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"What I have in my stories is ethics. Ethics and morality are very different cups of tea. I adhere to a very strict rigor of personal ethics and I demand it of those around me as well."
- Harlan Ellison

Laminated Mouse Brain Computer  
  A computing device that makes use of neurons from a mouse.  

We're closer to the laminated mouse brain than you might think; see the additional resources for this item.

...Tiga-belax came in, very cheerful indeed... In his right hand there was a black plastic cube wih shimmering contact-points gleaming on its sides. The two technicians greeted him politely.

"I've got that beautiful child taken care of... I've used a mouse-brain."

"If it's frozen," said the first technician, "we won't be able to put in the computer..."

"This brain isn't frozen," said Tiga-belas indignantly. "It's been laminated. We stiffened it with celluprime and then we veneered it down, about seven thousand layers. Each one has plastic of at least two molecules thickness. This mouse can't spoil. As a matter of fact, this mouse is going to keep on thinking forever. He won't think much, unless we put the voltage on him, but he'll think. And he can't spoil..."

From Think Blue, Count Two, by Cordwainer Smith.
Published by Galaxy Publishing in 1962
Additional resources -

It turns out that the creators of the mouse brain computer were able to improve on nature when it comes to speed:

"...This mouse isn't only veneered and laminated; he's fast. The lamination is faster than his own synapses ever were."

The mouse brain is used as the computer; the programming is accomplished by imposing the mind of a human being:

"Do you need the mouse any more?" said the first technician.

"Yes," said Tiga-belas. "One-third of a millisecond at forty megadynes. I want him to get her whole life printed on his left cortical lobe. Particularly her screams. She screamed badly at ten months. Something she got in her mouth. She screamed at ten when she thought the air had stopped in her drop-shaft. It hadn't, or she wouldn't be here. They're in her record. I want the mouse to have those screams. And she had a pair of red shoes for her fourth birthday. Give me the full two minutes with her. I've printed the key on the complete series of Marcia and the Moon Men—that was the best box drama for teen-age girls that they ran last year. Veesey saw it. This time she'll see it again, but the mouse will be tied in...

"I'm putting the girl's whole lifetime into one-third of a millisecond at top power. It will drain over into the mouse-brain inside this cube. What is the normal human reaction within one-third millisecond?"

"Fifteen milliseconds—" The second technician started to speak and stopped himself.

"That's right," said Tiga-belas. "People don't get anything at all in less than fifteen milliseconds. This mouse isn't only veneered and laminated; he's fast. The lamination is faster than his own synapses ever were. Bring on the girl."

The first technician had already gone to get her.

The second technician turned back for one more question. "Is the mouse dead?"

"No. Yes. Of course not. What do you mean? Who knows?" said Tiga-belas all in one breath.

Thanks to the readers who wrote in with this one.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Think Blue, Count Two
  More Ideas and Technology by Cordwainer Smith
  Tech news articles related to Think Blue, Count Two
  Tech news articles related to works by Cordwainer Smith

Laminated Mouse Brain Computer-related news articles:
  - Brain Chips With Uniform Self-Organized Neurons
  - Mouse Brain Simulated By Supercomputer
  - Solar Sail Craft Need Laminated Mouse Brains
  - The Human Brain - Chemically Fixed And Embedded In Plastic
  - Uploading Minds For Interstellar Travel

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