In the first study, 34 elementary school students were evaluated to determine their attitude toward immigrants (often stigmatized in Italy) and then divided into two groups that read passages from Harry Potter for six weeks under the guidance of a research assistant. The test group read the scenes that describe prejudice (mudbloods, house elves etc. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you should read the books), while the control group read passages without themes of prejudice. After the last session the children who identified the most with the character Harry and read the prejudice-related passages were shown to have significantly improved attitudes toward immigrants whereas the opinions of the children in the control group had not changed.

A second, similar study was conducted with high-school students and demonstrated an improved attitude toward homosexuals in the test group. The third was conducted among university students regarding their attitudes toward refugees with the same results.

The other 500 cartridges that were brought up will be kept by the city as mementos or donated to various museums, possibly including the Smithsonian as well as state and local museums.

Joe Lewandowski, a local garbage contractor who saw the cartridges buried in 1983 and helped the excavators find the right spot to dig 30 years later, told Reuters the decision to put the game cartridges up for sale was like a “phoenix rising from the desert.” Ars contacted some city council officials about how the auction will be organized and scheduled, but we have not yet heard a response. We’ll update this story if we do.

Currently, Reuters notes, “The unearthed games are under the custodianship of the Tularosa Basin Historical Society and stored at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, 200 miles (320 km) southeast of Albuquerque.”

That’s not especially exciting, except for the fact that the entire process takes a tiny bit of energy, which the authors supply using a source of heat. As the demon repeatedly traps and releases the electron, the energetic cost keeps adding up. There’s a corresponding drop in the temperature of the heat bath that’s powering the whole thing.

Researchers create a Maxwell’s demon with a single electron | Ars Technica

As an aside, I don’t know why people keep on looking for perpetuum mobiles. I think we should be pretty glad that we’re living in a stable universe, where things tend to settle down rather than up, and energy isn’t created through magic. Having random things explode at random intervals would be pretty inconvenient, and rather hostile to life, I would imagine.

A set of IRC logs released Saturday appear to show that a handful of 4chan users were ultimately behind #GamerGate, the supposedly grass-roots movement aimed at exposing ethical lapses in gaming journalism. The logs show a small group of users orchestrating a “hashtag campaign” to perpetuate misogynistic attacks by wrapping them in a debate about ethics in gaming journalism.
Though Quinn continues to feel exposed from the dox (she still has not returned home and people e-mail her daily to say that depression is not a real illness, or, at least, not one that a woman can experience), she said that she feels sympathy for her attackers. “They’re clearly hurting,” Quinn wrote in an e-mail. “People don’t viciously attack anyone without having some deep-seeded loathing in themselves.”
This cascading behavior has to do with something political scientists call pluralistic ignorance. This is the scenario in which I’m willing to withhold my private belief that Shah of Iran is awful, while pretending I’m a regime supporter. Once, however, a few people start a cascade, an offline or online protest, revealing their true beliefs, it becomes easier for me to join them, and hence strengthening the cascade. The feedback loop than creates a rapid cycle of events that culminate so quickly that it all seems inevitable, yet also appears seemingly out of the blue.

Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided to revamp the way they studied Viking remains. Previously, researchers had misidentified skeletons as male simply because they were buried with their swords and shields. (Female remains were identified by their oval brooches, and not much else.) By studying osteological signs of gender within the bones themselves, researchers discovered that approximately half of the remains were actually female warriors, given a proper burial with their weapons.

It’s been so difficult for people to envision women’s historical contributions as solely getting married and dying in childbirth, but you can’t argue with numbers—and fifty/fifty is pretty damn good.