Non-fossil / Quantum sentence / Unrelax music / Slime mold watch

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them:

  • Fossil or beehive? — … And the snideness? That isn’t unusual, either. Nor is it new. In 1934, the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences printed a report called “The supposed fossil ear of maize from Cuzco, Peru”.
  • Quantum black holes — Construct a list of every possible phrase that can be made by combining 17 words chosen at random from an English-language dictionary. One of those 17-word phrases will be: “It is thereby expected that all sufficiently advanced civilizations ultimately employ black holes in their quantum computers.” …
  • Music for unrelaxing — A project at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany, is looking into the “effects of disliked music on psychophysiology”. The research, as described by Julia Merrill, Taren-Ida Ackermann and Anna Czepiel, is both painstaking and painsgiving. They say that “participants listened to three self-selected disliked musical pieces which evoked highly unpleasant feelings”….
  • Slime Mold Watch — A new variety of smartwatch is like Tamagotchi, but with real life to it – it is partly slime mould….