Friday 4 November 2016

TED and Fred

Before starting this blog, I envisioned one of its purposes to be a platform for sharing some of the fascinating stuff I find on the internet.

Aside from linking to worthy blogs, that hasn't happened much. And after trying to write today's post, I think I know why.

It's not that there's a sudden shortage of interesting, moving, or funny stuff out there.

It's that I can't seem to form an original thought to comment on it all. If there's going to be brilliant commentary on the topic, it's going to have to happen in the comments section, by someone who isn't me.

Today I wanted to share a 2015 TED talk (video) by neuroscientist David Eagleman, who researches perception and brain plasticity. He's also an articulate, engaging, well-prepared speaker. His topic: Can we create new senses for humans? It's twenty minutes long, but seemed far less. And I learned a new word: umwelt. It is a weirdly useful word.

Anything to do with brain plasticity grabs my attention. Plasticity describes the ability of one area of the brain to take over the functions of another area in case of stroke or other damage. I first learned about the concept after my father's stroke, when I was trying to find everything I could about stroke rehabilitation. He was desperate to be able to walk again. Unfortunately, there were too many strikes against him in terms of damage done by the stroke, his general health, and available therapies, and re-wiring his brain to allow him to use his paralyzed limbs was not going to happen.

But that explains how I got to the TED talk. If you're interested, click HERE.

If not, you are welcome to look at these pretty things:

mixed deciduous and evergreen forest near my home

a dianthus, one of my favourite flowers in the garden, still blooming
lacework against a grey sky

another hardy soul in the garden - its leaves are turning purple as the weather gets chilly

the sky at dusk

wild berries along the walking trail

wild apples, also along the trail

our burning bush (Euonymous alatus, I believe)

after a rainfall

the butterfly bush is still blooming, but the blossoms are about one-third as long as they were in warmer weather

I hope the owner of this didn't need it anymore

Hope all is well in your corner of the world.

P. S. In case you wondered, Fred is my camera. (See title.)


Elephant's Child said...

Loving the emphemeral beauties that you and Fred gave us.
Sadly, for today at least, there is nothing malleable about my grey matter. It feels like overcooked porridge and is resisting any stimulation. Later perhaps. Rewiring of the brain is usually a subject which fascinates and awes me.

37paddington said...

fascinating TED talk. You know i think it's perfectly ok to share what you find interesting online, and let people take from it what they will. your scintillating commentary comes in the very fact of your finding and sharing it, allowing your readers to be educated. thank you for this.

jenny_o said...

Overcooked porridge is not a good way for a poor brain to feel, EC. I hope you feel better soon. 37paddington (next comment) has neatly expressed the approach that I hope everyone who visits here will take - I'm happiest if the deal is that I can post, and let people partake or not. As it should be.

jenny_o said...

Thank you, Angella, and I really hope all readers approach anything I post with the same mindset, to take only what interests them! As a people-pleaser, I tend to worry about these things :)

dinthebeast said...

Thank you for that TED talk, it was fascinating. I know what you mean about feeling intimidated about blogging when there are so many really talented bloggers out there synthesizing the information they find so deftly and with such passion. That is pretty much why I haven't started my own blog yet. I think I'm past the "wondering if I can measure up" stage, though, and my blog will be an actual thing very soon. I think you are doing a lovely job here, by the way, and the dianthus is beautiful.

-Doug in Oakland

Mr. Shife said...

I did wonder, and now I know who Fred is. =) Great photos by the way and a very informative blog. Look forward to using umwelt in a sentence this weekend.

gz said...


Lovenicky said...

Wonderful post! I have been very interested in brain plasticity ever since I watched a few CBC and PBS documentaries on it. There is so much we don't know about our brain. So much potential in there.

jenny_o said...

Thank you, Doug. I really hope you start your blog soon. Looking forward to it.

jenny_o said...

Hah! Lemme know how that goes ;)

jenny_o said...

Hi, gz! Thank you for coming by.

jenny_o said...

Yes! So much of it is still a mystery.

Geo. said...

Jenny, this is a fine post and your photos are exquisite. Just the thing to settle me down after I jumped out of bed and found an earwig in my pajamas. Now it's midnight and I shall try again.

jenny_o said...

I wonder why the earwig was wearing your pajamas? I hope it gave them back!

Have you ever been pinched by an earwig? I have. It smarts. But since I found out they eat aphids and such, I've stopped committing earwigicide and started herding them back outside instead. I'm only saying this because I know of your relocation efforts for other bugs. They have been surprisingly laid back about the whole thing.

Terry said...

Good blog.Like I know what that is.

jenny_o said...

Hah! A good blog is whatever you like, I think. Welcome to my corner of the internet.

Jono said...

Really hope my brain has plasticity.

jenny_o said...

Does it bounce? Then you're good.

Steve Reed said...

I'm surprised your butterfly bush is still blooming. Ours have called it quits for the year! My brain has some plasticity, I think, but it's definitely not as plastic as it used to be!

jenny_o said...

Yes, many days my brain feels like an elastic band that has dried out and turned brittle :)