I have an ISBN! 9780674743908 (preorder details for: Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation)

My forthcoming book (Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation, Harvard University Press, November 2015) now has an ISBN (9780674743908) and the book is starting to appear on searches in prepublication (see this) format. It even has a page on Amazon’s Japanese site! It is also available to pre-order via Amazon UK and Amazon USA. Amazon (.com) Amazon (.co.uk) Harvard… Read More

We must rediscover the psychological importance of idleness, play and even boredom (updated a little, including new videos and some pop sociological speculations)

Aeon brings us an important, beautifully-written and profound meditation by psychologist Peter Gray on the importance of play during and for human development that should be read by educators, politicians and parents alike. Children’s own self-directed play has been systematically devalued and squeezed to the margins in developed societies in favour of adult-directed and controlled activity. There are lots… Read More

What use are PhD’s? What future do they have?

 A picture attached to a tweet I received from Where will a biology PhD take you? Probably not academia: <8% of new PhDs will get tenure. via @jameswilsdon pic.twitter.com/wtkafMWOWZ — Mo Costandi (@mocost) April 15, 2014 @mocost (and others) is profoundly depressing. It plots the number of biology PhD students in the US (86,000) against the… Read More

The MOOCs don’t work … part xyz

The FT continues the sceptical realism with a super piece on MOOCs (reg req). All sorts of interesting material here – costs and motivation may be the key issue for US college students. MOOCs promise to address part of the equation, but the problems run much deeper than a broadband connection and a video of somebody delivering the… Read More

Some thoughts on the origins of the lay psychology of torture, PTSD, communication and memory provoked by ‘America Is Likely to Torture Again’ – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic

Face It: America Is Likely to Torture Again – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic [My book ‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) can be preordered from Amazon (.com) – more details at end of post] (Above: a demonstration of the ‘water torture‘ in the Museo della Tortura, Siena, Italy; pic by author) Face It: America Is… Read More

Scientific and Technical Breakthrough of the Year: Using 3D Printing for in vivo Neurophysiology

The annual awards season is upon us. The various journals will nominate their scientific and technical breakthroughs of the year. There are lab awards too: well done TCIN for nominations in two categories. 3d printing is regarded by many as being the basis of the next industrial revolution (e.g. McKinsey & Company, 2013). I first encountered 3d printing in an… Read More

Torture methods employed for perceptual, personality and behavioural modification in Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Koestler’s ‘Darkness at Noon’

[My book ‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) can be preordered from Amazon (.com) – more details at end of post] George Orwell and Arthur Koestler  were perhaps the most important and celebrated political novelists of the mid-20th century. They were very different individuals, having lived very different lives. Koestler was a restless Hungarian émigré who spent time under… Read More

Many contrarian thoughts and bullet-points about MOOCs

I present some general and largely negative points against MOOCs (wiki: ‘A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web‘) below.  Well, against the MOOC hype anyway. As a contra to what I say below: this Clay Shirky piece is fantastic on the hope for MOOCs; this piece by Shirkey gives a particular… Read More

Why the lack of spending on neuroscience? A comparison with cancer research spending, and a neologism (‘malbrain’).

Previously, I wondered why there is no hue and cry about the loss of research budgets for neuroscience. Comparing research spends between areas is not easy. This paper (Sobocki et al., 2006) has some data: Abstract This article is a markedly condensed summary of a longer report [Resource allocation to brain research in Europe (RABRE), part 2] that… Read More