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User do Reddit metaforiza o nosso conhecimento do cérebro

25.12.12

To put this all into a metaphor:

The human brain is a trans-sonic plane, and the doctors studying it are engineers from 1900. They understand the the visible effects: push (a lot of random) button(s and weird glow-y panels that fill with changing words and may or may not be the result of the devil), receive thrust, and on some planes that are broken they've managed to tear off an engine and fiddle around inside it, but the avionics equipment, what with using semi-conductors and microprocessors, is basically black-box witchcraft to them, and the engines themselves are pretty much nonsense.

They recognize the basic idea of how the engines work; combustion of a hydrocarbon compound that isn't totally alien to them and is orders of magnitude more pure than anything they have outside of labs, much less in the quantities they need to run it for an extended period. The actual principles of the jet engine (compression from forced intake, fuel-air ratios, carefully tuned gear ratios and intelligent onboard systems in the engine itself to detect failures, damage and atmospheric conditions) are totally beyond them, and every engine they dismount to try to figure out stops working after two, maybe three, ignition runs since they're fueling it with total crap and have nothing hooked up to the diagnostic outputs and control inputs. Even the fucking landing gear is lightyears ahead of them; tires of vulcanized rubber, shocks based on pneumatic and hydraulic systems created through complex computer models to handle, y'know, a whole goddamn fucking plane bouncing off them. Even the goddamn metal itself that the plane is made of is alien to them, partly because aluminum was worth more than gold until some time in the late 1800's, and partly because the metallurgical techniques we use to create aircraft alloys, especially for trans-sonic planes, are utterly impossible given their level of technology.

So, to tie it all together: While the plane is in a running state, the engineers can't (from their perspective, with their tools and methods of figuring out how things work) touch a single damn thing that matters without everything breaking and flashing red. When the plane is disassembled and/or broken, they can't get anything working again and as far as they're concerned every single fundamental principle behind what we know to be how the plane operates istotally fucking impossible (remember that they hadn't even discovered heavier-than-air flight at this point. The wright brothers are still a ways off). Given a few decades or so, they'll eventually come to understand the principles behind some of the macro mechanical systems, and maybe even manage to mix up some fuel that will actually get the engine to do more than fail/explode, and at best even get an early start on powered flight in general. But actually replicating the plane itself is easily a generation or more out of their reach.

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T.S.Elliot - "Journey of the Magi"

25.12.12

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Mundo Novo

25.12.12

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