Monday, May 18, 2009

They are Broadcasting Stupid on the Airwaves

"It's the old myth heard time and again about how people only use ten percent of their brains, while for the people who repeat that myth, it's probably true, the rest of use happily use all of our brains."



Recently, I have revived my interest in radio broadcasts after spending more than 3 years in a sort of self-imposed exile from the mainstream music scene. My taste in music, by effect, has grown quite bizarre indeed. It had expanded far and wide laterally (into the UK, French and Russian contemporary pop scenes, easy listening lounge music, the anti-folk movement and most recently, into modern folk music) and occasionally, in a retrograde fashion back to the 80's and beyond. I thought that it's high time I check back into the crass commercial droning everyone else is listening to before I became completely musically estranged from the rest of the human race.

So, this morning, I was tuning in to FLY FM. It was during a slice of morning somewhere between 7:45 and 7:50 am and the deejays were asking some call-in listeners to tell them which part of their body would they like to have robotically augmented or replaced (can't remember which now, but to-may-to, to-mah-to). One guy who identified himself as a medical student said that he would like to have a robotic brain.

His rationale was that humans only use 10% of their brains and so, he want a computer brain to maximize the usage of his mind-power.

Several questions immediately sprang to my mind. Chief of them was, "How did a brainless git like him ever got into med school?"

We DO NOT only use 10% of our brains. It's a MYTH. Scam artists and psychic con jobs used this "factoid" to justify psychic powers. Functional imaging techniques of brains like PET scans and fMRI's have blown that bit of fluff right out of the atmosphere - things a medical student must surely know. Even if he didn't, he must have learnt about the brain in Anatomy and Physiology in the First Year. Exactly how much booze and pot did he have in his system when he studied all those things? It's one thing for idiots who believe every bit of spam-mail they get and forward chain letters just because they threaten to kill their mothers to tout these sort of nonsense every second of their mentally-challenged waking life - but a medical student? Please stick some forks into him.

Also, I wouldn't want a robotic brain in my head in the first place. While the human brain may not have the raw processing power that some supercomputers have, there's a lot of things a human brain can do which no cybernetic equivalent can yet achieve, or even achieve to a matching degree in the near future. Like painting. Like writing prose and poetry. Like common sense which this medical student evidently had in short supply.

Then, the jackanape went on to admonish someone called Ben (one of the deejays, I suppose) - calling him stupid on national radio - for wanting robotic cells which will never die, saying that that's a cell which will never die is the very definition of a cancer cell. That's a misleading oversimplification of the process of neoplasia (pardon my Latin). There's a whole lot of other icky stuff a cell needs in order to be a cancer cell. It has to be able to keep replicating without any chemical signals telling them to. It has to be able to ignore chemical signals that tells them to stop growing. It has to have a defective DNA repair mechanism. It has to have a limitless replicative potential. There's a whole host of other etceteras here that would be completely unintelligible to a layperson, so I won't write them here, but my point is, a cell which can never die, if it still listens to all those chemical signals telling it when to grow and when not to grow; if it's able to fix every genetic mutation which comes about that can potentially cause it to turn malignant and invasive - is not a cancer cell. It's simply immortal. There's a lot of bits in the human body that can do with a nice pinch of immortality, I can tell you. The brain and heart for starters. And those vascular and nerve cells which allow men to have erections, please. Boners for life!

It's okay to be stupid. It's being arrogant in spite of it that I can't stomach.



Don't like radio very much,
k0k s3n w4i

8 comments:

yungchien said...

hello! came across this post when i was @ innit nuffnang.

I gotta agree with you. some people are really... *swt*

stupidity is fine.
arrogance is a sin.

love ur blogpost! ^^
=P

Betsy said...

The part where the medical student claimed that cells that do not die are cancer cells - hilarious!!!

I don't listen to radio a lot as well, too much advertisements.

- yuhhui - said...

Really like this post of yours ! HAha. robotic brain. ==' Even in Year One, our lecturers been telling us that there are so many things a robot can't do but our brains can.. I hope that guy isn't from MMMC.

ven said...

That's the problem when everyone with passable SPM results wanting to be a physician.

chaborkia said...

finely penned. :D

hey k0k, you don't check this Blogger account's email, do you? dropped you a little something, hope you can reply. thanks!

at India now, wanted a little advice~

AP said...

lol i confess i'd believed the myth too, but i had an even more ridiculous figure lodged between my ears: 3% wtf thx for enlightening the public

oooh persepolis one of my favourite films ever, plus i agree slumdog millionaire is overrated too much sentimentality

Sight Unseen said...

Erm. Here's a little thought for you.

I still don't quite understand the concept that you understood and perceived. Are you saying that being "immortal" here means "cells that can never/do not die"?
In my humble opinion,
I agree with the fact that cancer cells are cells that DO die. But cancer stem cell lines ARE immortal in terms of medicine/science/biology research.
To quote you,
"There's a lot of bits in the human body that can do with a nice pinch of immortality, I can tell you. The brain and heart for starters." I'll go along with the word "pinch" and definition "immortality = cells that never die" if you aren't talking from the medicine POV. BUT IN MEDICINE, I don't believe that the heart and brain cells are termed immortal! or even having the pinch of immortality. Simply because Immortal means "capability of indefinite growth"-the growth cycle isn't closed- IN SCIENCE. There's a LOAD of research done on it. For example, HeLa cells.

There. My opinion forwarded. Shoot me back if you disagree.

k0k s3n w4i said...

yungchien: thanks :)

Betsy: i don't listen much 'cause they don't play good music

yuhhui: I hope so too. if he was, at least he didn't do us the disservice of mentioning it

ven: the problem is "some" medical schools aren't tough enough on the intake requirements - mine included

chaborkia: yeah, haha. next time, drop me a message here after mailing me at that address. i use my hotmail more, and I didn't put that here for privacy reasons.

AP: Slumdog Millionaire is a love story, first and foremost. i just wish it wasn't. 3%? where did you get that figure from? xD

Sight Unseen: Uh, learn English, please? What I said was that the brain and heart could do with a nice pinch of immortality. I did not say they HAVE immortal attributes. You're just like that medical student on the radio.