Saturday, September 30, 2017

Split Brains and Individuals Who Band Together to Make One

In the Over the Edge series the Somainai characters are marsupial humanoids. Marsupials are mammals whose young make a journey from the birth canal to the pouch where they find a teat and complete their development. Everyone has seen the cute pictures of kangaroo babies peering over the rim of their mother's pouches. There are many dramatic differences between placental mammals and marsupials. Marsupials view the world in the ultraviolet spectrum, which is so foreign to us that we can hardly imagine it and you'd be hard pressed to find decent images on the web that portray what that might look like. They also have split brains.

Normally placentals don't have split brains. Our brains are unified by a structure called the "corpus callosum" which is a bundle of nerves that unifies the two brain hemispheres. There are instances of human beings who don't have corpus callosums at birth. You can find articles about some of those people in the archives of this blog. For a time doctors tried cutting the corpus callosum to treat epilepsy. This video discusses some of what we've learned from these patients. The archives of this blog also contain articles dealing with this topic.

In Over the Edge marsupial humanoid characters' silent brains use sign language to communicate simultaneously with the speaking brain--sometimes about different topics that might be unrelated. This can occasionally generate conflict between one brain and the other, even to the point of suicide. The Bible talks about a sort of split mindedness when addressing how human beings are capable of holding two opposite views simultaneously, this is called "double-mindedness." Disunity in a creature that is supposed to operate in unity is not a good thing.

Our bodies are made up of individual cells, each of which has its own life. Christians speak of "the body of Christ," when talking about the church, a kind of organism of which Jesus is the head that is a new creation, just as the individual Christian is a new creation, a kind of being that never existed before. Christians think they kind of know what that means, to be a new creation and to be the body of Christ, but it is my belief that we don't really have a clue. The video below this one touches on the question, "If we are a bundle of individuals who are dying and being replaced all the time, who are we anyway?" Christians answer that question by saying, "I am a spirit living in a body using a soul as my interface between me and the world." For more on this topic visit Carolingian Studios for the video called "Do Humans Have Souls?"

Here's another article on this topic: Are Split-brain People Really Two Half Persons?

Consciousness, the soul and other related concepts have been and will continue to be explored in this blog. Please check the archives for past articles. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

That Postman Who Paints Scarves for Hermes

In the upcoming sequel to Give Her the Stars Lolly Lang quips that Retief's scarf looks like one created by the postman in Texas who paints the designs used in scarves for Hermes. That fellow's name is Kermit Oliver and he lives in East Waco, Texas. His story is the kind of romantic success that's a key element in all my fiction. Here's more about Kermit:

Portrait of the Artist as a Postman

How a Texas Postman Became a Designer for Hermes

Scarf Ace

Photo credit: Texas Monthly

Thursday, February 02, 2017

A Better Spacesuit

When the white, 30 lb. space suits used during the Apollo missions were created, human beings had forgotten how to make clothing--except tube socks--without seams. Those charged with creating the suits had to reinvent that lost technique. The History of Space Suits

Serious space travel needs suits that protect the wearer from the harsh realities of space while allowing freedom of movement. The Apollo and shuttle suits are bulky and limit mobility. Someone has to help his buddy get into one of those suits. Now Boeing has a new space suit that is easy for one person to put on, doesn't need a cooling unit to keep the person from sweating their brains out and isn't orange--a big plus for those of us who wondered, "Why orange? It's so ugly."