Archives for January, 2011

Inducing a worm to lay eggs with laser light from Samuel Lab on Vimeo. A research group at Harvard University, led by Prof. Samuel has developed a new way to manipulate nerves using lasers, given the cheeky term “CoLBeRT”{reference to Stephen Colbert}. In science terms, CoLBeRT is: Controlling Locomotion and Behavior in Real Time

Your Brain On Music: Pure Joy

Figure 2: Evidence for dopamine release during pleasurable music listening. Listening to music invokes our emotions, ranging from pleasure to disdain. It is one of our most human experiences, sometimes so profound that words cannot convey the intensity. One of my closest friends, a professor of musicology, once asked me in a moment of self…

Doodling in Math Class: Sir Isaac Newton

Math is boring. We hear that every day. But there are exceptions. Consider Sir Isaac Newton. He matriculated at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge in 1661, became a Fellow in 1667, and created the “Newtonian” branch of physics. But many may not be aware that he was a master doodler while sitting in…

Ushahidi – Join The Crowd

OpenStreetMap – Project Haiti from ItoWorld on Vimeo. In Swahili, “ushahidi” means “testimony.” I would like to share with you an emerging technology, Ushahidi, an open source platform that can be used by anyone anywhere to share information that can improve disaster response and perhaps someday influence public policy. I think Martin Luther King, Jr.…

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. cautioned in 1964 about a growing disconnect between technological advances and ethical awareness. Photo: Dick DeMarsico/New York World-Telegram, courtesy Library of Congress In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Let us consider his thoughts on science and technology, delivered December 11, 1964 in Oslo when he was awarded…

Pet Dinosaurs?

Dino egg. Awwww…. Just reported in this week’s issue of Science: A report of remains of a four foot dinosaur, ten to fifteen pounds, some 230 million years old. Perhaps not so sweet.

A Sign of Civility?

Just a thought regarding civility in the media. This road sign in Tucson, Arizona was just taken down today (yes, January 13) – thank goodness, after President Obama’s speech last night. Is this a coincidence? Let us hope this could be the final example of using such provocation towards a purpose that seems counter productive…

Image source: NOAA. I am not a climatologist, but these recent data from The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) got my attention.

As reported on a blog for The New York Times, only three elected members of Congress have signed the “Civility Pledge”: I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior. I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them. I will stand against incivility when I see it. Could my…

Haiti One Year Later: Citizens’ Voices

“Our situation deteriorates” (since the elections) November 30, 2010 Today marks one year since the disastrous earthquake in Haiti. As we remember the thousands of lost lives, the injured and now the recovering citizens in the face of a cholera epidemic, I wanted to share their voices. Yesterday, I attended a lecture in Washington, D.C.…