Stirring rhetoric is a celebrated aspect of art, and a controversial part of politics. But one study indicates that it could be something more. Metaphors might be able to affect the way our brains perceive the world, and the power of a good metaphor may actually have a scientific basis.
Metaphors and other figurative language are deeply woven into the fabric of human communication, as this very sentence actually demonstrates. But how do our brains translate these metaphors into something they can understand?
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, a small arm of the US intelligence community, is distributing $20 million grants to computer scientists who can parse a language and determine a culture's relationship with a certain concept. It's called, The Metaphor Program.
The Most Useless Machine is a box with a switch. You flick the switch, and the box opens, flipping back the switch to close itself. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Over, and over again. That is, until the box flips out.