very rough days where you have these big groundswells and then have whitecaps

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
I don't quite understand the logic of what Raichle says here. What I get now is (words in red are my comments):

You can have very rough days where you have these big groundswells (you are in a hard time now) and then have whitecaps sitting on top of them (turning around, the good time begins) ,” he says. These “swells” make it easier for brain areas to become active—for “whitecaps” to form, in other words. (What? Waking up from a nightmare and a romance gets started? Not understandable to me)
My understanding appears not consistent, because I feel what Raichle says is not consistent. Are inactive states of the brain areas "very rough days/big groundswells"? Seems not to me.

Where do I get it wrong?

*********************

These superslow waves may be critical to how the brain functions, Raichle says. “Think of, say, waves on the water of Puget Sound. You can have very rough days where you have these big groundswells and then have whitecaps sitting on top of them,” he says. These “swells” make it easier for brain areas to become active—for “whitecaps” to form, in other words.

-Scientific American

Source
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I think you are trying to be way too specific in your reading of this analogy. I read nothing more in it than a very rough attempt to compare brain activity to the action of water in Puget Sound. "Big groundswells" seem to correspond to some underlying activity, and "whitecaps", as the author tells us, are activated brain areas.
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thank you.

    Why use "very rough days" there? "very rough attempt"- as you might have pointed out?
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    But when it comes to brain areas, where are those very rough parts? Brain appears to be so delicate and...um...cute, not rough unless there is a nightmare (as I have said previously. Does it mean that our brain needs great efforts to wake up from unconsciousness?).

    Thank you.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Whitecaps occur on rough days, New America. Raichle seems to be saying that the days when a lot of brain areas are activated are akin to "rough days" on some body of water. Why did he choose "rough days" to talk about the water? Because that's when whitecaps occur. Don't try to link "rough days" and the delicate structure of the brain together. I don't think Raichle intended any reader to do that.

    Rest content with the idea that "whitecaps" are activated brain areas and "groundswells" are some sort of underlying phenomena.
     
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