My So-Called Life

The Frontal Cortex

Category archives for My So-Called Life

Book Tour

For those who might be interested, I thought I’d post my book tour dates, since the tour officially kicks off today. Hope to see you there! November 1, 7 PM, Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NH November 7, 7 PM, Barnes & Noble, 82nd Street and Broadway, NYC November 8, 7:30 PM, Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA…

Combining Foods

Apparently, Wilfrid Sellars came up with this “philosophical time-waster“: Identify three foods A, B, and C such that any two of these are complementary (taste good in combination) but the trio does not. So A and B must be complementary, B and C must be complementary, and A and C must be complementary, but A,…

Neuroscience and Science Writing

In response to a recent post on spindle cells in which I referred to that neuronal cell type as a transmitter of social emotions, I received a very astute comment: This doesn’t as a statement make any sense “their antenna-like cell body is able to convey our social emotions across the entire brain”. Neurons fire…

Whitman and Neuroscience

I’ll be away from my desk tomorrow, so I thought I’d keep you entertained with a video of me. (Forgive the shameless self-promotion.) In this short video, I’m discussing how Walt Whitman anticipated some truths of modern neuroscience. (I’ve written a whole book on this subject, which will come out this fall.) To be honest,…

The Whole Foods Wars

It’s the latest bourgeois battle: a bunch of angry supermarket shoppers, led by Michael Pollan, are criticizing Whole Foods for not living up to their organic values. While the stores are filled with billboards extolling the virtues of small farms and local produce, Whole Foods gets most of its provisions from big agribusiness, albeit with…

The Virtues of A Mediocre High School

Needless to say, this is ridiculous: Settled in the well-groomed Los Angeles suburb of San Marino, Derek O’Gorman worked as an insurance broker. His wife, Mary Ann, took care of their two girls, both stellar students at top-ranked local schools. But in 2005, when the family visited a nearby private high school they expected the…

Salty Tomatoes

From Harold McGee’s charming new blog: Tomato lovers know that a sprinkling of salt enhances the flavor of even the best field-ripened specimen. Some recent news that bodes well for improved flavor in greenhouse tomatoes: you can enhance tomato flavor by salting the plant as the fruit grows! At the Institute of Vegetable Science in…

Allofmp3.com and Piracy

I’m probably breaking some obscure copyright law by simply mentioning this website. For those who don’t know, allofmp3.com features ridiculously cheap mp3 files: a song usually costs a dime, not a dollar. The catch? They are a shady Russian company that uses a loophole in Russian law to not pay royalties. Whether or not to…

Primo Levi on Carbon

While we are on the theme of consilience, here’s a pretty perfect paragraph of prose that captures the kind of Third Culture I fantasize about. It’s from Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table: Carbon is again among us, in a glass of milk. It is inserted in a very complex, long chain, yet such that almost…

This photograph made me laugh. Via The Superficial