Category Archives: Science

#785: Brain Insight Lecture

It was part of a Columbia program, and the speaker was the marshmallow test guy.

He has a name, of course–it’s Dr. Walter Mischel–but I knew him as the marshmallow test guy.

Which I thought was a common thing, but apparently it’s not, since my friend who studied psychology hadn’t even heard of the test. (Isn’t it strange the things we assume are universal?)  But maybe you’ve heard of him: he did the studies where they offered small children a marshmallow that they could eat now, or they could choose to wait and would be promised 2 marshmallows later.

The test, and the lecture last night, was surrounding willpower and self-control. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Science


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#713: Go to Lucali

This pizza place has 4.5 stars on yelp with 630 reviews, but I was more excited about the calzone.

The reason I planned to go was because there was a talk nearby in Red Hook about quantum mechanics and the arrow of time.  No one else was interested or available, so it was a solo night out, which isn’t my favorite kind but is acceptable enough when the talk and food both look so good.

So, on the first truly frigid night of the season, I trekked out to Brooklyn after work and found my way to the restaurant.  The walk from the subway was only about 6 or 7 minutes, but that gave me plenty of time to pity myself for being alone.  If I had a boyfriend or even any human being who proposed staying in and cuddling instead of going to this talk, I could have been convinced in 5 seconds to ditch the night’s plans. That’s what I was thinking to myself as I glanced into the giant living room windows of cozy, warmly lit brownstones.

But, the promise of a gooey calzone, even if eaten by myself at a table built for two, was enough to keep me going.

Then I reached the restaurant and saw the lights were off. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 19, 2014 in Science


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#675: Empiricist League

My first meeting of the group that describes its mission as “bimonthly events that unite writers, filmmakers, and oddballs in the name of science, exploration, and beer” was on the topic of love.

There are probably many people who think love can’t be explained scientifically.  In the words of the first speaker last night (a research scientist with a PhD), “The fact that love can last…it’s…yeah, you know, right?”

So maybe it can’t entirely be. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Science


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#671: Intergalactic Travel Bureau

When I arrived and was asked whether I like beach vacations, I said yes (of course), but also adventures.

First, I was told Mars might be the place for me, but when I spoke to my designated travel agent, she suggested the moons of Saturn, assuring me there were also lakes there.  To be honest, the agent didn’t seem all that knowledgeable about the different destinations, but I didn’t mind too much since they were giving out freeze-dried yogurt and M&Ms.

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Posted by on August 16, 2014 in Science


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#617: Win lecture tickets

I have a feeling the reason I won tickets to a lecture on DNA at the American Museum of Natural History and not, say, any one of the numerous other ticket offers I enter through the same email list, is because fewer people entered this one.

But no matter.  I won.  I got to hear a panel on genes.  I was reminded of the question I hope I never need to seriously consider: if you could find out whether you would one day get a fatal disease, would you want to know?

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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Science


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#595: ArtLab

Listen.  I really really wanted to love this.  You know how fascinated I am with brain stuff.  You understand how intrigued I am by cool science-y things.  (Or you should, anyway.  Do you seriously not know me at all, random stranger who stumbled upon this blog after searching for how to do an adult somersault?)

And I guess, on a purely well-I’ve-never-seen-something-like-this-before-so-it’s-sort-of-cool level, it was interesting. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Music, Science


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#467: Ultimate Science Street Fair

Science.  The preferred discipline for those who must know exactly how things work because they are too afraid to leave anything to faith.  Don’t get me wrong; I love science.  (In case this is the first blog post of mine you’ve read and you don’t know me in real life, you may not realize I am obsessed with 3D printing, parallel universes, robots, and genetics.)  Science, unlike faith, requires proof in order to be relied upon, and who doesn’t like having evidence to back up their claims?  (Don’t say Catholics.)

But science has this reputation for being able to explain things, and I’m not sure it really deserves that.

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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Science


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