September 29, 2010 6:09 AM   Subscribe

If that's over-simplified I'd hate to see an accurate depiction.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 6:12 AM on September 29, 2010

If that's over-simplified I'd hate to see an accurate depiction.

Well they left out quantum mechanics and how the voltage gated sodium channels came to be, for starters.
posted by TedW at 6:15 AM on September 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

posted by davemee at 6:15 AM on September 29, 2010 [5 favorites]

Where does the "hello" come from?
posted by swift at 6:27 AM on September 29, 2010

Having studied both anatomy and physics and chemistry, I think of stuff like this all the time and it just blows my mind. We think we're somehow separate from the physical world, but we are just another complex part of it. I don't really know what I mean when I say that exactly, but the thought that occurs to me is that there is information all around us, and it is transmitted via signals, and our brains and bodies are just conduits for that information, and as we create more conduits for that information around us, we create extensions of ourselves. It all works towards global consciousness and gaia type ideas in my head, without all the spiritual world mumbo-jumbo.
posted by PigAlien at 6:42 AM on September 29, 2010 [5 favorites]

I know -- I think all the time how each human is like a cell in a big brain, and by creating electronic means of conversation, we're creating the axons and dendrites. I have long thought of cars as the blood cells of humanity's organism, delivering their tiny payloads of oxygen (humans) to the furthest cells of our body, with the freeways as arteries and veins, and side streets, alleys and dirt roads as the capillaries. How will humanity evolve from here on out? How will our global consciousness and connectedness take shape? That's a good subject for scifi. Anyone got any good books to recommend that explore this?
posted by PigAlien at 6:45 AM on September 29, 2010

They left out "For fuck's sake. Who's calling at this hour? It must be your mother. You get it. I can't; I'm on the toilet. Fuck... ...hello? Oh, yes. She's just... in a minute. Yes, just a minute. It's your mother!"
posted by pracowity at 6:55 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by yoHighness at 7:01 AM on September 29, 2010

The part where the cochlea carries out a Fourier transform on the acoustic wave is the best. I always cover this when I teach calculus. "If a tiny shred of meat inside your ear can compute the Fourier transform, so can you, dammit!"
posted by escabeche at 7:25 AM on September 29, 2010 [9 favorites]

posted by jquinby at 7:27 AM on September 29, 2010

People still use telephones to make calls and talk?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:27 AM on September 29, 2010

IIRC, Harlan Ellison once wrote about being in a NASA control room as it received a data transmission from a satellite making a fly-by of Saturn. He considered all the scientific knowledge and discipline required to allow us to communicate over a distance of a billion miles. Then he thought, Sometimes the human race doesn't seem so bad.

That's what this reminded me of.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:38 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed that, but I thought for some reason you were going to link to this.
posted by jessamyn at 7:43 AM on September 29, 2010

Ths is exactly what howstuffworks should be doing. I want molecular interactions detailed, not some shit like "a pressure-sensitive fluid activates the sensor".
posted by benzenedream at 9:42 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't know if I'll ever be able to talk on the phone again, I think trying to understand that diagram blew some crucial circuits in my brain.
posted by sonika at 10:35 AM on September 29, 2010

Reminded me of this comment.
posted by TedW at 11:07 AM on September 29, 2010

And this post.
posted by TedW at 11:17 AM on September 29, 2010

Here's my even more simplified anatomy of a typical phone conversation:


Git: Yeah? Oh hi! Yeah, I'm on the train and now I have to stand up and start pacing up and down for no readily apparent reason... yeah? Oh yeah! Hang on, I don't think I irritated that guy who's glaring at me enough last time I pointlessly paced past him... there! I nudged the fucker that time! So yeah, I'll be arriving at... what time is it now? Right, right, so let's say... fifteen minutes? Are we still doing that fucking thing we said we'd do this fucking morning before I left and then again when you pointlessly called me at least three fucking times while I was at work? We are? Cool! So, we'll meet in that place we planned to meet anyway and yet which I now feel compelled to check over the phone for no good reason at all? Awesome! Let me just pace up and down a few more times and the say "love you" about four times and then hang up, 'kay? OMG I AM BEING KICKED TO DEATH."
posted by Decani at 3:01 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

sonika: if you want I can try to blow some circuits in the author's brain. I'm pretty sure I know him; although he's technically anonymous I've heard rumors.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:36 PM on September 29, 2010

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