Posts about science

Phineas Gage history's famous frontal lobe patient

On Sept. 13, 1848, at around 4:30 p.m., the time of day when the mind might start wandering, a railroad foreman named Phineas Gage filled a drill hole with gunpowder and turned his head to check on his men. It was the last normal moment of his life.Other victims in the annals of medicine are almost always referred to by initials or pseudonyms. Not Gage: His is the most famous name in neuroscience. How ironic, then, that we know so little else about the man--and that much of what we think we know, especially about his life unraveling after his accident, is probably bunk.

Phineas Gage history's famous frontal lobe patient

Physics - What We Do and Don't Know

Cosmology and elementary particle physics span a range from the largest to the smallest distances about which we have any reliable knowledge. The cosmologist looks out to a cosmic horizon, the farthest distance light could have traveled since the universe became transparent to light over ten billion years ago, while the elementary particle physicist explores distances much smaller than an atomic nucleus. Yet our standard models really work--they allow us to make numerical predictions of high precision, which turn out to agree with observation. Up to a point the stories of cosmology and particle physics can be told separately. In the end, though, they will come together.

Physics - What We Do and Don't Know

Harvard creates brain-to-brain interface

Researchers at Harvard University have created the first noninvasive brain-to-brain interface (BBI) between a human... and a rat. Simply by thinking the appropriate thought, the BBI allows the human to control the rat's tail. This is one of the most important steps towards BBIs that allow for telepathic links between two or more humans -- which is a good thing in the case of friends and family, but terrifying if you stop to think about the nefarious possibilities of a fascist dictatorship with mind control tech.

Harvard creates brain-to-brain interface

New 3D Brain Map

First, the brain was scanned using a magnetic resonance scanner then imbedded into paraffin and then cut with a microtome for large sections into more than 7,400 sections," Katrin Amunts of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Julich, Germany told Sciencemag.org. After sectioning the brain, researchers began the time and labor intensive process of section imaging, cell body staining, digital removal of anomalies and the precise reconstruction of the brain sections to create a final 3D image.

New 3D Brain Map

Why is Science Behind a Paywall

Although the act of publishing seems to entail sharing your research with the world, most published papers sit behind paywalls. The journals that publish them charge thousands of dollars per subscription, putting access out of reach to all but the most minted universities. Subscription costs have risen dramatically over the past generation. According to critics of the publishers, those increases are the result of the consolidation of journals by private companies who unduly profit off their market share of scientific knowledge.

Brains of the Animal Kingdom

How do you give a chimp--or an elephant or an octopus or a horse--an IQ test? It may sound like the setup to a joke, but it is actually one of the thorniest questions facing science today. Over the past decade, researchers on animal cognition have come up with some ingenious solutions to the testing problem. Their findings have started to upend a view of humankind's unique place in the universe that dates back at least to ancient Greece.

Confirmation An Asteroid Killed Dinos

A team of American and European researchers have confirmed that the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction -- the event that wiped out roughly 75% of the planet's species, including almost every dinosaur -- was caused by an asteroid impact in Mexico 66 million years ago. The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction was the last great extinction event to occur on Earth, and is most notable for causing the diversification of mammals that eventually resulted in Homo sapiens."

Confirmation An Asteroid Killed Dinos