November 14, 2012
Leonids To Put On Quite A Show This Weekend – The Daily Orbit
Does “baby see baby do?”
Does Big Brother have his eyes on Google?
And we’ve got details about a show you won’t want to miss!
All that and more coming up, on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
A new study from Northwestern University demonstrates the power of language on an infant’s ability to understand the intentions and actions of others. Researchers sought to better understand how babies emulate behavior. They found infants were more likely to imitate certain behaviors when researches gave the actions names. They say this is the first demonstration of how infants’ observational skills heighten their acuity when augmented by language. Researchers say “this means that human language provides infants with a powerful key: it unlocks for them a broader world of social intentions.” My friend taught her kid to mean-mug through language, too cute!
And we’re in for a good show this weekend! The annual Leonid meteor shower will be visible during the latter half of this week, peaking early Saturday morning. Named for the meteors’ origination in the constellation Leo, the shower will be heaviest for those in the Eastern part of the United States with about two-dozen events per hour- between midnight and 3:00 a.m. This year will be an especially good show as viewing conditions are enhanced by a dark sky during the new moon. I’ll have my blanket and popcorn on hand! Can’t wait! To learn more about meteor showers visit the “Video” section of Red Orbit and click on Education for our “What Is a Meteor?” episode.
Okay, I have to admit I’ve been a little “skeptical” when it comes to the benefits of meditation. But new research suggests that meditation produces lasting emotional health for the practitioner. Past research shows that meditation decreases activation of the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes memory and emotion. But a new study that had participants undergo 8 weeks of mindful attention meditation showed a lasting decrease in right-sided amygdala activity…improving emotional stability and response to stress on a long-term basis. Researchers said “this is the first time meditation training has been seen to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of the meditative state.” Oh I thought I would give it a try.
Turns out “Big Brother” is watching Google. A new report says that government surveillance is on the rise. Requests by governments around the world to remove content from Google’s search results and other services grew 71% in the first half of 2012, while government requests for user data grew 15% from the previous six months, according Google’s sixth semi-annual Transparency Report. Most content removal requests from the U.S. government involved Google’s Web Search and content on Google Groups. Google said that “one trend has become clear—government surveillance is on the rise.” Hmm…freedom of speech?
And the little rover that could has gotten another taste of Martian soil. Curiosity took a sample of solids from the Martian surface which it deposited into its “Sample Analysis at Mars” instrument or SAM. SAM examines the chemistry of samples it ingests, checking specifically for chemistry related to supporting life. The new sample came from a patch of windblown material called “Rocknest.” Curiosity has been stationed at Rocknest for over a month now, and will soon depart for its next location, Glenelg, where it will explore different types of Martian terrain. NASA said that they received a good first sample but that they still have a lot of data analysis left to do.
And that does it for today’s Daily Orbit! We’ll see you right back here tomorrow!