The Frontal Cortex

Archives for October, 2007

Training the Tongue

It’s not easy to re-educate our sense of taste. Britain is learning that the hard way: Two years ago, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver expressed horror at the Turkey Twizzlers being served in Britain’s school cafeterias and equated many school lunches with a four-letter word for the ultimate byproduct of all meals. He vowed to help…

Sacks on Music

Wired has a fascinating interview with Oliver Sacks about music. I particularly enjoyed this question from Steve Silberman about the joys of combining a good melody with drugs: Wired: You write that there was a time in med school when you took a lot of amphetamines. What’s the most vivid experience of music you ever…

Polar Ice Caps and Atlantic Cod

You know what I think of when I read stories like this? The pace of change [in the polar ice caps] has far exceeded what had been estimated by almost all the simulations used to envision how the Arctic will respond to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. But that disconnect can…

Predicting Technology

The transition from basic science to useful technology is so unpredictable. Look, for example, at DNA. Ten years ago, everybody assumed that the payoff of the genetic revolution would arrive in the form of gene therapy. We’d cure disease by tinkering with our genome. Well, that didn’t work out so well. Who could have guessed…

The Divorce Myth

There are lies, damn lies and statistics. Last week, the newspapers were filled with stories about rising divorce rates. It was widely reported that couples that married in the 1970’s had a less than even chance of celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. But those statistics were misleading. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers report: The story…

Brain Augmentation

Over at the MIT Tech Review website, neuroscientist Ed Boyden argues for brain augmentation: It’s arguably time for a discipline to emerge around the idea of human augmentation. At the MIT Media Lab, we are beginning to search for principles that govern the use of technology to augment human abilities–that make the idea of normal…