ELSEWHERE: The Limits Of Neuroscience

The Curator's Sabrina Little responds to and riffs on a recent David Brooks column regarding the limits of neuroscience and the dangers of "scientism." Neuroscience can offer many beneficial insights into human behavior, but, as Little writes, it also "leaves us feeling unsettled and unduly exposed" when applied too broadly. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Artists Continue Pushing The Boundaries Of What It Means To Be Human

Back in 2011, I wrote a piece about Marion Laval-Jeantet, a French artist who injected herself with horse blood plasma in order to explore "trans-species relationships." Laval-Jeantet isn't the only artist working in this area and using their body as an artistic medium, though. Here's a list of 7 "bio-artists" who explore, sometimes in disturbing ways, such topics as human enhancement, post-genderism, social concepts of beauty, and genetic manipulation. And in the process, they can challenge m … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Print Your Own Healing

I've written about the possibilities and controversies surrounding 3D printers before, but I don't think there will be too much controversy around this story: Two men have figured out how to print prosthetic "Robohands" for children, and they've made the designs and techniques freely available to all. More info here. … [Read more...]

Why ‘Farm Lit’ Is the Best

Last weekend I moved just outside city limits, to 2.3 acres of Indiana farmland. On summer break from our teaching jobs at the university, my husband and I have been busy attending to our new brood of chickens, constructing large compost bins, and harvesting mulberries. Perhaps this helps explain why I’ve been drawn to memoirs of city-girls-gone-country—books like The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Katie Kimball. But as it turns out, the rest of the country shares my fascination with f … [Read more...]

How Concerned Should We Be With How 14-Year-Old Girls Use Technology?

It seems like an article comes out every other week about how teens and young adults are using technology: what devices they're using (and not using), what social networks they're using (and not using), etc. Companies certainly have a vested interest in this information. After all, the earlier they can sink their "hooks" into consumers, the more money they potentially stand to earn from those consumers. What's more, teens are particularly fickle and can help identify new and upcoming trends -- … [Read more...]

Oswalt’s Revenge: Sammy Rhodes And The Dangers Of Self-Promotion

Twitter is not for the faint of heart, nor is it well-suited for wallflowers, the sensitive, or those who think in long, complicated rambles. It works best for the angry, the charged, the righteous, and most of all, the funny. Funny people on Twitter get just as many followers as celebrities (and indeed, sometimes more) because our world is always up for a laugh. Sammy Rhodes (formerly @prodigalsam) is one of those people who became Internet-famous because of his ability to generate laughs with … [Read more...]

Social Shifting: Why Are Students leaving Facebook?

Two topics seem to always be on the mind of the news sites; what teenagers are like, and how social media impacts us. But guess what happens when the two come together?  We get controversy.And that's what's come about with the most recent story I found, which stated that teens are leaving Facebook. It all began when Josh Miller (the founder of Internet conversation-starter Branch) interviewed his 15 year old sister, who told him that as a teen, she doesn't go on Facebook as much anymore.   … [Read more...]

Will Humanity Face Extinction?

Nick Bostrom has one of the more interesting -- and depressing -- jobs that I've read about recently. As director of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, Bostrom spends his days thinking about humanity and its fate in the coming centuries, millennia, and beyond. In other words, he tries to think of ways that human beings could become extinct in the near and distant future.The mass extinction of species is nothing new to Earth history. The vast majority of species who have ever lived on our … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Is Human Cloning on Its Way?

Cloning is a process we've been able to do for many years with many species, including Dolly the sheep. However, the first step toward human cloning just occurred, where scientists caused a stem cell to return back into its embryonic state. Time Magazine reports. What will this mean for human ethics and our understanding of life? Only time will tell. … [Read more...]

The ‘Star Wars Kid’ and the Dark Side of the Internet

Several years ago, it was impossible to venture onto the Web without coming across footage of an ungainly lad doing his awkward best to reenact a Star Wars lightsaber battle. The "Star Wars Kid" -- as this clip became known -- was one of the Web's first truly viral videos and an incredibly popular meme. The video amassed tens of millions of views and inspired countless parodies and homages, including a particularly famous one by Stephen Colbert for his 2006 "Green Screen … [Read more...]