Friday 6 October 2006

Nails, Blackboards, Woodpeckers and Hiccups

The name of the 2006 Nobel Prizes for Improbable Research were disclosed yesterday night (you can witness the ceremony in video here). To my delight, one of the awards goes to three psychophysicists, who, at last, have tackled the question that's been haunting me for years: why do fingernails scratching blackboards, and other irksome noises, give you a toothache?


Who killed Gwen Stacy?

Or why Superheroes need to know about physics' law of momentum conservation, causal deviance, possible world ontology and memetics.
Spider-man comic strip


In madness they mistrust

A short notice of a short paper investigating whether clinicians hold an essentialist view on mental disorders, i.e. whether they consider that mental disorders represent natural kinds possessing "an underlying reality or true nature, shared by members of [the same] category". What is your guess? Well, clinicians doubt it, at least much more than for other medical disorders.

Adapted from The Cure of Folly, by H. Bosch, 1475

The 19th century German psychatrist Emil Kraepelin submitted to the medieval Cure of Folly. Adapted from The Cure of Folly by Hieronymus Bosch, ca. 1475, now at the Museo del Prado, Madrid. See commentary on the original painting by C. G. Gross.


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