jgoldman

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July 25, 2011
If you didn't catch the message, this blog has moved! You can find The Thoughtful Animal over at the new Scientific American Blogging Network! Please remember to add or change the link to my blog in your blogrolls. The new URL is:http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtful-animal/ If you use an…
July 5, 2011
In March 2010, I was invited to leave behind the relative obscurity of my wordpress blog for the warm community (and increased visibility) of ScienceBlogs. What a tremendous honor and opportunity that was! But there comes a time in the life of every blogger when one must say goodbye to one's…
July 4, 2011
This weekend saw a trip to the boardwalk and beach in Santa Monica. There are often sailboats out on weekends, and I was hoping to get some good shots with my new telephoto zoom lens. Unfortunately, it was very, very hazy. The light was bad, everything was very washed out, and it was hard to get…
July 1, 2011
I'm on Google+. After a couple days of playing with it, I haven't quite identified what it is for, or at least how I'm going to use it differently from twitter or facebook, but so far I am generally impressed - it's easy, intuitive, and fast. It also allows you a level of selective privacy that -…
June 28, 2011
Here are my Research Blogging Editor's Selections for this week. To start us off this week, Neuroskeptic discusses a new study that attempted to use a computer to translate therapists' notes into psychiatric diagnoses. Could it be that certain language used by therapists or their clients could…
June 27, 2011
The LA Zoo wasn't always in as nice a facility as it is now. The "old" LA zoo was built in 1912 and was in use until 1965, when it moved to its current location just a couple miles away in a different area of Griffith Park. It's open to check out, and is adjacent to a picnic area. There are fenced…
June 23, 2011
A version of this post was originally published on my Wordpress blog on March 15, 2010. Click the archives image to see the original post. Most animals, at some point in their day-to-day lives, face the same problem. After they've gone out in search of food, they need to find their way home. But…
June 21, 2011
Here are my Research Blogging Editor's Selections for this week. Social hierarchies are pretty complicated to navigate...so why have them at all? Read about The Status Paradox at Psych Your Mind. ADHD well known, but how might an ADHD diagnosis interact with being an athlete? What should…
June 16, 2011
You've probably had a conversation that goes something like this: Person A: "My dog is sooooo amazing!" You: "I mean, dogs are awesome and all, but what's so amazing about this particular dog?" Person A: "He just understands me. It's like he knows what I'm thinking and what I need." You: "Do you…
June 14, 2011
Here are my Research Blogging Editor's Selections for this week. "Most neuroscientists would subscribe to the sensorimotor hypothesis, according to which brains mainly evaluate sensory input to compute motor output," writes Bjorn Brembs. But is it possible that the sensorimotor hypothesis is just…
June 9, 2011
Looking for a great Father's Day gift? How about the gift of Open Lab? Get it for 20% off if you buy it by Monday, June 13. Click the graphic below to head straight to the Lulu page for the 2010 edition of The Open Laboratory.
June 8, 2011
Hopefully this here blog will get back into the regular rhythm of posting in a few days. Until then, enjoy these photos from Oakland, Portland, and Seattle. These pictures, and the rest in the photo set are my first serious attempt at actual photography. Check it out!
June 7, 2011
Why write again what Bora has already written? The great science blog 3 Quarks Daily has announced the voting for it's third annual prize for the best science writing on blogs. Last year, the judge was Richard Dawkins. This year, once the voting by the public narrows down the choices, the finalists…
June 7, 2011
Here are my Research Blogging Editor's Selections for this week. Snacking on fertilized duck eggs features prominently in the first editor's selection for this week. Food-related disgust and moral disgust: are they related? Find out at this Genealogy of Religion post, Foreign Ideas & Moral…
June 2, 2011
I was traveling last week, and I'm traveling again this week, so the posting is fairly sparse around here at least until after the weekend. In the meantime, enjoy this awesome video. It was shot at Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve. The camera was left on the ground to record lion movements. A curious…
May 31, 2011
Here are my Research Blogging Editor's Selections for this week. You're running down a corridor in a castle that's under attack by terrorists. Or are their neuroscientists, trying to figure out just how it is that people get involved in the narrative "flow" of a video game? Neuroskeptic explains…
May 30, 2011
Is this a difference in kind or in degree? Image: The earth comes into view just below Endeavour, as it undocks from the International Space Station.
May 25, 2011
Earlier this month, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California had its annual two-day open house. For a laboratory complex that has the same acreage as Disneyland, it was just as crowded as the House of Mouse on a busy summer day. What a refreshing sight it was to see so many people -…
May 23, 2011
The always-fantastic blog 3 Quarks Daily has opened up nominations for its third annual prize in science blogging. This year, the contest will be judged by Lisa Randall, and there will be three winners. Posts can be nominated by bloggers or readers, and if any of you wanted to nominate one of my…
May 18, 2011
"Nearly 50 percent of Americans have been mentally ill at some point in their lives, and more than a quarter have suffered from mental illness in the past twelve months. Madness, it seems, is rampant in America." This is how Richard J. McNally opens his new book, What Is Mental Illness? Earlier…
May 17, 2011
Here are my Research Blogging Editor's Selections for this week. The first selection this week comes from Chad Orzel at Uncertain Principles. "But wait," you say. "A psychology post in a physics blog?" Yes! Active Engagement Works: "Improved Learning in a Large-Enrollment Physics Class" Autism…
May 12, 2011
Human infants have one important job during the first years of life, and that is to learn about the world and their culture from their parents and other caregivers. But what is learning? I've previously written that Hungarian developmental psychologists Gergely and Csibra have defined learning as…
May 10, 2011
Here are my Research Blogging Editor's Selections for this week. Are you an inattentive superhero? Bradley Voytek thinks so, and explains why in this fantastic post at Oscillatory Thoughts. Does visual perception for the actions of others alter perception of the passage of time? Mo Costandi at…
May 9, 2011
My latest piece for LAist just went up: Retail therapy: It's the answer for almost any problem. Girlfriend broke up with you? Didn't get that promotion? Buy yourself something pretty. People like to shop, especially for high-status items, when they're feeling down. Decades of research has indicated…
May 4, 2011
Being a great science teacher is not so different from being a great science writer. You have to convince your audience to pay attention to you, rather than to the myriad other potential sources of entertainment and engagement out there. You have to maintain their attention: at any time, a reader…
May 3, 2011
Here are my Research Blogging Editor's Selections for this week. What can the spinal cord teach us about learning and memory? A lot, it seems. Bjorn Brembs has the scoop. How do box jellyfish hunt their prey? With each of their TWENTY-FOUR eyes! Mo Costandi explains at Neurophilosophy. That's it…
April 28, 2011
What is learning? Most psychologists (indeed, most people in general) would agree that learning is the acquisition of new knowledge, or new behaviors, or new skills. Hungarian psychologists Gergely and Csibra offer a deceptively simple description: "Learning involves acquiring new information and…
April 26, 2011
Here are my Research Blogging Editor's Selections for this week. To start with, is there anything that might help with exposure therapy for specific phobias? Michelle from C6-H12-O6 describes a paper that suggests that the administration of cortisol might! While many people claim to not be able to…
April 25, 2011
There's a very well-known experiment in developmental psychology called the "A-not-B task." The experiment goes something like this: you, the experimenter, are seated opposite a human infant. Within the reach of both you and the child are two boxes: box "A," and box "B." You hide a toy in "A," in…
April 23, 2011
First, the first couple of reviews of the 2010 anthology are now out: by Dr. Alistair Dove at Deep Sea News and by Ariel Carpenter at USC News. Check them out. If you have read the book and have a place to publish a review, we'll appreciate it - just send us the link. Second, I am very excited to…