Henry Markram is director of Blue Brain, a supercomputing project that can model components of the mammalian brain to precise cellular detail — and simulate their activity in 3D. Soon he’ll simulate a whole rat brain in real time.
“If you zoom into the surface of neocortex, you discover that it’s made up of little modules [neocortical columns], G5 processors, like in a computer. But there are about million of them. They were so successful in evolution that what we did was to duplicate them over and over and add more and more of them to the brain…so that we’d have more neocortical columns to perform more complex functions.
So you can think of the neocortex actually as a million-key grand piano. Each of these neocortical columns would produce a note. You stimulate it; it produces a symphony. But it’s not just a symphony of perception. It’s a symphony of your universe, your reality.
So, the Holy Grail for neuroscience is really to understand the design of the neocortical column - and it’s not just for neuroscience; it’s perhaps to understand perception, to understand reality…”
How aware is the fish of the water in which it swims? You too should be aware of the ocean that surrounds you. A sea of nitrogen and oxygen molecules, swirling and spilling over each other. Eddies and currents in every movement, a vortex in every breath, and giant waves turning to surf in the sky.
To illustrate our species insanely fast technological development, here is a map of the satellites orbiting the earth. This image only shows a fraction of low-earth orbit satellites, and does not show the satellites farther out in geostationary orbits. If you want to explore this for yourself, you can download the google earth KML file here. Our view it in your browser here. The position of each satellite is tracked in real time and updates every 30 seconds.