Around the Intertubes: November 29, 2010

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on November 29, 2010

1. If you are a man, and your relationship with your mother was a good one, then inhaling synthetic oxytocin will intensify fond memories of Mom. If your relationship was a bad one, then inhaling synthetic oxytocin causes you to remember the less favorable aspects of your relationship with her. Moms, if you get along with your sons, see if you can send them snail mail laced with synthetic oxytocin. They will not fail to call you more often.

2. Hope for a gene therapy technique that may fight off memory problems brought about by Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Jeffrey Goldberg makes fun of the TSA.

4. Art Garfunkel: Bibliophile, and compulsive list-maker. (Via Tyler Cowen.)

5. What GM’s new television ad should have said.

6. I love the fact that someone cared enough to make sure that the New York Times properly describes the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. But, it would have been nice if the 3 Quarks Daily post got the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle right as well. I hate to be a pedantic nit-picker (is there any other kind?), but consider the formula for the Principle, which is reproduced in the 3 Quarks Daily post:

∆x∆p ≥ h/4π

Explaining what the formula means, the post tells us the following:

. . . the Principle says the uncertainty in a particle’s position (∆x) multiplied by the uncertainty in its speed and direction (taken into account through its momentum, ∆p) always exceeds the number “h divided by four times π.” (The h stands for Planck’s constant, a very tiny number; the π is the familiar constant from circles, 3.14159…) In simpler terms, if you know a particle’s position very well, you cannot know its momentum well at all, and vice versa.

(Emphasis mine.) Er, um, see that line underneath the “greater than” sign? That line means that (∆x) multiplied by (∆p) is equal to, or greater than h/4π. “Equal to, or greater than” is, of course, different from “always exceeds.”

That’s it. Nit-picked. As you were.

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