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Meet Valisia LeKae: Award-Winning Actor and Fierce Cancer Warrior

Valisia LeKae received a life-changing phone call from her gynecologist on December 2, 2013. Picking up the phone, she assumed he was ringing her to check on how she was recovering post surgery — after all, she had a 6-centimeter cyst removed from her abdomen only 10 days prior — but he wasn’t. “He told me that the cyst had come back positive for ovarian cancer,” she says. Shocked and in disbelief, she [ … ]

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The Aha! Moment: The Science Behind Creative Insight

For most of us, it usually occurs at the most inopportune times; never when we’re searching for it. To Archimedes, it happened in the bathtub. Newton experienced it while wandering an apple orchard. Arthur Fry: church. Each encountered an epiphany, that powerful moment of spontaneous insight. Archimedes shouted Eureka! upon realizing how to calculate density [ … ]

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Exploring the Uncanny Valley

With bright red lips, rosy cheeks, and painted smiles, clowns are creepy. They make us balloons shaped like puppies, dance, and tell jokes — they even come out of small clown cars, all to make us laugh. So why are these (supposedly) beloved clowns so unnerving? It’s because of the “uncanny valley” [ … ]

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Music, Rhythm, and the Brain

Music is part of our life. Music has had deep roots in human culture throughout history. Listening to, enjoying, or playing music sometimes gives us pleasure, sadness, comfort, and even touches us deeply, causing life-changing experiences. Why does music have such a powerful affect on our brain? [ … ]

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Colorful Language: How Synesthetes Perceive Words

Although the phenomenon of synesthesia has been known for centuries, it is only in the last 20 years or so (since scientists developed brain-imaging technology) that synesthesia has been seriously studied. In 1995, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, a Cambridge University neuroscientist, headed a team that undertook brain-imaging studies [ … ]

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At A Loss for Words: Your Brain on Writer’s Block

He’d lost his magic. The impulse was spent. His talent was dead.” So opens “The Humbling,” one of the last novels by celebrated author Philip Roth. Although it tells the story of a washed up stage actor at the end of his career, these three short sentences sum up what every writer dreads the most — losing whatever it is that drives them to write every day, finding themselves unable to do the very thing that keeps them relevant. [ … ]