Neuron Culture

Archives for December, 2008

E.J. Dionne on the Arne Duncan choice

E.J. Dionne makes an interesting observation about Obama’s pick of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education. Because Duncan gets along with teachers unions but is also seen as a reformer, his selection was interpreted as a politically shrewd, split-the-difference choice. But that is not the whole story. Lurking behind Obama’s talk about getting beyond ideology…

Micheal Nielsen gets swiftly to a problem many scientists (and not a few writers) have with Gladwell’s books — and highlights their redeeming factors as well: All three of Malcolm Gladwell’s books pose a conundrum for the would-be reviewer. The conundrum is this: while the books have many virtues, none of the books make a…

As Obama solidifies his teams on science, education, and environment, attention — and not a little worry from the drug industry — is turning toward his hunt for a new FDA commissioner. The WSJ Health Blog reports that the FDA Commissioner Coalition, which is heavy with groups financed by the drug industry, appears increasingly concerned…

WIll Smith schools Rubik’s Cube

One more reason to like Will Smith. Hat tip to kottke, who links to some other amazing Rubikiean feats.

Scientificblogging, drawing on apparently credible medical expertise, deflates six common med myths. My wife will love this. I’ve cited #4 to her a million times. 6 Medical Myths Debunked For Christmas: 1. Sugar makes kids hyperactive. 2. Suicides increase over the holidays. 3. Poinsettias are toxic. 4. You lose most of your body heat through…

Atop other Obama appointments, this is one I suspect America’s scientists will welcome. From the Washington Post: Report: Holdren to Lead White House Science Policy By Joel Achenbach President-elect Obama will announce this weekend that he has selected physicist John Holdren, who has devoted much of his career to energy and environmental research, as his…

Other deadlines bar elaboration, but I wanted to draw attention to some worthwhile reading: A good Wired Science story explores how “Free Range Research Could Save Chimps, the notion that Oil is Not the Climage Change Culprit — It’s All About Coal, and the Christmas Tree Cluster (of stars). The Sterile Eye posts a video…

Is there such a thing as internet addiction? Mind Hacks says the debate should be over: A study just published in the journal CyberPsychology and Behavior has reviewed all of the available scientific studies on internet addiction and found them to be mostly crap. And not just slightly lacking, really pretty awful. To quote from…

Via Kottke Regret the Error has released their annual roundup of media errors and corrections for 2008. The absurd corrections are always the best: We have been asked to point out that Stuart Kennedy, of Flat E, 38 Don Street, Aberdeen, who appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court on Monday, had 316 pink, frilly garters confiscated…

Zimmer on brain-changing parasites

Good stuff from Zimmer: You go for a swim, and you don’t even notice the tiny worm that burrows into your skin. It slips into a vein and surges along through the blood for a while. Eventually it leaves your blood vessels and starts creeping up your spinal cord. Creep creep creep, it goes, until…