Earlier in the year I started a series of blogs about the “Geekiest Hot Spots” in Silicon Valley, with the first one being the HP Garage in Palo Alto–where two Stanford students, David Packard and Bill Hewlett, started building the audio oscillators that would be the foundation of Hewlett-Packard. That garage is informally known as “The Birthplace of Silicon Valley.” Continue reading Thursday Doors: Steve Jobs’ Garage
Late November in the USA marks the start of the crazy holiday season. Thanksgiving. Advent. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday . . . With my daughter home for Thanksgiving and two concerts and my birthday coming up, I just wasn’t in the space for posting anything. Continue reading We are the World Blogfest: Saving the Environment through Art
Last week my 8th grade students learned about density by building mundane tinfoil boats, and filling them with gravel until they sank in a tub of tap water. Continue reading Mundane Monday: Density
This is a time of year in the United States that people like to complain about the light. Basically, there isn’t enough of it. I sympathize: I have a devil of a time getting up in the morning when it’s dark outside. But what light there is, and the angle in which it falls on the landscape, can create startlingly beautiful images. Continue reading Mundane Monday: Madrone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Muir Woods or Bust is a gonzo-esque romp through the near future. More hopeful and humorous than its dystopian cousins, it is like an On the Road for gamers and Science Fiction nerds. I had a little trouble suspending disbelief in the road-trip plot, at first. Even in context it seemed like something out of an earlier time, as if two aging losers–one of them a widely recognizable former TV star–would really be able to get away with all this with zero negative consequences. Still, once it got going, the action and the colorful characters that they encountered kept me turning the (virtual eBook) pages. As the trip unfolded, I also stopped viewing Gil and Doyle as aging losers, which was, of course, the point. Continue reading Book Review: Muir Woods or Bust, by Ian Woollen
This is a different take on music and the brain. Most of the time I read about how music is an essential part of the human experience, and I nod along. But what if it wasn’t? “From this perspective, music and art are enormous mysteries. Music can be described as a string of sensory inputs; some signals and energy from the world that our receptors happen to pick up. Life could exist perfectly well without sensitivity to music or art.”
Relating neuroscience to the humanities, politics, and other disciplines is a primary goal of the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University. Part of its mission is to sponsor programs that examine the implications of brain and other kinds of research and debate issues and ideas with scientists and inquisitive audience members.
The center’s most recent program was titled, “Music and Meaning,” and featured three prominent researchers who study the relationship between the brain and music: David Huron, arts and humanities distinguished professor, School of Music & Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences at Ohio State University; Aniruddh D. Patel, professor of psychology at Tufts University; and Elizabeth Tolbert, professor of musicology, Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University. The moderators for the event were two Columbia University scholars: Andrew Goldman, a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience; and Jacqueline Gottlieb, professor of neuroscience.
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It’s finally raining in California, and that brings out all kinds of creepy crawlies, like this newt we spied in the woods while looking for a geocache. Continue reading Mundane Monday: Newt
This post goes along with my previous post about my trip to Griffith Park and Observatory where I saw the Foucault’s Pendulum. It also goes along with my posts about NASA Ames and Hangar One. Continue reading Thursday Doors: Griffith Observatory
This little turtle represents a beach stakeholder, someone who will lose something if the beach washes away. This one is just a toy, sitting in a pan on a desk. Continue reading Mundane Monday: Saving the Beach