My 10 Hard-Learned Relationship Tips

I’ve just posted my Ten Hard-Learned Relationship Tips on my Psychology Today blog. Read now.

My 10 Hard-Learned Dating Tips

I’ve just put up a new post on Psychology Today, Ten Hard-Learned Dating Tips. Thought I’d write a post that didn’t require any research, just reflection on a long dating career that recently ended in marriage. As I say, I don’t think anyone who gets married at 45 deserves to call himself a relationship guru, but here it is, for what it’s worth. Read more…

Why Luke Skywalker’s arm has to talk to the brain.

Here’s a link to my new blog entry, Why Luke Skywalker’s arm has to talk to the brain.

Here’s how it starts: When I was a kid, I wondered how the mind controlled the body. If the mind was an airy, ethereal spirit, how did it get muscles to contract and bones to move? How, I wondered, did the ghost control the machine? Read more.

How I kicked my addiction to the iPhone game Angry Birds.

Here’s a link to my new blog posting on Psychology Today, How I kicked my addiction to the iPhone game Angry Birds.

Here’s how it begins: “After weeks of struggle, I’ve finally deleted Angry Birds from my iPhone. It is a fiendishly addictive game. The premise is simple: you “pull” back on a slingshot to fire a scowling bird at a structure with green pigs in it. The better your aim, the more damage you do and the more green pigs you kill…” Read more.

Integrating technology with personal narrative in science writing

Now that I’ve got my website revamped, I thought I’d introduce myself and talk about how I write science.

I got into science writing in an unusual way. I was trained as an academic, completing my Ph.D. in educational technology in 2000. In the summer of 2001 my life came to a halt when I abruptly lost my hearing due to some unknown cause. A few months later I got a cochlear implant in my left ear. When my audiologist first showed me an implant without its ceramic casing I thought, “Oh my God, it really is a computer.” It was a microchip implanted in my skull with 16 electrodes triggering my auditory nerve.

Can the octopus help us understand intelligence?

Here’s a fascinating article:  Thinking like an octopus by Alvin Powell of the Harvard Gazette. Powell writes about the ideas of Peter Godfrey-Smith, a Harvard philosopher who has spent time observing octopi in the wild and in captivity.

Godfrey-Smith has noted that when an octopus is in an unfamiliar tank with food in the middle, not all of its arms do the same thing. Some of them “seem to crowd into the corner seeking safety while others seem to pull the animal toward the food, as if the creature is literally of two minds about the situation.”

Marriage, books, articles, website, etc.

OK, here’s the latest news.

I got married on October 10th to my adorable wife Victoria, and we went to the Virgin Islands for a honeymoon. It rained most of the time! So we’re going to try again, maybe, in the deeps of winter.

WORLD WIDE MIND is in advanced stages of preparation, with just a few corrections remaining to go to the publisher. We’re still discussing the subtitle. But I’ve gotten some nice blurbs for it, and you can see them by going to Amazon’s page for the book. You can even pre-order it, if you are so minded! Official pub date is Feb. 15th, though it will probably be available sooner.

A rowdy Saturday night in Philadelphia

Sirens are howling. Philadelphia’s feelin’ rowdy tonight. I call my dorm at UPenn “Moscow State University” but it does have its charms, such as a 24th-floor lounge with a gorgeous view of the city. I plan to hole up there tonight for an hour or two rereading a galley copy of Kevin Kelly’s WHAT TECHNOLOGY WANTS, which will come out in October. It’s worth rereading; Kelly argues that technology is as authentically alive as anything in biology, and like biological things it desires to grow and evolve. More than that, he argues that life itself is baked deep into the structure of the cosmos and should emerge anywhere it gets a chance. Fascinating book. I need a big view for these big thoughts.

Twitter, and networking

You should never believe an author when he says his book is “finished.” There’s always something more to do. In my case, I’m now waiting for the second-round draft to come back from my publisher, incorporating all the corrections I made in the first round. Then I’ll have to review the galley, which is the typeset version. After that there’ll be the cover artwork to inspect, the final wrangling with the publisher about the subtitle (still to be determined), and odds and ends such as the jacket copy and the author bio.

The latest news: finished book, got engaged.

I finished my book, which is slated for release in early 2011. It’s not quite finished, since I still have to format the citations and do the illustrations, but it’s close enough. It’s about the prospect of reading and altering conscious experience with brainscanning devices. It’s half science, a quarter philosophy, and a quarter memoir — a sort of sequel to Rebuilt.

I also got engaged to my fabulous girlfriend Victoria. We’re planning an October wedding. Here’s a picture of us, with Elvis on my lap. We met in March 2008 while I was a visiting professor at Gallaudet.