The Frontal Cortex

Archives for September, 2006

Negative Results

The always interesting Sharon Begley has a WSJ column today on the new scientific journals that only publish negative results. A handful of journals that publish only negative results are gaining traction, and new ones are on the drawing boards. “You hear stories about negative studies getting stuck in a file drawer, but rigorous analyses…

Singing the Body Electric

Over at the Loom, Carl Zimmer reflects on 18th century science, lightning, and the nervous system. The question of when scientists first realized that our nerves used the same stuff as lightning bolts – a completely outlandish idea – has long fascinated me. It’s an empirical story in which two great Italian scientists – Count…

Nature Goes Wiki

From the WSJ: Nature, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific research journals, has embarked on an experiment of its own. In addition to having articles submitted for publication subjected to peer reviews by a handful of experts in the field, the 136-year-old journal is trying out a new system for authors who agree to…

From The Atlantic: Studies indicate that Asian students achieve some of the highest scores in the world in math and science comparisons. However, owing to excessive focus on memorization, done solely for the purpose of passing tests, these gloomy idiot savants demonstrate surprisingly little practical know-how and often are unable to apply what they’ve learned.…

Frappuccinos Make You Fat

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Starbucks Frappuccino is equivalent in calories to a McDonald’s coffee plus 11 of their creamers and 29 packets of sugar. A venti Caffè Mocha with whipped cream is calorically equivalent to a Quarter Pounder with cheese. This is the glory of American fast food:…

Factoid of the Day

From Dean Baker: If physicians in the United States received the same pay as physicians in Europe, this step alone would save $80 billion a year from the country’s health care bill – approximately $800 per family.

Rich People Sleep Better

It’s not that rich people sleep more hours per night – although they often do – it’s that they are more efficient at using their time in bed. In other words, they are less likely to toss and turn. I wonder if this is because they can afford Ambien…

One Thing Every NFL Coach Should Know

In honor of the start of football season, I thought I’d blog about one of my favorite economics papers. It’s by David Romer of UC Berkeley, and it should be mandatory reading for every sleep-deprived NFL coach out there. The question Romer was trying to answer is familiar to every NFL fan: what to do…

9/11

I have had the tragic privilege of living in New York during 9/11 and London during 7/7. The two events are, of course, incomparable, if only because the falling skyscrapers puncutated our lives without warning. I still vividly remember the first night of 9/11, when the stench of melted plastic seeped uptown, and the thousands…

A Hydrogen Car!

Spy shots of a new BMW that runs on hydrogen have just been released. Back in 2004, BMW promised that they would have a hydrogen car ready in 4 years. Seems like they might keep their word (unlike GM and Ford.) As far as I can tell, there is only one problem with his fine…