The Late Movies: Songs About Hot Summers

On this date in 1935, the Dust Bowl heat wave reached its peak, with temperatures reaching 109°F in Chicago, Illinois and 104°F in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As we sweat through another long, hot summer in America, here are six songs inspired by rising temps (or at least six songs that make us think of hot summer nights).

Heat Wave

Martha and the Vandellas recorded this song in July 1963 and it was later featured in the Whoopi Goldberg movie Sister Act.

You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)

This ditty was Meatloaf's first single off his solo album.

Hot Hot Hot

David Johansen, formerly of the New York Dolls, has called the tune "the bane of my existence."

Summer Nights

The massive hit is from the musical Grease, and the best-known version was recorded by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for the film version.

Summer in the City

Recorded by The Lovin' Spoonful, this quintessential summer anthem features a series of car horns during the instrumental bridge.

Cruel Summer

Girl group Bananarama recorded this song, but it wasn't a big hit until it was included on the soundtrack of The Karate Kid.

Which Terrestrial Planet?
You Can Sip Coffee and Play Games While This Helmet Scans Your Brain

Brain scanning is a delicate operation, one that typically involves staying very still. Researchers use imaging techniques like magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging to get an idea of how the brain functions and what neurons are being activated, but it's not an easy task. Current scanners are huge, requiring patients to sit unmoving inside them, lest their head movements mess up the data. There may soon be a better way—one that would allow patients to act normally while still getting reliable data.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK report in Nature that they've developed a prototype brain scanner that can be worn like a helmet, one that can generate reliable data even if the subject moves.

It uses lightweight quantum magnetic-field sensors held against the scalp by a 3D-printed helmet that's custom-made for the patient. For the study, one of the researchers volunteered to be the patient and was fitted with a white plastic helmet that looks kind of like a cross between a Roman Centurion helmet and a Jason Voorhees Halloween mask. She was positioned between two large panels equipped with electromagnetic coils that cancel out the Earth's magnetic field so that it doesn't interfere with the magnetic data picked up from the brain. As long as the patient stayed between the panels, she was free to move—nod her head, stretch, drink coffee, and bounce a ball with a paddle—all while the scanner picked up data about on par with what a traditional scanner (seen below) might gather.

A man sits inside an MEG scanner.

The more flexible scanning system is exciting for a number of reasons, including that it would allow squirmy children to have their brains scanned easily. Since patients can move around, it could measure brain function in more natural situations, while they're moving or socializing, and allow patients with neurodegenerative or developmental disorders to get MEG scans.

The current helmet is just a prototype, and the researchers want to eventually build a more generic design that doesn't require custom fitting.


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