After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain
by Michael L. Anderson
Reviewed by Amy Ione, Director, The Diatrope Institute
After Phrenology by Michael L. Anderson is a unique and thought-provoking contribution to the current debate on how cognition interfaces with the environment and how we can move scientific studies of the brain forward. His theory of “neural reuse” is a proposal for how we may re-frame the debate and fills in some of the gaps that exist now when we communicate about the mind, the brain, and the environment. The basic idea is that, rather than seeing localized areas of brain activity as the way to define brain functionality, we should investigate the neural circuitry combinations that are employed to perform complex functions. Included in this notion is recognizing that our ways of doing things are both active and environmentally connected. For Anderson, “the Modern, Modular, cognitivist assumptions that have guided research during most of the last 50 years of cognitive neuroscience have not been borne out by the data this research produced” (p. 301-302) and, thus, this book is a call for a new kind of approach–neural reuse. He additionally offers a theoretical framework that claims to show how this design offers an evolutionarily informed framework, one that has the capacity to both explain brain functions and recognize our embeddedness in our environments.
Continue reading “After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain (Reviewed by Amy Ione)”
Screening of the optical movie Tim’s Vermeer followed by presentations and panel discussion by Tim Jenison, Philip Steadman, Christopher Tyler and Sir Colin Blakemore. European Conference on Visual Perception, Liverpool, August 22-28th.
Continue reading “Screening of the optical movie ‘Tim’s Vermeer’”
Parallel Alices: Alice through the Looking-Glass of Eleanor of Aquitaine
by Christopher Tyler
Cloth (with dust jacket): 170 pages. Over 100 colour illustrations. Glossary, timelines, annotated bibliography, index. ISBN: 10: 0972533044; 13: 978-0-9725330-4-1
Paperback (colour): 144 pages. Over 100 colour illustrations. Bibliography, index. ISBN: 10: 0972533087; 13: 978-0-9725330-8-9
Paperback (monochrome): 170 pages. Over 100 monochrome illustrations. Glossary, timelines, annotated bibliography, index. ISBN: 10: 0972533095; 13: 978-0-9725330-9-6
Prices: Cloth: US$54.00; Paperback: US$24 (colour): US$12 (monochrome)
Continue reading “Now Available: Parallel Alices by Christopher Tyler”
Scientists recently stumbled upon a whale skeleton on the ocean floor near Antarctica. This is one of only six natural whale skeletons found worldwide and, quite remarkably, they also found nine never-before-seen species of deep-sea organisms feeding on the bones and skull.
The whale is believed to be a Minke whale. The deep-sea organisms included a type of bone-eating Osedax worm. Researchers say this discovery, which was made almost a mile below the surface in an underwater crater, will provide new insights into life in the sea depths.
An article about the discovery is available from Science Direct.
Continue reading “Whale and Nine New Species provide insight into ocean’s depth”
Reviewed by Amy Ione, The Diatrope Institute, Berkeley, CA 94704 USA
Ironically, as I was wondering where to begin this review today, I noticed a car with two bumper stickers matching the sentiments I was tossing around in my mind. One read: “Hate is easy. Love takes courage.” The other said: “Got Constitution?” Both relate to the details of the Loving case, in which the United States Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage [or, held laws against interracial marriage to be unconstitutional, (prompted by a suit brought against the Commonwealth of Virginia by Richard and Mildred Loving)]. The Lovings, the key figures in this case, are captured in The Loving Story video, a film produced by Nancy Buirski and Elisabeth Haviland James and available through Icarus Films.
Married in Washington, D.C. on June 2, 1958, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter returned home to Virginia where their marriage was declared illegal because he was white and she was black and Native American. At that time, anti-miscegenation laws – laws against interracial marriage – existed in 16 states. These kinds of laws are a typical consequence of states rights in the United States, a mechanism that allows different geographical areas to reflect the mores (and biases) of specific parts of the country.
Continue reading “Video Review: The Loving Story”
STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The STEAM Journal is a transdisciplinary, international, theory-practice, peer-reviewed, academic, open access, online journal with a focus on the intersection of the sciences and the arts. The STEAM Journal integrates perspectives from a variety of contexts and fields. The STEAM Journal inaugural issue ‘Luminare’ Vol. 1, Iss.1 3/13/13. The STEAM website here