The Loom

Archives for July, 2005

An iPod in Your Head

I’ve got an article in today’s New York Times about one of my perennial fascinations—musical hallucinations. One of the reasons that I find this condition so interesting is that it gives us a look under the neurological hood. Our brains do not simply take in objective impressions of the world. They are continually coming up…

Tangling the Tree

I’ve been fascinated by this picture since I first saw it over the weekend. It’s a hint of how we may be visualizing life in years to come. As Darwin was trying to figure out how new species could evolve from old species, he began to think of evolution as a tree. He scribbled some…

Return of Mad Cow Memories

How long can an idea stay tantalizing? Back in 2003, I blogged about an experiment that suggested, incredibly enough, that our long-term memories are encoded by prions— the misfolded proteins that are generally accepted to be the cause of mad cow disease. The evidence came from studies of a protein (known as CPEB) that plays…

It Never Hurts to Ask

Science Magazine is celebrating its 125th anniversary with 125 big questions that scientists will face in the next 25 years. You can read them all for free here. For the 25 biggest questions, the editors commissioned short essays. I addressed the minor matter of how and where life began. Fortunately, I get to ask the…