National Geographic February 2014, Part 1

Secrets of the Brain, by Carl Zimmer, photographs by Robert Clark

Secrets of the Brain is about the new technology that scientists are using to find out how the brain works. We see Zimmer having an MRI done of his brain, and the project where the scientists took nearly microscopic slices of a mouse brain to look at the anatomy. Then we go on to new technologies such as a project where they removed all of the fatty acids in the brain of a mouse, rendering the brain transparent.

We also look at one of the results of this research. Carly Hutchinson had a stroke which paralyzed her completely. They put an implant in her brain that allows her to control a computer, and the computer has a robotic arm that Hutchinson can use to accomplish tasks, such as drinking. Hutchinson says that moving the arm feels natural after only a little practice. And as of the writing of the article, a man in an exoskeleton controlled by such an implant was planned to make the first kick of the 2014 World Cup. I checked, and he did make that kick on June 12, 2014.

There’s No Place Like Home, by Garrison Keillor, photographs by Erika Larsen

Keillor has lived most of his life in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region of Minnesota. He moved to New York City for a while, thinking that was where he “shoudl” live as a professional writer, but never felt like he fit in there, so he went back to Minnesota.

In There’s No Place Like Home, we see the area as both Keillor and the Twin Cities grew throughout the years of Keillor’s life (and to some extent that of his ancestors).

As usual, Keillor’s writing is lyrical and beautiful and I wish I could write like him, but I know that if I tried, it would sound weird and forced and I’m better off just being me.

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