Friday, November 19, 2010

Dear Hammerheads...iTunes U?

Stay in school!
Hey Brain Hammer readers. Are any of you gals and guys iTunes U users? If so, what do you recommend?



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Inside the Brain at the American Museum of Natural History

Big Brain Bits
Originally uploaded by Pete Mandik

This morning I got to go the media preview of a new exhibit on brains at NYC's American Museum of Natural History. The exhibit, Brain: The Inside Story, will run November 20, 2010 - August 14, 2011. I enjoyed the exhibit and look forward to returning with my family.

What I enjoyed most, though, was a behind-the-scenes tour and chance to meet some of the researchers at the museum. John Maisey and Alan Pradel showed us CT scans of the oldest and only fosilized brain, a brain once belonging to a kind of proto-shark. Mark Siddall took us on a mini-tour of the evolution of invertebrate nervous systems. Amy Balanoff spoke on her work comparing the brains of dinosaurs and modern birds.

I snapped a few pictures on my iPhone, and not all of them turned out horribly.

Link to my flickr photoset:

Link to the museum's Educator's Guide:

Powering the Cell: Mitochondria

Mind-blowing video of the inner workings of mitochondria. Link to BioVisions website:


Research in the biological sciences often depends on the development of new ways of visualizing important processes and molecules. Indeed, the very act of observing and recording data lies at the foundation of all the natural sciences. The same holds true for the teaching and communication of scientific ideas; to see is to begin to understand. The continuing quest for new and more powerful ways to communicate ideas in biology is the focus of BioVisions at Harvard University.

The potential of multimedia in the area of biology education has yet to be fulfilled. Indeed, multimedia as a means of imparting biological information is years behind its use in other areas such as entertainment. BioVisions is meant to close this gap by combining the highest quality multimedia development with rigorous scientific models of how biological processes occur. In addition, this new generation of science visualizations are not meant to simply be simulations or mirrors held up to reality, rather they are designed with a specific pedagogical goal in mind. This means that each decision made on how to represent a given biological process also includes consideration of how best to visually communicate particular aspects of the process.

BioVisions is based on a collaborative community of Harvard scientists, teaching faculty, students, and multimedia professionals. It is directed by Dr. Robert A. Lue, who founded BioVisions with generous and continuing support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Harvard University.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Brain Hammerings 11/13/2010

  • "It seems the placebo effect isn't just valid on drugs. It's also a fact on elevators, offices and traffic lights. An article by Greg Ross says: 'In most elevators installed since the early 1990s, the 'close door' button has no effect. Otis Elevator engineers confirmed the fact to the Wall Street Journal in 2003. Similarly, many office thermostats are dummies, designed to give workers the illusion of control. "You just get tired of dealing with them and you screw in a cheap thermostat," said Illinois HVAC specialist Richard Dawson. "Guess what? They quit calling you." In 2004 the New York Times reported that more than 2,500 of the 3,250 "walk" buttons in New York intersections do nothing. "The city deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals, even as an unwitting public continued to push on."'"

    tags: use your delusion

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

All I want for Xmas

This may seem early, but I'm quite difficult to shop for. Family members and adoring fans, please acquire for me the following:

- An Ono Sendai Cyberspace Seven
- A still suit
- A Special-Circumstances-issued Knife Missile
- A Flux capacitor
- An infinite improbability drive
- Ten grams of programmable matter

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Call for essays: The Singularity

From Lifeboat News: The Blog: Call for essays: The Singularity Hypothesis: A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment

Richard Feynman and Louis CK on explanations

Monday, November 8, 2010

Brain Hammerings 11/08/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.