Why Your Brain’s Sense of Time Is So Elastic
Our sense of time may be the scaffolding for all of our experience and behavior, but it is an unsteady and subjective one, expanding and contracting like an accordion. Emotions, music, events in our surroundings and shifts in our attention all have the power to speed time up for us or slow it down. When […]
How Your Heart Influences What You Perceive and Fear
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog. We consider the brain the very center of who we are and what we do: ruler of our senses, master of our movements; generator of thought, keeper of memory. But the brain is also rooted in a body, and the connection between the two goes both ways. […]
Biodiversity Alters Strategies of Bacterial Evolution
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. In the closing paragraph of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin urged readers to “contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth.” Those plants, birds, […]
In Brain’s Electrical Ripples, Markers for Memories Appear
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. It’s very easy to break things in biology,” said Loren Frank, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s really hard to make them work better.” Yet against the odds, researchers at the New York University School of Medicine reported earlier this summer that they had improved the […]
How Swarming Insects Act Like Fluids
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. Starlings take to the sky in swirling vortices; ants teem like rivers. “They stretch, they move around, but they retain cohesion in a way you’d expect from a fluid moving,” said Nicholas Ouellette, a physicist at Stanford University. That’s why to him, it isn’t far-fetched to think about collective animal behavior in […]
What Defines a Stem Cell?
Our cells have more diverse regenerative capabilities than anyone expected.
How Insulin Helped Create Ant Societies
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog. Ants, wasps, bees, and other social insects live in highly organized “eusocial” colonies where throngs of females forgo reproduction—usually viewed as the cornerstone of evolutionary fitness—to serve the needs of a few egg-laying queens and their offspring. How they got that way has been hard to explain despite more than 150 […]
How a Defense of Christianity Revolutionized Brain Science
The statistics that grew out of Reverend Bayes’ apologetics became powerful enough to account for wide ranges of uncertainties. In brain science, it helps make sense of sensory input processes.Waiting For The Word / Flickr Presbyterian reverend Thomas Bayes had no reason to suspect he’d make any lasting contribution to humankind. Born in England at […]
Does Having Kids Make Mothers Age Faster?
Evidence is stacking up on both sides of an age-old debate.
If ET Calls, Think Twice About Answering
Why some say searching for ET is best done quietly.