Plastic Neuroscience: Studying what the brain cares about

hand-brain

Drawing on Allan Newell’s “You can’t play 20 questions with nature and win,” this article proposes that neuroscience needs to go beyond binary hypothesis testing and design experiments that follow what neurons care about. Examples from Lettvin et. al. are used to demonstrate that one can experimentally play with neurons and generate surprising results. In Continue reading…

How Flowcharts Got into the Brain

Colby-SimNeuroses copy

NSF Scholar’s award for Diagramming Brains, Minds and Computers Together. This project, supported by the Biology & Society initiative between the Science, Technology & Society Program and the BIO directorate at NSF, examines the role of flowcharts in neurosciences. Flowcharts are commonly used today in computer science, psychology, and neuroscience. Despite the near ubiquity of diagrams Continue reading…

Neuroexistentialism

CyborgMouse

[Excerpts:] Parsing the neuronal sensorium is already to dismantle through analysis that which we imagine to be a comprehensive totality. If our sensorium is the sensing package that constitutes our participation in the world, then it follows that this assemblage of sensory inputs defines our boundaries, making the world present to us and by subtraction making Continue reading…

»Cyborg Babies

CyborgBabies

From Techno-sex to Techno-tots Edited by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Joseph Dumit (Routledge, Aug 1998) From fetuses scanned ultrasonically to computer hackers in daycare, contemporary children are increasingly rendered cyborg by their immersion in technoculture. As we are faced with reproductive choices connected directly with technologies, we often have trouble gaining perspective on our own cultural Continue reading…

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»The Biomarx Experiment

PillDollar

“We want to maximize the number of new prescriptions…” “We want to identify people at risk at the earliest possible point…” Pharmaceutical marketers want to maximize the number of prescriptions in order to maximize profits. They see clinical trials as investments whose purpose was to increase sales of medicines, “Important clinical studies to conduct from Continue reading…

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»How I Read

desk-bridge

Notes on reading modes sent to a grad class: I wanted to respond to the questions raised during our class regarding what kind of a reading I have been doing over these weeks.  I see it as close (as opposed to general), constructive (as opposed to deconstructive), positive (as opposed to negative), generous (as opposed Continue reading…

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