Why I Love and Hate “Game”

Yes, it’s that special time of year again – time for flamboyant bouquets and chalky candy to appear at office desks – time for Facebook pages to drown in cloying iconography – time for self-labeled “forever aloners” to dredge the back alleys of OKCupid in last-ditch desperation – and time for me to load up my trusty gatling crossbow with oxytocin-tipped darts and hit the streets. Oh, and it’s time for everyone to complain about how misogynistic all this “Game” stuff is. So, while I guess I could write about, say, a new study that says cutting your romantic partner some slack can make him or … Continue reading Why I Love and Hate “Game”

Harry Potter and the Nature of the Self

Yup, this is what we’re doing today. I finally got to see Deathly Hallows Part 2, and it got me thinking about neuroscience like frickin’ everything always does, and I came home and wrote an essay about the nature of consciousness in the Harry Potter universe. And we’re going to talk about it, because it’s the holidays and can we please just pull it together and act like a normal family for the length of one blog post? Thank you. I really mean it. Besides, I guarantee you that this stuff is gonna bug you too once I’ve brought it … Continue reading Harry Potter and the Nature of the Self

Ruining the Ending

Plot spoilers don’t seem to hurt our enjoyment of movies or books at all, a new study shows – in fact, they actually increase our pleasure. What a twist! In a series of experiments, volunteers consistently rated short stories as significantly more enjoyable when they got to read a spoiler-y intro, or when spoilers were inserted into early parts of the story. This even held true for stories whose climax depends on a revelation or a twist. If you’re anything like me, you might go to great lengths to avoid spoilers for upcoming books and movies – even leaping out of … Continue reading Ruining the Ending

The Fascination of the Abomination

a.k.a. “From Blackwood to Coppola: Apocalypse Now as Weird Tale” Have you ever watched a movie that was so scary you couldn’t look away? For as long as I can remember – and probably longer – I’ve been intrigued by monsters. At preschool age, I possessed what my parents called an “overactive imagination,” and a few nightmares from which I woke screaming convinced them to prohibit me from watching TV shows – even cartoons – involving monsters or horror of any kind. As might be expected, this ban only served to intensify my fascination. By junior high, my parents seemed to … Continue reading The Fascination of the Abomination

Digitoneurolinguistic Hacking

In view of all the seriousness I’ve been writing about lately, I decided it was time to post an XKCD comic that made me laugh so hard I snorted hot chocolate through my nose. Click the image below to embiggen! Here’s a short blog post that explains a little more about digitoneurolinguistic hacking. It seems to be a reference to a concept introduced by Neal Stephenson, one of my very favorite authors, in his novel Snow Crash, which is a phenomenally fun and thought-provoking read. As the Wikipedia entry says: The book explores the controversial concept of neuro-linguistic programming and presents the … Continue reading Digitoneurolinguistic Hacking