Neuron Culture

Archives for February, 2007

Why Good Sex is No Rat Race

I’m wondering why I don’t write about sex more often, now that I’ve done it and found it so pleasing. Scientific American just published online a piece I wrote — brief but gratifying, I pray — about pacing in rat sex: “Good Sex is Not a Rat Race.” The study in question seems to contradict…

Maybe it sounded good at the editorial meeting: Have Christopher Hitchens, supposedly funny, clearly chauvinistic, write about Why Women Aren’t Funny. And so we gots, in a recent issue of Vanity Fair, Hitchens — who seems ever more a boorish drunk rather than a quick-witted friend of the vine; an intellectual bully who refuses to…

At this week’s Mind Matters (the expert-written blog seminar I edit for sciam.com), Julie A. Markham of the University of Ililnois and Martha J. Farah of the University of Pennsylvania ponder how stimulating environments (read: better digs) and (of all things) fatherhood can build brains and make you smarter, at least if you’re a marmoset.…

Kuroda Seiki, “A Nap,” 1894. from Kuroda Memorial Hall online I love midday naps, and before I had kids and all time evaporated, I used to take 2 or 3 a week: Kick back the recliner, shut ‘em for 20-30 minutes, and wake up a new man. Worked for Churchill during the war, so why…

I had half-written a post drawing attention to a fascinating new paper on consciousness … when I discovered that Jonah Lehrer had beat me to it. I won’t try to improve on his offering about this truly clever and fascinating paper, which covers some Oliver Sacks-like ground gracefully Check it out at: The Frontal Cortex…

The Decider The Decisive I finally got a chance to write about Patrick O’Brian’s splendid Aubrey-Maturin novels. Captain Jack Aubrey, the hero of those Dickensically rich novels, provides a model of decision-making relevant to the paper reviewed in this week’s Mind Matters,, the weekly blog seminar on mind and brain I edit at sciam.com. This…

Now that’s one superanimated cell

Now we know what Harvard’s doing with all that money. Here’s an amazing look at the state of the art in biological illustration and animation: a sort of cell’s inner life, with extremely high production values. Takes a few seconds to load on broadband; don’t think I’d try it with dial-up. But this is some…

Tallying the Cost of War

Mind Matters, the “blog seminar” I edit at sciam.com, this week hosts a debate (which readers can join) about a) how best to estimate the prevalence of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) in Vietnam veterans and b) ultimately, how to calculate the cost-benefit ratio of war. Three researchers (Harvard psychologist Richard J. McNally, UC San Francisoc…

Why Good Sex is No Rat Race

I’m wondering why I don’t write about sex more often, now that I’ve done it and found it so pleasing. Scientific American just published online a piece I wrote — brief but gratifying, I pray — about pacing in rat sex: “Good Sex is Not a Rat Race.” The study in question seems to contradict…