Check Your Brain, Check Out Hers: Lucy

Rich Juzwiak · 07/25/14 03:22PM

Luc Besson's Lucy is a movie about a woman who can access 100 percent of her brain that asks you the viewer to use less of yours. The premise is based on the oft-repeated fallacy that humans only use 10 percent of their brains, and if we could only harness our full capacity, we'd be enlightened gods. Not only is this untrue (virtually 100 percent of a normally functioning brain is used for some aspect of cognitive, motor, or involuntary functioning), it is a cliché. There are dozens of examples on the "90% of your brain" TV Tropes entry of pop culture that reiterate this bogus claim. Lucy, in which large doses of a synthetic form of CPH4 cause the brain of Scarlett Johansson's titular protagonist to expand, then, is not so much sci-fi as it is fi-fi.

Man Sold Stolen Antique Brains on eBay

Sarah Hedgecock · 01/02/14 05:02PM

We are truly living in the golden age of internet commerce. After several break-ins and organ thefts from a former mental hospital, police searched high and low only to find that the stolen goods had been sold on eBay. Isn't the free market great?

Teen Girl's Smashed Skull Proves Jamestown Creeps Were Cannibals

Ken Layne · 05/01/13 12:16PM

Jamestown was a gruesomely failed start to the English colonization of America. The people were malnourished and disease-ridden and too dumb to eat the bountiful fish and fruits all around them. Most of the settlers were dead within the first year, and in the second hungry winter of 1609-10, the starving survivors chopped open the skull of a newly dead 14-year-old girl and feasted upon her brains.

Will We Ever Be Able to Transplant Human Brains?

Hamilton Nolan · 03/12/13 03:17PM

Hello. It's time for "Hey, Science," our notoriously scientific weekly feature in which we have your most provocative scientific questions answered by real live scientists (or related experts). No question is too smart for our reluctant army of scientific enlistees, whether they know it or not. This week, neurosurgeons answer the question: Will we ever be able to transplant human brains?

This Guy's Scalp Looks Like the Surface of a Brain

Max Read · 10/18/12 12:36PM

This Brazilian gentleman's scalp, NBC News informs us, is not "neither a funky new look nor a hipster trend" — that is, unless medical conditions that create folds and creases on the surface of your scalp are a hipster trend! (They're not.) The condition is called "cutis verticis gyrata":

All the Most Delicious Foods Are Making You Dumb

Caity Weaver · 05/15/12 06:25PM

Turns out it might not be your laziness, stubbornness, or general God-given incompetence making you stupid: it could just be all the delicious high fructose corn syrup you eat.

Brain Dead People Actually Thinking 'Dang' The Whole Time

Hamilton Nolan · 11/10/11 05:05PM

It's indescribably sad when a once-vibrant human—due to accident or illness—is forced into a brain-dead "vegetative state." The only solace is the knowledge that their mind has been freed from the worries of this world. Wrong.

Is Facebook Making Our Brains Bigger?

Adrian Chen · 10/19/11 11:47AM

Scientists are obsessed with studying the impact of Facebook on our brains. Usually the news is bad. But a new study says having more Facebook friends might be make your brain bigger.

Robots Are Getting Irish Brains

Hamilton Nolan · 07/26/11 04:19PM

Hole phobia! Particle colliders! Universe analysis! Predator prey! Introvert extrovert! Urban evolution! Science retraction! Melting ice! And surly robots spouting impenetrable brogue! It's your Tuesday Science Watch, where we watch science—despicably, if possible!

Woman Leaves Dentist's Office with Foreign Accent

Jeff Neumann · 06/01/11 05:27AM

Imagine going in for a rather routine dental surgery, and leaving with a foreign accent. That's what happened to Karen Butler after she was put under and had several teeth removed. "I just went to sleep and I woke up and my mouth was all sore and swollen, and I talked funny. And the dentist said, you'll talk normal when the swelling goes down," she told NPR. But she never went back to normal, and now has an accent that's "a combination of British, Irish and Eastern European."

City Birds Have Bigger Brains

Adrian Chen · 04/28/11 01:55PM

According to science, birds that live in the city have larger brains than birds that live in the sticks. European researchers studied 82 species of birds and compared their brain sizes. From the BBC:

How to Use Magnets to Mess Up Your Brain

Max Read · 04/11/11 09:01PM

If you're wondering—as we so often are—how future governments will enforce keep the worker/organ-farm classes in line, look no further than this video, in which a New Scientist editor is prevented from speaking by a magnetic field.

Why You Don't Have a Spiny Penis

Max Read · 03/10/11 02:02AM

Human penises, much to the relief of most humans, lack the "barb-like structures found in many mammals" known as penile spines. For many of us, knowing that we will never encounter a barbed penis is enough; for scientists, who are the guy at the party saying, "I mean, sure, it's a nice present, but have you checked out its teeth?" the human penis's curious lack of spines is a question to be asked, and answered, and told to everyone.