Monthly Archives: November 2008


New consciousness blog at NN

Posted 24 November 2008 by Noah Gray

My absence has been due to my travels. If you didn’t go to the Society for Neuroscience meeting, don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. DC was damn cold and most of the interesting work was only discussed in private. Anyway, here’s a quick link to a new blog at NN, written by Bernard Baars. Bernard will discuss consciousness there and if previous threads on NN are any indication of the popularity of the topic, he will have his work cut... Read more

The laboratory isn’t a safe place for experiments anymore

Posted 13 November 2008 by Noah Gray

By now, most have heard that Bisphenol A, a toxic compound important in the production of polycarbonates, can leach out of plastics into the contents of said-polycarbonate container, especially when heated. Therefore, should a recent Brevia in Science be any surprise? Apparently, the authors have identified two processing additives in otherwise “sterile” polycarbonate tubes that are bioactive and, in fact, ruining their experiments. ... Read more

Visualization is everything

Posted 12 November 2008 by Noah Gray

We are visual creatures. So when we read that Barack Obama won the presidential election by 6% in the total popular vote, but see the election result map with majority votes colored by county, we get confused. It doesn’t look like it should add up: Fig. 1 Error signal computing… This is because we need to correct for population density. When this is done, as displayed in this cartogram, the results make more sense: Fig. 2 Ahhh, now I see... Read more

The reason why a “nanny state” is sometimes a good thing

Posted 7 November 2008 by Noah Gray

I’m not a strong supporter of large government, but I have definitely come around on the issue of government acting as a “nanny” It is not always a bad thing. Living in New York, I’ll use NYC as an example. Here, smoking was banned from restaurants/bars/clubs a long time ago. Food containing trans fats are currently banned. Calorie counts are listed for every menu item at eating establishments of a particular size. And now, Mayor Bloomberg is exploring a possible... Read more

Politico-scientific segregation

Posted 5 November 2008 by Noah Gray

Reading through the comments on Richard’s post, I noticed one from Brian Clegg that touched on an issue I raised in the comments section stemming from one of my sillier posts. Here is Brian’s comment: I add my ‘Yipeee!’ – I hope however, the fact that no one at all seems to have said on NN ’I’m sad, I wanted McCain to win’ doesn’t mean that any Republicans out there are intimidated by the overwhelming support for the other side.... Read more

Election day blues

Posted 4 November 2008 by Noah Gray

I was having a decent day until I got this in my email: That’s my sister in the middle, flanked by my two (obviously) corrupted nephews. I have the feeling that Christmas is going to be a little awkward this year… ... Read more

Sequential reviewing doesn’t save time

Posted 4 November 2008 by Noah Gray

Keeping with a theme of disagreeing with letters to Science, let’s discuss the concept of sequential reviewing. In a recent correspondence, Dr. Simcha Lev-Yadun points out an obvious problem: the placement of several reviewers on a flawed manuscript wastes that most valuable of publishing resources, the reviewers’ time. Instead of having multiple experts trash a bad manuscript, Dr. Lev-Yadun suggests that editors should send out manuscripts to a single reviewer, allow the authors to make revisions, and then bring in... Read more