In Isaac Asimov's science fiction series Foundation, the mathematician Hari Seldon invents a method, called psychohistory, that predicts social behavior as accurately as statistical mechanics predicts the behavior of gases.
Scientists are on the verge of building an artificial brain! How do I know? Terry Sejnowski of the Salk Institute said so right here on ScientificAmerican.com .
Even before the colossal oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico highlighted the downsides of fossil fuels (as if we needed reminding), nuclear energy was looking better to me.
Except for a smattering of neo-Social Darwinists, religious nuts and arms merchants, everyone wants world peace, right? In a truly peaceful world, nations would not just stop fighting wars; they would cut back their armies and arsenals to levels sufficient for self-defense and internal policing.
Do some soldiers enjoy killing? If so, why? This question is thrust upon us by the recently released video of U.S. Apache helicopter pilots shooting a Reuters cameraman and his driver in Baghdad in 2007.
You know that psychedelics are making a comeback when the New York Times says so on page 1. In “Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In,” John Tierney reports on how doctors at schools like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, UCLA and NYU are testing the potential of psilocybin and other hallucinogens for treating depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism—and for inducing spiritual experiences. Tierney’s brisk overview neglects to mention the most mind-bending of all psychedelics: dimethyltryptamine, or DMT.
In recent posts, I’ve knocked neuroframing, neuroweapons and neurobics. Next up: neuro-lit-crit.
New York Times culture reporter Patricia Cohen reports that for insights and inspiration literary scholars are turning, inevitably, to neuroscience and evolutionary psychology.
In 1983, a Columbia University undergraduate named Barack Obama wrote an article, “Breaking the War Mentality,” for the school publication Sundial.
Of all scientific fields, neuroscience has the greatest potential for revolutionary advances, philosophical and practical. Someday, brain researchers may figure out how precisely the brain encodes thoughts like the ones I’m thinking now.
Last week the Garrison Institute, a retreat center just a few miles down the Hudson River from my home, hosted an impressive symposium on “Climate, Mind and Behavior.” An organizer made the mistake of inviting me to the meeting’s wrap-up session Friday.
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