Scientists grow human brains in mice, doom us all

Science is fun and all, but it’s widely accepted that it’s slowly marching us all to the end of civilization. Consider this one step on that march.

Researchers have grown tiny human brains inside of mice, which are known to carry disaease. That’s not us punching up some boring study, they really did it. It’s the first time that scientists have been able to grow a human brain in another species, so, congrats? The researchers, who are deluding themselves, say this is a major breakthrough in stem cell research.

What is really means is that science is that much closer to making animals as smart as us. And when that happens, we’re in for it.

Einstein’s brain brings the boys to the yard

Only Einstein could explain Kelis’ lyrics.

After Albert Einstein died, his brain was removed, photographed and dissected to discover if it had any properties that made it more likely to make Newton his bitch. And, just to drive the point home that Einstein was better than other scientists, the doctors who gathered this data managed to lose the most important photos and brain samples in human history.

Fortunately, 14 of the photos have recently been found. They show that, on the surface, Einstein’s brain was like yours or mine. But, inside, he was packing extraordinary prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices. In fact, his prefrontal cortex was massive, which is surprising when you consider his small dancer feet. It was so bulky that Einstein could crack walnuts with his mind … if he were able to remove and swing that cortex like a cudgel.

So, there you go. Einstein’s brain was the total package: brains and brawn. Now, give him your lunch money, freshmen physics students.

Even Americans’ brains getting fatter

University of Tennessee biological anthropologist Richard Jantz says you’re a fathead. Well, not really. But it’s definitely fatter than those of your ancestors.

After measuring the skulls of white Americans born between 1825 and 1985, Jantz found that their heads are at least 8 millimeters larger. Taking the entire circumference into account, that amounts to a tennis ball-sized extra helping of brain.

But, let’s not go crazy here, white supremacists. This isn’t to say that other races‘ heads aren’t growing, too, just that white people are typically the only ones who let scientists touch them after that whole Tuskegee experiment thing. This also explains how bigger brains don’t necessarily translate to higher intelligence.

How humans got head

The human genome has been mapped, but that doesn’t mean that science is done poking around with our source code. Much like bebop and other free-form jazz, sometimes you have to find the genes that aren’t present to learn what separates us from our animal foes.

And that is how David Kingsley of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Stanford University School of Medicine in California and colleagues found the gene that makes beejers possible.

Also, something or other about our brains.

(P.S.: As you can tell by the category list, this story was really in our wheelhouse.)

X-Men Origins: Magneto

MIT, which stands for Mad scientists In Training, has released new research on the recently identified part of the brain that may control morality.

As they are wont, the scientists attempted and believe they were able to magnetically disengage this region in test subjects. In various experiments, the zapped subjects would appraise morally ambiguous scenarios based on the results rather than moral concerns.

For instance: when asked if it was acceptable for a man to let his girlfriend cross the Temple of Doom bridge, zapped subjects answered that it depended on whether she crossed safely or not.

When we asked MIT students if it was safe to bombard portions of the human brain with magnetic waves, they shrugged. “Well, we did get interesting results.”

Take it from Snee: A few more things

As I established last “lightning round,” there are certain thoughts I have that don’t really make an entire Take it from Snee. They’re just ideas I save up from stories I read and, when the week’s particularly slow, I just ejaculate them into one gonzo post.

So, enjoy my brain ejaculations.

I promise to avoid your hair and those pants that are dry clean only. But you’re on your own for your eyes. You don’t like this? Keep ’em shut. Continue reading Take it from Snee: A few more things

What is this, where will Apple insert it?

ANSWER: It's a Turn-of-the-Century Handy Tobacco Churn.

CNET blogger Donald Bell raises an interesting/ALARMING question about Apple’s latest patent application: is this “the missing link” to the eventual iPod brain implant?

Sure, the drawing may look like an old-timey patent circa the cotton gin or filtered cigarettes. But if you look closer (go on), it’s actually a headset MP3 player.

But that’s not all! It’s a Bluetooth headset that stores your media files, plays them like a Shuffle (same four songs, infinitum) and records voice notes and can still connect to your phone, etc.

So, it plays the same song stuck over and over in your brain, records your thoughts, operates your phone and probably undresses people you see on the street.

Sounds like our brains, only with memory.

Getting ahead in autism research

Researchers discovered that toddlers with autism have, on average, a 13 percent larger amygdala than their non-autistic peers.

It appears that both toddlers brains start to develop normally, but the autistic’s amygdala may begin accelerated growth around year one and stops by year two, huge and proud like a prize pumpkin.

The amygdala is the part of the brain that, normally, allows us to study and interpret faces. When oversized, it leads to inabilities like discerning motive or joint attention. (I point to the stubble on my legs, you then look down and shave them. That’s joint attention.)

So what does this all mean? Medical science is closer to isolating the cause of autism and a vaccine may be on the way!

… Oh, sorry, Jenny.

Drinking and Googling: The perfect combination

Good morning, time for a belt. First off, while we advocate the consumption of alcohol, especially on long flights, where it is needed to dull the pain of constant probing, we do not condone hijacking a plane while doing so. However, that may be a new drink name.

Moving along, we’ve got some bad news for you sots out there: your brain is smaller than your teetotaler friends (like you associate with those types). The bad news here is that a study found regular drinkers and even occasional partakers lost brain mass at a faster rate than those lame-os who have never touched the stuff.

But there is hope! Another new study hints that using the Internet regularly can keep your brain smarter for longer in your life. The theory is that it makes you do a whole bunch of complex thinking, so it keeps the brain active, which is apparently good.

This means it is also a great counter to the brain-shrinking effects of alcohol. And we already know that Google Mail will keep you from sending drunk e-mail messages, so now Web surfing drunk is safe and healthy. Hooray for science!