Your Brain Products Catalog
Hertz et al. 1990) has it roots in brain research but has a counterpart in artificial intelligence, where it also involves elements of approximation theory and mathematical optimization. During the training phase, the artificial neural network is adjusted to a set of observations by a learning algorithm.
The reason for the polar fish having such proteins is, as noted, to combat the problem of inhabiting near-freezing waters, especially adjacent to the Antarctica ice sheets. Despite their relative familiarity, if only from films showing the antics of penguins or the cavorting of polar bears, from a geological perspective such icy waters (and therefore polar ice caps) are rather unusual. For millions upon millions of years the weather forecast for most of the planet has been 'Dry and sunny, with afternoons in the low 40s, with thunderstorms after sunset'. Periodically, however, the planet refrigerates. Then once again the ice sheets smother the poles and so construct huge ice caps. That the Earth now possesses approximately 30 million km3 of ice is because of a long period of global cooling. This began about 20 Ma ago, with the initiation in the Southern Hemisphere of the first major ice caps. As we saw earlier (p. 248), in the Southern Ocean this cooling event may have been a trigger...
Furthermore, the third memory, the one in the brain, has spawned a fourth. The database in my brain contains more than just a record of the happenings and sensations of my personal life - although that was the limit when brains originally evolved. Your brain includes collective memories inherited non-genetically from past generations, handed down by word of mouth, or in books or, nowadays, on the internet. The world in which you and I live is richer by far because of those who went before us and inscribed their impacts on the database of human culture Newton and Marconi, Shakespeare and Steinbeck, Bach and the Beatles, Stephenson and the Wright brothers, Jenner and Salk, Curie and Einstein, von Neumann and Berners-Lee. And, of course, Darwin.
All living cells, from the bacteria lounging in your gut to the neurons humming in your brain, depend on an intricate pas de deux between nucleic acids and proteins. Neither can be made without the assistance of the other. The DNA code cannot be read without an elaborate protein transcription machine. The machine cannot be built without the code. Once it's up and running, this system works wonderfully. But it presents us with a serious chicken-and-egg problem. Which came first, proteins or DNA And how did such a tangled web evolve
Have you ever been envious of people who seem to have no end of clever ideas, who are able to think quickly in any situation, or who seem to have flawless memories? Could it be that they're just born smarter or quicker than the rest of us? Or are there some secrets that they might know that we don't?