April 1, 2013

4 Comments

The antidote to ADHD isn’t Ritalin, it’s play: let’s make recess the first class of the day!

For anyone reading today’s NYT article on the ADHD “epidemic” (sidenote: the only epidemic is in the eyes of the diagnosticians and, worse, the school administrators who ensure that normal boys look hyperactive by sticking them in classrooms at 8am every morning), it wasn’t hard to notice someone conspicuously absent: Jaak Panksepp. If you haven’t read Panksepp’s most recent article on the normal evolutionary function of attentional shifting, and on the necessity of reorganizing our grade schools to make recess the first class of the day, read it now (link here…)

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April 1, 2013

2 Comments

Only Connectome

As a rather precise analogy, knowing the distribution of cell phones in the United States might tell you this much (pinchy fingers) about what Americans are saying to one another. A complete list of every phone’s contact history (eg, who is calling who, and when, and for how long) would tell you this much (hands a foot apart) about what Americans are saying. But actually recording all of the conversations would tell you this much (arms stretched as wide as possible) about what Americans are saying.

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March 31, 2013

5 Comments

Moment of Neural Zen

Everything you ever wanted from a nervous system and more. Perception, analysis, intentionality, persistence, problem solving, and motor behavior up the wazoo.

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March 31, 2013

4 Comments

Yes Albert, there is spooky action at a distance

Einstein famously hated this idea, wanting all cause-effect relationships to be “local” (meaning limited in speed to c). He petulantly referred to it as spooky action at a distance. Bell’s theorem gave it credibility, and now a series of experiments are proving it empirically.

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March 30, 2013

15 Comments

Do axons think?

Time was when the cell body was the telephone mouthpiece and the axon was the telephone cord. Axons just passively conducted the information fed into them like so many cables. But this new article Neurosci. Res. 2013 Sasaki sets forward a summary of recent evidence that astrocytes camped out along the axon modify the signals that cell […]

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March 30, 2013

9 Comments

The Known Universe

A nice 6-minute film in which the viewer looks back, from a rocketship, as she moves from the surface of the planet through the universe. Various scientific landmarks and facts are displayed over the course of the trip. Good for kids and context.

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March 29, 2013

20 Comments

Impossible People

The phrase “impossible person” was coined by James Joyce. In this post I will define the term (or at least begin to) and in the posts that follow in this section I will try to shed light on the inner logic of impossible people, and on some of the techniques that can be used to make them possible.

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March 29, 2013

5 Comments

The Medicalization of Deviance: Can Brain Images Detect Pre-Crime?

Many prisons in America are privately run, and wardens, making $40,000/year per inmate, have reasons to keep people in – the inmates are in a sense (unwilling) customers. So when they write that “this pattern of results raises the possibility that brain activity in regions such as the ACC, elicited by a simple experimental task, may lend incremental utility to existing behavioral risk factors in the ability to predict rearrest,” one worries about how, exactly, this information might be used.

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March 28, 2013

3 Comments

More evidence of the concept of the self in non-humans

It has long been speculated that only animals capable of conceptualizing conspecifics as selves – unique individuals – who can transition from life to death would be capable of mourning.

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March 28, 2013

0 Comments

Bees Detect Information from Electric Fields

Consistent with the observation that electric fields have three-dimensional configurations that can be identified by their shape, bees detect the fields formed on other bees’ exoskeletons.

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November 3, 2012

2 Comments

What’s the Difference Between Psychology and Psychopharmacology?

A joke! It’s only a joke! A totally accurate joke.

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November 2, 2012

2 Comments

What’s the Difference Between Mathematics and The Humanities?

I can’t imagine the square root of number one.

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October 31, 2012

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Zombies, Slavery, and The French: On the Extreme Peril of Bad Metaphysics

It is not enough to have expelled the barbarians who have bloodied our land for two centuries; it is not enough to have restrained those ever-evolving factions that one after another mocked the specter of liberty that France dangled before you. We must, with one last act of national authority, forever assure the empire of liberty in the country of our birth; we must take any hope of re-enslaving us away from the inhuman government that for so long kept us in the most humiliating torpor. In the end we must live independent or die.

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