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Comment Re:don't believe it (Score 1) 539

Absolutely right. That kind of finite-element simulation is futile because it simply "enacts" stuff that we know about. Sure, it might behave in ways we didn't foresee when we scale it up a billionfold, but it won't show us anything genuinely new. I suspect there is stuff going on in neurons that we don't even know how to look for. Well actually I *know* there is, because neurons are conscious. Aside from these philosophical objections, Markram's model doesn't even include glia, which are fully half of the interactional dynamics going on in the brain. We scarcely even know what glia are doing, and yet they are part of every synapse and their slow waves of activity strongly shape neuronal processing.

Comment They enhance touch perception - known for 50 years (Score 1) 347

I can't believe it when I see articles debating the purpose of fingerprints. They are mechanical amplifiers for vibration in the skin, thus enhancing touch perception; it's been known for 50-70 years that the ridges form a specific arrangement with the sensory fibre endings. In fact the ridges are CREATED by interactions between the developing skin and the nerve fibres which innervate it to provide touch sensation - this is why some nervous system defects result in abnormal fingerprints (e.g. Down syndrome). The only "Scientists [who] Wonder What Fingerprints Are For" are those unaware of the basic literature in the field. Here's a starting point: http://stke.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;323/5920/1503 Hope that helps.

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