I originally thought that it would be a good idea to spread these links out over a couple of days, giving each one a little extra attention in a post. However, some of these links have been sitting in my bookmarks for weeks and I just need to get them OUT.
Brain Injured Woman Speaks Since a car accident in 1984, Sarah Scantlin has been able to do litte more than blink. Suddenly, she has begun to regain the ability to speak. Scientists used to think that it was impossible for the body to grow new nerve tissue, but stories such as this, as well as a mounting body of more controlled studies, seem to be telling us that we were wrong.
Daniel Tammet is a mathematical genius Exactly why is unclear, but it may have something to do with Daniel’s mild autism or a powerful epileptic seizure he experienced at the age of three. The descriptions he gives of his thought process share much in common with a condition known as synaesthesia. Daniel says, “When I multiply numbers together, I see two shapes. The image starts to change and evolve, and a third shape emerges. That’s the answer. It’s mental imagery. It’s like maths without having to think.”
One more from the world of brain damage. Despite biological and anthropological evidence that language and mathematics are intimately linked in the brain, new studies of persons with a type of brain damage that robs them of the ability to understand grammar shows that they can still understand math. In my opinion, it seems plausible that language and math may develop together, which would account for the anthropological and MRI evidence showing language and math to be linked. At the same time, language and math may ultimately occupy different areas of the brain, thus accounting for these new findings.
Many of these links come from Clive Thompson’s collision detection, a great site that never fails to make you think.