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a frog the size of texas

June 20th, 2007

02:42 pm - The brain, she be a weird beastie.

I've been thinking about making a post similar to this for some time, after a conversation rachelmanija and I had a while back. Now she's done it, so I don't have to. Except that I ended up doing so anyway, with a slightly different take on the subject.

Cut for the longCollapse )

Temporarily disabling anonymous comments, because I want to believe that everyone who comments will read the replies that people make to them and to avert some potential wank. :)

04:10 pm - Self as narrative construct

What caused me to mention our conversation of a few weeks ago to rachelmanija that resulted in her question and my question was coming across the radio show Radio Lab on the way down to Houston. I managed to catch about 3/4 of the show Who Am I?, all about the perception of the self.

The neurologist Paul Broks was featured and his book of essays Into the Silent Land: Travels in Neuropsychology mentioned. I ordered it from Amazon before I thought to check the library, woe!, but am currently reading the library's copy. I like this bit, where he talks about how the self is a story, how we are narrative constructs. The context is after he's just discussed a young woman whose brain's left half was anesthetized to evaluate the function of her right brain, and how her behavior and speech was different when her damaged right brain was dominant than when her healthy left brain was.Read more...Collapse )

and now who's going to make me a nifty icon with "It is not so much a question of us telling the story as the story telling us." on it?

09:38 pm

20 min. 3.4 mi. Total: 428.7. Small stream in sight.

10:50 pm

The good bit: Adding up the calories I'd eaten today and realizing that I had about 900 more that I needed to eat and so could indulge without guilt in totally fatty food. Helloooooooo, cheese!

The bad bit: Realizing, too late, that this is going to be one of those days where the Lact-Aid pills Just Do Not Work. So much for getting anything useful done tonight.

11:27 pm - Quotation day!

As I am now somewhat stationary (for context, see my previous post), I am reading one of the Robert Sapolsky books that Amazon.com delivered to my door today. He's a professor of biology and neurology, and his latest book, Monkeyluv, is a compilation of essays from various magazines and journals. This is from his afterword to a tongue-in-cheek article examining the question of nature vs. nurture through the medium of the 1999 People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World":
And Ms. Spears, who only a few short years ago still had to be identified as "a singer," no longer needs an introduction for most readers; however, just around the time of career where most personal handlers would be convincing her that it's time for an image-burnishing trip to a Sudanese refugee camp as a special UN envoy, she is instead neurobiology's greatest teaching tool for demonstrating that the frontal cortex of the brain does not fully come online until around age thirty.
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