Monthly Archives: April 2012


What advice would you give a job-seeker?

One of our recent studies put people in either high- or low-power poses for a few minutes as they prepared to give a presentation in front of a panel of judges. The power posers came across as more enthusiastic and competent, even though they weren’t posing during the speech. It seems the posing primed their brains to perform well. So if it’s a phone interview, close the door and put your feet up on the desk. If you can’t do that, find somewhere to stretch. A lot of students write and say, ‘I went to a bathroom stall, closed the door, stood on my toes, spread my feet, reached my arms out, put my shoulders back, and lifted my chin.'”

–Danielle Venton. “Strike a Pose.” Wired May 2012: 54.


“[Joss Whedon’s] advocacy of woman, exhibited in his work since ‘Buffy,’ is on display in ‘The Avengers,’ with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.

‘Joss did not want the Black Widow to be the damsel in distress or just another pretty face, or someone that was, you know, a woman that was incapable of holding her own,’ said Johansson.

‘She just throws down and sweeps the floor. And when I read it, it was just like, “Oh, thank you, Joss!”‘”

–“‘Avengers’ Director Joss Whedon: Yes, He’s a Geek.” Sunday Morning. April 29, 2012. CBS News. Web.


“A team of Japanese inventors have come with a new device that blends the country’s fascination with cuteness and its penchant for experimental high-tech — brainwave-controlled cat ears.

The fluffy headwear reads users’ brain activity, meaning the ears perk up when they concentrate and then flop down again to lay flat against the head when users enter a relaxed state of mind, say its developers.

The gizmo is called ‘Necomimi’ — a play on the Japanese words for cat and ear, but the first two syllables are also short for ‘neuro communication’, says Neurowear, the inventor team whose brainchild it is.”

–AFP. “Brainwaves Control Cat-Ear Hat.” Discovery News. June 8, 2011. Web.


“Lab rats have feelings, too.

Given a choice between munching on a tasty chocolate treat or helping a fellow rat escape from a restraint, test rodents often preferred to liberate a pal in need, indicating that their empathy for others was reward enough.

The observation by University of Chicago neuroscientists, published on Thursday in the journal Science, suggests that even these primitive creatures are wired to show benevolence for their own kind.”

–AFP. “Rats Will Help Their Pals Get Free.” Discovery News. Dec. 9, 2011. Web.


“If there are two things I like to do every day of my life, it’s: 1) look after my health, and 2) laugh. Not a bad combo, right? But did you know that by doing the second, you’re also doing the first?

Not that you shouldn’t climb onto that life-cycle, but laughter — all by itself — treats the body to a whole array of health benefits. For starters, a good, big laugh relieves physical tension and relaxes your muscles for up to 45 minutes. (Maybe that’s why everyone feels so laid back when someone starts telling jokes at a party!) Laughter also keeps the immune system humming by decreasing stress hormones and boosting infection-fighting antibodies. It even protects the heart by keeping those blood vessels pumping.”

–Marlo Thomas. “National Humor Month: Laughing Your Way to Good Health.”  Huffington Post April 26, 2102. Web.


“George Takei is thrilled.

The former Star Trek actor is incredibly pleased that the fundraising campaign for the new Broadway musical Allegiance was a success.

The campaign raised more than $158,000 for the production, which focuses on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

To reward those who gave generously, Takei (with the reluctant backing of his husband) performed his signature ‘happy dance.'”

–“George Takei, ‘Star Trek’ Actor, Thanks Donors With ‘Happy Dance'”. Huffington Post March 11, 2012. Web.


“We can see now that information is what our world runs on: the blood and the fuel, the vital principle. It pervades the sciences from top to bottom, transforming every branch of knowledge. Information theory began as a bridge from mathematics to electrical engineering and from there to computing. What English speakers call ‘computer science’ Europeans have known as informatique, informatica, and Informatik. Now even biology has become an information science, a subject of messages, instructions, and code. Genes encapsulate information and enable procedures for reading it in and writing it out. Life spreads by networking. The body itself is an information processor. Memory resides not just in brains but in every cell. No wonder genetics bloomed along with information theory. DNA is the quintessential information molecule, the most advanced message processor at the cellular level–an alphabet and a code, 6 billion bits to form a human being. ‘What lies at the heart of every living thing is not a fire, not warm breath, not a “spark of life,”‘ declares the evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins. ‘It is information, words, instructions . . . . If you want to understand life, don’t think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.’ The cells of an organism are nodes in a richly interwoven communications network, transmitting and receiving, coding and decoding. Evolution itself embodies an ongoing exchange of information between organism and environment.”

–James Gleick. The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. New York: Pantheon Books, 2011. Quote on pages 8-9.


“Researchers predict a new type of lithium battery under development could give an electric car enough juice to travel a whopping 800 kilometers before it needs to be plugged in again—about 10 times the energy that today’s lithium ion batteries supply. It is a tantalizing prospect—a lighter, longer-lasting, air-breathing power source for the next generation of vehicles—if only someone could build a working model. Several roadblocks stand between these lithium–air batteries and the open road, however, primarily in finding electrodes and electrolytes that are stable enough for rechargeable battery chemistry.

IBM plans to take lithium–air batteries out of neutral by building a working prototype by the end of next year. The company announced Friday it has stepped up development efforts by adding two Japanese technology firms—chemical manufacturer Asahi Kasei Corp. and electrolyte maker Central Glass—to the IBM Battery 500 Project, a coalition IBM established in 2009 to accelerate the switch from gas to electric-powered vehicles among carmakers and their customers.”

–Larry Greenemeier. “Second Wind: Air-Breathing Lithium Batteries Promise Recharge-Free Long-Range Driving–If the Bugs Can Be Worked Out.” Scientific American April 20, 2012. Web.


“In the past I’ve been a Jungle Cruise skipper, a cash office accountant, a children’s book inventory expediter, a house painter, and a clown – not necessarily in that order. Today I’m a blogger, which is kind of like ‘clown’ and ‘expediter’ mashed together. And from the beginning, I’ve always been a geek.

Epbot is where I share the things I like, the things that make me laugh, and the things that I’m working on. If it’s sci-fi, steampunk, clever, crafty, or cute, I probably love it.”

–Jen. “About.” EPBOT. Web.


“‘Is there any chance he was the one who killed your father and you were seeking justice so your beloved and missed parent could be at peace in the afterlife?’

‘No, but it does bring to mind the amusing story of the time I murdered my father.'”

–Ryan Sohmer. Looking for Group. Page 1 of the webcomic. Web.