Obama’s big BRAIN project

Kas Thomas writes: President Obama’s kickoff of the BRAIN initiative was a major news item the other day. Widely lauded as the kind of program that can keep America at the forefront of science, Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (or, if you prefer, Big Ridiculous Acronyms Inspired by Nonsense) was compared to the Apollo moon program, which “gave us CAT scans” (the President said) and to the Human Genome Project, which altered economic reality as we know it by creating $140 in return for every dollar invested.

The President hailed BRAIN as “a bold new research effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.”

And for all this great knowledge, we’re going to pay just $100 million (first year).

Thomas goes on to spell out why that amount is nothing more than pocket change, but small as the funding is, it also seems worth noting that half of it is going to DARPA — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research wing of the Pentagon.

“DARPA hopes to build tools that can view, measure and control the brain from the cellular and neuronal to the macroscopic levels,” reports the Army Times.

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