How the brain works


32 Responses to “How the brain works”

  1. jenjen says:

    AAAAH college neuroscience class flashback!

  2. rAMPANTiDIOCY says:

    i did not understand a word he said besides “E=2″.

    • Maggie Koerth-Baker says:

      That and, “Don’t eat them.”

      Coincidentally, this is pretty much exactly like my experiences trying to read research papers while under the influence of a head cold.

  3. Hmpf says:

    That is the science version of , right?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Before reading the article or viewing the video, the title already had me thinking of Monty Python.. As soon as I read that all I could think of is “The human brain is like an enormous fish. It’s flat and slimy, and has gills through which it can see.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    this is like those videos of people speaking in babble english. not real words.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That’s just a really bad Stanley Unwin rip off. I thought better of Mr Cleese

  7. SamSam says:

    Love it, snarfed at work. Very embarrassing.

    This sounds almost identical to the neuroanatomy classes I took. He must have swallowed the textbook we used!

  8. Andy Wilton says:

    He seems to be channelling the late Stanley Unwin, accent and all.

    • SamSam says:

      You mean a generic professorial English accent? And both men are English? Wow, you’re right, the man is simply plagiarizing that, he must be stopped…

      Anyway, while the general concept is similar to Stanley Unwin’s, I think the execution off this one is much better. Virtually none of the words used are English, as opposed to a few meaningless nouns interspersed in a meaningless explanation.

      Naturally Cleese would have been aware of this, and is probably paying homage with this piece, but you can’t imagine every comedy sketch is a completely isolated spark in a vacuum. Half of Monty Python’s sketches look like similar comedy being done at around the same time.

      • Andy Wilton says:

        You mean a generic professorial English accent? And both men are English?

        It’s a bit more than that. Stanley Unwin’s accent was very distinctive: it had a kind of burr and general softness to it which I would normally associate with SW England, particularly Bristol (though the vowel sounds don’t really match that). I believe I can hear traces of this in John Cleese’s speech here – on words like “frectation”, for example – whereas his normal “generic English” accent is a much crisper, Home Counties/BBC authority-figure sort of thing.

        Of course, Mr Cleese comes from the SW himself, so this could just be the middle classness wearing off, or America getting to him at last, or perhaps unsatisfactory dentures, but I took it to be intentional, and part of a homage intended to be recognised as such.

        • mdh says:

          looked like homage to me. that possibility was obvious to you too? consider it.

          • Andy Wilton says:

            What? Excuse me? ¿Que? I say I think it’s a homage, so you invite me to consider the alternative possibility that it is, in fact, a homage? Far be it from me to lecture anyone on the subject of what does or does not constitute an argument, but if you’re going to try disagreeing with someone, ISTM that you might want to actually adopt an opposing point of view.

        • Itsumishi says:

          Sounded exactly like John Cleese’s normal voice except with a bit more (obviously very deliberate) mumbling.

          Funny stuff.

  9. bartoncasey says:

    That man could make a good living selling retroencabulators.

  10. pKp says:

    English not being my native tongue, it took me about thirty second to understand that it was actually babble. Funny/freaky.

  11. jessemoya says:

    Where was this when I was in college???? I can’t even tell you how tough it was for me when we were covering the resultary frictation of the multiporatory equation’s influence on the parabolic heterovanders. This would have cleared all of that up for me in minutes!

  12. robbie.macg says:

    Started watching, became terrified that i was having a stroke, realized it was a joke, felt better.

  13. wrybread says:

    Hilarious. Reminds me of this classic.

  14. cymk says:

    “…so that neglectance of mermax amptumerity superconfection causes structamention of faction cavity, there.”

    I couldn’t have said it any better.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure the explanation makes complete sense to Herr Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm.

  16. Ignatz says:

    Next, Professor R. J. Gumby will explain the fundamentals of brain surgery.

  17. Phikus says:

    A perfectly cromulent discussion. Bravo!

  18. neurolux says:

    I think I heard a shout out to Paris Hilton in there.

  19. MrsBug says:

    Well, not having a dog in the Cleese v. Unwin fight, I have to say this was funny.

  20. Boondocker says:

    I don’t know what he said, but I’m sure it had something to do with Wernicke’s area.

  21. Anonymous says:

    i heard him distinctly refer to to the “parasiltin” (much funnier when said aloud then when read in text)

  22. Anonymous says:

    This reminds me of almost every math class I’ve ever taken. They take easily understood concepts and try there best to confuse you, by using words and terms they never care to translate to you. It’s like teaching someone Chinese by reading a Chinese novel and never translating the words or sentences to their students.

  23. Miss Cellania says:

    I didn’t understand what he said, so I put my glasses on. It didn’t help.

  24. Infinite Jones says:

    There’s a precedent among the Pythons for this kind of gibberish talking… here’s Eric Idle from a show he made after Monty Python, called Rutland Weekend Television (basically a spoof of what British TV really was like in the 1970s):

  25. Anonymous says:

    I would say was more of an homage to Mr Unwin than a rip off.

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