Scientists Look to Stimulate Brain Development for Adults with Neurological Disorders (Scientific American)


“The habits we form from childhood make no small difference, but rather they make all the difference,” wrote Aristotle. It turns out that Aristotle was onto something-scientists believe that there is a “critical period” in a child’s development that shapes her character and the rest of her life.

Takao Hensch, a professor of neurology at Harvard University, explains how scientists are now designing “drugs and behavioral measures to reinstate critical periods later in life” for adults with early developmental problems. Read the article.

Bowdoin Teams up With Mid Coast Hospital for New Mindfulness Health Program

Hannah Reese

Hannah Reese

It’s called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR, and Assistant Professor of Psychology Hannah Reese hopes it will help many Brunswick area residents enjoy good health in 2016. Reese is helping teach a new MBSR program being launched at Mid Coast Hospital this month.

With the link between stress levels and health problems so well established, says Reese, this is a good way to cope with chronic illness or just stay healthy. Read more about it.

A Recently Translated Babylonian Tablet Challenges Histories of Math, Astronomy (Smithsonian Magazine)

outer space, galaxy, universe,

Complex geometrical and calculus concepts thought to be originally derived in Europe may have been used centuries earlier in Babylon, thanks to a discovery of a cuneiform tablet dating back between 350 and 50 B.C.E.

Mathieu Ossendrijver, who found and translated the tablet from the collections at the British Museum, says that it gives instructions for calculating the distance Jupiter moves over a given interval of time. Previously, it “wasn’t clear whether the Babylonians had a concept of objects in abstract mathematical space,” writes Jesse Emspak in Smithsonian Magazine. Read the article.

The Groundhog Has Spoken — Or At Least Let His Prediction Be Known (Washington Post)


What started as an observation of the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox has become a whole media circus with morning show live-shots and endless loops of men in top hats cradling what is known to some as a woodchuck or whistlepig. (Side note: We can tell you with some authority that the latter moniker is quite apt, because when such an animal threatens to burrow under your patio and you are successful in trapping one, it emits whistle-like shrieks. Pro tip: You will need a vehicle you can use to transport the caged whistlepig far away from your hardscaping. You will also need a hose. We digress.)

On Groundhog Day 2016, Punxsutawney Phil, “the world’s most famous furry forecaster” saw no shadow, which means an early spring is in the cards. The Washington Post lays out the lore and the logic.