Science and Tech roundup, week 7

    No chill: Most of Cuba can’t watch Netflix

    After Netflix and Airbnb announced in February 2015 they would expand to Cuba in light of the U.S. decision to restore diplomatic relations, Fabián Bustamante, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and McCormick graduate student Zachary Bischof began measuring Cuba’s Internet performance to see if this expansion was viable.

    Bustamante and Bischof have conducted measurements on a Havana server since March 2015 to determine how long it takes for information to travel in and out of Cuba. They found that a simple Google search took 60 to 70 milliseconds to leave Cuba but 270 milliseconds to travel back, which, according to Bustamante (h/t McCormick news release), “takes so long that it’s almost useless.” Cuba's infrastructure, according to the study, would have trouble providing for applications like Netflix that are so network intensive.

    Shocking discovery: Creative people are bad

    Maryam Kouchaki, Kellogg professor of management and organizations, led a study in collaboration with Syracuse professor Lynne Vincent that determined creative people are more prone to unethical behavior by virtue of the entitlement they feel from their creativity.

    People who recognize their creative identity see a “sense of rarity, specialness and uniqueness, which causes a sense of entitlement,” Kouchaki and Vincent wrote in their study (via Pacific Standard).

    In the study, 158 MBA students took a seven-question test that measures creativity. One-third of the group was told they were creative and creativity is rare, another third was told they performed well but that doing so was common, and the final third did not receive a message. After that, the students played a game that rewarded them with $5 for lying to their anonymous partner compared to $2 for telling the truth. Those who thought creativity was rare lied twice as often as those who were told their creativity was common.

    Progress against metastatic lung cancer

    Feinberg neurology professor Jane Wu led a study that found a strong correlation between a gene called Myosin 9b and the spread of lung cancer to other parts of the body.

    The study found the protein that Myosin 9B encodes in roughly 90 percent of lung cancer tissue samples, according to a Feinberg news release, which indicates that reducing the protein's expression in cancer cells could prevent metastasis, or the spread of cancer from one organ to another. Wu’s team’s finding provides what she calls a “solid foundation” for treating lung cancer.

    Important update on infant communication ability

    They might not be able to talk to you, but infants can recognize new sounds as communicative signals that, when identified, can boost infants’ learning, according to a study conducted by cognitive psychology doctoral student Brock Ferguson.

    In Ferguson’s study, infants watched a video of a conversation between two people. One person spoke in English, the other with beeping noises. The team then tested the infants to see whether the beep sounds would “facilitate their learning about a novel object category,” which scientists know is influenced by speech, according to Science Daily. They found that after seeing beeps used to communicate, infants would link the beeping sounds to categorization.


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