Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

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Brenden Maher at Nature emailed me this morning to clue me in on an anonymous survey that their editors are doing on the topic of cognitive enhancers (a spawn of the commentary piece on the same subject a few weeks back.) If you’d like to take the survey, check it out here.

The following is a guest post by Joshua Hartshorne at the Cognition and Language Lab. The first scientific paper I wrote states, in the second paragraph, that “language depends on two mental capacities with distinct neurocognitive underpinnings”: vocabulary and grammar. To understand cats are mammals, all you need to know are the definitions of CATS,…

I’m already so excited to read and review this! Irene Pepperberg’s memoir, tentatively titled “Alex and Me,” covers her 30 years with the parrot that could count to six, identify colors and even express frustration with repetitive scientific trials. It will be released this fall by Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins. In a statement Thursday,…

Cochlear implants are true cyborg technology. They stimulate the auditory nerve of deaf individuals to allow them to interact with the sounds of the world again–although those new sounds are at first alien and foreign. A few months back I posted here about Michael Chorost, a science writer and recipient of a cochlear implant, who…

Q-Tips Ravage Another Young Life

People, I need to say this. Its never a good idea to stick things–including Q-tips–in your ears. Despite the illusion of ‘cleaning’ your ear canal, often Q-tips just shove the ear wax further into the canal, or worse, can cause permanent damage by rupturing an eardrum. However, I had no idea that occasionally the cotton…

GenePaint Is My Latest Obsession

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some magical institution which mapped out the developmental expression of mouse genes, and then made it freely available on the internet? And wouldn’t it be cool if all that data was compiled in an easily-searchable database that was being constantly updated with new genes and new experimental data?…

My time here at Retrospectacle has been glorious, magnificent, awesome! However, I have decided to end things here and start a brand-spankin’-new blog (yes, here at ScienceBlogs) with Steve Higgins from Omnibrain as a co-blogger. I’m in my final grad year and felt that having a coblogger might relieve some of my time issues, as…

At Cracked.com I came across a fantasticly irreverent article about the five most horrifying insects in nature, including the bullet ant, the Japanese giant hornet, and of course, the botfly. There are dozens of varieties of Bot Fly, they’re each highly adapted to target a specific animal, they have delightfully descriptive names like Horse Stomach…

Be an Optimist, Do Some Science

Every now and then I do a Google News Search for topics I’m interested in to get good blog fodder (‘neuroscience’ and ‘parrots’ are of course perennial favorites). This time one of those searches popped up an interesting news piece in The Hindu newspaper which really resonated with me, tagged with a quote by David…

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…