Science

Two Guys on Your Head
9:00 am
Fri May 23, 2014

How to Go All the Way in Online Dating

What's wrong with online dating? According to the Two Guys, the problem is exactly that it’s all about dating.
flickr.com/yourdon

Everybody knows somebody who's familiar with the online dating service experience. It's a fairly common way for people to meet and become romantically involved these days. But how is it different from more traditional dating and courtship?

Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke take a crack at online dating in this week’s episode of Two Guys on Your Head.

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Two Guys on Your Head
2:07 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Protecting Your Brain as You Age

Credit flickr.com/jvandoor

Whether we like it or not, time marches on. And as it does, we age. 

One of the most challenging realities for everyone to face in life is that we are all, inevitably, destined to grow old (if we’re lucky, that is).

Aging correlates to a steady decline of functional abilities, both physical and mental. Memory and cognition peak in our early twenties, and we begin a very slow, steady decline of those functions as we near our senior years.  

After age 80, many bodily functions – including brain function – seem to have reached the average limit of their operation. So what can we do to preserve our brains for as long as possible?

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Science
4:07 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Astronomers Set Out to Find the Sun's Long Lost Sibling - And Succeeded

The star HD 162826 is probably a "solar sibling," that is, a star born in the same star cluster as the Sun.
Credit Ivan Ramirez/Tim Jones/McDonald Observatory

When Ivan Ramirez started his search about a year ago, he really didn’t think he’d find much.

"We expected it to be either one or zero," says Ramirez, an astronomer at UT-Austin.

Ramirez and his crew were looking through thousands and thousands of stars – all in order to find just the right one. 

“We're looking for the stars that were born with the sun," he says. "Because our sun, like most other stars, was born in a cluster – probably a thousand to ten thousand other stars. We know that there are a few that we can detect that are nearby, but it’s been a really tough job to do."

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Two Guys on Your Head
8:53 am
Fri May 9, 2014

How Loved Ones With Mental Illness Affect Their Caregivers

Credit flickr.com/rueful

Living with a mental illness is difficult – not only for the sufferer, but for caregivers, friends and family.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk how it can be isolating and disheartening to interact with someone who has depression, dementia or any other mental illness – and they offer some ideas that can help.

One of the struggles in caring for friends and family with mental illness is that we have no idea what we’re really dealing with. Unlike seeing someone with a broken bone, we don’t see mental illness. It's more like a cancer in that it affects the whole family and it lasts for a long time.

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Two Guys on Your Head
7:45 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Why We Keep Holding On to False Beliefs

flickr.com/mcbethphoto

Our world these days is laden with a constant flow of information. It’s unavoidable. 

But how do we determine what information to believe? Once we’ve made that choice, what if we later find out that the information was false? How do we shed false beliefs?

On this week’s show, good doctors Art Markman and Bob Duke analyze the process of belief formation – and why our false beliefs are so insistent that we reconsider them.

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Two Guys on Your Head
8:41 am
Fri April 25, 2014

What's the Difference Between Guilt and Shame?

flickr.com/spaceodissey

What happens when we feel guilt and shame? Our hearts may pound, we may feel sad, we might even want to cry. Physiologically our response to both shame and guilt is the same – but cognitively, the way we interpret these two emotions has consequences we may not realize.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke deconstruct the ramifications of these two emotions.

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Two Guys on Your Head
8:14 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Why Being Put On Hold is So Frustrating

flickr.com/billybrown00

Horrible music, incredible wait times and an inscrutable labyrinth of phone prompts: We've all experienced the frustrations of being on hold. Even when we're on hold for a minute or so, blood pressure can spike when an automated voice answers the phone.

Why is being on hold so annoying? Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke will be with you shortly to explain it. 

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Science
9:05 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Did You See It? If Not, Here's The 'Blood Moon'

The "blood moon" as seen from Koreatown, west of Los Angeles, early Tuesday. The next total eclipse of the moon comes on Oct. 8.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 8:34 am

There were "whistles, cheers and howls" early Tuesday on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as the moon turned red during a total lunar eclipse.

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Two Guys on Your Head
7:58 am
Fri April 11, 2014

How to Deal With Road Rage

Flickr user Matt Boyd, flic.kr/ps/iEtmA

Austin is now ranked as the fourth worst city in the nation for traffic. According to an annual traffic scorecard, Austinites waste an average of 41 hours in traffic annually. 

It’s no wonder then that we're encountering more vehicular aggression on overcrowded Austin roads. So what’s happening in our brains when we encounter that familiar feeling of intense frustration we call road rage? The Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, break it down in this week’s episode.

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Two Guys on Your Head
8:52 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Why Meetings Feel Like They Take Forever - and How to Fight That

Flickr user reynermedia, https://flic.kr/ps/2mRc3m

Does size matter when it comes to meetings? 

Actually, yes. It’s not a myth. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to meetings, it’s better to keep it on the small side. Short and sweet is best.

Efficiency of the shared time spent during a meeting is a primary determinant of its potential for effectiveness. The Two Guys, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, break down the best practices to ensure that the meetings you call will achieve their intended purpose. 

Give it a listen.

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Listen to This
12:23 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

These Sound Engineers Used One Weird Trick to Bend the Laws of Physics

University of Texas researchers discovered a way to move air so that sound waves move one way, but not the other.
flickr.com/tessawatson

Update: Listen to this story on WBUR's Here and Now.

Original story (Feb. 28): You know how on cop shows, suspects get interrogated in a cramped room with a mirror on one wall? And on the other side, there's a prosecutor or other cops watching through the glass.

Those mirrors are kind of an illusion done with lighting. But the effect also illustrates perfectly how difficult it can be to break a pretty fundamental law of nature.

A group of engineers at UT has figured out how to bend – if not break – that law when it comes to sound.

Listen:

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Two Guys on Your Head
8:15 am
Fri March 21, 2014

How Metaphors Transform Simple Words Into Complex Concepts

Yes, there are other fish in the sea. But metaphors let us use them to communicate more fundamental truths about our human condition.
Greg McFall/ONMS, flickr.com/usoceangov

Ever have those moments when you just can’t find the right words to express your thoughts? They happen. Articulation isn’t always easy.

Sometimes, words or language alone can't accurately express the complexity of thought. At those times, it can be very helpful to use an analogy or a metaphor to illustrate the fullness of the concept being expressed. Analogies and metaphors allow us to communicate complex concepts or ideas that transcend simple words. 

If you have a desire to develop good analogies or metaphors, the Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, have some tips that will blow your mind – metaphorically speaking. 

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Two Guys on Your Head
9:02 am
Fri March 14, 2014

How Our Brains Process Time

Our brains perceive time differently in different circumstances. Listen to the Two Guys break it down.
flickr.com/martinaphotography

Time flies when you're having fun, the old saying goes. But how can time – maybe the most fundamental concept of the universe – feel different under different conditions?

Our brains perceive time differently in different circumstances. When we pay close attention to something, tedium can set in and it can feel like time slows to a crawl.

Conversely, if our lives demand we juggle several different things at once, we tend to pay less attention to some activities – and time races by in a flash.

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Two Guys on Your Head
8:50 am
Fri March 7, 2014

How Going Out is Good for Your Brain

While a deafening concert may not do your brain a lot of good, social interaction with other humans does.
Christian Holmér, christianholmer.com

Human beings are a social species. Our natural programming requires a certain amount of social contact with other people. 

Shared experiences are simply a fundamental component of our needs as humans. We don’t just have a need for direct interaction and verbal communication either – there's all sorts of nonverbal communicative actions we take in the presence of others that we wouldn’t do alone.

In this installment of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke take us through the psychological benefits of "going out" and mingling with our fellow humans.

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SXSW 2014
1:01 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

SXSW Tech Preview: Snooping, Wearables And More 3-D Printing

Hugh Forrest, pictured here in 2009, is the director of South by Southwest Interactive.
Scott Beale Flickr

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:03 am

South by Southwest Interactive is the technology-driven part of the annual Austin-based festival for digital, film and music and it starts on Friday. An expected 30,000 people will take part in the interactive and film week that precedes music, and they love it for the spontaneity and the chaos. They also hate it because of the chaos — parties on every corner, marketing handouts at every turn and a sprawling program of panels, screenings and speakers that span at least a dozen city blocks in the heart of Texas.

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Two Guys on Your Head
9:09 am
Fri February 28, 2014

How to Crush Writer's Block

Credit justtegan.com

Writer’s block! That phrase might induce panic and a recollection of a familiar experience. It’s a very common phenomenon. So what is it?

When in the beginning stages of undertaking a new writing project, a writer might find themselves blocked – stuck in front of a blank page or screen with no thoughts coming to mind. This lack of creative flow is further exacerbated by anxiety over the lack of production – making it a self-perpetuating cycle that can lead to stagnation. 

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain the ins and outs of how and why we sometimes get stuck – and what we can do to help ourselves in those difficult situations.  

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Two Guys on Your Head
10:24 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Why All Praise is Not Created Equal

Credit mvyso.blogspot.com

“Hey, you’re smart!”  That feels good to hear, doesn’t it?  Praise always feels good, but not all praise motivates us to try new things, challenge ourselves, or deal with failure.

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss how to praise in a productive and meaningful way.

In summary, when giving or receiving praise, it’s a helpful skill to think about where that praise is directed.  

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Two Guys on Your Head
10:28 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Life After Loss: How to Reshape, Move On and Let it Go

Credit holykaw.alltop.com

A traumatic event in life is like a scratch on a record. Every time the record player, or your mind, runs over the scratch, it skips. 

This skipping record thought pattern is called rumination. Until we’re able to fill the scratch, it will keep skipping. So how do we fill the scratch, move on and heal?

On this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the various ways we live with and explain grief, and they offer some strategies that might help it make sense.

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Views and Brews
11:37 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Steven Weinberg: A Life in Science

Credit photo by Matt Valentine

Tuesday’s Views and Brews discussion on "The Elegance of Physics with Dr. Steven Weinberg" was a standing room only event. Some patient fans of the Nobel Prize winning physicist were turned away because the event was at capacity despite of the chilly and wet night.

Professor Steven Weinberg is a Nobel laureate in physics, a theoretical physicist and  an outspoken thinker on topics ranging from nuclear weapons to atheism. But this night was about Weinberg’s life, career and development – not just as a thinker, but as an artist in his field.

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Two Guys on Your Head
2:21 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Why Personality Tests Don't Tell What You Need To Know

Introverted or extroverted? Fans of personality tests might want to ask, what's in a name?
Credit healthmeup.com

When it comes to the Myers-Briggs personality type test, are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you focus on sensing, or do you use your intuition to interpret information that you absorb? 

Does it matter?  Why is it so entertaining and satisfying for some people to answer these questions about themselves and others in their lives? 

Listen to the show and let the Two Guys, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, demystify the wiry world of  personality tests for you.

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