Questions from the 4th Week of January 2014

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  • Derek Amado smacked his head hard on the bottom of a swimming pool. He woke up able to play the piano with striking proficiency, but only music that he "sees" in his head as a pattern of squares. Was the music already in his brain?
  • Has music emerged in human culture because it's a map of our neural networks, a schematic of neuronal connections?
  • Did that make music inevitable?
  • If string theory is right, and the fundamental unit of the universe is an unimaginably tiny vibrating string, does that play out in our neurons organizing themselves into rhythm and pulse?
  • So is the universe in our heads?
  • A word does not enter a language until two people agree on what it stands for. Someone first decided to call a cat a cat, or whatever the Indo-European root word is for cat. Then a second person became the first to agree that, yes, the word for that creature from now on was cat. Who were those first two guys?
  • Who was third?
  • Was there a competing word making its way around the other side of town?
  • Why did it lose?
  • Are we approaching a time when no idea will get consideration unless it can be presented in an 18-minute-or-less video clip?
  • If you regard the universe as probabilistic rather than deterministic, do you regard certainty as merely a 100 percent probability?
  • What was the first complete sentence ever spoken? (My money is on, "Whoa, look at the ass on that one.")
  • Every morning at 8, a barber came to Sigmund Freud's house to trim his beard. Every morning, Freud's wife put toothpaste on his toothbrush. What would an analyst make of that?