From the Minds of BabesI became fascinated with baby cognition when I did a story on Liz Spelke's work with infants while also raising a couple. Spelke and others have focused on the wee'ns's innate or very early powers of cognition, including numerosity and early logic and perception. Here, though, is an interesting study that proposes that at least one baby-logic error may occur not because baby's logic is poor but because baby is so intensely focused on being led socially by his or her playmate/mentor/teacher. Given the power and primacy of social connections and trust (a subject I took interest in while writing about Williams syndrome, this seems a viable hypothesis and a wonderful notion: I'd love to see it explored some more.
The Agony of DefeatMaurice Delgado, formerly a post-doc at Liz Phelp's lab at NYU and now with his own at Rutgers, picks up one of the juicier fruits to fall from the neuroecon tree of late: the notion that people in auctions often bid less to experience the pleasure of winning (or owning) that to avoid the regret of losing.
Modeling Ocean Circulation
I've loved ocean modeling since I spent way too much time looking at current models while writing The Great Gulf. A major challenge -- and a major need for modeling fish population dynamics, like whether zillions of cod larvae will grow to fish on Georges Bank or be swept into the abyss just to the south -- is modeling the currents in 3-D. Apparently someone has made progress on that front:
Finally, for the part of you that loves cell phones and pure geekery:
Working Together to Get the Job Done
Bob tries to make a call to Alice but finds that the line is too noisy. Picking up his second phone (he's a very busy builder), he finds that line is also too noisy and so gives up trying to contact her. With two bad lines, Bob wouldn't be able to make that phone call, at least using the classical communication channels of his provider. Had he had access to quantum communication channels, Smith and Yard (p. 1812, published online 21 August; see the Perspective by Oppenheim) show theoretically that the situation is quite different. Two quantum channels, each with zero capacity to transmit information independently, will allow information to be carried across them when used together. Not only of theoretical interest, this counterintuitive result may be of practical use in the design of quantum communication networks.