Thursday, September 21, 2006

I am bleary eyed. I am so tired. But I wanted to post something. I had an amazing day shooting for this PBS documentary. I got to interview a couple of scientists who are working on implanting electrodes in blind people to help them see along with these special cool glasses. I got to talk to a blind woman about what it was like to see things with those same glasses. It's wild, like the glasses are literally hooked into her brain. I also got to talk to another Cal Tech scientist who is doing a lot of work to change the whole paradigm of how cancer is treated, and the early clinical trials are promising. It's exciting. And I got to talk to this same scientist’s wife about her own battle with cancer. (From which she has recovered.) It was an awesome day. OH! And I got to eat lunch in the Atheneum at Cal Tech and the food was fantastic. And Mulan is about to lose her front tooth and it makes me simultaneously sad and excited, she is really growing up. Oh, oh, oh…


Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the losing of teeth. I have two sons, just 6 and nearly 8. The early milestones, sitting up, walking, talking are nothing but exciting. Those later ones, first day of school, losing teeth, are heartbreakingly joyous... Before kids, I didn't understand the "they grow up so fast" idea. Oh, but now, sometimes I feel like I am afraid to close my eyes for fear they'll be in college when I wake up. [sigh]

I can't wait to hear more about, and see, the documentary, Julia. I imagine a time when my grown children say incredulously to me, "You mean, when we were little, they didn't know how to cure cancer?"


Anonymous said...

Every time I see a good science documentary (like "100 Greatest Discoveries" with Bill Nye), it strikes me how often we hear about the church having a problem with the science. Even anesthesia was a problem, because "pain should be endured, not relieved." There were people who would choose death over surgery before anesthesia.

In spite of all of that, these scientists continue to work on what they know is right and will help humanity. They really are the true heroes of history.

"We would be 1,500 years ahead if it hadn't been for the church dragging science back by its coattails and burning our best minds at the stake."
- Catherine Fahringer

Siamang said...

Hey Julia, just picked up The God Delusion by Dawkins.

You get quoted in the first couple pages!

Dang, girl.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia - I love your work and your blog. You're just great! You always bring a smile to my day.

But (and there's that word), I'm really writing to say that it's spelled "Caltech", not "Cal Tech". A trivial thing, but it's important to us for some reason.

(Caltech, Class of 1988)

Sheldon said...

I LOVE the research with the "bionic" eye! I've been tracking their progress for some years now, and it's amazing how far they've come. Hell, it's amazing they can even do it!

It makes me think about a parallel breakthrough that is far more controversial. Namely, the cochlear implant (CI). The CI is hard-wired to the temporal lobes and replaces the cochlea in the human ear. It's not perfect yet, but it works to give otherwise deaf people a chance to hear *something* at least.

The deaf community is almost overwhelming AGAINST the CI, however, accusing scientists of trying to force deaf children to become part of a hearing community of which they'll never truly be a part. They also take issue with the fact that it needs to be performed in infancy (so the brain can develop the ability to process its input during the "critical period" that stops after puberty).

Funny that we haven't heard a similar outcry from the blind community. I suspect it has more to do with the fact that we share a language (and, therefore, a culture) with blind people. The deaf community is separated by this barrier, and therefore, views themselves as a separate group.

Read Oliver Sacks' book "Seeing Voices." Also controversial, but fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia
I always loved your charector( spell check ?)Pat. And then we would see how pretty you really were.
I have been an atheist for 40 years and i never feel the need to tell people that their beliefs are wrong but as you've seen,every body tries to convert us. I like what you say about the clarity of atheism. The universe seems cleaner without the metaphysics.
in Tacoma WA