Human brains as bowls of spaghetti (with meatballs)

2009/01/28

In “On Intelligence”, Jeff Hawkins makes an apt metaphor for the complexity of the brain:

The brain is incredibly complex, a vast and daunting tangle of cells. At first glance it looks like a stadium full of cooked spaghetti.

neurons through an optical microscope

neurons through an optical microscope


Let’s explore this comparison. Do the proportions hold? Incredibly, they do! Take a human brain 20 cm in length and blow it up to the size of the Yankee stadium – 200 m in length. In this magnified world, axons and dendrites indeed will approximate the sizes of common varieties of pasta from thick noodles at the axon hillock to thinnest capellini in dendritic arbors. Dendritic spines will appear as barely visible bristles along the dendrites. Neuronal soma will approximate golf balls in size or, more appropriately, rather large meatballs.

Wait a minute!

Flying Spaghetti Monster
The spaghetti bowl theory of the brain lends added credence to Pastafarianism, a belief system that describes the Creator of the Universe, Supreme Being, or Higher Consciousness in similar culinary terms.

Coincidence?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: