Weekend

June 7, 2010

So many anecdotes, so little time to blog. So, real quick:

Friday, after reading my mom’s blog for the 4th time, I went to acupuncture. This has been part of my burn out prevention strategy since late April, when I convinced myself I had multiple sclerosis, a calcified heart valve, melanoma, and maybe a slight anxiety thing going on. It seems the cure for hypochondria is lying on your back with needles in your face. My insurance company is probably thrilled, since they don’t have to pay for it. (Not that they pay for much in the first place).  I’ve been wondering if I should just get my ears pierced. Then I would have a permanent state of Zen.

Saturday morning I met a girl who is a PhD student at Sunny D. She is training a monkey to move an arrow across a computer screen. Once he learns how to do that, she is going to implant electrodes in his prefrontal cortex, and connect them to the computer directly. When the monkey envisions himself doing the task, the arrow will move across the screen without him physically doing anything. The big question: can the monkey learn to simply use his mind instead of his hands?And the bigger question – could humans?

I’m completely blown away by this idea — creepy and wonderful and terrifying. Like a Roald Dahl story coming to life.

Does this mean someday I will be able to play the Beethovan sonata I’ve been working on since college without touching a keyboard? Will I be able to cook without being in the kitchen, write blog entries without writing them? What about exercising? Will my brain get tired if I envision myself benching 100 pounds?

Yesterday I fell asleep in Whole Foods with my book open to the middle of the microbiology chapter. What? Have you ever sat on their couches? Have you ever read my microbiology book? The perfect lullaby I tell you.

Today I am ditching my prep course class to study bacteria, and to see how much I learned in my sleep. If it works out, I might just start napping with my notes under pillow, and a few needles in my learning chakra – where ever that is.

Last but not least, a quick shout out to my friend Andy. She is a rockstar film maker. Last night I saw a short documentary she worked on, “Born Sweet”. It’s about a boy with arsenic poisoning who lives in a Cambodian village. His dream is to fall in love, and be a karaoke star. Isn’t that what we all dream of when it comes down to it? Here is the trailer. Enjoy.

I met a PhD student who is training a monkey to move an arrow across a computer screen. Once he learns how to do that, she is going to implant electrodes in his prefrontal cortex, and connect them to the computer directly. When the monkey envisions himself doing the task, the arrow will move across the screen without him physically doing anything. The big question: can the monkey learn to simply use his minds instead of his hands?And the bigger question – could humans?I’m completely blown away by this idea — creepy and wonderful and terrifying. Like a Roald Dahl story coming to life.

Does this mean someday I will be able to play the entire Beethovan Sonata I’ve been working on since college without touching a keyboard? Will I be able to cook without being in the kitchen, write blog entries without writing them? What about exercising? Will my brain get tired if I envision myself benching 100 pounds?

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One Response to “Weekend”

  1. Andy Says:

    Yay for acupuncture and neuroscience and friends like you 😉

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