Another treasure trove of webcasts: The Science Museum's Dana Centre UK hosts an ongoing series of public events at d.cafe, webcast live from London every few weeks and, of course, archived. Encompassing many branches of science, quite a few are about brain sciences. The one I've chosen to spotlight here covers neurolinguistics, genetics, neuroimaging, evolutionary psychology, neuroethics and more in a future-reaching discussion.

The 21-st Century Brain. Steven Rose discusses his new book with Colin Blakemore and d.cafe participants. "The human brain is the most complex structure in the universe. We can potentially cure Alzheimer's disease and control behaviour. What are the consequences?"

I also highlighted a few psychology-related titles at Psych Central, and, because often my most popular posts are about webcasts, and podcasts, I'm launching a new blog devoted to them. Tune in daily for links to one educational video per post. (Today's pick from the same archive is on neuroethics.) Channel N posts follow a simple informative structure. I'm not stopping Neurofuture, it's an outgrowth. Add Channel N to your blogroll.




Neurologisms revisited

During Brain Awareness Week 2006 (BAW) I held a neuroword contest.

From 50 entries, witty and descriptive and serious and catchy, some all at once, the winner is:
Neurologism: a word created by prefixing "neuro" to almost any normal word.

The contest was for new definitions as well as words from scratch, and it was an excellent definition. Enough to crown it a winner. Now, however, Jake Dunagan has come forward to point out he coined it in 2004, in the article Neurofutures: The Brain, Politics, and Power (page 8, at the bottom, PDF, please read as discussion is upcoming). All I can say is oops, and sorry. I was remiss in not searching more; neurologism also has other definitions but I hadn't found this one.

Neurologism as defined and credited to Neil H. remains the winning neuroword. Described by Mind Hacks as "beautifully recursive", it's been adopted by many. (Google "neurologism" now and Mind Hacks entries are ranked first, and I'm third.) Jake Dunagan now shares credit.

Today, a bigger better happier ending. Another winner! A co-winning neuroword, this one made it through searches in Google, Technorati, MedLine, OneLook, Yahoo, PsychInfo, and Wikipedia. Following that, a panel of five judges each chose it in their top three. Positive indication it's a thoroughly original and witty word, including an original spelling (neurologism was not). The co-winner is:
Neurogibberish- Seemingly impressive jargon used by some neuroscientists to hide lack of real findings.

Congratulations E.! You win puzzles, as did Neil H., but more importantly, fame and – well, fame. Great word. Thank you to the judges: The Neurocritic of the eponymous blog, Chris of Mixing Memory, Amanda of Isotripy, Caio Maximino of Sturm and Drang, and J. Stephen Higgins of Omni Brain. Superior writers with good taste all.

Honourable mention from the judges, and a little puzzle, goes to Alex for neurrelevant. He entered it along with three others (including the hilarious neuriposte):
Neurrelevant: Best practise when dealing with a neuriposte or neuro-tic, e.g. 'that's neurrelevant and you're lowering our intelligence just by bringing it up'.

I also have follow-up from a few entries.
Neurofilk: A popular or folk song with lyrics revised or completely new neurolyrics and/or neuromusic, intended for humorous effect when read, and/or to be sung late at night at SfN or other neuroscience conventions.

Entered by Alex, coined in 1996 in a funny archived Usenet post of neurofilk lyrics by Dennis McClain-Furmanski.
Neurorotica or Neurotica: Discussing the activities of the human brain in a way that is intended to cause sexual arousal. (Credit: Eric.)

In a search for neurotica there are over 700,000 hits. There's a band, a cartoon, lots of other usages. Alternately, in a search for the spelling neuroerotica there are still examples, including a neurosong by Poetic Warrior Press titled Neuroerotica (free mp3).

The Neurocritic came up with a definition of his own:
alternate definition: erotica used in a neuroimaging study to produce pictures like this one (from a study by Redoute et al., 2000).


A logical definition. But what about the discussing the brain to intentionally cause sexual arousal? Nobody else online spells it neurorotica, and apparently nobody has defined it the same way. (Though it may be among the 700,000.) So, I was inspired to create some neurorotica. A short story. For now, if you'd like to read it, email.

Yay for all the neurologisms! Thanks again to everyone who participated.



Media plus content

There’s a lot of exciting work being done in neuroscience today. And the commercial potential is substantial. But the market sector has been oversaturated with the recycled, repackaged commodity offerings by the big players. What neuroscience really needs is an injection of new energy.

NeuroScene highlights just that, new trends in commercial neuroscience. A conference report (quoted above) looks at well-positioned players and hot topics from BIO 2006, while other market reports feature vascular dementia (the next big market?) and neurostimulator research at Cyberkinetics. There's also an mp3 podcast: the neuroscience of obesity, interview with Dr. Ann E. Kelley.

NeuroScene aggregates the more intriguing recent news, as well as original content, in a sleek site.

I adore well-designed web sites (some people like kittens, I like efficiency). Another favourite is Bjorn Bremb's Blog, a Swedish neurobiologist's blog and comprehensive homepage using the free open source e107 content management system. From his knife-making hobby to photos to a repository of his publications, with tons of site stats I didn't know I wanted to know but did (views/downloads/ratings, etc.). Breathtakingly organized. My Blogger blog seems so-o-o lame now.

Brembs also maintains an educational site called Science and Magic. Why the title, and fantasy-type images? From the intro:

The design of my homepage is the humble attempt to counterpoint the overwhelming impact science has on our thinking. By contrasting layout and content I try to put science into a different perspective than most scientists of today. I am not trying to mythologize science into some dark gibberish but rather to raise awareness that the knowledge we acquire in science is not superior to any other knowledge and should not be absolutized. Science is communication. The internet is the juggernaut of the information age.

Here you'll find his concise but specific original writing about order in spontaneous behaviour, learning and memory, evolution, a biological basis for aggression in Drosophila, concepts of metabiology and more.



Molecules on parade

I've seen jewelry designers do similar things with molecules (like these neurotransmitter earrings), but none with the finesse of Muscovie Designs. Nice.

Caffeine pendant

Unrelated, in Meme Therapy's Brain Parade series, Underrated Tech Part 2, I contribute an answer to "Out of our currently existing technologies, is there one that you feel has the most underrated potential?" Go read.

Brain Parade's a cool feature; Meme Therapy gathers many interesting scientists, authors, and bloggers (including Chris Chatham of Developing Intelligence, in today's post commenting on neural nets) to talk futurism.




Health problems kept me off my keyboard. While I recuperated, a diet of hardcover books instead of RSS feeds changed my priorities a bit.

I'd been neglecting other projects for this blog. The intarweb is a highly distracting time suck, as I'm sure you know. I'm working on a better balance, but for now am reallocating this time until I finish a book I'm working on or at least set a better schedule.

This is not the end of Neurofuture. Stay subscribed, and stay tuned this week for a few tidying-up posts including a new co-winner of the neuroword contest.

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