Category Archives: Science

Filling in the Gaps: Time Itself

This week’s #NeuroThursday concludes our arc (for now) on how the brain creates your perceptual experience by filling in the gaps with lies and guesswork – all the way down to the very core of your experience!




Filling in the Gaps: Optical Illusions

This week, NeuroThursday continues into the weirdness of our visual system, with a demonstration of how our brain fills in the gaps to make us think we see so much more than we really do.

I’m testing out a new Twitter thread-archiving service. Here it is unrolled via Threadreader…

And here’s the original on Twitter:

Peripheral and Color Vision

Today, NeuroThursday picked up on an offhand remark from last week, and dove from there into an explanation of human vision – especially color vision and peripheral vision.

Thread Reader version:

Original twitter thread:

Fan Writer Eligibility: Neuroscience in 2017

If you’ve been enjoying all my work to bring neuroscience to the SFF author and fan community, consider: all this stuff makes me eligible for the Best Fan Writer Hugo award!

Here’s all of my public-audience neuroscience writing1 published in 2017:

1. The Evolved Brain in Clarkesworld
2. Tools and Problems of Human Neuroscience at the File 770 blog
3. Right Hand, Human Brain: The Mysteries of Handedness at
4-34. Thirty-one neuroscience essays via my #NeuroThursday Twitter feature.2 A few highlights:

[Edit: #1 and #3 appeared in professional magazines, and therefore technically may not create eligibility for Best Fan Writer. So, focus on NeuroThursday – but you can still be aware of my whole body of work!]

I hope these pieces have contributed to your knowledge, entertainment, and awesomeness! If it has, consider nominating me for Best Fan Writer. But make sure you also nominate more deserving people like Alasdair Stewart and Sarah Gailey.

On the fiction side I’m in my second year of eligibility for the John. W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, with 7 original short stories and a lot of editorial work in 2016-2017. Check out the summary here!

The Choke: Skill, Action, and Attention

NeuroThursday has been scarce lately, but I haven’t lost the rhythm: this week we look at what happens when you “choke,” and how you can fail so badly at precisely the thing you normally do best!

Thread Reader version:

Original on Twitter:

Social & Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology Notes (2016)

As part of Storify’s shutdown, I now want to use my website to archive important Twitter threads. So here are some awesome threads from the first Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology (SoCIA) conference. These are incomplete, and sometimes abbreviated, but there’s still a lot of fascinating science, philosophy, and theory in here!

If you think these topics look awesome, keep an eye out for SoCIA 2018 this coming April!

“Is talking to aliens like talking to your cats?”, Sara Waller

“Cosmic complexity,” Kelly Smith

“Impossible Friendships: human-alien relationships,” Jonathan Trerise

“The role of worldview in predicting societal impact of discovering ET life,” Connie Bertka

“Anthropocentrism, exoplanets, and the cosmic perspective,” Neil Manson

“The life bias in planetary protection,” Jim Schwartz

Keynote: “Homo Astronauticus: cultural implications of space colonization,” Sheyna Gifford

“Astrobiology research & policy dilemmas in public decision making,” Margaret Race

“Astrobiology education via interactive alien construction,” Randall Hayes

“Astrobiology, ET, and ETI: science & speculation,” Linda Billings

“Replicator Theory: testing evolutionary theories of life,” Lucas Mix

“Toward a Family Resemblance definition of life,” Erik Persson

“Extending the Idea of Wilderness Beyond Earth,” Alan Johnson.

“Human life and ethics in outer space,” Koji Tachibana

“Astrobiology and the precautionary principle,” Mark Lupisella

“Convergences in the ethics of space exploration,” Brian Green

“Ethical obligations between us and extraterrestrial life,” Adam Potthast

Solstice Detection (Slow Vision)

A special solstice edition of NeuroThursday this week: the eye’s special mechanism to detect the slow light changes of day and night, winter and spring.

Since Storify is closing, I’m going to have to find new ways to present Twitter threads here. For now, here’s the thread start!

Learning Styles

NeuroThursday is back in action with a discussion of learning styles in the classroom – particularly the now-classic split between visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. How meaningful is the whole idea?