Making aliens look cute is a tricky thing to get right in kids' entertainment. Make them too weird-looking, and you could freak out your audience. Make them too adorable, and you run the risk of them looking more like plush toys than creatures from another planet. And then sometimes you make them look cute... but forget to prevent them from acting like hideous, depraved monsters.
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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.
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?
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.
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.
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!