The Frontal Cortex

Archives for June, 2008

The Head Trip

Bookslut has a really interesting interview with Jeff Warren, author of The Head Trip: Q: It turns out sleep is more interesting than we usually expect — and that it even has a history! What are some key misconceptions about sleep? A: I would like to spiel about dreaming for a moment if you don’t…

Time Travel

Over at Marginal Revolution, a commenter asks Tyler a great question: I wanted to ask for survival tips in case I am unexpectedly transported to a random location in Europe (say for instance current France/Benelux/Germany) in the year 1000 AD (plus or minus 200 years). I assume that such transportation would leave me with what…

Bill Wood

I wandered into the ICP a few weeks ago, wandering amid Midtown with an hour to spare. I ended up transfixed by an exhibit called Bill Wood’s Business: The Bill Wood Photo Company supplied local snap shooters and amateur photographers with cameras, flash bulbs, accessories, and quality photo finishing. In addition, the business provided commercial…

Stop Signs Are Dangerous

In the latest Atlantic, John Staddon, a professor of psychology at Duke, has an article on the dangers of road signs and speed limits: The American system of traffic control, with its many signs and stops, and with its specific rules tailored to every bend in the road, has had the unintended consequence of causing…

Baseball, Meth and Road Games

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on various explanations for home field advantage. One of the more interesting tidbits I learned was this: Professional teams, however, seem to be better adjusted to life on the road. (The chartered planes and fancy hotels probably help.) A 1986 analysis of nearly 3,500 Premier League English…

Credit Cards and the Brain

David Brooks’ column today is filled with some depressing financial facts: Between 1989 and 2001, credit-card debt nearly tripled, soaring from $238 billion to $692 billion. By last year, it was up to $937 billion, the report said. State governments aggressively hawk their lottery products, which some people call a tax on stupidity. Twenty percent…

On Turning 40

An eloquent elegy to age, written by Steven Johnson on his fortieth birthday: One of the things that’s always stuck with me from my Mind Wide Open research is that human beings vary predictably in their perception of time as they age. Time literally seems to go faster the older you get–not just in the…

Hot Coffee, Free Will, etc

Given the weather on the Eastern seaboard – it’s one of those hot, sultry days where you wait for a thunderstorm to purge the humidity from the air – I decided to do a quick literature search for the effects of heat on cognition. But as so often happens when I play with vague search…

fMRI Biases the Brain

Dave Munger has a great post on how fMRI images bias the brain. The researchers asked 156 students at Colorado State University to evaluate three different summaries of brain research. As you can probably guess (especially if you’re familiar with this research) the students gave significantly higher ratings for “scientific reasoning” to articles accompanied by…

Technology (The Limits of)

Kottke links to some early reviews of cinema. Needless to say, hyperbole ruled the day. As one critic proclaimed: Photography has ceased to record immobility. It perpetuates the image of movement. When these gadgets are in the hands of the public, when anyone can photograph the ones who are dear to them, not just in…