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The video images of flames shooting skyward out of the National Museum of Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, stabbed me in the heart.
I spent close to 20 years alternating between president, secretary, and grunt volunteer with the infinitely smaller Lake Country Museum. I know from personal experience how hard it is to document the past, especially from societies that maintained no written texts.
Every artifact, every letter, every story, is like a clue in a mystery novel. Clue by laborious clue, a museum puts together a coherent picture of what life was like, back then -- whenever “then” was.
The Rio fire, in effect, ripped out almost all the pages from the novel about South America.
How can you read a novel that isn’t there any longer?
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: museum, Fire, lobotomy, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, artifacts
You’ve probably seen pictures of human nerves – a central neuron with axons and dendrites radiating out from it like the roots of a tree. (If not, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron)
The neuron is the trunk, the central core, that contains the cell’s nucleus. The axons and dendrites are the extended arms that connect with other nerve cells to transmit information.
The resemblance to tree roots may be more than coincidence. UBC-Okanagan forest ecology professor Suzanne Simard has proven conclusively that trees communicate with each other through their roots.
Dig into the soil of any forest, and you’ll find a network of tree roots, overlapping, inter-weaving. You probably won’t see the second component of communication, the invisible filaments of fungi.
Simard’s research demonstrates, beyond dispute, that trees send messages, and food, to each other through their roots, with those fungal filaments bridging the gaps in much the same way that synapses work in the human brain.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Suzanne Simard, roots, forests, consciousness, brains, lobotomy