Culture

COLLEGE STATION, Dec. 18, 2008 – To whom would you rather give money: a needy person in your neighborhood or a needy person in a foreign country? According to new research by Texas A&M University marketing professor Karen Winterich and colleagues, if you're a man, you're more likely to give to the person closest to you  that is, the one in your neighborhood  if you give at all.

If you're a woman, you're more likely to give - and to give equal amounts to both groups.

By applying an old theory that has been used to explain water flow through soil and the spread of forest fires, researchers may have an answer to a perplexing ecological and evolutionary problem: why locusts switch from an innocuous, solitary lifestyle to form massive swarms that can devastate crops and strip fields bare.

Move over, white Christmas, and make way for a "green" holiday. Here are a few tips that can make your holidays more environmentally friendly, courtesy of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute. The Institute works to foster the discovery and design of chemical products and processes that eliminate generation and use of hazardous substances.To reduce your own personal carbon footprint and nudge society a little further toward sustainability:

Passage graves are mysterious barrows from the Stone Age. New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen indicates that the Stone Age graves' orientation in the landscape could have an astronomical explanation. The Danish passage graves are most likely oriented according to the path of the full moon, perhaps even according to the full moon immediately before a lunar eclipse. The results are published in the scientific journal Acta Archaeologica.

INDIANAPOLIS – In a study published in the Christmas 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal, Aaron Carroll, M.D., M.S., and Rachel Vreeman, M.D., M.S., of the Indiana University School of Medicine, explore the science behind six myths commonly associated with the holidays yet relevant year-round.

SAN FRANCISCO — The common wisdom is that the invention of the steam engine and the advent of the coal-fueled industrial age marked the beginning of human influence on global climate.

But gathering physical evidence, backed by powerful simulations on the world's most advanced computer climate models, is reshaping that view and lending strong support to the radical idea that human-induced climate change began not 200 years ago, but thousands of years ago with the onset of large-scale agriculture in Asia and extensive deforestation in Europe.

Global warming, some have argued, can be reversed with a large-scale "geoengineering" fix, such as having a giant blimp spray liquefied sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere or building tens of millions of chemical filter systems in the atmosphere to filter out carbon dioxide.

PHILADELPHIA –- A team of University of Pennsylvania physicists has demonstrated a simple system based on micron-sized spheres in water to study and control geometric frustration. Their research, published today in the journal Nature, elucidates open questions about frustration and frustration relief and provides a new tool for scientists grappling with these issues in a variety of fields from magnetism to basic statistical mechanics.

Interracial and interethnic interactions can often be awkward and stressful for members of both majority and minority groups. People bring certain expectations to their interactions with members of different groups—they often expect that these interactions will be awkward and less successful in establishing positive, long-lasting relationships than interactions with members of one's own racial or ethnic group.

The fact that many cultures emphasize the concept of "noblesse oblige" (the idea that with great power and prestige come responsibilities) suggests that power may diminish a tendency to help others. Psychologist Gerben A. van Kleef (University of Amsterdam) and his colleagues from University of California, Berkeley, examined how power influences emotional reactions to the suffering of others.