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Need A Brain Boost? Put On Your Electric Thinking Cap

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BrainCap“Let me put on my thinking cap” refers to a metaphorical headpiece, though the idea makes sense — sometimes, our brains seem to slow down and have difficulty thinking, so simply uttering the phrase might prime someone to get the brain ready to focus. Now, a thinking cap is no longer a metaphor — it actually exists, and yes, putting it on can actually help you think.

Robert Reinhart and Geoffrey Woodman, psychologists from Vanderbilt, recently published a study in the Journal of Neuroscience in which they demonstrate how their thinking cap works. They specifically wanted to test the medial-frontal cortex, which, among other things, causes the emission of negative voltage right after someone makes a mistake. Scientists have never understood why this happens, but Reinhart and Woodman had a theory that it’s the brain’s way of learning from mistakes. So they set about determining the purpose of those negative brainwaves. In other words, “We wanted to reach into your brain and causally control your inner critic.” They wanted to see if it’s possible to control the brain’s reaction to making mistakes, and whether that reaction could be regulated via electrical current — specifically, the current’s directional flow.

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Darth Vader Is Running For Ukrainian President

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The U.S. has seen celebrities go from film careers to high-ranking political office, so I suppose it isn’t a stretch to think that a fictional ruler of the universe would take a bit of a demotion and choose to run for office in an Earthly country. That’s the case in the Ukraine, where none other than Sith lord Darth Vader has stepped up and declared his new standing as a presidential candidate. And even if it doesn’t happen, isn’t this a much more enthusiastic headline than some of the ones we’ve been seeing lately about the country, or even our own country’s stance on the matter? When the world starts looking up to a planet-destroying evil menace, you know we’re headed in the right direction.

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R.I.P. Doctor Who’s Kate O’Mara And Director Derek Martinus

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kate o'maraThere is never any joy that comes with speaking about death, and this past week saw the loss of two TV greats, one just a tad more recognizable than the other. British television director Derek Martinus died on Thursday at the age of 82 due to complications with Alzheimer’s, which he’d had for years. British actress Kate O’Mara died Sunday morning at 74 of an undisclosed illness. It’s something of a coincidence that both of them are tied to the sci-fi world through Doctor Who, and their combined involvement with the series spans five Time Lords.

O’Mara showed off her evil side as the villainous Rani in two serials, “The Mark of the Rain” with Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor, and “Time and the Rani,” with Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh incarnation. She perhaps would have been in more had the series not been cancelled when it did. The Rani remains a memorable villain both for O’Mara’s performance and because she was a renegade Time Lord, a scientist whose evil-doings were based most in science, like a MacGyver with a chemistry kit. She also appeared in the 30-year anniversary special in 1993. Witness her evil below.

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Minimalist Posters Honor Scientists And Their Great Discoveries

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NewtonWe’ve seen a lot of “minimalist poster” art over the years, images designed to evoke the essence of a thing with as simple an image as possible. Usually they’re referencing popular movies or TV shows, but a graphic designer who goes by “Hydrogene” has taken the minimalist concept and applied it to some folks far more deserving of remembrance than, say, the makers of the Transformers films: scientists and mathematicians whose work has helped steer us into our modern age.

Working within the minimalist framework, Hydrogene has created many different subsets, ranging from scientists as well known as Isaac Newton (up top) to more obscure folks such as Leonhard Euler (I admit, I had to Google him).

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Ghostbusters, Mr. Hyde, Godzilla, And More Glow In The Dark For Fantastic Gallery Exhibit

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slimer ghostbustersI spend roughly 24 hours of every day wishing that I had unlimited funds to spend on whatever I want, and rarely does that feeling get more intense than when I start looking at photo galleries of pop culture-related art. The Bottleneck Gallery in Brooklyn, NY is currently featuring one of the sweetest exhibits I’ve ever seen with “When the Lights Go Out 2,” which started on March 22 and runs through April 9. While it won’t actually add to your enjoyment to turn out the lights while you look at these on a computer or phone, it might make you feel more like a part of the exhibit itself.

Not only do these pieces in this collection depict a wide range of amazing work dedicated to film and TV, but they all glow in the dark. Some use this to great effect and change the image completely. I don’t think I have to tell you what glows in the picture above, titled “He’s an Ugly Lil’ Spud” from artist Mark Lone. For such a dumb ghost, Slimer sure is…bright.

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Affordable Paper Microscope Could Save Countless Lives

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foldscopeSome of the most disease-afflicted places in the world are also the poorest. Illnesses like diarrhea, malaria, or e-coli are easily treatable with antibiotics or regular hygiene, but such measures are often unaffordable or impractical. Even if treatment is available and affordable, people with these ailments often don’t know they have them because there’s no easy way to detect them. Manu Prakash, a Stanford University bio-engineering professor, seeks to address the cost of basic medical equipment and make it available to anyone and everyone, and has developed a microscope made primarily from a piece of paper.