Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Aaron Rowe

The Dramatic Effects of PCP

I have heard a lot of stories about the aggressive behavior of people on angel dust, but this video is the first time that I have seen just how dramatic it can be. The guy is completely naked and smashes straight through a fence then tries to climb through the hole in order to evade…

The Dark History of Truth Serum

As our civil liberties are eroded under the guise a war on terror and men without rights are kept in secret prisons and sent to foreign jails for abuse, I worry that truth serums will once again become a staple of law enforcement and intelligence. They do not allow interrogators to extract reliable information, but…

According to the Indianapolis News a man and his son were awakened by their pet bird as their home caught fire. Their Amazon parrot, Peanut, began making a smoke detector noise while a real smoke detector was going off. The father credits his avian friend with making enough noise to alert him. I tend to…

Video of British Soldiers on LSD

This video shows British Soldiers under the effects of LSD during a military exercise. I absolutely love the wry narration. Thank you to Boosterz for mentioning the video in a comment thread on the post How Much LSD Does it Take to Kill an Elephant? While looking for this footage on YouTube, I was surprised…

In comparison to other science shows, Brainiac is quite effective at appealing to the visceral compulsion to play with fire. In this case, they pitted scorching hot thermite against molten metal. What could be better than a battle between two of the most enjoyable science demonstration tools of all time? Thermite is a mixture of…

Five Ways Your Mind Plays Tricks on You

The October issue of Popular Science has several excellent articles about the mind. My favorite is a collection of five explanations of unusual or creepy sensations that are caused by neurological glitches. Reporter Veronique Greenwood included short summaries of academic research about each of the mental malfunctions. I was pleased to see that she included…

Experiences with a Cochlear Implant

Since losing his hearing, Michael Chorost has volunteered himself as a guinea-pig for a number of experiments with the software that controls his cochlear implant. He has written extensively about those experiences. This week, I stumbled upon one of his stories in The Best American Science Writing 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed it. My Bionic Quest…

Are Your Drugs Right-Handed?

In recent years, pharmacutical companies have re-released several of their blockbuster drugs with a new twist. By carefully controlling the spatial arrangement of each atom in the active ingredient, chemists can increase the effectiveness of medications and sometimes prevent unwanted or horrible side effects. Modafinil (provigil) is a treatment for narcolepsy. It also allows healthy…

This past Saturday, dozens of computer programmers descended upon a mansion in Cupertino, California to enjoy massive troughs of Indian food, camaraderie, and 12 hours of working on a diverse array of projects alongside one another. I visited the event, called SuperHappyDevHouse 20, as an observer. It made me wonder: What if all scientists worked…