This is Your Brain On Awesome Thoughts on the world from a student of the mind


Now this is how you show statistics

So this isn't technically about science, although it's about a field that is of extreme importance to science: statistics!  I feel like stats is one of those fields that is, upon first glance, incredibly boring...however, if you spend the time to delve in a bit deeper and figure out the many things that stats can tell you, it becomes fascinating.

And thank god that there are people like Hans Rosling around to do just that.  You may have seen a number of his TED talks in which he uses historical data to illustrate the history of the world with beautiful clarity.  Well, he's got another video out, and it's a doozy.  It comes from BBC Fours special program "The Joy of Stats" in which Professor Rosling takes us on a statistical tour that covers all kinds of different topics.

One of the coolest thing about stats (and number crunching in general) is that they allow you to reveal hidden patterns within seemingly random and jumbled data.  The more you look at the world, the more you realize that it tends to be both predictable and noisy at the same time.  Statistics are a way for us to make sense of this ambiguous universe, sketching out the underlying rules behind a seemingly uninterpretable world.

It is rare these days to find a person who is knowledgeable and engaging enough to get people excited about stats, but take a look at the above video and you may find yourself a convert!

via BBC Four


A rare glimpse of the past

I know this website has turned out to largely be about science and the brain and all that cool stuff, so I thought I'd change things up a bit with a fascinating video that I found on YouTube.

Now that I'm living in the Bay Area, I thought it would be proper to pay homage to the great city that made it what it is.  Here's a video of San Francisco's F-Train, circa 1905.  Of importance here is that this was just before the big earthquake destroyed a good portion of the city.

And what could possibly make this better?  The song - La Femme D'argent - is by of my favorite groups of all time!

So, for your viewing pleasure - a beautiful, interesting, and awesome perspective on life in one of America's greatest cities.