Going googly

In the July-August issue of the Atlantic Monthly, Nicolas Carr asks us the interesting question: “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The article appeared at an interesting time for me, because I had been invited to deliver a lecture at Google about 2 weeks before its publication, and I had already asked Google employees the same…

Celebrating the Career of a Great Scientist and Friend

I spent the last 3 days in Oslo, attending the 80th birthday party (a scientific “festschrift”) of an esteemed scientist and friend, Kirsten Osen. It’s a long trip from San Francisco to Oslo, and back—about 15 hours in transit each way. The scientific agenda for this meeting, focusing on the primary research interests of Professor…

Gory neuroscience

I was surprised to read about neuroscience and the brain considered from a particularly intelligent general perspective in the politician Al Gore’s recently published The Assault on Reason (now a Penguin soft-cover). I recommend this book for its perspective about the relationship between “reason” and “marketing” — as “truth” hangs in the balance — in…

A sixth misconception about aging: Alzheimers Disease pathology specifically impairs memory/cognitive processes in aging

Our rule when reading about “Ten Misconceptions About Aging” is that you read about prior “misconceptions” before your are entitled to read about this current one, MC #6. If you haven’t done your homework, see blogs on this subject on November 7th, December 5th, April 29th, May 1st and May 5th. Then come back and…

Mr. Leonard Krauss and Dr. Stanley Karansky win a “Merzie”

Over the past three years, we have conducted several research projects at Rossmoor, a retirement community with about 9,000 residents about 20 miles east of San Francisco. Rossmoor is in a beautiful rural setting in a narrow valley surrounded by oak-cloaked hills. I have given a number of lectures there, and am always struck by…

Children left behind

A large, controlled study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education has just shown that a widely mandated program (Reading First) delivered to promulgate ‘best practices’ for reading education out to American schools in need of help as a >$1 billion part of the “No Child Left Behind” program leaves children behind. The Reading First…

A fifth misconception: Our functional abilities at any stage of life are a handoff from Mother Nature or the Creator of the Universe

If you haven’t done your homework (haven’t read “misconceptions 1-4”), go do it, then read this one. You’ll find those entries on November 7th, December 5th, April 29th, and May 1st. Which lead us to: Misconception 5. Our functional abilities at any stage of life are a handoff from Mother Nature or the Creator of…

“The Brain Fitness Program” on PBS

Many of you may have seen this program.  At last count, it has been shown several thousand times. Almost every PBS station has repeatedly aired it.  Moreover, like a bad penny, it’ll show up again, in the next pledge-break period!  All of this attention stems from its success. PBS viewers have made this one of…