Friday, October 19, 2007

Brain Science Podcast #23: Interview with author Susan Blakeslee


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Show Notes

This episode is an interview with Sandra Blakeslee, co-author (with her son Matthew) of The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps Help You Do (almost) Everything Better, which we discussed in episode 21.

I asked Blakeslee to tell me a little bit of her background as a science writer. She wrote for the New York Times for many years and was the co-author of both Jeff Hawkins groundbreaking book, On Intelligence and VS Ramachandran's modern class Phantoms in the Brain (1998), which was one of the first books to explore neuroplasticity.

In this interview we explored the relationship between body maps and neuroplasticity, as well as questions from listeners about out of body experiences and other oddities once considered "paranormal." We talked about how body maps are relevant to understanding why some methods of alternative healing appear to be effective.

I asked her to tell me which scientist she met made the biggest impression. Here are a few of those she mentioned:

Blakeslee told me about some of the pioneering work that Merzenich is doing to apply his discoveries to help people, both those with disabilities and those who just want to combat aging. You can learn more about his work at

If you would like to contact Sandra Blakeslee to give her feedback or ask her questions she has a contact form on her books website at She is going to let me know when she gets the references posted on the site.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Warning: Watch out for bad audio links

The audio files for both of my podcasts are hosted on Libsyn and they have recently changed the addresses for people's podcast audio files. Unfortunately this means that I probably have a lot of bad links floating around not just on this site, but in numerous other locations around the internet. I intend to try to fix the ones I remember posting, but that may take a while, so if you find a bad link please let me know.

Thanks to SpiritSeeker for originally bringing the problem to my attention.

If you are in a hurry to find an old episode you can go directly to my Libsyn sites:

Books and Ideas is at

Brain Science Podcast is at

Friday, October 12, 2007

Comics About A Guy Named Archie: Richard Goldwater’s World

Download MP3 - Richard Goldwater

Archie Comics president and co-publisher Richard Goldwater, 71, who, with his father John, created “Josie and the Pussycats,” has taken his Final Taxi.
He assisted co-publisher Michael Silberkleit with efforts to expand Archie’s core characters into other mediums – including countless Archie, Sabrina and Josie animated TV series, a long-running live-action Sabrina series that has been seen in 34 different countries, a Josie and the Pussycats theatrical motion picture, and “The Archies,” a musical group that had tremendous success in the 1960s and 1970s.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Brain Science Podcast #22: Interview with Christof Koch

questforconsciousness.jpg Listen to the Interview Now

Brain Science Podcast #22 is an interview with Dr. Christof Koch of Cal Tech, one of the pioneers in the neurobiological study of consciousness. About two decades ago when Koch and Francis Crick began looking for what they called the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC), such a quest was considered controversial, but now the field is increasing in popularity. In our interview we talked a little about his book, The Quest for Consciousness, as well as his on-going research and his thoughts about what the future might bring.

Show Notes

Here is a list of some of the topics we discussed:

  • Why Francis Crick was an outstanding mentor and colleague
  • A Working definition of consciousness
  • How consciousness relates to awareness
  • What are neural correlates of consciousness
  • Why vision is the focus of Koch's research
  • The search for the "footprints" of consciousness
  • The role of functional imaging and the use of monkeys
  • Neurons-"the atoms of perception"
  • Why we need a theory of consciousness
  • The role of the frontal lobes in consciousness
  • Is consciousness an emergent property?
  • What about zombies?
  • Why do we need consciousness?
  • Will artificial intelligence become conscious?
  • The hard problem: how does the brain generate subjective experience (qualia)


Christof Koch's homepage

The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach (2004)

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