Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fifty Years Ago Donald Hebb Proposed a Rule

The Hebb Rule says that if an initially weak synapse repeatedly fires at the same time that the postsynaptic neuron fires, the synapse will become strengthened. After several firings, the synapse becomes strong enough to fire by itself. LEARNING HAS OCCURRED.

Hebb was unable to determine if this was right or wrong. Can you imagine the suspense?

Learning is happening all over the place right now, in fact. Five chapters left plus twelve cranial nerves (and their functions). My dysfunctional dalliance in biopsychology officially ends tomorrow at 3pm. I can be drunk by 4, removing most residual knowledge with the destruction of a few million brain cells. Hey, math major: with 16 upper division credits, how much tuition is lost from the consumption of one twelve-dollar bottle of rum?

The economics of that plan aren't looking good...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Global Cooling

Did you know, there are places in the world where the winters are commonly harsh? This may seem obvious, but think about it. When we get a bad week or so of very cold temperatures, it's pretty unusual. It only lasts for a few days. We complain for a while, turn up the heat, and except for a higher electric bill, nothing really bad seems to come from it.

As I walked to my French final last night breathing air that, at 4 degrees farenheit, froze whatever mucous could be found in my nose, I thought about people in the places where this kind of weather was normal. There are places where it is not unusual for people to live in apartments with little heat, who do not own clothes that are warm enough. There is a lot of suffering.

People die all the time from the cold, but we never really think about it. The other night, I thought about it.

Our forecast will warm up in a couple of days. We have enough money to pay the electric bill, and there is a large stack of firewood outside to keep the woodstove going. I have a pile of wool yarn that I can make into socks and scarves, but in the mean time we have a closet full of clothes to wear.

I think it's time to be grateful for what we have, and to share what we can. Spread the love, be nice to one another, because life can be tough.