- Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Exercise might be the best way to help jump over writer’s block, according to new research out of Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Researchers found that regular exercise could help promote creative thinking. The team wrote in the scientific magazine Frontiers in Human Neuroscience that they gave thinking tasks to two groups of test persons: people who do physical exercise at least four times a week and those who do not exercise on a regular basis.
Authors like Søren Kierkegaard, Henry James and Thomas Mann said they would take a walk before sitting down behind their writing desk, suggesting that this exercise helps to get the creative juices flowing. The scientists decided to investigate how exercise promotes two main ingredients of creativity, including divergent thinking and convergent thinking.
Divergent thinking means to think up as many solutions as possible for a certain problem, while convergent thinking leads to one single correct solution for a given problem.
Researchers asked participants to write down all the possible uses for a pen in a so-called “alternate uses test.” After this, the volunteers performed a “remote associates task,” in which they were presented with three non-related works and had to come up with the common link. The alternate uses test represented divergent thinking while the remote associates task showed an example of convergent thinking.
The scientists found that people from the group of frequent exercisers outperformed those who did not exercise regularly on the remote associates task.
“We think that physical movement is good for the ability to think flexibly, but only if the body is used to being active. Otherwise a large part of the energy intended for creative thinking goes to the movement itself,” Cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato told Sarah Knapton of The Telegraph.
The team wrote in the journal that the impact on convergent thinking, the task that presumably required more cognitive control, depended on the training level. They saw that non-athletes performed worse with exercise while athletes showed a benefit that approached significance.
“The findings suggest that acute exercise may affect both, divergent and convergent thinking. In particular, it seems to affect control-hungry tasks through exercise-induced “ego-depletion,” which however is less pronounced in individuals with higher levels of physical fitness, presumably because of the automatization of movement control, fitness-related neuroenergetic benefits, or both,” the team wrote.
Colzato said she believes that the study’s results support the famous classical idea of a sound mind in a healthy body.
“Exercising on a regular basis may thus act as a cognitive enhancer promoting creativity in inexpensive and healthy ways,” the psychologist said.
- redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
MIT-spinoff Superpedestrian unveiled a commercial version of its Copenhagen Wheel on Tuesday, allowing consumers to turn any ordinary bicycle into a hybrid “e-bike.”
The $700 rear wheel works in a fashion similar to a Toyota Prius or Chevy Volt, converting and storing energy during pedaling, braking and descending that is later used to boost riders as they accelerate or go uphill.
The wheel's onboard electronics detect how hard the rider is pedaling, and trigger the motor to automatically assist when needed.
“The Wheel learns about the rider and intuitively recognizes how hard he or she pedals and the topography ahead to determine how much support the rider may need,” Superpedestrian said in a statement obtained by CNET. “There aren’t any additional throttles, wires, or buttons, maintaining the pure simplicity of cycling.”
The amount of assistance the Copenhagen Wheel provides can also be predetermined by the rider using a smartphone app, which provides riders with data such as distance traveled, calories burned and elevation gain.
The wheel – a sleek-looking, 12-pound red disk that sits within the spokes of the bike’s back wheel – features either a 250-watt or 350-watt hub motor, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a range of approximately 30 miles (48 km) and a top assisted speed of 20 mph (32 km/h). It is available in 26-inch, 27-inch and 700C sizes.
Battery life is typically extended through a regenerative braking system, although the battery can be removed and recharged when required, Superpedestrian said.
MIT's SENSEable City first unveiled the prototype of the Copenhagen Wheel back in 2009, but the production version is being made by Superpedestrian, a company comprised of SENSEable City team members who licensed the technology from MIT.
The wheel’s development was sponsored by the Mayor of Copenhagen, after which the wheel is named.
The Copenhagen Wheel is available for pre-order now through Superpedestrian’s website, although the handmade modules won’t begin shipping until the first quarter of 2014. The first 1,000 units are already in production, and will be available for mountain bike and road bike wheel sizes, the Boston-based startup said.
The $700 version of the wheel represents a single-gear configuration, with a multiple gear version available at additional cost.
- Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Ask any young couple who has recently exchanged vows and committed themselves ‘til death do they part how their relationship is and 10 times out of 10 you will receive the rosiest picture back. Ultimately, however, that stellar 100 percent return is not very realistic, especially when you consider the statistic that 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce. A new study out of Florida State University (FSU) has devised a way to gain insight into a relationship by paying attention to what the newlyweds don’t say.
Leading the research was associate professor of psychology at FSU, James K. McNulty. He and his colleagues conducted a series of experiments involving 135 heterosexual couples who had only been married for six months or less. The couples and their relationships were followed every six months over a four-year period.
The researchers claim the feelings toward their marriage that were verbalized by each couple had no relation to changes in their marital happiness over time. Rather, the gut instinct displayed during negative evaluations of their partners which were revealed without the subject’s knowledge was more accurate at predicting future happiness for the couple. The negative evaluations were drawn out of the subjects during a baseline experiment.
"Although they may be largely unwilling or unable to verbalize them, people's automatic evaluations of their partners predict one of the most important outcomes of their lives — the trajectory of their marital satisfaction," the team stated.
In their published paper, McNulty and colleagues identified two important findings. First, conscious attitudes, or at least how they reported they felt, were not necessarily reflective of the gut-level feelings about the relationship. And second, the gut-level feelings were directly related to how happy the marriage remained over time.
"Everyone wants to be in a good marriage," McNulty said. "And in the beginning, many people are able to convince themselves of that at a conscious level. But these automatic, gut-level responses are less influenced by what people want to think. You can't make yourself have a positive response through a lot of wishful thinking."
The experiment began with the researchers directing the subjects to report their relationship satisfaction along with the severity of any problems they might be encountering. Additionally, each couple was asked to consciously rank their marriage by using 15 pairs of opposing descriptors, such as “good” or “bad,” “satisfied” or “unsatisfied.”
As mentioned above, and of particular interest to the research team, was the finding that people’s automatic attitudes, or gut-level responses, played such a key role in long-term wedded bliss. To draw these responses from the participants, the team devised an experiment wherein a photo of the person’s spouse would flash on a computer screen for less than a second. This photo flash would immediately be followed by a positive word like “awesome” or “terrific” or a negative word like “awful” or “terrible.” Once this sequence was complete, the individual was instructed to press a key on the keyboard signifying whether the word they saw could be construed as positive or negative. The amount of time it took each subject to press the key was accurately monitored by special software.
"It's generally an easy task, but flashing a picture of their spouse makes people faster or slower depending on their automatic attitude toward the spouse," McNulty said. "People who have really positive feelings about their partners are very quick to indicate that words like 'awesome' are positive words and very slow to indicate that words like 'awful' are negative words."
McNulty and colleagues point out a positive gut-level attitude will trigger congruent cognitive processes, interfering with incongruent cognitive processes. As McNulty explains further, a person who possessed a positive gut-level attitude was very good at processing the positive words that flashed on the screen and therefore, bad at processing the negative words. The opposite process holds true for a person harboring a negative gut-level attitude as well.
The participants were subjected to both the explicit and implicit experiments only once, at the baseline. However, each couple was checked in on by one of the researchers every six months. During these follow ups, the couples were asked to report their satisfaction with the relationship. Those reporting the highest level of dissatisfaction with their marriage at the end of the four year study were, quite interestingly, the couples who subconsciously revealed either negative or lukewarm attitudes during the implicit experiment. The self-reported conscious attitude played little to no part in whether or not the couple was satisfied or not with the relationship.
"I think the findings suggest that people may want to attend a little bit to their gut," McNulty said. "If they can sense that their gut is telling them that there is a problem, then they might benefit from exploring that, maybe even with a professional marriage counselor."
Rounding out the research team and co-authoring the paper were Michael A. Olson and Matthew Shaffer of the University of Tennessee and Andrea L. Meltzer of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
The results of the study were published in this week’s edition of the journal Science.
- redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Just in time for the start of the holiday season, Google has added several international airports and train stations to its Street View service in order to give travelers a chance to virtually prepare for departure.
According to Wired.com’s Damon Lavrinc, the Mountain View, California-based company has added 16 airports and over 50 train stations to Street View, allowing travelers to use the service to locate baggage claim locations, rental car counters, and even seat locations.
While Stuart Dredge of The Guardian noted on Wednesday that the featured facilities include the UK’s Gatwick Airport, train stations in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, and most London mainline stations, customers in North America have not fared nearly as well.
“People trying to navigate JFK or LAX are out of luck though, as all of the transportation centers given the Street View treatment are outside of the country,” Jon M. Chang of ABC News said. Likewise, Lavrinc said that no Canadian train stations or airports are among those currently available. He said that he contacted Google officials to find out why, but there was no response.
Nonetheless, the new features are good news for international travelers. A blog post from Google Street View Program Manager Ulf Spitzer shows off pictures from several of the locations included in the new feature, including Tokyo International Airport, Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands, and Dubai Airport.
“Now, in addition to scoping out your destination, Street View can help you cut down the stress of traveling by giving you a preview of your journey, too,” Spitzer said. “Don’t let travel logistics get you down this holiday season. With Street View, you can see how to get where you’re going faster and easier. Enjoy and safe travels!”
“Google is pitching the new additions as a feature for tourists,” Dredge said, adding that the company “has published an interactive map showing the new Street View transit locations. This isn't the first time Street View cameras have peeked inside British buildings: in May, the University of Sheffield added full 360-degree panoramas of some of its facilities to Street View.”
- Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Each Thanksgiving, 46 million turkeys are consumed by 88 percent of Americans, but what do we actually know about the bird that graces our table each year? redOrbit has dug up some facts about the delectable birds to help throw a little knowledge down at the dinner table this year to impress the in-laws.
The National Bird
As most everyone knows, the Bald Eagle is America’s national bird. However, Benjamin Franklin had a poor outlook on the Bald Eagle and instead wanted the turkey to represent our country. Franklin wrote the following letter to his daughter Sarah Bache on January 26, 1784 about the Bald Eagle versus a turkey:
“Others object to the Bald Eagle, as looking too much like a Dindon, or Turkey. For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk [Osprey]; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him."
"With all this Injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping and robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: The little King Bird, not bigger than a Sparrow, attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King Birds from our country... I am on this account not displeased that the figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on,” his letter concluded.
Physics of Cooking Turkey
While it seems unlikely we will ever see the turkey become our national symbol, it doesn't mean we cannot celebrate this bird at least one day out of the year. And for those 88 percent of Americans who plan to have turkey for Thanksgiving this year, the next bit of information may come in rather handy.
Cooking turkey has become almost an art around Thanksgiving, but science is what helps make the bird delicious each year. As the turkey is cooked, muscle fibers contract until they break up at around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The bonds within the molecules begin to break down, which causes proteins to unravel and the dense muscle meat to become more tender.
The bird’s collagen breaks down into softer gelatin molecules as it unwinds and as proteins coagulate the dryness of a turkey begins to ensue, which is what happens to overcooked turkey.
Pief Panofsky, a former director at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, developed an equation to determine a more precise cooking time of a turkey. Traditional cooking guidelines once suggested turkey be cooked for 30 minutes per pound, but Panofsky said the time a turkey should be cooked is not a linear equation. Instead, he developed an equation based on the ratio between the surface area and mass of a turkey.
In the equation, t = W^(2/3)/1.5, "t" is the cooking time in hours and "W" equals the weight of the turkey in pounds. The 1.5 constant was determined empirically. Assuming people follow this equation, Pief suggests turkeys should be cooked at 324 degrees Fahrenheit.
A Thanksgiving Nap
Now that you got your bird cooked to perfection, it is time to enjoy a nice holiday meal with all your dinner guests. Just don't feel bad that afterward everyone is too tired to help put away the food and clean the dishes. But why would they be tired?
One of the most commonly debated myths surrounding turkeys is how consuming the birds’ meat makes you sleepy. The reason this topic can be hotly debated amongst family and peers is because it is kind of both true and untrue.
Turkey meat contains an amino acid called tryptophan that the body uses to make serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. In theory, this amino acid should make you sleepy but all meat contains similar levels of tryptophan, and a few exceptions like shellfish contain even higher levels.
So, while tryptophan does in fact make you sleepy it is not the sole cause of the Thanksgiving power nap. A mixture of meat and carbohydrates is actually what helps set up the tryptophan to do its after-dinner dirty work. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin, which triggers the uptake of most amino acids from the blood stream into the muscles, except tryptophan. After all the other amino acids are swept away in the blood stream, tryptophan has no more competition, enabling it to make its way up to the brain to produce serotonin.
Now that the dinner facts have been taken care of, we can move on to some other perhaps equally as interesting facts about our feathered friends.
One common misconception is that turkeys are unable to fly, but this understanding is as false as serving tofu and calling it meat at the Thanksgiving table. The only truth to this statement is when talking about domesticated turkeys, which have been bred to be so plump that they are unable to get off the ground.
Wild turkeys are not only able to fly, they can actually fly short distances at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. However, these birds do not soar too far from the ground, which helps to keep them close to food sources like grass, seeds, acorns, nuts, berries and small insects.
It is this attribute that allows turkeys to hide away in trees when they sleep at night. Scientists say turkeys sleep up in trees to help keep away from predators like coyotes and foxes. When the turkeys wake up in the morning they make a call to see whether or not their comrades made it through the night, or maybe had become someone’s Thanksgiving dish.
Random Turkey Facts
While some patrons of the dinner table may not appreciate the physics of cooking a turkey or the science behind the sleepiness, they may enjoy learning a few facts that may or may not be easier to comprehend.
For example, researchers at the University of Illinois say the turkey lived almost 10 million years ago and the largest turkey ever raised on a farm was 86 pounds.
When a turkey becomes frightened, agitated or excited it is able to change the color of its head and neck from pink to red, white or blue. During mating season, male turkeys can change the color of its “wattle” to scarlet to reflect his elevated sex hormone levels.
Female turkeys are actually unable to gobble, instead they make chirp and click sounds. Male turkeys each have their own unique gobbling techniques and when combined with strutting the bird is just a couple moves away from finding a proper mate.
Turkeys also have periscopic vision, allowing them to see objects that are not in direct line of sight. Not only can turkeys see movement almost 100 yards away, they can also turn their head from left to right to get a full 360-degree field of view.
Finally, a turkey’s gizzard actually contains tiny stones that the bird has picked up while scouring the ground for food. These stones, known as gastroliths, help to breakdown food for digestion because turkeys lack teeth to do so. When a turkey eats, food goes into the glandular stomach where it is broken down by gastric juices. After this, the food enters the gizzard where it is dissolved through grinding against the gastroliths before moving back into the glandular stomach for further digestion.
In 2011, 736 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the United States. Although it may seem like Americans eating this much turkey could lead to the native bird’s extinction, turkey production has actually increased 110 percent since 1970 while consumption has increased 104 percent.
- Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Black Friday is days away, and while the most obsessed shoppers have undoubtedly already mapped out their routes for the day, redOrbit has done a little research to help guide you along the path to find the best deals.
This year, Black Friday is starting earlier than ever, with sales at places like Walmart actually taking place on the evening of Thanksgiving Day rather than Friday. Even retailers like Express actually started the 50 percent off everything in store sale on Tuesday. This new tradition of early shopping has thrown some for a loop, but there are still plenty of technology deals to grab on Friday, whether it be for someone on the Secret Santa list or as a holiday treat for yourself.
Blu-Rays And DVDs
Movies are always a good pick-up on Black Friday, and Best Buy is offering a few Blu-ray titles for just $7.99 this weekend, such as World War Z, Star Trek Into Darkness and 007 Skyfall. For those that still prefer old school DVDs, Best Buy is offering classic titles like Hoosiers and The Sandlot for only $1.99. Walmart is offering Black Friday Blu-ray deals on titles like Flight, Jurassic Park and A Good Day To Die Hard for only $6.99.
Anyone who is late getting into the smartphone game and covets the Apple-line of smart-products might want to swing over to Best Buy and pick up an iPhone 5C for only $48. This is the new candy-colored iPhone-line that Apple announced earlier this fall. There isn’t exactly a killer price drop on the latest-and-greatest iPhone 5S, but Walmart is offering a $75 gift card and a $10 price-cut on the newest Apple smartphone.
Android users might perk-up when hearing that Walmart is offering the Samsung Galaxy Mega smartphone for $79, along with a $100 Walmart gift card. The Moto X will also be available for only $49 and a $100 gift card.
Most news outlets would warn you about buying a television on Black Friday because prices typically drop in January. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal just in time to watch the NFL Wild Card chase or College Bowl games. It seems like yesterday when large plasma televisions were selling for $2,000-plus, but Friday you can pick a 51-inch Samsung for only $427 at Walmart. Those who want a few more inches for only a little more can spend just $499 and pick up an LG LED 55-inch TV from Best Buy.
Three-dimensional television is slowly starting to prove itself to be a fad, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t purchase one just in case someone decides to buy you the Polar Express in 3D for Christmas. Samsung’s 55-inch 240-hertz LED TV is one of the best-in-the-business and is on sale Friday for only $1297 from Best Buy. You could also save $500 off Samsung’s 65-inch version of this television from the same retailer.
In October, Apple dropped the prices of the company’s Macbook line, but Best Buy is upping the ante by offering an even bigger price drop this weekend. Apple’s brand-new 13.3-inch Retina display Macbook is going on sale for just $1099 - $200 below the normal price.
If you are not an Apple person, then Best Buy is also offering up a $200 discount on its HP Laptops, including its ENVY TouchSmart touch-screen laptop line.
Apple’s new iPad Air is headed for a $50 price drop at Walmart and Best Buy locations, but that is not the best iPad deal that will be out there. Walmart is offering the non-retina display iPad mini for $299 along with a $100 gift card.
Anyone who doesn’t have major cash to drop on a premium tablet can head over to Walmart on Friday and pick up the HP 7-inch Android tablet for only $89. The previous generation Kindle Fire is being offered for just $99 at Best Buy, which is 50-percent off the usual retail price.
Smartphone speakers haven’t gotten much better, so portable audio players are becoming a must for anyone who loves music and travel. This will be a popular item to grab for Christmas this year, and Amazon will be offering the Jawbone Jambox for $99. This Bluetooth portable speaker can fit inside a purse or bag, and is still able to pack a good audio punch. This speaker is normally priced at around $150, so a $99 price on it makes it one of the hottest deals out there.
Dr. Dre Solo Headphones will also be going on sale at Walmart for nearly 50 percent off at $114.95. These bass-heavy headphones normally go for $199, so this Black Friday deal is worth pursuing if you need high-quality over-ear headphones.
While there are plenty of days for shopping before Christmas, not all of those days are packed with great deals. So grab a bottle of water for hydration and your most comfortable shoes, and get ready to fight the crowds this Black Friday for some of the hottest deals on technology products for the year.
- [ Watch the Video: When Power Trips Get Petty ]
Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
It has been said there is no tyranny like petty tyranny. A new study from researchers at the University of Kent and the University of Adelaide lends academic credence to that idea.
In their research they show how people not accustomed to holding power are significantly more likely to be vengeful once they achieve a leadership position. Alternately, their study shows that those with experience as a power-holder were far more tolerant of perceived wrongdoing.
Dr. Mario Weick and Dr. Peter Strelan co-authored the study, published in the British Journal of Social Psychology. They claim this is the first such study that explores the relationship between power and revenge.
To arrive at their findings, the team conducted four experimental studies in the UK and Australia. In all, nearly 500 participants were included in the study. Weick and Strelan created a cohort of subjects drawn from their own university populations as well as from the general public.
In each of the experimental studies, subject participants were asked to respond to distinct types of transgressions: plagiarism, negligence, gossiping and a drunken violent offense.
The research team, recognizing the necessity for a more balanced, unbiased result, exposed some of the participants to the experience of having power. Additionally, other participants were made to experience an episode of abject powerlessness.
The study results showed that spite, revenge and other acts of naked aggression are responses usually exhibited by those subjects who were new to the possession of power. Those who were more experienced holding a leadership position tended to feel more self-assured and therefore felt less vulnerable to perceived threats to their rule.
This fact rang true across each of the four studies conducted. After being exposed to power, those individuals not accustomed to leading typically sought a greater level of revenge than their more experienced counterparts. Interestingly, there was no discernible difference in the level of vengefulness among the inexperienced leaders and those who experienced a brief episode of powerlessness.
According to Dr. Weick, “Our results provide a firm indication of the relationship between power and revenge. Power is not simply good or bad; it affects different people in different ways.” Weick continued, “Our studies highlight some of the negative effects power can have on people who are less accustomed to being in charge."
“For those more accustomed to power, on the other hand, the consequences are actually quite positive as far as people’s revenge tendencies are concerned.”
In addition to researching power and powerlessness situations, the team also examined how one’s body posture could influence their proclivity to revenge. Specifically, one study had a group of participants stand erect with an expansive body posture. Another group was made to crouch on the floor. A second study asked participants to use their hand to make either a fist or present an open palm while they read about the transgressions noted above.
“Both the expanded body posture and the fist-gesture instilled a sense of power in participants and led to greater vengeance in people who are less accustomed to power, compared to more self-assured participants,” noted Weick. “These differences did not emerge when participants sat crouched on the floor or made an open-palm gesture.”
Dr. Strelan concluded, “Our finding may also hold relevance for our understanding of how social hierarchies are formed and maintained. Fear of retaliation,” he says, “could be one reason that prevents people at the bottom of hierarchies from acquiring powerful positions.”
- Bryan P. Carpender for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
“Once upon a time…” That’s a familiar intro that we all know, in one form or another. In most cases, we all grew up with folktales. They’re passed down from generation to generation, told by doting parental figures to their children, not just to entertain, but to convey some moral lesson or cautionary warning. Folktales are a way to teach values and, in some cases, common sense.
Now a fascinating new study shows that the Brothers Grimm might not have the market cornered on folktales. It’s no secret that many plots from the Grimm folktales are strikingly similar to stories from diverse and disparate cultures the world over. A new research study uses science to analyze relationships between various folktales. Not just basic science, but phylogenetic analysis, which is quite a mouthful. Phylogenetics is used to investigate the evolutionary relationships between biological species by constructing a taxonomy tree illustrating relationships of common ancestry based on shared traits.
In the study by Jamie Tehrani of Durham University in the UK, published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, the author focuses on “Little Red Riding Hood” and related tales, analyzing 72 plot variables to demonstrate the differences between the tales, while highlighting the shared similarities.
Tracking such elements as the character of the protagonist, the featured villain, and the tricks employed by the villain to deceive the victim, Tehrani was able to determine that the African tales are not actually derivatives of “Little Red Riding Hood”, but instead are more closely related to the tales “The Wolf and the Kids.” Further analysis discovered that the East Asian tales synthesized elements from both stories to create another amalgamated folktale altogether.
This suggests that by using phylogenetics, we can identify distinct groups of folktales crossing geographic and cultural boundaries, leading to a deeper understanding of how these oral narratives develop and evolve. The evolution happens organically as the tales are passed down from generation to generation; embellishments are made, new parts are added to the story, and other parts are either eliminated or lost over time. Though there are variants from culture to culture, the common themes endure, gathering us all together around the metaphorical campfire.
"Folktales are excellent targets for phylogenetic analysis because, like biological species, they evolve over generations and adapt to new environments as they spread from region to region,” said Tehrani. “Since folktales are mainly transmitted via oral tradition, it can be difficult to study their development using conventional tools of literary analysis, because there are so few historical texts. My study shows how we can overcome these difficulties by using the same approach that biologists have used to fill the gaps in the fossil record."
It doesn’t matter if the story you learned had a protagonist that was a single, plucky girl with a deep abiding love for her grandmother (and questionable judgment when it comes to talking to strangers), or a group of siblings escaping the clutches of a tiger, ogre, or other villain archetype. One lesson we all share is that we are all threads in the tapestry woven by the truly universal language of folklore and storytelling — regardless of geography or cultural influences — which is comforting in this digital age. Another universal lesson you can practically bet on: don’t talk to wolves — it usually doesn’t end well.