Human brains as bowls of spaghetti (with meatballs)


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.



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