that the mainstream media and “mainstream” social media really do have the power to manipulate — especially the young. And yes, this holds true for adults, too — just somewhat less. It’s a “brave new world” out there, kids — the Orwell version. Atlas Shrugged: This isn’t limited to robots — kids can be influenced by anything. Woodsy the Owl was designed to influence kids not to pollute — don’t throw that trash on the ground, Dad, Woodsy the Owl says to give a hoot! Don’t pollute! Ditto, Smokey…

1 min.
that robot feeling

No eyes are no problem for the dog-sized robot Cheetah 3, which adeptly climbed stairs during a test run at MIT earlier this year. The 90-pound machine, a creation of mechanical engineer Sangbae Kim and his team, doesn’t need to rely on cameras or other external sensors. Instead, the robot understands its environment using internal gyroscopes and accelerometers, plus a precise sense of leg position. Cheetah 3 can leap to a 30-inch platform, navigate irregular terrain and stay balanced if shoved.…

2 min.
eyewitness to geology

AT YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK IN CALIFORNIA, granitelike towers loom over the park’s main valley. But one monolith stands out: Half Dome, which, with its curved, peeling layers, looks a bit like an onion. Until recently, experts weren’t sure what caused these layers to peel and fracture, but new research in the journal Nature Communications suggests hot days are to blame. High temps cause the stone to expand and sometimes fracture into layers. The event that helped inspire the Nature Communications paper came after a hot summer’s day at a different, much smaller dome near Yosemite. There, Scott Lewis, an engineering geologist and one of the paper’s authors, went to assess a dam damaged by such a fracturing event. On site, he witnessed something few ever have. IN HIS OWN WORDS … Myself…

2 min.

NINE PINTS A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood By Rose George Don’t be squeamish about picking up this lively investigation of everything from medicinal leeches to blood-borne pathogens to profiting off plasma. George’s sanguine writing is flush with fascinating details. EINSTEIN’S MONSTERS The Life and Times of Black Holes By Chris Impey Astronomer Impey’s accessible approach breaks down complex scientific concepts with ease and flair, name-checking everyone from Edgar Allen Poe to Pink Floyd as he lays out what we think we know about black holes — and what remains mysterious. TURNED ON Science, Sex and Robots By Kate Devlin A chance conversation in a pub while attending a conference led Devlin down what might sound like a dark alley: the world of sex robots. But the AI researcher’s quest is full of humor and candor as…