The Frontal Cortex

Archives for August, 2006

Vacation

I’ll be on vacation for the next ten days, and probably won’t have much time to blog. In the meantime, I thought I’d leave everyone with a few random quotes. Even though these jingles have embedded themselves in my brain, I don’t really pretend to understand any of them. Your thoughts, as always, are much…

Where is William James?

It’s easy to forget that science and religion weren’t always at war in America. Once upon a time (the late 19th century), they managed to co-exist in a romantic synergy. Enlightened theologians tried to integrate Darwin into the Bible, and scientists freely admitted that not every question had a scientific answer. It was an age…

This Is Your Brain on Drugs

Over at Cracked.com, they have posted the five most obviously drug fueled TV appearances ever. Richard Pryor is pretty absurd – he can’t stop rubbing his sweaty face – but my favorite is James Brown, who answers every question by chanting “Living in America!”

How to Stop Smoking

Cigarettes are in the news again. A Federal judge just imposed strict new limits on tobacco advertising – no more “low tar” cigarettes – and Michael Bloomberg announced that he has set up a new foundation dedicated to starting a global anti-smoking campaign. Personally, I think the solution is simple: raise the cigarette tax. If…

Inequality is Healthy

That’s the conclusion of a new study by economists Andrew Leigh and Christoper Jencks. (I suppose this is good news – poor people aren’t more likely to die in developed countries – although I fear how these statistics will be interpreted by policy makers and the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Yet another reason to…

Cass Sunstein in the Washington Post offers an excellent explanation of why an international deal on global warming is so unlikely: The obstacle stems from the unusual incentives of the United States and China. As the world’s leading contributors to climate change, these are the two countries that would have to bear the lion’s share…

Air-Conditioning the Outside

Can we get any more self-indulgent? These desert dwellers have decided that the best way to survive the summer heat is to install gigantic misters and air-conditioners in their backyard. Not content to spend summers housebound, Berger and his wife, Eileen, decided to reclaim their backyard with a misting system, a device that cools outdoor…

Men Just Want Amelie

One of my persistent problems with evolutionary psychology is its consistent lack of interest in the way culture affects human nature. Instead of trying to understand the way pop jingles, political systems and pulp fiction novels influence our behavior, evo psychers prefer to explain away our culture by referencing some innate congitive module or hard-wired…

On My Bookshelf

There are books, but also sleepy birds:

Universities Go Corporate

What happened when LSU adopted a business model budget? This is what happened. Hint: It wasn’t very good for inter-disciplinary programs. But it was great for the majors favored by football players…