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Human Brain

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ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 2009
The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind By Gary Marcus Houghton Mifflin. 224 pp. $24 Reviewed by Steve Mirsky   Furniture, self-confident, corner, adventuresome, chair, table, independent, television. Early in Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind , author Gary Marcus asks the reader to memorize that short list of words. He then notes, "What follows is more fun if you really do try to memorize the list. " So go ahead; it'll take only a few seconds.
NEWS
June 24, 1992 | By Carolyn Acker, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
You are relaxing to the hypnotic sounds of the ocean, when suddenly you hear a car crash followed by screams. Your muscles tense, pulse quickens and pupils dilate. Your breathing becomes rapid and shallow. The limbic system of your brain is now in command. A primitive part of the brain, the limbic system triggers the body's "fight or flight" response - physiological changes that prepare the body to face danger. But the danger this time is brought to you by tape-recorded sounds - just one way that an ambitious million-dollar exhibit at the Franklin Institute helps you to get inside your head.
NEWS
July 20, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
Several years ago, when the Franklin Institute began visualizing an expansion, planners became captivated by the lovely symmetry they could achieve if they only had a brain. The science museum's room-size heart - and, later, its transplant successor - not only connected to contemporary quantum leaps in understanding of the human body, but had also become a beloved landmark (if the term can be applied to a severely enlarged organ). The Giant Heart is reliably instructive in matters of blood transport.
NEWS
March 1, 2015 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
"It's mental," said one of the bridesmaids in the wedding where The Dress was worn. Lindsay Maden, of Blackpool, England, was referring to the sheer nuttiness of the worldwide debate over the color of a piece of fabric. But she was also correct from a scientific perspective. It is all in the brain. The garment in question, in case you have not been near a smartphone or computer in a day or two, is a blue-and-black dress that, to many people, unquestionably appears white and gold in a photo posted on the social networking site Tumblr.
NEWS
January 14, 1993 | BY LYNN SELTZER
The human brain is made up of approximately 100 billion nerve cells called neurons, which work together in a vast network, enabling us to feed and dress ourselves, talk on the telephone, go to the grocery store and manage a career. Imagine for an instant that the plug was pulled on 40 percent of those nerve cells. Imagine for an instant that you have Alzheimer's disease. The onset of Alzheimer's is not as swift as the mere flick of a power switch, but it can be extremely frustrating for the 4 million Americans who already suffer from it and the 250,000 new cases reported each year.
BUSINESS
October 12, 2007 | By Henry J. Holcomb INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Cherry Hill Advanced Technology Laboratories said yesterday that it won a $4.9 million contract to build a computer that works like a human brain in identifying objects in military surveillance photos. It will let military analysts size up risks and plan strategies more than 100 times faster than they can now, Lockheed Martin's Jon Darvill said. Darvill is the principal investigator on the Pentagon-funded project, called ORBIT, for Object Recognition via Brain-Inspired Technology.
NEWS
October 5, 1997 | By Louise Harbach, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
After reading a book about the human brain, Henry Cram had a brainstorm. There was no better way for teachers at Rancocas Valley Regional High School to study learning than to study the brain itself, thought Cram, the superintendent of the 1,600-pupil school. "The brain goes to the heart of what we do, which is to teach kids how to learn," Cram said. So, on Friday, more than 130 teachers and staff members will begin a yearlong study of the human brain. While students have a day off, faculty and staff members will be in a workshop about brain research and how the findings of these studies relate to teaching and learning methods.
NEWS
April 29, 1986
The April 20 article by Bill Lyon, "The flash is now but a flicker," is a powerful statement on the senselessness of boxing. How can civilized human beings promote a sport whose primary objective is to knock the opponent unconscious? Continuous blows to the head will obviously take their toll on the human brain. Muhammad Ali has not even reached the age of 45; however, as described in the article, he already possesses the senility and sluggishness of an old man. Legislation has been proposed in New Jersey to ban boxing throughout the state.
NEWS
July 14, 2003 | By Robert S. Boyd INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
Scientists are trying to understand why music - a pleasurable but seemingly unnecessary part of life - is universal in all human societies, ancient and modern. Archaeologists have found evidence of musical activity dating back at least 50,000 years. Even babies as well as some animals, such as birds, whales and monkeys, have a built-in sense of tone and rhythm, according to a set of six papers on the origin and function of music in the July edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience.
NEWS
September 12, 1997 | By Mark Jaffe, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Trodat is an experimental, radioactive drug that could be a key to understanding the workings of the human brain - and the diseases that can menace it. There is a race underway among researchers to perfect the drug, and in that contest the University of Pennsylvania team, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday, has been cutting corners. The suit, filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, contends that Penn's lead researcher, Hank Kung, a professor of radiology, had "been developing and shipping radioactive compounds all over the country for use in human testing.
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NEWS
March 1, 2015 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
"It's mental," said one of the bridesmaids in the wedding where The Dress was worn. Lindsay Maden, of Blackpool, England, was referring to the sheer nuttiness of the worldwide debate over the color of a piece of fabric. But she was also correct from a scientific perspective. It is all in the brain. The garment in question, in case you have not been near a smartphone or computer in a day or two, is a blue-and-black dress that, to many people, unquestionably appears white and gold in a photo posted on the social networking site Tumblr.
SPORTS
February 15, 2013 | By David Murphy, Daily News Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The narrative might be the greatest hazard facing today's professional athlete. It is an unyielding, indiscriminate beast, devouring objectivity and skewing even the most empirical measures of performance. On Wednesday, the beast cornered Domonic Brown in the back of the Phillies' clubhouse at Bright House Field. The questions and their followups flew at him like he needed an alibi. How do you feel? Are you healthy? Do they think your defense is a problem? Do you think your defense is a problem?
NEWS
September 10, 2012 | By Faye Flam, Inquirer Columnist
Last week, in response to a media blitz promoting a $288 million DNA project called ENCODE, headlines announced that most of our DNA formerly known as "junk" was actually useful. A number of scientists both inside the study and out took issue with this claim - which centered on the 98 percent of our DNA that isn't officially part of any gene. Sorting the workers from the freeloaders in our DNA is crucial to understanding how our genetic code works, how it drives human evolution and influences our traits and health.
NEWS
July 20, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
Several years ago, when the Franklin Institute began visualizing an expansion, planners became captivated by the lovely symmetry they could achieve if they only had a brain. The science museum's room-size heart - and, later, its transplant successor - not only connected to contemporary quantum leaps in understanding of the human body, but had also become a beloved landmark (if the term can be applied to a severely enlarged organ). The Giant Heart is reliably instructive in matters of blood transport.
NEWS
April 16, 2012 | By Faye Flam, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Charles Darwin would surely have been mesmerized by a paper released last week showing that baboons can recognize written words and distinguish them from gibberish. This was more than a feat of memorization, since the baboons were able to do this even if they'd never seen the words or nonwords before. In a paper describing their findings, the scientists say perhaps the baboons are able to do some sort of unconscious statistical calculation involving the combinations of letters most likely to form words.
NEWS
August 15, 2011 | By Faye Flam, Inquirer Staff Writer
Silly as the movie gets, Rise of the Planet of the Apes explores big questions about human evolution. In the film, scientists use chimp subjects in a gene therapy experiment that triggers the growth of new brain cells. That makes some of the chimps act a lot like humans - adopting language, writing, and drawing. Which raises the question: If chimpanzees got brainier, would they start acting like humans? And if we tweaked a few chimp genes, could we endow them with the ability to speak, organize in groups, and seize the Golden Gate Bridge?
NEWS
August 24, 2010
By Michael Silverstein Some people have a moment of enlightenment in a religious setting or during a strikingly beautiful sunrise. I had mine while leafing through the September issue of Discover magazine. Just as I look through the New Yorker for the cartoons, I usually scan Discover for articles about dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs. They seem a lot more interesting to me than the mammals who replaced them at the top of the food chain just because a bad-luck asteroid hit the Yucatan 65 million years ago. However, while I was looking for a dinosaur story in the September issue, a headline jumped out at me. "The Incredible Shrinking Brain," it read, with the subhead: "The human brain has been getting smaller and smaller since the Stone Age. " In the body of the article, a noted cognitive scientist opined that "idiocracy is where we are now. " Man, this explained everything.
NEWS
August 19, 2010
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (3 p.m., NBC10) - Jon Hamm; Natasha Bedingfield performs; Ali Fedotowsky ( The Bachelorette ). The Insider (7:30 p.m., CBS3) - Comic Tina Fey; Oprah Winfrey. NFL Preseason Football (8 p.m., Fox29) - Two teams with postseason aspirations meet tonight at Atlanta's Georgia Dome when the Falcons take on the New England Patriots in preseason action. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (9 p.m., CBS3) - When Hodges and Wendy (Wallace Langham, Liz Vassey)
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 2009
The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind By Gary Marcus Houghton Mifflin. 224 pp. $24 Reviewed by Steve Mirsky   Furniture, self-confident, corner, adventuresome, chair, table, independent, television. Early in Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind , author Gary Marcus asks the reader to memorize that short list of words. He then notes, "What follows is more fun if you really do try to memorize the list. " So go ahead; it'll take only a few seconds.
NEWS
July 28, 2008 | By Sandy Bauers INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The other day, Matthew Anderson held a small notebook in his right hand. Standing, he tended to put more weight on his left leg. He's right-handed. On the other side of a stone wall at the Philadelphia Zoo, 17 Caribbean flamingos were doing more or less the same thing. Some stood on their right legs, some on their left. Like Anderson, they were showing a side preference. All of which brings Anderson, a St. Joseph's University psychology professor and father of a flamingo-loving daughter, to contemplate what may be a universal question, if not the set-up for a joke: Why does the flamingo stand on one leg?
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