Category Archives: Evolution

August 10

It’s a Fine Line Between Utopia and Gattaca

In a previous piece, we talked about why scientists and innovators around the world are so excited about CRISPR, a powerful new gene editing technology. The tool was first published 2012, but it still regularly makes headlines. Less than a month ago researchers in Portland, Oregon announced the first successful use of CRISPR in human […]

June 15

Your Brain, the Liar

Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Thinking machines, like those portrayed in HBO’s Westworld, use new information from their environment to update their beliefs about the world and take action to further their goals. For all such machines, the success of that process of integrating new input is limited by their hardware, […]

December 22

Naked and Unafraid

En español Ugliest animal in the world. 2013’s “Vertebrate of the Year”. Co-star of Disney Channel’s Kim Possible. These are just a few of the naked mole rat’s most notable distinctions. However, the extent of their peculiarity and alienness is, if you would believe it, enormously under-appreciated. The more they learn, scientists across the fields […]

May 05

Hello Darkness My Old Friend: How Echolocation Lets Bats Rule the Night

When I asked my boyfriend, a 15-year-old stuck in 28-year-old’s body, who would win in a battle between Batman and Superman in anticipation of the now-in-theaters “smash-flop” blockbuster, he responded, “Obviously Superman with his powers of x-ray vision and superhuman strength.  Batman is just a human with fancy technology.”  Such gadgets as a tape erasing […]

April 30

Birds, Brains, and Boats: The Harvey Karten Story

“So, what can I do for you?” To be honest, it wasn’t how I expected to find Dr. Harvey J. Karten, neuroscience Professor Emeritus and recent inductee to the National Academy of the Sciences. But when I open the door his office on a bright San Diego afternoon, he is sitting in front of three monitors, hard at […]

December 24

Neuro-Gifting

‘Tis the season…for a lot of things. No matter what holiday you celebrate, December tends to be a month to get together with family, give each other gifts, and if you’re still feeling generous, give money to charity. The end of this month also tends to involve the consumption of a great deal of alcohol…stay […]

December 12

The best-laid brains of bugs and men

Five hundred million years ago, Alalcomenaeus and Fuxianhuia scuttled along the ocean floor side-by-side. These creatures, each 1-2 inches in length, were living in a time known as the Cambrian Explosion – the sudden fossilized shift from largely single-celled organisms to animals representing every animal phylum still in existence today. To put this in perspective, […]