Monday, March 14, 2005

Snowing again :)
Yeah, it's snowing again here in the middle of the forests by the lake.

It always, always astounds me when it snow, the thought that scientists say each snowflake is unique. But then, how about a human brain?

The brain is a collection of about 10 billion interconnected neurons (and you thought mobile phone technology or PC's were amazing). Each neuron is a cell that uses biochemical reactions to receive, process and transmit information.A neuron's dendritic tree is connected to a thousand neighbouring neurons. When one of those neurons fire, a positive or negative charge is received by one of the dendrites. The strengths of all the received charges are added together through the processes of spatial and temporal summation. Spatial summation occurs when several weak signals are converted into a single large one, while temporal summation converts a rapid series of weak pulses from one source into one large signal.

The uniformity of function of the system is critical in an analogue device such as a brain where small errors can snowball, and where error correction is more difficult than in a digital system.

There are three classes of neurons:
Sensory neurons carry information from the sense organs (such as the eyes and ears) to the brain. Motor neurons have long axons and carry information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands of the body. Interneurons have short axons and communicate only within their immediate region.
Scientists think that neurons are the most diverse kind of cell in the body. Within these three classes of neurons are hundreds of different types, each with specific message-carrying abilities.

How these neurons communicate with each other by making connections is what makes each of us unique in how we think, and feel, and act.

And that's just the brain. When it comes to the cells of the body, it's even more staggering: estimates vary betwen 10 trillion and 100 trillion cells in a human body. All of those genetically encoded by combinations of 1,000's of genes.

So how, when we are so individual and unique, do people assume to try and 'conform us' to someone else's ideas of ..well..whatever.

Ah, the wonderful intricacies of snowflakes, hehehehe

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