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The 12 Cognitive Biases That Prevent You From Being Rational

The human brain is capable of 1016 processes per second, which makes it far more powerful than any computer currently in existence. But that doesn’t mean our brains don’t have major limitations. The lowly calculator can do maths thousands of times better than we can, and our memories are often less than useless — plus, we’re subject to cognitive biases, those annoying glitches in our thinking that cause us to make questionable decisions and reach erroneous conclusions. Here are a dozen of the most common and pernicious cognitive biases that you need to know about.


Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?

You know it when you feel it. You’ve just sat down at your breakfast table, or settled in at your favourite café. You’re a few sips into your brew when, out of nowhere, the urge to download a brownload is becoming urgent. Just a few swigs of coffee and it can feel like you’ve mainlined a laxative — but why?


Why You Always Wake Up Early After A Night Of Drinking

Lots of people have a little booze before bed to help them get to sleep — but while a night cap may help in the dozing-off department, too much alcohol can actually do a number on the overall quality of your shuteye. Let’s take a look at some of the important differences between drunk sleep and sober sleep, including why it’s so damn hard to sleep in after a tipple-tastic night on the town.


Where Did Kissing Come From?

Kissing is so commonplace that most people rarely think to stop and ask where humans picked up the habit in the first place. Where in humanity’s evolutionary history did smooshing our faces together come to be regarded as a display of lust, care, friendship, and love?


Volcanic Eruption In Chile Fills Argentinian Lake With Ash

On June 4, southern Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in 50 years. It’s been spewing giant ash clouds ever since. Enough ash, it seems, to make the Nahuel Huapi Lake in neighbouring Argentina an unrecognizable, soot-covered abyss, as you’ll see in the above video of one diver’s attempt to sift through it all. [via The Telegraph]


Great Moments In Autopen History

Minutes before midnight, after a landslide House vote of 250-153, President Obama signed legislation backing a four-year extension on the controversial USA PATRIOT Act. (Did you know that’s an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism? Now you do.) Yay, habeas corpus denials, warrantless searches and carte blanche wiretapping! Four more years! Four more years!


SpaceShipTwo Returning To Earth Looks Just Awesome

Virgin Atlantic has tested the return capabilities of their SpaceShipTwo spacecraft for the first time. The video of its first feathered flight is just too beautiful and elegant too describe. Just watch it:


Someday You'll Keep A Rainbow In A Cage

Scientists have been able to use metal to do tricks with light. Now they can differentiate that light into a spectrum, and store each colour in separate little grooves on the metal. With the power of plasmonics, you may one day have a rainbow on your keychain.


This Is The Scariest First-Person Video Of The Japan Tsunami Yet

This first-person view is the most terrifying and unbelievable video I’ve seen of the Japan tsunami. Initially everything seems ok, just a mild wave coming towards the camera. Then, the sea goes Godzilla on the city, destroying everything it finds.


The Best Feature Of Your New iPad Is A Hidden Secret

Your new iPad—and old too, with iOS 4.3—has a new hidden feature that Apple doesn’t want you to know about: Extra multi-touch gestures that completely changes the iPad experience—for the best.


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