Science March – One Week Later

From the MiSciWriters Editorial Board

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017- Thousands of scientists and citizens came together in celebration of scientific achievement and its influence upon public health and environmental safety, but also in protest of proposed budget cuts and spread of “alternative facts.” Not only was this march staged in Washington D.C., but there were 610 satellite events all around the world including Ann Arbor.

Along with the primary goal to increase public understanding of science, the March for Science was also intended to prove science’s political worth to remain within the budget. Now, a week after the event, we ask ourselves: Did the March meet these goals? What further actions need to be taken?
Continue reading “Science March – One Week Later”

The Science of What Keeps Us Apart

Author: Kaitlin Weskamp

Editors: Shweta Ramdas, Alex Taylor, and Kevin Boehnke

“… in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” 
             ― Maya Angelou

Over time, there has been a general trend towards acceptance and inclusivity in the civil rights laws of the United States. From the abolition of slavery in 1865, to granting women the right to vote in 1920, to the legalization of gay marriage in 2015, we are making torturously-slow-but-steady progress towards the promise that “all men [and women] are created equal.”

Today, the majority of people in the U.S. agree with Maya Angelou that diversity lends strength to our community. However, racism, sexism, and homophobia remain enormous societal issues. Is there a neurological basis for these ideas? If so, how can we combat it?

Continue reading “The Science of What Keeps Us Apart”

More than Meets the Eye: How Optical Illusions Stump Our Brains

Author: Haley Amemiya

Editors: Kevin Boehnke, Zuleirys Rodriguez, Patricia Garay, and Scott Barolo

ninio
Figure 1. Ninio’s Extinction Illusion

There are twelve black spots in scientist Jacques Ninio’s Extinction Illusion. Can you see them all at once? Continue reading “More than Meets the Eye: How Optical Illusions Stump Our Brains”

Introverts & Extroverts: It’s Not as Simple as Shy or Outgoing (Part 2)

Author: Ellyn Schinke

Editors: Whit Froehlich, Nayiri Kaissarian, and Irene Park

In my last post, I wrote about the social differences between introverts and extroverts and the misconceptions surrounding the two personalities. This post will focus on the underlying brain biology that contributes to whether a person is an extrovert or an introvert.

The more I read about these personalities, the more I wondered—are there ways in which the biology can explain the social differences? It turns out that there are several known, key differences in the brain biology between introverts and extroverts.

Continue reading “Introverts & Extroverts: It’s Not as Simple as Shy or Outgoing (Part 2)”

Introverts & Extroverts: It’s Not as Simple as Shy or Outgoing (Part 1)

Author: Ellyn Schinke

Editors: Whit Froehlich, Nayiri Kaissarian, and Irene Park

Seemingly every Friday night, I’m curled up on my couch with a glass of wine and a good movie. Yet, it amazes me how many people scoff or flat-out laugh when I tell them that I’m an introvert. I am! In social situations, my mood can change very suddenly. It’s as if my social batteries have run out, flipping my social switch from on to off. Such changes are confusing for my friends, which might be based on the big misconception surrounding introversion and extroversion in society.

Continue reading “Introverts & Extroverts: It’s Not as Simple as Shy or Outgoing (Part 1)”

Camouflaged: Finding cephalopods

Written by: Irene Park

Edited by: Ada Hagan, Alisha John, Bryan Moyers, Kevin Boehnke

When I was watching Finding Dory, one character caught my eye: Hank the octopus (or septopus since he’s missing a tentacle). Throughout the movie, Hank uses his camouflage ability to blend into his surroundings, a very useful skill for Dory’s quest to reunite with her family without getting noticed by humans.  

I could not help but think how helpful Hank’s camouflage ability would be for different professions: hunters, nature photographers, and perhaps even people in the military. Unsurprisingly, researchers are already taking notes from cephalopods — which include octopuses like Hank, as well as squids and cuttlefishes — to develop better camouflage technology.

Continue reading “Camouflaged: Finding cephalopods”