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Neuron Culture

David Dobbs on science, nature, and culture.



dobbspic I write articles on science, medicine, nature, culture and other matters for the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Slate, National Geographic, Scientific American Mind, and other publications, and am working on my fourth book, The Orchid and the Dandelion, which expands on my recent December 2009 Atlantic article. My previous books include Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral, which traces the strangest but most forgotten controversy in Darwin's career — an elemental dispute running some 75 years.

You're encouraged to subscribe to Neuron Culture by email; see more of my workat my main website; or check out my catch-all-streams Tumblr log.


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    Nota Bene:

    Riding the Daily Wing (my buddy Bryan's new bird blog)

    Category: Environment/nature

    "An eastern towhee belted out a plucky reeEEP! I kept spishing. A northern cardinal emerged and uttered its short, bright peek note. Two hermit thrushes popped onto a white oak branch, flicked their wings and repeated a couple of soft chuck calls.

    Read on »


    Category: Nota Bene

    Never thought I'd run an ad on my blog. But this is just so ... satisfying. And pretty.

    Read on »

    Eureka! Neuron Culture goes Sally Field

    Category: Journalism

    was thrilled this morning to learn that this humble, erratic blog was named one of Top 30 Science Blogs by Eureka, the new monthly science magazine recently launched by the Times of London.

    Read on »

    Coming sort of soon to a bookstore near you: "The Orchid and the Dandelion"

    Category: Books

    I can finally broadcast the news with which I've been bursting for two weeks now: Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt, publisher of many a fine book over the decades, will be publishing "The Orchid and the Dandelion" (working title), in which I'll explore further the emerging "orchid-dandelion hypothesis" I wrote about in my recent Atlantic story.

    Read on »

    Charlie Houston, mountaineer, doctor, scientist, ends a great life at 96

    Category: Culture of science

    He walked away from it cold, and went on to live a rich, fulfilling life. He and Moyers talk about something else for a bit. And then Moyers returns to the climb, "I know you did so much else, but I want want to return to that K2 climb again...," says Moyer. And Houston says, "The best thing I ever did."

    Read on »

    Miniatur Wunderland -- Your ultimate toy train village, inc 'houses of bad reputation'

    Category: Nota Bene

    Maybe best argument yet for expanding the US rail system.

    Read on »

    I'd like to take a walk/Not around the block

    Category: Nota Bene

    Hubbard Park, Montpelier, Vermont, Sept 21, 2009. via Neil Young

    Read on »

    Watchdogs, sniff this: What investigative science journalism can investigate

    Category: Journalism - rebooting (aka future of)

    I think it helps to have a sense of the history of science, which embeds in a writer or observer a sense of critical distance and an eye for large forces at work beneath the surface. Machinations in government surprise no one who has studied the history of government and politics. Likewise with science.

    Read on »

    Splendid sea photos by Nick Cobbing

    Category: Art

    Perhaps because I so enjoyed the time I spent at sea learning about fish, I particularly enjoyed this collection of Nick Cobbing's photos of ice, sea, and people who work them — scientists, fishermen, adventurers

    Read on »

    Emotional Cartography

    Category: Culture of science

    Nold came up with the idea of fusing a GSR machine, a skin conductance monitor that measures arousal, and a GPS machine, to allow stress to be mapped to particular places. He then gets people to walk round and creates maps detailing high arousal areas of cities.

    Read on »


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