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Archive for October, 2012

Wednesday, October 3rd 2012

Why The Stigmata of Social Media Will Be Brief

To be honest I can’t even recall everything I’ve ever posted about on this blog but it would not surprise me if there is something amongst the archives that I someday regret. Maybe this blog and my Twitter account and some Facebook photo will keep me from becoming President. We’ve heard the refrain before that indiscriminate social media use will come back to bite my generation and the ones behind me. There’s some truth to it for sure, but only a touch the bombardement and the focus on such overplays it and shows a level of naivete amongst the “experts.” A laughable title considering the youth and evolving technology of this field.

Well, here is geneticist Juan Enriquez making the familiar argument,

“What if you’re at a bar and people can pull up you Facebook, Twitter, Google searches, your academic citations and all of your other electronic tattoos,” he said.

“You’re no longer just that good looking guy or girl.

“All the tattoos on this person are a lot more explicit than the ones hidden under your underwear.”

Dr Enriquez said that humanity is being challenged – and potentially threatened – with digital immortality.

But my argument is that, the fact such information is readily available will vastly change how our children judge each other based on it. It is going to change social norms. In fact, let me propose that these changes will be relatively dramatic and quick; we’ll see it before out children come of age actually.

Don’t get me wrong, you can get in trouble with social media use. But the apocalypse is not coming and the ways social medial changes our behavior and judgements and prospects will be largely positive, not negative. Dr. Enriquez and others need to calm down.

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Tuesday, October 2nd 2012

Thick Skulls Save Lives


A Woodpecker Skull

The New York Times features a piece about the adaptations of the skulls of animals prone to head banging, such as woodpeckers, that help prevent traumatic brain injury.

The brains of most animals that are prone to head banging — these include deer and other antlered mammals, as well as various birds — are relatively small and (unlike a human’s) smooth-surfaced; and they’re bathed in only small amounts of cerebrospinal fluid, leaving little room for the brain to move and be shocked by the sudden decelerations and accelerations of their weaponized heads.

Moreover, both rams and woodpeckers are scrupulous in the precise, single-direction fashion in which they smash their heads into things, whether trees or one another: The aim is such that there’s very little side-to-side torsion exerted on the brain, none of the movement that induces whiplash injury and other kinds of damage.

Not new revelations, as research into the subject has made the rounds in the news before. Even this year. Hell, even within species, skull thickness and other variations may play a role in how susceptible we are to traumatic brain injury.