The Backwards Brain Bicycle

Like many six year olds with a MacGyver mullet I learned how to ride a bike when I was really young. I had learned a life skill and I was really proud of it. Everything changed though when my friend Barney called me 25 years later. He had a challenge for me. He had built a special bicycle and he wanted me to try to ride it. He had only changed one thing. When you turn the handlebar to the left, the wheel goes to the right. When you turn it to the right, the wheel goes to the left. I thought this would be easy so I hopped on the bike ready to demonstrate how quickly I could conquer this.

Fascinating to see how fixed our brain can become, and how flexible young brains are.

The Frequency of Humanity


Every day on Earth, an estimated 371,124 people are born and 154,995 people die. When you ask Wolfram Alpha about these rates, the scientifically inclined site returns a curious corresponding quantity: the frequency in hertz.

If you subtract the death rate from the birth rate, you get a net rate of 216,129 new people a day, or about 2.5 Hz. That’s the frequency of humanity.

The Frequency of Humanity →