What We’re Reading: Human Brain Map, PhillieBot and ‘Brain Time’

BY Jenny Marder  April 25, 2011 at 11:35 AM EDT

Can Fear Slow Time?

New Yorker.jpgWhen David Eagleman fell from the roof of an Albuquerque construction site, time seemed to slow down. Now 39, and an assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor University, he is studying the brain’s biological clocks, using video games, optical illusions, drummers, and one of the most terrifying thrill rides ever invented. (Burkhard Bilger, New Yorker)

World’s Biggest Human Brain Map Unveiled

New Scientist.jpgLast week, a team of scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science unveiled a $55 million interactive, computerized brain map. The information comes from an analysis of two male brains using magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging. RNA was extracted from the brain tissue and used to record genetic information for the atlas. The brain maps anatomy, gene activity, nerve structure and cell features. (Hayley Crawford, New Scientist)

Robot Throws First Pitch At Phillies Game

PCWorld.jpgIn their spare time, two University of Pennsylvania engineers wrote software and assembled robot parts for a machine designed to pitch balls with the same human trajectory and wrist twist as a human pitcher. This video shows the PhillieBot wheeling remotely onto the pitchers mound, and then, powered by a burst of carbon dioxide, throwing out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals opener to the Phillies Phanatic mascot. (James Mulroy, PCWorld)

Scientists Fret Over BP Funds for Gulf Research

Scientists are lacking necessary funding for badly-needed Gulf oil spill research, the Associated Press reports. The remaining $450 million in BP funds are getting doled out too slowly, some scientists say, and “the spring nesting and spawning season is a crucial time to get out and sample the reproduction rates, behavior and abundance of species, all factors that could be altered by last year’s massive spill.” (Cain Burdeau, Associated Press)