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¡Neurociencia para Todos!

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How to Troubleshoot Noise! on your SpikerBox

Blast you noise! Where do you come from! What do you want! Leave me alone! Sadly, to the neuroscientist, and indeed every scientist, noise is just a part of the natural world. But, since it is of the natural world, you can try to understand it, perhaps even reduce its effect on the phenomena you are studying. Backyard Brains hereby brings a high-production video straight from our lab in the North Suburbs of Ann Arbor. You’ll probably find our suggestions only kinda work for you. Welcome to Neuroscience!


Yes, Virginia, cockroach legs do grow back.

Many people have asked us if the cockroach legs we cut off and use for our experiments grow back on the respective owners. That and “the cockroach leg is still alive when removed from the body?” are the two most common questions we get, from 5 year olds up to 80 year olds.

After a cockroach donates 1-2 of its legs to science, he/she retired to the shady acres retirement home, where it spends the rest of its cockroach life living in dirt, making babies, and eating organic lettuce and carrots. When cleaning the terrarium, we often check to see if any of the legs have grown back.
Look what we discovered! The cockroach below went through two molts after his right rear leg was cut off. He just recently molted and we saw a little leg!The other leg (left rear) was cut in between the first and second molt.So, Yes, Virginia, they do grow back. Just takes two molts for the growing leg to appear. This cockroach is fine; he is back in his house eating lettuce.

Backyard Brains featured on Boing Boing, Boston Globe, and Nature.com

We have received a fair bit of press the past week related to some of the community events we have done. In June Tim spoke at the Humanity Plus Summit at Harvard on the “Rise of the Citizen Scientist.” The room was jam-packed with “trans-humanists” and Tim was interviewed for a Boston Globe piece on the open science movement.

At the recent MAKER faire in Detroit, editor-in-chief of MAKE Magazine, Mark Frauenfelder, selected us as his favorite Makers on Boing-Boing. Thanks Mark! See below for some budding neuroscientists.

Finally, we are collaborating with the Fund Science folks, to allow you, yes you, to contribute to research projects. Wonder when you do those 5K runs for cancer, where the money goes? Here you directly know. Donations to Backyard Brains would go towards paying educators to help develop our lab books and hiring coders to improve and update our iPhone/iPad educational software. A recent article in nature.com speaks about this funky new concept. Don’t worry, rest assured we at Backyard Brains are decidedly poor (not paying ourselves yet); you’re not donating to a company like AIG, which you already did, in a round-about way.