Mixing Memory

Archives for January, 2007

If you’re a New Scientist reader, you may have come across this article titled “Beauty is in the eye of your friends.” The brief article (which I found via 3 Quarks Daily) describes research purporting to show that whether (heterosexual) women find a man attractive depends, in part, on whether other women find him attractive,…

People Prefer Curves

Last year, I wrote two really long, boring posts about V.S. Ramachandran’s ten principles of art. Those principles, mostly drawn from research on vision, included things like peak shift, symmetry, and contrast. It turns out Ramachandran may have missed a much simpler principle: people dig curves. At least, they prefer them to sharp angles. Why…

Week of Science Challenge

Encephalon 14

Welcome, everyone, to the 14th installment of the brain blogging carnival Encephalon. If you’re in the United States, I hope you’ve got today off, and that you’ve at least taken a moment to think about the contribution that Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. made to our society. If you’re not in the United States, you’re…

Originally posted on the old blog on 3/12/2006 My contribution to Darwin Day was pretty weak for a staunch supporter of science. Sure, I think the name is a bad idea, and want to rename it “Evolution Day,” or at least something other than Darwin Day (I thought about maybe suggesting “Variation Appreciation Day,” or…

I meant to post this a long time ago, but forgot about it. Here’s the story of a cognitive neuroscientist who, using what he’s learned about cognition in grad school, won $500,000 on the show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” From the article: The first technique I drew upon was priming. The priming of…

Fun With Pie Charts

Via Sandra over at OmniBrain, I learned about We Have Pie Charts, where just about everything you would never describe with a pie chart is described with a pie chart. Here are two of my favorites: A Day In the Life of Goldfish: God’s Recipe:

The Book of Nature

Here’s an article from Physics Web (via 3 Quarks Daily) that seems appropriate, in the context of the last two posts. Here’s the conclusion of the article: But the image of the book of nature can haunt us today. One reason is that it implies the existence of an ultimate coherent truth – a complete…

What Is Scientism?

Comments on the last post make it clear that my use of the label “scientism” is far from clear. It does not mean a rejection of science, or its methods (though I do have to roll my eyes when someone talks of the scientific method), within their sphere. It’s not, for example, a rejection of…

Where Rampant Scientism Takes You

When science replaces religion, it becomes more and more like religion, and in the minds of its worshipers, can justify the same sorts of inhumanities. Witness Richard Dawkins, todays leading worshiper of science, calling for deposed dictators to be used as guinea pigs, rather than executed (via John Hawks). He writes: But perhaps the most…