Thursday, December 05, 2002

The moral value of human life develops gradually.

I took this thought out of a report that I am attempting to write about stem cells, and I needed to put it someplace. My belief is that a human embro is nothing more than a few cells and that medical researchers should do what they want with them as long as the public remains informed. I mean, god bless you for being smart enough to tell me what an embryonic stem cell is, go forward with what you are doing and godspeed.

At Duke university they began treating a child having Sanfilippo Syndrome, a very rare disease for which there were no prior treatments. The treatment involved a transfusion of stem cells derived from donated umbilical cord blood. The researchers don't understand exactly how the umbilical stem cells know how to get into the bone marrow and start repairing the immune system, but that's exactly what they appear to do. It's not unlike mixing potions.

Monday, December 02, 2002

still in chicago. wrapping up two busy days but feel fine. yesterday, mom claire and i went to the renaissance exhibit taking place at the art institute. the exhibit focused on the medicis, the royalty who funded the likes of michalangelo and da vinci. for example, "cosimo II wandered the streets, causing great consternation to his father" and then there you see an original oil painting of the goateed young cosimo II. claire had her 3X5 flash cards which i guess are related to an art history class she's currently taking. speaking of school, i will soon have to take final exams covering subjects such as double and triple integrals, wave motion, directional derivatives in 3D space. etc. it's scary. i looked through an old box in the basement that contained essays that i wrote as an undergraduate in English. my essays had a few embarrassing slips, but overall, the clarity and directness with which i wrote back then surprises me. these days, i view good ideas as being extracted at a great cost, in time, effort, etc. these essays (at the risk of sounding self-satisfied) seem to possess a thick and easy supply of "good ideas." something that is so easy to forget about literature and serious writing is that it's very good at training one's thoughts. in comparison to my skill at computing limits, correct quantities of velocity, etc., i was naturally gifted at writing and appreciating literature. i've always known that my educational re-tread is somehow a betrayal of the solid undergraduate work i did as a much younger man, but i've been working too hard at math and science to suddenly give up. it's getting late and i'm not seizing what i'm trying to get at.

meg and i saw a REALLY BIG cat skeleton at the museum of contemporary art today. that should have been enough.

(yes, two art museums in two consecutive days)