This week I decided to pursue the follow-up questions from last week, and address some more philosophical questions about what our neuroscience answers mean!
NeuroThursday is back, picking up a reader’s dare: can I actually write “Harry Potter and the Principles of Neural Science?” It turns out I can! It’s about surprise and novelty in the brain!
NeuroThursday is back from its summer break to talk about “muscle memory” – that is, skill/procedural memory – and how you can improve it!
List of all NeuroThursday episodes, in chronological order.
- Neolithic Trephination
- Brain Energy Consumption
- The 10% Myth
- The Discoverer of Neurons
- Handedness Across History
- Left/Right Brained
- Mirror Neurons
- Brain Variability
- Hand Dominance
- Maps in the Brain
- The Arm’s Complexity
- Precognition and Evidence
- Sleep and its Deprivation
- Déjà Vu and memory
- Placebos and their Efficacy
- Artificial Neural Networks
- Marijuana Safety
- Power Poses
- Fluidity of Memory
- No Teleportation
- False Memories
- Phantom Limb Pain
- Muscle Memory in the Brain
- Harry Potter and the Principles of Neural Science (aka Novelty in the Brain)
- Harry Potter and the Theory of Neural Science (aka Philosophy of Neuroscience)
If I’ve fallen behind on updating this list, click the NeuroThursday link under the “Categories” down on the right to see some recent episodes.
This week’s NeuroThursday is on a topic from my postdoctoral research in amputees: phantom limb pain. What is it, what causes it, and why is it so awful?
NeuroThursday is back in full neuroscience swing, with the second in an N-part series on memory. This time, false memories: so very common, and so very humbling.
This week’s NeuroThursday is only partially about neuroscience: it focuses on an article that made the rounds this week, claiming that the Chinese had teleported an object to a satellite. (Spoiler alert: no, they hadn’t.) But I do use a neuroscience story to help me explain the issue!
Want to learn more about what I do as a scientist? An interview with me went up today in the Science News and Information section at the up-and-coming pro SFF magazine Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores! The interview contains some discussion of my own research, but also a chat about how to get the public engaged in science, the big challenges of modern neuroscience, and how I squeeze science and writing into one life.
CRES is a great little publication, I’ve had stories appear there myself – but the science content is free for all to read. But if you enjoy it, consider a subscription to support their work and get access to all their great fiction!
Last fall, I attended the 2016 Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology conference (SoCIA, pronounced like “social”), a small academic conference on the big questions about life beyond Earth! The conference topic extends across a wide range, from social and ethical questions such as “What are our ethical obligations to alien life?” and “How can we leverage the popularity of astrobiology to improve science education?” to theoretical questions within science such as “What exactly is ‘life’ anyway?” and “What can be predicted about how extraterrestrial life might evolve and develop?”
Sound exciting? Well, that conference was only the start: SoCIA will return April 13-15, 2018, at the University of Reno in Nevada!
You don’t have to be an academic to present. In fact, the organizers would love to have some contributions from science fiction writers who want to tackle and discuss the future of humanity’s contact with alien life! Last year the speakers ranged from astronomers and biologists to social anthropologists and philosophers, plus two keynote speakers: one space simulation veteran and the former NASA historian.
If you’re a writer who’d like to contribute to the cutting edge of debate about the ramifications of real-world contact with extraterrestrial life (microbial or otherwise), consider submitting an abstract! 300 words, due date August 15. There’s no website yet for the 2018 conference1, so email me or leave a comment here and I’ll forward you the full info.2
Time for another NeuroThursday: this one on how memories get so fluid & unreliable!