Monday, March 21, 2016

Brainiac


We like to say we navigate through all the confusion by the power of our superb human brain, owing to the questionably superior thoughts that are stored, circulated, believed in, and built upon. I prefer to say that the brain is more akin to a companion for the heart and is the louder, more public partner of the two. The heart is where we truly reside and to believe such a thing requires faith. Ultimately, faith may be the subject of all meaningful discussion but for the purposes of this article, let's focus on the brain.

My data for human brain size is largely based on participants of European ancestry and indicates an average adult brain volume of 1130 cubic centimeters (cm3) for women and 1260 cm3 for men. There is, however, substantial variation; a study of 46 adults aged 22–49 years and of mainly European descent found an average brain volume of 1273.6 cm3 for men, ranging from 1052.9 to 1498.5 cm3, and 1131.1 cm3 for women, ranging from 974.9 to 1398.1 cm3.

The right cerebral hemisphere is typically larger than the left, whereas the cerebellar hemispheres are typically closer in size. The adult human brain weighs on average about 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) with a volume of around 1130 cm3 in women and 1260 cm3 in men, although as discussed above, there is substantial individual variation.

Click to enlarge.
Scientists say brain size stopped increasing with neanderthals. Since then, the average brain size has been shrinking over the past 28,000 years. [Edit: How can they possibly know such things as fact?] So, some scientists claim human cranial capacity has decreased from around 1,550 cm3 to around 1,440 cm3 in males while the female cranial capacity has shrunk from around 1,500 cm3 to around 1,240 cm3.

In the digital age, the brain is like an intelligent switchboard that ensures all the proper connections are met and maintained. Simplistic, but that's the view.

Most people have heard that the brain doesn’t feel pain. It's true. Consider this grisly scene from Hannibal with Anthony Hopkins..

Your brain has physical needs, requiring 20 percent of your total daily oxygen and caloric intake — even though your brain only makes up two percent of your total body weight.

I've heard this one before, so I have doubts, but 80% of the brain is water. Instead of being relatively solid, your brain is 80% water.

They also say our brains are more active while we sleep. There's got to be some self-deprecating punchline that would fit in nicely here but I just can't think of anything. Maybe it'll hit me later. Or maybe a kind reader will supply it.

Anyway, your brain operates on 10 watts of power. Enough to power an electric guitar.

Some say a higher IQ equals more dreams. The smarter you are, the more you dream. Additionally, some people believe they are smarter in their dreams than when they are awake. I think there may be an inverse effect as well. We are probably as stupid in our dreams as awake.

Your brain can store every experience you've ever had. Technically, your brain has the capacity to store everything you experience, see, read or hear. However, the real issue is recall — whether you can access that information accurately.

Perhaps we are meant to be fallible, to forget things as a way of getting over some unpleasantness that the heart can't fix because the brain won't let go. Most everybody I know is pretty stubborn that way. I suppose that's one more thing all our brains have in common.

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