I like Twitter and I like scientific papers.
So I like this new paper by University of the Philippines researchers Christian M. Alis and May T. Lim: Spatiotemporal variation of conversational utterances on Twitter
Neuroscientists – need to explain (away) a tricky finding? Normal people – need to pretend to be a neuroscientist?
No problem. Through the power of vague hand-waving, anyone can do a convincing impression of someone who understands the brain.
For the first time, neuroscientists have directly observed a slow, steady fluctuation – a ‘wave’ – in the blood flow to the brain.
The oscillation, which has a frequency of 0.1 Hz, or one cycle every 10 seconds, is mysterious, and could have big implications for neuroscience.
At this time of year, people are fond of telling scary tales – generally involving ghosts, ghouls, and other frightening creatures. Neuroscientists have their own horror stories, however – more niche, perhaps, but no less terrifying.
Picture the scene: a group of PhD students are gathered around a flickering MRI console. The elder of the group (a fourth year) holds a torch pointing up at her face as she begins…
A new Journal of Neuroscience paper makes a bold claim:
Functional reorganization of cortical activity can occur within minutes of neural disruption to maintain cognitive abilities.
Recent events have got me thinking about writing for free.
When I started out, I blogged for free. I did that for four years. Now Discover pay me some, but my day job as a neuroscientist pays the bills. Many other scientists blog, and I don’t know any who didn’t at least begin by writing for free.
Honestly, I’m OK with that. For me, writing is its own reward (although money is nice). But what about people who do (try to) make a living from writing? Are they OK with it? Or are scientists who blog for free undercutting them?
The philosophical zombie, or p-zombie, is a hypothetical creature which is indistinguishable from a normal human, except that it has no conscious experience.
Whether a p-zombie could exist, and whether it even makes sense to ask that question, are popular dinner-table topics of conversation amongst philosophers of mind.