today.duke.eduBonobos Help Strangers Without Being AskedDURHAM, N.C. -- A passer-by drops something and you spring to pick it up. Or maybe you hold the door for someone behind you. Such acts of kindness to strangers were long thought to be unique to humans, but recent research on bonobos suggests our species is not as exceptional in this regard as we like to think. Famously friendly apes from Africa’s Congo Basin, bonobos will go out of their way to help strangers too, said Jingzhi Tan, a postdoctoral associate in evolutionary anthropology at Duke University.1
today.duke.eduWhat I'm Working On: Why you didn't do that thing you're sure you didFelipe De Brigard is an assistant professor of philosophy at Duke, where he runs the Imagination and Modal Cognition Lab. That may not sound like philosophy in the traditional sense; De Brigard’s work is at the intersection of philosophy and neuroscience, and is supported right now by a $500,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research.228
today.duke.eduDNA Sequenced for Parrots' Ability to ParrotThis male budgie from the Fort Worth Zoo is like the parrots Erich Jarvis uses to study vocal learning behaviors. Credit: Jerry Tillery.Scientists say they have assembled more completely the string of genetic letters that could control how well parrots learn to imitate their owners and other sounds.
today.duke.eduWhat Happens When a Missile or Meteor HitsWhen a missile or meteor strikes the earth, the havoc above ground is obvious, but the details of what happens below ground are harder to see.Duke University physicists have developed techniques that enable them to simulate high-speed impacts in artificial soil and sand in the lab, and then watch what happens underground close-up, in super slow motion.
today.duke.eduTop 5 Formerly Top Secret DocumentsSunshine Week, an initiative to spark conversations about transparency in government, starts today and culminates Friday with Freedom of Information Day. March 16, James Madison's birthday, was chosen for this annual celebration as a tribute to our fourth president's championing of the Bill of Rights and open government.
today.duke.eduNo Two People Smell the SameA difference at the smallest level of DNA -- one amino acid on one gene -- can determine whether you find a given smell pleasant. A different amino acid on the same gene in your friend's body could mean he finds the same odor offensive, according to researchers at Duke University.
today.duke.eduDenying Problems When We Don’t Like the SolutionsThere may be a scientific answer for why conservatives and liberals disagree so vehemently over the existence of issues like climate change and specific types of crime.A new study from Duke University finds that people will evaluate scientific evidence based on whether they view its policy implications as politically desirable. If they don't, then they tend to deny the problem even exists.
today.duke.eduPhysics Chair Sees Entire Universe in a NeutronPhysicist Haiyan Gao works on an experiment she is designing to look for a new force of nature. Credit: Megan Morr, Duke Photography.One summer evening, 12-year-old Haiyan Gao returned to her family's home in Shanghai a bit late after spending the day at a friend's house. As she came in the door, her father asked what she had been doing.
today.duke.eduHiggs Boson Gets New Mass LimitThe W boson is squeezing in on what the mass of the Higgs can be. Image courtesy of symmetry magazine/plush toys by artist Julie Peasley/photo by Robert Tilden.New, more precise measurements of a particle called the W boson are again suggesting that physicists' prized Higgs boson is lighter than previously predicted.