A SpaceX supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Friday, setting the stage for an Easter morning delivery and urgent spacewalking repairs later in the week.
Following its midday launch through cloudy skies, the Dragon cargo carrier was shown drifting away in the blackness of space, against the blue backdrop of Earth.
It’s transporting 21/2 tons of goods, including a new spacesuit, spacesuit replacement parts, much-needed food, legs for NASA’s humanoid, Robonaut, a bevy of mating flies, and germs gathered from sports arenas and historic sites across the U.S.
What is interesting about this is it calls into question just how early children start prejudging based on race:
In addition to asking whether infants consider an individual’s prior history of fair and unfair behavior in making their social selections, we asked whether information about the social category membership of an individual affects infants’ social selections. In the current study, we operationalized social category membership in terms of the race of the individuals, as adults systematically use race as an indicator of social category membership (Fiske and Neuberg, 1990; Hewstone et al., 1991; Stangor et al., 1992). Evidence suggests that same-race social preferences are in place by the school-aged years: elementary-aged children reveal a racial bias in their friendships and in peer nominations, preferring same-race peers (Aboud et al., 2003; Bellmore et al., 2007). Work using experimental paradigms also demonstrates that the impact of race on children’s social preferences can be traced back to at least the early preschool years. Three- to five-year-old children systematically select same-race unfamiliar peers and adults as potential friends over those of another race (Katz and Kofkin, 1997; Kinzler and Spelke, 2011). Moreover, children prefer others who exclusively affiliate with members of their ingroup: Caucasian preschoolers selectively preferred characters in vignettes who were depicted playing with other Caucasian characters as potential friends, rather than those depicted with Black characters (Castelli et al., 2007). In addition to possessing race-based social preferences children as young as three also show adult-like implicit race biases in an age-appropriate version of the Implicit Association Task (Dunham et al., 2013).
It is not entirely cut and dry:
We were motivated to investigate the impact of race on infants’ social selections as current research suggests infants show an early sensitivity to race in their attentional patterns. Evidence from visual preference studies suggests that race influences infants’ looking preferences for different faces: infants as young as 3 months of age prefer to look at same-race over other-race faces (Kelly et al., 2005). Existing research on social selections based on race in infancy, however, has yielded mixed results. On the one hand, preliminary findings using live, interactive paradigms with 12-month-old infants indicate that Caucasian infants prefer to take toys offered by Caucasian versus Asian individuals when given no other information about the individuals (Shin et al., 2011). On the other hand, Kinzler and Spelke (2011) found that 10-month-old infants selected toys associated with a Caucasian adult at equal rates as toys associated with a Black adult, providing no evidence for race-based social selections in infancy. Thus, the extent to which infants consider race in their social selections is an open question.
In conclusion, the results of the current study suggest that infants can use fairness concerns to guide their social selections. However, infants also take into consideration the race of individuals, and the consequences of the behavior of these individuals for their own- versus other-race individuals.
If we want to find a way to overcome racism - understanding how it affects young children, and why, is undoubtedly going to be the catalyst - which makes this report very important to adding to the available knowledge on how and why brains make judgments on race.
Indeed, the results of Experiment 2 suggest that when given the opportunity to select individuals on the basis of fairness, on the basis of race, or based on the consequences of the distributor’s actions for own- versus other-race individuals, infants most strongly consider the consequences for own- versus other-race members. These findings may suggest that when confronted with selecting between individuals on the basis of who abides by a fairness norm versus on the basis of who advantages own-race (versus other-race) individuals, infants may more strongly weight the consequences for individuals of their own race, and, by extension, for the self. Thus, infants may strategically select social partners who previously advantaged members of their own social category, suggesting that they may use group membership to predict the consequences of future interactions for themselves. Thus, our work is consistent with the conclusion that infants and young children may be strategic in their prosocial considerations (Dunfield and Kuhlmeier, 2010; Vaish et al., 2010; Shaw et al., 2012), factoring in not only whether an individual acts fairly, but also the potential consequences of this behavior for their own interactions with others.
This suggests the ideas we have about the causes of racism - ignorance and hatred are too simple to explain why racism appears inherent in very young children.
While education and personal experiences, which dispense with ignorance, do help to create non-prejudicial adults (They simply educate out of it) the study suggests that while education can defeat racial judgments over the long term - these are not necessarily the causes of racism. Something else, inherent in children, is.
This could be potentaily the first world we have found besides Earth that actually has Life on it. Than again, we can’t be sure yet, so don’t get your hopes up. Adam Mann reports,
An artist conception of what the system around Kepler-186f could look like. Image: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
Astronomers are one step closer to discovering Earth Two. They have found an exoplanet slightly larger than our own, orbiting a star at a distance where it could have liquid water on its surface.
But before you hop on a spaceship looking for a change of scenery, keep in mind that scientists have fairly little information about this new exoplanet, including its mass and composition. From what they can tell, the place is similar to our own world, though not quite Earth’s twin.
“We consider it more of an Earth cousin,” said astronomer Elisa Quintana of NASA’s Ames Research Center, lead author of a paper about the finding appearing today in Science. “It’s got the same size and characteristics, but a very different parent star.”
The exoplanet, named Kepler-186f, is located nearly 500 light-years away, orbiting a red M dwarf star. The star is about half the size of our own yellow G-type sun, and is much cooler and dimmer. Kepler-186f is roughly 10 percent larger than Earth and travels around its parent star in 130 days. Four other planets, each slightly larger than the Earth, also orbit the star, all with periods less than 23 days.
The skull of a newly discovered 325-million-year-old shark-like species suggests that early cartilaginous and bony fishes have more to tell us about the early evolution of jawed vertebrates—including humans—than do modern sharks, as was previously thought. The new study, led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, shows that living sharks are actually quite advanced in evolutionary terms, despite having retained their basic “sharkiness” over millions of years. The research is published in the journal Nature.
The existence of exotic hadrons — a type of matter that doesn’t fit within the traditional model of particle physics — has now been confirmed, scientists say.
Researchers working on the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) collaboration at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland — where the elusive Higgs boson particle was discovered in 2012 — announced today (April 14) they had confirmed the existence of a new type of hadron, with an unprecedented degree of statistical certainty. [Standard Model of Particle Physics Explained (Inforgraphic)]
“We’ve confirmed the unambiguous observation of a very exotic state — something that looks like a particle composed of two quarks and two antiquarks,” study co-leader Tomasz Skwarnicki, a high-energy physicist at Syracuse University in New York said in a statement. The discovery “may give us a new way of looking at strong-[force] interaction physics,” he added.
Right Wingers have nothing to worry about because they don’t believe in evolution or science.
Bacterial diseases cause millions of deaths every year. Most of these bacteria were benign at some point in their evolutionary past, and we don’t always understand what turned them into disease-causing pathogens. In a new study, researchers have tracked down when this switch happened in one flesh-eating bacteria. They think the knowledge might help predict future epidemics.
The flesh-eating culprit in question is called GAS, or Group A β-hemolytic streptococcus, a highly infective bacteria. Apart from causing the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis, GAS is also responsible for a range of less harmful infections. It affects more than 600 million people every year, and it causes an estimated 500,000 deaths.
These bacteria appeared to have affected humans since the 1980s. Scientists think that GAS must have evolved from a less harmful streptococcus strain. The new study, published in PNAS, reconstructs that evolutionary history.
Lead researcher James Musser of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute said, “This is the first time we have been able to pull back the curtain to reveal the mysterious processes that gives rise to a virulent pathogen.”
Researchers have found that pollutants are strengthening storms above the Pacific Ocean, which feeds into weather systems in other parts of the world.
The effect was most pronounced during the winter.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Lead author Yuan Wang, from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, said: “The effects are quite dramatic. The pollution results in thicker and taller clouds and heavier precipitation.”
Star gazers in parts of North and South America got a rare treat early Tuesday morning - a total eclipse of the moon. (April 15)
These flows represent 75% of human migration from 2005-2010. (NB only flows over 50,000 are displayed.) Circos/ Krzywinski, M. et al.
It’s no secret that the world’s population is on the move, but it’s rare to get a glimpse of where that flow is happening. In a study released in today’s Science, a team of geographers used data snapshots to create a broad analysis of global migrations over 20 years.
The study was conducted by three geographic researchers from the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital in Vienna. The researchers presented their data in five-year increments, from 1990 to 2010. Their research is unique, because it turned static census counts from over 150 countries into a dynamic flow of human traffic.
Migration data is counted in two ways: Stock and flow. “The stocks are the number of migrants living in a country,” says Nikola Sander, one of the study’s authors. Stock is relatively easy to get—you just count who is in the country at a given point of time. Flow is trickier. It’s the rate of human traffic over time.
Keeping accurate account of where people are moving has stymied the UN, and researchers and policy-makers in general, for a while. The European Union keeps good track of migrant flows, but elsewhere the data are sparse. Static measurements are plentiful, but it is hard to use them to get a picture of how people are moving on a broad scale, because each country has its own methodology for collecting census data.