September 14, 2007

The Greatest Mysteries in Science

While a nation of one billion people is exercised over whether a ridge in the Palk Straits, that connects the southern tip of India to the northern tip of Sri Lanka, is actually a bridge that's Ram-made or not, I'd like to bring to their attention a list of the greatest mysteries in science that Life Science has published. My favorites, in no particular order, are:

My fond hope is that a tiny fraction of twenty-somethings among those one billion will get excited enough to bring their brilliant minds to bear upon these questions. Here's an extract from one of the articles to get them started:

If you think of the brain as a set of different computers, each of which performs different complicated tasks and procedures, consciousness is like the Wi-Fi network that integrates the computers’ activities so that they can work together, Morsella explained.

For example, if you are carrying a hot plate of food to the table, one of your brain’s “computers” will tell you to drop the plate because it’s burning your skin, whereas another will tell you to hold on so the food doesn’t end up on the floor.

The brain requires the “Wi-Fi network” of consciousness so that the different computers can interact, hash things out and determine what you do.

Hello, Ramachandran(s), how many of you are out there?

  1. Dangerous behavior releases the funny chemicals that give a buzz to the brain. This is probably why otherwise well settled men (Senators, for example) may indulge in risk-taking behavior. You can see this taken to an extreme in the phenomenon (I forget what it is called) where people try to asphyxiate themselves while having sex, to have supposedly incredible orgasms. People die of asphyxia, an incredible way of dying, for sure, but still others don't stop.
    So, stealing papayas must be an eroticizing activity, but perhaps fighting and winning one for a girl will yield more lubricating results!

  2. we are here , and there are more of us than one expects.


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