Hey, you. Did you know that by the time you reach old age you’ll likely have produced enough saliva to fill a couple of swimming pools?
Or that an adult human has 206 bones in their body — the smallest and lightest of which is the tiny stirrup-shaped bone in your middle ear called the stapes?
And are you generally aware that your body will probably slough over a hundred pounds of dead skin cells during your lifetime, so that when you dust your house, you are literally wiping up yourself, not to mention messing with the primary dinner source for entire colonies of dust mites?
Annnnnd…. did you know that your very own brain has around 100 billion neurons connected by up to 1000 trillion synapses? That’s more synaptic action than grains of sand on a beach. A big beach. All jammed into the lumpy double lobes of your great gray walnut-looking brain.
Yep! It’s part of the science of the human body — our anatomy and physiology — and it’s what I’ll be reading and writing about for the next year or so as we embark on a brand new Crash Course series, coming at you in January 2015.
So if you have a body and want to get to know it better, check it out, you magnificent beast, you:
Well, okay, science has been running the world, or at least a good bit of it, since the beginning, but for the next two weeks SciShow, one of the programs I write for, is taking over the country.
We’ve got ads running on actual television, billboards plastered on buses and in subways, and we’re running a special episode-a-day series for the next two weeks, answering the world’s most asked questions.
I wrote today’s installment: What is Love? (Baby don’t hurt me.)
Yeah, kinda like the meaning of life . . . not the easiest topic to attempt to explain in three minutes. Shoot, I didn’t even get to quote Shakespeare or Marvin Gaye. I did successfully get Haddaway stuck in my head for a few days though.
Anyway, it’s nice to see SciShow getting some more national attention and love from Google and YouTube. We work hard to produce a wealth of original, fun, and educational content, all available for free. I mean, I work in a bubble — from home in the woods, usually in slippers and sweatpants. But knowing curious people all over the world are watching our episodes, learning something, hopefully chuckling, occasionally correcting us, and in general getting psyched about science . . . well, that means everything.
Do you like reading about your astrological sign? What about taking personality tests, dosha questionnaires, or the wealth of internet quizzes on what Hunger Games character, 80’s song, marine animal, or sandwich you’d be if you could, you know, live in the ocean or be ordered and eaten at a deli?
In my experience, people love learning about their personality — both in legit and ridiculous ways. I’m certainly no exception.
So it was especially fun to research and write these recent episodes of Crash Course Psychology focusing on personality — what it is, how do we measure it, what is the history of various theories, and are those ink blot tests for real, and if so, why do they predict almost everyone is a latent killer?
So if you have twenty minutes, and want a little extra education and trivia fodder (did you know Rorschach totally looked like Brad Pitt?), check out these lessons.
Did you know that the average adult brain weighs about three pounds and is the consistency of soft tofu? And though it only accounts for about 2 percent of your body weight, it gobbles up 25 percent of your sugars and 20 percent of your oxygen? Greedy brain.
For weeks now I have spent many an hour reading, writing, and thinking about brains. My brain. Your brain. Teenage brain. Baby brain. Freud’s brain. Sacks’ brain. Dolphin brain. Hallucinating brain. Broken brain. Not in a jonesing zombie kind of way. It’s more personal than that. And professional.
Why? Well, aside from general neuro-fascination, I have a new gig writing for SciShow’s sister YouTube channel, Crash Course. Whereas SciShow manifests in single-topic bite-sized episodes, Crash Course takes a long haul comprehensive look at a topic. They’ve done series on biology, ecology, chemistry, U.S. and world history, and this year, you can catch about thirty episodes on psychology, written by yours truly. The lessons build like a semester-long class would, with some extra humor (hopefully!) and sweet little sometimes irreverent animations.
Here is the first one:
It’s definitely interesting delving so deeply into a single topic–especially one that I have limited experience with beyond general interest. Luckily I have a sweet textbook (Myers’ Psychology, tenth edition) and a badass adviser named Ranjit to help out. I’m still on the look out for a Chaise lounge, but I do have a few cigars handy, should I need one.
So if you like brains, or have a brain, I hope you’ll tune in from time to time. New episodes air every Monday afternoon.