5 Things to Talk About Today

Sacha Strebe
  • Science proves that musical training can enhance memory and verbal intelligence. A new study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed improvements in a wide variety of skills, including memory, spatial learning, and language abilities such as verbal memory, literacy, and verbal intelligence. Musicians are also better at interpreting speech where there is extensive background noise, and process auditory signals such as pitch detection in both music and language. — Washington Post
     
  • New, paper-thin solar cells may drammatically reduce the future cost of power. Some 1.3 billion people currently without electricity may be able to plug in for the first time. Unlike traditional panels, these thin solar cells only require an industrial printer to manufacture, are cheap to produce, and are flexible, making them easy to transport to rural areas. There are still a few tweaks to be made, including new coatings for the cells to prevent moisture contamination, but it's a huge step forward in renewable power resources going mainstream. — Inhabitat
     
  • Breathing through a snorkel just got easier, thanks to the new invention that lets you breathe through your nose. The Easybreath Snorkeling Mask allows you to see and breathe normally, as you would on land. Breathing through your mouth while snorkeling has always been one of the major obstacles to the underwater sport, not to mention the hygiene factor. The first full-face snorkeling mask offers a 180° field of vision that won't fog up, thanks to a unique double airflow system similar to the one used in domestic extraction fans. — Geekologie
     
  • Robin Williams would have turned 64 today. The beloved actor and comedian started out as a struggling street mime in front of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, but at the height of his fame, Williams was renowned for his ability to lift the spirits of everyone around him. His philanthropy is well documented; he helped Jessica Chastain become the first person in her family to go to college. Such was his talent, Williams would often refuse scripted lines in favor of improvisation. He famously improvised most of the Genie dialog in Disney's popular animated feature Aladdin. — Huffington Post
     
  • Study confirms men do gain weight when they become dads. A new, large-scale study that tracked more than 10,000 men over a 20-year period found first-time resident dads experienced an average 2.6% increase in their BMIs over the study period, while non–resident dads experienced a 2% increase. That translates to a 4.4-pound weight gain for a 6-foot-tall dad who lives with his child, and a 3.3-pound weight gain for a non–resident dad. — Washington Post

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