Pure Pedantry

Archives for March, 2007

This is interesting. Researchers at Columbia have established that restricting neurogenesis in the hippocampus improves working memory: New research from Columbia University Medical Center may explain why people who are able to easily and accurately recall historical dates or long-ago events, may have a harder time with word recall or remembering the day’s current events.…

Panda Porn

This is not just videos of hairy, fat people having sex. This is actual panda porn we are talking about: Chuang Chuang the panda has been spending his days in front of a big-screen television watching panda porn. Authorities at the Chiang Mai Zoo in northern Thailand hope the images will encourage him to mate…

A neural system for mindlessness

If you are like me, you spend a lot of time not thinking about anything in particular. You read a couple papers, get a little work done, and then you stare off into space for a period of pleasant mindlessness. From a neuroscientist’s perspective, we spend a lot of time determining how we react to…

This is absolutely ingenious: Patients rely on their physicians to recognize signs of trouble, yet for common heart murmurs, that ability is only fair at best. Fortunately, the solution is simple: listening repeatedly. In fact, intensive repetition — listening at least 400 times to each heart sound — significantly improved the stethoscope abilities of doctors,…

On Vacation

We’re on vacation, so no posts until the 25th of March. Check back then.

I love the comedian Eddie Izzard. This is primarily because he is one of the few I have ever seen that even tries to make relatively intellectual jokes about history and science. Anyway, enjoy this video about physics and Pavlov’s other animals.

David Ignatius has a great column about the underestimated power of American education. American-style education is being rapidly exported all over the world, and foreign students are lining up to attend American universities at both a graduate and undergraduate level. In some cases, these students stay. In some cases, they return, bringing the values they…

Cartoons as political weapons

David Wallis, writing in SFGate, has a very interesting article about politics and political cartoons. I like all the historical background, although I don’t entirely buy the one-sidedness of the censorship he seems to suggest: Adolf Hitler understood the power of cartoons. They made him crazy … crazier. Long before World War II, David Low…

Jeffrey Rosen has an excellent piece in the NYTimes magazine about the increasing use of neurological arguments in the courts: One important question raised by the Roper case was the question of where to draw the line in considering neuroscience evidence as a legal mitigation or excuse. Should courts be in the business of deciding…

The Bistro Styx by Rita Dove She was thinner, with a mannered gauntness as she paused just inside the double glass doors to survey the room, silvery cape billowing dramatically behind her. What’s this, I thought, lifting a hand until she nodded and started across the parquet; that’s when I saw she was dressed all…