Tag: brain

The annual alcohol column

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/uploads//2011/12/Annual-Alcohol-Column-2011.mp3[/podcast] Every Christmas/New Year’s holiday season brings with it a spate of articles about alcohol—you know, like this one. Alcohol is a very odd thing for us to imbibe, when you come right down to it. It is, after all, the waste product of another life-form: namely, yeast. There are very few other life forms …

Continue reading

The doorway to forgetfulness

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/uploads//2011/11/Doorways-to-Forgetfulness.mp3[/podcast] It’s been a staple gag of TV sitcoms for years: an older character walks into a room and says, “Now, what did I come in here for?” But gags like that are funny because they have a grain of truth in them, and increasingly, I’m finding that grain of truth sticking in my own …

Continue reading

Alcohol on the brain

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/uploads//2011/10/Alcohol-on-the.mp3[/podcast] Human beings have been using and abusing alcohol for a very long time: roughly 10,000 years, give or take a long weekend. The effects of drinking too much of the stuff have been known for every one of those 10,000 years (although individuals somehow seem to forget them within a remarkably short time frame). …

Continue reading

Seeing through someone else’s eyes

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/uploads//2011/09/Recreating-Brain-Video.mp3[/podcast] Whenever I say anything is impossible, I always think of Arthur C. Clarke’s First Law: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” Up until recently, I would have said mind-reading was impossible…but, even …

Continue reading

Unrealistic expectations, and why they’re good for you

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2011/05/Unrealistic-Expectations.mp3[/podcast] A few years ago (35 still counts as a few, right?) I was valedictorian for my high school class. This entailed making a speech. Since the theme of our class was “Climb Every Mountain” (why, yes, we had produced The Sound of Music that year; how did you guess?), my speech was based on …

Continue reading

Remembering our dreams


[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2011/04/Embarrassment.mp3[/podcast] Some people are easily embarrassed. Some, not so much. I, for example, have no problem at all singing in public. (Here’s proof!). That’s not true for everyone. Which is why, I guess, that researchers studying the neurological basis of embarrassment recently chose to trigger embarrassment by making people listen to recordings of themselves singing. …

Continue reading

Inattention blindness


The thinking cap

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2011/02/The-Thinking-Cap.mp3[/podcast] You know, it’s not easy being a writer. Oh, I know, it doesn’t rank up there with, say, coal miner in physical difficulty or neurosurgeon in mental difficulty, but where it probably has it over both of them is in creative difficulty: the pressure to constantly come up with something new. Heck, as a …

Continue reading

Ball lightning

Now that we’re finally starting to see some hot weather, it won’t be long before we begin to see something else: thunderstorms and lightning (very, very frightening me! Galileo, Galileo…sorry, just a little Queen flashback). It’s the lightning, of course, that makes thunderstorms thunder. If I may quote myself from a previous column, lightning “is …

Continue reading

The ebb and flow of curvy cars

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2010/04/Curvy-Cars.mp3[/podcast] In the 1940s and 1950s, cars had curves. From the 1960s through the 1980s, they tended to have sharp angles. But since then, they’ve tended more toward the curvy again…although I’m seeing signs of angularity one more. Have you ever wondered why? A German researcher at the University of Bamberg with the unlikely-yet-oddly-appropriate name …

Continue reading

Morally malignant magnets

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2010/03/Morally-Malignant-Magnets.mp3[/podcast] One of the things that distinguishes humans from animals is moral judgment, our ability to judge other people’s actions in terms of our own sense of right and wrong. Our moral judgment feels so integral to who we are, so much a part of our personality, that it’s a bit disturbing to discover, as …

Continue reading

Easy AdSense Pro by Unreal