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cheffernan's picture

This week

I find myself agreeing with Greta in that the conversations that we are currently having comparing the nervous system to electrical devices like computers and batteries. What is all the more confusing is that Prof. Grobstein told us to not compare the action potential moving down the axon to an electric current down a wire. If this method of understanding an action potential was unacceptable, it seems to be absurd for a computer to be compared to a system as intricate as the nervous system.

In class on Tuesday, we said that all of the varying degrees of sensitivity are due to what types of proteins that we posses, which is a topic that I find fascinating. For example, it is known that dogs have better hearing than humans, but what can account for this. Is it a simple/complex modification on a protein that we possess? Is it a completely new protein? The idea that a macromolecule that we encounter everyday can have such a distinctive function between organisms is fascinating to me because we always hear in biology classes that proteins that differ between animals account for the differences between them. Yet while having this explain what we know of the world that is beyond the capabilities of our senses, is mind blowing.

To go back to a topic we discussed in the first week of class, I would like to revisit Dickinson’s idea that the world is a manifestation of the brain; I feel like this point is truly driven home when looking at they how important various proteins are in our perceptions of the world. By having proteins in our eyes give the world colorful, having certain proteins in our ears makes the environment melodious.


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