Category Archives: the brain

Ep 210: The gas and brakes in your brain



The gas and brakes in your brain

Philosophy was fun, but let’s get back to looking at the brain, and the bits there in. Today we talk about a system that helps to activate and control the way you move. It’s one part of what’s happening in your “basal ganglia,” which is just fun to say.
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Ep 209: Do you really make choices?



Do you really make choices?

We had trouble finding an ending last time. Probably because we weren’t done. There was more to say, and we say it. From AI and ethics, to the question of choice and free will, join us for another episode that creeps out of science and into the less than certain world of philosophy.
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Ep 208: Sometimes science isn’t enough



Sometimes science isn’t enough

The mind body problem, the hard question of consciousness—why do you feel like you to you? Phil and I attempt to bridge the gap between science and philosophy, only to fall down the chasm. We struggle a while with questions that have no answers, mostly because it means we can’t possibly get them wrong. Join us for a talk about consciousness.
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Ep 207: Brains and batteries, oh my



Brains and batteries, oh my

Our last recording went a little long. We split it in two, and this is the second part. Today we talk about the somewhat gruesome history of studying the electrical activity of the brain.
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Ep 206: Bloody brains!




Bloody brains!

The parts of your brain that are working the hardest, need the most blood. Your brain actually pulsates with your heartbeat, and the flow of your blood within your brain changes from minute to minute. One of the ways to study the brain is to track its blood flow. Today, along with the fall of Eastern Rome, assassins, goats and tourniquets, Phil and I talk about early methods of tracking the brain’s blood flow.
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Ep 205: Pulsating, broken brains!



Pulsating, broken brains!

Much of what we’ve learned about how our brain works came from the results of injury and disease. From the work of an ancient Egyptian doctor, to a roman physician patching up gladiators, to an unfortunate gunpowder accident in 1848, we talk about some of what we’ve learned from the brain about the brain when the brain breaks.
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Ep 204: Light, color, contrast, and brain cells



Light, color, contrast, and brain cells

From simple staining, to neurons being stimulated by lasers, today we look at some of the ways we look at our brain, it’s cells, and how said brain cells work.
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Ep 202: We entirely fail to explain MRI



We entirely fail to explain MRI

Phil and I have decided to look at some of the tools and techniques used to try and understand the human brain. Today, we look at the MRI. Unfortunately, Brad couldn’t follow the physics, and it shows.
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Ep 201: Beyond the neuron



Beyond the neuron

The neuron is not the only type of brain cell. From a celebrity missing body parts, to human cells in a mouse brain, we take a look at your glia.

Here’s a video about the brain, that includes the animation I mentioned in the episode, and information on your Glia.

A Blueprint for the Human Brain

Here’s a simple and quick article about human Glia being placed into mice.

The smart mouse with the half-human brain

Here’s a less simple, less quick article about the same experiments.

Forebrain engraftment by human glial progenitor cells enhances synaptic plasticity and learning in adult mice

Here are a couple of articles about Einstein’s brain.

The Tragic Story of How Einstein’s Brain Was Stolen and Wasn’t Even Special

The strange afterlife of Einstein’s brain

I said that myelinization is an invention of the vertebrates. Well, there are exceptions. It wasn’t in the show, but it’s interesting—something on the evolution of myelination that includes a couple of invertebrates who’ve come up with the same trick.

Myelin Evolution


Ep 200: will robots rule the world?



will robots rule the world?

If we were to create an artificial intelligence that’s more intelligent than we are, would it take over and force us into extinction? Can a machine have a mind equal to or even better than our own? Today, we take a look at such questions, along with some side trips to sharks and whales and monkeys, and rocks and chocolate. I swear the candy thing really was relevant; I just got distracted.
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