Encephalon Goes to Paris (Hilton)

Welcome to the most recent installation of the neuroscience blog carnival, Encephelon, here at Of Two Minds! Steve and I thought we would mix things up a little bit and let a guest blogger summarize the best brain blogging (submitted to us (this week)). That guest is none other that famed socialite Paris Hilton, who wished to take this opportunity to attempt to change her image from fashionista to neuronista. Please welcome Paris!

i-258ebd15410fa6cac6df422909a69700-paris.jpg Hi neurokids, Paris here. While I'm sure that you have already formed an opinion of me due to the massive media coverage of my escapades and foibles, hopefully that won't taint your enjoyment of my science blogging. I am actually a very intelligent student of neuroscience - after all if Blossom can become a neuroscience grad student at UCLA so can I! Neuroscience is sooo hot!

The Dalai Lama spoke at the Society for Neuroscience meeting a few years back, demonstrating an active interest in neuroscience (although perhaps a less robust understanding of a few fundamentals). Anyway, the more public figures interested in the brain, the better, I say. He does seem to have a knack for asking interesting and less-than-straightforward questions.

Neuroscience bloggers have been busy covering the science of video games. Mind Hacks highlights the Emotiv headset which is set to hit stores soon, and relies on EEG technology to predict the gamers moves and wishes inside the game. And contrary to industry stats that show females gamers on the rise, one study promotes the idea that men are innately geared towards enjoying video games more than women. Dreaming about video games sounds like an effect of playing them too much, however, people have been found to dream about playing Tetris after a particular long session and that even amnesiac experience these dreams, despite being unable to remember playing the game.

I said a few months ago that "It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends, ... I will not go into the details of what happened. All I will say is that Nicole knows what she did, and that's all I am ever going to say about it." But I think it's time to come clean about what our disagreement was actually about. Nicole seemed to think that spanking her kids was fine, but now with this post from Brain Blogger I can prove her wrong. As a matter of fact when kids are spanked there is "an increased probability of verbally and physically coercing a dating partner to have sex; risky sex such as premarital sex without using a condom; and masochistic sex such as spanking during sex."

i-383c2402feeb9b664878ae8dac18be6b-Paris_Hilton_.jpgEveryone loves dopamine (Especially ME!). Some people (like ME!) spend their lives (and their fathers' fortunes) chasing the dopaminergic dragon. Marc Digman blogs about a great review article in April's Nature Neuroscience regarding the current view of the neurobiology of pleasure and pain and the difference between 'wanting' and 'liking.' Marc also covers evolutionary theories as to why we love sweet things so much (hint: has to do with dopamine) and how it impacts obesity. Neuroanthropology tackles obesity as well, with a well thought out analysis of the genes vs. environment arguments. I do wish they'd stop hating on the twin studies though.

The Neurophilosopher describes how the evolution of language, and the specification of areas devoted to the processing and production of language, proceeded to rewire the brain via the development of the arcuate fasciculus. Neuroanthropology blogs about a fascinating paper which analyzes how being bilingual might impact how people solve social perception problems.

Jennifer at Cocktail Party Physics has been neuro-blogging lately, and here covers a bit about the fascinating history of neuroscience. Why are golgi called golgi?? Who exactly is Ramon y Cajal?? Inquiring minds want to know! She also discusses how the public perception of mental illness has evolved over the past few decades, using the story of Senator Thomas Eagleton as a case in point.

John Medina, affiliate professor at the University of Washington, has written an intriguing book called 'Brain Rules' touted at Sharp Brains. While probably not containing much new info for the seasoned brainiac, these popular neuroscience books serve a role as distilling the science into bite-size pieces for a lay audience via anecdote.

'Mentalizing' refers to being able to infer the mental states of others, which can be impaired in disorders like autism and borderline personality disorder. The Neurocritic summarizes recent fMRI studies on mentalizing, including a 'Bush, not-Bush' task. Hilarity ensues. I wonder what happens when someone mentalizes me?

Celebs will pay big bucks for aromatherapy, but stinky-foot smell is likely not to be one of the featured scents. However, exposing someone having an epileptic seizure to stinky-foot smell has been thought (for unknown reasons) to interrupt the seizure. Oddly enough, there may be something to it. Speaking of smelling, our sense of olfaction may be intimately linked with sensing danger, as a person's sense of smell can be heightened following electric shocks.

Synesthesia is when one experiences sensory input as a different sensory "output," like seeing colors in response to music or experiencing a particular taste when you smell someone's perfume. This blogger describes their own synesthesia experience and breaks down the clinical definition. Phantom pain is also a phenomenon related to altered sensory experience: when an amputated limb continues to "cause" pain despite its obvious absence. Jake at Pure Pedantry blogs that mirrors may be the simple answer.

Tabloids aren't the only publications prone to exaggeration and mis-stating facts. Psychology textbooks do it too, and have perpetuated falsehoods about Descartes, the discovery of Broca's area, and Morgan's canon. I might have to sue some of those textbooks as well as the usual tabloids.

Who knew that the powerful anti-psychotic drug lithium chloride actually began as a salt substitute for people with heart and kidney disease? When people began dying from lithium toxicity, the compound was reclassified from a food additive to a drug after it was discovered that lithium could sedate rats quite efficiently. Although it certainly has more side effects than Prozac...

Looks like an at-home 'spit-test' for bipolar disorder is being sold by a company called Psynomics, which puports to diagnose the disorder by assaying for two mutations on the GRK3 gene which have been linked to it. I'm a bit worried that this might circumvent the care of a physician, or be misinterpreted by the user, but the kit could be useful for physicians to support a diagnosis. That's crazy I thought that pregnancy was the only thing I could test for at home.

Anyway, hope you have enjoyed this installment of Encephalon! The next one will be hosted at GNIF Brain Blogger.


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What??? Nothing is teh HAWTT?

By natural cynic (not verified) on 31 Mar 2008 #permalink

Well, if it wasn't posted on March 31st I would have had trouble believing it was really Ms. Hilton. Not that I don't believe she is smarter than what we have seen ("so what can you buy a Wal-Mart? Walls?"), but... Well, what the heck. Hi Paris! Please come visit again soon.

By Bj�rn �stman (not verified) on 31 Mar 2008 #permalink

Just What If ,,,Just What If mind you, It is true that God/Jesus is Really Real? And you go to a very real hell for not believing in and accepting this truth?

The following is Howard Storm's (a "FORMER" atheistic Professor) Near Dea^th Experience.
I suggest that you atheists watch the videos at the end of the page and judge for yourself whether he is truly sincere in his testimony.


As well this following video is sobering:

23 Minutes in HELL, by Bill Wiese

Thus since I don't want you atheists to go to a real hell, I will present further evidence for a transcendent God's real reality.

(Or you can take the blue pill and go back to your dream world ...sans.. MATRIX)

Theistic Philosophy Compared to the
Materialistic Philosophy of Science

There are two prevailing philosophies vying for the right to be called the truth in man's perception of
reality. These two prevailing philosophies are Theism and Materialism. Materialism is sometimes called philosophical naturalism and, to a lesser degree, is often even conflated with methodological naturalism. Materialism is the current hypothesis entrenched over science as the dom^inant hypothesis guiding scientists. Materialism asserts that everything that exists arose from chance acting on an material basis which has always existed. Whereas, Theism asserts everything that exists arose from the purposeful will of the spirit of Almighty God who has always existed in a timeless eternity. A hypothesis in science is suppose to give proper guidance to scientists and make, somewhat, accurate predictions. In this primary endeavor, for a hypothesis, Materialism has failed
miserably. Lets take a look at a few of the predictions where Materialism has missed the mark and Theism has been accurate.

1. Materialism did not predict the big bang (neither did it predict the creation of time). Yet Theism always said the universe was created (as well as always saying that time was created).

2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Yet Theism always said the universe is the
craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space. (Quantum Non-Locality actually proves the transcendence and dominion of "information" over the material/energy realm and makes God's omniscient (all knowing) and omnipotent (all powerful) characteristics plausible with how our reality is actually constructed.)

3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein's special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

4. Materialism did not predict the stunning interrelated precision found for the various underlying, unchanging and transcendent, universal constants for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle, which allows life as we know it to even be possible in the first place. Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning and unchanging clockwork precision found for the various transcendent universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.

5. Materialism predicted that complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Yet statistical analysis of the many required parameters that enable complex life to be possible on earth reveals that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support complex life in this universe. Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe in its ability to support complex life (with the reservation that only God can create complex life in this universe).

6. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man.
Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.

7. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such
a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism�s DNA.

8. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity for the �simplest� life on earth.

9. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Yet we find evidence for �complex� photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Minik T. Rosing and Robert Frei, �U-Rich Archaean Sea-Floor Sediments from Greenland�Indications of >3700 Ma Oxygenic Photosynthesis", Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6907 (2003): 1-8) Theism would have naturally expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.

10. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth. Yet Theism would have naturally expected such sudden appearance of the many different and completely unique fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

11. Materialism predicted that there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record. Yet fossils are characterized by sudden appearance in the fossil record and overall stability, and even deterioration of variety within the overall group and within specific species over long periods of time, as long as they stay in the fossil record. There is not one clear example of unambiguously clear
transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Theism would have naturally expected fossils to suddenly appear in the fossil
record with overall stability, and even deterioration, afterwards as well as no
clear evidence of transmutation into radically new forms.

12. Materialism predicts animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Yet man himself is the last generally accepted fossil to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. Theism would have predicted that man himself was the last fossil to suddenly appear in the fossil record.

As well I find the following papers crushing against the myth that Christianity is "unscientific"; In fact honest, unbiased, appraisal of the evidence indicates
that Christianity happened to be crucial to the birth of science itself:

Christianity and the Rise of Science

Christianity and the Birth of Science by Michael
Bumbulis, Ph.D

Famous (Founding) Scientists Who Believed in God

As well I submit this following evidence;

Let us look at evidence for God's deep personal involvement with man. Many people would argue that the Bible is proof of God�s supernatural and personal
involvement with man since it is the only sacred book in the world, besides the Torah, to have the supernatural watermark of hundreds of precisely fulfilled prophecies in it that can be verified by a variety of sources. Here are a few prophecies that are eye opening in their accuracy:

The King Jesus (A Precise Mathematical Prediction)

The Decree of Cyrus
The City of Tyre
The City of Samaria

Divine Bible prophecy

100 Bible prophecies explained:

These hundreds of precisely fulfilled prophecies are compelling hard facts in and of themselves; yet, there is one more piece of solid physical evidence that
bears powerful witness to the Bible�s validity and also sheds an undeniable light on God's deep personal commitment to man; The Shroud of Turin. The Shroud of
Turin is one of the most scientifically scrutinized artifacts in recorded history. Through a rigid process of elimination for all naturalistic possibilities, it becomes crystal clear that the way in which the image of the man, on the Shroud of Turin, had to be imprinted was "supernatural" in its process. Many solid lines of evidence pointed to the Shroud�s authenticity back in the 1980�s, yet the carbon dating
of the Shroud indicated a medieval age. In spite of the many other solid lines of evidence establishing the authenticity of the Shroud, many people unquestionably accepted the carbon dating as valid and presumed the Shroud to be a medieval fake. Yet now the carbon dating question has been thoroughly addressed and refuted in the year 2000 by Joseph G. Marino and M. Sue Benford. Their research, with textile experts showing the carbon testing was done with a piece of the Shroud that was subject to expert medieval reweaving in the 1500�s, has been published in many peer reviewed science journals. Thus, the fact that a false age was shown by the 1988 carbon testing has been accepted across the board scientifically.

The following is one of the main peer reviewed papers that refute the 1988 Carbon Dating:
Why The Carbon 14 Samples Are Invalid
per: Thermochimica Acta (Volume 425 pages 189-194, by
Raymond N. Rogers, Los Alamos National Laboratory,
University of California)
The abstract in Thermochimica Acta reads in part:
Preliminary estimates of the kinetics constants for the loss of vanillin from lignin indicate a much older age for the cloth than the radiocarbon analyses. The
radiocarbon sampling area is uniquely coated with a yellow�brown plant gum containing dye lakes.
Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not
part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.

The paper in Thermochimica Acta, is available on Elsevier BV's ScienceDirect� online information site.
Elsevier is one of the world's largest providers of
ethical, peer-reviewed scientific, technical and
medical literature.


Now all major lines of evidence converge and establish the Shroud as authentic. This rigidly tested and scrutinized artifact establishes the uniqueness of the
Shroud among all the ancient artifacts of man found on earth. I know of no other ancient artifact from any other culture which has withstood such intense
scrutiny and still remained standing in its claim of supernatural origin. It is apparent God thought this event was so important for us to remember that He took
a �photograph� of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, using the Shroud itself as a medium. After years of painstaking research searching through every naturalistic possibility, scientists still cannot tell us exactly how the image of the man on the Shroud was imprinted. Even with the advantage of all our advanced space-age technology at their fingertips, all scientists can guess is that it was some type of
electro-magnetic radiation (light) that is not natural to this world. For the �light�, that had to be used to make such a precise (photographic negative) image,
left no detectable �heat damage� or "common signature" when it imprinted the
image. All electro-magnetic radiation that scientists are familiar with, with enough intensity to make an image of a man on that type of medium, would have left
detectable �heat damage� on the Shroud. I have a suggestion, if scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light that made the image I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Judeo-Christian after-life experiences of people who have been deceased for a short while. It is in their testimonies that you find mention of an indescribably bright �Light� or �Being of Light� who is always
described as being of a much brighter light than the people had ever seen before. All people who have been in the presence of �The Being of Light� while deceased
have no doubt whatsoever that the �The Being of Light� they were in the presence of is none other than �The Lord� of heaven and earth. Another very interesting
point is, since the Shroud had to be extremely close to the body when the image was made, and also considering the lack of any distinctive shadow pattern
on the image, it is made apparent the only place this supernatural light that produced the image could have possibly come from is from the body itself ! In other
words, THE SOURCE OF LIGHT WAS THE BODY ITSELF !!! God's crowning achievement for this universe was not when He created this universe. God�s crowning achievement for this universe was when He Himself inhabited the human body He had purposely created the whole universe for, to sanctify human beings unto Himself through the de^ath and resurrection of his �Son� Jesus Christ. This is truly something that should fill anyone who reads this with awe. The wonder
of it all is something that I can scarcely begin to understand much less write about. Thus, I will finish my paper with a scripture.

Hebrews 2:14-15
"Since we, God's children, are human beings - made of flesh and blo^od - He became flesh and blo^od too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could He die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of de^ath. Only in that way could He deliver those who through fear of de^ath have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread."

By bornagain77 (not verified) on 01 Apr 2008 #permalink


Anyone feel like summarizing any points they may have conceivably made? :P


damn, it's passed 12. Now I'm a fool :(

By Colin Brown (not verified) on 01 Apr 2008 #permalink

Yo, Yo, Yo! It is BornAgain 77 - He's ALIVE AGAIN!! We were worried about you and miss you so much. You never post anymore at Uncommonly Dense. The general consensus is that you violated your parole,and got caught within 100 yards of a Jr. high school again, so got sent up the river, but I told them you were just praying to The Good Lord for guidance, or had given up posting at UD for Lent.

So, if I am right, please go over there again and tell DaveScot his face looks like Jesus Christ and Allah's butts.

Welcome back to UD my Nanny-Filtering Knucklehead!

Paris: very impressive! would you like to have a regular brain fitness column here at Sharpbrains?

My suggestion for the first one: how can we help bornagain77?

We could take away his nanny filter.

I hope this is the real BA77. Some of us were worried about him because he disappeared from sight around Christmas.

My first time at this blog, and to be hit by Bg77- gotta hope after another 20 or 30 thousand reincarnations he'll be normal.

I guess Ms. Hilton is also starting to write comments on the science blogs.

"Thus, since I don't want you atheists to go to a real hell.." Man. Is it me, or is there a real creepy, seething hatred behind those words? Poor guy. He must not get enough sleep.

By Frank the Cabbie (not verified) on 03 Apr 2008 #permalink

The Neurochip/Nachip Project from Paris Hilton is going on at WASHU Washington Memorial Hospital in St.Louis,Missouri. Rick and Richard Hilton of Hilton Hotels(Hilton Headshop) are heading this project.This illegal inhumane brain washing project using the Neurochip(from Infineon Stefano Giardi of Perdue Italy)is going on without Congress knowledge or approval. Vice-President Joseph Biden,George W.Bush(RICO lawsuite illegal RFID (TAG)microchip implant settled for $6million dollars)Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft(attorney general of Missouri) are embezzeling United States Grant money, they are at the Washington Memorial Hospital as well as 46 Celebrity Investors(each piched in $5,000 dollars to get $1million dollar return in grant money, Some of the Celebrities(investors) at Washington Memorial Hospital are: Fran Drescher (whom wants to run for Florida Senate), Alan Alda and cast from MASH, Eddie Murphy,Queen Latifa, Tim Talor and the cast from ToolTime, Ashton Cutcher and the cast from That 70's Show, Donald Trump, and many other Celebrity investors are there. If they successfully brain wash five chronic pain sufferers,that's whom their using(they've killed four already)I'm the fifth subject. They didn't have any legal right to use me for this inhumane experiment.
read"mike kelly document 9" on Google search engine on-line and then got to "SHOWBIZ.com" their blogging while brain washing Michael Kelly.

By Michael Kelly (not verified) on 18 Jul 2009 #permalink

Yay, we have some Insanity spam from one Michael Kelly! neat! Erm...I love how he claims Alan Alda and the WHOLE cast of MASH is in on it. Now, do you mean the cast that was in the pilot episode, or the last episode? I mean they did replace a few people, a few that were characters in the movie were removed after a few episodes, and so forth. Plus a couple of them have died too. Oh..and you misspelled at least one name Mike, I won't say which one but it REALLY does lower your credibility just a WEE bit. Oh well, I just get a kick out of looking up insanity spammers. What's even more amusing, this is that I was doing my weekly search for a DIFFERENT insanity spammer I like to look up, and hit this guy's post instead. Do tell me Michael Kelly (Ever hear of a guy named Brandon as an aside, Mike?), what IS it about Paris Hilton that invites such lunatics? I mean, Zha-Zha Gabor was a celebutante, just basically famous for being famous and wealthy, nothing else really and she didn't have at least two people posting drivel about her claiming evil mind control experiments. So what is it about Paris Hilton, one of the most vapid celebrities since Vanna White that inspires such? Do tell Mike old boy, do tell! Oh..and if you do know whom I mean, say hi to Brandon M. Witte the "other insanity spammer" I mentioned. Unless...well no, they couldn't be one in the same. Could they? ;)

By Mike Witte (not verified) on 26 Jul 2009 #permalink