Neurophilosophy

Archives for March, 2008

40-tonne mechanical elephant

I took this photo about two years ago, when the French mechanical marionette street theatre company Royal de Luxe came to London. It’s one of several pics from my photostream that have been favorited by other Flickr users.

Help an impoverished student

That impoverished student would be me, and I feel like I’m begging, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m studying part-time for my M.Sc., and working three days a week to support my family and pay the mortgage, bills and my tuition fees. (Actually, my meagre income has been further reduced these past few…

The search engine optimization rap

This track, called Design Coding by The Poetic Prophet, has just been uploaded on YouTube. I thought it was hilarious the first time I saw it, and it’s still very amusing on the fourth viewing. I’m not an expert on search engine optimization, but the advice provided here is, as far as I know, accurate.

Tools of the brain trade, past & present

Jennifer Ouellette reports from a month-long program on the anatomy, development and evolution of the brain, at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, with a fantastic post called Tools of the brain trade. Inspired by a talk given by Winifred Denk, about reconstructing brain circuitry using serial electron microscopy, Jennifer’s post covers the discovery by…

Rodents can learn to use tools

Traditionally, the use of tools was believed to be restricted to humans and several other primate species, and, like language, was argued to be a major driving force behind the evolution of the human brain. However, this view is now being challenged. For example, in recent years it has become clear that birds have sophisticated…

Imaging language evolution

A comparative neuroimaging study performed by researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Oxford, provides clues to how human language evolved. In the past, it was believed that the increase in brain size during human evolution occured mainly to accomodate our complex linguistic abilities. But the findings…

It’s a girl!

Isis was born at 12:12pm yesterday, weighing in at a very healthy 8lb 5oz. Mummy is exhausted after her second Caesarian section, but both are otherwise well, and will be coming home in a couple of days. Needless to say, I’m going to be very busy over the next few days, and I’m unlikely to…

19th century papier mache model brain

Image: Phisick Antique Medical Collection This highly detailed papier mache model of the human brain, which can be pulled apart to reveal labelled and numbered structures within, was created by the French physician Louis Thomas Jerome Auzoux (1797-1880). In the early 19th century, human cadavers for the study of anatomy were in short supply. The…

Brain surgery with a Bosch electric drill

The Sunday Times has an incredible story about Henry Marsh, a consultant neurosurgeon at St. George’s Hospital in South London, who travels to a hospital in Kiev twice a year in his spare time to perform free operations using only the most rudimentary instruments: The young man lies back on the hospital trolley and waits…

The Best of Neurophilosophy

For the benefit of new readers, I’ve selected what I think are the best posts from this blog.