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Word of Mouth 05.12.2012

(Photo by Chris in Plymouth via Flickr Creative Commons)

Part 1:

All that "40 is the new 30" boosterism aside, midlife is not the start of a downward spiral. David Bainbridge is a clinical veterinary anatomist at Cambridge University, and the author of several books including Middle Age: A Natural History. He believes middle age might be a pivotal part of the human evolutionary process, and potentially the most productive years of our lives.  


An online datingsite that caters specifically to doomsday preppers. 

by Danielle Lima

Part 2:

Simple, universal, playable, the ball is among the most recognizable artifacts of human culture. It’s also the driver of an estimated five-hundred-billion- dollar- a-year sports industry. Harvard anthropologist John Fox set off on a global adventure and dug into the ancient past to uncover the origins and evolution of our favorite ball games. His new book is called The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game

Part 3:

Last weekend, the box-office bowed to the marvel blockbuster dream-team The Avengers, which pits a group of righteous superheroes against their greatest villain yet: their own neuroses. Lucky for them, Robin Rosenbergis here to help. She’s a superhero therapist whose work analyzing comic-book characters and Comicon super-fans was profiled in the Pacific Standard earlier this month.  


Recently, popular books like Max Brook’s World War Z, and Colson Whitehead’s Zone One took serious literary stabs at the realm of the living dead. Actual scientists are following suit and devoting their attention to the fictional study of zombies as well. For example, Bradley Voytekis a cognitive neuroscientist studying memory at the University of California, San Francisco... he’s also one of the world’s leading experts on zombie brains, who uses science-fiction to help otherwise bored students learn about science-fact.

by Taylor Quimby

Part 4:

The well-publicized (albeit failed)launch of a satelliteby North Korea last month sent a signal to the international community: Kim Jong-un is carrying on in the brinksman-like tradition of his father Kim Jong-il. Between them, they’ve built and maintained what is arguably the most isolated country on the planet – the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea or DPNK. Most of us will never visit the country, or see the grand monuments or stadia of its capital, Pyongyang. Philipp Meuser is an architect and general planner for several German embassies. He’s also head of Dom Publishers, and the editor of a beautiful and eerie two volume architectural and cultural guidefor North Korea’s capital city. 


How laser technology is being applied to a new line of cochlear implants. Now, can someone please just get us some freaking shark with some freaking laser beams attached? 

Of course, real-world biology can be just as bizarre, complex and potentially inspirational as fictional zombie-science. David Hughesis assistant professor of entomology and biology, and a member of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State. He’s been studying an organism in the forests of Thailand that has been mystifying biologists for years: the zombie-ant fungus. Word of mouth producer and zombie voice-over specialist Taylor Quimby spoke with him to find out more.  



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