Tuesday, October 25, 2016

We can remember it for you wholesale in small artisanal batches, using organic stoneground spelt and millet flour

It is never a dull moment for the students and research assistants of Dr Michael Persinger (Friend of Riddled). When they're not obtaining slices of pickled human brain for EEG measurements, they are mixing up conductive Play-Do as a brain-tissue substitute (or purloining it from the nearby kindergarten) and teaching it tricks with electric shocks.

The question of assigning this notion a value of p ('bakedness') on I.J. Good's partly-baked-idea continuum is left as an exercise for the reader.

Above: Batter
Below: Battery

It remains to be seen how many engrammatic quanta of memory can be squeezed into each cubic centimetre of unleavened dough. If a sufficiently high information density can be reached, I foresee a coming era of post-human mnemonic enhancement when wearing a loaf-based memory augment is as natural as clothing, if not more so.

All of us in the wider Mad Scientist community owe Persinger a vote of thanks, for he has shown that you do not need expensive equipment or a buried volcano laboratory to carry out Mad Science... Necessity is the mother Tleilaxu prosthetic birthing-tank of invention, and all that. Though you do need best-practice surge suppressors in your laboratory wiring, otherwise one rogue lightning storm can send an animating current surging through the dough and OH GOD IT'S ALIVE. That never ends well.
Here at Riddled Research Laboratory we are inspired to conduct our own experiments, though our cerebral simulacrum is a combination of meringue and whipped cream rather than dough, and instead of classical conditioning we follow the Pavlovian paradigm.

But Persinger was not the first memory theorist to have drawn his inspiration from the kitchen. Edward de Bono introduced his own model of memory, involving jelly, back in 1969:
So when we run electricity through a confection of sponge-cake, jelly and sherry, we are paying homage to both pioneers. Also we are safe from the usual small-minded harassment from ethical-review panels and animal-welfare inspectors that has hindered our research so often in the past.

For the law is not concerned with trifles.

Mnemonic bread: DOIN IT RONG


rhwombat said...

OK. OK. This denizen of Oz admits that you Un Zuders combined egg albumin, kilograms of sugar, clotted bovine colostrum, drupletted red berries and hairy green fruit - and served it to adults before we did. It's the shock of the new. I do however, draw the line at sentient puddings, Trump's hair notwithstanding.

Neuroskeptic said...

If dough can learn, then we may have to rethink the ethics of bread. Who knows what kind of knowledge and experiences we are destroying when we bake? Could it be that one day, a dough ball will discover the cure for cancer, only to end up as a bagel before it has a chance to tell the world?

rhwombat said...

Doughnut, Bagel, Pretzel, Nobel - towards a topology of kneaded consciousness?