Does my brain have seasons? – Winter blues, seasonal affective disorder, spring exhaustion – the seasons certainly influence our moods. But now Belgian researchers have found that our brain itself experiences seasonal shifts. As part of a study, participants had to solve tasks over the course of a year during which time their brain activity was measured. The results showed areas connected to concentration were most active in June and least active in December. The working memory does considerably less in autumn than in springtime. Depending on the season, therefore, the brain must operate at different strengths to achieve the same level of performance.
Can my mobile phone hunt an earthquake? – Smartphones deliver important information – but could they soon save our lives? US researchers from the University of Berkeley have developed the app MyShake, which uses an algorithm to filter vibrations that occur during an earthquake and measures them with the help of sensors in the phone. The data and GPS information is then sent to the university’s seismology department. The app is already able to recognise earthquakes of 5.0 on the Richter scale and at a distance of up to six miles. Once the test phase has finished, the app should be made available to both Android and iOS users.