Nigel Latta's cerebral new series The Curious Mindby Catherine Woulfe
The first episode covers a lot of ground – infant brain development, the senses, brain plasticity, the interplay between reptilian and executive functions – but as usual, Latta’s very good at carving up information and presenting it in neat parcels.
We wander an immense archive, hauling out drawers. Those down low, we’re told, are for the primal basics – fear and breathing.
I’m pretty sure a cheeky f-word squeaks out when our Nige triggers his own fears. There’s also a great scene where he hacks through an overgrown paddock to show how babies’ brains lay down neural pathways.
Much is made of artificial intelligence model “Baby X” but the real people are much more interesting. One, a teacher, is unable to recognise faces, including her own. She’s learned to identify people via their ears.
Another woman had half her brain removed to stop seizures that she’d had since childhood. Amazingly, the high-risk surgery has done no damage to her faculties or memories: her young, plastic brain had stored everything useful in its healthy half.
Video: Soul Machines
This article was first published in the August 25, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.
Famous Kiwi women read the powerful words of Kate Sheppard, who fought for the right for women to vote.Read more
Nelson and Motueka are well known for their hops but Garston hops are starting to be noticed by brewers.Read more
Alexx Stuart advocates changing one thing a week. With personal-care items, she says the place to start is body lotion.Read more
The populist contagion sweeping Europe spreads to Germany, Cathrin Schaer writes from Berlin.Read more
From sperm counts to obesity, scientists are only beginning to understand the long-term health effects of many chemicals in everyday use.Read more
Preservative-free cosmetics that survive in your bathroom cupboard are a challenge, says Evolu founder Kati Kasza.Read more
There’s an increasing amount of evidence on cannabis effects, but it's far from straightforward.Read more