On the other hand, we might still only use 10% of our brains potential.
Think about it in terms of a comptuer program Its possible for two people to write the same program, in the same language, same compiler, run on the same hardware(everything equivalent except programming style)- and one persons program could be several orders of magnitude faster than the other guys. Both programs fully utilize the resources available, one just does so much more efficiently.
if you're looking at it that way though, you can't say it's 10%. Unlike a computer program, where we know the paramaters of the operating environment, we don't know the operating paramaters of the brain. We don't know what the potential is.
I tend to think that we always are using 0% of our potential- because I think the human potential is infinite, if you're willing and able to pay the price.
Actually, the computer analogy is a good one. Sure, my Hard Drive may be 160gigs, but my RAM is only 1gig - a mere 1/160th of the computer's potential. So perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we only use 10% of our brains at a time? That our conciousness - our RAM, if you will - is only using 10% of our Cerebral Hard Drives at any given moment?
The electrical throughput doesn't really tell us alot- for example, a 200Mhz processor may cycle 200 million times per second, but how many calculations does it do on each cycle? That's usually measured in flops, and amusingly, the industry doesn't usually talk about the flops- flops can't be pumped up like MHz can (most processors don't _really_ do the MHz they claim to).
The brain boils down to a massively parrallel processor- the number of flops is a great big X.
Actually, someone once clocked the speed of human brain at being the equivilant of a measly 12mhtz or something. Our advantage is that our entire network is designed around "parallel processing," so we can run thousands of little 12mhtz systems all at once to make up for it.
I loathe those things. Our culture has spawned myriad crackpot pseudoscientific soundbytes.
Did you hear that the guy who wrote Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus (I am from Uranus, Oort Oort) was a complete fraud? There was a book written a few years back called You Just Don't Understand (decent book, now a bit outdated, but nice communication theory.). And as soon as I read it, I realized he'd cribbed it, dumbed it down, and made his millions. Makes me want to kick him in the nads.