Tag Archives: brains

Birds with bigger brains adapted better when Communism fell

Researchers in the Czech Republic and Germany have been looking through bird data from their countries around the fall of Communism.

Most of the factors appeared to affect bird populations similarly in the three regions. But brain size apparently made a big difference in the former communist nations: Birds with bigger brains tended to show a slight uptick in populations sizes in East Germany, and even bigger gains in the Czech Republic. The “increases of species with large brains suggest that species with good cognitive abilities might have been better able to adapt to rapid socioeconomic change and make use of novel opportunities after the end of communism,” the authors write.

The population gains might not be caused by brain size, but there’s at least a correlation there.

From Conservation Magazine, via The Morning News.

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There is no heaven for broken down computers

Stephen Hawking says:

I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.

The only slight difference I have with this view is that there is some spark of identity (for lack of a better word) in me that I don’t think exists in a computer. That is, there’s something that makes me see out of my own eyes rather than someone else’s (or out of a computer’s eyes). I can’t even be sure that other people have it, though I assume they do.

Of course, without my brain, such a thing wouldn’t amount to much.

Via Gawker.

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