Northern vs. southern hair whorls, Sun & Shine, Quantum depression

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them: Southern hair whorls — Three northern hemisphere scientists – Marjolaine Willems, Quentin Hennocq and Roman Hossein Khonsari in Paris, France – teamed up with a southern hemisphere scientist – Juan José Cortés Santander in Santiago, Chile – for […]

Sagging pants and the logic of abductive inference

Not all that many academic studies have examined the possibilities of abductive inference with regard to sagging pants [sagging trousers (UK)]. There are exceptions though. Professor Marcia Morgado of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa has a paper in the journal Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion (Volume 2 Issue 2-3, September 2015) which: “[…] explores […]

Cessation of Rumination. Say: “I? Aye!”

One needn’t ruminate more than one wants or need to, suggests this study: “The Cessation of Rumination Through Self-Affirmation,” Sander L. Koole, Karianne Smeets, Ad van Knippenberg, and Ap Dijksterhuis, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1999, Vol. 77, No. 1, 111-25. The authors affirm that they are at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

A metaphor for fMRI studies of thought?

A new study contains a poetical phrase that maybe, just maybe, is a metaphor for the severe difficulty and beauty of a great scientific quest: learning how the heck the brain manages to think. Many brain scientists use a complex technology called  “fMRI” (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to make rough pictures of activity (many sorts of […]

Childish: 2nd-hand looks at brain activity

Some brain scientists use their brains to explain how they think other people’s brains are used. They also use (in addition to their brains) fMRI [functional magnetic resonance imaging], a technique in which complex equipment measures some of the things that happen inside a brain while a person is using that brain. (NOTE: the technique has […]

The Turing Test and “Bill O’Reilly”

This video clip has been much in the news recently. We believe that people have misinterpreted its nature. Is the “man” speaking here really a thinking human being named Bill O’Reilly?  Or is the “man” really a computer artfully built to look and sound like a “thinking” human? Behold the latest entry in the Turing […]