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Climate Debate Needs More Psychology

By Joel Shurkin, Inside Science -- The notion that Earth’s climate is changing—and that the...

Thanks For The Wake: Catered Funerals Began In The Mid-east

By Joel Shurkin, Inside Science - Once upon a time, there lived a people we call the Natufians...

South Dakota Wine? New Grape Genetically Optimized For Extreme Temperatures

By Joel Shurkin, Inside Science — Wine grapes specially bred for extreme temperatures may have...

The Serious Physics Of Super Balls

By Joel Shurkin, Inside Science -- Super Balls are toys beloved by children because of their extraordinary...

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Joel Shurkin is a freelance writer based in Baltimore. He is the author of nine books on science and the history of science, and has taught science journalism at Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz... Read More »

By Joel N. Shurkin, Inside Science -- Let's pretend it is 56 B.C. and you have been fortunate enough to be invited to a party at the home of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, a great social coup. Piso, after all, was Julius Caesar's father-in-law and a consul of Rome.

What's for dinner?

By Joel N. Shurkin, Inside Science

(Inside Science) - In nature — the rule goes — everything is connected to everything else, so it is possible that when you combine two methods of preventing a deadly disease, bad things can happen.

By: Joel N. Shurkin, Inside Science -- Archaeologists, digging into George Washington’s headquarters at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, have added domestic images to the picture of one of the most iconic moments of American history.

They may have found the cabin Washington had built so he could get out of the chaos of the headquarters, and perhaps eat in peace with his wife and officers.

It also turns out the Father of the Nation liked pork for dinner and may have instituted a no-smoking zone.
By Joel N. Shurkin, Inside Science -- The enemy of archeology everywhere is salt. It destroys buildings, disassembles art works, and can turn ancient pottery into piles of dust.

How salt lays waste to these artifacts is well known, but scientists in Switzerland have monitored the process in a laboratory. Their observations could help preserve the buildings, art, and treasured relics of humanity.

By Joel N. Shurkin, Inside Science -- Researchers in Pittsburgh, using a brain-computer interface, have shown why learning something similar to what you already know--a repertoire of previous knowledge--makes learning new things easier. Learning unfamiliar ideas or behavior is more difficult.

While that sounds self-evident, the researchers have actually watched it happen in animal brains to learn how it works.

By Joel N. Shurkin, Inside Science - In an analogy many scientists hate, the human brain is often compared to a small, wet computer, functioning in almost the same way as the electronic kind. Two scientists at Cornell University report the analogy might be closer to the truth than anyone thought.

They have found an emotion code.