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Stories by Philip Yam

Breakthrough Could Enable Others to Watch Your Dreams and Memories [Video]

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have reconstructed the internal "movie" that plays in a person's head. To re-create dynamic visual experiences, they used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the brain activity of volunteers (the other members of the research team) as they watched short movie clips (left panel in the video below)...

September 22, 2011 — Philip Yam

Colorado Cat Missing for 5 Years Found in Manhattan

Or maybe I should have titled this post as "Colorado Cat Becomes Big Star in New York, Goes Home to Rural Life Anyway." After all, she made it to NBC's Today show this morning (video), and several media outlets picked up the Associated Press story about how she went missing at a time when most people did not know who Barack Obama was.The cat, named Willow, belongs to the Squires, a Colorado family that was doing home renovations at the time of Willow's disappearance—contractors inadvertently left a door open...

September 15, 2011 — Philip Yam

Can Hurricanes Be Controlled?

Everyone likes to talk about the weather, and maybe someone could do something about it someday. From the dances and prayers of the past, we get to the weather-modification technology of the 24th century (at least, that's what I recall from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation ).Controlling cyclones is an effort entirely different from, say, making it rain...

August 25, 2011 — Philip Yam

How the Northern Lights Form [Video]

Here's a great video primer on how auroras form, from Per Byhring and the physics department at the University of Oslo. With wonderful graphics, the nearly five-minute-long video details the origin of the solar storms that trigger the Northern and Southern lights...

July 6, 2011 — Philip Yam

Why We're Suckers for Stories of the Apocalypse

For rational people, dismissing the silliness around the supposed end of the world on May 21 is all too easy. In case you haven't heard, Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping has done some questionable math based on Biblical writing to determine that the faithful will be "raptured" tomorrow and that nonbelievers will be left behind to fester to death over the next few months...

May 20, 2011 — Philip Yam

Experts on Japan nuclear crisis answer questions from Nature readers

During the morning of April 6, our colleagues at Nature ran a live, online question-and-answer event about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis. Visitors posted questions for Jim Smith, an environmental physicist from the University of Portsmouth, U.K., and Geoff Brumfiel, Nature’s senior physical sciences correspondent...

April 6, 2011 — Philip Yam

Attention, Ann Coulter: Report to aisle 5 for radiation cleanup

Well, I am impressed how conservative columnist Ann Coulter finds ways to make headlines. The darling of the radical right ventured into science journalism the other day, when during an interview with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, she said that radiation above the government cutoff is good for you.  She was promoting her latest column on her Web site, "A Glowing Report on Radiation"...

March 18, 2011 — Philip Yam
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