Linky and the Brain: Science and Art edition

Hi folks. Please excuse the brevity of this post - the adrenaline/endorphine one-two punch of tonight's softball game victory has worn off, and I'm ready to catch up on my sleep. But, before I pop off, here's some links I've been collecting over the past couple of weeks to share with you all.

Science? Art? Yes.

Via Laughing Squid, visualizations of animal sounds. The work of software designer and artist Mark Fischer, these eerily evocative illustrations are generated by passing animal calls through a wavelet analysis. Part work of art, part complex data visualization, I thoroughly enjoyed viewing these images. My particular favorite is the Blue-Crowned Manakin. Visit Aguasonic Acoustics for additional interpretations.

Again, courtesy of Laughing Squid, entries in Princeton University's 2013 Art of Science competition. 44 images selected from 170 submissions from 24 Princeton University departments, images were produced as part of scientific research. I vaguely remember Stanford University hosting such a competition; can someone more knowledgeable comment in some information? Shout out to my c.elegans homies (Hi, Sammy): I loved this picture of a swarm of worms on an agar plate. Also, here's a picture entitled "Worm Water Slide". Best title, or best title ever?

Over at the Smithsonian, a brief news report on research into how the natural frequency at which an individuals skull vibrates (this varies from person to person, from 35 to 65 times per second), can (moderately) predict what type of music the person does not enjoy listening to. The Unique Vibrations of Your Skull Affect How Your Hear Music.

Science, in the trenches.

I enjoyed reading this blog post, on the site Small Pond Science, that talks about the familiar situation of having a set of data that perfectly answers a hypothesis... that you didn't initially set out to test. Pretending you planned to test that hypothesis the whole time.

Slight/moderate facepalm moment: Cornell researcher and blogger Zhana Vrangalova writes up a post-game analysis of the media coverage of her recent paper, "Birds of a feather? Not when it comes to sexual permissiveness".

For pure delight, nothing can beat this, via The Atlantic: the second author of the recent Nature paper describing the collection of fluid isolated in the Earth's crust in the Precambrian era, "took one for the team" and drank some of their ~1 billion year old water. It doesn't taste very good.

Public and Private Sectors

A write up of a recent NSF-funded workshop on priorities for the Brain Initiative. (via

Mozilla launches a new online resource for scientists, Science Lab, with the initial vision of encouraging researchers and members of the open web community to "share ideas, tools and best practices for using next-generation web solutions to solve real problems in science, and explore ways to make research faster, more agile and collaborative". (Press release, via The Next Web)

And that's all I've got. Until next time!




Astra Bryant

Astra Bryant is a graduate of the Stanford Neuroscience PhD program in the labs of Drs. Eric Knudsen and John Huguenard. She used in vitro slice electrophysiology to study the cellular and synaptic mechanisms linking cholinergic signaling and gamma oscillations – two processes critical for the control of gaze and attention, which are disrupted in many psychiatric disorders. She is a senior editor and the webmaster of the NeuWrite West Neuroblog