2 thoughts on “Question of the day

  1. Strong insula response.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/this-is-your-brain-on-metaphors

    Quote

    A single part of the brain processes both physical and psychic pain.

    …. So where did this facility with symbolism come from? It strikes me that the human brain has evolved a necessary shortcut for doing so, and with some major implications.

    Consider an animal (including a human) that has started eating some rotten, fetid, disgusting food. As a result, neurons in an area of the brain called the insula will activate. Gustatory disgust. Smell the same awful food, and the insula activates as well. Think about what might count as a disgusting food (say, taking a bite out of a struggling cockroach). Same thing.

    Now read in the newspaper about a saintly old widow who had her home foreclosed by a sleazy mortgage company, her medical insurance canceled on flimsy grounds, and got a lousy, exploitative offer at the pawn shop where she tried to hock her kidney dialysis machine. You sit there thinking, those bastards, those people are scum, they’re worse than maggots, they make me want to puke … and your insula activates. Think about something shameful and rotten that you once did … same thing. Not only does the insula “do” sensory disgust; it does moral disgust as well. Because the two are so viscerally similar. When we evolved the capacity to be disgusted by moral failures, we didn’t evolve a new brain region to handle it. Instead, the insula expanded its portfolio.

    End Quote (My emphasis)

  2. File a criminal complaint over at the Hague, Nasser. Nothing’s going to happen here. War criminals don’t ever explain themselves. At least you will have the pleasure of knowing that Barrack’s travel is limited to the same places Cheney can safely visit.

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