Daily Archives: 06/20/2012

Music taste can reveal how intelligent you are (spoiler: Lil’ Wayne fans tend to be very dumb)

Virgil Griffith, popularly known for the Wikipedia Scanner that detects where the Wikipedia edits are coming from, maintains another very interesting project that maps musical tastes of college students with their intelligences levels (determined by their SAT score).

The x-axis represent the SAT score while the colored boxes indicate the music genre and the artist / composer.

(Click HERE for the full size image)


Fans of Lil Wayne‘s music scored the lowest in SAT while listeners of Beethoven‘s work were among the highest scorers. The full chart is available at Virgil Griffith‘s website (mirror).

To come up with this chart, Virgil used Facebook to determine the “Favorite music” of students in different colleges in the US and then combined their taste with the average SAT scores of students from these colleges. Smart.

The musical taste vs SAT score chart maps the 133 most popular (out of 1,455) favorite music from 1,352 schools. In terms of music genres, it follows like this – Soca < Gospel < Jazz < Hip Hop < Pop < Oldies < Raggae < Alternative < Classical < R&B < Rap < Rock < Country < Classic Rock < Techno in increasing order of SAT scores.


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Scientists successfully grow a human eye from stem cells

Will the magic of stem cells never cease? Scientists in Japan have reached a milestone in regenerating human organs by teasing stem cells to create the precursor to a human eye without any scaffolding structure.

The structure, which was developed by Yoshiki Sasai of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CBD) in Japan, was an “optic cup” only 550 micrometers in diameter, but it had all the hallmarks of an eye-in-the-making, including multiple layers of retinal cells and photoreceptors. Until now, stem-cell biologists have been unable to grow precursors like this, limited to two-dimensional sheets of tissue. Moreover, Sasai’s breakthrough marks the first time that such a complicated feat was done with human cells.

And just as excitingly, Sasai’s experiment revealed that the cues for complex cellular formation comes from inside the cell rather than from external triggers. Once the retinal precursor was up-and-running, it spontaneously formed a ball of epithelial tissue cells and then bulged outwards to form a bubble called an eye vesicle. It then folded back on itself to form a pouch, creating the optic cup with an outer wall (which in time would be the retinal epithelium) and an inner wall comprising layers of retinal cells including photoreceptors, bipolar cells, and ganglion cells.

The achievement is particularly promising for those hoping to advance cell transplantation. Sasai’s organically layered structure could result in the transplantation of photoreceptor tissue. It could also lead to treatments for diseases, and the possibility that such tissue could be frozen in anticipation of future transplants.

Sasai is confident that his model will work for transplantation, noting that these cells are “pure” and without residual embryonic stem cells – a factor that significantly reduces the chance of cancerous offshoots or growths of fragments of unrelated tissue (like bones or other organs).


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