President Obama has initiated a new program to map the human brain. He has initially allocated $100 million for it but that will clearly not be enough for such a mammoth project and will have to be considered a down payment that must be added to later. I think that this is a worthy project, since the brain defines so much of who were are.
Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health and former head of the Human Genome Project, explains to Stephen Colbert what this project seeks to do. I was surprised when he said that 100 million people in the US, about a third of the population, have some sort of brain disease. Could it be that large? I suppose it depend on what you mean by ‘disease’.
I wonder if people quite realize what this kind of research can produce, apart from its potential for scientific and medical benefits. It can lead to new insights on religion and free will that could be quite discomfiting to a lot of people, especially religious ones.
(This clip was aired on April 4, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)