To Pay Attention, the Brain Uses Filters, Not a Spotlight

A brain circuit that suppresses distracting sensory information holds important clues about attention and other cognitive processes.8 Jordana Cepelewicz Staff Writer September 24, 2019 VIEW PDF/PRINT MODEBiologyCognitionNeurosciencePerception We can pick out a conversation in a loud room, amid the rise and fall of other voices or the hum of an air conditioner. We can spot a set of keys in …

How long will these salmon be here?

NYTimes, Sept 2019 Many experts believe the orcas are starving in large part because of the decline of wild salmon. This year alone, their number has dropped from 76 to 73, alarming conservationists and scientists. Last year, an orca mother carried a dead calf for 17 days on her back. She was presumed to be grieving. “The best thing you …

How long will it take to recover from the extinction that we’re causing through climate change and other methods? Millions of years, say scientists, who also urge immediate, decisive action to tackle deoxygenation in oceans

April 2019, EcoWatch It Will Take 10 Million Years to Recover From This Man-Made Apocalypse,  Guest Contributor Apr. 17, 2019 SCIENCE By Jordan Davidson The climate crisis has us spiraling towards higher temperatures while also knocking out marine life and insect species at an alarming rate that continues to accelerate. But, just how long will it take Earth to recover? A new study offers …

Is the Amazon vulnerable to a ‘dieback’?

Indigenous people say the rainfall has changed. And “the models, and they’re pretty consistent. They suggest that the combination of fire and climate change and deforestation will weaken the hydrological cycle of the Amazon to the point where you just get insufficient rainfall in the south and the east, and then part of the central Amazon, to actually support a …

Microbiome renaissance

Broccoli Is Dying. Corn Is Toxic. Long Live Microbiomes! Let’s move past the green and gene revolutions to a microbiome renaissance. By Louise Elizabeth Maher-Johnson, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson on August 20, 2019 in Scientific American. As food writer Mark Bittman recently remarked, since food is defined as “a substance that provides nutrition and promotes growth” and poison is “a substance that promotes illness,” then “much of …

Do Plants Have Something to Say?

One scientist is definitely listening. Monica Gagliano, all ears in Central Park.CreditCreditGeorge Etheredge for The New York Times By Ellie Shechet, Aug. 26, 2019 Monica Gagliano says that she has received Yoda-like advice from trees and shrubbery. She recalls being rocked like a baby by the spirit of a fern. She has ridden on the back of an invisible bear conjured by an osha root. …

Rising water stress will affect plants: if the water potential and vapor pressure are larger in the atmosphere – water will dissipate faster and stronger from soil and plants

The increased growth rate of plants seen worldwide in response to rising CO2 levels – a phenomenon known as “global greening” – could be stalled by growing water stress, a study finds. Global warming is driving changes to water vapour levels, the research finds, which could, in turn, be affecting the rate of plant photosynthesis – the process underpinning plant growth. Article …

How can cities consider mental health in green space planning?

By Jason Plautz@Jason_Plautz in Smart Cities Dive, July 25, 2019 A new paper from an international team of researchers says that cities should consider mental health benefits as they plan nature spaces in cities. The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, offers a framework for cities to incorporate and measure mental health benefits from parks, tree plantings and other green spaces.  “In …

Neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland explains her theory of how we evolved a conscience.

By Sigal Samuel  Jul 8, 2019, Vox.com Patricia Churchland is a neurophilosopher. That’s a fancy way of saying she studies new brain science, old philosophical questions, and how they shed light on each other. For years, she’s been bothered by one question in particular: How did humans come to feel empathy and other moral intuitions? What’s the origin of that nagging little …