On the second day of classes, I polled my students to find out how many had taken the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. About half of them raised their hands; the other half looking on either smugly (they hadn’t done it…yet) or embarrassed (they had done it, but they didn’t want to admit it).
Richard Dawkins used his Twitter account to ask some unanswered questions about biology that he finds fascinating, inviting others to share ideas about hypothetical life forms that may or may not have evolved. By nature, these questions can only be addressed using some degree of speculation, but I find this one particularly interesting and I will attempt to answer it. He asks: Continue reading
Today is the second and last day of “mini-season” here in South Florida. That is, the last Wednesday and Thursday of July where Florida lobsters are available for the taking by non-commercial lobster hunters. I grew up in New England and I love me some huge (i.e. 2-3 lb) Maine lobsters, but since establishing some roots down here in sunny Florida, I’ve grown to like the smaller, but still sweet tasting cockroaches of the sea. Continue reading
I awoke this morning to a ferocious lightning storm. The house shook from thunderous booms. The predawn darkness blanched in blazing white flashes. Lightning is impressive; especially in contrast to the feeble bioelectricity generated by the body’s nerve cells. Or is that just an illusion? Neuroscientist Michael Persinger has done some back-of-the-envelope calculations that may surprise you.
Before I started doing research on social interactions, I worked on the control of locomotor movements and respiration in an aquatic animal, the lamprey. One of the questions that always intrigued me is how the nervous system of this animal controls steering movements, how it makes lampreys turn left or right. It may appear like a trivial problem: to go left, they just have to orient the body slightly to the left and continue performing the propulsive movements. But it is not as simple. The problem comes when you realize that the muscles involved in steering are the very muscles involved in straightforward locomotion – and some of them might be busy when the animal decides to turn. Continue reading
In this episode of NEURO.tv, we discuss with Dr. Anteonello Bonci, scientific director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about the effects that drug abuse has on the brain. Continue reading
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
At least that’s what the marketing is telling you. I’m not going to go all bah-humbug on you, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that not all people find the November-December holiday season as happy and merry as songs and nostalgic movies lead us to believe. After all, ‘tis the season for depression. Continue reading