Redux: The Knowledge

 This first ran on Nov. 18, 2011, before Sally took indefinite leave.  We just know you’re missing her so here’s the next best, the redux Sally. A transatlantic phone call ended badly the other day. “You can just turn left at the next light,” I heard my friend tell the New York cab driver over […]

Guest Post: Lost in Congo

Ever get the feeling that the whole world’s privy to a joke you just don’t get? That sort of approximates my life in the sprawl of Kinshasa. For the next year or so, my wife Anne-Claire and I will call this notorious behemoth of a failed state home. I couldn’t be happier – to live […]

Secret Satans: Neuroscience

“Well, you know we only use about 10 per cent of our brain.” I don’t like when people tell me this. Someday, I hope to acquire the guts to issue the following rejoinder: “Which 10 per cent do you use?” But because I don’t like confrontation, I usually just make a face of mute disappointment […]

Abstruse Goose: Disproportionate Reaction

I should never argue about anything whatever with someone who understands math, especially someone who understands it as well as our boy, AG, here.  But I wonder whether “disproportionate” isn’t confusing statistics with neuroscience. Let’s say AG is 30 years old, meaning he’s lived for 10,800 days, so finding the spider one day out of […]

Women’s Work

(Update below) I write mostly about neuroscience, genetics and biotechnology. That means I spend most of my time talking to and writing about men. In May of 2011 (chosen arbitrarily just because it was a year ago and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thinking about this gender gap then), 89 percent of my phone interviews […]

Saving Time

** The study was published earlier this month in Nature Methods. Many thanks to Andrea Facheris of Soundtrack4u for granting permission to use the music in the video. The song is called “Symphony 5″ (a reworking of Beethoven’s), by the Robot Symphony Orchestra.

Biologist Michael Soule on the Seven Deadly Sins

Dearest readers, we hope you had a gluttonous, slothful, greedy and lustful holiday, with only the tiniest touches of wrath. Here at the Last Word on Nothing, we’re celebrating the season with a series of posts on the Seven Deadly Sins. Beginning tomorrow, each of our crack writers will tackle his or her favorite (or […]

The baby brain revolution arrives – not a moment too soon

When you hear that someone has had a stroke, what type of patient are you likely to picture? Probably an elderly person with an illness, such as heart disease. But the patient might be a lot younger than you’d think: after the elderly, babies around the time of their birth are next most likely to […]