A Beautiful Brain

J Cell traced by EyeWirers

Let’s congratulate ourselves…we’ve finished our first J cell! Last night we weren’t able to discover new branches. Only a few false ones appeared, and they were lopped off by Rachel at HQ. (In case you’re curious, most of the false branches were caused by errors of our AI.)

No new branches means that the J cell is done. Well-done I’d say. Actually we could probably have stopped earlier but it doesn’t hurt to be a little obsessive about perfection. (See my earlier post for the definition of “done.”)

Let’s be proud of how far we have come. Together we’ve taken the first step in our quest to map the retina, and ultimately the entire brain. You know what Confucius would say about that.  We have a long journey ahead.  It’s only a matter of time before the J circuit is revealed to us, and that’s exciting.  For our second cell, we are going to map another J.  In my next post, I will explain why it’s important to do this.

Before moving on to the second cell, let’s pause to appreciate the beauty of our first J. Before the 19th century, who could have guessed that the nervous system harbors such hidden beauty? The retina doesn’t look like much to the naked eye, maybe a wet kleenex? But a microscope reveals the fantastic branching shapes of neurons—an enormous number of tree-like cells.  The retina is the eye’s jungle.

Before I go, I’d like to give a shout out to EyeWirer and filmmaker Noah Hutton.  Check out his blog The Beautiful Brain.

Let’s savor the loveliness of trees!

FInally, here’s a little video about EyeWire:


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