Srinivasan explains that the chip is sending electric pulses through the needle into the brain slice, which is passing them on to the screen we're watching. "The difference in the waves' modulation reflects the signals sent out by the brain slice," he says. "And they're almost identical in frequency and pattern to the pulses sent by the chip." Put more simply, this iron-gray wafer about a millimeter square is talking to living brain cells as though it were an actual body part.
Remedying Alzheimer's disease would, if Berger's grand vision plays out, be as simple as upgrading a bit of hardware. No more complicated drug regimens with their frustrating side effects. A surgeon simply implants a few computerized brain cells, and the problem is solved.
Can a chunk of silicon really stand in for brain cells? I ask. "I don't need a grand theory of the mind to fix what is essentially a signal-processing problem," he says. "A repairman doesn't need to understand music to fix your broken CD player."
What the chip is saying is anyone's guess -- the content of the conversation is beside the point, Berger continues. It's straight mechanic-talk from the man who has created a prototype of the world's first memory implant, basically a hardware version of the brain cells in your hippocampus that are crucial to the formation of memory.
"Replicating memory is going to happen in our lifetimes, and that puts us on the edge of being able to understand how thought arises from tissue -- in other words, to understand what consciousness really means."
The Memory Hacker
Current Music: Not Breathing -- Mindsweeper ♬
Early U.S. Daylight Savings a bust in power savings
The move to turn the clocks forward by an hour on March 11 rather than the usual early April date was mandated by the U.S. government as an energy-saving effort. But other than forcing millions of drowsy American workers and school children into the dark, wintry weather three weeks early, the move appears to have had little impact on power usage.
"We haven't seen any measurable impact," said Jason Cuevas, spokesman for Southern Co., one of the nation's largest power companies, echoing comments from several large utilities.
Current Music: Propellerheads -- Take California ♬
DNA Lounge update, wherein we find both webcast fuckery and unfuckery.
Current Music: The Bastard Fairies -- We're All Going To Hell ♬