corbettw writes "This article on Yahoo Science News describes a new finding that explains how the thalamus is used by your brain to essentially boot your brain, and provide for central processing and control of all impulses going to and from the cortex. The article describes its function as an operating system, but from the description it actually seems closer to the functions of a kernel." From the article: "The finding, published last week in the journal Neuroscience, changes the way scientists understand nitric oxide's role in the brain, and it also has them rethinking the function of the thalamus, where it is released. The thalamus was thought to be a fairly primitive structure, sort of a gate that could either open and allow sensory information to stream into the cortex, the higher functioning part of the brain, or cut off the flow entirely. Godwin says the new research shows it's more accurate to think of the thalamus not as a gate but as a club bouncer, who doesn't simply allow a huge rush of people to go in or no one at all, but picks and chooses whom to let in and out. "