Thursday, 7 March 2013 Play a game to map the Brain.

Become a Citizen neuroscientist.

Written by Rich.
Brainchild of the connectonomics Prof. Sebastian Seung, has become a very clever way to grab the attention of the masses, by getting the online community to start playing a game. Give each player a 3D stack of images of brain tissues, captured by automated microscopes, and give them points depending on how well they identify the trajectory of a single neuron, and you have one way to tackle the data bottleneck problem that connectome labs face. The problem is that the data can be acquired easily enough (well if you have super automated fancy serial imaging devices that pump out Terabytes of high quality data), and at a much faster rate than it can be currently digested. The anaylsis tends to be a manual process and much more time consuming than researchers can afford, although people are working on more automation and AI methods. So let the online community have a whack at it! Use points to make it competitive, and promote quality assurance and let it loose. Sign up today at

When you have been trained you get the chance to explore a bit more

When you then get to start playing the game. On the left here you see the 3D representation of the cell you are playing with, on the right you are presented an axial/horizontal orientation of the image slice you are in. Moving up and down through the image slices (using the arrow keys) and clicking with your mouse to fill in the gaps of the computer generated neuron is your objective. Once you feel satisfied that you have mapped out the whole neuron, simply click on 'check my work', and you have contributed to the database in exchange for some points.

With the feedback you can see how accurately you have mapped out the neuron and see your total points ranked compared to other gamers.

As the name suggests is focusing on mapping the connections between retinal cells, leading to a better understanding of the visual systems connectomics and provide a subsequently more advanced knowledge of how the visual system, and perception, works in humans. I think this is a really cool endeavour, and a great way to spread the awareness of neuroscience in general. The training is really clear and makes the idea simple really simple. I already feel the need to gain more points than my currently poor 141, so we will see far my career as a 'citizen neuroscientist gets'

Here is Sebastian's Book! Recommended to read by theNeuroAtheist (click for link):   

The truth behind catholicism (

Written by Rich

Found this gem at

For me this cartoon really reifies the real catholic church, let me try to personify the subtone here:

"Repeat after me Billy: You are a serf. An inferior, bowing down to the ultimate authority. Feel your sin, wallow in it, go on! Fill your heart with sorrow at how much sin you were created in. You are sick! And we command of you to be well. And we will continue to live under the totalitarian celestial dictatorship and psychologically bully you if you continue to have these unnatural spontaneous thoughts. Yes, we have it on good grounds that you, Billy, have committed the most sacrelidge of all, the crime of all crimes. You Billy have exercised you free and independent mind, you Billy have committed a thought crime. Now run along, go and speak privately with the priest and let's see if he can push some sense right into you."

See you in therapy Billy.