Here’s 3 unrelated reports of interest. First, 2 hours after I posted the last piece on the hippocampus, I read the obituary of Suzanne Corkin. I did not know her name but she was the principal scientist, after Brenda Milner, studying the famous patient and research subject H.M. after his bilateral hippocampectomy. She spent years investigating his memory loss and what he retained. As mentioned in the previous post she spent hours many days with Henry Molaison (H.M.) who never recognized her but thought maybe he had been to high school with her. She was respected for the thoroughness and rigor of her work. In her book about him, Permanent Present Tense (I might have to check it out sooner than later), she wrote, reports the NYT, of coming to see Henry as a person and not solely a research subject but a collaborator in the research. She also said he retained some strong memories from the distant past in an austere manner which she labeled ‘gist’ memories’, saying his memory had lost the capacity for narrative richness. Thank you, Dr. Corkin, and thank you, Henry Molaison
Next up a brief report from Earthsky.org on the Rosetta spacecraft orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko since August, 2014. It has detected glycine and phosphorus on the comet. Glycine is a simple amino acid and phosphorus is essential to building DNA, so comet 67P orbiting our galaxy and who knows where else carries some of the building blocks of life. Gaia seeded from Mars? Maybe, but life from Andromeda maybe as well. Don’t you love it when we get some empirical confirmation towards some of the wilder ideas out there?
Finally, another NYT story reports that researchers have found a Neanderthal construction from 175,000 years ago (remember that the earliest cave art is only about 50,000 years ago). This pushes back the hominid timeline a great deal. Evidently Neanderthals deep in a cave in France broke off stalagmites and stalagmites and arranged them in a circle way back then. The ability to navigate that deep underground is impressive and then they were able to break off these mineral formations and then for some reason arranged them into a pretty decent circle. Meditate on those findings for awhile and see what you come up with thinking about what our minds were like back then. Thank you Neanderthals and thank you researchers.
That’s it for now, so after you do the above meditation, please travel on.