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!
My friend and fellow writer Dan Koboldt has just announced the sale of his nonfiction book, “Putting the Science in Fiction,” to Writer’s Digest Books.
An astute reader may notice that I don’t normally push other peoples’ books on this blog. But this one is a special case – because I’m going to have an essay on it! It’ll be based on Seven Things Authors Should Know About Cybernetics, my contribution to his Science in SF, Fact in Fantasy blog. But like all else in the book, the article will be expanded and deepened, so there’ll be plenty of new material – and ways to draw it together and apply it to your writing – when the book comes out in Fall 2018!
Have you seen the TED talk on “power posing?” Then you’re going to want to read this week’s NeuroThursday!
Another NeuroThursday lined up for you: this one on marijuana safety! It’s less harmful than many drugs (including alcohol binge drinking), but I wouldn’t call it Mostly Harmless.
This week’s NeuroThursday is a long one, but I had a lot of cool stuff to explain. Neural networks: how they work, and what they’re all about!
For this week’s NeuroThursday, I started writing one on Elon Musk’s NeuraLink, but it only ended up being five tweets‘ worth of material. So I called that my “placebo NeuroThursday,” and followed it up with a full-length one on the placebo effect!