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The woman's portrait had hung in his parents bedroom was over 100 years old, but as Alex stared at it that morning he swore he saw a bloody tear drip from her ice blue eye down her pale face.

WATCH: NASA's Mysterious Mars Announcement

Sep 28, 2015

Today, NASA will announce a "major science finding" from the space agency's exploration of Mars. While some suggest the press conference will finally answer David Bowie's query as to whether there's life on the Red Planet, many believe the press conference will confirm the discovery of water on the planet. NASA has been decidedly cryptic about the announcement.

Whatever the case may be, check out the livestream of NASA's announcement below:

Why isn't information enough? Facts. Dates. Names. Why do we as humans need more in order to understand our world?

Image via NASA (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard: NASA astronaut Tim Kopra will soon break a record for the number of days a Texan has been in space – five months, to be exact. He'll be visiting the International Space Station, conducting experiments in coordination with ground teams, and bringing materials up for scientists already on ISS. 

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As Americans, we spend a lot of time working. Sometimes we even think if we put in only 40 hours a week we're slacking. No judgment here, but if we are going to work that much, we should like what we're doing at work — right?

Thank god it's Friday! Right? What's so wrong with working hard all week and wanting to go out and let loose Friday night? Nothing really — except that when you look at the work week through this lens, you are more likely to set yourself up for unhappiness.

Why You Should Read Aloud to Your Kids

Sep 4, 2015
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It's no surprise that reading aloud to your kids is good for them. 

But why is it so important? What's going on in a child's brain when they're hearing stories of giant fruit carrying orphans across the ocean? On this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the child's brain on books.

What's Wrong With Rewarding Mediocrity?

Aug 28, 2015

Kids these days typically get a trophy for participation in most events. Some argue that the practice ultimately serves as a disincentive for a child to compete. Others ask, if your kid is smiling, what more do you want?

In this week's edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke look into the system of reward and evaluate what we are rewarding and why.

Photo credit Giuseppe Milo | Creative Commons

So you just got that raise you've been working toward, and a new project starts tomorrow, and you're making great money, but — you don't really like the work. You're moving up, but you're not happy. It might be time to re-evaluate your situation, and maybe get on a different proverbial treadmill.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the concept of The Hedonic Treadmill, and what we can do to set ourselves up for a happier life.

Failure is a word that carries a lot of baggage, arousing emotional responses that we’d usually rather avoid. 

What about success? Why does the thought of success conjure images and feelings of comfort and satisfaction. This week, "Two Guys on Your Head" examine how the heights of success and the "training wheels" of failure impact our everyday lives.

Our sensory systems are pretty smart. Typically we like things that are going to be good for us to ingest, and dislike things that are going to be bad for us to ingest. Pretty simple right? Not so much!

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about benefit of the disgust reaction, and how we as human beings co-opt that system and use it more conceptually than it what it’s meant for. Therefore disgust has come to have a moral dimension to it.

From Texas Standard

Rehabilitation after a health issue or accident can be a long and painful process. For people recovering from a stroke or spinal cord injury, the challenges are unique. One side of the body can be affected more than the other, and damage to the brain can also cause roadblocks to regaining movement. But some Texas researchers have developed a new way to help stroke and spinal cord injury patients move again.

There are a lot of stereotypes about how men and women seek out different qualities in a mate. But researchers from the University of Texas say they now have a clearer picture of just how different the preferences of men and women are.

As part of the study, researchers asked people (all of whom identify as heterosexual) what they find desirable in a partner. Judging from their answers, researchers were able to guess with 92 percent accuracy whether the respondent was male or female.

“The patterns in the sexes barely overlap at all,” says Dan Conroy-Beam, a UT grad student and lead author of the study. Conroy-Beam says women tend to prefer a partner who is more financially established and older, while men place a premium on physical attractiveness and youth. That, he says, tells us when the sexes are going out and looking for a mate, they’re looking for something completely different.

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From Texas Standard:

Planned Parenthood is under scrutiny over their alleged involvement in fetal tissue research. The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, has now released three different secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood employees discussing fetal tissue. While the videos don’t provide any concrete evidence that Planned Parenthood is illegally profiting from fetal tissue donation, critics say the video certainly raises questions about how fetal tissue donation is done.

Virtual Or No, Therapy Can Be Beneficial

Jul 23, 2015
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Therapy can be life-changing. However, anyone who’s ever seen a bad therapist likely agrees, on at least some level, that virtual therapy may be a step in the right direction. But is it actually effective?

Virtual therapy offers a true judgment-free zone. It also removes much of the shame and fear associated with telling even (or perhaps especially) the kindest of therapist one’s deepest and darkest secrets. It’s also much more convenient and, likely, inexpensive.

However, a good therapist can sense what’s going on beneath the surface. Due to the way the brain is structured, we can rationalize our emotional problems in a way that fits into the context of our current environment and feels safe, which can have little to do with accuracy. A good therapist also provides advice on how to face these issues, as we become ready to hear it.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss the purposes of therapy and provide some perspective on the roles virtual therapy can and can’t fill.


From Texas Standard:

Big news this morning from NASA’s planet-hunting mission: The Kepler Space Telescope at the University of Texas' McDonald Observatory has revealed the most Earthlike planet found to date, researchers say. The planet, called Kepler-452b, lies in the constellation Cygnus, about 1,400 light years from Earth. It qualifies as super-Earth-sized, as it's about 1.6 times larger than Earth, and its orbital period is quite similar to ours, at 385 days.

The Kepler scope was launched in 2009 to detect Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zones of distant stars — planets that have the potential to sustain life like that on Earth.

“We are pushing toward Earth 2.0,” McDonald Observatory astronomer Michael Endl said in a press release. “This planet is probably the most similar to Earth yet found.”

New images of Pluto have arrived from a NASA space probe, and they're already allowing scientists to update what we know about the dwarf planet — such as its size. NASA's New Horizons probe has traveled more than 3 billion miles to send photos and data about Pluto back to Earth.

Painkillers: What Are They Really Killing?

Jul 10, 2015
Eric Norris/flickr

Painkillers: Our societal views on pain are right there in the name of its cure — or, rather, primary form of treatment.

The high reliance on painkillers by the medical community has become an increasingly controversial topic. And for patients, that reliance can easily transform a treatment to an addiction or recreational drug use.

flickr/creative commons

Pain can range from barely noticeable to excruciating. Yet pain, in all its forms, is important. It is how the body communicates there is a problem.

Physical pain in the ankle may ask us to stop walking so fast or demand a pair of crutches immediately. Likewise, emotional pain may indicate that we need to talk about a problem with our partner or severe the relationship entirely.

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, add to the series on pain and the brain, with a discussion on emotional pain and memory.

Understanding how our brains interpret pain is an ongoing investigation. Some think pain can be as much a physical phenomenon as it is a cultural one. While in the West pain management seems to be just part of life. We wanted to investigate what psychology can tell us about pain and the brain.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, kick off our three-part series on "Pain and The Brain" with a discussion of "Phantom Pain." What it is, and how psychologists are finding new ways of helping patients who suffer with it.