Neuron Culture

Archives for May, 2009

Having lived with fire ants, stepped in fire ants, laid down with fire ants, and been bit just about everywhere by fire ants, the news that parasitic flies turn fire ants them into zombies by eating their brains pleases me immensely. Speaking of pleasure: Vaughn whacks the dopamine = pleasure meme. Sharon Begley says Obama…

What’s wrong — but horribly expected — in this picture? One week the CEO of Lilly attacks the idea of a public health insurance plan because it might reduce consumers’ “ability to choose, in an informed way, from all the available alternatives.” The next week, PhRMA, the trade group this CEO’s company is a part…

Found some Koufax footage. About halfway through this short clip he Ks Mantle, looking, and a bit later, in the dark footage toward the end, is a good strip of him throwing the devastating curve. Note there the emphatic downward motion of his shoulder — which brought down his hand the faster, which (along with…

POWs who weren’t, cont’d

A few weeks ago, when I posted that “Uh-oh: POW benefit claimants exceed recorded POWs, one reader wrote saying the post made her wonder whether I have “a problem with veterans.” As one reader noted, a concern with bogus POWs suggests I have a problem with — well, bogus POWs. Should it not bother us…

A ring-tailed lemur, via Afarensis Here’s one that’ll grab you. Via Discover’s 80beats science news blog: A small, lemur-like creature may have been an early ancestor of monkeys, apes, and humans. A magnificently preserved fossil dating from 47 million years ago reveals an animal that had, among other things, opposable thumbs, similar to humans’, and…

via Ezra Klein comes this bottom-line chart from the Center for Economic and Policy Research: That orange line headed heaven-ward? That’s our deficit. All those other lines dipping down? That’s our deficit if we had the same health care spending per person as France, Germany, Canada, and the UK (all countries, incidentally, with higher life…

Koufax, bringing the four-seamer. God save the guy at the plate. I always look forward to the Illusion of the Year contest, but this year brings a special treat: a new explanation of how the curveball baffles batters. Just a few days ago, during BP, my friend Bill Perreault threw me one of those really…

Most of us recognize the power of the urge to conform , but you don’t often see it evoked and displayed so starkly as in this old Candid Camera segment. The CC crew seeds an elevator with several crew members who do odd things like face the rear of the elevator car. See how long the…

Ezra Klein thinks the stars — and the forces — are so far lining up much more promisingly than in 1994: The opponents of health reform are, at this juncture, entirely isolated. Industry is adopting an attitude of relentless positivity. Republicans are grudgingly attempting to appear cooperative. The only straight opposition is coming, as Maddow…

I should just have a permanent pointer from here to Effect Measure. But as I’ve not figured out how to do that, here’s some more sensible thinking from Revere: No one on the public health side has over reacted. When an outbreak or pandemic is unfolding, you get only one chance. The window is a…