Monday, February 21, 2011

Article of the day

Y'know all those things people get mad at you for saying even though they are true. Well here's some more of 'em.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brain Talk

Another favorite. Are you your connectome? I am. My connectome, not yours....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Article of the day!

Don't you just hate ditzy bimbos? Well, apparently they only exists in movies and tv shows.

However, this doesn't particularly mean that intelligent people are beautiful...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Watson, Watson, Watson

If you missed it on TV last night, here's Watson in action

Brain VOTD

Back to normal hijinks around these parts

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brain Talk

It's all above the love today. And I'm here to spread the love and info for all to enjoy! One of my favorite talks of all time delving into one of the most mysterious behaviors of humans. I hope you love it too!

Article of the day! Valentine's Edition

Love is always in the air this time of year, but one must ask... What is love? BABY DON'T HURT ME! Sorry I had to. However, you may also ask is there really only one person out there for me? Well take a look at this article and decide for yourself.

Hopefully, this will lift your spirits on what could be a difficult day for loners ;)

Brain QOTD

“Men's minds are raised to the level of the women with whom they associate”
-Alexandre Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and more)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Elementary, my dear Watson!

I hope you are as excited as I am to see IBM's Watson computer compete on Jeopardy tomorrow. Here's another video to get you pumped.

*side note - the phrase "It's elementary, my dear Watson" never actually appears in any Sherlock Holmes book.

Brain VOTD


Brain QOTD

"I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this."
Emo Phillips

Article of the day

Do you always have trouble getting up in the morning? Would you say you are a night owl?  Well good news, you may be a genius! Well... maybe...

early birds may get the worm, but they never get the nobel prize!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Darwin Day!

Here at the big beautiful brain blog we celebrate the great minds of science. Today, we get the pleasure of commemorating Charles Darwin! Happy birthday Mr. Darwin!

Cogito ergo Sum!

I think therefore I am... Those are the famous words of scientist and philosopher Rene Descartes. Cognitive scientists mainly concern themselves with how the brain thinks, but it is of peculiar philosophical ramifications to pursue the field of computer thinking. Thus, I present you with the following videos.

If you're anything like me, and just can't wait to know everything about this project head on to the video below.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Optical Illusion (aka brain fail!)

(click to see animation)

Which way is she spinning? Were you thinking left? Right? Well... technically both... and neither...

What's that? What's it do?

Today we'll be learning about the corpus callosum! yay!

The corpus callosum (Latin: tough body), also known as the colossal commissure, is a wide, flat bundle of neural fibers beneath the cortex in the brain at the longitudinal fissure. It connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres and facilitates interhemispheric communication. It is the largest white matter structure in the brain, consisting of 200–250 million contralateral axonal projections.

The cool thing about the corpus callosum is that it controls all communication between the two sides of your brain. So, if this did not exist or was completely damaged/severed you would have a lot of difficulty clapping as the coordination between the two sides of your body wouldn't be possible.

Brain Teaser #002

Ready for a hardcore work out of the mind? Then enjoy solving this riddle:

You are given 9 gold coins and a scale. One of the coins weighs either less or more than the other 8 coins. By using only the scale to measure the coins 3 times, can you figure out the odd coin? And for extra special bonus points can you figure out if the odd coin is heavier or lighter?

Things you can do:
-Weigh more than two coins simultaneously
-Weigh unequal amounts of coins (3 on one side 4 on the other)
-Label or "mark" the coins

Things you CAN'T do:
-Use your hands to measure
-Add coins gradually in a single weigh
-Subtract coins gradually in a single weigh

Article of the day!

Keeping in line with the quote of the day I thought it was fitting to bequeath upon my audience the following scientific study:

I'm sure every male here is just going to love this... Use your new found ability wisely men! Remember, with great power, cums great responsibility...

Brain Video of the Day

I'm always eager to endorse a little 'infotainment'

Brain Quote of the Day

"See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time."
Robin Williams

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Brain Teaser

Gotta keep that brain sharp! Leave answers in the comments.

The International Enchantments Festival was held this year in Liverpool, England, and just about filled the town's finer hotels to capacity. Among the leading exhibitions were five new enchanted objects, each designed by a different person (including Prof. Kimil), each of which reputedly had a different capability. Unfortunately, each had a different type of breakdown during the demonstration of its skills. Can you discover, in order of exhibition, the names of the inventor and his or her charmed object, what each object could do, and a description of its breakdown?

1. The vase (which didn't explode) appeared sometime before the object that plays piano.
2. The object charmed to change a baby's diaper kept tipping over until the child's distraught parents called a stop to the show; this object isn't Prof. Lobiesk's creation.
3. Mr. Phantom's object (which is either the quill or the tripod) didn't appear third.
4. The object programmed to assemble Danish furniture (which didn't explode or run around in circles) appeared either first or fourth.
5. Prof. Black's object appeared sometime before the object that wouldn't move.
6. The frying pan and the object that plays piano are, in some order, the object that started to pour out smoke and the object that appeared second.
7. The tripod doesn't draw humorous caricatures.
8. The quill didn't appear just before the frying pan.
9. The object that wouldn't move wasn't programmed to assemble Danish furniture.
10. The frying pan appeared sometime before Prof. Mott's object.
11. The tripod appeared sometime after the object that prepares French cuisine.
12. Prof. Kimil's object appeared just before the boot.

Brain Hack #001

Everybody needs sleep. Why? Neuroscientists are still trying to figure that out. In the meantime you can optimize your life by taking advantage of the brains sleeping programming.

Open Discussion

Neuroscience is a wonderful field probing into one of the last unknowns of the human body and of the world as well. It has begun, and is beginning to find some very interesting revelations into the human experience. With memory, emotions, thoughts, and sensations being a faculty of the brain, my question to you is:

Will neuroscience ever prove/disprove the existence of a soul?

Please comment below, and do try to be civilized :]

Brain Talk

VS Ramachandran is one of my favorite modern neuroscientist. Here's a talk given by him at a TED conference

Daily Brain Quote

"Brain: An apparatus with which we think we think."
Ambrose Bierce

Suggested Reading

I personally own this book, and I love it. With full color pictures on every pages and wonderful 3D diagrams of the structures it is fun to read and is also a great reference.

Brain Video of the Day!

Hopefully I'll be able to find a new brain video everyday...

One of my favorites ever.

Article of the day!

I will try to find at least one cognitive science article a day for your enjoyment.


What's that? What's it do?

This is the first in a series that will pick a single part of the brain and explain its function. As the first I will pick the most obvious one, THE CEREBRUM!

The cerebrum is not the brain itself, although the word comes from the latin "the brain" or "the understanding", but is the largest part of the brain. It has two cerebral hemispheres that are constituted of: cerebral cortices, basal nuclei, and the limbic system. Together, with your cerebellum, it coordinates and executes every conscious task you ever do.

It is easily one of the most important structures, not just in your brain, but in your body.

My mind went blank...

This is most definitely not an uncommon phrase. Many people talk about the wonders and awesomeness of the brain and its processes, but as you may well know, it also runs into a lot of problems. The way our brains are wired profoundly affects how we interact with the world, and any one who holds logic and objectivity in high esteem is going to want to know how to avoid falling victim to these:

This list shows how our way of thinking can be innately flawed, things such as the confirmation bias. Like when ever you are looking for a red car, and suddenly realized there are a lot of red cars? However, in actuality there were is probably an equal amount of every color car, but since you were specifically looking for that it stood out to you. Conversely, some of these biases aren't really a bad thing. Some of them are useful in everyday life. For instance, the endowment effect, where you expect to be paid more for something than you would be willing to pay for it, is a great bargaining mentality in which you try to maximize profit and minimize loss.

So even though the brain is an amazingly complex structure capable of doing extraordinary things, remember it is by no measure perfect, and simply by realizing that you can increase its capability!