Monday, February 18, 2013

Tinfoil Hat Fun

Anybody else think that this two-fer headline on today's New York Times homepage is hilariously macabre?

President Plans Decade-Long Effort to Map Human Brain

The Obama administration is outlining a project that would examine the human brain and build a broad map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for the study of genetics.

What's this? Illegal brains are getting a two year jump on Murikan brains? Call Homeland Security, surround the laboratories with drones!

But seriously: will there be a balanced approach to the brain study? Will both right and left hemispheres be given equal weight? Will scientists succeed in a grand compromise in the centrist corpus collosum? Or will the reptilian brainstem win out over the cerebral cortex in the continuing process of American devolution? Wait ten years, and maybe you'll find out. Unless, of course, the zombies have snuck over the borders and eaten all our brains.  

In other news, (which did not make the Times homepage ) tens of thousands of demonstrators converged on Washington over the weekend in the biggest climate change rally in history. Protesters against the Keystone pipeline stood in front of the White House, demanding that the president come out and talk to them. He did not respond. 

That is because the president and his entourage, which apparently includes the entire Washington press corps, are all down in Florida. They are either playing golf with Tiger Woods, or kvetching about the lack of access to same. The courtiers of the media might relieve their boredom simply by looking skyward and watching all the F-16 fighter jets in action, intercepting a veritable squadron of private planes and one helicopter which have thus far inadvertently invaded Barry's personal air space during his good old boy weekend on the Gold Coast. 

Maybe somebody should do a study of the brains of plutocrats who have the balls to fly over a president hitting balls. But first, let's do  a study on the brains of the press corps, which I fear have already been consumed by the zombie ideas of the corporacracy to which they pander.


Zee said...


Regarding the press-corps' pathetic whining about lack of access to the Prez during his vacation, well, the less we hear from the press about Obama, the better. As you say, there are bigger fish to fry than to report on the loathesome Tiger's advice to Obushma regarding his golf swing and the virtues of marital fidelity.

On the topic of fossil fuels and climate change, well, here's a recent contrarian opinion about fracking—from a scientist of note—for consideration:

The article also provides a secondary link to another article of interest,

In brief, William Press, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, maintains in the first article that only by producing and using more natural gas at the expense of coal and oil can we start to meet goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

The second article provides data that show how the reduction in the burning of coal and oil have taken U.S. emissions back to levels not since 1994.

Denis Neville said...

“Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully.
"Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit's clever."
"And he has Brain."
"Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain."
There was a long silence.
"I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands anything.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

The brain is our body's most mysterious organ. Many years ago I read Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, an interesting collection of stories of individuals with neurological deficits, during a neurology rotation. When the human brain is traumatized or disordered, it is even more mysterious.

“The brain is more than an assemblage of autonomous modules, each crucial for a specific mental function. Every one of these functionally specialized areas must interact with dozens or hundreds of others, their total integration creating something like a vastly complicated orchestra with thousands of instruments, an orchestra that conducts itself, with an ever-changing score and repertoire.” - Oliver Sacks

Human brain mapping will help explain its mysteries and the causes of mental illness and neurodegenerative diseases and make brain surgeries safer.


“I don't believe there's any problem in this country, no matter how tough it is, that Americans, when they roll up their sleeves, can't completely ignore.” - George Carlin, Brain Droppings

Just like Rabbit…

“Hear me, people: We have now to deal with another race – small and feeble when our Fathers first met them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil, and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break, but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.” - Chief Sitting Bull, Powder River Conference, 1877

Jim - South Florida said...

Just for the record, Obama was golfing on the Treasure Coast, in Martin County. Florida's Gold Coast starts one county south, encompassing Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Living only a couple of miles from the golf club (initiation fee, $50,000; annual dues, $15,000) and seeing the F-16s whizzing about, made me feel proud to be an American.

Many residents were terrified by the noisy fighter-jets. Fortunately, they'll never hear the assassination drones, coming soon to an urban area near you.

Norris said...

As hysterically entertaining as it likely would be, I don't think a brain study of the press corps is needed, since we already know they have been consumed by the ideas of the corpocracy.

A case in point: nausea medication in hand, I tuned in yesterday to Meet the Press. Remember the good ole days of Tim Russert, thoughtful discussion, and interesting guests? Gone, done, finished.

Host, weenie and Boeing-shill David Gregory's feature guest, the increasingly irrelevant John "Dotty, but with Anger!" McCain was served a series of questions that could not have set him up more perfectly to explain away his reprehensible behavior and comments regarding Chuck Hagel, the great Benghazi cover-up, and more. Journalistic disintegrity at its finest.

His round-table (which is in no way round, actually a skewed rectangle - a set-designer's deliciously subversive allegory?) guests, as usual, added no value.

They must have either threatened or drugged the usually pugnacious Chris Matthews; even he just bobbed his head and uttered sweet nothings. Gavin Newsom, who either didn't get or chose to ignore the "keep it dull and don't go off-script" memo, actually made a few cogent, eloquent, thoughtful points, which, not fitting into Gregory's script, went completely unremarked.

When once-venerable programs like MTP are handed over to robots like Gregory and feature far-too-regular guests like Carly "when you fail spectacularly as a CEO and senate candidate, you can become a political pundit!" Fiorina and David "I wrote the book on false equivalence" Brooks serving as reliable Republican Regurgitrons, thoughtful discussion is DOA and you know something is stinky in media-land. Dont' even get me started on the NYTimes or even mention the name Judy Miller.

Sadly, I think the issue is that it's not the press corp's brains, it's the press, period, which has been consumed by the corpocracy. I'm pretty sure that even the white male, mysoginistic, slave-owning authors of the First Amendment, when defending the freedom of the press, did not intend that to include its purchase by malignant corporate interests.

Even more sad is that we have collectively, passively let it happen. And the saddest thing of all is that I am bereft of ideas on how to turn the tide back.