They might walk again !! Really cool research I heard about in a podcast.

Listening to a Science Friday podcast in the car this morning to pass the time and WOW … this segment played:  “Reawakening Limbs After Years of Paralysis”  xray from science friday








Here’s what the Science Friday website says: Reporting in the journal Brain, researchers write of reawakening the legs of four men paralyzed from the waist down. They did so by implanting electronic devices in the men’s spines. The devices send out electrical stimulation that re-trains the nerves to listen more carefully for signals, allowing voluntary movements after years of paralysis. Study author Susan Harkema of the University of Louisville and Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Bioimaging and Bioengineering, discuss the device and the path towards commercially available treatments.

Nice to hear some positive news, something that brings people hope.  The researchers talked about how the spinal cord might be more “intelligent” than they’ve believed … how the body might be able to recover the ability for movement with a combination of stimulation and specialized physical therapy.  Okay, I didn’t follow everything they said, but I did think – this is wonderful.

Would there be people in wheelchairs who would choose NOT to walk again?  If someone’s been paralyzed for years, if that’s become part of one’s accepted identity – would the change be too frightening?

Most people would probably leap at the chance (pun intended), but even positive change can be scary – so I can imagine that it’d be a complicated path.  Of course, according to the researchers, it takes lots of focused work over months too, so it’s not like they implant a device and people get up and walk a few miles.  Way slower than that … which would also make it easier to accept and embrace.


Biewen’s audio documentary: “Little War on the Prairie” – worth a listen.

Minnesota State Seal

I sometimes download podcasts of radio programs to listen to on the drive to and from Longwood.   This American Life: Little War on the Prairie was one I listened to this past week.  This one was a WOW!

John Biewen, who directs the audio program at The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, produced the program.   It ran on This American Life on Nov 23, 2012 – Thanksgiving weekend.  Didn’t hear it then – aren’t podcasts great!

The description from This American Life:
Growing up in Mankato, Minnesota, John Biewen says, nobody ever talked about the most important historical event ever to happen there: in 1862, it was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Thirty-eight Dakota Indians were hanged after a war with white settlers. John went back to Minnesota to figure out what really happened 150 years ago, and why Minnesotans didn’t talk about it much after.

Besides making me sad, once again, at the way white Americans treated the indigenous peoples of this continent – it also made me rethink my Eastern Shore Stories project – what am I missing in the recounting of recent Eastern Shore history?   What questions have I allowed to go unasked?

And could this be a model for how to put Eastern Shore Stories together as an audio documentary?

Alien invasions or pandemics? How much do we need radio?

Found this piece in On The Media radio archives, called “Covering the Apocalypse” – about the role of journalists during the apocalypse if the Mayan prophesy of the world ending 12/21/2012 happens … or the world ends on any random Tuesday for that matter.  Started off as a whiteboard discussion at  conference I didn’t catch the name of.  Here’s a link to the piece :

Covering the Apocalypse – On The Media.

One of the things Andrew Fitzgerald says in this radio piece is that the first thing to fail will likely be the communications network we depend on for news. Ironically ham radios might become the most reliable place to get news.  Which is why I may have to play this in my Radio & the Internet course later in the semester … the history of early radio starts, not with Amos ‘n’ Andy or jazz music, but with hobbyists – ham radio operators.

Hmm… so Brooke Gladstone and Andrew Fitzgerald are having lots of fun with this, but I’m still going to think about this again.  How dependent on streaming have I become?  Could I get news another way if I had to?

time travel on studio 360

I love to listen to to radio shows, especially creatively produced talk shows. Two favorites, both from NPR, are Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and On the Media.   Studio 360, with the slogan “get inside the creative mind” is another favorite.
I don’t usually catch Studio 360 through WRIR‘s weekly broadcast, but pull it up online and listen to the segments streaming on my laptop. An advantage of the website is that they embed videos and have slide shows to go along with the sound content. A cool model for something I might try for my dissertation work. Later, though – this month I have to prepare for preliminary comps.