I hope the title's self explanatory, if not I'll explain: this thread is dedicated to interesting stuff that is too small to justify its own thread. It'll mostly be science and tech news, but any contributions (I'd rather they remain a-political and a-religious) are welcomed! The amazingly difficult landings of the U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane The Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady is a beautiful spy plane that flies at high altitudes (70,000 feet in the air) to provide reconnaissance for the military. It’s also a pain in the ass to land too, requiring an actual chase car on the ground to tell the pilot how far the U-2 is from the ground. Here’s a Sploid video showcasing those delicate and difficult landings of the Dragon Lady. This Intricate Digital Model of a Brain Acts Like the Real Thing This complex web of fibers is in fact a digital model of a small chunk of rat brain — containing 31,000 neurons, 37 million synapses and the ability to fire just like a living chunk of grey matter. It’s small, sure — in fact, the structure is equivalent to a piece of real brain that would measure just one third of a millimetre cubed — but it’s the biggest achievement so far of the Blue Brain project, which has been running for 10 years. The long-term goal of the project is to create an accurate digital model of the entire human brain, which could be used for all kinds of experiments. The chunk of digital rat brain is built up from models of 207 different types of brain cells, all created following intensive study of a small brain region by 82 different people. The team pieced together 1,000 neurons from scratch, and then used algorithms to assemble that basic building block into a more complex 31,000-neuron structure. The research is published in Cell. The team is able to digitally stimulate the chunk of brain and then watch how signals propagate through it. So far their experiments have shown it behaves much like the real thing, with the same types of firing and delays as occur in real, live rat. There’ still some way to go, of course, before a third-of-a-millimetre cube scales up to the size of a human brain — but it’s a step in the right direction.