The Frontal Cortex

Archives for February, 2008

Hot Flashes in Japan

I’m really looking forward to reading Anne Harrington’s new book on the history of mind-body medicine. I thought this factoid, from her interview with the Boston Globe Ideas section, was quite interesting: IDEAS: One of the things I learned reading the book is that there’s no word for “hot flashes” in Japanese because menopausal women…

Melodic Rhetoric

This video is shamefully manipulative. It’s just a bunch of celebrities, from Scarlett to John Legend, harmonizing over a particularly eloquent Obama speech. The rhetoric is beautiful, poetic and vapid. The camera work is a little too artful. The crescendo at the end is a little too obvious. And yet, it works. The short video…

Don’t Inhale Pig Brains

Apparently, if you breathe in vaporized bits of swine cortex you have a decent chance of getting very sick. That, at least, is the tenuous conclusion of a doctors in Minnesota: The ailment is characterized by sensations of burning, numbness and weakness in the arms and legs. For most, this is unpleasant but not disabling.…

Words To Live By

This is from Paul Bloom’s review of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s new book on the uses and abuses of experimental philosophy: Near the end of the book, Appiah says that when he tells a stranger on a plane that he is a philosopher, he often gets the question, “So, what’s your philosophy?” He answers, “My philosophy…

Crowds and Psychology

This prank reminds me of that Stanley Milgram experiment where people stopped on busy New York City sidewalks and looked up. When only one person was stopped, about 4 percent of pedestrians joined the man and looked at whatever he was looking at. But as Milgram increased the crowd size, more and more people stopped…