Rise of the Neuronovel.
Marco Roth at N+1 argues that the recent interest of contemporary novels (Motherless Brooklyn
, Atmospheric Disturbances
) in the disordered wetware of their characters represents a defeat for fiction. "...the new genre of the neuronovel, which looks on the face of it to expand the writ of literature, appears as another sign of the novel’s diminishing purview." Jonah Lehrer responds to Roth and Roth responds back.
posted by escabeche
on Jan 2, 2011 -
The Neuroscience of McGriddles:
Evolutionary biology offers hypotheses about why we enjoy eating. "When you eat at McDonald's, a big part of the pleasure comes from the fact that the food is sustenance, fuel, energy. Even mediocre food is a little rewarding."
posted by silby
on Jul 23, 2009 -
New research from evolutionary scientist Bruce Lahn suggests that humans and the now extinct
Neanderthal species mixed, and humans snatched up a valuable brain gene in the process. (The gene, MCPH1, and Lahn, discussed last year
on MeFi) This comes on the tails of yet another new study providing morphological evidence
that there was nontrivial interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals in Eurasia, despite the fact that Neanderthals may have been genetically closer to chimps
than humans. Contrary to popular imagination, though, the Neanderthal species had bigger brains and sophisticated intellects
, at least roughly on par with that of human beings. The gene regulates brain size during development, but its exact utility to humans is still unknown (and controversial
). The origin of this gene and the question of Neanderthal mixing will soon be answered more definitively by the, just launched, 2 year project to map the Neanderthal genome
, headed by Svante Pääbo (profiled in recent Smithsonian
articles). Pääbo calls
Lahn’s study "the most compelling case to date for a genetic contribution of Neandertals to modern humans."
posted by Jason Malloy
on Nov 8, 2006 -
Genes Reveal Recent Human Brain Evolution.
Two important new papers
in the journal Science
) from the evolutionary geneticist and rising star, Bruce T. Lahn (see this
recent profile from The Scientist
), are potentially the tips of some very large icebergs. The papers document how two genes related to brain properties that underwent strong selection during the course of hominid evolution, have continued
undergoing strong selection since the emergence of anatomically modern man. The papers wonderfully illustrate how biological evolution is an ongoing process
as well as the artificial distinction
between “micro” and “macro” evolution, and promise to be controversial for two reasons: First, the brain genes underwent the strongest selection during two periods
of cultural and technological efflorescence (roughly 37,000 and 5,800 years ago). Second, the genes are distributed very differently in modern human population groups, existing at very high frequencies in some groups and being very rare in others, ensuring that the modern function of these genes will be a source of more research and much impassioned debate. More observations
from anthropologist John Hawks.
posted by Jason Malloy
on Sep 8, 2005 -
... protects your mind by actively jamming and/or scrambling psychotronic mind-control signals and removing harmful engrammic pollutants from your brain. It also has the ability to scan for and decipher into English specific signals so you can see exactly Who wants to control you and what They are trying to make you think.
posted by five fresh fish
on Jul 6, 2004 -
2003 Reith Lectures.
Neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, talks about a number of fascinating neurological disorders and the insights they provide into mental functioning.
posted by srboisvert
on May 24, 2003 -
How male or female is your brain?
Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen argues
in today's Guardian that the male and female brains tend to be hard-wired for different kinds of thinking - empathising (more common in females) or systemising (more common in males). Take the test.
posted by jamespake
on Apr 17, 2003 -
World's first brain prosthesis revealed.
Well, first hippocampus replacement at least. If this is not a dead end for science (which I doubt), I am gonna get my soul fully digitalized in 2020, then spreading it on the whole net with some new version of a code-red virus. :-)
posted by zerofoks
on Mar 13, 2003 -
Nasa plans to read the minds of terrorists...
NASA wants to use "noninvasive neuro-electric sensors," imbedded in gates, to collect tiny electric signals that all brains and hearts transmit. Computers would apply statistical algorithms to correlate physiologic patterns with computerized data on travel routines, criminal background and credit information from "hundreds to thousands of data sources," NASA documents say
posted by Espoo2
on Aug 20, 2002 -
Turning on a single gene
makes mouse brains grow huge, and fold in the skull similarly to human brains. Fancy discussing Derida over tea with a rodent? more inside...
posted by daver
on Jul 18, 2002 -
Your Brain on God.
"After restoring everything to its proper working position, the techies exit, and I'm left sitting inside the utterly silent, utterly black vault. A few commands are typed into a computer outside the chamber, and selected electromagnetic fields begin gently thrumming my brain's temporal lobes. The fields are no more intense than what you'd get as by-product from an ordinary blow-dryer, but what's coming is anything but ordinary. My lobes are about to be bathed with precise wavelength patterns that are supposed to affect my mind in a stunning way, artificially inducing the sensation that I am seeing God. "
posted by atom128
on Dec 2, 2001 -