The Frontal Cortex

Archives for January, 2008

Newsweek

There’s an interview with me in Newsweek.com: NEWSWEEK: What surprised you most while doing the research for this book? Jonah Lehrer: One thing was how seriously all of these artists took their art. They really believed that their novels and paintings and poetry were expressing deep truths about the human mind. As Virginia Woolf put…

Pollan on Nutritional Science

One of the many reasons I’m a big fan of Michael Pollan’s work, including his latest manifesto, is that he’s one of the few science journalists who emphasizes what science doesn’t know. Here’s an interview from Gourmet: CH: When your piece first came out in the Times Magazine urging people to ignore all the nutritional…

Salt

From a very interesting interview with Anthony Bourdain: AVC: Do you ever feel like your sense of taste or smell was diminished by your drug use? Bourdain: Who knows? I think, technically, male palates start to decline very early anyway, around 27 or 28. That’s what God made salt for. On a related note, I…

New Hampshire and Political Punditry

Needless to say, the political pundits were hilariously wrong about the New Hampshire primary. I won’t hypothesize about what actually happened, other than to say that I think many voters here wanted a longer primary. They didn’t want an Obama coronation in the beginning of January. This says less about Obama and Clinton and more…

The Wire

I agree with Jeffrey Goldberg: the first episode of The Wire’s final season was disappointing. I was enjoying myself just fine for the first 20 minutes or so, becoming reacquainted with some of my favorite drug dealers–the intensely lovable psycho-killer Snoop most of all–and scandalous cops. But then we entered the newsroom of the Baltimore…

The Benefits of Diversity

The Times has an interesting interview with Scott Page, a professor of complex systems, political science and economics at the University of Michigan: Q. In your book you posit that organizations made up of different types of people are more productive than homogenous ones. Why do you say that? A. Because diverse groups of people…

Habermas on Rorty

A lovely appreciation: I received the news in an email almost exactly a year ago. As so often in recent years, Rorty voiced his resignation at the “war president” Bush, whose policies deeply aggrieved him, the patriot who had always sought to “achieve” his country. After three or four paragraphs of sarcastic analysis came the…

Why I Don’t Blog About Politics

Sometimes, I feel like the only journalist/blogger in New Hampshire who isn’t writing about politics. My street is littered with campaign signs, from Kucinich to Huckabee, that have been stuck haphazardly into the snow. My recycling bin is full of glossy campaign mailers. In the last 48 hours, Obama has appeared at the local high…

Old Arguments

Daniel Davies has compiled a smart list of arguments that he is no longer going to have. He explains: While not necessarily claiming to have the definitive truth on these subjects, my views are no longer up for argument, pending absolutely spectacular new evidence. I’ve had a number of arguments on all of these points…

The Revival of Shock Therapy

A new book, Shock Therapy, has recently been published, which offers a contrarian take on the history of electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT. I haven’t read the book, but Barron Lerner reviews it in Slate: The authors believe that electroconvulsive therapy is incredibly effective. And yet for decades, a severely depressed patient–even one on the brink…