The Frontal Cortex

Archives for September, 2006

Factchecking the Female Brain

It’s a shame that exaggerating the extent of brain differences between men and women can be such a boon for book sales. (Call it the Mars and Venus phenomenon.) This publishing truism has been most recently demonstrated by Louann Brizendine, a researcher at UCSF who wrote The Female Brain. But now the backlash has begun.…

Is Pot the New Prozac?

If anxiety is the new depression, then weed might be our next miracle drug. And no, this isn’t the same seedy crap you get from your local delivery service. I’m talking about medically targeted spliffs, designed to only affect your amygdala (the neural source of fear and anxiety). Over at the new NY Inquirer, I…

Ghost Stories

William James would have loved this paper. Then again, maybe he’d be dissapointed: Neuroscientists investigating a young woman with epilepsy believe they have stumbled on an explanation why some people feel a ghostly presence nearby or develop paranoia or persecution. The 22-year-old woman was being assessed for brain surgery for epilepsy but was otherwise psychologically…

Factoid of the Day

According to Ann Veneman, the executive director of Unicef: “Women do 66 percent of the work in the world, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 5 percent of income and 1 percent of the property.”

Immigration and the Dismal Science

With all the debate in Congress over illegal immigration, this paper is bound to cause a serious brouhaha. I haven’t read the manuscript yet, but the numbers cited in the abstract are certainly thought-provoking. Economics is ultimately a study of trade-offs, and these economists clearly believe that the big losers when it comes to increased…

Voodoo, Religion and Faulty Causation

Ever since David Hume – our first great psychologist – it has been a well known fact that causation is a figment of our imagination. Although we perceive event A as causing event B, this perception is an illusion: necessary causation is not inherent in nature. As Hume wrote: “We have no other notion of…

The Worst Job in America

…is being a crack dealer. You make much less than minimum wage, and have to live with your mother. Steven Levitt explains.

Feed Cattle Grass

An excellent op-ed by Nina Plank on ways to reduce the amount of dangerous E. coli in our food supply. The answer is stupendously simple: feed cattle what they were meant to eat. E. coli O157:H7 [the strain responsible for the latest outbreak] is not found in the intestinal tracts of cattle raised on their…

Chomsky is Alive!

From the Times: Mr. Chavez [President of Venezeula] brandished a copy of Noam Chomsky’s “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance” and recommended it to members of the General Assembly to read. Later, he told a news conference that one of his greatest regrets was not getting to meet Mr. Chomsky before he died.…

The CBO and Carbon Taxes

So the state of California has launched a frivolous lawsuit going after automakers for producing greenhouse gases. The lawsuit contends that the greenhouses gases, mostly carbon dioxide, emitted from cars is a public nuisance and that automakers should pay for damages to the state’s environment and public works. “Basically, what we are saying is it’s…