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Biotech Science

Another Way To Erase Memories 232

Posted by kdawson
from the science-is-cool-i-forget-why dept.
amigoro writes "Neuroscientists have discovered that long-term memories are not etched in a stable form, like a 'clay tablet,' as once thought. The process is much more dynamic, involving a miniature molecular machine that must run constantly to keep memories going. Jamming the machine briefly can erase long-term memories." A few months back we discussed a similar removal of rat memories by a different method.
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Another Way To Erase Memories

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  • by Late-Eight (1026794) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:19PM (#20265079)

    If they get to a point where they are able to target specific memories, for example it could be very helpful to people that have suffered a traumatic event. But from the article it sounds like it's just a plan old memory wiper by switching off a running process, and there's no real control over what gets erased. I suppose that's OK if you really don't mind losing the last couple of years.

    I am sure there's a list of negative points that could be made against this technology, I just cant remember what they are.
    • by morari (1080535) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:27PM (#20265249) Journal
      Erasing traumatic events is not helpful. Learning to accept and cope with a past traumatic event is. People that run and hide aren't people that we need around, we already have too many of them without the advent of memory wipes.
      • by COMON$ (806135) *
        Ya, didn't he see Star Trek 5...geesh.
      • by OG (15008) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:41PM (#20265519)
        I'm going to have to disagree with you here. There are some cases where "accepting and coping" isn't an option. And I'm not talking about an in "Eternal Sunshine"-my-girlfriend-broke-up-with-me-and-I'm-r eally-sad type of way. I'm talking about cases where, because of bugs in the fear machinery, people's brains are in an error state that "coping with" can't reverse. Just as cells have normal parameters for homeostasis in which everything functions correctly, so do mental processes. In severe cases, we're not talking about just the psyschological realm. We're talking about gene transcription, protein levels, etc, that are outside of their normal boundaries, and that type of problem isn't easily (or even not so easily) helped by cognitive therapy and coping alone.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          Geez...I dunno what the problem is.

          I'm having more and more problems every day remembering most anything...and I have GREAT things I wanna remember. Short term is even worse....

          Think they could do research to help us KEEP more in memory?

          :-)

          • Geez...I dunno what the problem is.

            I'm having more and more problems every day remembering most anything...and I have GREAT things I wanna remember. Short term is even worse....
            I suggest you smoke less weed. Unfortunately though you'll probably have less GREAT things you want to remember once you do. :-)
        • by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Friday August 17, 2007 @07:44PM (#20270323) Homepage
          I can verify this from personal experience. When I was a teenager I had a bad drug experience that messed up my thought processes. I had a panic reaction that fed itself; a fear of being afraid. Because the fear was of fear itself, I found myself unable to control it because the moment I believed I might be starting to panic, panic immediately ensued because I was panicking about panicking. It sounds weird I know but it was a feedback loop of fear and panic that was very difficult to control. People talk about "panic attacks" and I am not sure if this is the same thing, but I can tell you that it was a really awful thing to go through. I can say without hesitation that it was the worst feeling I have ever had in my life; in fact I believe that it is the worst feeling I am capable of feeling, because my entire mental faculty was devoted to feeling panic. There was nothing else. I told myself that if I couldn't get over it, I would kill myself because it would be better to be dead. And I believe I would have carried through on that. But luckily the young mind (I was 15) is pretty malleable and I was able to figure a way out of it.

          Because these panic attacks happened only once every couple of days, I focused on the time between the attacks. The attacks were precipitated by a fear that they were going to happen, so if I got myself into the wrong frame of mind, and allowed myself to start to panic (a sort of aura would come over my mind as the panic started, like I could feel it descending on me), and if I didn't act quickly to distract myself, there was no hope of getting out of it. So I decided to stop fighting it and just "let it happen", sort of convincing myself that "I survived the last one so I can survive this one". And it helped immensely to realize that even if it did keep happening, it wouldn't kill me (unless I killed myself!), and I would have a couple of days to live relatively normally again. I focused on feeling like it didn't matter that I would panic, like it was something to just get over with and move back on with normal life, and once I was able to convince myself of that, I had a tool to take the edge off of the panic once it started happening. And that was enough to often times prevent the panic attack entirely. And once I could prevent a panic attack once in a while, I gained confidence because I thought "well not only do these panic attacks not matter, they are actually preventable". And once I started gaining that confidence, it became easier and easier to avoid them.

          Just as the feedback loop of fear was causing the panic attacks, a feedback loop of confidence (where the confidence caused more confidence because the confidence itself was the tool for preventing the panic attacks) was the solution. Eventually I stopped having the attacks. I did relapse a couple of times throughout my teen years, but only briefly. I also had some months-long duration of minor depression, which I attribute to my brain having to devote so many "feel good" neurons to preventing the attacks, and having less left over to keep my general happiness at a normal level. But by the time I went to college, I was for all intents and purposes over it completely.

          I am 35 now and haven't had a panic attack in 10 years or so. Although it does make me a little nervous to talk about in depth, even writing this felt a little like skirting the edge of fear. But I have no doubt that once I move onto the next Slashdot article I will have relaxed my nerves entirely.
        • by ninejaguar (517729) on Friday August 17, 2007 @08:44PM (#20271107)
          I wonder if the military is already looking into practical applications of this technology for wide dispersal. Imagine bombs exploding clouds of skin absorbent forget-me-dust over hostile territories (like Republican conventions), or adding barrels of who-am-i solution to water supplies for parched desert inhabitants (the sinners in Vegas?).

          Wow, I'm thinking like a comic-book super-villain!

          = 9J =

      • by thanatos_x (1086171) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:48PM (#20265643)
        Yes, obviously rape victims should accept this fact and get on with life.

        I can accept we have far too many people with a victim mentality; I can accept that this has a large potential for abuse. I can't say that someone who can't live a normal life because of a traumatic event in the past shouldn't get treatment. Yes it will be a very ethically complex drug even if it worked perfectly, but to deny all uses of the drug? I imagine it might also have some uses in military personel, but... yes, it's a very slippery slope.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gstoddart (321705)

          Yes, obviously rape victims should accept this fact and get on with life.

          We're not saying "get over it", but it really can't be healthy to just be able to wipe out anything painful in your life any time you like.

          Some people would probably end up blanking out huge portions of their lives. You might also lose the ability to make smart choices. If you wiped your memory, you might not know to be cautious in certain situations (or not not trust specific people). As shitty as they can be, your experiences are

          • by wsanders (114993)
            I smell a quick hack for pharmaceutically treating what otherwise can be accomplished most of the time through expensive, labor-intensive therapy.

            And remember ESOTSM was about two individuals who had their memory wiped for frivolous reasons. Hilarity and hijinks ensue!
        • by kalirion (728907) on Friday August 17, 2007 @04:34PM (#20268177)
          I imagine it might also have some uses in military personel, but... yes, it's a very slippery slope.

          The first rule of Operation Treadstone is you do not remember Operation Treadstone.
      • People that run and hide aren't people that we need around...
        Yes, but people who try to drown their pain in alcohol, food, materialism and sex are the engine that drives our pointless economy.
        • it's pointless? I'm sorry if you hate not having to wait in line all day for a loaf bread.

          I think you are stuck taking the bad with the good when it comes to capitialism, it seems to fall apart if you try to control its direction centrally.
      • by timeOday (582209)

        Erasing traumatic events is not helpful. Learning to accept and cope with a past traumatic event is.
        I wouldn't criticize the research on the basis of potential applications just yet. Maybe it will lead to a breakthrough in AI, or drugs that vastly improve memory, or combat Alzheimer's. Unfortunately it could instead lead to a "morning-after" date rape drug or a way to enforce anti-compete clauses in employment contracts. It's just too early to say.
      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... minus physicist> on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:33PM (#20266421) Journal
        Are you a psychologist? Do you know about current treatments and their success rates? Furthermore, who are you to say that we don't want others buying a treatment that might help relieve their suffering? Some types of trauma can not be 'accepted and coped with.'

        What a load of authoritarian claptrap. You sound like the type of person who has had some small measure of success dealing with their own minor past hurts and now has THE ONE TRUE ANSWER for every human being on the planet. Good luck with that.
        • In fairness... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Etherwalk (681268)
          I didn't read the post you're responding to, but why should a man need to be a psychologist to talk about the mind? No one's asking him for therapy.

          *glances at post in question*

          Okay, so he could be a lot more tactful, or could use... well, could explain any reasoning he's using there. But still, more flies with honey.

          A degree isn't everything.
      • by couchslug (175151)
        "Erasing traumatic events is not helpful."
        Been around anyone with real,no shit PTSD?

        "People that run and hide aren't people that we need around, we already have too many of them without the advent of memory wipes."
        Since when is "running and hiding" to be equated with the removal of a memory? One need not run or hide from something that does not exist.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ehrichweiss (706417)
        Have you ever considered what happens if there is no possibility of "learning to accept and cope" with the traumatic event? I'll tell you what happens, you exist in a living hell until dead.

        I have PTSD and can tell you that I can accept it all I want but there's no way to cope with recurring nightmares and flashbacks triggered by, you guessed it, memories that I would rather have buried and forgotten. The absence of those memories would give me no trigger..no reference point for the brain to repeatedly r
      • I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess you're not a psychologist, or anyone who has to deal with trauma victims. Neither am I, but I know people who do, and I'm pretty sure that in some cases, all your "accept it, cope with it, get over it" just makes it worse.
    • The MIB just flash a pen at you and they tell you what you remember.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OG (15008)
      Exactly. It's interesting, no question, but not necessarily practical.

      In order for something like this to be practical, it needs to disrupt reconsolidation. That is, as the theory goes, when a memory is accessed, there is an active process to "re-store" that memory. What would be needed in this treatment is some agent (whether pharmacological or electric or magnetic or whatever) that blocks the reconsolidation process. Then in a clinical setting, that treatment would be delivered, a doctor would guide o
      • by shmlco (594907)
        Sounds like the old "pink elephant" problem, as in the flying carpet will fly... as long as you don't think a a pink elephant.

        In this case, I want you to think of the problem, and don't think of your name, SSN, parents, pets, or anything else you want to remember.
    • I'll be damned if I forget all of those very expensive years in college. I had alcohol for that.
    • by COMON$ (806135) *
      Hmmmm, interesting bio weapon....instead of killing the society destroy their ability to remember and create a massive slave class instead....sounds like a bad sci-fi novel. Having humans in charge of such tech can be dangerous as with this we can manipulate history.

      Paranoia aside finding ways to keep the memories from being lost will be a big boone to the increasing Alzheimer's issue.

      • by Bluesman (104513)
        That sounds like a GOOD sci-fi novel.

        I hope (against all odds) someone makes a decent movie out of your idea.

      • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:12PM (#20266077)

        Hmmmm, interesting bio weapon....instead of killing the society destroy their ability to remember and create a massive slave class instead....sounds like a bad sci-fi novel. Having humans in charge of such tech can be dangerous as with this we can manipulate history.

        Paranoia aside finding ways to keep the memories from being lost will be a big boone to the increasing Alzheimer's issue.
        Already been kinda sorta done. David Brin short story, archaeologists are going through the landfills of the 20th century for research and start finding skeletons. At first they're thinking it's a few mob murders but they end up finding hundreds, thousands, millions. More landfills are excavated and they wind up with enough skeletons to account for a population approaching the entire United States. No answer was even provided in the story but the one I came up with was body snatcher aliens who replaced the existing humans, chucked the bodies, and took over living as humans, not letting their children know what had really occurred.

        A story involving precise memory manipulation like this goes beyond mere Manchurian Candidates, you'd be looking at Memento meets Cold War spy movie. Who is the enemy? What do they know? What do they know that you know? What do they know that you used to know that they don't want you to find out? Do they know that you know that they know that you know that they know that you know? I think synapses would be burnt out just trying to cope.

        I had a story idea along these lines, not with memories but with not knowing who is who. Humans lack FTL travel but do have FTL communications via ansible. Humanity is spread across thousands of lightyears in millions of communities and a pervasive metaverse keeps society connected. An eccentric character grows tired of remote experiences, even if they are as keen as real life experience, and he decides to go see his favorite star system personally. He purchases a starship, goes into cryo and makes the voyage. He comes to decades later in a system devoid of human life. Everything is in blasted ruin. He logs back into the metaverse and the system is still there, pretty as you please. He investigates and finally discovers that there is a device of unknown origin sitting at the system's ansible junction. It is providing a high fidelity simulation of the entire ruined system, as if it had never been destroyed.

        Who destroyed the system? Why did they do it? Where are they going next? How many systems still exist, how many have been wiped out? Is he the last human? The alien infiltrators are already in the metaverse, you cannot tell if who you are speaking to is really human or alien or mere simulacrum. How can you fight an enemy you cannot even prove is real? Paranoia will destroy ya but that doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.
    • Yes, erasing memories is cool, but it's getting back long term memory that really means something. I wonder if this mechanism shuts down with Alzheimer's?
  • by bensafrickingenius (828123) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:19PM (#20265099)
    How much would it cost to erase my last 15 years?
  • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:20PM (#20265113)
    So this is more like RAM, where it has to have constant power, than it is a hard drive where the bits stay flipped until reversed by something else?
    • I always thought it was like flash memory. Now I'll have to keep thinking about old memories or I'll lose all the good ones. ;)
      • by timeOday (582209)

        Now I'll have to keep thinking about old memories or I'll lose all the good ones. ;)
        I'm sure recalling old memories periodically does refresh them (though I'll bet it also changes them over time, like an Nth generation photocopy). This is different though, they're describing a subconscious chemical process.
        • I'd have to disagree with you; remembering the memory likely strengthens the pathway that the chemicals maintain.
    • The brain isn't like a computer at all. It's just more like a computer than it is like other machines we've invented, and historically we use mechanical metaphors for memory and thought. During Freud's era, steam, cinema and electricity were the metaphors for the mind. Now, it's computers.

      This finding about memories also shows some of the problems with functionalist explanations for cognition that assume the existence of "modules," neglecting both the plasticity and dynamism of cognition. The brain creates
  • tag: paycheck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Reverend528 (585549) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:21PM (#20265129) Homepage
    PKD strikes again [wikipedia.org]
  • by been42 (160065) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:22PM (#20265143) Homepage
    The process is much more dynamic, involving a miniature molecular machine that must run constantly to keep memories going. Jamming the machine briefly can erase long-term memories.

    Not sure what kind of research these scientists have been doing, but I routinely "jam the machine" with whiskey.
  • For some reason I can't recall why I got married with this beautiful blonde, and why I keep dreaming about going to Mars with a brunette. Or am I just going crazy?

    - Douglas Quaid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:25PM (#20265197)
    But they forgot to write it down before trying it out.
  • I used this jamming machine once and it was ideal for erasing my short term memories.

    Its also perfect for erasing short term memories, and it also erases short term memories.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:27PM (#20265247)
    I still prefer tequila.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...when Battlefield Earth was released?
  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:34PM (#20265365) Journal
    So - more like DRAM (which not only needs to be kept powered, but also kept refreshed) than SRAM or ROM then.

    I get the feeling that memory is a bit like a set of linked lists. If the head node in the list gets mislaid, then the memory might all still be there - but you can't get to it, at least not easily. I've noticed on many occasions I've tried to recall something - I know I know it, but I can't actually access the memory. Then several days later, the thing I was trying to recall will pop into my consciousness, a bit like a background "find / -name something" had been executing all along.

    Funnily enough we were just discussing memory on IRC - how if we were playing a piece of classical music on the piano from memory, one bad note and all of a sudden you couldn't continue from where you were without going all the way back to the start, almost like losing the next node in the linked list.
    • by Joebert (946227)

      one bad note and all of a sudden you couldn't continue from where you were without going all the way back to the start

      There's people who can recover, kids seem to be especially good at it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As if ice crystals smashing every cell to pulp weren't enough, now even if the damage could be repaired there would be no personality left after a cryonic resuscitation.
    • Why? Cryonics should preserve the body as it is, with all molecules frozen in place. When unfrozen, in theory, this molecular machinery would just resume working and you'd keep your memory.

      Also, IIRC, there's been some progress with the ice crystals problem.
  • I just read the article -- and am singularly unimpressed. They trained rats to avoid some tests, then inject drugs into the area where taste memory is stored, and poof, the taste aversion training seems to be kaput.

    in rats...

    I've got a simpler experiment. Try using a little ethyl alcohol on a brain circuit (you know, the stuff in beer, whiskey, etc.?) and if you get enough in the right place, no long term memory is formed because the brain is asleep. So a person wouldn't develop an aversion to something that happened while they were blacked out in terms of memory but still conscious otherwise.

    But governmental experimenters can't force you to drink to destabilizwe your memories, and because -- to my knowledge most of our useful memories are stored in multiple areas of the brain and integrated by consciousness -- I'm not sure that the availability of a drug that can chemically destabilize memory is a good thing.

    Prosecutor: What did you see?
    Witness: I ....don't remember...

    Get the picture?

    Hello!! basic neuroanatomy 101: impulses are transmitted by electrochemical means and interpreted by electrochemical means, and presumably stored by changes brought about by electrochemical means. So if they flooded a little chunk of your brain with a neurococktail that fuzzed up the cellular chemistry that caused a change, it stands to reason that the change wouldn't remain stable.

    • by OG (15008) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:51PM (#20265693)
      First off, you're comparing memory retention to memory formation, two very different processes. From a research point-of-view, their finding is quite significant (and IAANeuroscientist, with my area being electrophysiological studies of memory systems and how they are impaired by alcohol). Specifically, they've identified a protein that seems to be essential for the long-term maintenance of memories in cortex.

      As a mentioned elsewhere, this finding probably won't help much therapeutically, as it is too far-reaching. What's really needed for treatment of memory-based pathologies is something that erases a memory (or prevents a memory from being restored) when it is accessed so that you can target specific memories, and there's evidence that it might be feasible.
    • by vidarh (309115)
      But alcohol doesn't remove your memories from a month ago.
      • But alcohol doesn't remove your memories from a month ago.
        That's why you use that german ftl experiment to send a message back in time to your former self, "start drinking." Ah, you say, could you not send a message back to avoid the situation in the first place? Yes, but then you ruin a perfectly good opportunity for drinking heavily.
    • by teslar (706653)

      Prosecutor: What did you see?
      Witness: I ....don't remember...

      Well, as a witness, would you prefer that or the alternative?
      Prosecutor: I have no witnesses, your honor, they have all died from heart attacks and car crashes within the last 5 days. :)
  • Juggling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by umbrellasd (876984) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:39PM (#20265469)

    So your memories are a function of how many molecules you can juggle. But you are more than your memories. Even if I couldn't remember things that happened to me beyond a day ago, I would still have opinions and feelings about situations that occur each day. I wouldn't have specific memories to tie to current events, but I would still avoid some situations and be drawn to others.

    Which leads me to wonder, where that "you" is stored and if that storage is "permanent" or easily disrupted. Is my knowledge of mathematics a "memory"? What about my general disposition? Can someone make me drop the "Don't murder people" ball and disrupt my a moral imperatives? That one happens pretty often, actually.

    There's no permanence. Just an ever-changing approximation of whatever you envision yourself to be.
    • by OG (15008)
      The most famous research in this territory is the study of Phineas Gage. He had his prefrontal cortex removed due to a work injury--a dynamite tamper went straight through his skull. Everyone was amazed because he didn't even pass out and seemed to be fine. His memories were completely intact. It was considered a miracle.

      What happened afterwards, though, was less then happy. He had been one of the most respected men in town, considered a good guy by everyone who knew him. Post-accident, he became a ga
    • by Colin Smith (2679)

      Which leads me to wonder, where that "you" is stored and if that storage is "permanent" or easily disrupted.
      "You" are the interactions between tens of billions of neurons. You are stored in the inter neuronal connections. There's evidence that personality changes with disruption.

       
    • ...provided you were sufficiently developed yesterday. If you were never able to produce memories, you'd never develop a personality beyond breathe, put things in mouth, poop, go to sleep. You'd also likely die a very early and unceremonious death because fire was perpetually fascinating and pretty and large, heavy fast-moving objects are probably easy to stop by standing in their way. Even if you avoided killing yourself, it's pretty likely you'd find assistance to that end soon enough as your lack of lear
  • by GBC (981160) *
    ...if Slashdot's Editors work this one out, none of us will "remember" to tag stories as dupes.
  • by Fox_1 (128616) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:45PM (#20265577)
    Addiction and Memory - is it possible to forget and addiction? Like a hit of Heroin that you don't remember doing? or would your body still have a physiological need for the drug?

    If memory is (as the article says):
    In other words, long-term memory is not a one-time inscription on the nerve network, but an ongoing process which the brain must continuously fuel and maintain
    Crazy idea, the memories I've trusted as being relatively permanent are actually only a few weeks old, or months, but much younger then the experiences they describe -at a molecular level. It's clear that we have limited conscious control over them, bad memories affect people in a number of documented ways. However ignoring the content the memories are just molecules that we can monkey with. My question is: How many other parts or functions in our body are not permanent but maintained with similar molecular functions - scar tissue? Health issues? Just as the body maintains memories, good or bad, does it maintain other things good or bad? Can the body forget to be sick? forget to be Crazy? Could we 'forget' cancer - (molecularly give the cues for the cells not to reproduce or be maintained) -and I know "cure for cancer" is crazy talk - however I love the idea of hacking the molecular mechanisms of the body in a way more clever then massive powersurges of cell destroying drugs and radiation.

  • There is some anecdotal evidence that when people take the oath to tell the truth and nothing but the truth in front of Senate investigation committees, their memory gets instantly erased. Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Casper Weinberger, George Schultz, Robert McNamara, ...
  • by E++99 (880734)
    The underlying assumption that these effects have some significant correlation to long-term memory in humans is questionable. Rats are fantastic for testing physiological responses to drugs, as most the involved systems operate similarly. Low level CNS stuff, which may be involved here, is good too. But things touching on consciousness -- like conscious memory, as opposed to conditioned reactions, should not be assumed to have any correlation to experiments like these.
  • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:51PM (#20265687) Homepage Journal
    but their logic doesn't show. It could be that the protein they administered just wiped out all memory of a certain type.

    To test whether the memory needs regular update (their "little machine" metaphor), they need to show that their protein doesn't harm existing memories, which is the opposite of what their experiment showed.

    What am I missing (besides the years 1981-2)?
    • by OG (15008)
      They did that experiment (it's in the Science manuscript). The effect was non-specific when they tested for memory of two different tastes.
  • by phalse phace (454635) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:00PM (#20265849)
    I need someone to wipe out the images of goatse.cx and tub girl from my memory

    *shivers*
  • I'm thinking back to an old New Yorker cartoon I saw. Two rich old men were wearing smoking jackets, sitting in overstuffed chairs in front of a roaring fire. Well-to-do, obviously. One of them has a smile on his face. The other old man scowls at him. "Farnswoth, you're reminiscing about my old loves again!"

    At the end of your life, all you have are your memories. What you're proud of, what you regret, it's all in your mind. There was a Red Dwarf episode where Rimmer was feeling despondent about being such a
    • I'm thinking back to an old New Yorker cartoon I saw ... there was a Red Dwarf episode ... the Egyptians ... [t]he Soviets were also proficient ...

      LOL. A well rounded invididual. There's hope for Slashdot, yet.

      I remember that New Yorker cartoon, but what came to my mind was an article in Harper's concerning something Tacitus wrote in the Annals about Seneca that was applicable to the Bush administration handling of the war in Iraq. I'd quote it but I'd have to work in the story line of a Dr. Who episode
      • > There was a writer in 'Life' magazine ... who claimed that rabbits have no memory, which is one of their defensive mechanisms.
        > If they recalled every close shave they had in the course of just an hour life would become insupportable.

        >Discuss.

        Awareness of one's own mortality. It's the same reason why we use 18-year olds for soldiers instead of 40-year olds. The 18-year old looks at long odds and figures he'll make it whereas the 40-year old sees the same odds and realizes he probably won't. An
  • ...and though it's a bit disorienting at first, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

    I can't wait to get back to work on the Bush campaign and hopefully undo the terrible excesses of the Clinton administration, with its scandalous pardons, ATF thuggery, and Constitution-trampling Anti-Terrorist Omnibus Act.

  • Can you add more of these things, or speed them up to reinforce memories the way they did in the RGB Mars series?
  • ...just down shift it for a moment and you can change your long term memories...

    Know anyone with experience in doing so?
  • by Jim in Buffalo (939861) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:14PM (#20266115)
    You'll have Star Wars fans lining up to have their memories of the prequel trilogy permanently expunged.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by pboyd2004 (860767)
      The problem with that is you end up in a endless loop:

      10 WATCH STAR WARS 1
      20 WATCH STAR WARS 2
      30 WATCH STAR WARS 3
      40 GET MEMORIES OF JARJAR ERASED
      50 GET MEMORIES OF HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN'S ACTING ERASED
      60 GOTO 10
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by PPH (736903)
    In Soviet Russia, memories erase you!
  • People have been cooled during heart surgery to the point where there is no brain activity, and held there for quite long. If a human's memory was really dynamic, they'd wake up erased, but tests have shown that these people remember most everything and have about the same IQ as before the surgery.

    Also, if your memory were dynamic, it would be more susceptible to things like electric shock.
    • Since brains chilled to inactivity during surgery maintain their memories and function, I'd say this dynamic memory theory is questionable. Maybe the old memories are being overwritten or maybe the pathway to access them is being scrambled. Also human brains may store memory quite differently than rats.

      The fact that human brains chilled to inactivity maintain their memory, also hints that frozen brains may very well be recoverable in the future. It's said to be an old myth that freezing brains causes ice cr

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:26PM (#20266297)
    You memory contains illegal copies (aka memories) of their stuff. This will put an end to your illegal behavior.
  • This has been around for centuries. The latest refinement was by Sicilian doctors in New York and was known as the "You didn't see nuttin" technique. With persistent memories, they employed the "whack" method.
  • It seems to do a great job helping White House officials lose their memories.
  • ...on how long it takes for this article to hit the main page again.
  • I want to get into line to have the memories of my first marriage erased. That she-bitch from hell will no longer haunt my dreams!!!!!!

  • This differs from a baseball bat to the head how

    Using 'molecules' to erase memory isn't new, it's been done for thousands of years. You drink enough alcohol, your memory shuts down. They have a technical term for it, called a 'blackout'.

  • And Jerry Fletcher. And... OTOH, this will be a boon for the Paxans
  • DRAM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Friday August 17, 2007 @08:21PM (#20270853) Homepage Journal
    The brain is like a large organic blob of dynamic ram that works on the principle similar to a feedback loop to keep the data fresh.. You block off any part of it, or overload it, and you lose data.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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