God bless British programming for keeping us informed of all the things we need to fear in life. BBC Four’s “The Brain: A Secret History – Broken Brains” features a woman who suffers from a rare disorder known as Alien Hand Syndrome.
After receiving a special operation to control her epilepsy in which the band of nervous fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain is cut, Karen Byrne found that her left hand and sometimes her left leg, behaved on it’s own, as if it were possessed. The very brief explanation is that Alien Hand Syndrome is caused by a war going on in her head between the two hemispheres of her brain. Sometimes, Byrne can’t stop slapping herself in the face, to the point of injury, with her possessed hand. Sometimes, her hand does other naughty things. Keep reading »
Look, we don’t want to take all of the magic out of life. After all, can “science” and “mathematics” quantify something as mysterious as the beauty of music, or the evil of the human spirit, or the madness of a panicked mob?
Yeah, pretty much. Get enough data, create the best algorithm, and you can get some nice pretty graphs that tell you. Read more …
How do I get this job?!?! There appears to be a whole field of neuroscience focused on studying why certain animals are cute (aka Cute Studies) and, as NPR helpfully recapped for my pleasure, one of the animals they have explored is baby pandas.
Strap on your squee-belt, because it’s about the get adorable up in here. Keep reading »
I’m a big fan of Slate’s “Explainer” column, which enlists experts to answer those questions that boggle the mind. Oh, how this appeals to my inner science geek. Like when they explained why the rich and famous sunbathe topless. The answer: Because they can. Ha! OK, back to the question that caught my attention: How did humans figure out that sex makes babies? Ooh, good one! An abridged version of the answer after the jump. Keep reading »
Last week, NASA scientists predicted that they would discover Earth’s universal twin within a year. Well, they made good on that promise and way early. Wednesday, the Kepler telescope found KOI, short for Kepler Object Interest, a very promising candidate for Earth twindom. Not the name I would have chosen, but I’m not complaining. We have a twin!
There are some minor differences between Earth and KOI. (It’s more of a fraternal twin than an identical one.) While it has a sun that it orbits, far away enough to be fit for human life, it’s about 50 percent larger than Earth and circles its sun in about 242 days instead of 365. Yikes, that means you would age faster. Keep reading »