06 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Facts About the Hubble Ultra Deep Field

1.How faint are the farthest objects? The Hubble observations detected objects as faint as 30th magnitude. The faintest objects the human eye can see are at sixth magnitude. Ground-based telescopes also can detect 30th-magnitude objects. Those objects, however, are so dim they are lost in the glare of brighter, nearby galaxies. Searching for the faintest objects in the Ultra Deep Field is like trying to find a firefly on the Moon. Light from the farthest objects reached the Hubble teles...
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Interesting factoids about the epic photo that illustrate the scale of the Universe.

28 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 The Affect of a Nurturing Environment on Babies

If survival is the brain’s most important priority, safety is the most important expression of that priority. This is the lesson Harlow’s iron maidens teach us. Babies are completely at the mercy of the people who brought them into the world. This understanding has a behavioral blast radius in infants that obscures every other behavioral priority they have. How do babies handle these concerns? By attempting to establish a productive relationship with the local power structures—you, in ...
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Babies that have their needs met grow up to be regular children, babies that are neglected, even in just the first four months, grow up to be gang members.

24 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Testosterone's Effect on Memory

Like many other areas of development, memory generally matures more rapidly in girls than boys. Beginning in the womb, female fetuses are known to habituate to auditory stimuli about two weeks earlier than males. After birth, they are more advanced at visual habituation. Toward the end of the first year, girls are about a month ahead in tests of short-term, explicit memory, like remembering, after a few seconds' distraction, where they just saw a toy being hidden. Girls also outperform boys o...
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Memory develops faster in females and testosterone appears to be the culprit.

21 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Practice Walking Helps Infants Walk Earlier

In fact, contrary to all of the early anecdotes claiming that practice has no effect on the onset of walking, one carefully controlled study has shown that special exercise can indeed accelerate it. In this study, a group of newborns were given just ten minutes per day of "practice walking." Every day between one and nine weeks of age, the baby would be held upright by a parent, with his feet on a table, and allowed to exercise his stepping reflex. Two additional groups of babies received, re...
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By having the parent hold the infant upright on a table to practice walk for just 10 minutes a day, they are able to accelerate the child's acquisition of this skill; however, infant walkers are found to be detrimental to this purpose for the lack of feedback they provide.

21 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Sound Localization

One trick our brains use to figure out the location of a sound is to compare the time it takes to reach each ear. For example, sound waves emanating from a wind chime located to your right will reach your right ear a few milliseconds earlier than they reach your left ear, and the brain uses this small timing difference to compute exactly how far to your right the chime is located. Researchers have capitalized on this timing difference to test sound localization, using a special experimental t...
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How the brain localizes the origin of a sound by calculating the difference in time between the soundwaves hitting one ear versus the other.

21 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Hyperacuity and Obligatory Looking

Beginning about four months of age, the perception of detail takes another leap forward with the emergence of hyperacuity: the ability to discriminate features that are up to ten times finer than the size of the photoreceptors should theoretically permit. It is this ultrafine discrimination that allows us, for instance, to see a very slight glitch in an otherwise straight line. even though the size of the glitch is below our eyes' limit of resolution. It is not yet known how our brains perfor...
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Two visual phenomena in the developing infant. One is the ability to make out visual details for which the eye does not appear physically capable of registering and the other is a conflict between the visual cortex and the brain stem that gets the baby stuck staring at something.

20 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Vestibular Stimulation in Infants

One study offers particularly provocative evidence of the benefits of vestibular stimulation. These researchers exposed babies, who ranged in age from three to thirteen months, to sixteen sessions of chair spinning: Four times a week for four weeks, the infants were seated on a researcher's lap and spun around ten times in a swivel chair, each spin followed by an abrupt stop. To maximize stimulation of each of the three semicircular canals, the spinning included one or two rotations in each d...
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Giving babies four "spin" sessions in a chair improved their reflexes and motor skills. Also, jiggling and rocking babies sorts out their discombobulation and allows them to focus and learn for a period of time.

19 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Nutrition in the Developing Mind

In the case of a mother's more general nutritional status—her tota caloric intake—the brain is actually less sensitive during the first three to four months of gestation. In spite of its massive developmental changes, the fetus grows surprisingly little in size during this period, so its growth is not very dependent on the mother's diet. (This is probably no accident, since women are often unable to consume many calories because of first-trimester nausea.) Beginning around midway through ...
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There is a crucial period in fetal development where nutrition is of the utmost importance to the growing brain. If these nutritional needs are not met, then the baby's intelligence may suffer.