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Physical Evidence Confirms Albert Einstein's Brain Was Superior to Yours

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His brain is legendary: When TIME named Albert Einstein its Person of the Century in 1999, the magazine called the shaggy-haired physicist a "genius among geniuses," whose understanding of the universe represented the "embodiment of pure intellect."

What few people know, however, is that within a few hours of his death in 1955, Einstein's brain was removed from his skull and photographed from different angles before it was sectioned into 240 blocks — all to advance the sciences he loved so dearly. Many of the photographs, however, were lost or misplaced over the decades. Now analysis of 14 recently resurfaced photos reveals what we've suspected all along: Einstein's physical brain, says Doyle Rice at USA Today, "was better than yours." Though not at first glance.

According to the study from Florida State University, the pre-dissected brain doesn't initially appear all that different from the average person's. "Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein's brain was normal," writes study author Dean Falk, an evolutionary anthropologist from Florida State University, "the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal, and occipital cortices were extraordinary."

The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain in charge of abstract thinking and thought analysis — responsible for digesting sensory data before making any decisions. As such, it's also the most "strongly implicated" as a sign of intelligence. Analysis of these photographs revealed that Einstein's prefrontal cortex is more complex and possessed a far greater surface area than most people's, which may explain some of his "remarkable cognitive abilities," said Falk.

Sources: TIME, TG Daily, USA Today, WiseGeek

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Why a Howling Wind Sounds So Spooky, According to Science
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Halloween is swiftly approaching, meaning you'll likely soon hear creepy soundtracks—replete with screams, clanking chains, and howling winds—blaring from haunted houses and home displays. While the sound of human suffering is frightful for obvious reasons, what is it, exactly, about a brisk fall gust that sends shivers up our spines? In horror movie scenes and ghost stories, these spooky gales are always presented as blowing through dead trees. Do bare branches actually make the natural wailing noises louder, or is this detail added simply for atmospheric purposes?

As the SciShow's Hank Green explains in the video below, wind howls because it curves around obstacles like trees or buildings. When fast-moving air goes around, say, a tree, it splits up as it whips past, before coming back together on the other side. Due to factors such as natural randomness, air speed, and the tree's surface, one side's wind is going to be slightly stronger when the two currents rejoin, pushing the other side's gust out of the way. The two continue to interact back-and-forth in what could be likened to an invisible wrestling match, as high-pressure airwaves and whirlpools mix together and vibrate the air. If the wind is fast enough, this phenomenon will produce the eerie noise we've all come to recognize in horror films.

Leafy trees "will absorb some of the vibrations in the air and dull the sound, but without leaves—like if it's the middle of the winter or the entire forest is dead—the howling will travel a lot farther," Green explains. That's why a dead forest on a windy night sounds so much like the undead.

Learn more by watching SciShow's video below.

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Space
SpaceX's Landing Blooper Reel Shows That Even Rocket Scientists Make Mistakes
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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches.
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On March 30, 2017, SpaceX did something no space program had done before: They relaunched an orbital class rocket from Earth that had successfully achieved lift-off just a year earlier. It wasn't the first time Elon Musk's company broke new ground: In December 2015, it nailed the landing on a reusable rocket—the first time that had been done—and five months later landed a rocket on a droneship in the middle of the ocean, which was also unprecedented. These feats marked significant moments in the history of space travel, but they were just a few of the steps in the long, messy journey to achieve them. In SpaceX's new blooper reel, spotted by Ars Technica, you can see just some of the many failures the company has had along the way.

The video demonstrates that failure is an important part of the scientific process. Of course when the science you're working in deals with launching and landing rockets, failure can be a lot more dramatic than it is in a lab. SpaceX has filmed their rockets blowing up in the air, disintegrating in the ocean, and smashing against landing pads, often because of something small like a radar glitch or lack of propellant.

While explosions—or "rapid unscheduled disassemblies," as the video calls them—are never ideal, some are preferable to others. The Falcon 9 explosion that shook buildings for miles last year, for instance, ended up destroying the $200 million Facebook satellite onboard. But even costly hiccups such as that one are important to future successes. As Musk once said, "If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."

You can watch the fiery compilation below.

[h/t Ars Technica]

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