Category Archives: Science

Data were analyzed using Matlab…

It is important to use the right tools for a given job. Science is no exception. In particular, given the vast amounts of data that are now routinely encountered in the field, one will want to use the best available … Continue reading

Posted in Matlab, Neuroscience, Psychology, Science | 8 Comments

A more general relationship between relevance and rigor

Recently, SMBC (one of the few webcomics still worth reading, as he somehow manages to be uncorrupted by his own success) posted another inimitable offering. Except that in this case, it is actually perfectly imitable. This kind of thing can … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science | Leave a comment

Superior motion perception in individuals with autism?

The empirical evidence seems to contradict Betteridge’s law. For the past 10 years, research on the “spatial suppression effect” showed that large moving stimuli are more readily perceived than smaller ones. However, this relationship doesn’t seem to hold in certain … Continue reading

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Is there a relationship between weight and success in PhD programs?

TLDR: No. Details on caveats, background, methods and specific results below. On June 2nd 2013, Geoffrey Miller suggested on Twitter that there might be a strong relationship between excess body fat and adverse outcomes in PhD programs, mediated by willpower. … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Social commentary | 4 Comments

Local and global connectivity – a tale of two datasets

The original images were generated based on facebook friendship data as well as data on scientific collaborations from Elsevier’s Scopus. The map of scientific collaborations was in itself inspired by the facebook map – I considered a direct comparison to … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 1 Comment

The current mental health crisis and the coming Ketamine revolution

Few FDA approved drugs have a reputation as controversial as Ketamine. This reputation is well earned. Originally developed in the 1960s as a short-acting anesthetic for battlefield use, in recent decades it has become notorious as a date-rape drug (‘Special … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology, Science | 19 Comments

Can music elicit a visual motion aftereffect?

Briefly, if you look at a large moving scene for a while, you will experience things moving in the opposite direction afterwards. This “motion aftereffect” was already known to Aristotle, presumably from the visual inspection of waterfalls. It was rediscovered … Continue reading

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Bang or BAM? On respecting complex problems

There are simple problems that can be solved with a single bang. The task of understanding the (human) brain is not a simple problem. On the contrary, the classic quote “The brain, the masterpiece of creation, is almost unknown to … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Social commentary | 2 Comments

Neurotycho – A farewell to an old man

Tycho Brahe was once a Danish Nobleman. Do not think that I am very much impressed by that as a title of nobility, but it meant a lot to Brahe. He cared nothing for nobility itself, in fact he disliked … Continue reading

Posted in Misc, Science | Leave a comment

A statistical analysis of Olympic outcomes of the past 28 years

Now that the excitement over the Olympics has abated a bit, it is time to reflect on the outcomes to see if we can discern any long term trends. Most casual observers seem to be most interested on the outcomes … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 1 Comment

Low contrasts shed light on the neural code for speed

The effects of stimulus contrast on visual perception have been known for a long time.  For example, there is a consensus that at lower contrasts objects appear to be moving slower than they actually are (Thompson, 1982). Several computational models … Continue reading

Posted in Journal club, Science | Leave a comment

A video says much more than a thousand words – rapid communication of scientific concepts via the “Podster”, a historic waystation towards a truly dynamic presentation surface

Background The efficient communication of complex scientific concepts at an academic conference poses a challenge that is as old as it is formidable. The use of dynamic visual stimuli and intricate experimental designs have exacerbated the problems associated with this … Continue reading

Posted in Conference, Optimization, Science, Technology | Leave a comment

The need for sleep

Western culture – the US in particular – is pervaded by the notion of achievement through hard work. This has many benefits, but like everything, it comes at a steep cost. One of the things that is typically shortchanged in … Continue reading

Posted in Neuroscience, Science | 14 Comments

Charlemagne was a Neuroscientist

The exploits of Charlemagne are fairly well documented and widely known. He was both the King of the Franks and the founding emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (technically, the Carolingian Empire). In this capacity, he is renowned for a wide … Continue reading

Posted in Neuroscience, Pet peeve, Science, Social commentary | 2 Comments

The treasure hunters

Just outside of the big city is a giant and seemingly inexhaustible heap of trash. It might be hard to believe, but there are actual people living on this pile. Every day, year after year, they make their living sifting … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 2 Comments

Evidence based medicine – IVF success rates and age

In recent years, “evidence based medicine” has become a popular buzzword in the medical community. More than anything, this just highlights the fact that most of medicine is precisely not sufficiently based on evidence, in sharp contrast to – for … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Strategy, Technology | Leave a comment

Science and the Zodiac – a brief introduction to an epistemological placebo

It is somewhat of a cheap shot for a scientist to come down harshly on astrology. As a matter of fact, it is probably the lowest hanging fruit there is. Nevertheless, the undying popularity of astrology in general and horoscopes … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology, Science | 8 Comments

Eponyms are stifling scientific progress.

An eponym is something that is named after a particular person. I would like to put forward a radical assertion: The habit of naming an idea or principle in honor of its purported discoverer or developer is holding Science back. Therefore, eponyms have … Continue reading

Posted in Pet peeve, Science | 3 Comments

In eigener Sache: The attractor structure of logarithmic iterations in the complex plane

I decided to post my explorations in empirical mathematics on arXiv. This was done in the same spirit as the work that led to the Eagleman prize back in 2006. At some point, I will have to prettify the plots … Continue reading

Posted in In eigener Sache, Matlab, Science | 1 Comment

Is reality retrocausal?

Science is concerned with systematically probing the fundamental nature of reality, determining what is and what is not the case. In other words, science is about figuring out what is going on and about understanding how the world works (with … Continue reading

Posted in Journal club, Psychology, Science | 3 Comments