A Brain-Training Break

Brain-training games may be jumping the proverbial shark right now, or maybe they’re simply regrouping for a renaissance. Either way, we thought you’d appreciate a few brain puzzlers to break up your week. We’ll post the answers in a few days.

  1. Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the tallest mountain on Earth?
  2. A child was born in Boston, MA, to parents who were also born in Boston. The child, however, was not a U.S. citizen. How?
  3. How many times can you subtract the number 5 from 25?
  4. A child is born on December 27, but her birthday is always in the summer. How?

Brain Design Central: TED Talk on Brain Manipulation

Brain designer seems like a less interesting job than game designer, but it does have a certain ring to it. And let’s face it, your work is more likely to be described as “mind-blowing,” which is how I’d describe this TED talk from Rebecca Saxe, who studies the brain at the eponymous Saxelab at MIT.

The TED writeup emphasizes mind-reading. That’s all well and good, but that’s just the come-on. My takeaways from this stimulating (literally) demonstration are:

  1. Holy crap! Magnets can change the way you think!
  2. As we always suspected, judgmental people are mentally lazy. In fact, this research seems to indicate that a chronic lack of empathy is a physiological problem. Now we just need to strap a bulk eraser to the heads of inconsiderate people.
  3. The Pentagon is really calling Dr. Saxe about ways to use this research for military purposes. Greaaaaat. Shouldn’t it be NIMH calling instead?