Welcome any new readers that may be coming here from the external links, search engines, blogs, ads and Science Fiction conventions...
Thanks for coming, and I invite you to browse the archives to look over the content for "The Lab Rats' Guide to the Brain" and other miscellaneous posts inspired by "nerdy science" (neuroscience). There are two good starting points in the archives: Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011 titled "Brain and Brain, what is Brain" begins the discussion of the essential building blocks of the brain. Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011 titled "Back to Basics" introduces the section we are currently completing on parts of the brain. If you are new to the blog, *please* go back and browse through the archives for information on areas and regions of the brain, their essential functions, and *some* detail of diseases and disorders.
We have covered most of the planned content on brain structure and brain function as revealed by diseases and disorders. The current section of the Guide is "Writing about the brain: Brain diseases and disorders as plot devices." We have discussed a few cases, and I will probably reiterate a few in the appropriate context. The final section of The Guide, to commence later this Spring will examine "Brain Cliches", those examples of "Stupid Movie Science" (and TV and print) that drive viewers crazy and spread misinformation and confusion about brain science.
Interspersed with Guide blogs are personal observation of science, science fiction and travel. After completion of the Guide, there will be some room to repeat and revise sections as I prepare it for eventual submission to a publisher, and I am considering a series which explores some aspects of science in established science fiction novels, TV and movies - often in a tongue-in-cheek manner. I am planning blogs essentially three days per week, but having just had to take a hiatus of nearly 6 months means I can't be certain of that schedule. Content will typically be two Lab Rats' Guide to the Brain posts interspersed with one or two posts of related content. The occasional diversion will be clearly indicated by headings and will still have an aspect of science, life and speculation (with bonus short fiction!).
To wrap up, I'd like to mention something I heard at Ravencon (credit to novelist John Ringo and journalist Kelly Lockhart): Back in the 60's, the U.S. space program managed to design build and fly a rocket to the moon despite the fact that many people - including the designers and builders - felt that the job was impossible. The effort took an increadible feat of science and engineering. It succeeded because people believed in it. There is a theory (by novelist and physicist Travis Taylor, Ph.D.) that human brains are connected at the quantum level, and that as such, belief can truly affect outcomes in the physical world. I am not entirely sure that I believe the theory, but then, I am a neurophysiologist/pharmacologist, and not a quantum physicist. In fact, I would love to discuss the issue with Dr. Taylor at some point in the future - perhaps in this space. Nevertheless, I do believe as a society that when we truly *believed* in science, we made science happen. I despair that our current society may no longer truly believe - but it is my goal to explain, and thereby bolster the belief and understand of brain science in a manner that the writers (and blog readers) of today can shape the minds of tomorrow and restore that belief.
Thanks for tuning in. Look around, stay awhile, and tell your friends.
- Speaker to Lab Animals