Neurophilosophy

Archives for June, 2008

Encephalon 48

At the Neuroanthropology blog, Daniel rounds up the usual suspects of neuroscience and psychology bloggers for the 48th edition of Encephalon. This time, the carnival includes entries on everything from visual illusions and the neurobiology of language evolution, to the ethnography of Second Life and a new study which purports to show that mirror neurons…

Hubel’s Eye, Vision and Brain online

I’ve just discovered that the book Eye, Vision and Brain, by Nobel Prize winner David Hubel, is available online in its entirety. Hubel is a neurophysiologist who performed some classic experiments with Torsten Wiesel, beginning in the late 1950s, on the development and functional properties of the visual system.

The Smithsonian Institution’s new Flickr photostream contains nearly 900 photographs, including a large set of portraits of scientists and inventors, among them Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Marie Curie and Walther Nernst (above). Nernst was a German physical chemist who in 1888 derived an equation which can be used to calculate an ion’s equilibrium potential,…

Farid al-Atrash

Here’s some superb old footage of the legendary Syrian musician Farid al-Atrash giving a virtuoso performance on the oud.

Starring role in the brain for astrocytes

The 19th century histologists who discovered the neuron also found that the nervous system contains another type of cell. They assumed that the role of these other cells was to provide structural support for neurons, and so named them glia (meaning “glue”). Subsequently, investigators focused their attention on neurons, which they considered to be the…

My post about overturned neuroscientific dogmas has been translated into Polish by Jedrzej Kaminski, the author of a blog called Neurotyk. This isn’t the first time that something I’ve written has been translated into another language. Last year, my post about Phineas Gage was translated into Italian.

Mental retardation: A photo essay

In 1965, Senator Robert Kennedy visited several “institutions for the mentally retarded” in New York State. His descriptions of the conditions he found there, which were published widely in the media, shocked the American public and angered those in charge of the institutions. Later that year, Dr. Burton Blatt visited five such institutions in the…

But do chimps look forward to sex?

Our closest extant relatives have received a fair bit of attention in the past few days, with the publication of two new studies which have been picked up by numerous news outlets. First came the study by Fraser et al, which shows that chimps, like humans, console each other with physical contact following bouts of…

Brain wave music now a reality

This cartoon, found at Paleo-Future, accompanied a short article from the August 28th, 1949 edition of the San Antonio Light: CHICAGO, Aug. 27 – (AP) – Some day composers won’t write music, and musicians won’t play it – yet fans will enjoy it in never-before-heard perfection. The composer or artist will simply project it by…

The homeopathic challenge

The authors of Trick or Treatment? The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine have thrown down the gauntlet to homeopaths: We challenge homeopaths to demonstrate that homeopathy is effective by showing that the Cochrane Collaboration has published a review that is strongly and conclusively positive about high dilution homeopathic remedies for any human condition. Or, we…