Unrelated to all that, 10/11 edition

Wow you people really like reading about Einstein, I should just append his name to everything that I write.

Also, I’m writing from a local coffee shop that I visit pretty regularly. Every day I come in, look at the same two choices of coffee, think about it for a while, then order the same thing as I did last time. What’s the model on that? Why do I waste my time?

From the blog

Early in the week, I commented on an article that discussed how information courses through a market.

Then Ron Hoy visited UCSD and not only gave us an excellent picture of Robert Galambos but left us excellent memories of the jumping spiders.

I was led to wonder why we cry. This led to a flurry of comments insisting that the amygdala is involved. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was true, but I couldn’t find any evidence of it! I saw a couple of papers that said it was activated in response to other people crying, though.

In other news, nobel prize winners are being furloughed 😦

People were in agreement that Einstein was more than just the size of his brain, despite what the media wants to say. To reiterate my point in science-y language, it’s really hard to make reverse inferences from the size of something to one particular behavioral phenotype.

Tony Movshon visited campus and explained the importance of understanding the structure of our environment to understanding our brain. This is a point that gets brought up a lot in neuroscience but is somewhat neglected nonetheless. Even Tony said that he would not normally have done these types of experiments.

Finally, everyone’s getting exercise by this post on why you’ll never get a faculty job. There’s a lot of fear out there, and for good reason.

From other blogs

There was a dustup as Malcolm Gladwell once again got criticism from a scientist, and he responded with ad hominems and misdirection. The fact that he didn’t really respond to the substance of the criticism says that the problems with his writing are just as bad as people think because they extend to the whole way he thinks.

A study used IMDB to quantify the rise and fall of creativity in Hollywood films. I will forever and always maintain that the peak was in the 70s because it combined creativity with technical ability.

A BBC documentary on the new ecosystem between man and machine

A (sadly false-colored) image of snow under an electronmicroscope

Mouse visual neuroscience gets some credit in Nature, and UCSD faculty/alumni are heavily represented in the pro camp. You can guess which side I’m on.

The World Chess Championships are coming! Here’s how the countries stack up.

Fruit fly researcher covered by the New York Times. “They can taste with their wings,” he adds, as his enthusiasm builds.

Which complex movements will be important to understanding brain function? It reminds me of Greg Stephens’ work on C. elegans

If a plant cried, would we hear it? Because they do (but I don’t think it’s related to the amygdala)

Cantor and Smith are on a social science witch hunt, and no one should be surprised.


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