MEH, the Amygdala, and Me


In answer to a friend’s question: Where on Earth do you come up with things to blog about everyday?


Last night I sat down on the couch to write today’s blog. With laptop on lap and notebook in hand, I looked through notes I’ve taken and searched the web for exactly what I wanted to write about. MEH (My Engineer Husband) sat next to me, reading a Science News magazine.

Here’s how it went down:

Me: OMG, it’s the last day of the month! Maybe I can come up with some idea about March to write about!

MEH: Maybe…. But how about this? The right nostril may actually come in much handier than the left! An international team of researchers investigated twenty-eight homing pigeons to come to this startling, dare I say life-changing, realization. People may favor the right nostril when detecting and evaluating the intensity of odors! The researchers imply this hints at broader olfactory asymmetry; tantalizing, eh?

Me (typing furiously on laptop, searching google for “March”): Wow, you can’t make that stuff up! Maybe THAT’S why I’m stuffed up only on the left side every morning! I thought it was the large Labrador Retriever that sleeps on my side of the bed! Hey, remember how March 15 is the Ides of March? It’s the name given in the Roman calendar probably referring to the day of the full moon? Maybe I could write about that?

MEH: OK. Listen to this. In an article entitled Brain Boosters, researchers suggest that dietary substances like caffeine and glucose may boost mental skills! Caffeine apparently increases visual and auditory vigilance—like speeding up reaction times. Glucose enhances memory of words or images and verbal fluency.

Me: No kidding!? That’s probably why so many writers congregate at coffee houses. The question is: do writers hang out at coffee houses because they get these mental boosts from dietary supplements or do the people who hang out at coffee houses become better writers because of the dietary supplements? Maybe that would be a good blog….

MEH: HUH! (Loud exclamation, in reaction to another article, not my comment!) Apparently a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience details how neurons in the human amygdala work to assess the value of an object. Now this is the exciting part… (MEH continued, voice lowered) these findings suggest that the human amygdala’s involvement in decision making happens at the time of the choice, and is NOT RESTRICTED TO FAMILIAR SITUATIONS.

Me: Okay, you lost me on that one. Maybe it’s a little beyond my amygdala’s neuron computing skills. Or maybe I just need a double mochacino to reconsider. Have I mentioned we’re out of coffee? Want to come to Starbucks with me?

Cheers,
Julia


p.s. Really coming up in March: The Vernal Equinox. Woohoo, Spring! Time to start planning the garden! What are you looking forward to in March?

Citation: All MEH’s stories reported in Science News, February 26, 2011, Vol. 179, No. 5. www.sciencenews.org

Comments

  1. Ha! So you really blog every day? I’m impressed!

    In March, I’m looking forward to writing a new essay for class and running a half marathon. And maybe asparagus. I can never remember what month the asparagus starts to grow, but I think it’s soon.

  2. Wow, I am way impressed with your half-marathon, which is so much more daunting to me than blogging everyday! As for asparagus, that’s months away in Maine, unfortunately, because it’s a favorite of mine, too! (Looking forward to good recipes for that.)

  3. Liz says:

    Bopped over here from SheWrites and was immediately attracted to this post. After all, I am the crazy blogger who posts all kinds of writing prompts from those science articles that your MEH loves. AND I lecture my Toastmaster friends about the amygdala all the time. This post made me laugh at myself – I’m such a geek. Thanks for the chuckle!

  4. Liz, So glad you enjoyed this and it gave you a laugh, especially so because it was early on in my blogging days — so it didn’t get as much attention as I’d have liked it to! If you’re a geek, then so are we (AND our two kids), because we talk about these things ALL THE TIME! Thanks so much for your visit to my blog and especially for taking the time to comment! 😀

  5. This is so funny. I do the same thing trying to think of things to blog about. People try to have normal conversations with me and I turn topics into blog posts in my mind while people are talking. I have one friend who just doesn’t understand blogging so when I mention “Oh I should blog about that” she looks at me like I just said “I should run over that cat with my car and put it on the internet.” We’re not normal.

    I really like this post.

  6. Sara, So glad you enjoyed this post! Isn’t it so true about blog topics — I agree, always in the back of my mind: “this could be a blog!!” We’re not normal — haha, exactly.

  7. CMSmith says:

    I see why I missed it. I was just starting out and still trying to get my feet on the ground in March of 2011.

    MEH neglected to mention that the post was not only funny, but helpful.

    I’m going to go have myself some glucose.

    • It was one of my earliest posts — right when we both started blogging, right? Almost before I even knew there were other bloggers out there, haha, so I know what you mean! That’s too funny about going to get some gluclose — I’ll let MEH know you found it helpful, he’ll be thrilled.