The Blue Brain Project

Jun 4, 2008
This is an image taken from a typical PET acquisition. It is a tomographic view of a brain examination in transaxial view. Red areas show more accumulated radioactivity and blue areas are partions where low to no activity was accumulated. It should illustrate how a typical PET image looks like. It was taken with an ECAT Exact HR+ PET Scanner.

Image via Wikipedia

Came across something interesting a while back, that I thought I should share. Apparently, scientists are in the process of building a brain – or a supercomputer ‘model’ of a brain. The project is called the Blue Brain project, and the intention is to create a biologically accurate model of a brain.

And it seems like they might just succeed. They’ve already accurately simulated one column of a rat’s brain. Yes, it’s only a small part, but that small part is a really huge step. It shows that the project is indeed feasible.

I really admire the group of scientists that are doing this. The painstaking effort required, and the determination to push through despite all the skepticism – and in a project like this, there’s bound to be a lot. But yet, they continued on, they gave it a shot, and even though they’ve only done a small portion, they’ve opened our eyes to the possibilities. There’s a lot to be learned from them.

But what really intrigues me about this project is the questions it raises. Are we really as mysterious as we think? Personally, questions abound about issues such as religion and culture. Will these simulated brains ultimately develop various religions like we have? Will they form various cultures with different beliefs?

There’s a lot that’s really interesting about this project. And I personally will be really interested to see what comes of it. If it succeeds, it could very well show what defines us – what the human consciousness truly is.

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Thinking about Improvisation

Feb 29, 2008

Sometimes it’s better to not think too much, and just go for it.

clipped from
Scientists funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) have found that, when jazz musicians are engaged in the highly creative and spontaneous activity known as improvisation, a large region of the brain involved in monitoring one’s performance is shut down, while a small region involved in organizing self-initiated thoughts and behaviors is highly activated.

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