Particle[] aParticle;

//Include energy graphs of individual kinetic energies vs total kinetic energy
//Include equations on elastic collissions along with force icons

// All classes must contain 4 components: 
// name, date, constructor, methods

float N = 15;
int w = 1080;
int h = 600;

//Define the boundar equations of the system
float border = 50;

float top = border;
float bottom = h - border;
float left = border;
float right = w-border;

float rect_x = right-left;
float rect_y = bottom-top;
void setup(){
 size(1080, 600); 

 aParticle = new Particle[1000]; 
 for (int i = 0; i < N; i++){
   aParticle[i] = new Particle(w,h);

void draw(){

  for (int i = 0; i < N; i++){      
    aParticle[i].checkEdges(left, right, top, bottom);

    for (int j = 0; j < N; j++){         
        PVector bVect = PVector.sub(aParticle[i].location, aParticle[j].location);

        float bVectMag = bVect.mag();

        if (bVectMag <= (aParticle[i].radius*2)) {   
       //Draw lines between the particle
       line(aParticle[i].location.x, aParticle[i].location.y, aParticle[j].location.x, aParticle[j].location.y); 



I’m A Boss

You’re sitting in a dentist’s office. The secretary has blue eyes, blond hair and smiles really big every time a patient comes through the door. She seems good with kids and you notice a tattoo on her wrist when you hand over your Aetna insurance card, so you know she’s cool as well. Unfortunately, it’s not going to work out between you two because of one small problem: you’re a tiny little b^&#*.

You’ve been eyeing her over an article on pesticide side effects in the waiting room copy’s of home gardening, and the opportunity to ask her out has been disappearing faster than the blood from your face. The thing is, you know deep down that when you talk to her,  if it doesn’t go well (which it probably won’t), that old toothless hag sitting near the candy bowl will start cackling, and there’s nothing worse than the cackle of an old toothless lady. Also, someone will post the whole exchange on youtube and then your co-workers, friends and mother won’t respect you anymore.

“Enjoy your visit asshole.”

When the opportunity passes, the insanity fades, and you’re in that comfy white chair with nitrous oxide tickling your brain,  you reflect on your time in the waiting room and resolve to be more confident during your next encounter with the enemy. But you’ve never asked a girl out like that. The possibilities seems wild and the future is too unpredictable. When you’re in a new situation, you can’t be confident. You see, true confidence is based on a recent history of successes – something we all know you don’t have. But that’s ok, because there’s something else you can be. You can be overconfident. And a recent study tells us that when you’re faced with uncertainty, being overconfident will optimize your chances of not going solo to your brother’s wedding, again.

Researchers Johnson and Fowler have created a mathematical model that shows the outcome of a competition where overconfident individuals compete against ordinary ones (that means you in the dentist’s office). And the jury’s out: overconfident individuals take home the advantage almost every time. Mathematically, if the potential reward is more than double the cost of competing, then overconfidence it turns out, is a pretty good strategy. Non-mathematically, it’s advantageous because it improves resolve, and it’s a morale booster as well.

As the resource to cost ratio increases, target overconfidence increases in all cases except where there is no uncertainty. Also you can see, the rate of increase becomes more dramatic as the amount of uncertainty increases.

Good news is that you probably already are overconfident, at least in some areas of your life. Scores of studies show that the most people think they’re better at life than they actually are. For example, the majority of people think that they’re above average drivers. Take a second to do the math and you’ll realize – that’s not statistically possible.

Johnson and Fowler’s model actually shows that target overconfidence increases with uncertainty. MIT Technology Review is quick to point out that this has troubling implications for decision making in organizations dealing with tremendous uncertainty. They cite World War I, The Iraq War, and our recent economic collapse as illustrations of the dire consequences of overconfidence. But the math tells us, the more uncertainty there is, the more overconfident you ought to be.

This could be you.

So now YOU do the math. What’s the cost of asking Rebecca out: basically zilch. The reward on the other hand, we can all agree, is definitely worth more than twice the cost of talking to her (toothless cackling aside). So, don’t let ol’ Johnson and Fowler down. Go be an overconfident douche, and guess what? It’ll probably pay off.

Bass, Booty, and the Snail in Your Head (6:09)

Synopsis: Why is it that in all the musical genres we know about, bass drives the rhythm? Why does it move us? Why does bass let me loose and set my body free, leaving my situations at the door? Don’t need no hateration, holleratin’ in this dancery.

Well, that’s exactly what Dr. Laurel Trainor at the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind wanted to know. Trainor ran a study, measuring subjects’ brain activity while they listened to rhythms in low and high frequencies. She found that people have a significantly easier time following the beat of low tones as opposed to high tones.

It all has to do with a little organ in your inner ear called the basilar membrane, which is responsible for parsing and organizing the deluge of soundwaves that enter your ear (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Anyway, listen to the story. It’ll make sense.


The Long, Strange, Violent Story of Your Hands

Earlier this summer, two very handsome Apeland writers met a palm reader at a wedding. We were in the parking lot. The palmist was an animated woman of about sixty, as well as the rabbi who’d just married our friends. She sported a cheap prize ribbon on her shirt, having just been named Top Dancer back in the reception hall. So, what the hell. We had her read our palms.

She told me that I possessed creativity, which I liked hearing. I was told that I had multiple intelligences, which made sense to someone who feels like a jack of all trades, master of none. She told me that my love life is rocky and rough, which I guess I can say is vaguely accurate, but so can most people. She told me that I’m a curious person – true – and that, because I’m often aware of many possibilities, I have difficulty making choices – also true.

I went into all this thinking it’d be pure bullshit. I came out of it thinking it was 80% market-grade bullshit. But what had just happened? There I was, trying to take a cigarette break from hours of 80s music, when suddenly this worldly older woman was giving me the Cliff’s Notes to my personality, just by looking at my hand.

Was I simply conned by an expert people reader, or can our hands actually supply a narrative for who we are? Is it crazy to think that my reading could be valid, that science might someday discover a correlation between our physical traits and our personalities?


Palmistry: a sexy mystery.

We’re not going to answer these questions here, because no one can answer these questions, anywhere – not yet. But we can look at the long, strange story of our hands to see what exactly these weird, insectile things at the ends of our arms say about us.

We’ve always been fascinated by our hands. The history of palmistry, or chiromancy (a much cooler synonym), is murky. Here is what’s believed to have happened: palmistry was first practiced in India over 5,000 years ago, where the poet-sage Valmiki wrote a volume of 567 stanzas entitled “The Teachings of Valmiki Maharashi on Male Palmistry.” This document has been lost to time, but wacky old Valmiki’s hairbrained ideas were the impetus for palmistry’s spread to China, Tibet, and Egypt. Chiromancy eventually came to Europe via ancient Greece, where the pre-Socratic philosopher Anaxagoras is said to have practiced it. About a generation later, Aristotle discovered a treatise on palmistry and presented it to Alexander the Great, who is said to have used the document’s techniques on his military officers. Julius Caesar had palms read to gauge men’s intentions, and is said to have once executed an impostor based on the man’s reading. Napoleon, too, was a true believer, and often visited a mysterious chiromancer and tarot reader named Madame Lenormand. Even more tenuously factual is the belief that Hitler kept a few occultists around, and encountered palmistry through them. So, in sum, four of the top sociopaths of world history have harbored an at least minor interest in this stuff.

There are now many different styles of palm reading. There is Roma gypsy palmistry, Norse palmistry, Vedic palmistry, and lots more in between. Each variation is rooted in its origin-culture’s spiritual mythos. Ancient Greeks, for instance, associated different parts of the hand with different Greek gods. The fortune tellers who set up shop in public squares might adhere to a specific school of palmistry, or may blend a few schools of thought into a wonderful confusing mystical chimera of clairvoyance and universal vibrations. Or something. It’s a weird crowd.

Palmistry Guide

Some basic readings to get you novice palmists out there started

If you study methods for reading the palm’s lines, you can see a primitive mysticism at work in the way each line’s shape is connected to a human, or godly, quality. For instance, a long, deep lifeline suggests strength and vitality. A short one suggests that you’re easily manipulated by others. A jagged or broken heart line represents emotional trauma; a long, straight heart line suggests contentment with one’s love life. Clearly, some very unscientific mental jumps are taking us from the physical fact of the palm to the spiritual world it’s supposed to suggest. Leave it up to a human mind to look at a shape and imbue it with a bunch of symbolic value. It’s like hearing thunder and calling it God, or trying to tell me that the Big Dipper really looks like a fucking bear.

Palm reading has no physical validity: we cannot test for a relationship between lines in our hands and the universe’s plan for us. There’s no physical means of measuring a correlation between my jagged heart-line and all the hot babes I’ve gotten with, still get with, and will continue to get with.

The narrative that science reads in our palms is an evolutionary one. We have specific kinds of hands made to perform specific tasks beneficial to our survival. Just as we evolved eyes to see depth and therefore warn us that, say, a crazy homeless guy is getting closer and not farther away, we evolved hands to perform a practical, self-preservative role. In a 2003 paper titled “Evolution of the human hand: the role of throwing and clubbing,” biologist Richard M. Young argues that the shape and muscles of our hands and wrists evolved out of a need to throw rocks and swing bludgeoning clubs at our enemies. For our species to survive, our hands had to become death machines.


A monkey drinkin’ a beer – and having a tougher time doing it than a human would.

Young argues that the hand’s particular bone and muscle structures allowed it to grip projectiles and propel them with accuracy. The way our fingers and thumb are able to apply pressure to, say, a rock, is what allows us to throw it directly at, say, an enemy’s skull. Chimps can’t do this. They also can’t bludgeon the shit out of enemies like we can: Young describes that chimp fingers can’t grip a club tightly enough to swing it and make solid skull contact. Chimps’ wrists also screw them over – our wrists developed to be strong enough to absorb the shock of our club’s impact, hold on, and continue to bludgeon threatening enemy after threatening enemy. Hand dexterity was one thing that helped us out-compete lesser hominids who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a stone. Our prowess with rocks and clubs would have helped us win disputes over food resources and protect our young. The early hominids whose hands weren’t up to snuff would have died off if they came face-to-face with more modern, lethal hands.

This is all truly horrifying. It’s not fun to think that Mariano Rivera’s cut-fastball and Philip Glass’s piano playing are grim homages to the first hairy beast who figured out how to lethally grasp a heavy stick. But, brutal or not, the evolutionary theory seems to understand our hands better than palm readers do. Our palm’s lines are the way they are because our hands had to be the way they are for us to be here. The lines themselves aren’t evolutionarily useful: they’re just by-products of the hand’s very precise, very important physiology: a physiology that survived.

The Stud/Slut Paradox (1144 words)

Consider two hypothetical situations.

Situation 1:

Guy in tight polo shirt walks up to group of guys also wearing tight polo shirts.

Guy:  Hey guys. I banged a chick.

Group of guys: Wow, Tanner. That’s the third chick this weekend. You’re a stud, bro!

Guy fist pumps. It’s contagious. Others join. The weave of the polos chafes their skin and firms their nipples. They’re nice boys.


Situation 2:

Girl walks up to group of guys wearing tight polo shirts.

Girl: Hey guys. I banged a dude.

Group of guys (not fist-bumping): Jesus, Kallie. That’s the third dude this weekend.

Girl leaves.

One of the guys: Slut.

Confused, they attempt fist-bumps, but something is wrong…

What’s wrong, boys, is that we have a double standard at work here. Tanner gets abundant fist bumps and Kallie none at all.

You might want to write this one off as historical misogyny, but we’re not going to do that in this article. We want to try to get to the bottom of something and misogyny is a can of worms. So let’s explore one possible origin other than misogyny. It is known as the “standard narrative” of human sexual behavior, and it’s all based on one simple premise: men seed; women are seeded.

The reason men seed and women are seeded is because sperms and eggs are enormously different sizes. So the sperm goes to where the egg is. If you want to move to Rhode Island, you move to Rhode Island. Rhode Island doesn’t move to you.

A long time ago, a sperm and an egg were about the same size. Though, at that point, they were not really sperms and eggs. They were just sex cells, also called gametes. Isogametes, to be exact: two microscopic parcels of roughly equal size, each with 50% of the genetic instructions needed to build a living thing. Instead of a sperm wiggling into an egg, the isogametes would fuse together–50% DNA from one isogamete + 50% from the other = 100%–and there you had the blueprints for a baby. Not a human baby, we’re talking about rudimentary multicellular life about a billion years ago.

In addition to genes, both isogametes forked over an equal share of food. Food in terms of the gamete means the stuff the embryo will use to grow. So if you take the example of an embryo in a chicken egg, the embryo begins as a speck floating on a sea of yolk. The yolk, and the egg white in which it is suspended, are the food and nutrients the embryo will use to build itself into a chickadee.

Every sex cell was contributing equal amounts of food. But now sex is a single income household. Eggs contribute all of the food, and the sperm, none.

This is so much more than just another way males exploit females. This is actually one way to define male and female. The sex cell that contributes the food is called female. The sex cell that contributes none is male.

In isogamous populations where both organisms’ sex cells were contributing food equally, if you wanted to, you could think of these populations as entirely female. In a sense, we are all descended from lesbians.

A Historical Dramatization of Gamete Dimorphism

A Historical Dramatization of Gamete Dimorphism

Wow. An entirely lesbian planet. So how did males enter the most hostile environment ever known to man, start reproducing, and get away with not contributing any food?

One hypothesis for this food asymmetry is this. Isogametes were roughly the same size, but in any population there is variation. There would have been Dolph Lundgren isogametes and Danny Devito isogametes and some other freaks, too. A smaller isogamete meant it contributed less food to the coupling than the larger. The less food one of the sex cells could get away with contributing, the better (for it). Some isogametes would have to keep getting bigger and bigger to make up the difference lacking from the smaller ones, otherwise the embryo they were making would not have enough reserves to grow and survive. Over time, lots of time, the bigger gamete didn’t just get a little bigger. It got f***ing huge. Women’s eggs are around 85,000-100,000 times the size of a shrimpy sperm. You could say that the sperm is exploiting the egg, as sperm pass on just as many genes as the egg but donate zero food. It’s possible that the profound effects of this dimorphism between male and female gametes ripple through the entire history of animal sexuality, human sexuality, and human culture. In a sense, femaleness was the default state for sexual reproduction for hundreds of millions of years, then sperms evolved to effectively parasitize the egg. This is the essence of maleness. Sounds about right.

The size difference means that women cannot carry nearly as many eggs as men do sperm. It’s a space issue. A woman can expect around 400 eggs in her lifetime. The average human male makes a surplus of several hundred million sperm every day which end up in a Kleenex by his bed. When quantity goes up, per capita value goes down. Eggs are more valuable.

Gene theory says that genes want to make as many copies of themselves as possible. There are a few ways to do this. There is asexual reproduction: effectively cloning oneself. Starfish do this. Viruses hijack the machinery of another organism’s cells and turn it into virus-cloning factory. We do it with sex. We zip half of our genes to someone else’s. Men and women make children who have half of each parent’s genes. They nurture the child so that it is healthy and competent, hopefully enough to reproduce again, and pass the genes on once more. But for a man with more or less unlimited sperm at his disposal, maybe the best way to become genetically successful is not to be a good parent, but to be a dirtbag and impregnate as many women as possible. Some progeny would die without paternal care. Some would survive. And the man’s genes would be propagated.

Females, both in the human and animal kingdoms, cannot afford this quantity over quality approach. This is precisely why we have courtship. Courtship is essentially a gauntlet during which males must prove their fitness and commitment to females by throwing big rocks into a lake and watching Silver Linings Playbook until the very end. Women assess the genetic quality of the man and winnow out the guys who won’t stick around once the baby pops. Sluts are women who have essentially jettisoned their innate biological sexual strategies. Whores do it for profit. It’s strange to think that slut-shaming might be in our genes. Not that that means it’s justified. Here’s one lone fist bump for you, Kallie. Unless, of course, you only banged those dudes to fill some void because daddy never let you sit on his lap.



Obsolete 13-Year-Old Ukrainian Boys (1013 words)

If you’re a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy, you should be worried right about now. You will be the first make and model of humanity to fall into obsolescence. For decades we’ve known that the your demographic would be soon be replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI), and I’m sorry to say it, but it seems your time has come. Proshchannya.

Your downfall is all because of Eugene Goostman, a computer program posing as a precocious 13-year-old boy from Odessa Ukraine. Conceived in 2001 by a team of Russian engineers, Eugene Goostman is a chatbot with a big, programmed, personality. For example, his dad is a gynecologist. Eugene also happens to love guinea pigs. Almost too much. These are actual personality traits that Eugene could relate the next time the two of you chat online.

Eugene, in all his glory

Recently, Eugene triumphed over a famous test in computer science, one that had never been passed – it is known as the Turing test. When Eugene was asked about this achievement he claimed:

“I feel about beating the Turing test in quite convenient way. Nothing original.”

Touching stuff. The Turing test was proposed in 1950 by the father of computer science, the brilliant Alan Turing, in his paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.”

Alan Turing – The Father of Computer Science

Turing wrote the paper to address a simple but profound question: “Can computers think?” Turing is quick to point out that defining thinking is no easy task. Consequently, asking the question “can computers think?” simply creates another headache for philosophers of mind. Instead, Turing asked another, more practical question. “Can computers do reasonably well at the imitation game?”

The imitation game is simple. Set up a room with a big wall in the middle. On one side, you have a human judge. On the other side you have either a human or a computer. The two sides are able to chat with each other using either a teleprompter, or these days, the cutting edge technology of the chat room. It is the job of the judge to try to tell whether they are chatting with a computer, or a real-life human.

An unsettling notion?

When Turing first proposed the test, he predicted that by the year 2000, 30% of judges would be fooled into thinking they were chatting with a human instead of a computer. As a result, 30% is traditionally the cutoff that separates the winners from the losers. That is, if at least 30% of the judges that chat with a computer, think it is human, then the computer is said to have passed the Turing test. Eugene was able to convince 10 out of 30 judges (33%) that he was human. Sneaky little liar isn’t he? Also, sneaky of the programmers, some critics say, to make Eugene a 13-year-old foreigner, thereby lowering the standards of the judges tasked with evaluating the linguistic performance of their chat buddy.

What’s interesting about the Turing test is that it is a functional test. It bypasses the need to define a mechanism for thinking, and instead assess how well a computer performs at conversing in English (a task Turing assumed, requires a fair amount of thought).

Thing is, Eugene was able to perform well at the imitation game, without doing any thinking himself. And the problem is, asking the question “Actually, is Eugene thinking?” raises the precise issue that Turing was trying to avoid: nobody knows exactly what thinking is.

Kevin Warwick of the University of Redding, who hosted the competition, had the following to say:

A true Turing test does not set the questions or topics prior to the conversations. We are therefore proud to declare that Alan Turing’s test was passed for the first time.”

So, unless you’re an outdated East Slavic middle-schooler, isn’t this good news? Well, not everyone thinks so. Anil Seth, a professor of computational neuroscience at the University of Sussex, thinks Kevin Warwick’s claim above “is a major overstatement which does grave disservice to the field of AI.” The main controversy concerns whether or not Eugene should be taken seriously.

Critics believe (and I agree) that despite how he’s portrayed in the media, Eugene is not a breakthrough in AI. And the makers of Eugene, would probably agree with that as well. While Eugene might have passed the test, he does not represent any truly exciting advances in AI. He is a new and improved chat bot that spits out scripts.

All this confusion is rooted in a subtle point made earlier: the Turing test is a FUNCTIONAL test. What Eugene has shown, is that you can be functionally proficient at imitation, while being totally inept at thinking. AI and chatbots are operationally different, but (at least at Turing test competitions) functionally similar. Using a functional test, has created the exact controversy that Turing tried to avoid when he designed the imitation game. John Denning, one of the co-creators of Eugene, sharply noted, “I think we passed ‘a’ Turing test, but I don’t know if it’s ‘the’ Turing test.”

I am, therefore I think?

Eugene Goostman is profound for one reason: he reminds us that telling the difference between something that’s actually intelligent and something that appears to be intelligent, is starting to get really hard (from both a functional and operational perspective). The questions “what’s intelligent?” and “why does it matter?” are going to be an increasingly problematic ethical and legal issues in the coming years. For example, what happens when we know something isn’t intelligent, but as humans we can relate to it on such a deep level, that we don’t care? I’m speaking from experience here – first there was Furby, then Siri, and now my new room-mate the Roomba. With Eugene, things are rather cut and dry, but this won’t always be the case. Maybe Eugene isn’t much of a thinker, but my gut tells me, there is still a lot that he can teach us. The real question I suppose, is who’s going to be replaced next? Eugene and I talked about it and we think it’s probably 17-year-old Goths in sweden. That at least, is something we can all agree on.

crook invert

APELAND RADIO: Do Invertebrates Feel Pain? (5 minutes)

Ninety-eight percent of the species on Earth are invertebrates, yet we know shockingly little about them, and we care even less. Today we wonder: Do invertebrates feel pain? And why does it matter?


Not into the whole audio thing? Read the article instead:

Most of the world is spineless. Of the roughly 9 million species on Earth, over 98% of them are invertebrates. This includes insects, mollusks, arthropods, and all manner of squishy creatures.

For all their strength in numbers, invertebrates are pretty much overlooked when it comes to animal welfare. The National Institute of Health, which regulates animal use in labs, defines an animal as  “any live vertebrate.”  In the federal Animal Welfare Act, invertebrates are never mentioned at all. (Neither are birds, rats or mice. But that’s a story for another time.) The point is, for most of human history we’ve assumed that invertebrates are mindless automata, incapable of feeling pain — so why would we worry about protecting them?

Photo: Robyn Crook

Robyn Crook, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Texas in Houston, studies pain — or rather, what might be pain — in invertebrates. Her work focuses on squids, cuttlefish and octopuses, which are highly intelligent cephalopods. She says we tend to dismiss the possibility that invertebrates can feel pain for two reasons. First of all, it’s easier to anthropomorphize and empathize with creatures that have a backbone (and extra points if they’re fluffy). Secondly, we know that vertebrates have relatively similar nervous systems to ours, so it makes sense to assume that since we feel pain, all of our spinal brothers in arms feel it too.

That’s not the case with invertebrates, says Crook. “When we come to invertebrates we have a problem, where the nervous system is so different to ours, we can’t say for sure that what looks like pain in a vertebrate is also something that indicates pain in an invertebrate.”

In the lab, Crook is trying to get closer to understanding how invertebrates process and respond to noxious sensation. In other words, how they deal with stuff that hurts.

It’s important to make a distinction here: Crook is not studying “pain.” Pain is impossible to define empirically because it’s a subjective experience. We can’t even measure pain in other human beings, let alone other forms of life. Crook is studying nociception, which you can measure. Nociception is the processing of injurious or noxious stimuli by the nervous system. It’s reflex, knee-jerk — and most importantly, it’s measurable.

So, nociception is automatic, and it doesn’t require consciousness. Pain, on the other hand, is more like an emotional state that is associated with a noxious sensation. Pain, we gander, involves complex cognitive functions (feeling feelings and thinking thoughts) so if you can feel pain, you must be conscious.

Pretty straightforward right? Eh… not so much. From the armchair it may be cut-and-dry, but in the lab it’s a different story.

“Experimentally it’s much more difficult to look at an animal’s behavior and say ‘Well that’s nociception only, or that’s also pain,’” says Crook. This boils down to the problem of other minds, the enduring philosophical problem that we have no way of knowing what’s going on in other people’s (or cephalopods’) minds — or if they even have minds in the first place. All we can do is theorize based on their behaviors.

Crook is trying to solve that problem — at least in her invertebrate corner of academia. In the lab, she gives her cephalopods small injuries, poking them with wires using varying amounts of force. Then she studies their behavior and measures corresponding neural activity.


Photo: Justin Allen, MBL

The neural monitoring shows that the pokey wires do elicit a nociceptive response, and the animals’ behavior shows that they really don’t like being poked. Octopuses tend to the injured spot, rubbing and grooming. Squid are a bit different: Instead of nursing the site of their injury, they become extra-sensitive and hyper-vigilant to everything around them. But it’s impossible to say if these behaviors indicate basic nociception or more complex pain. That’s partly because we don’t know exactly how nerves connect to the invertebrate brain, which is key for identifying pain.

Interesting stuff, no doubt about it. And given all this pain talk, we have to ask, where do our assumptions about pain in other animals really come from?

“I think part of it is our own anthropocentric view on the world,” ventures Crook. “It’s an obvious thing for us to conclude that because we are intelligent, because we are self-aware, because we feel pain, that these things naturally go together in all animals.”

We assume that organisms that are like us, feel pain like us too. And what’s more, we equate the capacity for pain with consciousness. And what’s more more, we equate consciousness with a creature’s inherent value.

“I would like to get away from that a little, and start to consider whether those three things are necessarily interlinked,” says Crook. “We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer.”

That’s ultimately a job for philosophers, Crook points out, and her work is in the lab. All the same, her research has the potential to refine and improve our basic intuitions about pain in other beings. And who knows? Maybe someday we’ll be able to say for sure what pain is, and find out who else in the animal kingdom feels pain like we do. Until that day comes, Crook will be in the lab, poking away.