back to article Obama seeks $100m to unlock your BRAIN's secrets

The Obama administration has announced a major new effort to study what the president referred to as "the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears." BRAIN Initiative infographic Details of the White House's 'Grand Challenge' (click to enlarge – substantially) The private-public partnership, …

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Unhappy

But Will It Explode People?

If it doesn't explode "the enemy of the week" then it probably won't get funded.

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Black Helicopters

Re: But Will It Explode People?

I assume the goal here is to be able read the minds of prisoners of w enemy combatants and thus skip the torture business that has caused so much bad press.

I wish I was certain if I'm joking.

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This doesn't stand a chance of getting past Boko Haram in the house. Apparently the gubernent needs to stop all that edukayshun stuff and replace it all with good hearty private Christian schools.

God forbid the 'lower classes' grow brains and start to questions stuff like GMO food or wars to boost certain lobbying companies profit loss sheets.

It would be nice to see a government initiative on funding new antibiotics.

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Black Helicopters

@Spaniel

If you think GMOs are not safe, then show some science to support the claim. Only a few creationists and conspiracy theorists like you still make these assertions, with no evidence to back up their claims.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/feastandfamine/2013/01/gm-foods

I agree, the money could be better spent. For example, by teaching you basic grammar and spelling.

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Thumb Up

It's actually a very inventive backronym

They should drop the unnecessary "through" though - Brain Research Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies works just fine.

It's also a good recursive acronym with a relevant recursive first word as well, a lot better than the nonsensical PHP (PHP hypertext Processor) or GNU (Gnu's Not Unix) which contain irrelevant or meaningless words to "force" the recursion - e.g., PHP could just as easily be XHP, for XHP Hypertext Processor.

BRAIN Research Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies on the other hand is a completely valid recursive acronym with the recursive first word being completely relevant to the whole thing, so kudos to the droid that came up with that one!

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Re: It's actually a very inventive backronym

'Stuff Happening In Technology' is as reasonable a name as any other for an IT news site (and is recursive too, if one uses a common colloquialism), except people mistake it for an offshoot of Ars [Technica].

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Anonymous Coward

"Jump-start a sagging economy"

Not sure how researching brains will help the economy, create new jobs, and "make the best products". Just saying.

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Re: "Jump-start a sagging economy"

Probably very little directly. Possibly more indirectly, call it trickle down education. As I said above, I would much rather see them funding antibiotic research, but I would imagine the lobbyists for the pharma companies would shit breeze blocks if that came up and lots of campaign donations would suddenly vanish.

Although that and a lot more could easily be paid for by scrapping tax breaks on private jets ($300m a year) and for oil companies ($2.5 bn a year). I'm not entirely convinced there needs to be tax breaks for either as it amounts to a government subsidy and thats not exactly capitalist right? Governments subsidizing already profitable companies?

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Re: "Jump-start a sagging economy"

>Not sure how researching brains will help the economy, create new jobs, and "make the best products". Just saying.

I think a suitable test subject has just identified themselves. Oh wait, my mistake: they haven't because they posted as AC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Jump-start a sagging economy"

To all you downvoters, please tell this coward how it would work, then :)

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Anonymous Coward

It's always easy...

...to spend other people's money.

While there is merit to appropriate research, the U.S. is in such financially horrible shape that they should be looking toresolve their immediate issues before authorizing hundreds of millions for brain research. Maybe they could spend 1 Euro to examine Obama's brain, if he has one? then they could spend 10 Euro to examine th brains of all of the elected officials in Congress. There doesn't appear to be anyone with a brain there.

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Re: It's always easy...

I would recommend reading this transcript to a lecture given by Mike Lazaridis, a co-founder of RIM, to the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/mike-lazaridis----the-power-of-ideas/4053180

An excerpt:

"Over 90% of the time on the venture capitalist model you'd be losing your bet. But a few percent of the time you'd be making breakthroughs, because that's the other thing trailblazers do, they discover things that are utterly new. We need a system for scientific research that allows researchers to get lost exploring, maybe even encourage them to get lost exploring, because you know what? It's worth it. It's the path to breakthroughs. That is the kind of science that will give us the next generation of truly fundamental breakthroughs, things on the order of Maxwell's unification of electricity and magnetism, or Einstein's notion of space-time, or quantum mechanics.

"I'm talking about physics because physics is my passion, but of course we need breakthroughs in every major scientific area. And the impact of breakthroughs? History has taught us that it's impossible to say, even the discoverers can't say it. Brattain, Shockley and Bardeen came up with the transistor while trying to figure out how quantum mechanics worked in solids. They figured their new invention would probably be important to, say, the hearing aid industry. They had no idea what their discoveries would mean to the world."

And he is putting his own money into it.

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Anonymous Coward

"Maybe they could spend 1 Euro to examine Obama's brain, if he has one?"

Please, sir, if you could please honestly reveal before you post that you are, indeed, a moron, you might do us the favor of wasting our time slogging through your excrescence..

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Stop

Not Obama's Idea

This origninated in Europe. It is already a EU project.

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Meh

*Actual* use for this project will be

The ability to study exactly how that Coke ad you're watching (or the cola you're drinking) is perceived will be very valuable for the next generation of advertising.

No. I'm not joking. Some of that work has already taken place.

The goals may be noble but let's see who really benefits.

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Happy

Re: *Actual* use for this project will be

Hey back off. I only drink Coke because of its refreshing taste & convenient and attractive bottle.

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Re: *Actual* use for this project will be

I only drink it when I have the shits in foreign countries.

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Just waiting

for companies to start patenting parts of the brain they "discover" and then charging for any medication that uses that part of the brain. Much like when they started to "discover" that human genome thingy.

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Re: Just waiting

Nah, companies will start patenting parts of the brain that they "discover", then charge those who possess their patented brain components a license fee or force surrender of that part of their infringing brain.

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Mass hysteria to follow

I can't even imagine how many GB of conspiracy theorists' mutual "blog" wanking that will generate...

"Obama wants to get into our brainz! And take away our gunz! Out of our cold dead fingerz!"

Seems like tin foil manufacturers stock is going to be the next big thing!*

*) This sentence contains forward-looking statements that do not in any way reflect the poster's plans, estimates and beliefs and must absolutely not be relied upon when making any decision or taking any action. Actual results could differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties which are too numerous and onerous to list or describe here...

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