Mile 5: Your Brain vs. The Milky Way

With the 2016 Christmas tree out on the street again, I hoovered up the last of its dropped needles from the floor last night, and as I looked down at the fairy lights – now bunched up in a pile on the floor – I saw something familiar.


It looked like one of those diagrams of the brain, with all the synapses lighting up. The big difference being that my fairy lights have only 100 bulbs, whereas the human brain has around 100 billion neurons or nerve cells (about 15 times the global population of humans), all sending signals and thoughts around your head at speeds faster than a Formula One racing car.


Scientists used to think there were as many neurons in the brain as there were stars in the Milky Way. But they now realise that our galaxy is even bigger than first thought and probably has around 200 – 400 billion stars and at least 100 billion planets! But even though our brains may be out-muscled in terms of numbers when compared with the Milky Way, it is humbling to hear the words of physicist Sir Roger Penrose:

“If you look at the entire physical cosmos, our brains are a tiny, tiny part of it. But they’re the most perfectly organized part. Compared to the complexity of a brain, a galaxy is just an inert lump.”

The good news is that the average brain generates around 50,000 thoughts per day. However, the bad news according to scientists is that disturbingly 70% of these thoughts in most people are apparently negative!

So with a cheeky smile, and in the words of my friend Tom Burmester, I say to you:

“Do something good! Sponsor Mike.”



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