In 2007, Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker was asked, on The Colbert Report, to explain how the brain works in five words. He answered: "Brain cells fire in patterns." That's perfect Pinker—clever, concise, and correct. His most famous book, The Language Instinct, is about apes, anatomy, semantics, anthropology, and why deaf babies babble with their hands the same way hearing children do with their voices. His new book, The Stuff of Thought, concerns cognitive evolution and cussing. Whatever he talks about, it's going to be fascinating. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255. 7:30 pm, $5.)

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