Seeing Little Pink Men, and Other Neurological Stories
"I remember I was reading Svevo, it was 'The Confessions of Zeno'...And I looked—I was lying in bed and I looked down at the floor and there was a little pink man and a pink ox, and they were about this tall, moving and beautifully articulated. So lovely. And they gave me a very good feeling. I had no fear, no distress, just a feeling of fascination, friendliness, and pleasure...This hallucination was followed by a migraine." Encounters with the bizarre side of the brain, from hallucinations to seizures to synesthesia, are the theme of today's Big Think interview with novelist Siri Hustvedt.
According to Hustvedt, the pink man's visitation was a one-time event and the product of a well-established medical phenomenon called "Lilliputian hallucination." Yet it's not her only brush with neurological oddity. The novelist was overcome by a still-unexplained seizure while speaking at a memorial event for her late father in 2006, prompting her recent "neurological memoir" ("The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves") as well as a fascination with the emerging field of neuropsychoanalysis. By connecting subjective psychological events with the findings of modern brain research, such analysis hopes to lend firmer scientific grounding to Freud's old project: probing the mysteries of the individual mind.
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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