90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Mapping The Mind

The White House proposes a 100-million dollar project to map the inner workings of the human mind. We’re looking at the challenge with some of the country’s biggest brains.

An illustration of neurons in the brain. (Benedict Campbell/Flickr)

An illustration of neurons in the brain. (Benedict Campbell/Flickr)

The big new push from the White House yesterday:  to map the human brain.  It turns out, the final frontier may be in our own heads.

President Obama came out to champion a $100 million push to really find out what’s going on in there.  To map the brain and its activity.  Neural networks.  Neural code.  The infrastructure of what and how we think and feel.  Of perception and decision-making and action.

We’ve mapped the human genome.  Next up, the human brain.

This hour, On Point:  it’s all in our heads.  We’ll look at the big new push to map the brain.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Reid Epstein, White House reporter for Politico. (@reidepstein)

Christof Koch, neuroscientist and chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, one of the partners of President Obama’s BRAIN initiative.

John Donoghue, professor of Neuroscience at Brown University. Expert in brain/machine interfaces that can restore independence to paralyzed humans and potentially augment human capabilities.

Michael Eisen, biologist at the University of California, Berkeley and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. (@mbeisen)

From Tom’s Reading List

Time Magazine “On Tuesday, President Obama provided more information about his plan to invest $100 million in 2014 to map the human brain. The goal of the project, referred to as the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative and the Brain Activity Map project, is to develop technologies that can document the interactions between nerve cells and the complex network of circuits that are at the root of human thoughts, behavior and functions.”

CNN “The Brain Activity Map initiative is seeking answers to that question. As described in a proposal published online Thursday in the journal Science Express, a group of prominent researchers is proposing a large-scale effort to create new tools to map the human brain in unprecedented detail. This could lead to treatments for brain disorders such as epilepsy, autism, dementia, depression and schizophrenia, as well as ways to restore movement in paralyzed patients.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 29, 2014
A visitor looks at the simple wooden cross that marks the grave of Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne, Wales, Sept. 17, 1963. (AP)

A century after his birth, poet and writer Dylan Thomas lives on. We look at his exuberant work and short life.

 
Oct 29, 2014
In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 image provided by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a young bear is rescued from drowning after eluding officials, at Lake Powell, Utah. (AP)

A big debate in the West over transferring Federal public lands to states. We’ll hear from both sides.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment
 
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
3 Comments