Posts Tagged ‘discoveries’


Remember when we were all in grade school and we were taught about space? Didn’t it sound amazing?

It sure did then… and sure does, even now. There are some crazy things going on in space that we are still discovering. With its seemingly endless landscape, space will always be something that we are studying. Here are some of the weirdest things we have seen while studying the sky.

1.) Massive Electric Currents

These currents have beens pied radiating from black holes. One has been spotted that is about 1.5 times the size of our whole Milky Way galaxy. That’s shocking!

2.) Pluto’s Ice

The temperature on the (former) planet Pluto is so low that the ice found on the planet is harder than most steel. You have the -390 degrees Fahrenheit to thank for that.

3.) Giant Stars

This is a comparison of our sun (which is massive by the way) to a newly discovered star called VY Canis Major (which is, how do I put it…much more massive). This star is so big that its collapse could have major implications for the entire universe.

4.) The Diamond Planet

This planet looks like it will be “forever.” Scientists recently happened upon a planet of diamond. Well, okay not the whole planet, but 1/3 of the planet is diamond which is good enough for me to deem it crazily interesting.

5.) Mercury’s Mickey

While scoping out what the planet Mercury is up to, scientists discovered a familiar Earthly site. It looks like there was a visitor to the planet, one Mr. Micky Mouse.

6.) Hypervelocity Stars

Shooting Stars aren’t actually stars. They are meteors shooting through the galaxy. BUT! There are such things as shooting stars. They travel millions of miles an hour and I hope we don’t come into contact with one any time soon.

7.) The Burning Ice Planet

This planet burns at 439 degrees Celsius, but the water molecules don’t melt or evaporate. They bone together to form what is known as, “hot ice.”

8.) A Giant Water Reservoir

This cloud is light years away but it holds roughly 140 trillion times the amount of water on Earth. Bring your swim trunks, kids!

9.) Dark Energy

Dark Energy accounts for 68% of the known universe and it is the catalyst for what is making the universe expand.

10.) Unicorns

The Trifid Nebula bares a resemblance to the mythical creature but in all actuality, it is not a unicorn. Sorry.

11.) An Almost Habitable Planet

This planet the was found near the planet of Burning Ice actually, doesn’t spin so it is uninhabitable on the side facing the its sun and the side away from its sun, but the areas in between are apparently habitable.

12.) A Giant Cloud

This is one of the largest known things, not just clouds, THINGS in the known universe. It is the Himiko Cloud and it is over half the size of our galaxy. I hope it doesn’t bring rain with it.

13.) A Cold Star

Most stars are known for being blazing hot, but this star that has been found is actually not as hot as YOU! That’s right, you are hotter than a star. Our body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, stars have been found that are only 89 degrees.

14.) The Large Quasar Goup

What is scary about this Large Quasar Group isn’t only its size (40x bigger than the Milky Way), it is that it breaks the laws of physics as we know it.

15.) Dark Matter

27% of the visible universe is the mysterious Dark Matter. Spooky right?

16.) Fast Moving Black Holes

These collapsed stars are hurling themselves through the universe eating up whatever matter or light they can. Not only do they move at speeds in the millions of miles per hour, but once they consume something, their direction changes. We could be on the verge of a catastrophic disaster and we wouldn’t even see it coming due to the unpredictable nature of these black holes.

Most of these facts are pretty far out… Literally. You may not not just what’s going on in space (and let’s face it, most scientists don’t, either). However, you should learn what you can! Share this post by clicking the button below – spread the space knowledge.

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Psychology has a reputation for being the science of common sense, or a field that simply confirms things we already know about ourselves.

One way of battling this misconception, explains Jeremy Dean — a PhD candidate in psychology and master of ceremonies at the always-awesome PsyBlog — is to “think about all the unexpected, surprising, and just plain weird findings that have popped out of psychology studies over the years.” Here are ten of his favorite examples.

10. Cognitive dissonance
This is perhaps one of the weirdest and most unsettling findings in psychology. Cognitive dissonance is the idea that we find it hard to hold two contradictory beliefs, so we unconsciously adjust one to make it fit with the other.

In the classic study, students found a boring task more interesting if they were paid less to take part. Our unconscious reasons like this: if I didn’t do it for money, then I must have done it because it was interesting. As if by magic, a boring task becomes more interesting because otherwise I can’t explain my behaviour.

The reason it’s unsettling is that our minds are probably performing these sorts of rationalisations all the time, without our conscious knowledge. So how do we know what we really think?

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

9. Hallucinations are common
Hallucinations are like waking dreams, and we tend to think of them as markers of serious mental illness. In reality, however, they are more common amongst ‘normal’ people than we might imagine. One-third of us report having experienced hallucinations, with 20% experiencing hallucinations once a month, and 2% once a week (Ohayon, 2000).

Similarly, ‘normal’ people often have paranoid thoughts, as in this study I reported previously in which 40% experienced paranoid thoughts on a virtual journey. The gap between people with mental illness and the ‘sane’ is a lot smaller than we’d like to think. [Illustration by S. Stalkfleet]

8. The placebo effect
Perhaps you’ve had the experience that a headache improves seconds after you take an aspirin? This can’t be the drug because it takes at least 15 minutes to kick in.

That’s the placebo effect: your mind knows you’ve taken a pill, so you feel better. In medicine it seems strongest in the case of pain: some studies suggest a placebo of saline (salty water)can be as powerful as morphine. Some studies even suggest that 80% of the power of Prozac is placebo.

The placebo effect is counter-intuitive because we easily forget that mind and body are not separate.

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

7. Obedience to authority

Most of us like to think of ourselves as independently-minded people. We feel sure that we wouldn’t harm another human being unless under very serious duress. Certainly something as weak as being ordered to give someone an electric shock by an authority figure in a white coat wouldn’t be enough, would it?

Stanley Milgram’s famous study found it was. Sixty-three percent of participants kept giving electric shocks to another human being despite the victim screaming in agony and eventually falling silent. [The test setting is illustrated in the figure shown here, via]

Situations have huge power to control our behaviour, and it’s a power we don’t notice until it’s dramatically revealed in studies like this.

6. Fantasies reduce motivation
One way people commonly motivate themselves is by using fantasies about the future. The idea is that dreaming about a positive future helps motivate you towards that goal.

Beware, though, psychologists have found that fantasising about future success is actually bad for motivation. It seems that getting a taste of the future in the here and now reduces the drive to achieve it. Fantasies also fail to flag up the problems we’re likely to face on the way to our goals.

So what’s a better way to commit to goals? Instead of fantasising, use mental contrasting.

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

5. Choice blindness
We all know the reasons for our decisions, right? For example, do you know why you’re attracted to someone? Don’t be so sure. In one study, people were easily tricked into justifying choices they didn’t actually makeabout who they found attractive. Under some circumstances, we exhibit what is known as choice blindness: we seem to have little or no awareness of choices we’ve made and why we’ve made them. We then use rationalisations to try and cover our tracks.

This is just one example of the general idea that we have relatively little access to the inner workings of our minds. [Photo by Pablo Perez]

4. Two (or three, or four…) heads are not always better than one
Want to think outside the box? Do some blue sky thinking? Want to… [insert your own least-favourite cliché here].

Well, according to psychological research, brainstorming doesn’t work. People in groups tend to be lazy, likely to forget their ideas while others talk, and worry about what others will think (despite the rule that ‘there are no bad ideas’).

It turns out it’s much better to send people off to think up new ideas on their own. Groups then do better at evaluating those ideas.

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

3. Trying to suppress your thoughts is counterproductive
When you’re down or worried about something, people often say: “hey, try not to think about it; just put it out of your mind!”

This is very bad advice. Trying to suppress your thoughts is counter-productive. Like trying as hard as you can not to think about pink elephants or white bears. What people experience when they try to suppress their thoughts is an ironic rebound effect: the thought comes back stronger than before. Looking for distractions is a much better strategy.

2. Incredible multi-tasking skills
Despite all the mind’s limitations, we can train it to do incredible things. Take our multitasking abilities, for example — did you know that, with practice, people can actually read and write at the same time?

One study of multitasking trained two volunteers over 16 weeks until they could read a short story and categorise lists of words at the same time. Eventually they could perform as well on both tasks at the same time as they could on each task individually before the study began.

Read a full description of the study, along with potential criticisms, here.

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

1. In life, it’s all about the little things
We tend to think that the big events in our lives are the most important: graduation, getting married, or the birth of a child.

But major life events are often not as directly important to our well-being as the little hassles and uplifts of everyday life; major events, on the other hand, mainly affect us through the daily hassles and uplifts theyproduce. The same is true at work, where job satisfaction is strongly hit by everyday hassles.

What most affects people’s happiness are things like quality of sleep, little ups and downs at work and relationships with our friends and family. In other words: it’s the little things that make us happy.


10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological StudiesEXPAND

This post by Jeremy Dean originally appeared on PsyBlog — a website (run entirely by Dean) dedicated to exploring the science of psychology by examining new, interesting, and exciting peer-reviewed psychology research.

THANKS FOR THE READ~

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