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Everything You Need to Know About President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative


President Obama in his most recent State of the Union speech referenced commitments to science and technology, and shortly after the speech some details of a 10-year study of the human brain came out. The White House today announced the full official plan, calling it the BRAIN Initiative, which sounds like S.H.I.E.L.D’s research division, but is now a real $110 million dollar project.

The acronym BRAIN stands for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, which is a little on the nose. It’s also a stretch since it leaves out “Through” and uses the acronym itself in the definition, causing an infinite loop. For a quick understanding of just what this initiative entails, the White House also released this handy infographic:

The White House says this is a $100 million program, but if DARPA gets $50 million, the NIH gets $40 million, and the NSF gets $20, that’s a total of $110 million. Not that I don’t think it’s worth the extra $10 million, I just think it’s weird they rounded down.

The potential outcomes of this study could be hugely beneficial to humans as a species, and the comparison to the economic return on the Human Genome Project is an apt one and shows this is a good financial investment as well. Haters are going to hate, but this is something I really think we should be doing.

There is also $122 million of private sector money backing this initiative, so the President isn’t the only one who thinks this is worth putting money behind.

If reading that entire infographic is too much for you, here’s a quick one-minute clip of the director of the National Institute of Health, Dr. Francis Collins explaining the initiative:

What do you hope some of the outcomes of a details map of the human brain might be?

(via The White House)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.