Re: Paragraph of the day

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Mar 23 2000 - 17:50:38 MST writes:

> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, <>, writes:
> > "The accessory optic system: The AOS, extensively studied in the
> > rabbit, arises from a special class of ganglion cells, the cells of
> > Dogiel, that are directionally selective and respond best to slow rates
> > of movement. They project to the terminal nuclei which in turn project
> > to the dorsal cap of Kooy of the inferior olive. The climbing fibers
> > from the olive project to the flocculo-nodular lobe of the cerebellum
> > from where the brain stem occulomotor centers are reached through the
> > vestibular nuclei."
> > -- MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences, p. 866, "Visual Anatomy
> > and Physiology".

Isn't it pure poetry? :-)
> Yes, I took a neurobiology class in college. In fact it was taught
> by Roger Sperry, of split brain fame. He starts off the first lecture
> with a "review" of basic brain anatomy. I never realized there were so
> many named parts and structures in the brain! The whole lecture was one
> name after another that I had never heard, most with no obvious reason
> or rationale. I ended up dropping the class even though all the bio
> majors said it had a rep for being easy.

The trick is to learn a little latin so you can figure out what the
names mean. Then you start to discover the dirty jokes hidden in the
limbic system by 17th century anatomists. Fornix = archway (where
roman harlots stood, hence "fornicate"), mammilary bodies = breastlike
protrusions on the ventral side of the brain, thalamus =
brideschamber, pulvinar nucleus = the pillowlike nucleus. And so
on. OK, they are rather dry jokes... :-)

The cortex is so boring and regular, give me the subcortical
structures any day. The real mess is in the zona innominata (nameless
zone) where there are a lot of small odd nuclei with obscure
functions, not to mention the hopeless bios of the brainstem.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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