Why Can’t You Tickle Yourself?

Because your brain is always predicting your own actions, and how your body will feel as a result, you cannot tickle yourself. Other people can tickle you because they can surprise you. You can’t predict what their tickling actions will be.

And this knowledge leads to an interesting truth: if you build a machine that allows you to move a feather, but the feather moves only after a delay of a second, then you can tickle your- self. The results of your own actions will now surprise you.

According to Neuroscientist David Eagleman. Via the great Brain Pickings.

NASA’s Blue Marble

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This spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. These images are freely available to educators, scientists, museums, and the public. This record includes preview images and links to full resolution versions up to 21,600 pixels across.

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Monarch Butterflies’ GPS Revealed

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From ScienceDaily via @silvermaneman

Building on prior investigation into the biological mechanisms through which monarch butterflies are able to migrate up to 2,000 miles from eastern North America to a particular forest in Mexico each year, neurobiologists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) have linked two related photoreceptor proteins found in butterflies to animal navigation using the Earth’s magnetic field.

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Dark Matter, Is That You?

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For 80 years, it has eluded the finest minds in science. But tonight it appeared that the hunt may be over for dark matter, the mysterious and invisible substance that accounts for three-quarters of the mass of the universe.

In a series of coordinated announcements at several US laboratories, researchers said they believed they had captured dark matter in a defunct iron ore mine half a mile underground. The claim, if confirmed next year, will rank as one the most spectacular discoveries in physics in the past century.

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Big Talent Singing Duet

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UNDERWATER!!!

Humpback whales got pipes, according to Wired Science

Studying humpbacks with methods adapted from bird research has uncovered the first known instances of what look like whales responding musically to each other’s songs, says Danielle Cholewiak, a researcher for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary based in Scituate, Massachusetts. Cholewiak and colleagues detected melodic adjustments when a solo singer encountered another singer nearby and when researchers played their song remixes for whales.

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The Brain is At It Again

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According to Wired Science, Missed Kicks Make Brain See Smaller Goal Post

Flubbing a field goal kick doesn’t just bruise your ego — new research shows it may actually change how your brain sees the goal posts.

In a study of 23 non-football athletes who each kicked 10 field goals, researchers found that players’ performance directly affected their perception of the size of the goal: After a series of missed kicks, athletes perceived the post to be taller and more narrow than before, while successful kicks made the post appear larger-than-life.

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Andromeda in Ultraviolet

Sounds like an avant-garde theater production. It’s the latest mosaic image from NASA‘s Swift satellite:

Image Credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler (GSFC) and Erin Grand (UMCP)
Image Credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler (GSFC) and Erin Grand (UMCP)

In a break from its usual task of searching for distant cosmic explosions, NASA‘s Swift satellite acquired the highest-resolution view of a neighboring spiral galaxy ever attained in the ultraviolet. The galaxy, known as M31 in the constellation Andromeda, is the largest and closest spiral galaxy to our own. This mosaic of M31 merges 330 individual images taken by Swift’s Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope. The image shows a region 200,000 light-years wide and 100,000 light-years high (100 arcminutes by 50 arcminutes). Image Credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler (GSFC) and Erin Grand (UMCP)

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