Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Archives for January, 2008

Exotic bird smuggling is a pet issue of mine, not only since it decimates wild populations of parrots, but because it creates a demand for cheaper black market birds without a proper ‘history of origins.’ While it is up to the consumer (potential bird companion) to be diligent in determining where their future friend came…

The plague was unbelievably deadly and disastrous in Europe during the 1300-1700s, but it is somewhat more surprising that the plague still claims a number of lives across the modern world. Even more surprising is that the number of cases has been slightly rising over the past few decades. In the midst of my ‘Plague…

The Foreign Laws of God and Man

When I was a senior in high school in South Carolina, I had a particularly smart and talented English teacher–the same my junior and senior years. I remember that the summer before my senior year, this teacher required all of us to memorize 50 lines of poetry over the summer, to be recited on the…

‘Sharp Brains’ Does Grand Rounds

In my grief over the result of the Michigan primary, I almost forgot to post a link to the current edition of the medical-blogging carnival ‘Grand Rounds’ which is over at Sharp Brains now. The appropriate theme is ‘Briefing the Next US President,’ with some choice blogposts included that would provide a nice education to…

The Neuroscience of Badgers

Ok, I lied. There is no neuroscience of badgers. I just wanted to post this awesome video from an animal rescue facility in England, who reared an abandoned otter cub with a group of motherless baby badgers for companionship. Once the otter and badgers were grown, they were seperated so they could learn species-specific behaviors…

There’s a new way to gauge your importance on the ‘Net, a little app in beta stage called QDOS. The forumula used to compile your QDOS number (which made me think of Erdos number) is a propriatary blend of Myspace, Facebook, activity, searches, popularity, blogging, online buying, chatting, and more. “We’re trying to find a…

Are you too poor to afford an exotic beach vacation in the dead of this frigid winter? Now, with the “Noisy Instrument” (pictured below) you can bring the sounds of the ocean to your sad, depressed little ear canals while simultaneously looking like your hearing aid ran amok. Well, actually you can’t, because it doesn’t…

PZ Myers, despite being at a large Midwestern state school, has decided to pick on my current academic home, the University of Michigan. Why, you ask? Well, yes, a few students are doing something rather silly. Engineering senior Israel Vicars didn’t think it was a coincidence when he walked by a drunken girl who had…

Hydrocephalus With Reader Case Study

Hydrocephalus, sometimes called “water on the brain,” is a condition where cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) accumulates in the ventricles of the brain. This causes the expansion of the ventricles which displaces the brain, sometimes causing brain damage due to the intracranial pressure. The condition happens when a blockage occurs in the normal drainage of CSF into…

Modern Day Plague Death in America

Its sad serendipity that I found out that an Arizona-based biologist working for the National Park Service, named Eric York, likely died of plague a few months ago. Fatalities due to modern-day plague (caused by the bacteria Y. pestis) are extremely rare, especially in America. I’m not even sure when the last death from plague…