December 27th, 2014
04:53 PM ET

The challenge of mapping the brain

President Barack Obama announced the “BRAIN” Initiative in 2013. It's an effort to show the brain's neural circuits work together in real time. To find out more about efforts to map the brain, watch the "Moonshots" special on December 28 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

Zakaria: Is it more difficult to map the brain than it was to map the human genome, which took about, initially, 10 or 15 years?

Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist: It will take a lot of time.  Realize that the Human Genome Project only talked about maybe 20,000 genes or so that may that govern the human body. The brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10,000 other neurons.  That's as many stars as there are in the Milky Way Galaxy.


Kaku: And so it will take time.

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soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    Question for Philip: how old are your Ugandan adoptees?

    December 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • Philip

      Mukazi is in Uganda, Agboola is in Nigeria. Why don't you ask them yourself, Donna. I'm Grampa Roper on Facebook. Go there and Friend them and ask them yourself. ty

      December 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
      • banasy©

        So they do not live here. Okay, I understand more now.

        December 28, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • rupert

        Is that so banasy. U understand more?
        So do I. Didn't know the a.s.s. hole hypricate felt American kids here at home need help too. People like u EUGENE that sicken me. U prefer to help foreign kids over poor American kids. That make u feel better, boy.
        Full u Philip Eugene Douglas mother fukker

        December 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • rupert

        The only thing du mer than Philip is my other du mb phone.

        @Philip Eugene Douglass. U stupid uneducated ex oil field worker...
        So u don't feel we have enough kids here in usa that need help?
        Good. They don't need u. Take $10 bucks of donations and give over seas. Fukk u. We don't need u.
        Uneducated du mb oil worker.
        Fukk u!!!!!

        December 28, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
  2. Mohammed Tahseen Al Jazrawi

    Obama has NO brain to say the least plus he's a criminal working for the free masons.
    The US airforce on the 24th of Dec dropped weapons, food and clothes (not the first time) to ISIS fighters in Iraq around Beji and they also dropped bombs on Iraqi soldiers who have been trapped there killing over 41 of them. The US advisors and US Embassy staff in Iraq must be thrown out of the country, then and only then we can live in peace.
    The US airforce have killed only 200 ISIS fighters to show the world they are fighting terrorism when in reality the US and ISIS are two of the same thing.
    The United States have been supplying weapons to ISIS from the beginning.
    The CIA was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures. The US is behind the downing of both Malaysian Airlines in 2014.
    Obama, you truly belong in the African jungle with the rest of the animals.

    December 28, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • Philip

      EXACTLY correct, Mohammed. But nobody here believes it.

      December 28, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
  3. chri§§y

    Lol if i was YOUR dog i would get distemper too! And ok you call yourself a doormat instead of an alcoholic. Thats called denial. But ok...your door needs its mat back so get over there and lay down and SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY!

    December 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
  4. rupert

    @chrissy what was the serman about at church today.

    December 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
  5. rupert

    A real man/woman admits their fear.
    Chrissy. What are u fearful of?

    December 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
  6. Constant Geographer

    Reblogged this on Constant Geography and commented:
    Mapping can be applied to many different fields, disciplines, and interests. I teach a course in mapping once a year. I ask my students to define "mapping." Students will offer several variations which I can summarize thus: "Showing on a piece of paper the location of things on the Earth's surface."

    For those that don't make maps on a regular basis this definition may seem fine. Except it isn't fine. Not in the 21st century.

    The simple definition I offer as a sample above incorporates too many conceits. Maps do not have to be paper-based. They do not even have to be tangible. Maps on our phones are not tangible; we feel the phone, not the virtual map projecting from the phone.

    People have mental maps embedded in their minds which helps us navigate from place to place, or help us remember where we last had our car keys, or help us remember the 40-minute bike route we had to take to visit friends in high school.

    Maps are not simply limited by "things." Maps do reflect the presence or absence of nouns – people, places, "things," or ideas. Yes, even ideas can be mapped. Ideas take the form of things that do not have any substantive form, like insurance, religion, or stocks. I am making a distinction between the idea – the concept – and the physical forms an idea assumes. I cannot map an insurance policy, but I can map the distribution of people who have an earthquake provision included in an insurance policy. I cannot map "Jainism" (the belief system of Mahatmas Gandhi) but I can use Census data to map the distribution of people who attest to being Jainist.

    Anything can be mapped. Anything can be mapped if a set of coordinates can be established which are of sufficient density to capture the information needing to be mapped and will help separate one data point from being confused with adjacent data points.

    And, this brings me to Brain Mapping. Only technology limits our ability to accurately map the brain. Science desires to map the brain for a variety of reasons, all of which might be distilled to this one singular reason: "To better understand ourselves." Whether we are trying to determine how to repair damage from a stroke, to treat cancer, to understand emotions, to understand brain damage, to understand how the brain repairs itself, to understand what provides people their innate cognitive abilities.

    My personal belief is the human brain is an organic massively complex parallel processing unit, with multiple cores many of which are redundant, running 24/7/365.

    Given sufficient technology sensors can be developed to map the brain and its functions. Mapping the brain and all of its characteristics forms a fundamental base from which all other studies can be launched.

    Mapping the brain is very similar to mapping the Universe. Mapping the universe I also find fascinating for pretty much the same reasons. To learn not really who humans are biologically, but who we are as a biological race, where we have come from, and, far more importantly, where we might go if we can put aside forever our manufactured differences.

    December 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
  7. @banutzi

    Kiss ny ass you evil witch. I did IN FACT work in the oilfield from 1977-1996. I was the youngest man ever to become a driller (boss of roughneck crew) in the history of the Carmack Drilling corporation. I was 20 years old bossing 50 year olds around. I worked for Dreiling, Chase, Cardinal, Tidewater, Air Drilling Associates, etc, and worked on the 6th largest drilling rig in existence at the time, Parker rig 119. I've drilled all over the south and west USA, and in Peru, Spain, offshore California, and Germany where I worked my last contract drilling natural gas storage wells for the German government under contract with Oiltools International. I can tell you EVERYTHING about drilling without harming aquifers. I AM the current record holder for deepest well EVER drilled without contaminating the aquifer: ARCO job just west of Cedar City, Utah, where I supervised the drilling of a 21,210 ft. well. Even today's modern drilling manuals claim that drilling deeper than 10,000 feet using the aerated mud drilling technique is not feasible. But I did it, and that's a fcat you stupid biatch...YOU ARE A LYING ASS BITATCH about me.

    December 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • @banutzi

      ...oh. And was drilling for the CIA in Yemen in 1986 when "civil war" broke out. I was stranded for 56 freaking days. Kiss my ass you freaking...oooooh I want to use the c word.

      December 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
      • Philip

        God! I hate that woman Donna banasy. I could say Yes or I could say No and she would call me a liar either way! For THREE FREAKING YEARS she has been doing this to me here on the N. She makes blogging miserable for me.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • banasy©

      I never said otherwise, you ignorant ass.
      I said, you can't hold a candle to bobcat, so stop with your chest-beating comparisons.

      You're not tough. You're a bully.

      December 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • Philip

        Stating simple facts is not "chest beating", Dogna. If bobscat were to say to my face the things he says to me here I would surely beat the crap out of him with one hand tied behind my back. He IS IN FACT a scrawny little puke of a man.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
      • Philip

        ...and God as my witness, if I were a woman I would have already travelled to Chicago and pulled all of your hair out with my bare hands, and kicked you in the c unt several times. And then biatch slap your stupid husband, if in fact you had one.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
      • banasy©

        You have IN FACT never seen him, Bluto, so your schoolyard taunting is absolutely ridiculous.

        You deserve every bit of what is said to you here; you invariably start it, and when someone defends themself, you invariably whine about it.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
      • Philip

        Yes, HAVE seen pictures of him you lying ass biatch.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
      • banasy©

        No. You have not.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
      • Philip

        How the hell would you know what I have and have not seen. You freaking ooooooooh I want to use the c word.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
      • banasy©

        And then biatch slap your stupid husband, if in fact you had one.


        You're off the deep end, dear. Better climb back in your bottle before you get the DT's.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
  8. Philip

    Obama has NO brain to say the least plus he's a criminal working for the free masons.
    The US airforce on the 24th of Dec dropped weapons, food and clothes (not the first time) to ISIS fighters in Iraq around Beji and they also dropped bombs on Iraqi soldiers who have been trapped there killing over 41 of them. The US advisors and US Embassy staff in Iraq must be thrown out of the country, then and only then we can live in peace.
    The US airforce have killed only 200 ISIS fighters to show the world they are fighting terrorism when in reality the US and ISIS are two of the same thing.
    The United States have been supplying weapons to ISIS from the beginning.
    The CIA was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures. The US is behind the downing of both Malaysian Airlines in 2014.
    Obama, you truly belong in the African jungle with the rest of the animals.

    EXACTLY correct. Care to debate?

    December 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • rupert

      STFU Eugene. This d-bag is just an uneducated has been oil field worker that gets all his knowledge from irrelevant web sites

      December 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
      • Philip

        I said Care to debate, Rupert. Not care to post insults.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  9. Mohammed Tahseen Al Jazrawi

    Everyone who saw "the interview" thought it was a stupid movie. Only the stupid paid money to watch this stupid movie.
    When Sony Pictures got hacked; Obama pointed the finger at North Korea before even doing any investigations... just show how dumb Obama is. Even monkeys are more intelligent.

    December 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
    • Philip

      EgggggXactly correct. Thank you Mohammed!

      December 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
  10. Philip

    Why is it that Dogna banutzi only replies to personal posts? She NEVER replies to on-topic comments I make, nor is willing to debate with me. All she comes here for is to gossip and hobnob around with her little bobsnot and Chrussty pants, etc. YOU ARE NOT really here to chat about the news. You are an old hag gossip, and that's all you are.

    December 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • banasy©

      When I do, you bitch, anyhow.

      And you bet your scrawny ass I will defend myself from an online bully nothing, so sod off, little man.

      December 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
  11. bobcat2u

    A bear walks into a bar in Billings, Montana and sits down. He bangs on the bar with his paw and demands a beer. The bartender approaches and says, "We don't serve beer to bears in bars in Billings." The bear, becoming angry, demands again that he be served a beer. The bartender tells him again, more forcefully, "We don't serve beer to belligerent bears in bars in Billings." The bear, very angry now, says, "If you don't serve me a beer, I'm going to eat that lady sitting at the end of the bar." The bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve beer to belligerent, bully bears in bars in Billings." The bear goes to the end of the bar, and, as promised, eats the woman. He comes back to his seat and again demands a beer. The bartender states, "Sorry, we don't serve beer to belligerent, bully bears in bars in Billings who are on drugs." The bear says, "I'm NOT on drugs." The bartender says, "You are now. That was a barb!tchyouate."

    December 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
  12. Philip

    A gay man walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartenders said We don't serve your kind around here. So the gay man sicked his little doggie on the bartender. The little dog jumped up onto the bar! And went "bowsie wowsie".

    December 28, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
  13. Philip

    A city bus driver had a Catholic nun get on his bus, and he noticed she was crying. So he pulled the bus over and asked what's wrong. The nun told him she was sad because she had never been with a man, but really wanted to. The bus driver told her he was single, and would be willing to help her out if she wanted. She said OK, but we can't really have sezx. You have to sodomize me so my vows remain intact. The bus driver said OK, and bent her over. When they were done sodomizing, the bus driver said I have to admit something. I'm not really single. The nun said That's ok. I'm not really a nun. I'm just on my way to a costume party and my name is Bob.

    December 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
  14. bobcat2u

    At a crossroads in the countryside, there stood a temple wherein was enshrined a statue of god carved in wood. One day, a man was pursuing his way when he saw a ditch before him. So he removed the statue from the temple and put it down lengthwise to span the ditch. He stepped on it and crossed over. Then another man came along. Unable to bear the sight of the statue lying in the ditch, he propped it up and carrying it back to the temple restored it to its pedestal. Thereupon the god accused of him of failing to burn incense and at once cursed him with a splitting headache. Bewildered, all the lectors of the Purgatory Judge asked the god: "The man who trod on you had gone unpunished; yet the man who helped you up has been cursed with a headache. Why?" "Well," the god explained, "you ought to know that the kindhearted people are the ones you can bully."

    December 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  15. rupert

    golly Philip. It's your business what u do with your money.
    But poverty exists here. No need to neglect our kids u
    Uneducated rig worker

    December 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Philip

      I do not neglect children. And have no idea why you would claim I did with no way of proving it.
      Now, care to debate Boko Haram being a covert CIA operation? "ISIS" being Muslim Brotherhood buddies of President Obama? Or do you just want to chit-chat all day again.

      December 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
  16. Philip

    What kind of a woman claims she knows what a man has and has not seen? Time to go back to your padded cell, Dogna Banazi. Yer crazy dumb.

    December 28, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • banasy©

      Where did you see him, then? Or are you still clinging to the notion that Tomcat is bobcat because they have similar usernames and are both firemen?

      December 28, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • Philip

        Omg woman. Shut up and discuss the news for once. Holy crap.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • banasy©

        You brought it up in your freaking OP, you ignorant ass. So either put up or SHUT up.

        December 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
  17. Philip

    The human brain has natural THC (marijuana) receptors that ONLY accept THC. When Nazi Bayer AG scientists discovered the could mimic THC using petrochemicals, they began manufacturing tons and tons of mind altering prescription drugs and did in fact dumb-down the entire nation of Germany, beginning several years before WWII.
    After World War Two, American agents smuggled those NAZI war criminals out of Germany and into the USA where they went to work for Bayer Pharmaceuticals North America. Within a few short years, even children were being given Bayer aspirin. (prior, it was illegal to give children aspirin). And in a few short years, and down to this day, Americans have been being drugged with "meds" that cause brain damage and weight gain, EXACTLY as described on required FDA warning labels.

    December 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
  18. rupert

    Philip if Obama was supporting boko then he would be investigated and impeached if true.
    This would make Nixon look like a kitty cat.
    The major news networks do not support your twisted theory.

    December 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • Philip

      President Obama is not the boss of the CIA. The NSA is. You are dumb. The NSA and Military Intelligence does all kinds of things Obama is not aware of. Just like back during WW2 when Harry Truman became president. He didn't even know the US military hat atomic and nulear bombs until AFTER he was sworn in. So Obummer may or may not know of Boko being CIA....he probably does though.
      But my point is that "ISIS" are in fact financed personally by President Barack H. Obama. Now, it's a federal felony violation of law to publish lies concerning a sitting US president. I could be arrested and thrown in prison for 20 years for publishing these things if they were not true. But they ARE true, and so am not afraid to publish them.

      December 28, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
  19. rupert

    U do neglect needy kids here in the U.S. for every dollar u give to children in Nigeria, that is one less lunch for our kids.

    December 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • Philip

      God does not care what country a child lives in, so why do you?

      December 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • Philip

        This year I gave nearly 7% of my net income to charity, Rupert. That's almost 4,500 bucks. AND I oftentimes and regularly spend my time helping homeless people who are really homeless....not lazy men who prefer the homeless lifestyle.
        What have you done to help, Rupert? How much did YOU give to charity this year? Don't be shy. Even though bunutzi might call us liars even though she has no way of knowing.

        December 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • banasy©

        I never said anything about your charitable works, Philip. You might want to stop beating that particular dead horse.

        December 28, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  20. rupert

    Will u donate to children in need in Israel? Many Jewish children could use some help. Philip

    December 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • Philip

      Get a clue, Rupert. Israeli Jews are the richest people on earth.

      December 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
      • Philip

        ...they aren't deep in debt like Americans are either. And they are not victims of Americans consuming their precious natural resources as, say, Nigerians are.

        December 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
  21. Philip

    You ARE correct though, Rupert. 20% of American children go hungry each day.And in the midst of a nationwide obesity epidemic, no less.

    December 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
  22. Philip

    Americans are 4% of the world's population yet consume about 1/3 of all world produce, and account for roughly 41% of all pollution. As one in 5 US children go hungry each day.

    December 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
  23. Philip

    According to FBI crime stats, over 500 American children have been going missing and never seen or heard from ever again, for many many years.
    What happens to those kidnapped children? Go underneath Denver International Airport and see for yourself. It's disgusting.

    December 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
    • Philip

      ...that's nearly 200,000 kidnapped children per year. This, as CNN Nancy Grace does her stupid and misleading "50 kids in 50 days" show.

      December 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • Philip

      *500 children PER DAY, rather.

      December 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
  24. rupert

    "God does not care what country a child is from. Why do you." Philip?

    December 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
    • Philip

      I don't care what country a child is from. What made you think I do?

      December 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
  25. rupert

    Philip. Hunger from an Israeli child is no different from the hunger of a Nigerian child. God sees no difference. Why do u Philip?

    December 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
    • Philip

      Pull your head out of your ass, Rupert. Israeli Jews are the richest people on earth and easily afford to feed their own kids. Plus I pay taxes to a government that forces me to give monies to Israel anyway. They take money from me and my business, and support the IDF and Israeli MOSSAD with it.

      December 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
      • rupert

        I read all posts. Including your trash. I know u would never help feed hungry kids in Israel. U twisted things to infer that no poor kids exist in Israel. U stupid uneducated oil rig worker. They do exist. But a racist pig as u would not care.

        December 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
  26. Philip

    What happens to those 500 kids kidnapped daily? Go have a look under Denver International Airport and see for yourself.

    December 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • Philip

      ...the kids that sukc at Playstation/Xbox have their organs harvested and are sacrificed to demons. The master gamers are genetically and surgically altered to look like artists conceptions of what an alien might look like, and then are sent through a tunnel to underneath Cheyenne Mountain near where I live. There they use their gaming skills to actually fly odd looking flying machines called "UFOs" by most people.
      Just two months a go a new portal to launch flying saucers from was built on the north face of the mountain. I have friends and customers who are ex Military Intelligence officials who first informed me of this new portal. If I were to post the actual name of the "secret" government operation, Poof! I would be gone. The NSA constantly monitors everything. If I said the name they would know right away and shut me down. They erased my FB account that I had since 2006 when I posted the name of this government operation going on right now atop Cheyenne Mountain.

      December 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
      • Philip

        The girl I help in Uganda opened up a new FB account for me. FB here wouldn't even allow me to have a new account after the NSA shut down my other one. I'm Grampa Roper on FB now instead of Philip Douglas.

        December 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
  27. Philip

    For many years I studied the wall tapestries hanging all around Denver International Airport, as did hundreds of men like me. When we deciphered the meanings of the graphics, we started hounding newspaper and TV reporters to investigate and publish what we found. About 3 weeks later all the tapestries were taken down.

    December 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
    • Philip

      ...the tapestries told the same story I just told you about what happens to children beneath DIA.

      December 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
  28. Philip

    Jesus was not a Jew. He was a Galilean. Jews commonly spat on Galileans and made fun of them because they spoke with a lisp. (Yes, his parents were members of the Jewish religion, but after he grew up he left that religion and went about exposing Jew leaders for being the scoundrels they were, and still are to this day.

    December 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • Philip

      back then, a "Jew" was what you were called if you lived in Jerusalem. Just as today, not all Israelis are Jews proper. About half of Israelis are Muslim now.

      December 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
  29. rupert

    Philip. U are kitty poop.

    December 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
  30. rupert

    Eugene. U are smelly froggy poop.

    December 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
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