Human Genome project meets the Human Brain

A lot of you main know of the Human Genome Project, which attempted to map out every single gene in the human genome and find its function and importance.

Recently, the Obama administration drafted a plan for a 10-year science initiative that would study the billions of neurons in the brain, similarly finding the function and importance of each.

Over the next decade, the project is estimated to cost upwards of $3 billion dollars, involving the both federal and private agencies/foundations such as Google, Microsoft, and Qualcomm.

Research such as this will not only further our fight against diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but also further our discovery of a wide range of mental illnesses.

This announcement was rumored in the New York Times, and raises some interesting questions.

What will uncover about the most mysterious part of our bodies?  And what types of radical research and discovery will evolve from an initiative of this size?  One can only imagine.


Can we avoid being racist?

Our brains are structured so that the part of the brain that detects race runs parallel to the part of the brain that creates and cycles through emotions.  Neurotransmitters that respond in or stimulate race recognition often times effect our emotions or mood.

This might be the cause of what psychologists call “subconscious racism”, or unintentional race bias.  Basically, even a perfectly cultured, respecting person can make decisions that would appear racism from an objective standpoint.

This factor affects a variety of activities, spanning from employment and college admission to rent for housing.

Today, the common perception on the issue of race is that it isn’t an issue.  The color of your skin or your background should have no effect on how you are looked upon.  However, studies have shown that this is only an ideal.  People of minorities and other races tend to be paid less, have a harder time finding work, have a harder time getting into college (not necessarily now due to affirmative action laws), and are more likely to pay more for similar services.

Essentially, each race is biased against any other race.  Subconsciously, a certain race of people will prefer to interact with, mate with, and work with other people of that race.

As humans developed, we recognized people who looked similar to us as people who were more likely not to harm us, and more likely to mate with us.  Millions of years ago, racism could have saved lives.

Today, we still feel the effects of this phenomenon, regardless of the immorality of it.

For information on how scientists are trying to combat this phenomenon, click here.