Peter Watts: No Brainer.
For decades now, I have been haunted by the grainy, black-and-white x-ray of a human skull. It is alive but empty, with a cavernous fluid-filled space where the brain should be. A thin layer of brain tissue lines that cavity like an amniotic sac. The image hails from a 1980 review article[PDF] in Science: Roger Lewin, the author, reports that the patient in question had “virtually no brain”. But that’s not what scared me; hydrocephalus is nothing new, and it takes more to creep out this ex-biologist than a picture of Ventricles Gone Wild. What scared me was the fact that this virtually brain-free patient had an IQ of 126.[more inside]
The Heslington Brain is a well-preserved 2600 year old brain that was found in an Iron Age excavation site in York in 2008. Its preservation was likely due to the low-oxygen environment of the mud in which it was found. The fact that the man was decapitated and the body disposed of elsewhere protected the brain from the ravages of gut bacteria as well. [more inside]
Endless Jingling [via mefi projects] cortex made this. how do we stop him. why would he do this. mods please delete cortex
I Knew You Were Tribbles (When You Dropped In). Metafilter's own tribbladour Cortex serenades you with his ST:TOS-inspired version of Taylor Swift's tribblesome pop song.
Sleep deprivation making you feel jumpy? It's not in your head. Human cortical excitability increases with time awake. [Abstract and link to full paper.]
There's a new Marvel superhero RPG, but the original Marvel Superheroes from 1984 still has a loyal following. Classic Marvel Forever has everything about the original game; its designer reveals its secret origins. [more inside]
RetCon Artists: Improving the Future by Improving the Past... A few days ago, MeFi's Own waxpancake hosted a special session at SXSWInteractive where he invited web-savvy people to make pitches for The Worst Website Ever II (it was done once before), with concepts that are bad, worse than bad, so bad they're good, evil, just plain wrong or not even wrong. One of the presenters (some guy from a website) came up with "RetCon Artists: Improving the Future by Improving the Past" (video) (PDF), providing a Social Solution to a Seinfeldian (or actually Costanzan) Problem. He went on to build a website that expanded the concept into useful services "whether you're polishing your personal brand or managing a multinational corporate image". Since this is the only one of the ideas that has ended up on the Web since the competition, it is obviously the one that won. Congratulations, Josh. [via mefi projects]
This is a subject of but small importance; and I know not whether it will interest any readers, but it has interested me.
"This is a subject of but small importance; and I know not whether it will interest any readers, but it has interested me."-C. D. Quick... what was Darwin's most popular book? If you answered The Origin of Species, you were wrong. It was his last book, published the year before he died, The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms With Observation of Their Habits (illustrations [first presented 1 Nov. 1837, as noted in the record of the Royal Geological Society]). Darwin noted when he was beginning his career that worms churned up soil, causing heavier objects to sink slowly in the soil. He noted that all soil had passed through the alimentary duct of worms. It started off a fashion of cultivating worms by gardeners that continues to the present day. -We recently learned that we owe an element of our unique cerebral cortex, or pallium to our marine worm ancestors. (In amphibians, the cerebrum includes archipallium, paleopallium and some of the basal nuclei. Reptiles first developed a neopallium, which continued to develop in the brains of more recent species to become the neocortex of mammals." [&, ultimately, you and you and we]) [more inside]
Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works. "There is evidence that a big part of AA’s effectiveness may have nothing to do with the actual (12) steps. It may derive from something more fundamental: the power of the group. The importance of this is reflected by the fact that the more deeply AA members commit to the group, rather than just the program, the better they fare." [more inside]
You know that guy cortex? He has lots of ideas. (F'rexample, the WTF LOL flier has a little life of its own now.)
Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex. A new study of the connections in the brain has identified the brain's central hub.
The Aural Times - We Sing the News So You Don't Have To [from the talented mind of Josh Millard, a.k.a. cortex.]
Cool high-school science experiment: Mapping The Homunculus. The 15 year old in me wonders why nipples and other naughty bits aren't mentioned, though. Bet they'd be really big!!!