Neurontic

Archives for April, 2006

I know I’m dating myself by referencing an SNL bit circa 1986, but I couldn’t resist. Those of you who’ve read Microscopic Mind Control know that toxoplasma, the bacteria people pick up from house cats, is purported to make women more “outgoing and warmhearted.” Well, according to New York State University Psychologist Gordon Gallup, semen…

The science of dreaming

Most people don’t know that Sigmund Freud was a frustrated neurologist. Before he abandoned himself to abstraction, the father of psychoanalysis was a practicing physician, intent on developing “a neural model of behavior.” (Kandel Interview) But Freud found neuroscience too blunt a tool, in the early twentieth century, to serve his purposes. If brain science…

Drink to your health?

We’ve all noted the fickleness of the nutritional standards. One week we’re told that eating eggs is tantamount to courting death; the next week, they’re deemed safe in moderation. One second eating pasta is called the Mediterranean Diet; the next second, enjoying a spaghetti dinner is the equivalent of mainlining lard. First coffee is good…

I have spent most of my life losing keys, driver’s licenses, cigarette lighters–even the occasional car. I couldn’t tell you which direction is west to save my life. My math skills are abysmal. I’m clumsy, forgetful, and utterly useless when it comes to names. I can, however, tell you that Elizabeth Barrett Browning was anorexic…

Phantom limbs are not a modern phenomenon. There are records of people “haunted” by amputated appendages dating all the way back to the sixteenth century. Consequently, we have more than 500 years worth of theories about what causes phantom limbs–some quite ingenious. After losing his right arm in the Napoleonic Wars, British naval hero Lord…

Android Science

I’m sure someone has come up with an elaborate theory to explain why Blade Runner had such a profound impact on GenXers, but I’ve yet to read it. All I know is that ever since I watched Daryl Hannah doing somersaults in that black leotard, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of androids. The slow…