Oliver Sacks: He Explained the Mind’s Oddities to Us

Oliver Sacks was perhaps the only neurologist to inspire a hit Hollywood film, 1990’s Awakenings starring Robin Williams. The movie was based on Sacks’ 1973 memoir about his work with encephalitis patients, one of 14 books by the physician and professor turned author, who passed away Aug. 30 at age 82 in New York City having helped millions of readers understand the myriad peculiarities and wonders of the human brain. Famous People We’ve Lost in 2015 » Sacks himself had more …

Why Our Young Adults Do the Things They Do

About a decade ago, Frances Jensen’s sweet-natured 15-year-old son returned home from a friend’s house with his hair dyed black and announced he was planning to add red streaks. Jensen’s reaction was typical of countless parents who suddenly confront a stranger living in their house. “I was gobsmacked. Is this really my child?” she writes. While many of us would just start ranting, Jensen, then a Harvard Medical School neurology professor and researcher, was inspired by the incident to start …

Catching Up With Techno Grandparents and Grandkids

Think video games and what comes to mind? Kids or teens with electronic devices locked into a screen. But guess what? The average age of gamers is 35. Twice as many adult females play as male gamers under 18. And people over 45 are the fastest-growing group of gamers. Who knew? Clearly the 50-plus are interested in gaming, but AARP wants to know whether video gaming can help narrow the generation gap. AARP and AARP Foundation’s MentorUp program teamed up …

Bright Lights, Big Emotions. To Turn Down the Heat, Turn Down the Light

By Don Campbell, University of Toronto, Futurity.org The next time you want to turn down the emotional intensity before making an important decision, you may want to dim the lights first. A new study shows that human emotions, whether they are positive or negative, are felt more intensely under bright lights. “Other evidence shows that on sunny days people are more optimistic about the stock market, report higher well-being, and are more helpful while extended exposure to dark, gloomy days …

Who Knows All, Sees All, (and Now) Tells All? Your Dog

Researchers at Newcastle University in England are onto something big: Your dog may know lots more about how you’re feeling – and about how you’re doing generally – that anyone has heretofore believed. Except maybe you. Using high-tech movement sensors, the researchers tracked the behavior of 17 types of canine companions – from mutts and miniature Jack Russell Terriers to Labrador Retrievers and Great Danes – both at home and out and about. They did this by attaching “a wearable …

Scott Carpenter: The Luckiest Astronaut

In May 1962, Scott Carpenter became the second American astronaut, after John Glenn, to orbit the Earth – and the first to survive  a series of mishaps that might have ended in catastrophe. After orbiting the Earth three times in his Mercury capsule, the Aurora 7, and reaching a height of 164 miles, Carpenter prepared for re-entry. But then, according to an account on his website, things started to go wrong. The automatic system that stabilized and controlled the retro rockets …