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university of iowa

  1. Pigeons Master Touchscreens, Prove Smarter Than an Awful Lot of Humans

    It's only a matter of time before they seize control of our governments.

    Odds are that even if you don't live in a city and aren't forced to interact with stupid pigeons on a daily basis, you probably still think they're... well, stupid, right? Wrong. They're not stupid. Researchers at the University of Iowa tested pigeons on their ability to use touch screens similar to those found on your smartphone, and they're really, really good at it. They're probably better at working an iPhone than your grandparents are, and without the added benefit of opposable thumbs. This does not bode well for us as a species.

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  2. Researchers Find Way To Instill Terror In Brain Damaged Patients Who Can’t Normally Feel Fear

    A team of researchers at the University of Iowa studying human fear response has found evidence suggesting that the amygdala -- a part of the brain known to be important in fear responses -- may not be the only key to human fear. Studying subjects with damaged amygdalas who don't feel fear from outside sources, the team was still able to instill a fear response by switching to internal cues -- in this case, making the body feel it was suffocating -- suggesting that there are more moving parts to our fear response than a knee jerk reaction from the amygdala. The lesson here, of course, is watch out, because if there's one thing that comic books have taught us, it is that at least one person working in this lab is a convenient aerosol spray away from a full, rich life of super-villainy.

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  3. Totally Believable Researchers Claim Brain Area for Gullibility Discovered

    While we are mostly savvy folk who know that the Internet sometimes tells us a lie or three, we have to admit that we come closer to falling for scams than we might like. Before we throw away any scam email, we almost always have to tamp down the little voice in the back of our head yelling "DUDE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THAT IS FREE MONEY!!!!" We know it's not, but it's still hard to resist sometimes. A paper published this week in the journal Frontiers of Neuroscience may point to why, as researchers are reporting that they have discovered the area of the brain that governs gullibility.

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  4. University Offers Scholarship Based On Application Tweets Instead of Essays

    The University of Iowa, in a wild attempt to stay hip and relevant, has announced that they will offer a full-ride scholarship, thats $37,000 dollars folks, to the applicant with the best essay...that's 140 characters or less. This isn't the first time twitter has been involved in scholarly pursuits or had its character limits used as a creative constraint. This probably is the first time the stakes have been this high though, roughly $265 per character. Naturally, there are some people who aren't entirely thrilled by this proposition, and who could blame them. The "essay" has inherited a lot of respect over its years of service and rightly so. Despite the fact that few people like writing them, they have a pretty good track record. Tweets, on the other hand, are still fairly young, and lets face the real issue here, they aren't that much work to put together. Or so you would think. With all that potential riding on each word, each one is going to get a lot harder to choose and an applicant is going to have to make some serious value judgments about what ideas, much less what words, are worthy of being included. Then again, it could all be a plot to entice people to pay some attention to the University of Iowa. Still, seems like a good deal. When I applied to school "the Twitter" didn't exist; We had to write 67,000 word essays, in blood, uphill, both ways. (via The Escapist)

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