Neurophilosophy

Archives for October, 2007

Those little slices of death

The New York Times science section has a special issue devoted to sleep. The feature contains about 10 articles about recent findings in sleep research, including one by Carl Zimmer on how studies carried out on birds are informing us about the functions of sleep. The title of the post is from a quote that…

Seeing with sound: The boy who echolocates

Here’s the first 10 minutes of a documentary called Extraordinary People: The Boy Who Sees Without Eyes. It’s about Ben Underwood, a blind teenager from Sacramento who uses echolocation.  At the age of 2, Underwood was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that that affects about one in 5 million children. One year…

BMC Biology Image Library

BioMed Central has just launched an online collection of biological images, film clips and animations. The Biology Image Library is intended for educational and research purposes, and contains more than 11,000 images covering subjects which include neuroscience, developmental biology, and microbiology. Although BioMed Central is an open access publisher, the Biology Image Library is only…

Encephalon 34

The 34th edition of the neuroscience and psychology blogging carnival Encephalon is now online at Distributed Neuron.

Weekend photoblogging

This photograph of a blue passion flower (Passiflora caerulea) was taken in our little garden about 2 months ago.

Microsoft wants to read your mind

Researchers from the Microsoft Corporation recently filed an application for a patent for a brain-computer interface that can “classify brain states”. They say that the device is needed to obtain accurate feedback about the effectiveness of computer-user interfaces, because the conventional way of  getting this information – by interview – is often unreliable. To me…

Down memory lane

The November issue of National Geographic has a cover story about memory, called Remember This. The author of the article is a journalist called Joshua Foer, who won the 2006 USA Memory Championships after entering the competition to research a book. Foer discusses a number of amnesic patients, including the famous H.M., on whom much…

Does Craig Venter deserve a Nobel Prize?

And is James Watson in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease? In this review of Craig Venter’s autobiography A Life Decoded and James Watson’s Avoid Boring People, Financial Times science editor Clive Cookson says that Venter’s Nobel Prize prize is overdue, perhaps because of “the outdated bad-boy image he retains among some sections of the…

Sticky dopamine

A mussel clinging to a sheet of teflon. (Image credit: Haeshin Lee/ Phillip Messersmith) The marine mollusc Mytilus edulis inhabits ecological niches in the intertidal zone, which is exposed to air during low tide and submerged in water during high tide. Being so turbulent, these niches are inhospitable to many forms of life; the organisms…

The ethics of memory erasure

In Time magazine, orthopaedic surgeon Scott Haig relates his practical experience of an ethical dilemma. While performing a biopsy, Haig’s patient inadvertently finds out her prognosis of cancer. In the operating room is an anaesthesiologist who has a dose of propofol (“milk of amnesia”) at the ready. If you were the anaesthesiologist, would you administer…