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Video Backyard Brains Can Help Satisfy Your Inner Frankenstein (Video) 199

Did you know that cockroaches have such large nerves in their legs that you can poke into their legs almost at random and hit a nerve with an electrode so you can stimulate that leg with hip-hop music and and watch it move? And that you can easily order the parts to do this at home or at school? You can. And supplies to perform many other neuroscience experiments, too. Amaze your friends! Learn how neurons work! Gross out squeamish people! All that (and more) is what Backyard Brains is about.

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Backyard Brains Can Help Satisfy Your Inner Frankenstein (Video)

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  • Re:That's not funny (Score:5, Interesting)

    by codewarren ( 927270 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @10:04AM (#40166075)

    If you stuck a venus fly trap for the same purpose, or you stabbed a maple tree for the purpose of making it bleed, is that also cruel? Practically everyone can see that it is cruel to do this to a human, while practically everyone can see it is not cruel to do this to do it to a plant. Somewhere between these, we went from cruel to not cruel. Is there a line, on one side of which is cruel, and on the other is not cruel, or is there a spectrum of cruelty here? And what property of these "creatures" makes it crueler to do so to some, than to others?

  • Re:That's not funny (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2012 @10:31AM (#40166287)

    No, it is not that simple, not all members of the animal kingdom have enough neurons to "feel" anything. You would not conceder reflexive movement in someone who has lost most of their brain to indicate real sensation. You need a *lot* more complexity than even complex reflexes to consider anything capable of feeling (and flys have only a little more than a millionth of our complexity). Vertebrates would make a good first start, along with creatures with similar or higher complexity levels to the simple vertebrates, but the actual layout of the brain architecture probably also should be taken into account. Obviously if we actually knew about how to derive this knowledge form brain measurements a lot of ethical questions would be a lot simpler.

  • Re:That's not funny (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rakishi ( 759894 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @11:58AM (#40167823)

    Cockroaches are not humans.

    By your argument a neural network running on my computer also feels "pain" and our collective computer systems are the worst set of torturers to have ever existed.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake