The Frontal Cortex

Archives for November, 2007

More Book News

Don’t worry, the period of shameless self-promotion is almost over. But Proust Was A Neuroscientist has been in the news lately. The San Francisco Chronicle had a very kind review: Interpreters of Woolf and Proust are legion, but Lehrer is gifted with the ability to find philosophy in science and stray bits of science buried…

McEwan, Nabokov and Fake Science

Ian McEwan is mischievous. He ends Enduring Love – a novel about a science writer – with a carefully faked psychiatric study from a non-existent British medical journal. Although the syndrome discussed in the article is real – De Clerambault’s Syndrome is the delusional belief that someone else is in love with you – the…

Guitar Hero 2 and Plasticity

Watching this clip of a kid who has spent way too much time on Guitar Hero 2 reminded me of the classic study of the somatosensory cortex in string players: Magnetic source imaging revealed that the cortical representation of the digits of the left hand of string players was larger than that in controls. The…

Notable Science Books

So the Times didn’t think much of science books this year. Personally, I think the three big omissions from the “Notable” list are Musicophilia, Isaacson’s Einstein and The Stuff of Thought. What other science books did you think were notable this year? I’m not sure how “notable” is supposed to be defined in this context,…

Kobe Beef

I’ve never eaten Kobe beef from Japan, and now I never will. Authentic Kobe beef is essentially veal that isn’t put out of its misery. Barry Estabrook, in the new Gourmet, investigates the real life of these very expensive cows (ten ounces of Kobe beef can set you back about $175): Traditional Japanese producers raise…

The Evolution of Art

I like this just-so story. Here’s Natalie Angier: Art, she [Ellen Dissanayake] and others have proposed, did not arise to spotlight the few, but rather to summon the many to come join the parade — a proposal not surprisingly shared by our hora teacher, Steven Brown of Simon Fraser University. Through singing, dancing, painting, telling…

IQ Won’t Make You Rich

From Brad DeLong: If inherited genetically-based IQ were the source of the extra edge that the children of the rich get in our society, than we would expect a parent with 4 times average lifetime full-time earnings–say $200,000 a year–to have a kid with a lifetime average income of $51,500 instead of the average of…

Slate

I’m quickly learning that these webmagazines really don’t like my book. This review, however, is actually rather thoughtful. Daniel Engber of Slate begins by pointing out that neuroscientists are constantly quoting Proust: My career as a grad student in neuroscience was filled with these obligatory madeleine moments: It seemed like every talk, lecture, presentation, or…

Why Run When You Can Pass?

Life is getting tough for the running backs of the NFL. First comes the news that becoming a star rusher doesn’t require a Heisman Trophy or even a high-profile start in NCAA Division I-A: The debate has simmered for a decade, at least since the Denver Broncos began making a habit of turning unsung players…

Poem of the Day

And it comes with recipes, too! Here’s Billy Collins: As soon as the elderly waiter placed before me the fish I had ordered, it began to stare up at me with its one flat, iridescent eye. I feel sorry for you, it seemed to say, eating alone in this awful restaurant bathed in such unkindly…