Suzana Herculano-Houzel

More of something good is not necessarily better

The leap of logic here should be obvious, but it is obviously not, for most people fall easily for this pitfall: the fact that a bit of something can be good does not at all mean that more of that will be even better. And yes, that applies to even the blandest, most harmless of…...

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Behaviour without a nervous system depends on diffusion

All actions, and therefore behaviors, require energy transfer. Behaviors happen as potential energy is dissipated, channeled through natural or man-made circuits, networks, or natural paths of least resistance. Ultimately, the source of energy is external to the system, and transferred to it in an original explosion (case of the solar system), through a power line or induction (appliances), or fuel (vehicles and…...

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Open up the mind

The ways of the human mind are a delightful, if occasionally thorny, subject. Several times, in the question period after lectures, on radio shows or in emails prompted by something I’ve written, I receive the criticism that science, and neuroscience in particular, by reducing the mind to a handful of matter removes the divine from […]

Ultimately, there are only two ways to die

If life is self-organization at the expense of chains of transfer of energy and matter, then there are only two essential requirements for something to keep on living: integrity (which includes some kind of boundary that defines the living organism, otherwise there IS no “organism” that is different from its surroundings) and energy transfer. Which…...

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