Filed under Ideas

Memory

Memory

My earliest memory frightens me.

I recall being inside the screened-in patio of my parents’ Florida home. It was muggy. I was naked. I am running my two-year-old body through the patio door into the tall-grassed lawn toward the ravine that divided the property. I chase a blue ball that I semi-intentionally keep kicking. I watch the ball fall in the water while two yellow marbles emerge above several feet of murky, turbulent water. The marbles creep along until they grow a snout, nostrils, and a scaly, elongated jaw. I scream. My mother comes running out, older brother in tow, spends one heartbeat recognizing the situation and the next carrying me like a football toward the house. Continue reading

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Inheriting Life Experiences

Inheriting Life Experiences

The nature versus nurture debate has long been dead and buried. From the ashes arose a new preposition:  nature with nurture. While it is true that genes, the functional unit of DNA, are hereditary, what happens to those genes depends on environmental factors. Certain environments and experiences affect what happens to a gene and thereby … Continue reading

Milk of amnesia, no more

There is a common sedative called Propofol. It is strong, fast-acting, and allows a clear-headed recovery from its effects. It plays nicely with pain killers and is nonaddictive. Propofol d has an opaque whiteness that earned it the monicker “milk of amnesia” because it is widely used as a sedative and anesthetic. Yet when it’s given … Continue reading

Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day

The established fact of women’s underrepresentation in science has deservedly drawn mainstream attention. There are STEM programs catered toward developing interests in the field and various Women in Science Days across America, including ones that I’ve personally organized at my own small alma mater. Despite these growing efforts, there is still the pervasive assumption that women are the “other” in science, needing special inclusions into the empirical domain. Continue reading

Surprises in Science:  Experiment Gone Unexpectedly Right

Surprises in Science: Experiment Gone Unexpectedly Right

Sometimes in science, things don’t always go as planned. Often, this causes frustration, confusion, and funding woes. But other times, it leads you in a new, exciting direction. This is a story of the latter, a story that movies are based on. It details the pitfalls, the ingenuity, and the surprises common to scientific endeavors. On the surface, this article reads like a niche publication. But there is a thinly veiled story of surprise and seized opportunity underneath. Continue reading

Brains, lasers, and memories: oh my!

Brains, lasers, and memories: oh my!

Science is always cool. But sometimes, it’s cool enough to be mentioned in the New York Times, CNN, BBC, and every major news outlet. It takes a very special experiment to make that happen – combining sexy research methods with science fiction like applications. This is one of those papers. Ramirez and Liu et al. … Continue reading

The Whys and Whats of Clinical Meditation:  Alpha Rhythms, Mindfulness, and Body Sense

The Whys and Whats of Clinical Meditation: Alpha Rhythms, Mindfulness, and Body Sense

We’ve all heard that meditation is a magic pill of clinical applications:  stress reduction, pain relief, depression relapse prevention, etc, and these claims are all backed by solid academic study.  However, these studies typically approach meditation from a cognitive/emotional context, looking at how meditation affects emotions and thoughts. A new, publicly available study, headed by Dr. … Continue reading