It’s that time again, when yours truly scours the internet from one end to the other, in a tireless search for all things mind, soul and body.  Today I have not-so-random noise, QBs and their IQs, fabulous fatigue, the human body baked in bread, Mecca moderated Muslims, Lupus vanquished on American Idol, Barack Obama keeping cool, Christmas trees, Christmas paintings, and even a live interview with the Jolly Old Elf, himself.  So without any more delay, I present the absolute best of the internet to come across my screen-

Regarding the Mind-

Matt Davis at Cambridge University has an very fun sight that takes sine wave noise patterns, which make no sense when heard alone, and shows how words can be heard if you are given a sentence prior,  making for an intriguing exercise in auditory perception.

At Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer describes why an IQ test has no ability to test the intelligence of a quarterback to make smart choices on the field.  It turns out it takes a whole different kind of intelligence, and they don’t always go hand in hand.

Photographer Jenn Ackermann presents a powerful, candid, and very disturbing yet important documentary project titled, Trapped:Mental Illness in America’s Prisons, to document the heartbreaking fate of so many of the mentally ill in this country once mental health resources dry up.

Regarding the Soul-

At Blog Segullah, Leslie shares why she always insists that every ornament, no matter how odd or unsightly, will always go onto her Christmas tree, as she testifies that God is no respecter of ornaments.

Yet another Leslie had a wonderful guest post for Blog Segullah, this one stepping away from her home blog, Heaven’s Overlook, she shares another wonderful piece of holiday wisdom, as she looks upon a nativity painting through the eyes of a dear friend and sees it with her eyes opened for the first time.

At MindHacks, Vaughan shares a study that you won’t find everyday, looking at the effect of religious pilgrimage to Mecca on the behavior and attitudes of Muslims, which happily found that these pilgrims, known as Hajjis, return feeling better toward their fellowmen, rather than  more extremist and agitated.  As a possible explanation, he shares a beautiful part of the month long ceremonies in which all Hajjis are clothed alike, and seen as alike before God.

Regarding the Body-

Dr. Shock, MD has a fantastic electron microscope slide show that takes you up close and personal with the neuron, the cellular base of all thought, sensation, and action, turns out it looks cool, too.

At Neurophilosophy, Mo reports about a bizarre anthropology find, in which a 2,000 year old fossilized brain was discovered in an in a dig at the University of York, giving a whole new meaning to the term hardheaded.

For my readers with a taste for macabre and a strong stomach, The here is a video showing the remarkable artistry of one Kittiwat Unarrom, owner of a Thai bakery that specializes in bread that looks remarkably like parts of the human body.  Mmmmm, tasty (HT David Dobbs at Smooth Pebbles)

or All the Above-

At But You Don’t Look Sick, Christina Miserandino of the National Lupus Foundation, interviews American Idol Contestant Leslie Hunt, who unbeknownst to anyone associated with the show, also suffers from Lupus, yet refused to let it get the best of her or use it for sympathetic advantage.

Edwin Leap, MD describes the beauty of exhaustion at the end of a hard day’s work, in his characteristically beautiful prose from a man who truly takes pride in a job well done.

At the Mormon Organon, Steve challenges both atheists and creationists alike, pondering the evolution of spirituality, the nature of our bodies and their reception/recognition of beauty and truth, embedded in the function of our mind and DNA, in a very thought provoking post and beautiful post.

At Sharp Brains, Alvaro interviews Dr. Andrew Newburg about the ins and outs of meditation, and the evidence that it can strengthen and improve brain health, mental health, and just plain overall health.

At, Christing Gray shares a thoughtful and  poignant essay about how the medicalization of death in the Western world has left us a culture in which we no longer understand how to die.

and just because I liked It-

At Adventures in Ethics and Science, Janet Stemwedel, PhD, very helpfully reminds us all that even in the current medical science climate, where the double blind placebo controlled trial is king, there are limits to what we can test with it.  She astutely observes that many of our best treatments are simply impossible to test by placebo control.

for a much lighter note, we can always count on Dr. Rob at Musings of a Distractible Mind, who lands the biggest interview of his blogging career, Saint Nicholas himself, in an attempt to show up Dr. Val, and of course, the voice of reason.

Saturday Night Live astutely sums up the entire campaign and life strategy of one president-elect Barack Obama, to “keep it cool,” in a skit that had me rolling on the floor laughing.  (HT: Clinical cases and images Blog)

That’s all I got for now.  If you’re hungry for more, check out this weeks Grand Rounds, Encephalon, and Change of Shift, or this list of 101 fascinating brain blogs, or you can just go back to work, doing whatever it is you are supposed to be doing right now.  Until next time, so long!

   Tagged: American Idol, anatomy, art, Barack Obama, bread, Christmas, death, drug trials, evolution, fatigue, football, fossils, hearing, intelligence, Islam, language, lupus, macabre, Mecca, meditation, Mental Illness, neuron, noise, ornaments, photos, pictures, pilgrimage, placebo, prison, quarterbacks, Santa, treatment, work   

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