Also in today’s links: “trophy heads,” poisoned bodies and more.

  • More movement on the mind-reading front! Scientists in Japan developed a way to analyze brain scans to interpret people’s thoughts. And you know who’s probably most excited about this? All the writers of TV medical dramas, who see whole new plot strings opening up.
  • And then there’s the potential downside to using brain scans to try to read someone’s mind. A group of judges is taking a stand against the use of brain scans to determine a person’s guilt, a practice that has been used in India although not yet in the U.S.
  • Researchers have posted online a step-by-step guide to building your own supercomputer out of PS3s. Do the Chudnovsky brothers know about this?
  • An ancient South American culture appear to have taken their “trophy heads” from their own population, rather than from enemy peoples. The picture of one of these heads, incidentally or not, also bears a striking resemblance to the guy with the shrunken head guy in Beetlejuice.
  • In a part of the Amazon rainforest where a resident says Texaco once soaked dirt roads with crude to reduce the dust, a ruling is expected next year in a class-action suit charging Chevron — which bought Texaco — with responsibility for poisoning a vast swath of Ecuador.