Sunday, 31 July 2016


10 Amazing New Discoveries At Famous Monuments
By Jana Louise Smit,
Listverse, 31 July 2016.

For armchair archaeologists, there’s no better buzz than reading about the latest discoveries of the ancient world. Most arise from sites never before excavated or those barely studied. Sometimes, though, finds turn up at well-known monuments and archaeological areas. Those are the true wonders of archaeology, plainly because one would think nothing incredible is left to discover.

10. Great Pyramid Of Giza

Photo credit: Nina Aldin Thune

Measuring the Great Pyramid of Giza turned up an unexpected surprise - it’s uneven. For centuries, the true size of the monument eluded researchers. It’s not as easy as strapping a measuring tape around the pyramid’s base. A big part is missing, including the original size of this ancient marvel.

Long ago, looters stripped the casing stones - limestone slabs that gave the pyramid a smooth, four-sided look instead of the steps tripping up tourists today. Researchers set out to calculate the true dimensions by using cutting-edge technology and studying the few remaining casings.

The result showed something unexpected. A slight builder’s mistake had left the Great Pyramid lopsided. Its base is 14.1 centimeters (5.6 in) longer on the west as compared to the east side. Even more amazing, complex ruins - possibly housing meant for elite troops during the time when the pyramids were built - lie nearby.

9. Colosseum

Photo credit: Diliff

To enjoy the fun horrors of the Colosseum, ancient Romans weren’t required to pay an entrance fee. Their tickets held another purpose - to show them to their seats. Five thousand excited audience members would go through different gates, above which were engraved the numbers of their tickets.

Restoration workers were washing these gate engravings when the dirt gave way to an amazing ancient survivor. Red paint. Sure, it sounds mind-numbingly dull. But considering that it’s believed to consist of iron oxide and clay, the paint wasn’t supposed to last more than a few years.

Two millennia later, it’s still there. That something so simple was overlooked until recently is rather odd. To be fair, perhaps nobody thought to search for something that was never supposed to outlast its expiration date by 2,000 years.

8. Taj Mahal


The gardens surrounding this Indian icon align with each summer and winter solstice. On the said summer’s day, usually June 21, dawn breaks over a pavilion to the northeast and the Sun sets behind another to the northwest. The two pavilions guard between them the Taj Mahal’s mausoleum and minarets.

Around December 21, the winter solstice Sun repeats the journey from one pavilion to the next - only this time starting with one to the southeast and finishing the day behind another to the southwest.

The solstice Sun could have been a tool architects used to assure accuracy during the monument’s construction. In fact, the mammoth Taj Mahal is perfectly positioned along a north-south line.

Other solstice gardens exist, but not all have mastered solar orientations with such precision. The bigger the area, the harder it is to create a solstice complex. The vast grounds of the Taj Mahal have perfect Sun alignments.

7. Machu Picchu


An ever popular tourist destination, Machu Picchu and its trails are studied by thousands of eyes each year. Yet something still managed to elude visitors and researchers until recently. Fifteen minutes walking distance from the Inca citadel are new cave paintings.

They show the figures of a man and a camelid-type animal, most likely a llama. Above them sits a geometric glyph. Staff from Cuzco’s Cultural Department discovered the ancient art when they were on one of the roads that lead to Machu Picchu.

In the same area, that of Pachamama, four graves were located in 1912 when Hiram Bingham, the man who found the Inca city, returned during a second expedition. His records never mentioned the black rock paintings, so it’s assumed that he never saw them. Researchers still need to agree about the age, but there’s an exciting possibility that the artist was pre-Inca.

6. Stonehenge

Photo credit: English Heritage

On occasion, a badger in a digging mood can be the animal equivalent of an amateur archaeologist hitting the big nugget. One badger clawed up (and possibly broke) a cremation urn near Stonehenge, and when the pottery shards were noticed, it triggered a full excavation.

The dig didn’t disappoint. The urn belonged to an early Bronze Age grave that also contained cremated human remains, a bronze saw, and a copper chisel with an ornate bone handle. Archery-related artifacts such as a wrist guard and shaft straighteners indicate the person could have been an archer or a tradesman who crafted archery equipment. The artifacts are all in quality condition despite the fact that they are around 4,000 years old.

5. Salisbury Plain

Photo credit: HeritageDaily

Team Badger did it again. Barrow Clump is the only surviving mound of a group of 20 that got plowed into oblivion. The Bronze Age site, sitting on military grounds in Salisbury Plain, shares its surroundings with a bunch of active badgers. With a furry population 70 dens strong, it soon became apparent that the creatures were doing their own damaging version of an excavation, digging up artifacts and leaving them strewn about.

A rehabilitation program for soldiers brought in a team of military men injured in Afghanistan to salvage what they could. What they discovered was not only a great find for history but also for themselves. The troops belonging to The Rifles found their own ancient version in the form of 27 warriors. The burials contained the remains of Anglo-Saxon males buried with personal items and weapons dating to the sixth century.

4. Ancient City Of Knossos


Knossos, the oldest city in Europe, was built by the Minoan culture and is home to Crete’s most famous landmark, the Palace of Knossos. Fieldwork revealed that the scale of the Bronze Age metropolis was three times larger than previously thought and spread out over a large part of the Knossos valley.

Newly discovered tombs contained imported goods, indicating that this flagship city was a trade hub of the ancient world and a shopper’s dream. Knossos wasn’t just advanced and spectacular, it was resilient, too. Its sociopolitical system crumbled around 1200 BC.

However, the new urban ruins show a city that recovered and expanded rapidly during the Iron Age. By 1100 to 600 BC, Knossos was wealthy and influential again, thanks to its trading with several countries as near as mainland Greece and as far as the Near East and Egypt.

3. Seahenge

Photo credit: The Guardian

In 1998, a prehistoric circle was found on a Norfolk beach. The so-called Seahenge became famous, but it has a much neglected sister. Found during the same year, she was even overlooked when protesters tried to prevent the removal of the 55 oak posts and the centerpiece oak stump belonging to Seahenge.

Removal was necessary because of damage caused by the tides. The second circle, known as Holme II (technically Seahenge is Holme I), is dying a slow death. Originally, its oak posts and fences formed an oval around two oak logs in the middle. Today, most of it is gone.

Sadly, complete destruction is inevitable since there are no plans to remove Holme II. Both henges date to 2049 BC, pointing toward a unified purpose as one monument. Seahenge is believed to be a memorial to somebody who died, while Holme II’s now-missing central logs are suspected to have supported the deceased’s coffin.

2. Petra

Photo credit: Live Science

In Jordan, archaeologists have been excavating the ancient city of Petra for two centuries. The metropolis is massive. Carved from desert cliffs, there are places of worship, tombs, homes, and forts at least two millennia old. After all that time shoveling and studying, one would think that nothing big would be left to find.

Incredibly, a mammoth structure was found in 2016. Located about 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) from the city, a giant rectangular platform was revealed and it came with extras. It contained a smaller version of itself on top, pillars, a stairway, and terrace walls, making it one of the most monumental finds at Petra.

The platform is on a plateau and measures about 56 by 49 meters (184 by 161 ft). The structure was built by Petra’s inhabitants while the city was the height of its power. But what this colossal platform was used for remains a mystery.

1. Angkor Wat


The newest finds at Angkor Wat can only be described as unreal. The ancient religious site in Cambodia recently yielded a treasure trove of new discoveries - eight buried towers, a spiral, concealed paintings, and the foundations of an entire medieval city.

The rock towers are shattered in their graves next to a gateway by the moat. The spiral, a unique structure made of sand nearly 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) long, flows in rectangular lines. Two hundred paintings adorn the temple walls, and all are invisible to the naked eye.

When digitally enhanced, murals come to life depicting gods, horsemen, animals, and musical scenes. Most spectacularly, laser technology recently revealed a lost city. Called Mahendraparvata, it was previously only known from ancient texts.

The major temples of Angkor are surrounded by a considerable urban area linked up by roads and canals. Mahendraparvata was among the first capitals of the Khmer Empire and built centuries before Angkor Wat.

Top image: The recently discovered remains of eight buried towers near the western gateway of Angkor Wat. Credit: Image by Till Sonnemann and image base courtesy of ETH Zurich, via Live Science.

[Source: Listverse. Edited. Top image added.]


How to Handle Every Type of Comment on Social Media
By Kelsey Jones,
Salesforce Canada, 20 June 2016.

As your audience grows, so will the inflow of comments. Brands have come to realize that the larger your presence, the more people that look at your content with a critical eye.

No matter your overall goals for social media, you must be ready to answer the individuals who respond to your posts. Below are some ways to handle the comments that may come your way.

More details at Salesforce Canada.

[Source: Salesforce Canada.]


10 former train stations put to creative new uses
By Angela Nelson,
Mother Nature Network, 29 July 2016.

Surely you've been inside a railway station of some sort. They're often, but not always, massive places - huge buildings with giant rooms, high ceilings and rows of tracks, whether outside or underground. Throughout history, some of these places have stopped operating for various reasons - a company goes bankrupt, populations shift or transportation preferences change. Cavernous spaces are left empty and unused as a result.

So what happens to them? Some sit empty to this day, like these abandoned stations in New York City, but others are being put to creative new uses. When it comes to "reduce, reuse, recycle," these 10 former railway stations are nailing reuse.

1. La Recyclerie in Paris

Photo: Franek N/Flickr

France's national rail company, SNCF, is turning several derelict rail sites in Paris into music venues, gardens, bars and restaurants. One of them, La Recyclerie (pictured above), is an eatery that has been open for two years in the abandoned Petite Ceinture line.

Other projects include a music venue called Grand Train, which "now features a train exhibition, live music and other events as well as various restaurants and a bar. A produce market and urban farm are also said to be joining the venue in the future," according to The Telegraph. It's built on the site of a former SNCF depot.

Coming next year will be Le Hasard Ludique, a bar, restaurant and music venue inside a train station that's no longer in use.

2. The Lowline in Manhattan

Photo: The Lowline

The Lowline is an underground park proposed for Manhattan's Lower East Side neighborhood. The 60,000-square-foot site is hidden under Delancey Street in a transit station that's been abandoned for 80 years. The ambitious proposal calls for piped-in natural sunlight (fiber optic cables and solar collection dishes would transport sunlight into the park) and a variety of plants and trees to bring some green to an otherwise tree-deprived area of New York City.

If it comes to fruition (the plan got a thumbs-up only recently), it would be the world's first underground park, according to City Hall.

3. Musée d’Orsay in France

Photo: Moonik/Wikimedia Commons

The Musée d’Orsay in Paris is one of the largest art museums in Europe. It's home to France’s national collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography from the impressionist, postimpressionist and art nouveau movements between 1840 and 1914. How fitting that the building, constructed by Victor Laloux, is now an art museum as the building itself is an art nouveau masterpiece.

Once upon a time, it was a railway station called Gare d'Orsay, built for the 1900 World Fair. By 1939, the station's short platforms were no longer big enough for the longer trains of the day and it became a mailing center during World War II. Decades later, it was used as a movie set for several films, including "The Trial" in 1962, directed by Orson Welles.

The building became a historical monument in 1978, and the renowned art museum opened in December 1986.

4. Long Melford Station in England

Photo: Ben Brooksbank/Wikimedia Commons

Long Melford railway station in Suffolk, England, opened in 1865 and operated for more than 100 years before closing in 1967. It was then used as a bus station and a kennel for greyhounds, according to The Telegraph, but around 1994 the property caught the eye of Anna and Mark Gudge. The couple purchased the station building, a platform with a set of waiting rooms and the gap where the train tracks used to be for about US$131,000.

Over the years the Grudges renovated the entire property, creating a four-bedroom station house, a garden and a pool. But after 17 years of making memories, the house went on the market in 2012 (with an asking price of about US$648,000).

5. Pittsburgh-area restaurants


At least five defunct train stations in the Pittsburgh area have been converted into restaurants that serve up a side dish of history with the meal. DiSalvo's Station Restaurant (pictured above) in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, is an Amtrak station-cum-upscale Italian restaurant, with the eatery opening in 1990.

The Tribune-Review reports diners can see many remnants of the building's former role, including old-fashioned suitcases stacked near the bar, a train chugging along the wall of one room, and a low-ceiling tunnel between the dining area and parking lot. But the most telling signs are the small, simple train station that still operates above the restaurant and the reservations-only fancy dining experience in a restored, historic train car from 1901.

6. Hamburger Bahnhof in Germany

Photo: Jacklee/Wikimedia Commons

Berlin's contemporary art museum, housed in a former 19th-century railway station, is "dedicated exclusively to contemporary art from the 1950s to the present," according to the museum. One of the oldest station buildings in Germany, the building hasn't been used for trains since 1884. In 1906, it became a railway museum and went through two expansions before being bombed during World War II and closing. After a complete renovation from 1990 to 1996, the contemporary art museum opened.

7. Júlio Prestes Cultural Center in Brazil

Photo: Ed1983/Wikimedia Commons

This gorgeous building in São Paulo, Brazil, started off as Julio Prestes Station, a railway station built around 1936 to house the headquarters of the Sorocabana Railway. But by 1999, when a complete restoration and renovation was finished, it became the Júlio Prestes Cultural Center. The cultural center houses the Sala São Paulo (pictured above), which has a capacity of 1498 seats and is the home of the São Paulo State Symphonic Orchestra. Like similar concert halls in Boston, Vienna and Amsterdam, the Sala São Paulo has a "shoebox" style, meaning the room is tall, narrow, with parallel side walls, and most of the audience is situated in front of the orchestra.

8. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

Photo: wrightbrosfan/Flickr

Yes, Cincinnati's Union Terminal is still a train station, but for a few decades it wasn't. We'll explain.

Union Terminal was built from 1929 to 1933 at a cost of US$41 million. As far as structures go, it's impressive to say the least: It is the "largest half-dome in the Western Hemisphere" and remains "one of the most widely regarded examples of the Art Deco style," according to the railway station. But from 1972, passenger train service stopped until 1991, when Amtrak began operating there.

Most of the colossal building houses other attractions, such as a history museum, a children's museum, an OMNIMAX theater and a library. However, Union Terminal is currently undergoing a massive renovation and many of those attractions are temporarily closed.

9. Dent Station in England

Photo: Andrew/Flickr

England's Dent Station, located on the famous and scenic Settle to Carlisle line, first opened in 1877. It closed in 1970 and reopened in 1986, which of course technically means it's still in use as a railway station. In fact, up to six trains a day pass through. However, like Cincinnati's Union Terminal, it has another fun and unique function: The property is also a vacation rental.

Dent Station calls itself "the highest mainline station in England" at 1,150 feet above sea level and boasts three bedrooms, a lounge and a kitchen. This privately owned station, which offers stunning views, is about five miles from the village of Dent.

10. Union Station in Denver

Photo: Amy Aletheia Cahill/Wikimedia Commons

Union Station is Denver's central transportation hub, so the 120-year-old building is hardly an out-of-use railway station. But like the others on the end of this list, it bears mentioning.

It was built in 1868 to serve the Denver Pacific Railway and had many busy years before traffic dropped off in the second half of the 20th century due to competition from airplanes and automobiles. Eventually, Amtrak became the only rail provider operating with just two trains a day.

From the 1980s through 2000, small improvements were made, such as adding a bus line and light rail service. However, in 2004, an ambitious plan was approved for a major redesign of the 19.5-acre site, and in 2012, it went through a US$500 million renovation to redevelop the former railyards as a mixed-use property. Union Station reopened to the public in the summer of 2014 with the addition of The Crawford Hotel, several restaurants (pictured) and stores and a train hall.

Top image: The Musée d'Orsay in Paris. Credit: Monica Arellano-Ongpin/Flickr.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Edited.]

Saturday, 30 July 2016


10 Reasons Academic Journals Are Filled With Junk Science
By Mark Oliver,
Listverse, 30 July 2016.

Science is held in unique esteem in our society. When we see the words “a study shows” in a newspaper, most people will just accept that whatever follows is the truth. When we see that an article cites an academic journal, we step back and applaud that finally, somebody is giving us the facts.

And that’s actually a good thing - or, at least, it should be. We should be able to trust that these studies and papers were created by people dedicated to the pursuit of the truth.

But there are a few dirty secrets behind the studies we like to trumpet as the truth. Because the reality is that the academic journals that publish these studies are running rampant with bad science - and there are a few things in place that allow it to continue happening.

10. Fake Academic Journals Are Becoming Common


Anyone who went to a university knows how much academic journals are held in high esteem. They are treated like the holy grail of sources. Whatever is written in an academic journal is usually accepted as an absolute truth because the papers within them are written by professors and diligently reviewed by highly respected colleagues.

Well, some of them are anyway. Other journals, though, will just publish anything you send them as long as you slip them a US$100 bill.

As the Internet has boomed, it has become easier and easier to make your own academic journal - even if you don’t have any qualifications. And people do it. There has been a growing number of pay-for-publication magazines that don’t review the articles they’re sent but label themselves as academic journals anyway.

The number of these fake journals has been on the rise since the Internet began. In fact, from 2010 to 2013, the list of fake journals ballooned from 20 to 4,000.

People can’t tell the difference between the real ones and the fake ones, either. These journals look like peer-reviewed journals. They’re shelved in the same spaces, organized in the same categories, and repeated by the same sources. Ideas printed in these things will get reprinted in the popular media just as easily as ideas in prestigious journals. And even those prestigious ones will repeat these findings as if they’re fact.

But they’re not. These magazines will publish anything you send them without taking as long as one second to review what you’ve written.

9. You Can Get Literally Anything Published


You can write literally anything at all and get it published in an academic journal. And when we say “literally” here, we mean literally.

A pair of computer scientists, frustrated with unwanted spam from a pay-for-publication journal, submitted a joke article. It was 10 pages of the same seven words repeated over and over: “Get me off your f-king mailing list.”

They formatted it like a real journal article. It was splashed with charts and tables, all of which just read “get me off your f-king mailing list.” It had those seven words patterned across every page, but it was an article that anybody would have recognized as a joke if they had so much as glanced at it.

The thing is, nobody ever looked at it. Instead, the journal’s computer just sent them an automated response telling them that they’d written a masterpiece and asking them to send US$150 to get it published.

The pair, curious to see what would happen, sent the US$150. Sure enough, the journal sent out its next issue a short while later with a 10-page article entitled “Get Me Off Your F-king Mailing List” proudly printed within its pages.

So, yes. When we say they will publish “literally anything,” we’re definitely being literal.

8. Newspapers Will Repeat Anything From A Journal


Once you’ve paid your US$150 and put your article into an academic journal, the world will accept whatever you said as fact. Even if you don’t believe it yourself.

One journalist put this to the test by conducting an absolutely terrible experiment. He wanted to see what would happen if he gave newspapers weak proof that eating chocolate makes you lose weight - something that should be obviously untrue.

He gathered together 15 people, gave chocolate to five of them, and measured their health in as many categories as he could. He believed that if he tested a small enough group of people on enough different things, the people eating chocolate would have to become healthier in at least one way just by sheer random chance.

Sure enough, his results let him say that chocolate was a weight loss tool. He paid to have his terrible science put into a journal and then sent his conclusions to newspapers.

The response was incredible. His faked findings were reprinted or reported on by Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, news networks, and morning talk shows. And not a single person talking about them mentioned his deliberately bad methodology.

7. Academics Will Repeat Anything From A Journal


It would be nice to be able to say that newspapers only reprinted these things because they didn’t know any better. But they’re not the only ones that do it. Academic journals have been caught reprinting lies that are just as obvious.

The British Medical Journal puts out a joke issue each Christmas. They fill their pages with studies that make ridiculous claims, expecting their readers to appreciate a little levity as a break from the usual fare.

Except that not everybody gets the joke. Like their report that analyzed the effect of retroactive prayer. They tried praying for people who were sick 10 years ago and then checked whether or not they got better. If they got better, they chalked up the recovery to the people in the future praying for them. It was a ridiculous premise. But a few years later, their joke findings were cited as supporting evidence in an article published in a peer-reviewed journal.

That’s not even an isolated incident. Their most successful joke article, which analyzed how many calories kids burn playing video games, has been cited 400 times by various journals.

So it’s not just the mass media that gets suckered into this and not just con artists who sucker them. Once an idea is in a journal, it becomes an idea worth repeating - even to the people who write for the journals.

6. Articles With Shorter Titles Get Cited More Often


Even when academics are citing good studies, their rationale for picking them isn’t what you’d imagine. We like to think that these papers are being written by people who have checked every source out there and only used the best ideas. But that’s not necessarily true.

When academic journals choose which ideas they’ll use in their articles, the process isn’t that different from how teenagers decide which BuzzFeed article to read next. As it turns out, the headline makes a huge difference.

A study of 140,000 academic articles found that one of the biggest factors that decides what ideas get cited in other articles is the length of the title. Time and time again, short, simple titles get cited more often than long ones.

This is a big deal because when a paper gets cited, its ideas spread further. So a short, snappy title might have a bigger impact on whether an idea gets accepted in the scientific community than the use of actual, proper research.

It’s a big deal for scientific careers, too. Citations are usually accepted as a benchmark for how well an academic’s ideas have been accepted. So a person who can create a short title might end up with more respect than his or her peers, too.

5. Most Experiments Can’t Be Reproduced


The most important part of the scientific process may well be reproducibility. The results of an experiment are only meaningful if other people can get the same ones. Otherwise, all you’ve witnessed is some weird fluke that you don’t yet understand.

The thing is, an incredible number of scientific experiments can’t be recreated. The numbers vary from field to field, but most of them are astounding. Only 36 percent of psychology experiments can be reproduced. This is bad but nothing compared to cancer research, where only 11 percent of what they discover can be replicated by others.

It’s a problem that most people don’t realize exists - but of which the academic community is completely aware. In a survey, more than half of all researchers called the reproducibility problem a “crisis” and an even higher percentage admitted to having failed to recreate an experiment themselves.

In a way, this is a good thing. The fact that we’re trying to reproduce these experiments means that vital quality control is being conducted. But when the percentage of failed reproductions is as high as 89 percent in some fields, it suggests that a lot of people might not be doing these experiments properly in the first place - and that a lot of ideas are getting out there that simply are not true.

4. Scientists Hide Faked Data By Using Big Words


A lot of the time, the scientists putting out these misleading studies know exactly what they’re doing. They’re not just getting a few numbers wrong, they’re flat-out lying and they’re trying to hide it.

One group looked at 253 studies that have been retracted from journals and noticed a pattern. Whenever the scientists put in fake data, they’d write in the most convoluted language possible. The articles were filled with weird jargon, complicated sentence structures, and abstract ideas.

Basically, they make their articles as hard to understand as possible in the hopes that you’ll just give up and move on instead of realizing that what they’re saying isn’t true.

In theory, this should make it easy to know which articles you shouldn’t trust. If you have to struggle to understand what they’re talking about, there’s a good chance they’re lying.

But the problem is that these journals are filled with incomprehensible language anyway, purely because it’s part of the culture. Academics will actually throw in unnecessarily difficult language just because they’re afraid that their writing will sound “like a magazine” if it’s not at least a little confusing.

So the data might make it a bit hard to separate who’s lying and who’s just using big words to sound important. Still, it makes one thing abundantly clear - the people who are lying know that they are doing it.

3. Drug Companies Bribe Academics


During his career, Harvard professor Joseph Biederman published a lot of strange, poorly designed articles about childhood bipolar disorder. He kept pointing to one conclusion - that children could be bipolar, that they needed to be treated with drugs, and that it didn’t matter how young they were.

His writing had a huge impact. He was a major influence on changing the way the psychiatric community viewed childhood bipolar disorder, and because of his recommendations, doctors started doping up kids who were as young as two years old.

When people started to look into what he was saying, they noticed a few things. First, just like the journalist who claimed that chocolate was a weight loss tool, Biederman set up his experiments so that they’d prove anything he wanted them to. Second, he’d been paid $1.6 million from the drug companies he kept praising.

Everybody accepted what he said because he was a Harvard professor writing for scientific journals. But his ideas got a lot of kids put on medication that they probably shouldn’t have taken. It was all bad science, and he wrote every word because he was paid to do it.

2. Professors Need To Publish Or Perish


There’s a phrase that gets tossed around in the academic world: You either “publish or perish.” In other words, if you don’t get something printed in an academic journal each year, you can count on being out of a job.

Some studies have argued that this might be the biggest reason for so much bad science out there. Scientists have to work at their careers. They have to get their funding somewhere to keep their jobs alive, and so they have to get something publishable into print. If they don’t have any ideas, they start putting out anything they can, as fast as they can. And this leads to studies with small sample sizes and articles in pay-to-publish journals.

One group of neuroscientists called out this practice. After identifying studies that they believed were conducted by people who were just writing to keep their careers alive, the neuroscientists tried to recreate the studies. As expected, when they did the experiments themselves, they got wildly different results.

Some scientists have called this out as the major problem in the scientific community. When scientists feel the need to get something out there, it leads to a lot of the experiments out there just being wrong.

1. Experts Are Prone To Being Closed-Minded


A major change in the academic world could fix a lot of these problems. But these academics are experts in their fields, and that makes it harder to change the way they see the world. According to one study, just being an expert naturally makes a person more closed-minded.

A group of psychologists quizzed random people on politics. Some were given easy questions that made them feel like they knew everything while others were given extremely difficult questions that left them feeling stupid.

Afterward, they were tested on their willingness to consider other viewpoints. Those who had been manipulated into feeling stupid were extremely open to seeing the world from another point of view. But those who were told they had expert knowledge shut out any ideas that were different from their own.

It’s a troubling revelation because it means that the experts who influence our idea of reality are just as closed-minded. If there’s a major problem in the scientific world, it will take radical changes to fix it. And those radical changes are going to need open minds.

Top image credit: Brandon Morrison/Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0.

[Source: Listverse. Edited. Top image added.]


Around the World in 42 Hand Gestures
Work the World, 21 July 2016.

If you’re getting ready for a trip abroad and you want to connect with the locals, learning a bit of the language can be a great way to show your respect and sociability. Without a long-term grounding in that language, though, speaking to a foreigner in their mother tongue can be an intimidating proposition. Your prep time may be better spent learning a few regional hand gestures. The beauty of hand gestures is that you can say so much with one move: unlike a spoken language that requires multiple combinations of vocab, grammar and tone, you don’t have to be an expert to communicate with your hands.

That said, it is well worth brushing up on the basics before you leave the hotel room. For example, while much of the western world understands crossed fingers as a wish for good luck, in Vietnam the same gesture is, shall we say, an anatomically-themed insult.

Further east in Japan, the (palm outwards) ‘V-sign’ is a less offensive nuance to get wrong: rather than Churchill’s famous ‘Victory’ gesture, the Japanese use it to express that everything is okay, even if they are not smiling. The V may still hark back to the original victory sign, but in Japan it has come to signify a more humble form of success or happiness, possibly in reference to the figure skater Janet Lynn who became a popular figure in Japan after remaining cheerful in photos after her defeat at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo.

Over in Europe, Italian hand gestures might be just as useful as their spoken language. They have a gesture for pretty much everything, and they don’t hold back when demonstrating them. The classic swipe of the chin - meaning “I don’t give a damn!” makes for a familiar, if unfriendly starting point. For a further introduction into the world of Italian hand gestures, and those of fourteen other popular international destinations, be sure to check out this ‘handy’ new infographic. (Peruvian gesture for ‘bad joke’? Point at the joker, and then at the door. “Ya se fue! He’s out of here!”)

Infographic Sources:
Is Nonverbal Communication a Numbers Game?
2. A crash course in Italian hand gestures
3. Common Gestures Used In Peru
4. Business Etiquette 101: Tips For Travelers In Ghana
5. A quick guide to hand gestures of the world
6. Nonverbal Communication and Gestures
7. What Does That Hand Gesture Mean?
8. Culture Shock! Sri Lanka: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette
9. GESTURES: Only a Touch of Filipino Culture
10. Nepal Culture and Etiquette
11. What are some basic Nepali Customs, Gestures and Etiquette?
12. Culture Shock: Nepal
13. Gesticular trouble: Understanding common French gestures
14. Cultural Etiquette: Germany
15. German Drivers Won't Get Points On License For Rude Gestures Starting Next Year
16. Learn Spanish gestures part one
17. Brazilian gestures
18. Russian gestures
19. Japanese gestures
20. Nonverbal Communication: Chinese Emotion and Gesture
21. Let's talk Tanzanian culture - non-verbal communication
22. Video: 6 Common Mexican Gestures

[Post Source: Work the World.]