Thursday, February 17, 2011

A revolution in Neuroscience, Youtube playlists, and an Internet Ad Model

We live in interesting times, revolutionary times

This post is about several revolutionary things that I came across in the last 44 minutes...

First, I was happy to find this CBC production - "The Brain That Changes Itself" - available at Youtube. It concerns the fast advancing theory of Brain Plasticity, the idea that our brains are not mechanical devices but rather organisms that are incredibly flexible. Nothing about our brains, as I used to say, is "hard wired". All our behaviours, aptitudes and learning have specific patterns to them that scientists can now map in 3 dimensions and over time with very non-invasive scans. We now know that normal healthy individuals create specific and predictable electromagnetic patterns when they do similar things, and we can even measure the amount of empathy one subject feels for another (as noted in an earlier post here). Not only can we measure electromagnetic patterns but also specific and predictable physical patterns, changes in the robustness of certain parts of the brain. Our brains are so incredibly flexible that neurons delegated to do one thing can be reassigned by the brain itself - or through therapies designed by doctors - to do other functions as well! Old neurological patterns that are unhealthy (in the thinking sense) or un-helpful (in the motor function sense) can be 'un-trained' and 're-threaded' along existing or new, neuro pathways through therapies that use this three dimensional mapping as a guide and as a proof of concept, that is pushing forward our understanding of how the brain works and is giving therapists real time scientific feed back on the effectiveness of various therapies as well as helping them to devise new ones.

This is a revolution in our understanding of the brain, and I think, a moment in the history of the study that will re-balance our use of chemical solutions with talking and behavioral therapies that rely more on interaction with the patient, which can empower caring and understanding --- a return to the social interaction that began the study of the brain in the 1850's - but now with a scientific feed back that confirms or disputes the effectiveness of treatments. Now therapists can apply a relatively 'super understanding' of the way brains function to help them teach patients to un-learn bad brain functions (neurosis); or in physical rehabilitation re-gain lost brain function by rerouting data through still healthy parts of the brain.


Secondly, I wanted to find out if I could create a Playlist in Youtube and then embed it here so that it would play one after the other almost like a broadcast TV show - as that's how I've been watching much of the content I view of late.

The video below is part of a four part playlist that I created that encompasses the 44 minute production, "The Brain That Changes Itself". I named the playlist so it shows up properly in search, and credited to the CBC in the notes section that accompanies the playlist creation feature at Youtube.

It plays almost seamlessly.


Third, this Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) production that was first aired in Canada on a show called The Nature of Things with David Suzuki is now posted at CBC's Youtube Channel and has an advertisements placed where in the broadcast model ads would normally appear - in this case, when I watched the videos, a Google Ad about how to use a search engine effectively shows. This is a break though and hails the beginning of a model on the internet that will pay for production.

My question is, since this production is showing here, at Michael Holloway's FilterBlogs ... do I get a slice of the ad revenue too? And, on the other hand, if I were to allow advertisements at this blog would I then have to share that revenue with CBC based on the number of eyes that watched their productions here?

The future of broadcast is just coming into view; so I will not then end this idea with a, 'just kidding' - as I might have been tempted to in the very recent past. I'm serious,  this is now a serious question.

As I grow my credibility over the years, and grow an audience that comes here because this blog has content that interests them, I become a 'local channel' - local in the WWW sense that FilterBlogs is a tiny web within the World Wide Web. A channel that might be viewed by people in Singapore, or at the South Pole, or people right around the corner here in Leslieville, Toronto, Canada.

Revolutionary times indeed.

The Brain That Changes Itself

Post Script: 

Upon watching the entire program again, here, no Google ads showed.

Watch this program at

"The Brain That Changes Itself" was produced by "90th Parallel Film & Television Productions Ltd."


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