Mind’s Eye Blind – Aphantasia and a Lack of Mental Imagery

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I had some fascinating research pointed out to me today.

Three scientists—Adam Zeman, Michaela Dewar, and Sergio Della Sala—published preliminary research in Cortex, a scientific journal that publishes articles regarding the relationship between cognition and the nervous system. The article, entitled “Lives without imagery—Congenital aphantasia,” describes a fascinating phenomenon where a person lacks the ability to voluntarily visualize images in their “mind’s eye.” Right now, 2% remains the best estimate of how commonly congenital aphantasia occurs.

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Cassini’s Dione Flyby – Images

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The Cassini Mission to Saturn has been a powerful and significant step in the exploration of our solar system—a cooperative venture of NASA, the European Space Agency, and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (the Italian Space Agency).

Since being launched in 1997, Cassini has flown by Jupiter, done tests regarding general relativity, orbited Saturn, and done close flybys of several of Saturn’s moons, not to mention delivering the Huygens probe to the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan—all while sending back reams and reams of data to scientists.

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SD Comic-Con 2015 The Martian Panel

Here’s the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con panel for The Martianthe film version of Andy Weir’s bestselling novel, directed by Ridley Scott.

The panel consists of Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science; Todd May, the manager of NASA’s space launch system; Victor Glover, a NASA astronaut; and, of course, the author of the book, Andy Weir.

It’s great to see NASA engaging with popular culture, which is something I think The Martian has great potential to do. I’m glad NASA is working to emphasize that strength.

I haven’t had a chance to check out the whole video yet, but if there’s a moment you particularly enjoyed/learned something from, feel free to leave the timestamp below!

Enjoy!

Darwinian Enigma? The Genetic Basis of Homosexuality

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This past spring, I did an interesting project on the last twenty years of research into the genetic basis of homosexuality. It was a really interesting project. I was an English major while in college, as I’ve said before. Because of this, I’m used to interpreting literature and constructing arguments based on fictional narratives, not scientific articles based on empirical data. It’s a very different mode of thought. I thought I would share some of my findings on here.

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Andy Weir’s The Martian – Review

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Andy Weir’s The Martian sucked me in like a black hole.

The book is a really quick read—the definition of a page-turner. (I read the book in two days; my girlfriend in one). And for a debut novel, the book is a truly impressive effort. The film version, directed by Ridley Scott, comes out in five or six weeks and clearly has a lot of money behind it–just take a gander at the cast. Anyway, the book is a bestseller and, with the film on the way,  it obviously has some mainstream appeal, which turns out to be one of the things I like best about it.

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Beginnings

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Welcome to the pale blue dot! Thanks for stopping by!

I started this blog for several reasons.

First of all, I need a project to work on—something, anything—just to keep busy. I graduated this past May with a Bachelor of Arts in English and I’m still working on gaining employment. I figured I might as well put my degree to some use between filling out applications and going to interviews. It has the added bonus of keeping my fingers busy so I don’t pull my hair out waiting for someone to call me back. So, here we are.

Second, I believe scientific literacy to be vitally important, not just in some abstract sense, but for the future survival of human beings as a species. Because of this, I want to contribute to and engage in the conversation of science. While I studied English during my undergraduate career, I did a lot of side reading on evolutionary biologycosmology, and other sciences. It has become a passion, one that I hope to integrate into my future career in some form or other. But hey, we’ll see about that. At times then, this blog will present interesting scientific discoveries and achievements (and probably some beautiful pictures of stars too).

There are plenty of interesting topics on the periphery of science as well, somewhat indirectly related. That is why you’ll also find some book and film reviews, perhaps a bit of literary theory, or discussions on social or environmental policy.

To kick this off, here is a list of a few fun resources for those interested in science or thought-provoking stuff:

That’s all for the moment! I look forward to future posts!