Month: April 2009

  • Development of the Infant Brain

    Looking primarily at the research of Alison Gopnik, Jonah Lehrer looks at the development of the infant brain. Gopnik argues that, in many respects, babies are more conscious than adults. She compares the experience of being a baby with that of watching a riveting movie, or being a tourist in a foreign city, where even…

  • Raising Bill Gates

    While the article lacks in certain places, this brief look at Bill Gates Sr. and his relationship with his son is an interesting read with a few amusing anecdotes about the mostly elusive Gates family. [Bill Gates Sr.]¬†and Mary brought their son to a therapist. “I’m at war with my parents over who is in…

  • Using Spammers to Solve AI Problems

    With spammers having already written software to match humans at solving some CAPTCHAs, many are predicting the end of the CAPTCHA. Not so, says Luis von Ahn¬†(developer of the reCAPTCHA system) in a New Scientist article that asks why not set the spammers further AI tasks that they can solve¬†inadvertently. Software that can solve any…

  • Indefinite Memories

    There are many substances in the brain thought to be responsible for maintaining long-term memories. Now, research is showing that by blocking one of these substances, the enzyme¬†PKMő∂¬†(PMKzeta), we could ‘erase’ certain memories. The hope is that the opposite could work, too: The drug [ZIP] blocks the activity of a substance that the brain apparently…

  • Emotional Cartography

    By getting volunteers to walk around cities with biofeedback machines and GPS devices, Christian Nold has created a series of ’emotion maps’ of cities around the world, including San Francisco, (East) Paris¬†and Greenwich, London. Participants are wired up with an innovative device which records the wearer’s [‚Ķ] emotional arousal in conjunction with their geographical location.…

  • Forever’s Not So Long

    Forever’s Not So Long is¬†a touching short film (13 mins.)¬†chronicling¬†how two people decide to see out the end of their lives. via Link Banana

  • Predicting Our Future Reactions

    Written by, among others, Daniel Gilbert (author of Stumbling on Happiness), an article in Science looks at how bad we are at judging our reactions to various future events (closed access article). In two experiments, participants more accurately predicted their affective reactions to a future event when they knew how a neighbor in their social…

  • Financial Consequences of Winning the Lottery

    For individuals and families facing financial ruin one would assume that a lottery win would be a perfect, if lucky, way out of hardship. Contrary to this, however, an analysis of a small, unique set of people‚ÄĒFloridian lottery winners linked to bankruptcy records‚ÄĒfinds that¬†lottery winners are more likely to claim bankruptcy than others who were…

  • Psychology of Money

    New Scientist provides a comprehensive summary of studies looking at the psychology of money. There are some fascinating findings here, including a study showing that “simply thinking about words associated with money seems to makes us more self-reliant and less inclined to help others [and] just handling cash can take the sting out of social…

  • The History of Puns

    For The New York Times, Joseph Tartakovsky provides a short, surprisingly groanless, history of the pun. The inglorious pun! Dryden called it the “lowest and most groveling kind of wit.” To Ambrose Bierce it was a “form of wit to which wise men stoop and fools aspire.” Universal experience confirms the adage that puns don’t…