We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Scientists Have Located the Brain's On/Off Switch for Consciousness
It does sound as if turning oneself off will become a viable option
and taking this further, we cannot be too far from allowing parts
of the brain to simply sleep while the rest continues to operate.
This remains an accidental first step but it is powerfully
Right now we operate under nature's own programing and that was for
radically different conditions. There is plenty of obvious
improvements we will want to test out. Plenty here to consider.
In the meantime there must be a way to tap this effect without those
Located the Brain's On/Off Switch for Consciousness
Every one of us loses
consciousness on a daily basis: it's called sleep. But scientists
have never understood which part of the brain controls when you're
conscious and when you're not. Now,researchers seem to have
found it by coincidence while studying an epileptic patient—and
used electronic brain stimulation to flip the switch on and off.
Scientist reports, researchers at George Washington University
were using deep brain electrodes to monitor brain signals and try to
pinpoint the area of a patient's brain that was causing her seizures.
One of the electrodes was placed on the claustrum, a thin sheet
of neuronsrunning between major structures of the brain—and a
region that's never been studied with deep brain electrodes before.
Unexpectedly, when the
researchers sent high frequency electrical signals to the claustrum,
the patient lost consciousness: unlike a seizure, where a person's
activity immediately stops, the patient seemed to "slow down,"
speaking more quietly and moving more slowly until she was silent and
still, unresponsive to voice or visual stimulation. She was, by
definition, unconscious, regaining full consciousness with no memory
of the event as soon as the electrical stimulation was turned off.
The discovery has huge
potential implications for patients with epilepsy or in
semi-conscious states, but this is a very early stage: so far, this
on/off switch has only been tested in one patient. But pinpointing
where consciousness is located in the brain will be crucial to deeper
understanding of how the brain works, as researcher Christof
Koch told New Scientist:
Ultimately, if we know
how consciousness is created and which parts of the brain are
involved then we can understand who has it and who doesn't. Do robots
have it? Do fetuses? Does a cat or dog or worm? This study is
incredibly intriguing but it is one brick in a large edifice of
consciousness that we're trying to build.
Maybe someday, we'll
fall asleep by flipping the OFF switch located deep within our
brains. [New Scientist]