The Frontal Cortex

Archives for July, 2006

My Next Car

If the hype is accurate, then I’m skipping the hybrid and going straight for the Tesla…Imagine an electric car that accelerates like a Corvette and can get 250 miles per charge.

Is Science Sexist?

I’m not so sure, but two prominent scientists, both of whom are transgendered, allege that scientists regularly discriminate and “ostracize” ambitious female scientists. This is the latest twist of the Larry Summers Debate, which has grown a wee bit tiresome. I alluded to Joan Roughgarden’s allegations in Seed last month, but the WSJ has an…

Do Tax Cuts Pay for Themselves?

Not if you read the fine print. According to an analysis by the Treasury Department, Bush’s tax cuts may raise total national output of goods and services by 0.7%. But is that enough to pay for the tax cuts? Not even close. An 0.7 percent increase in economic output would lead to increased tax payments…

Neurogenesis and the Neocortex

Jake over at Pure Pedantry links to a recently published article which shows that the adult neocortex has roughly the same number of neurons (but more glial cells) than the neocortex of a newborn. This is an interesting study and deserves a brief comment. As I wrote in Seed earlier this year, neurogenesis – the…

Mushrooms and Spirituality

Sometimes science experiments smack of the obvious. When researchers at Johns Hopkins gave 36 people with deep religious convictions hallucingenic mushrooms (active ingredient psilocybin) they experienced a deep, and lingering, sense of spirituality.Furthermore, as every day tripper knows, about a third of users were pummelled by feelings of fear and anxiety. Apparently, transcendence and nervousness…

They have lots of bugs.

Happiness Books

There’s currently a glut of good books on happiness. If you don’t have the time to wade through them all, Jennifer Senior of New York Magazine has a helpful summary of the latest developments in positive psychology.

I’ve always wondered why evangelicals obsess over evolution and not quantum physics. If their intent is to undermine materialist science, the surreal conclusions of modern physicists – multiple universes, 11 stringy dimensions, the invisible weight of dark matter – strike me as far more vulnerable to religious interpretation than natural selection. After all, physicists cheerfully…

Talking Apes

These bonobos can even invent metaphors…The secret, at least according to Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, head scientist at the Great Ape Trust near Des Moines, is to expose primates to language when they are still infants. Of course, this isn’t the first time talking chimps have threatened to dethrown Chomsky and his Innate Grammar Machine, but these…

Ali G interviews Noam Chomsky

It’s pretty damn funny. I especially like the part where Ali G connects being bilingual with bisexuality. Chomsky doesn’t even flinch. [Courtesy Andrew Sullivan]