Life in the Dark #sciku #haiku #ocean #deepsea

Infrared photons
Driving photosynthesis
In deep ocean vents

A black smoker, photographed with artificial light

Thanks to Brian Dunning for pointing out this study of bacteria that live in deep sea black smokers – cracks in the ocean floor where heat and chemicals boil up through the darkness. The pressure and temperature down there would seem to make life impossible, but surprise! Certain bacteria do what I think of as something only plants in sunlight can do: photosynthesis. But heat and light are both on the electromagnetism spectrum, so I should have guessed. I love the term for such bacteria: extremophiles.

Brian Dunning’s podcast Skeptoid (with transcripts available too) is one of my favorite sites.

A Living Mind #brain #neuroscience #sciku #haiku #poetry

Body acts in World
Your brain is not a machine
World acts on Body

Spirit infused into a person – as good a metaphor as any

Each of us is unique in a more profound way than I ever imaged. Billions of neurons with trillions of interconnections, built on unimaginable numbers of interactions with the environment that no two humans share. You and I may read these same words, but how our brains therefore change is different, and different from every other human being.

This is inspirational, I suppose, because it means that each of us is truly unique, not just in our genetic makeup, but even in the way our brains change over time. It is also depressing, because it makes the task of the neuroscientist daunting almost beyond imagination. For any given experience, orderly change could involve a thousand neurons, a million neurons or even the entire brain, with the pattern of change different in every brain. Aeon

This line isn’t original with me: The mind is what the brain does. As long as my brain is alive, I am. There are no files to duplicate or download, because no computer functions the way I do. Maybe, someday, machines will form their own type of awareness, but that won’t duplicate the human mind. Change is hard, but will abandoning the computer metaphor lead to a revolution in neuroscience?

Turkey Poem #haiku #Thanksgiving

Stuffed like my turkey
Gravy, cranberries, and pie
Cats now lick the plates

BTW, if you’re sleepy, don’t blame the bird.

Tryptophan is one of 20 naturally occurring amino acids—the building blocks of proteins. Because the body is unable to manufacture tryptophan on its own, it must be obtained from food protein. Turkey is a great source of this essential acid, but it is not unique: many meats and other protein products pack comparable amounts.

Tryptophan is used by the human body to make serotonin, but eating turkey does not translate to amplified serotonin production in the brain

It’s just a food coma. Ahhhh. Scientific American

Drat #sciku #haiku

Room temperature
Only in Earth’s core

Since I can’t add “drat” to the haiku, it’s my title 😉