Faster than the speed of thought!

Two things happened to catch my attention almost simultaneously recently (this is a joke you’ll get shortly).  First was a line in Brian Lumley’s Necroscope: Invaders where travelling through the Möbius Continuum is said to be “faster than the speed of light – travel at the speed of thought!”  The second was a bit from Vsauce, a YouTube show that brings some science to all the craziness that exists on the intarwebs, where they discussed how fast your brain processes things, and why there are certain illusions that work because the brain lives in the past.

Specifically, your brain lives approximately 80 milliseconds in the past.  This is what you could call a processor delay, an amount of time that the brain stores information before completing its work.  This is actually important, as it allows signals travelling on your nerves to reach the brain and be processed despite distances in the body being different at different points.  For instance, touch your foot and touch your nose at the same time – it will feel instantaneous, but the signal getting to your brain should cause there to be a slight delay.  The nerves in your foot are much further from the brain than the ones in your nose.  But instead, the brain has a short processing delay that allows it to bundle the two separate inputs and correlate them as happening at the same time.

And how fast does that signal travel?  Well about 250 miles per hour.  That’s the speed of your internal neural network.  So really, you can travel faster than you can experience things.  Get on a commercial jet and you’ll be travelling about 570 miles per hour, or over twice as fast as your body’s nervous system can function.

So you have a tiny processing lag, and your nerves can only process at about 250 miles per hour.  So is thought faster than light?  No, not even close.  Even with the tiny gap between neurons, the speed still isn’t anywhere close to 299,792,458 meters per second.  Sorry, but “faster than the speed of thought” is actually pretty darn easy to reach.

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