Co-Founder at Resolvve Inc | Neuroscientist & SciComm | 📰 simonspichak.substack.com/|https://ko-fi.com/simonspichak

Resurrecting celebrities with CGI for advertising

A CGI Bob Ross sipping on some mountain dew
A CGI Bob Ross sipping on some mountain dew

What happens to our image and likeness after we die?

This question came to mind while watching a computer-generated image (CGI) of Bob Ross advertising Mountain Dew. The ad plays like a long-lost episode from his painting show. Rather than a landscape, Ross paints a bottle of Mountain Dew. He grabs it out of the painting and takes a refreshing sip, remarking: “Shoot that’s good.”

For those who don’t know, Bob Ross was a painter who passed in 1995. He gained fame and popularity with his painting show, The Joy of Painting. …


Will cryptocurrency be treated as a security in the near future?

A shiba inu dog
A shiba inu dog

The regulation of cryptocurrency will be a hot topic during the next few years. A new case by the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) provides us with a glimpse into this near future.

What happens when someone with a large following makes a powerful financial claim? Elon Musk’s tweets may reportedly be at the core of a new SEC investigation. Musk is no stranger to SEC investigations. Tweeting that he could take Tesla private at $420 a share, he misleads potential investors. He sent this tweet before this was a certainty. Although this ended up being a weed joke, he…


Questions from your future self

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What are you pushing off today? And why does it matter?

Every day, we procrastinate and delay different tasks. Whether it is folding our laundry, finishing a book or reading an assignment. This is self-sabotage. Why do we do this? These questions will help you reassess your values and priorities.

#1 Why are you ambivalent about your goal?

First, we must look at the self and assess our motivations. What is the goal that we’re hesitant about or procrastinating? Why do you feel that completed this goal will be valuable? Often paint our narrative about a problem or a goal. This self-fulfilling prophecy can make it sound insurmountable…


Advanced civilizations could siphon off energy from a black hole’s rotation

Black hole expelling large amounts of energy
Black hole expelling large amounts of energy

When we look up at the sky at night, we can spot dozens of stars shining bright. There are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone. We were born at a perfect time when there are still countless stars for us to gaze upon. But like everything else in the universe, these massive sources of energy will die out. Trillions of years from now, many of the stars we see in the sky will die out. When a star runs out of energy, its core will collapse inwards. It will go supernova as its light extinguishes itself. With…


In mice, stress affects these neurons, leading to depressive-like behaviors

A cute laboratory mouse
A cute laboratory mouse

Food and mood are inextricably linked in many different cultures. Hanger describes how irritable we become when hungry. In the brain, a lot of different foods associate with feelings of reward and other emotions. Your favourite childhood foods might give you a sense of comfort. But could the brain cells that control our appetite contribute to depressive symptoms?

In the brain, our prefrontal cortex and hippocampus process emotions and memories. Depression hijacks these brain circuits. Thus it is the focus of a lot of research into the mechanisms and treatment of depression. But, many people with depression do not respond…


Make better coffee today

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Many of us start the day with a hot cup of coffee. It’s the jolt we need to get going in the morning. It’s the warm caffeinated goodness that makes Mondays more bearable. You don’t need a barista course of $4000 machine to make a good cup. Rather there are plenty of easy ways to upgrade your coffee experience. Using what we know from food sciences, we can make a consistently excellent cup. Whether you buy your beans whole or grind them at home, this guide is for you.

#1 Your Water Isn’t Hot Enough (or Too Hot)

What kind of coffee brewer are you using? Many large commercial…


An intriguing link between a lack of sleep and dementia in people over 65

A green cup on a bedside counter in the foreground. Ruffled bedsheets in the background.
A green cup on a bedside counter in the foreground. Ruffled bedsheets in the background.

How many times this week have you had trouble falling asleep?

You might be binging the newest show at 1:00 A.M. or scrolling through social media. Especially during the pandemic, our sleep hygiene might be at an all-time low. I’m just as guilty as anyone else for not heeding this advice at times. I learned about how crucial sleep is to a neuroscience undergraduate and graduate student. Yet I still found myself prioritizing other things instead of sleep. Poor sleeping habits could literally shorten your life.

There’s plenty of proven benefits to a healthy sleep schedule. Less than seven hours…


Elon Musk is not monkeying around!

A retro video screen showing a game of ‘Pong’
A retro video screen showing a game of ‘Pong’

Ever wished you could play video games with your mind? This far-out telepathic fantasy may soon become a reality. Already, brain-computer interfaces enable paralyzed individuals to type on a computer screen. Elon Musk’s recent venture Neuralink aims to progress this technology. The long-term goal involves creating symbiosis between our mind and an artificial intelligence. In the short-term, Musk’s team hopes these implants could help people with paralysis. Musk revealed his team’s progress in a 2020 demonstration. While his talk was captivating it left the data and timelines to our imaginations. …


How the microbial community shapes our response to medical treatments

Image of cancer cells
Image of cancer cells

“For the first time in the world, we have successfully fought tumors by modulating the gut microbiome,”

Dr. Ben Boursi, oncologist at Sheba’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Department.

Thirty years ago, treating disease with poop sounded preposterous. In the last few decades, we learned a lot about the community of microbes living in our guts. Trillions of microbial organisms live a rent-free lifestyle in our guts. They eat and process undigested nutrients. Their by-products regulate our immune system, stress response, and even our brain function. Many of these gastrointestinal species end up in our feces. …


Evidence-based psychological strategies to improve your life

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What are you afraid of? Often your worst fear involves a specific event like getting sick or losing a loved one. Each of these fears evokes an emotional response in our brains. But what if you had to live with this response for the rest of your life?

Every once in a while, these intrusive thoughts and fears surface. 94% of the population reports having these thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are a central yet seldom discussed aspect of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I’ve spent seven years of my life studying neuroscience at a graduate and undergraduate level. …

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