Friday, March 29, 2013

BAM's (officially) coming!

 Giddy times!

What I'm watching for:

How much money, for real?

We've heard $10 billion, $3 billion, and there's also that whole sequesterbudgetmess thing that could have altered the bottom line at the last minute.

Who gets it and how much goes to what?

What percentage will be set aside to establish the BAM "brain observatories"?  What percentage will be available for the general neuroscience community to apply for?  How much explicitly set aside for tech development?  People are going to either be pleasantly surprised by this, really upset by this, or annoyed that they don't explain this enough.  Probably all three.

Who pays for it?

If this means a drop in NIH funding for everyone else, people ain't gonna be happy - expect the science Angstosphere to flip a lot of figurative tables in that event. Of course, no one wants that to happen, including none of the BAM scientists themselves.  It's only the White House that can screw up the funding.

How will Obama sell it?

Really interested to see if it's still all about Alzheimer's and humans or about what the scientists are actually proposing.  Will his statement become fodder for Twittersnark or will the skeptics be impressed? 

What will the Republicans say?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen any political coverage of BAM.  From my understanding, the Republicans still aren't big fans of the President, and they really don't like spending money.  On the other hand, they don't mind neuroscience as far as I know.  So... what will their statements say?  Bland?  Harsh?  Enthusiastic? Will they say anything at all?

Will the media care?

Lead story? One minute in the nightly news?  Overlooked completely?  The media needs a comparison or they won't know how to report it.  I'm fully expect comparisons to the Human Genome Project, but the cynic in me won't be satisfied until I hear some commentator explaining how BAM is nothing like putting a man on the moon. 

And if it's going to happen - when?

Hey, I want my slice of the pie already!


  1. That Q&A is absurd.
    "To the best of my knowledge the primary objective of the brain mapping initiative will be to generate a detailed and complete map of the connections both within and between brain regions in the healthy brain."
    WTF? No. All it takes is one read of the neuron paper... nay, one skim... to know that this is not about connectomics.

  2. Yeah there's a whole other project for that (the Human Connectome Project ). The main goal of this project is to be able to simultaneously record the activity of every neuron in a healthy brain.