More Sunday sharing thanks to the people in the internet and Open Access …
ASCILITE is over, but it left me with a lot of work to do because of the great sessions in the conference. You can get a lot of the information covered there thanks to Grainne Conole on Cloudworks. I also posted some interesting resources on my FriendFeed page.
We’ve come a long way baby
The Wikipedia entry for Brain-Computer Interfaces, describes a prototype done in 1978. It was successful in having a man blinded as an adult perceive the sensation of light. But (continue reading), its operation required being “hooked up to a two-ton mainframe”. Well, things have changed, and a recent article by Frank H. Guenther, Jonathan S. Brumberg, E. Joseph Wright, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon, Jason A. Tourville, Mikhail Panko, Robert Law, Steven A. Siebert, Jess L. Bartels, Dinal S. Andreasen, Princewill Ehirim, Hui Mao, Philip R. Kennedy published in PLoS One talks about a wireless brain-machine interface that could be used to produce synthetic speech for individuals with speech impairments. You can read the article here, and Brandon Keim has a great take on it on Wired Science.
Great stories online
- Scientific American explains why egg laying mammals exist
- National Geographic has a list of the top 10 videos of 2009 (my favourite is the Whale Fossil Found in Kitchen Counter)
- Daniel Hawes from Ingenious Monkey talks about parasites in the brain, and
- Ed Yong from “not exactly rocket science’ has a great post on how we can use memory recall to reshape fearful memories.
My favourite tweet has to be one by @Mark_Changizi read Ed Yong’s post and you will know why it made me laugh so much!
Oh, and congratulations to NeuroDojo for being named “blog of note”
Tweeting my own horn
I was contacted by Jose Barbosa from 95bFM’s Sunday Breakfast, and we got to chatting about brains. You can find the recording of the radio segment here. And thanks to Jose, who found the link to Jeremy Corfield’s thesis on the kiwi brain.
Random samples of my reading list brought to you through the magic of the internet, bloggers and Open Access
If you ever wondered what makes a scientists a scientist, you are not alone. And at The Onion News, a new report just in: “Scientists dissect coworker to find out more about scientists” addresses precisely this.
There is a great post by Mo of Neurophilosophy on a phenomenon called “motion induced blindness”. His post, “The illusion of time, perceiving the effect before the cause”, is as we his followers have come to expect, beautifully written, and even has a video to experience the effect. After reading the post, you may also be enticed to follow him on twitter (where he is known as @mocost). He will lead you through his tweets to everything you ever wanted to know about neuroscience.
Along similar lines, an article in PLoS One by James Heron, James V. M. Hanson, David Whitaker, “Effect before Cause: Supramodal Recalibration of Sensorimotor Timing” examines how we perceive cause-consequence relationships. During an initial phase subjects were asked to press a mouse button during a training phase, which was followed by the appearance of a light, a sound or a tap on the finger in the other hand a given time after the mouse click. During the test phase, the researchers changed the timing of the sensory stimulation associated with the click. The subjects under these conditions often perceive the sensory stimulus as occurring “before” their motor action (mouse click). The authors say that:
temporal recalibration occurs because actions and their sensory consequences ‘should’ feel synchronous
It is yet another example of how our brain keeps playing tricks on us.
New Scientists has a collection of images of the “ten inventions that changed the world” found in the Science Museum in London. They range from the model of the DNA molecule, to the Model T Ford to the Pilot ACE Computer. Totally worth a flick-through (if you are into this sort of thing)
My favourite tweet this week comes courtesy of @sceincebase. David Bradley brings up an interesting point regarding the famous six degrees of separation. Are social networks really shortening the distance, or are there connections that are really hard to bridge?