Neuron Culture

Archives for December, 2009

Winning ugly, but winning

The last time a president won with 60 percent of the vote, for instance, was when Lyndon Johnson trounced Barry Goldwater in 1964. Health-care reform passed the House with only 50.5 percent of the body voting for it. And the senators making up this morning’s 60 votes actually represent closer to 65 percent of the…

Is this where Gladwell wanders astray?

Amid the various recent whacks at considerations of Gladwell lately, I find this one, by Razib Khan, particularly helpful in defining what sometimes goes amiss with Gladwell — and the danger that waits every science writer: [Gladwell's problem is that] out of the possible set of ideas and models, only a subset can be turned…

via Wall Street Journal Health Blog: For a while now, the FDA and other regulators have been looking at safety risks associated with a few drugs patients sometimes take before getting MRI scans. While it’s common for new risks to crop up with established drugs, the Times of London this weekend highlighted an interesting twist…

Rebooting science journalism, redux

My post of a few days ago on rebooting science journalism stirred more (and more interesting) discussion than I anticipated. After writing a very long response, I decided to just write a short response in the comments section. But once I’d done that, I thought, Well, maybe this should just be its own post. So…

Note: The version below is altered from the original, which was near-gibberish in a few spots. Why? Because I mistakenly posted a pre-edit version that contained the raw ‘transcription’ from voice-recognition software I’ve been trying out. (I suppose it could have been a lot worse.) Here, more or less as I meant it to appear:…

Update: Show’s done. You can listen to the 8-minute segment via Windows Media or MP3/iTunes. I’ll be on New Hampshire Public Radio’s Word Of Mouth” noon-hour show tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec 22, talking with host Virginia Prescott about “Orchid Children,” my recent Atlantic article about the genetic underpinnings of steady and mercurial ltemperaments. My segment will…

Like a compulsive crack user desperately sucking on a broken pipe, we can’t get enough of addiction. via slate.com Great to see Bell in Slate, and as usual he brings some good hard facts — along with finely wrought opinion and wit. — to an area that can get mushy quick. Posted via web from…

Until the digital age, content was scarce. It wasn’t scarce because people didn’t create it; it was scarce because it required an investment to distribute it. That’s no longer true. Anybody with an Internet connection can make anything they write (or snap or video or sing) available to anybody else with an Internet connection. For just…

I wanted to rig up an electrified fence around the falsehood to keep the producers from sneaking back to it via blogs.discovermagazine.com Carl Zimmer on just how damned bad much science TV is. I’ve not advised programs, as Carl has, but the times I’ve seen subjects I’d written about covered on TV — DBS for…

Stress is an old, old companion

 A nice short piece on “The Prehistory of Stress” by Matt Ford at Ars Technica (newly designed site worth checking out). I have heard people say, on multiple occasions, that they think stress is a modern, Western phenomenon. While the psychological phenomenon known as stress has only had a formal name for just over 80…