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(USA Today)   Scientists discover that a single brain cell of a rat can move a whisker. Brain cell requirement of fapping still unknown   ( divider line
    More: Asinine  
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2582 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Feb 2004 at 1:48 AM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

52 Comments     (+0 »)

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2004-02-19 12:48:21 AM  
Wait, what's asinine about this? That rats can minimally use brain cells? Ho-lee shiat, that just isn't right... or something.
2004-02-19 01:46:42 AM  
But finding that one cell is a real biatch.
2004-02-19 01:51:40 AM  
Well that's just the most asinine thing i've ever heard! I'm so offended I won't be able to sleep tonight.
2004-02-19 01:51:56 AM  
I'd like to be the second person to say "Asinine? What up with that, G-funk Snake?"
2004-02-19 01:52:54 AM  
This is actually kind of cool, which is the opposite of assinine. It's probably the same kind of tag mixup that we see whenever someone posts an article about Bush and calls him a "Hero."
2004-02-19 01:53:03 AM  
fapping? rat fapping?
2004-02-19 01:53:27 AM  
I for one bow to our new efficient-brained rat overlords.

/everybody gets *one*
2004-02-19 01:54:46 AM  
Nice, something I actually know about.

Current research shows that while the brain is not completely plastic (as in, maleable, not as in recycleable), similar cells within a region can be adapted to take on a variety of tasks. If you need a neuron to fire off a synapse that causes you to twitch a whisker, it can do that. Need the cell next to it to twitch a leg? Works just fine as long as they're in the motor cortex together.
2004-02-19 01:55:13 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2004-02-19 01:55:35 AM  
As drunk as I am right now I still realize that this more cool than asinine.
2004-02-19 01:55:55 AM  
Gotta agree on the misplaced-tag thing. but Talonfest, must everything be dragged into a political flamewar?

/wonders how many brain cells it takes to type stupid comments
2004-02-19 01:56:26 AM  
It only takes a single synapse firing to cause a reaction, if that neuron is connected to the right receptor site (like a muscle).
2004-02-19 01:57:39 AM  
This should obviously be an ironic tag.
2004-02-19 01:58:46 AM  
What can I say, it's an election year.
2004-02-19 01:59:10 AM  
Whenever I squeeze my right hand (as in squeezing a Windex trigger), my middle finger on my left hand twitches.
2004-02-19 01:59:57 AM  
.......and still no cure for that growth on my scrotum.
2004-02-19 02:00:41 AM  
I'm studying under a guy from Max Planck institute - he wires scorpion brains to see where their weird sensory organs go in - cool stuff, definitely not asinine.
Whoever posted it can probably twitch an ass-hair with a single neuron.
2004-02-19 02:00:43 AM  
Thank gord "rat fapping" failed to turn up in GIS. =P
2004-02-19 02:00:43 AM  
.......and still no cure for that growth on my scrotum.

That pubic hair. It's normal when you hit puberty.:-)
2004-02-19 02:03:47 AM  
What's the record for most science links in a row?
2004-02-19 02:04:40 AM  
Oh, wait, fapping is along the lines of the ability to keep your heart beating. If you had to think about it, you'd forget...

2004-02-19 02:05:56 AM  
I'm studying under a guy from Max Planck institute
really? My granddad studied w/ Planck in the late 40s/early 50s.

Too bad he's such a slacker. Runs in the family.
2004-02-19 02:09:35 AM  
Cudasocket That's cool. I'm a neuroscientist myself, in Montreal. I recently had to give a comic summary of one of Nikos Logothetis' seminars. Do you know him? I believe he's in Tuebingen. Great scientist and a great sense of humour too.
2004-02-19 02:13:04 AM  
Whoever put this as asinine is a ******** moron.
2004-02-19 02:28:07 AM  
Bug2K Haven't personally met Logothetis -
he works more with primate and vertebrate systems -
I'm more in the arachnid neurosensory realm -
trying to use the scorpion stuff as a platform for work
on the REALLY WEIRD stuff - dendrolasmid sensory ecology -
like the crazy organ on this thing's face -
we have no idea how it works and I want to be the one to find out -
[image from too old to be available]
That's a "Daddy Longlegs" btw
2004-02-19 02:34:29 AM  
I think the "grandmother" cell hypothesis has been resoundingly refuted. Of course, no one actually holds it, but these results seem to support it, surprisingly. What is more likely however is that if you stimulate a single cell enough, a single whisker will move. But if you want to know when the rat wants to move that whisker, you won't be able to just read the EPSP of the cell. "Sufficient" != "necessary" yadda yadda yadda.
2004-02-19 02:35:50 AM  
I would imagine fapping actually takes quite a few neurons. Just moving a hand up and down is simple, but the necessary imagination takes more than moving a hand does, and I'm sure sexual stimulation excites more than just one neuron.
2004-02-19 02:40:15 AM  
Thanks, Cudasocket, I looked at this thread right before bedtime. Now I get to have creepy bug nightmares!
2004-02-19 02:44:32 AM  
Still no cure for...
2004-02-19 02:49:50 AM  
Fark threads?
2004-02-19 02:51:24 AM  
Speaking of fapping...
Why isn't there a Farker- (or Farkette-) created I can't believe that no one has snapped that up yet.
2004-02-19 02:54:44 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2004-02-19 03:05:49 AM  
Searching for "fap" generates unintentionally amusing results:

"This information is intended for anyone affected with FAP, either directly or indirectly. Please share it with your family and with anyone who wants to learn more about this rare precancerous genetic disease. Although FAP may affect only 1 in 10,000 people, it is considered a model for cancer prevention throughout the world. The key to treatment for FAP is education, that is, learning about early diagnosis and appropriate follow-up. The goal of this guide is to help you improve your quality of life by taking an active role in your own health care and that of your family."
2004-02-19 03:18:30 AM  
Brain-activity imaging reveals that fapping, like any of the fine arts, involves both hemispheres of the brain. Results are constant for lefties, righties, and two-handers, although covering one eye during the test does diminish synaptic firings in the corresponding lobe.

/didn't read the article yet
2004-02-19 04:01:40 AM  
How many brain cells am I using if I give a rat a hand job?
2004-02-19 04:08:42 AM  
Definitely cool. Innovation, on PBS, profiled a scientist's placing an array of microelectrodes into the area of a monkey's brain that is responsible for planning movements. He then trained the monkey to play a video game (moving small circle into large circle, using a joystick), while making precise recordings of the neuronal activity picked up by the electrodes. He then disabled the joystick. The monkey then began to 'think' about moving the joystick and those signals were sent to the computer where they were compared with the previous recordings, and the program moved the small circle into the large one using the monkey's `thoughts' alone.

So, if a monkey can be hooked up to such a feedback device (scientist is developing `neuro prosthetics'), why can't we be outfitted with a handless fapping unit? Or, at least, a skull plug for calling up porn... I know, pedestrian, tawdry use of technology, but I have to remember that being actually virtual can cloud one's judgment.
2004-02-19 04:11:05 AM  
Don't be ridiculous, TommyymmoT. I'm a respected pseudo-scientist, not a Sumatran pimp. I can't answer that.
2004-02-19 05:27:01 AM  
I have always said if I could be fitted with a device that would take the music in my head and either transcribe the entire arrangement, or actually produce a recording that I would monolpize the classical music, ambient music and film soundtrack markets for the rest of my life.
2004-02-19 05:40:07 AM  
Manchurian rats.
2004-02-19 07:14:44 AM  
Hip_about_time, I've wanted one of those for a long-ass time.

I suspect there's some point in the brain where electrical signals match what the audio signals would be, but knowing the brain they're probably really spotty, and higher-level functions clean it up for us. So you'd get music out, but I bet it would cut out every tenth second or so.

It would still kick ass though - especially for sampling!
2004-02-19 08:01:05 AM  
And yet, still no cure for cancer.
2004-02-19 08:34:25 AM  
Yeah but the grandmother cell, as theorized, was a fairly complex third-order neuron. Primary sensory cells act in a fairly predictable, highly-sensitive fashion (e.g., retinotopy), so why not primary motor cells? and I'm not an engineer but if you put a deep EEG in there, you could probably detect enough activity to get at least a rough sense of intent. A bigger problem is that humans rely less on pattern generators.

Oh, and your favorite presidential candidate sucks (Sorry, just trying to fit in). =P
2004-02-19 09:55:09 AM  
Asinine? WTF?
2004-02-19 11:25:13 AM  
cudasocket, looks hollow. is it? any vibrational sensory organs at the base? any method of inflating and deflating? perhaps a strange gas mix inside? (im sure you've looked at these things yourself, im not making suggestions, just curious myself)
2004-02-19 11:49:20 AM  
ohh, and is that pholicidae or opilione type daddy long legs?
2004-02-19 11:51:43 AM  
I'm surprised Rat Scabies has any brain cells left.

Oh, wrong rat.

2004-02-19 11:58:38 AM  
I read the headline as "a single brain cell of a rat can REmove a whisker." I was ready to read about the new Mach-Rat Turbor razor. I need a vacation.
2004-02-19 01:05:56 PM  

I'd be thinking somewhere along the lines of none.
2004-02-19 01:10:55 PM  

I read the headline as "a single brain cell of a rat can REmove a whisker." I was ready to read about the new Mach-Rat Turbor razor. I need a vacation.

It's got FIVE rat brains and an aloe strip and a lather strip! It's cutting edge!

2004-02-19 01:31:36 PM  
Cudasocket - being more an insect person I never heard of one of those. What's it do? Or noone knows that either?
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