Sunday, July 29, 2007

Loose ends

Let's see - I owe a lot of replies to a lot of you, at this point. So, in no particular order, today's knitting up of loose ends:

Yes, Anna-Karin, the silly house finches are indeed in a flower pot. A flower pot that used to have some lovely trailing orange flowers in it, but alas, the kind friend who was watering while we were away didn't want to disturb the nest, so between that and a solid week of 90F heat, the flowers are toast. But the baby birds are looking like, well, birds, now! Take a look:

Ruth, I think the tattoo will be some sort of curly design across my left upper arm, sort of like a permanent painted-on bracelet. Not as daring as Lorena's ink (hi, Lorena!), and definitely nowhere near as amazing as the Tattoo Queen (hi!), but more along the lines of Lynne's (hi!). It occurs to me that the idea of having a small tasteful tattoo is a little contradictory (if not downright chicken). I got no problem with that.

Lucia mentioned a claim that there's no scientific evidence for repressed memory, in something she'd been reading. I am currently reading In Search of Memory, by Eric Kandel, and nothing I've been studying or reading for fun indicates anything like this. I can guess that based on what little I understand of the molecular biology involved and elementary psychology, it would certainly be possible to sequester a disruptive memory, at least partially, especially if it were very distressing--such an action would tend to be helpful to the organism, by making it possible to proceed with normal functioning, and could be a good workaround for a persistent long-term potentiation. It's a bit of "proving a negative," though - how to demonstrate conclusively something that doesn't happen all the time? I think the most one can say is that it is difficult if not impossible to experimentally replicate repression of memory; it seems clear to me, however, that the clinical literature contains overwhelming evidence that the phenomenon exists. Lucia, what were you reading? I'm reminded of a Scientific American cover article (from June, I think) attempting to argue that some famous 1950's experiments do NOT show what they, er, show (which is that amino acids can spontaneously form from the mix of molecules that represents our best guess as to what the chemical makeup of Things In General was a few billion years ago). The guy in the article said, nuh-uh! The rebuttal said rather mildly, gee there's just no substitute for testing your ideas in the lab.

The Kandel book is AWESOME. But definitely read Harry Potter first.

I am (apparently repressing?) refusing to accept how soon my neuro course will be over with - I said six more lectures? Ha. It's only FOUR! WAHHH! What will I doooooooooo???? sniff. sob. (Actually, what I will do is get to see all you at Javaroom again.) In that time we will finish up with motor systems, then do perception and sensory systems, hearing, vision, and in the last lecture, emotion - neuroendocrine circuits, autonomic nervous system, and intro to emotional systems. And yes, Double Helix, we are blowing through an enormous amount of material. I pulled out a somewhat out of date medical board exam prep book for neuroanatomy, and we've pretty much done all of it. (Hey, maybe my swirly tattoo can be a DNA strand!) I know my mind freezes up somewhere in the second hour of lecture, and it seems to happen to the rest of the class, too. I watched the online video of Wed.'s class, and NOBODY could answer the professor's questions by the end - even though he'd just told us something! he asked about ten minutes later, okay so where does that neuron go? And we were all just blank. And then started guessing. Wildly. And were all wrong (I think between us, we guessed every other part of the paleocortex EXCEPT the correct one). Wow, it was painful to watch.

Thanks for the music tip, Mel. Kat, I've been craving AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" in the worst way - it's absurd! Yup, Lucia, it's usually WBCN for me, too, mostly because the smaller car doesn't have a cd player. Thanks, Nicole, I'm sure the final won't be as confusing as the midterm - now I know what flavor of deviousness the professor uses, mwahaha.

Hi! to Carole, and to Erica (good luck with the new format, there), and wave to berlinbat, and more large hellos to farm-witch and Carla, and family members and friends, too - you know who you are (yes, you, and you, and you, too).

Here endeth my ridiculously long post (or as wonderful much-missed Jena would say, ricoculous). (Hi, Jena!) Thanks for stopping by, and have a lovely end of your weekend, all.


Blogger Carole Knits said...

Hi yourself! You sound downright cheerful. And I'm glad.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Lynne said...

Let me know when you want to go for your tat... I'm ready for another one.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Jena the yarn harpy said...

Oh no, I've been too absent and have become much-missed! :)

This whole wedding thing has turned even crazier and what with that and packing up and cleaning, I have no life lately.
I've been reading every blog post, though, when I can get to Bloglines!

But I miss you, too! :)

11:18 AM  
Blogger Lucia said...

The book was The Myth of Repressed Memory by Elizabeth Loftus. Her argument specifically pertained to the whole "recovered memory" movement, which I think has more or less been and gone now, and boiled down was that 1) while there's evidence for suppressed memory, that is trying very hard not to think of painful stuff, and also for traumatic amnesia, there's no evidence for repressed memory that the person doesn't even know she's repressed; 2) there is solid evidence that it's possible, indeed quite easy, to fabricate memories of events that never happened, as well as to conflate, mangle and edit memories of actual events.

Anyhow. I hope to discuss this, or indeed any topic whatsoever, with you at some point in my current lifetime. Birdies cute.

11:31 AM  

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