News for Nerds - The Happily Ever After Edition

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  • Posted by: Dom Testa|
  • 5/3/2013 |
  • 10:00 am
News for Nerds - The Happily Ever After Edition

Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we'll get a closer look at a 1,250 mile-wide hurricane, we'll try our best to avoid a giant scary tarantula, and we'll get some expert advice on how to vomit in space. But first, here are your headlines.

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Science can help you do just about anything -- including, it seems, finding the love of your life.

A team of cognitive scientists used an age-old hypothetical decision-making system, advanced computer simulations, and some basic common sense to determine the best way to beat the numbers game known as dating.

Let's focus primarily on the decision-making system that they used. It's called the secretary problem -- you can tell that it dates back at least long enough to when people used the word secretary -- and it works like this: a person must pick the best secretary from a group of applicants who appear in random order, drawn from a pool whose quality is not known. Once rejected, applicants cannot be recalled. It’s all about moving forward and making smart choices.

The solution to the secretary problem turns out to be pretty simple. You interview enough of the overall pool of applicants to know what you like and don't like. Based on that information, you create a level of minimum acceptance (ideally, the best person you've interviewed so far) and then choose the next person you meet who surpasses those expectations.

When it comes to applying this system to your dating life, the right number of people seems to be about 10 or 12. In other words, you would go on about 10 first dates with people who have a reasonable amount of potential as a mate. Using the best of those 12 dates as a baseline, you would then settle down with the next person you go out with who is at least as good as that baseline. That is, assuming they like you, too.

The source article for all of this contains some other interesting nuggets as well. Read the whole thing to learn the importance of scents, compliments, and why you're better off staring into someone's eyes than jumping into bed with them.

- from CNN

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Many people, myself included, really love to travel. There's something both healthy and exhilarating about getting out of your daily comfort zone and experiencing new places.

So it's hard to imagine just how extraordinary taking a vacation in space will feel. One major player in that industry passed a significant milestone this week, and if everything goes to plan, the first commercial space tourists will be airborne as soon as next year.

By now you probably know a bit about Sir Richard Branson, the self-made billionaire adventurer who has conquered the music business, the airline industry, and all points in between. Branson is the man behind Virgin Galactic, billed as the world's first space tourism company, which successfully fired its rocket engine for the first time on Monday. The flight took place over the Mojave Desert. It lasted 16 seconds, climbed to 10,000 feet (from its starting point of 46,000 feet to a cruising altitude of 56,000 feet), reached a speed of Mach 1.2, and broke the sound barrier. Not a bad day's work.

Additional test flights will take place over the course of the next year. Once service starts, the flights will reach speeds of Mach 5 and altitudes that exceed 62 miles. And the cost?

A seat aboard a Virgin Galactic spacecraft goes for a cool $200,000. So far, more than 500 people have put down deposits -- not including Branson and his grown children, who plan to be the first non-test pilots to hitch a ride.

If you're wondering what to get me for my birthday this year, this is a gift that would certainly be appreciated.

- from Yahoo!

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Here are a few other cool science stories you might enjoy:

  • Insane scientists who apparently have some sort of death wish have discovered a new type of tarantula that is about the size of your face. It's a beautiful creature, with ornate markings and an 8-inch leg span. But it's still creepy.
  • Think of the devastation that superstorms like Sandy and Katrina have left behind here on Earth. Now try to imagine what a hurricane that spans more than 1,200 miles -- and that lasts for years and years -- might do. These pictures from Saturn's north pole are awe-inspiring.
  • And finally, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is back with another helpful video segment, filmed aboard the International Space Station. This one deals with how to vomit in space. It's harder than you think... but it might come in handy for all those future space tourists.

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That's all for now! I'll be back with more News for Nerds next week, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for the free e-Newsletter so that you can properly get your nerd on every single month! And please send any juicy News for Nerds tips to me right here!

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