World’s Strangest

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How to Draw a Dotted Line

Think you can draw dotted lines? See if you can do it the way Professor Walter Lewins of Massachusetts Institute of Technology does it!

Junk DNA Actually Not Junk

You’d be surprised to learn that 98% of human DNA actually don’t encode for anything. Some bits and parts act as gene regulators and switches, but for the most part, they’re just there because they’re there. In 1972, [...]

How to Best Survive a Free-Falling Elevator

Say that you find yourself in a free-falling elevator. What position will increase your chance of survival? That is the question being answered by The New York Times’ Q&A column by C. Claiborne Ray: The best [...]

MIT Offers Certificates in Piracy

For a generation, the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology has secretly trained pirates to ravage shipping on the high seas: It’s been an unofficial, underground practice among students at MIT for at least 20 years: Any student who completes courses in pistol, archery, sailing, and fencing is considered a pirate. Now it’s no longer an informal process. [...]

MIT Researchers Develop Suit That Lets You Feel Like You’re 75 Years Old

But if you’re ninty-five, does it help you feel younger? Probably not. AGNES, a sophisticated suit developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is designed to help people understand through personal experience what it’s like to get old: AGNES simulates a gerontological atmosphere in retail, public transportation, and workplace environments. Braces and bands mimic [...]

The Human Visual Cortex Can Do Language, Too

Brain scanning technology is teaching us how very versatile or brains are. For example, what is happening in the visual cortices of people who have been blind since birth? A series of experiments in which blind subjects were monitored while performing different linguistic exercises show that those parts of our brains are put to work [...]

Does Brain Size Determine Video Game Skill?

No matter how many hours you spend playing Halo, Call of Duty or Kid Icarus, it might not be enough to make you a world class gamer. Researchers have found that people with larger nucleus accumbens outperform others when it comes to video games. Researchers from the University of Illinois, the University of Pittsburgh, and Massachusetts [...]

Autonomous Indoor Helicopter

(YouTube Link) Researchers at at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been working since the 1990s on helicopters that can navigate indoor spaces autonomously. This one won the 2009 AUVSI Aerial Robotics Competition. Laser scanners and cameras allow it to move through a building on its own. Potential applications include industrial inspection and disaster rescue in [...]

How the Brain Localizes Sound

With sound sources bouncing off walls and other surfaces, how is the brain able to sort out from what direction and distance sound is traveling? Robert Goodier explains: In an April study, neuroscientists led by Sasha Devore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tested the widely held hypothesis that specialized cells in the brain actively suppress [...]