Alva Noë appears in the following:
Friday, January 29, 2016
Consider these facts, culled from writings here:
- You share no DNA with the vast majority of your ancestors.
- You have more ancestors — hundreds a few generations back, thousands in just a millennium — than you have sections of DNA.
- You have 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents — but if you ...
Friday, January 22, 2016
For the holidays, I bought my science-loving 11-year-old tickets to "An evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson" at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco. The big night was last Friday.
Some intellectuals bring out the immense complexity behind simple phenomena and others, like the estimable Dr. Tyson, excel at bringing complicated ...
Friday, January 08, 2016
We don't know why our ancestors made paintings deep inside caves in France and Spain as long ago as 30,000 years ago.
Was it to celebrate or tabulate or hallucinate or worship? We can only speculate. This much is pretty sure, though. The caves, inaccessible now, were — or ...
Wednesday, January 06, 2016
Lumosity, a "brain games" company, has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission deceptive advertising suit.
According to Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, the brain-fitness company, "preyed on consumers' fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory ...
Friday, January 01, 2016
With Christmas time, as one writer said in The New York Times, comes "Nutcracker" time.
There are probably more than a dozen professional productions of The Nutcracker here in California alone. And who's to say how many local school and amateur productions there are, such as the truly delightful ...
Friday, December 18, 2015
I love my battered old copy of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. I've rarely needed to look up a word that I can't find in there.
Take, for example, the word "word." Its primary definition, according to the Concise Oxford, is:
"Any sound or combination of sounds ...
Friday, December 11, 2015
Do you remember being bored as a kid? I do.
I remember long stretches of unstructured time with nothing to do. Time reduced to a kind of metronome, second after second, or sensation after sensation. I remember being confronted by the irritating sense that I was trapped, caught, in unending ...
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Sunday, December 06, 2015
On PBS's Newshour last week, Jon Schull, a research scientist at the Rochester Institute of Technology, made some points about disability.
He said that in a world with lots of small print, the inability to see fine detail is a disability (though some might consider it minor in the ...
Friday, November 20, 2015
My plane touched down in Chicago some time after 5 p.m. local time last Friday. I had almost two hours to spare before making my connection. But the plane was late and others on board were anxious.
The couple behind me had less than an hour to catch a flight ...
Friday, November 13, 2015
For some time now, I've been skeptical about the neuroscience of consciousness. Not so much because I doubt that consciousness is affected by neural states and processes, but because of the persistent tendency on the part of some neuroscientists to think of consciousness itself as a neural phenomenon.
Nothing epitomizes ...
Friday, November 06, 2015
The Struma was sunk by a Soviet torpedo in February 1942 as it sought to carry its cargo of Romanian Jews to safe harbor in what was then called Palestine by way of the Black Sea.
This terrible event isn't very well remembered today, but it marked the lives ...
Sunday, November 01, 2015
If you watch the World Series tonight, you'll notice that if Matt Harvey, the Mets pitcher, reaches a two strike count against one of the Royals batters, the whole stadium — as if with a single mind — will rise to its feet and roar with excitement and encouragement.
Friday, October 23, 2015
I had a chance to see the Andy Warhol exhibition that just closed at New York's MOMA this past weekend. The high point of the show, indeed — one of art's high points — is Warhol's series of Campbell's soup cans. They were painted and first shown in Los Angeles ...
Friday, October 16, 2015
I've always been a little skeptical about the scientific method.
Science isn't one thing, after all. Just as sports isn't one thing. There isn't one way to win, or one way to get the gold. And, so, there isn't one way to conduct research in fields as different as chemistry, ...
Saturday, October 10, 2015
When baseball fans think back on memorable events from the season that just ended, there's no doubt that the Matt Harvey Affair is one of the things they'll remember.
Matt Harvey is a star pitcher for the New York Mets. He's in his first season back from Tommy John ...
Friday, September 25, 2015
Diesels are more expensive than gasoline powered cars. But they drive better; they've got better torque. And they're way more fuel efficient.
The downside is that they're dirty. They spew deadly particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that make it hard to breathe.
In Europe, diesels have been an economical ...
Friday, September 18, 2015
The demands of communication put constraints on how everyone talks, regardless of what language they are using.
These pragmatic linguistic universals are the subject of a new study published this week.
Imagine a race of beings who use language just like we do, but who never misunderstand each other; ...
Friday, September 11, 2015
Carl Safina, in his new book on animal minds — Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel — makes a strong case for the claim that animals, such as wolves, elephants — and maybe also crayfish — have rich mental lives.
The tendency to talk about "humans and ...