Category:
Psychology

How many megabytes is your brain?


Hitachi recently announced that in 2010 they plan to unveil a 5TB hard drive. This led them to note that, "By 2010, just two disks will suffice to provide the same storage capacity as the human brain."

So, according to Hitachi, the brain has a 10TB storage capacity. But how did they arrive at this number?

There's been a lot of speculation about the brain's storage capacity. The most popular method of arriving at an answer is to estimate the number of synapses in the brain and extrapolate from there. This has led researchers to come up with numbers ranging anywhere from 3TB to 1000TB. Hitachi evidently was using this method.

But there's a second method (noted on the Of Two Minds blog). Psychologists have conducted experiments to measure how much information people are actually able to memorize. This produces much smaller numbers. They've concluded that it's only about two bits per second, or a few hundred megabytes averaged over an entire lifetime.

Of course, until scientists figure out a way to allow us to download our brains to computers, all these numbers are just useless trivia. And when that happens, we can all plug into the Matrix and live happily ever after.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 21, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Science, Psychology, Technology

Have you been abducted by aliens?

Take this simple test to find out:
  1. Do you ever wake up paralyzed with a sense of a strange person or presence or something else in the room?
  2. Have you ever experienced a period of lost time -- an hour or more -- for which you could not remember what you were doing or where you had been?
  3. Have you ever felt that you had been flying through the air although you didn't know why or how?
  4. Have you ever seen unusual lights or balls of light in a room without knowing what was causing them?
  5. Have you ever found puzzling scars on your body and neither you nor anyone else could remember how you received them or where you got them?

Three out of five indicates a 60% probability of alien abduction. Four out of five is a 90% probability. Scored five out of five? You're an alien abductee! My score was 0 out of 5. The aliens don't like me. :down:

The test comes from a 1993 survey conducted by sociologist Ted Goertzel, who found that 3.7% of his respondents qualified as "abductees." Goertzel was careful to note that he wasn't saying these people really were abductees. Instead he noted that the survey seemed to be "measuring a consistent phenomenon of some kind, but it tells us nothing about what it is that the scale is measuring."

But this distinction was totally glossed over by the National Enquirer who picked up on the survey and popularized it as an Alien Abduction Test. Extrapolating from the 3.7% response number, they concluded that 8 million Americans were alien abductees.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 11, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Paranormal, Psychology

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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