Feeds

Human brain 'works like US presidential elections'

If only you could kill those with beer, too

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

American brain specialists, in an announcement which may explain many puzzling aspects of human behaviour, say that the human bonce's decision-making process functions in a very similar way to US presidential elections.

William Kath and Nelson Spruston, of Northwestern Uni in Illinois, discovered the so-called “two-layer integration model" within brain cells using electron microscopy. Northwestern mouthpieces say that the two-layer system as used by neurons is similar to the way the US "electoral college" selects the president.

In the US electoral college, people in the many states vote using various different systems - "winner takes all", congressional district, dimpled chads etc - to choose electors who then select candidates for president. The electors are generally compelled to say in advance who they will choose for prez, though in rare cases they have actually voted differently.

In the brain, it seems that each dendritic branch attached to a neuron is the equivalent of a state, receiving thousands of signals from its dendrites but sending just one onward. The branch signals are then aggregated in a fashion similar to the electoral college - but speedier and less plagued by fist-eatingly tedious TV coverage. A single signal is then sent out by the neuron along its axon, in the equivalent of a president being chosen.

According to Northwestern Uni, after the as-it-were presidential brain election "the result could be an output in the form of an impulse, or action potential, or no action at all".

In Britain, of course, the prime minister is selected by a variety of different methods. Sometimes there is an general election process where people vote for MPs and this knocks on almost directly to select the PM. On other occasions (as we have now) a leader is chosen by the MPs of one party only without any consultation of the citizenry, as though neurons had lost most of their dendrites - a condition which causes a variety of terrible brain problems.

The Northwestern boffinry can be read by subscribers to the journal Neuron here. ®

Bootnote

If you don't get the subhead, remember the wise words of Homer Simpson.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality
Life had just begun, code error means Russia's gone and thrown it all away
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.