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1899 — Bowdoin’s first president, Joseph McKeen, is inaugurated and the College opens for classes.

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Research Connects Music Listening to Creativity (Smithsonian)

musiciansWhen researchers scanned the brains of young adults as they listened to music, the scientists discovered changes in brain activity that correlated with introspection, self-awareness, mind-wandering and, “possibly,” imagination, Smithsonian magazine reports.

The music “enhanced connections between different regions of the brain, a pattern called the default mode network (DMN),” the article explains. This network tends to be focused on inner-thoughts. When it is active, another network that is more involved in goal-oriented tasks quiets. Because people with autism often have problems with DMN activity, the study’s authors suggest that they may be receptive to music therapy.

Post-College Job: Cleaning the Oceans

hannah-tennentUp to 15 million tons of trash slips into our oceans every year, endangering the marine mammals, fish, seabirds and sea turtles that may eat the rubbish, get entangled in it or be affected by endocrine disruptors.

Although scientists are skeptical about the feasibility of cleaning up the ocean’s gigantic floating garbage patches, a small Maine organization is attempting to rid the seas of trash. Instead of tackling the ocean’s far-off gyres of rubbish, however, Rozalia Project is trying to prevent trash from entering the ocean in the first place. Most marine debris moves into the marine environment from beaches, harbors and tidal rivers.

This summer, a Bowdoin alumna joined the Rozalia Project, sailing with the organization on its 60-foot boat, American Promise. Hannah Tennent graduated from Bowdoin in May with an earth and oceanographic science major. With free time before starting a 10-month post in September with the Student Conservation Association, Tennent took a temporary position with the ocean-cleaning nonprofit. Read the full story. 

Optimize Your Social Media With Tips from Top Marketers (Hootsuite)

Social-mediaBN80Nearly everyone uses social media these days - but are we using it well? Hootsuite asked a panel of expert social media marketers a variety of questions on how to optimize success for you and your business over various platforms. They cover tips they learned recently, social media marketing habits they are still working to improve, and more.

Go Ahead and Pull That All-Nighter…If You Want to Mess with your Memory (Scientific American)

SleepingAtWorkAnyone who’s ever gotten in a heated argument over the course of past events knows that memory is subjective and sometimes unreliable. You might confuse your flight number and departure time. Or you might be influenced by a leading question. Why? Because we reconstruct memories each time we revisit the event, which allows an opportunity for errors to sneak in depending on the context. One of these contexts is, apparently, sleep deprivation: students who had pulled all-nighters were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to remember misinformation presented 45 minutes after looking at a photograph. Read more from Scientific American.

Bowdoin Biologist Talks Sea Creatures on Radio Show

janetgannon

Bowdoin’s Janet Gannon joins a panel of marine experts on public radio August 26 to speak about sea life in Maine and the shifting ocean ecosystem. Airing at noon to 1 p.m., the “Maine Calling” show was organized by Charlotte Rutty ’16, who interned with MPBN this summer. “The show will be about what cool creatures these ocean lovers spot out on the water, as well as how this may be changing,” Rutty said.

Gannon will discuss these issues on air with Adam Baukus, a researcher from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and with Casco Baykeeper Joe Payne. Listeners are invited to call in with questions and their own observations. In addition to teaching marine biology at Bowdoin and providing logistical, scientific and GIS support every summer at the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island, Gannon is an avid sailor who writes about her ocean explorations on her blog, An Ocean Lover in Maine.

Gear up for the show with this mini-documentary about a Bowdoin student’s investigation of green crabs in Harspwell Sound - and learn more about what’s been going on at Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Center this summer.

Bowdoin NewsRead more Bowdoin News »

What One Man Found When He Liked Everything on Facebook (Wired)

facebook-logo256After liking everything that came up in his newsfeed for 48 straight hours, Mat Honan found, surprisingly, a whole lot of content that he disliked. There is a specific type of Facebook content “designed to get you to interact,” he explains. “And if you take the bait, you’ll be shown it ad nauseam.” When viewed on his computer, he still saw some posts from his friends — but on his mobile, human content disappeared entirely, replaced on the first day with content from “Huffington Post, Upworthy, Huffington Post, Upworthy, a Levi’s ad, Space.com, Huffington Post, Upworthy, The Verge, Huffington Post, Space.com, Upworthy, Space.com.” And this was just the beginning of the repercussions. Honan’s experiment lasted only 48 hours because he couldn’t stand it anymore.

The History of Autocorrect, Complete with Illustrations (Wired)

autocorrect128Despite entire sites that showcase the hilarity of autocorrect hiccups, the tech service really deserves a lot of credit. How often have you typed teh only to have your error fixed, maybe without you even noticing? Autocorrect blossomed from the efforts of Dean Hachamovitch, a Microsoft VP and data scientist, who first started correcting the above mistake with the F3 and left arrow keys — and then realized you could incorporate this coding directly into the space bar command that you would be hitting anyway.

Autocorrect progressed from there at the hands of an intern, who compiled autocorrect dictionaries from Microsoft employees, and on to correct caps lock errors, homophone phrases, and more. Read more about the innovations and glitches along the way — such as a period during which cooperation was often (and ironically) changed to Cupertino, the location of Apple’s headquarters in California.

Stalking the Invasive Green Crab in Harpswell Sound

Aidan Short ’15 is unusually familiar with the invasive green crabs in Harpswell Sound: specifically, with the contents of their stomachs.


Stalking the Invasive Green Crab from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

The green crab has a reputation for devouring soft-shell clams, the species behind one of Maine’s most lucrative fisheries. But how much of the crab’s diet is really made up of clams? What other creatures are falling prey to this clawed invader? And how does all of that vary by habitat? These are some questions that Short is exploring through his research project “What’s for Dinner? A molecular analysis of the feeding habits of the green crab Carcinus maenas in Harpswell Sound.”

Short has been working on the water and in the lab, using a combination of crab trapping, dissection, and molecular techniques to figure out just what these crabs are swallowing - not a task for the faint of stomach. Funded this summer by a Doherty Coastal Studies Research Fellowship, Short will continue his research as part of a year-long honors project in collaboration with biology assistant professor David Carlon, who directs Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Center.

Off-Campus Scholars: Studying Cosmic Rays and Fisheries Bycatch

davis unruhWhile many Bowdoin students stay on campus to do research over the summer, there are always some who pursue research opportunities elsewhere, sometimes on another university campus, a laboratory, or even an oceangoing vessel.

For instance, Margaret Lindeman ’15 and Sara Hamilton ’16 joined scientists in Greenland this summer to study the effects of climate change. Erin Voss ’16 traveled to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to look into yellow-bellied marmot habitats and species distribution.

The Bowdoin Daily Sun caught up with two off-campus researchers, Davis Unruh ’16 and Karl Reinhardt ’15, who are, respectively, investigating the skies and the seas. Read about the summer experiences of Unruh and Reinhardt.

10,000 Hours or Musical Genetics? (Scientific American)

SheetMusic128How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice… Or that’s what we’d like to think. It’s comforting to believe that musical ability is related to the amount of time you invest and this time alone — but could it be that musical ability is also dependent on your genes? This is essentially a question of nature vs. nurture, like so many others, and research suggests that genes do influence musical ability — as well as the inclination to practice in the first place.