Monthly Archives: November 2010

The new nature vs nurture: are you your genome or your connectome?

The nature vs nurture debate is over. Scientists and philosophers now know that an interplay between both shapes who we are at the level of the genome. Genes have the magnificent ability of both programing an organism and responding to all sorts of environmental cues.

Today, however, a new kid on the block named “connectomics” is ruffling feathers in many scientific circles. How do we begin to relate the brain’s immensely complicated structure to its function? What can this tell us about human nature that genetics has not? Watch as MIT neuroscientist Sebastian Seung ushers in the age of the Connectome, a complete map of the human brain, in order to advance our understanding of the human story.

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How to get something (the universe) out of nothing (nothing)

When we march backwards along the arrow of time, we reach the point from which everything began, the point that modern science calls the “Big Bang.” Scientists have a wonderful grasp on what happened a billionth of a billionth of a second after the big bang; this, of course, only begs the question “What came before the Big Bang?” Physicist Lawrence Krauss demonstrates in the video below that the answer is “Nothing” and that under our current understanding of physics, and contrary to traditional logic, it is not just probable that we get “something” out of “nothing” — it is absolutely inevitable.

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