Humpback whales rescuing animals from orcas


 

 

 

Humpback whales around the globe are mysteriously rescuing animals from orcas

Scientists are baffled at this seemingly altruistic behavior, which seems to be a concerted global effort to foil killer whale hunts.

humpback whale

Humpback whale to the rescue? (Photo: Wiki Commons)

Humans might not be the only creatures that care about the welfare of other animals. Scientists are beginning to recognize a pattern in humpback whale behavior around the world, a seemingly intentional effort to rescue animals that are being hunted by killer whales.

Marine ecologist Robert Pitman observed a particularly dramatic example of this behavior back in 2009, while observing a pod of killer whales hunting a Weddell seal trapped on an ice floe off Antarctica. The orcas were able to successfully knock the seal off the ice, and just as they were closing in for the kill, a magnificent humpback whale suddenly rose up out of the water beneath the seal.

This was no mere accident. In order to better protect the seal, the whale placed it safely on its upturned belly to keep it out of the water. As the seal slipped down the whale’s side, the humpback appeared to use its flippers to carefully help the seal back aboard. Finally, when the coast was clear, the seal was able to safely swim off to another, more secure ice floe.

Another event, involving a pair of humpback whales attempting to save a gray whale calf from a hunting pod of orcas after it had become separated from its mother, was captured by BBC filmmakers. You can watch the dramatic footage here:

Perhaps the most stunning aspect of this behavior is that it’s not just a few isolated incidents. Humpback whale rescue teams have been witnessed foiling killer whale hunts from Antarctica to the North Pacific. It’s as if humpback whales everywhere are saying to killer whales: pick on someone your own size! It seems to be a global effort; an inherent feature of humpback whale behavior.

After witnessing one of these events himself back in 2009, Pitman was compelled to investigate further. He began collecting accounts of humpback whales interacting with orcas, and found nothing short of 115 documented interactions, reported by 54 different observers between 1951 and 2012. The details of this surprising survey can be found in the journal Marine Mammal Science.

In 89 percent of the recorded incidents, the humpbacks seemed to intervene only as the killer whales began their hunt, or when they were already engaged in a hunt. It seems clear from the data that the humpback whales are choosing to interact with the orcas specifically to interrupt their hunts. Among the animals that have been observed being rescued by humpback whales were California sea lions, ocean sunfish, harbor seals, and gray whales.

So the question is: Why are humpback whales doing this? Since the humpbacks seem to be risking their own well being to save animals of completely different species, it’s hard to deny that this behavior seems altruistic.

There is also some reason to believe that the behavior isn’t entirely selfless. Mature humpback whales are too large and too formidable to be hunted by orcas themselves, but their calves are vulnerable. Orcas have been witnessed hunting humpback whale calves in much the same way that they hunt gray whale calves. So, by proactively foiling orca hunts, perhaps the humpbacks are hoping to make them think twice about messing with their own calves.

Then again, maybe it’s just as simple as revenge. Even if it has more to do with revenge than altruism, though, the behavior would represent evidence of an intense and complicated emotional life among humpbacks that is unprecedented in the animal world, outside of primates.

One common feature among many humpback whale rescue efforts is that the humpbacks often work in pairs. Scientists will need to do more research into this behavior, though, to truly understand the significance of it.

Until then, these beautiful animals, which are perhaps best known for their majestic songs, have certainly earned some additional respect. They might just be the ocean’s most ferocious and selfless first-responders.

I found this article to be heart warming and very interesting. Animals have been acting just a little different that usual and this is just one example. There are several possible reasons and I hope scientists keep watching to see what they can learn.We have so much to learn about wild animals and how they inter-relate and communicate. It is fascinating that they have found in completely isolated areas in different spots in the world, completely new species of insects and animals. They are completely new, but how and why? Is Mother Earth trying to heal herself despite all the damage we continue to do? Just what could she so if we worked with her instead of against her?

 

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Muslims go to Catholic Mass in Solidarity


 

 

 

 

 

Muslims Go to Catholic Mass Across France, Italy to Show Solidarity

An Associated Press reporter at the scene said that a few dozen Muslims gathered at the towering Gothic cathedral in Rouen, near Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray where the 85-year-old Rev. Jacques Hamel had his throat slit by two teenage Muslim fanatics on Tuesday.

“We are very moved by the presence of our Muslim friends and I believe it is a courageous act that they did by coming to us,” said Dominique Lebrun, the archbishop of Rouen, after the service.

Image: TOPSHOT-FRANCE-ATTACK-CHURCH-RELIGION
A catholic monk discusses with a muslim worshipper in front of the Saint-Pierre-de-lAriane church, prior a mass on July 31, 2016, in Nice, southeastern France.JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET / AFP – Getty Images

Some of the Muslims sat in the front row, across from the altar. Among the parishioners was one of the nuns who was briefly taken hostage at Hamel’s church after the priest was killed. She joined her fellow Catholics in turning to shake hands or embrace the Muslim churchgoers after the service.

Outside the church, a group of Muslims were applauded when they unfurled a banner: “Love for all. Hate for none.”

Churchgoer Jacqueline Prevot said that the attendance of Muslims was “a magnificent gesture.”

 

“Look at this whole Muslim community that attended Mass,” she said. “I find this very heartwarming; I am confident. I say to myself that this assassination won’t be lost, that it will maybe relaunch us better than politics can do; maybe we will react in a better way.”

Many of the Muslims who attended the service in Rouen — including those with the banner — were Ahmadiyya Muslims, a minority sect which differs from mainstream Islam in that it doesn’t regard Muhammad as the final prophet.

Similar interfaith gatherings were repeated elsewhere in France, as well as in neighboring Italy.

At Paris’ iconic Notre Dame cathedral, Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Mosque of Paris, said repeatedly that Muslims want to live in peace.

Image: FRANCE-ATTACK-CHURCH-RELIGION
A catholic monk welcomes muslim worshippers in the Saint-Pierre-de-lAriane church, prior to a mass on July 31, 2016, in Nice, southeastern France.JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET / AFP – Getty Images

“The situation is serious,” Boubakeur told BFMTV. “Time has come to come together so as not to be divided.”

In Italy, the secretary general of the country’s Islamic Confederation, Abdullah Cozzolino, spoke from the altar in the Treasure of St. Gennaro chapel next to Naples’ Duomo cathedral. Three imams also attended Mass at the St. Maria Church in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, donning their traditional dress as they entered the sanctuary and sat down in the front row.

 

Mohammed ben Mohammed, a member of the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy, said that he called on faithful in his sermon Friday “to report anyone who may be intent to damage society. I am sure that there are those among the faithful who are ready to speak up.”

Ahmed El Balzai, the imam of the Vobarno mosque in the Lombard province of Brescia, said he did not fear repercussions for speaking out.

“I am not afraid. … These people are tainting our religion and it is terrible to know that many people consider all Muslim terrorists. That is not the case,” El Balazi said. “Religion is one thing. Another is the behavior of Muslims who don’t represent us.”

Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni thanked Italian Muslims for their participation, saying they “are showing their communities the way of courage against fundamentalism.”

Like in France, Italy is increasing its supervision of mosques. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told the Senate this week that authorities were scrutinizing mosque financing and working with the Islamic community to ensure that imams study in Italy, preach in Italian and are aware of Italy’s legal structure.

Pope Francis: ‘World Is at War’ 1:06

Meanwhile the Paris prosecutor’s office said it has requested that a cousin of one of the two 19-year-olds who slit the priest’s throat should be charged with participating in “a terrorist association with the aim of harming others.”

In a statement it said it appeared 30-year-old Frenchman Farid K. “knew very well, if not of the exact place or time, of his cousin’s impending plans for violence.”

The office added that a Syrian refugee detained in the wake of the attack was released Saturday.

Image: Muslim call to go to Sunday Mass
Members of the congregation in Santa Maria Trastevere church in Rome, Italy, 31 July 2016, during a multi faith service organized by Italy’s Islamic Religious Community.MASSIMO PERCOSSI / EPA

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As you read this article, please remember that the Muslims who participated in interfaith day of worship are moderate Muslims. They are not Jihadists. They are not participating in a holy war. The Pope says the world is at war and I fear he is correct. We need to dust off the anti-war placards and be ready to stand up to the hawks who want to kill, kill, kill. There are three religions that are considered the people of the book. The Muslims, the Jews and the Christians. They honor Moses, Abraham and Elijah.

Remember that each of our actions have reactions and many of those reactions can not be changed. These moderate Muslims in France and Italy are making an effort to show that they are not a threat, I think we need to honor that and honor them. Muslims have the right to live in America and Jews have a right to live here. Americans can not look at everyone who is different and feel fear. Yes, there are some you and I should fear, but the majority of Muslims are just people like you and I.

NamasteBarbara

Dear Susan B Anthony….


 

 

 

dearSusanB

For those of you who don’t know, Susan B. Anthony was one of the original Suffragettes. She was one of the many American women who felt that women should be equal and should have the vote. And yes, she and many others were arrested and put into jail. They went on a hunger strike. When the media found out about it, there was hell to pay. The women were released and soon after they got the vote. Speaking for every woman in my family, Susan, we thank you for all you suffered, endured and how steadfast you stood to the belief that women should have the vote. Now that we have our first female candidate for President, gratitude goes out to you, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the hundreds of women who walked out of their homes without putting dinner on the table and picked up signs and began marching and protesting. Thank you, the women of the twenty first century.

 

 

Enough is Enough


Hundreds in Canada protest death of black man, dem

and change

More than 500 people rallied in Canada’s capital on Saturday to protest the death of a mentally ill black man following an arrest, marching against what they see as race-based police brutality in a country that prides itself for being tolerant.

Abdirahman Abdi, 37, died on Monday. Witnesses told local media he was beaten by Ottawa police officers who responded to calls of a disturbance.

His death echoed events in the United States, where a string of killings of black men by police and allegations of brutality and racial bias have sparked protests.

Protesters chanted “Black lives matter!” as they started marching, a reference to the U.S.-founded anti-police brutality movement, which has an official chapter in Canada.

“They murdered him! Enough is enough!” the protesters chanted as they approached the Ottawa police headquarters, where the march ended in the late afternoon.

Organizers had said they would respect the wishes of Abdi’s family for the event to be peaceful, and while some protesters were so angry that others had to calm them down, none crossed the police barricade.

Police said there had been no arrests.

Abdi’s family spoke briefly before the march, thanking supporters, although organizers have said they do not want to be interviewed.

The family held Abdi’s funeral on Friday, which was attended by at least 600 people, including Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and other local politicians.

The province of Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is looking into the circumstances surrounding Abdi’s arrest. Some advocates have called for criminal charges to be filed.

There have also been calls for a probe into whether race was a factor as advocacy groups voiced concerns over police violence against minorities.

In a statement, organizers of Saturday’s rally called for the officers involved in Abdi’s arrest to be put on unpaid leave, for all officers to wear body cameras, and for a review into how they deal with minorities and people in distress.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported one of the officers had been taken off patrol and that the other has been on leave. It was unclear whether that leave was paid or unpaid.

Ottawa police referred questions on the officers’ status to the Special Investigations Unit and questions on the organizers’ demands to the media relations team. Neither was immediately available.

(Reporting by Patrick Doyle in Ottawa; Writing and additional reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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A twisted story


 

MSNBC unearths three-year-old interview with Trump in Moscow: ‘I do have a relationship’ with Putin

Bethania Palma Markus BETHANIA PALMA MARKUS

chetto

GOP nominee Donald Trump has been facing scrutiny recently for his alleged ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Earlier this week, Trump came under fire for suggesting that Russian hackers should “find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” In the same press conference, given in Florida on Wednesday, Trump said, “I never met Putin, I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I’m a genius.”

Trump also said he hopes Putin “likes me” if elected.

But MSNBC unearthed an interview from three years ago that suggests Trump not only knows Putin, but also was aware Putin was monitoring him in some fashion. The interview was conducted by MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts in Moscow, ahead of a Miss Universe pageant.

“I do have a relationship, and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today,” Trump told Roberts, when asked about his relationship with Putin. “He’s probably very interested in what you and I are saying today and I’m sure he’s going to be seeing it in some form. But I do have a relationship with him and I think it’s very interesting to see what’s happened.”
He then reiterated his frequent praise of Putin as a leader while disparaging President Barack Obama.

“I mean look, he’s done a very brilliant job in terms of what he represents and what he’s representing,” Trump said. “If you look at what he’s done with Syria, if you look at so many of the different things, he has really eaten our president’s lunch, let’s not kid ourselves.”

Trump claimed in an interview Wednesday with CBS that, “I have nothing to do with Russia.”

Roberts asked Republican strategist and Trump campaign surrogate Boris Epshteyn to explain Trump’s comments.
Epshteyn said the “relationship” Trump was describing didn’t extend beyond Putin following what Trump was doing in Moscow.

“Of course the Russian president would notice that somebody of that stature was in Moscow,” he said. “What he said yesterday was that there was no business dealings between in him and Vladimir Putin.”

Epshteyn then tried to steer to subject to what was in the email hacks on the Democratic National Convention. The FBI is investigating the hacks, but they are suspected to have been carried out by Russians, possibly connected to the government.

 

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We are now down to the business part of the election cycle. Trump has said many things that fact checkers call baloney.  It will be interesting to see if Trump and the Russians are in bed together. This could be dangerous for America and the whole world. we are at an intersection in world history now. We made history last night. What else is coming for humanity?

 

Namaste

Barbara

Know Your Rights


 

These two videos by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are good information for all Americans to have. They are here to protect our rights and we are going to need this information more and more. I believe the information on immigrants rights is extremely important. They do have some rights and the information needs to be passed around.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

 

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The ACLU fights for the rights of people in America

The ACLU fights for the rights of people in America

 

 

 

Who is DNC Chair Maria Fudge


 

It is now the turn for the Democrats  to make speeches and put their issues and plans out there for the American people to think about. Al Gore will not becoming and I am disappointed. But I am looking forward to Bernie’s speech and to what the Democratic leaders have to say. I will be listening closely to Hillary. I am waiting to hear about Mother Earth, Unions, trade agreements, making all Americans free and equal. I want to hear how we will adjudicate criminal sentences fairly. I want to hear that women will finally become legally equal and that Human Trafficking will be taken out of the shadows and made a major felony.I Want to hear that there will be more funding for Domestic Violence shelters. I want more community education on how to stop violence in the home and in the community. I could give you a long wish list but I am going to listen to the speeches. May America be blessed with what it needs most.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

 

Who is DNC Chair Marcia Fudge?

Image: US-VOTE-DEMOCRATS-CONVENTION
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (C) gestures to the crowd as she speaks during Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016.SAUL LOEB / AFP – Getty Images

As Rep. Marcia Fudge stepped into an unexpected role today as Chair of the Democratic National Convention, she made it her business to open the official procedures with a command for unity and respect.

“We’re all Democrats and we need to act like it,” began the congresswoman from Ohio, who also promised a “different kind of convention than the one we saw last week.”

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge will gavel sessions in at the start of business and close business at the end of the night. Though Fudge says she was made Chair weeks before an e-mail controversy ended DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s time as head of the DNC, Fudge will now take center stage.

 

“I know there are many of you in this room who don’t know me,” Rep. Fudge said to the thousands of delegates gathered in the arena. “I intend to be fair, I want to hear the varying opinions here. I’m gong to be respectful of you, and I want you to be respectful of me.”

Fudge, 63, is no stranger to leadership roles. She served as the the first African American and the first female Mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio from 2000 to 2008 and before that she was a prosecutor. Fudge was the President of one of the oldest African American sororities, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, from 1996 to 2000. In 2008, after the sudden death of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Fudge was elected to Congress and in 2013 she was elected Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Image: Democratic National Convention: Day One
Donna Brazile gives a thumbs up during the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media.Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images

“We have three Black women now running this convention: Rep. Marcia Fudge, Donna Brazile and Leah Daughtry,” Melanie Campbell, President of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, told NBCBLK.

Donna Brazile is the interim DNC Chair.

Leah Daughtry is the CEO of the Convention for the second time, having held the role for the first time in Denver in 2008. In an interview with NBCBLK in November, Daughtry promised “the most diverse and the most forward-looking convention that we’ve had in recent history.”

“I’m prepared. I do believe that we will have some people who may not be pleased with what is going on, we anticipate that… I’ve been around here for the last few days, I’ve heard the disruptions so I don’t think it’s going to be any different once we get inside the hall,” Rep. Fudge told NBC News’ Alexandra Jaffe today. Yesterday there was a well attended rally at Philadelphia’s City Hall in support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Tonight Sanders will address the convention.

leah daughtry
Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Rev. Leah Daughtry at Minuteman Press in South Philadelphia on October 15.Paul Coker Photography LLC

Colleagues and those in the advocacy community know Fudge well.

“Marcia Fudge has been a fighter and a warrior for African Americans and all Americans for justice. Even before coming to Congress and she’s continued that tradition fighting for working people, fighting for women and the underdog. It’s not really a surprise that at a time of great crisis in our nation she was chosen to Chair this great convention,” Rev. Barbara Williams Skinner told NBCBLK.

“Marcia Fudge has so many capabilities that every time I see an opportunity for her to excel I say I wish the whole nation and the world would know her as well as I do. She’s good,” said Rep, Charlie Rangel (D-NY) to NBCBLK during an interview in downtown Philadelphia.

“She has a great legislative record. She’s well thought of and well respected,” said NAACP President Cornell Brooks before speaking on a panel on the Black agenda in Philly.

“I think we just need to run our convention and let the email scandal take care of itself. I can’t get into it, I haven’t even read the emails, thank goodness, so I can’t even discuss them with you. I just want us to do what Democrats do, we’re gonna run the convention, we’re gonna make sure that everybody understands that it’s fair, that everyone has an opportunity to say what they want to say, and we’re gonna move forward,” Fudge told NBC today.

America's Liberty Bell; Philadelphia, Pennsylvanis

America’s Liberty Bell; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

The Reality of Black LIves Matter


 

Many are speaking ill of the organization Black Lives Matter. Many untruths are being said but these people are members of the organization and are speaking truth. I hope this will clarify issues for some people. Ultimately, I believe all lives matter. However. I do believe for America it must start with Black Lives Matter. We have been a racist country since our founding. The issue of slavery has been the ghost rattling keys in our closets.

 

I wish the Founding Fathers had succeeded in their attempts. They did try long and hard. They decided it would be a less emotional issue for Americans to handle after we had been a country for a while. They meant well. But it is still here and it is now an abyss which divides America.

 

I want this to be healed. I want an end to racism and soon. I don’t want more people to die.

 

Let today be the day you look inside your heart of hearts and find the racism that is still lingering and hiding. Pull it out, vow to look at all people as your brothers and sisters. They truly are. We are equal. Murdering each other, lynching, hating will not change the fact that all color of people are equal. We are all children of the Universe, made from the same matter as the stars. Let us accomplish what the Founding Fathers weren’t able to do: make America truly, now and forever equal. equal for all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Funny Response to an UnFunny Night


 

We are in that lovely part of the election cycle called “the Conventions”. I decided that we needed to think of the RNC with a little change of perspective. I found some and I would like to share it with you. The video is really funny and right now funny is the thing we need. So I hope at least some of you will laugh and the internal pressure will decrease for a little bit. If you don’t like it, blame it on the heat and forgive me.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

 

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Trump on etch a sketch

Trump on etch a sketch

 

New Brain Mapping


I am really excited about this huge advancement in what we know about the brain and what we will be able to accomplish with this new information, We could make strides in education, special needs and in mental illness. It is a wonderful time to be alive.  This is a huge leap for all of mankind.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

 

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New brain map identifies 97 previously unknown regions

GPS Moonshots: Mapping the Brain

Story highlights

  • New human brain map contains 180 areas per hemisphere, including 97 previously unknown regions
  • A “classifier” can identify these brain areas in new people

(CNN)A new 21st century map of the human brain contains 180 distinct areas in each hemisphere, including 97 previously undiscovered territories, research published Wednesday in the journal Nature revealed. It’s not quite Google Maps, but the new optic still provides the most detailed understanding of the cerebral cortex to date, based on the freshest data from the latest technologies.

The new map “is a major revision and updating” of previous maps,” said David Van Essen, senior author of the study. “Most of the new areas are in regions we associate with higher cognitive function,” he said.
This is version 1.0, and as new data comes in, there will be revisions, said Dr. Greg Farber, director of technology development at the National Institute of Mental Health, echoing the authors of the research.

A 180-area multimodal human cortical parcellation on inflated left and right hemisphere surfaces.

“You know what maps of the world looked like in 1500 and you know what they look like in 1950? I think in terms of resolution and quality, we moved from 1500 to 1950,” said Farber. In time, he said, we’ll get better definition, but he would be “very surprised” to see major changes to this new “parcellation” as Van Essen refers to it.
“This is going to give us more insight into the brain,” said CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is also a practicing neurosurgeon. He added the idea of a complete cortical map has been thought about “as far back as I can remember.”

How did they do it?

To create the colorful map, “We brought together a variety of methodological improvements,” explained Matthew Glasser, first author and a doctoral student in neuroscience.
First, they dipped into the wealth of data gathered by the sophisticated technologies employed in the Human Connectome Project, a National Institutes of Health initiative.
This is a key reason the map is more precise than previous versions — the team began with finer-grain detail than available in the past, including brain images collected from 210 healthy young adult participants in the NIH project.
Next, instead of focusing on just one biological property of the brain — architecture, function, connectivity or topography — the researchers combined all four criteria to draw border lines around each “country” within the cortex.

A 180-area multimodal human cortical parcellation on the left and right hemisphere surfaces.

Finally, the team took in the brain’s entire breadth, unlike neuroscientists of past generations who looked at only part of the cerebral cortex.
Yet developing an actual map required more than gathering data. Imagine superimposing photos of 210 unique bodies. Though the many different bodies would never line up perfectly, a rough picture of the human form would emerge — you would still see the separate features of arms and legs, eyes and ears.
Similarly, the team compared all 210 brains. Seeing an area of unusual thickness of myelin (insulation for nerve cells) or a hotspot of connection activity, they would align all the brains according to that feature. Eventually, a picture of the “typical” brain appeared.

Know thyself

The key to each of us rests within our skulls. Our brains contain both history and identity — our most intimate memories from the past live, unseen, beside our future hopes and dreams.

This image shows the pattern of brain activation (red, yellow) and deactivation (blue, green) in the left hemisphere when listening to stories while in the MRI scanner.

The cerebral cortex is an outer layer of brain tissue. Its surface area is pizza-sized, but it has been crumpled to fit inside the skull and the result is the brain’s most distinctive feature — the many folds and wrinkles. Roughly 20 billion of the brain’s total 100 billion neurons reside in the cerebral cortex.
Brain cells communicate based on how they are wired together. Technology does not yet allow us to trace every instance of individual neurons speaking to each other, but it is possible to untangle the connections between regions, which reveals how the brain processes information. The result is nothing short of what we see, feel, think and remember.
Naturally, creating an accurate map of the cortex has been the holy grail for many a neuroscientist.

New cortical territories

The new map identifies 180 areas for each hemisphere, including 97 new territories along with 83 previously known regions. Each area has been defined based on the fact that they are “similar within themselves, but different from their neighbors,” explained Glasser. Each has a unique microstructural architecture (including thickness of the cortex), plus a unique pattern of activity and connectivity with other brain areas.

Image shows a map of myelin content (red, yellow are high myelin; indigo and blue are low myelin) in the left hemisphere of cerebral cortex.

“Think of each brain area as having a unique fingerprint to it,” said Glasser.
The newly identified areas mainly reside in regions of higher cognitive function, Van Essen explained. A dozen distinct cortical areas, for instance, have been identified within the area known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is involved in planning, working memory and abstract thinking, among other functions.
They also discovered some areas with atypical “topological” structure from person to person. For example, area 55b “is an island of language processing snuggled in between regions with completely different functions,” said Van Essen, who is co-principal investigator of the NIH’s Humgan Connectome Project. Long overlooked, the area is small and easily buried in the noise of signaling between other regions.
“We have started, but by no means finished, our characterization about what is different about these new areas,” said Van Essen. He explained the map provides a framework but more research needs to be done to understand both circuitry and meaning.
Finally, perhaps as important as the map itself, the team created a “classifier” to recognize the cortical areas in any brain studied. The classifier — a computer program, Glasser explained — can be compared to post office-designed software which is able to recognize individual letters of the alphabet across many different people’s handwriting in order to read addresses and sort mail.
The machine-learning classifier can identify the unique architecture, function, and pattern of connections of each region and “then it goes to new subjects and it can find that ‘fingerprint’ and that’s how it identifies the areas,” said Glasser.
Their experiments showed the classifier could detect nearly 97% of the areas in new subjects, even in instances where someone had atypical or unique brain structures.

How the map will be used

Going forward, practical uses include the brain map becoming a tool for learning and teaching neurosurgery residents, and even planning operations, said Gupta, though the differences between people, slight though they may be, would still necessitate surgeons performing their own tests while planning brain operations.
Farber believes the map suggests that “sooner, rather than later,” doctors will be able to take an MRI of a person and say “you have autism” or “you are addicted to cigarettes.” In other words, thanks to the new schematic, increasingly sophisticated technologies should shortly be able to diagnose brain disorders.
“We think the field as a whole will start framing and formulating new questions based on the map,” Van Essen said.
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