The Frontal Cortex

Archives for July, 2010

Goodbye Scienceblogs

NOTE: This blog has moved. The Frontal Cortex is now over here. I’ve got some exciting news: Starting today, the Frontal Cortex will be moving over to the Wired website. Needless to say, the move comes with the usual mixture of emotions, as I’ve greatly enjoyed my four years as part of the Scienceblogs community.…

Twitter Strangers

Over at Gizmodo, Joel Johnson makes a convincing argument for adding random strangers to your twitter feed: I realized most of my Twitter friends are like me: white dorks. So I picked out my new friend and started to pay attention. She’s a Christian, but isn’t afraid of sex. She seems to have some problems…

Stress

I’ve got a new article in the latest Wired on the science of stress, as seen through the prism of Robert Sapolsky. The article isn’t online yet (read it on the iPad!), but here are the opening paragraphs: Baboons are nasty, brutish and short. They have a long muzzle and sharp fangs designed to inflict…

Smart Babies

Over at Sciam’s Mind Matters, Melody Dye has a great post on the surprising advantages of thinking like a baby. At first glance, this might seem like a ridiculous conjecture: A baby, after all, is missing most of the capabilities that define the human mind, such as language and the ability to reason or focus.…

Political Dissonance

Joe Keohane has a fascinating summary of our political biases in the Boston Globe Ideas section this weekend. It’s probably not surprising that voters aren’t rational agents, but it’s always a little depressing to realize just how irrational we are. (And it’s worth pointing out that this irrationality applies to both sides of the political…

Will I?

We can’t help but talk to ourselves. At any given moment, there’s a running commentary unfolding in our stream of consciousness, an incessant soliloquy of observations, questions and opinions. But what’s the best way to structure all this introspective chatter? What kind of words should we whisper to ourselves? And does all this self-talk even…

Cages and Cancer

There’s an absolutely fascinating new paper by scientists at Ohio State University in the latest Cell. In short, the paper demonstrates that mice living in an enriched environments – those spaces filled with toys, running wheels and social interactions – are less likely to get tumors, and better able to fight off the tumors if…

Soda

There’s been lots of chatter about Pepsi lately, so I thought I’d run with the theme. I don’t have much to add to the media commentary – I’m just sad to see some of my favorite bloggers leave this space – but I’ve got plenty to say about soft drinks. And little of it will…

LSD

There’s a fascinating article in the latest Vanity Fair (not online) about the prevalence of LSD (aka lysergic acid diethylamide) among movie stars in 1950s Hollywood: Aldous Huxley was one of the first in Los Angeles to take LSD and was soon joined by others, including the writer Anais Nin. The screenwriter Charles Brackett discovered…

Alcoholism

Brendan Koerner has a really fantastic article in the latest Wired on Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It’s a fascinating exploration of the organization, from its hallucinogen inspired birth (Bill Wilson was tripping on belladonna when he found God in a hospital room) to the difficulty of accurately measuring the effectiveness of AA: The group’s “cure rate”…