Neuron Culture

Archives for March, 2009

I noted earlier that Harold Varmus, Obama’s key science advisor, was on the Daily Show, but after viewing again the clip of his short appearance I thought it should get its own little show here. Varmus is everything you’d want as a public face to science — immensely accomplished but amiable and everyday as could…

Notables from my morning feedscan: The vision folks at Barrow study “Where’s Waldo?” to figure out search strategies. A virtual-reality helmet claims to to feed all five senses. Interesting if true. Winner best-and-worsrt headline writing in a press release: Prawnography shows captive bred prawns lack lust And in second place, running, um, close behind: Scatological…

I’m having difficulty even reading, much less posting about, the river of stories about pharma and device industries, FDA regs, conflicts of interest, and so on. But I’ll take a stab here at spotlighting the main events and making some sense of where this is headed. For I don’t think it’s just coincidence that brings…

Sort of. Economist Edward Glasser, via Andrew Sullivan, makes it clear why they call static old industries “dinosaurs.” This seems dead-on to me: Across cities, there is a strong connection between an abundance of small firms and local growth. The last thing that the government should be doing is propping up big declining firms. Real…

Carl explains this: After death, brains that do not simply disappear sometimes get smaller. In this particular fish, Sibyrhynchus denisoni the brain must have gotten a lot smaller. Check out this image, in which the braincase is in red, and the brain is in yellow. (The scale bar is 5 millimeters.) The subject is a…

Below, the “jugum penis,” designed to prevent “nocturnal lincontinence” (aka masturbation). One of many wonders in a new London Science Museum online exhibit of historical medical objects called “Brought to Life,” as featured in this New Scientist photo essay. Don’t try these at home.

The Nieman Journalism Lab has a nice round-up of some beautifully informative and often luscious work that “visualizes” news — that is, turns news trends (and the social concerns and changes they document) into visual representations of data, like changing maps, splats of paint, or — a favorite — a simple needle meter. For example:…

Over at Healthcare ZDNet, a site new to me, Dana Blankenhorn says The Obama strategy for achieving health reform is now clear. Get the money first. This changes the terms of the debate, from what will it cost to how do we do things more efficiently? He’s got a point, but it seems to me…

Matthew Nisbet says maybe, but not by much. I n the U.S., there is often the false assumption that Europeans are somehow more engaged and supportive of science than Americans. Yet, as I discuss in several studies and as I have written about in articles, instead of science literacy, the same generalizable interaction between values,…

Ezra Klein gives the short whodat on Kathleen Sebelius, the Kansas governor who will be Obama’s health and human services secretary. Sebelius’s tenure as insurance commissioner in Kansas seems to have been both successful and fairly quiet: She is not defined by the battles and struggles of that period. She was not at the center…