My Bent Brain

Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Category archives for My Bent Brain

Have You Been Paying Attention?

Have you been paying attention to science news? See if you can answer the little quiz below (my mind was wondering while proctoring my Science of Sound final exam yesterday). Which of the following is not both a planet and an element in the Periodic Table: A. Mercury B. Uranus/Uranium C. Neptune/Neptunium D. Pluto/Plutonium No…

Recite Your ZYXs

As readers of this blog may have noted, I have a thing for patterns and sequences. Maybe it’s my musical training (e.g., inversion, retrograde, and retrograde inversion of a motif) or my love of palindromes, but I have a habit of reading signs and whatnot backwards (right to left). Sometimes funny things pop up. The…

Top Gear in Alabama

I am a fan of the BBC show Top Gear. Mind you, I’m no gear-head, but these guys do some funny things and I like to hear their take on various new car models. Last night I caught an episode that I had not seen before where the three hosts come to the USA, rent…

Curses

There is a fun programming assignment I give to my freshman Python class. I call it curses. An example of it (written in Java, with source) can be found here. Basically, the program generates a series of denunciations, each followed by a somewhat odd curse. For example: “You noisy pile of squashed dog snot- May…

A Mnemonic Device for Electrical Students

Sequences, whether it’s the colors of the rainbow, the names of the planets, or ages of Earth’s geologic past just scream for mnemonic devices such as acronym-sentences. Some of these can be quite entertaining in their own right, and even more entertaining if you make them up yourself. For example, beginning electrical engineering and technology…

“Visualize! Visualize! Visualize!” is a cry often heard by athletes. The idea is to picture a performance in the mind, and by repeatedly doing so, help insure a successful result when the times comes for the real thing. For example, as a runner I might try to visualize striding smoothly and powerfully mid-race so that…

Whatizzit?

A few stark lines on a white background could represent any number of things. What do you see? (My cheesy drawing was inspired by the cover artwork from an early 80′s Frank Zappa album.)

Humor as a Dada Concept

An ancient National Lampoon once intoned “Fun is where you find it.” I have found this to be a useful rule to live by. The intersection of humor, Dada, and a vacationer armed with a digital camera can bring entertaining results.

DIY Neuro-Motor Experiments, Part 2

One thing I want to dispel immediately is that this is about normal “handedness”. Sure, you can pick up a ball and throw it with your non-dominant hand/arm and experience the sensation of a “chicken-arm”, but that’s not the point under investigation. No, this has more to do with skills that are shared unevenly across…

DIY Neuro-Motor Asymmetry Experiments

Owing to an overuse injury that has curtailed my running, I find myself gravitating toward my other main avocation, the drums, in order to maintain my sanity. These two things are at opposite ends of the spectrum: one is all about fitness, the other, skill. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been performing a…