Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Brain: What Is The Speed Of Thought?


From Discover Magazine:

Faster than a bird and slower than sound. But that may be besides the point: Efficiency and timing seem to be more important anyway.

When Samuel Morse established the first commercial telegraph, in 1844, he dramatically changed our expectations about the pace of life. One of the first telegraph messages came from that year’s Democratic National Convention in Baltimore, where the delegates had picked Senator Silas Wright as their vice presidential nominee. The president of the convention telegraphed Wright in Washington, D.C., to see if he would accept. Wright immediately wired back: No. Incredulous that a message could fly almost instantly down a wire, the delegates adjourned and sent a flesh-and-blood committee by train to confirm Wright’s response—which was, of course, the same. From such beginnings came today’s high-speed, networked society.

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