NeuroThursday took some unexpected (to me) twists and turns this week, as a piece about that silly “two spaces are better!” article turned into an object lesson on the challenges of scientific analysis!
NeuroThursday is stumbling on through with a second piece on balance: this time, the “proprioceptive” senses your body uses to keep track of its own position.
This past weekend I attended the 2018 Social & Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology conference, an academic gathering for the discussion of social, ethical, and theoretical ramifications of humankind’s interactions with space.
Only about a hundred people could attend, but I’ve gathered my livetweet notes here so you can read up on all these amazing topics! I covered ~40% of the conference, so you should be able to find more notes across the internet via the #SoCIA18 hashtag.
All notes are in Thread Reader form. To read/comment in the original twitter, just click through. For a quick tour, * indicates my personal favorites.
- A few SoCIA members slipped away from the conference to go on NPR’s Science Friday and talk about communication with extraterrestrials
- “Logic, Ethics, and History: The Mistake is Thinking It’s a Mistake,” by Daniel Wueste
- “On aliens and robots: moral status, epistemological and (meta-)ethical considerations,” by Keith Abney
- “Things you didn’t see because you were looking: Blind aliens, science and inter- species miscommunication,” by Sheri Wells-Jensen*
- “Body Snatchers: What whole body hijacking reveals about our definitions of life,” by Lucas Mix
- “Life & Life Only: a radical solution to life determinism,” by Carlos Mariscal*
- “SETI & Christianity” by Greg Anderson, read by Kelly Smith
- “The Spiritual Quest in SETI Research,” by José Funes
- “Are We Ready for Space Colonization?” by Lori Marino
- “Ethics for Planetary-Scale Interventions on Earth and Beyond,” by Brian Green*
- “A Path to the Stars vs The Space Frontier: National Space Mythology in Soviet and American Newspapers,” by Christina K. Roberts
- “What Lives? Life, Consciousness, and the Eco-Systemic Multiversity,” by Kala Perkins
- “METI or REGRETTI: Scientific Paternalism, Informed Consent, and Alien Contact,” by Kelly Smith*
- “What Do We Owe The Galaxy? Ethical Considerations of Practical Astrobiological Research,” keynote by Elizabeth Bear*
- “A Selfish Case for a Non-Interference Principle,” by me. I couldn’t livetweet my own talk, but here’s the summary: “Alien cultures are valuable in to us in part because of their difference. As a result, we should try to avoid erasing inter-cultural differences. And if we don’t find aliens, we may want to create them.”
- “The Importance of Answering the Major Questions of Astrobiology,” by Jim Schwartz
- “The Time of Life,” by Jason Howard
- “Modeling Life on Mars,” by Erica Dietlein
- “Thinking like a Red: A Consideration of the Ethics of Terraforming in light of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars,” by Roberta Millstein
- “The Value of Astrobiology with or without Specimens,” by Gonzalo Munevar
- “Being Here: The Significance of Human Place in the Light of Astrobiology,” by Sarah Reynolds
- “Cops on Mars: Policing & Weaponization of Space – In the Imagination & Beyond,” by Lucianne Walkowicz
- “Neo-Liberal Space Ethics,” with Linda Billings
- Roundtable discussion on space settlement*
- “Is there a sensible way to say Life is alive?” keynote by Ford Doolittle of Dalhousie University
NeuroThursday returns this week with a tale about all the secret badassery of your balance (vestibular) system!
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!
So for all of you who’ve heard me claim I’m married to a Martian, I present to you Dr. Sheyna Gifford’s talk from TEDx Gateway Arch, October 2017. Click through for her full bio, or just bask in the space-suited awesomeness.
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:
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:
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 writing 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 Baen.com
4-34. Thirty-one neuroscience essays via my #NeuroThursday Twitter feature. 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!
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: