Doubts about Brain Death

Gary Greenberg raises doubts about “brain death” as a definition of death. The standard was introduced largely to facilitate organ donation and transplant, and it has become a fixture of bioethics. Greenberg points out that “brain death is not quite as certain as these bioethicists . . . . Continue Reading »

Be the bee

Bacon compared different sorts of scientists to varieties of insect: “those who have handled sciencehave either been men of experiment or of theory. The men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use. Thetheorists are like the spiders who make cobwebs out of their own substance. . . . . Continue Reading »

Mice Memory

Virginian Hughes reports at National Geographic that researchers at Emory have discovered that mice inherit the memory of certain smells from parents: They recognize smells “even when the offspring have never experienced that smell before,andeven when theyve never met their father. Whats . . . . Continue Reading »

Modern World Picture

The great change in the modern world picture was not the abandonment of the Aristotelian and Ptolmaic cosmology. That, argues David Hart (The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss, 58-9) was only a ripple on the surface. The really big change came in the idea of causation:“The loss of . . . . Continue Reading »

Future Sex

Turkle (Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other) was shocked when a Scientific American reporter accused her of standing in the way of same-sex marriage. She doesn’t oppose gay marriage, but the reporter was unhappy that Turkle objected to “mating and . . . . Continue Reading »


Sherry Turkle’s Falling for Science: Objects in Mindis a fascinating collection of testimonials from engineers and scientists about the childhood experiences and objects that inspired their love for science. Turkle concludes (273-4) acknowledging that we cannot predict or measure what will . . . . Continue Reading »

Elastic horizon

In The Religious Sense , Luigi Giussani quotes from the Italian mathematician Francesco Severi, an associate of Einstein: He “proclaimed that the more he immersed himself in scientific research, the more evident it became to him that all that he discovered, as he proceeded step by step, was a . . . . Continue Reading »

Faddish science

Randy Schekman won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine this year, but, according to the Economist , he used the moment in the spotlight “to announce that the laboratory he runs at the University of California, Berkeley, will boycott what he describes as ‘luxury . . . . Continue Reading »

Location, Location

Phones depend on locatability. Adam Fisher reports in the NYT that Google’s next step is to make everything locatble: “All of our stuff will know where it is and that awareness will imbue the real world with some of the power of the virtual. Your house keys will tell you that theyre . . . . Continue Reading »

My Name is Bond… .

British doctors have concluded that James Bond is an alcoholic . BBC reports: “Doctors in Derby and Nottingham sat down to read the 14 Bond novels in their spare time.With a notebook at hand they charted every day and every drink.Excluding the 36 days Bond was in prison, hospital or rehab, . . . . Continue Reading »