Monthly Archives: April 2010

Bernardino Álvarez, asylum bandit

The founder of the oldest psychiatric hospital in Latin America was an ex-soldier turned criminal who broke out of jail, escaped the law with the help of a prostitute, and eventually ended up destitute after spending his entire fortune caring for the mentally ill. I’ve just discovered the amazing story of Bernardino Álvarez after reading […]

Beyond Ken and Barbie

If you’re wanting an antidote to all the Brizendine ‘male brain’ silliness which is floating round at the moment, Scientific American Mind has an excellent article by straight-thinking neuroscientist Lise Eliot that looks at the actual evidence for sex differences and how relatively minor differences at birth get shaped and amplified by how we guide […]

Rockin’ all over the ward

Paste Magazine has an article on ‘Eight Musical Homages to the Asylum’ about some of the most famous, and infamous, songs and videos about being institutionalised. It was kindly posted by Mind Hacks reader Clifton Wiens in response to our previous post about jazz legend Charlie Parker having written what I thought was the only […]

2010-04-02 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The LA Times reviews a new book on how ‘The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’, originally a 60s hippie collective who became America’s biggest drug dealers. Magnetic stimulation of an area in the right hemisphere alters our sense of morality, according to research expertly covered […]

Out on a limb

Barking up the Wrong Tree is a minimalist blog that posts some amazing studies about human behaviour. If you were interested in whether taking out health insurance encourages obesity, which countries have the most emotionally distant people or how female-directed porn movies differ from male-directed porn movies the blog has found a peer-reviewed study to […]

Beneath the petticoat

More than half a century before Alfred Kinsey started to study the surprising diversity of human sexual behaviour, Stanford professor Clelia Mosher surveyed Victorian-era women on their bedroom behaviour but buried the results. Her report, its accidental discovery, and the sex lives of 1890s women are covered in a fascinating article for Stanford Magazine. Mosher […]


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