Myth of the Gendered Brain

02019-02-24 @ 17:02

Meet the neuroscientist shattering the myth of the gendered brain | Science | The Guardian
When she is not in the lab using state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to study developmental disorders such as autism, she is out in the world, debunking the “pernicious” sex differences myth: the idea that you can “sex” a brain or that there is such a thing as a male brain and a female brain.

Fantastic article. Pair with the writing of Oliver Sacks about neural plasticity. Then look at all of education in a whole new light. Then realize that it also puts our self view in a whole different light. Excellent.

Atlas Pilates Santa Fe

02009-05-13 @ 11:05

Stefan’s web site isn’t finished, but is shaping up nicely!

About Stefan Liebert | Atlas Pilates Santa Fe
In 1995, following a motorcycle accident in which I sustained various injuries including three broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a dislocated thumb, I was unable to follow my regular exercise program of lifting weights and riding my mountain bicycle. A friend of mine mentioned to me that after my ribs had healed I should try Pilates.

A Year Ago: Walking

02009-05-03 @ 05:05

How We’re Wrecking Our Feet With Every Step We Take — New York Magazine
You Walk Wrong. It took 4 million years of evolution to perfect the human foot. But we’re wrecking it with every step we take.

Read on and check out the great images.


Good to know…

Vibram Five Fingers – and my new favorite

On my feet

Vivo Barefoot from Terra Plana


Identifying People By Odor

02008-11-12 @ 09:11

Identifying People By Odor As Effective As Fingerprinting
A study has found that everybody has a unique body odor, like their fingerprints, that could be used as an unique identifier. The study showed that a persons unique odor stayed the same even if they varied their diet with strong smelling foods such as garlic and spices. “These findings indicate that biologically-based odorprints, like fingerprints, could be a reliable way to identify individuals,” said Monell chemist Jae Kwak.
(Via Slashdot)

And while finger-print ID requires touch and a retina-scan requires a person to stand still, scent-ID would require neither – assuming that each person carries a cloud of odor with them. I wonder how much info is contained in the scent. Weight, health, sex?

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

02008-08-27 @ 17:08

I love that title!

Here is another example of the theme I keep circling back on – balancing body and mind… no, let me re-phrase that: Balancing Body and Brain – for I believe that Mind happens somewhere at the juncture of Body and Brain. Where body and brain meet, mind happens. That would make a fine bumper sticker. Check out this story:

‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’ by Haruki Murakami – Los Angeles Times
The Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami has run nearly every day for the last 23 years and participates in at least one marathon a year. In his slim memoir, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” — the title is a nod to Raymond Carver, one of the many American writers that Murakami has translated — he narrates his origin story as a novelist and as a runner. In his 20s, he owned and operated a jazz club. While watching a baseball game, he decided, “out of the blue,” that he could write a novel. “Something flew down from the sky at that instant, and whatever it was, I accepted it.” After writing two books, he sold the club to devote himself to fiction — his first novel to be translated into English, “A Wild Sheep Chase,” followed. As his writing career took off, his health began to decline — the result of all that sitting and smoking. Murakami decided to take up running.

And Murakami does not not just jog… he runs marathons, ultramarathons (62 miles) and triathlons…

Travertine on NPR

02008-08-11 @ 20:08

Despite Poor Economy, Self-Starters Thrive : NPR
For an insider’s view, Farai speaks with Terry Carter, founder of the successful skin care line Travertine Spa.

NPR has an interview with my friend Terry Carter.

Related: this entry and this one

Number of the Day: 5

02007-10-16 @ 08:10

Number of the Day: 5
5 – the number of pounds of cosmetics (well, 4 pounds 6 ounces) women who use make-up every day can absorb through their skin, over the period of one year, according to Richard Bence, a British biochemist, as reported in the Telegraph newspaper. “We really need to start questioning the products we are putting on our skin and not just assume that the chemicals in them are safe. We have no idea what these chemicals do when they are mixed together, the effect could be much greater than the sum of the individual parts,” according to Bence.
(Via TreeHugger)

Put your whole body into it…

02007-09-25 @ 09:09

Street Use: You Can’t Have Too Many Screens
I suggested to the film team that we would be surrounded by a single seamless screen in an arc, and that we would stand up and gesture into it. I had observed that when you think on your feet you have different thoughts. I like to think while I walk or pace because I feel my whole body is thinking then. It may turn out to be a short-term anomaly that today we think while we are sitting. Perhaps if the right technology were around we’d always think with our entire body in motion.
(Via Street Use)

Travertine Spa

02007-07-14 @ 13:07

I gave Davo Travertine Spa‘s Shea Butter for his hands, which can get pretty beat up from hitting the drums. He says this is the best stuff he has tried, because it is rich, but not greasy. Exactly how I feel about it. It ain’t cheap, but if you are hard on your hands or just need them to be in great shape, you should buy some. One container can last you months. And partly because I have been nagging him about it, Terry Carter removed all paraben from his list of ingredients. Excellent!

I previously mentioned Travertine Spa’s Shea Butter here and here.

Which Sting Hurts the Worst?

02007-05-19 @ 09:05

Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog
3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of Hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.

Man lets himself get stung by a large variety of insects and rates the pain… quite poetic, like little haikus about pain, life, love?


02007-02-26 @ 14:02

I Can’t Believe It’s Science (for Feb. 26, 2007)
A recent study out of the University of Virginia concluded that not only are older adults more likely than young people to make errors in recollection, but they are also more confident that their memories are accurate.
(Via Seed Magazine)

Continue reading at above link. Seeing only one perspective – one’s own – can be the danger of getting old, although plenty of young people exhibit that kind of calcification. Training or practicing one’s ability to step into a different perspective becomes very important. A Big Mind board-game would be interesting – Monopoly meets Big Mind…

Stepping outside one’s own little sphere, opening up one’s world, developing compassion by putting oneself in other’s shoes etc… it all comes down to becoming flexible and remaining flexible. Meditation helps. It’s calisthenics for the mind, or mind-yoga if you like. I find that I have to remain constantly vigilant, because the mind likes to apply past experience, rather than being open and examining each case individually.

Body 2

02007-02-04 @ 08:02

Technology Review: Toxic Man?
In the article, I reported the results of tests run to see if my body contained any of 320 environmental chemicals that I might have picked up from food, drink, the air I breathe, and the products that touch my skin. This was my own secret stash of compounds acquired merely by living.
(Via Beyond the Beyond)

Can’t Buy Me Love (or a Long Life)

02007-01-23 @ 10:01

Can’t Buy Me Love (or a Long Life) (TreeHugger)

On average, Chileans can expect to live longer than the average American, even though GDP per person is about a quarter of America’s. A Cuban male has a better chance of surviving until 65 than an American male, even though GDP per capita in the US is about eight times Cuba’s.

And this is also despite the US spending 15% of its GDP on health. Cuba, for, example averages around $623 USD, per person a year, while the US manages $5,711, even though Cuba has the world’s highest proportion of doctors, per capita. So ain’t it odd that we’re raping forests, digging vast holes in the ground, polluting our air and water, etc, so we can chase more ‘stuff’ that will neither make our lives happier nor longer? Maybe, just maybe, this is a merry-go-round ride from which we need to dismount.
(Via Treehugger)

Maybe not odd at all.

Brain Music

02006-08-24 @ 10:08

Wired News: Music Makes Your Brain Happy
From an evolutionary perspective, why have humans developed music?

There are a number of different theories. One theory is that music is an evolutionary accident, piggybacking on language: We exploited language to create music just for our own pleasure. A competing view, one that Darwin held, is that music was selected by evolution because it signals certain kinds of intellectual, physical and sexual fitness to a potential mate.

Animals in Translation – Dr. Temple Grandin
Some scientists… think music is just evolutionary baggage with no real purpose, but so many birds and animals create music that it doesn’t make much sense to me that music could simply be so much evolutionary baggage. And if music is just evolutionary baggage, then why does the brain have different areas to analyze the five different components of music? Studies of patients with brain damage have shown that the five distinct brain-processing systems for music are melody, rhythm, meter, tonality, and timbre. My hypothesis is that music is the language of many animals.

I think all language started out as music. Some languages retain more of that musical quality, e.g. Chinese and other Asian languages that depend on tone/melody to convey meaning. Over time, and as language became more abstract, music became an artform… one did not use music to order breakfast, because words were generally more efficient at that task… but to this day certain emotions are easier conveyed with music than words…

Wired News: Music Makes Your Brain Happy
Are there any myths about music that neuroscientists have exposed?

Daniel Levitin:
I think we’ve debunked the myth of talent. It doesn’t appear that there’s anything like a music gene or center in the brain that Stevie Wonder has that nobody else has. There’s no evidence that (talented people) have a different brain structure or different wiring than the rest of us initially, although we do know that becoming an expert in anything — like chess or race-car driving or journalism — does change the brain and creates circuitry that’s more efficient at doing what you’re an expert at.

Just because there may not be a single “Music Gene” does not mean that a certain combination of genes isn’t important or necessary for musical talent. How often do we deny the existence of one thing, only to find out later that that one thing is actually a complex array of many things

Drunk Driving

02006-07-01 @ 22:07

Cell phones as dangerous as drunk driving
Is having a cell phone pressed to your ear while behind the wheel the equivalent of driving while intoxicated? According to a study by University of Utah psychologists, the answer is, unfortunately, yes.

“Just like you put yourself and other people at risk when you drive drunk, you put yourself and others at risk when you use a cell phone and drive,” writes David Strayer, a psychology professor and the study’s lead author. “The level of impairment is very similar.”


02002-06-13 @ 15:06

While I was given a massage this Morning we listened to “In the Arms of Love”… and the music is everything I had hoped for: it creates a little oasis, an dreamy aural landscape. What a wonderful luxury a massage is. Mind drifting to the music, body relaxing and releasing tight muscles.

It is dry in Northern New Mexico. Deer are coming down from the mountain forests into people’s yards and are eating whatever plants they can find there. We collect the water before the shower gets hot in a bucket- usually about a half gallon. We cook pasta or vegetables in plain water without salt or oil so we can water a tree with the water once it has cooled down.

In the evening the wind started blowing smoke from the Pecos fire towards Santa Fe and it smelled so strong that it seemed that the fire should have been in the neighborhood. Smelling smoke is a strange sensation. It seems like thousands of years of human experience has taught us to be alert and worried when we smell smoke. That might make for some interesting dreams tonight.


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