EB Ver Hoeve's blog

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Emerging Concepts and the Experience of Stroke

By definition, a stroke occurs as the result of a blood clot in an artery or as the result of a burst blood vessel. Either way, the result leads to an interruption in blood flow to an area of the brain. When this happens, brain cells in that brain region suffer from lack of oxygen and begin to die. As brain damage begins to occur, the abilities associated with that area of the brain become lost. The abilities lost during stroke typically include speech, movement and memory.  The extent of impairment experienced by a stroke patient depends on where in the brain the stroke occurred and how much of the brain was damaged. 

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Change Becomes You

I have a friend who searches for truth. A problem solver, my friend finds a solution to every problem and has an answer for every question. Intelligent, creative, and driven, she is your go-to girl when you want something done. Sometimes, I wish I were more like her. I have another friend who watches the world go by. He can be found sitting on a bench, staring out at the lake or gazing up at the stars. Thoughtful, poetic, and serene, he will never judge you for what you say. Sometimes, I wish I were more like him. But there is one thing that I take solace in, and that is in knowing that these differences among humans are good, that none of us is exactly the same, and that no one is perfect.

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A New Portal to the Brain

 

“Blind since birth, Marie-Laure Martin had always thought that candle flames were big balls of fire. The 39-year-old woman couldn’t see the flames themselves, but she could sense the candle’s aura of heat. Last October, she saw a candle flame for the first time. She was stunned by how small it actually was and how it danced. There’s a second marvel here: She saw it all with her tongue.”

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Exploring Moral Clarity via Control Theory

Have you ever heard of the Polar Bear Plunge?  Near the end of each blisteringly cold Wisconsin winter, a group of brave souls "plunge" for a few seconds into the freezing waters of Lake Mendota.  Well, last time I went to this event, my attention was drawn away from the human yelps toward a calmer spot on the lake where a flock of Canadian geese waded in shallow water.  I remember thinking, 'How do those birds have so much tolerance for the cold?'  The secret, of course, rests in thermoregulation - more specifically, geese use countercurrent heat exchange or circulatory adaptation to maintain their core body temperature as a controlled variable.  One can draw an intriguing comparison between the application of "control theory' in biological evolution and its application in literature as seen in Howard's End - through Forster's regulation and control of morality.

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Escaping from the Sea: Transforming the Written Word

Elizabeth Ver Hoeve
The Story of Evolution and the
Evolution of Stories
Grobstein
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Escaping from the Sea: Transforming the Written Word

Imagine the classic American childhood game of “telephone.” One player invents a simple phrase and whispers it into the ear of the closest player – Sarah diligently walks her rambunctious dog every day after dinner. The second player listens, interprets, and translates the message for the next person, who in turn, translates the message until it has gone full circle and is finally repeated aloud. Although initially strong both grammatically and logically, the structure and meaning of the original message deteriorates as increasing numbers of people attempt to repeat it. In the end, the misconstrued phrase – Sarah, the rabid dog, walks dinner – resembles the original message but most would agree that something was lost in translation.

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To Be Significant

Elizabeth Ver Hoeve
February 16, 2007
To Be Significant

"To be fit," Ernst Mayr proclaims in his book, What Evolution Is, "means to possess certain properties that increase the probability of survival" (118). Those individuals with the most desired characteristics for their specific environment have the best chance at surviving. So if survivability is measured by, "the existence of certain survival-favoring attributes," how does an organism demonstrate its potential (Mayr 118)? The most prominent indication of an organism's survival capability is its ability to reproduce. Reproduction - the transfer of genetic material from parent to offspring - is crucial in the process of evolution. In order for a population to survive, each generation must produce a subsequent number of offspring. This basic survival requirement is unmistakably essential in the case of say, a population of penguins. Their purpose for selecting a mate and making the treacherous journey across miles and miles of ice and snow is to reproduce and create a future generation of penguins. What makes a penguin evolutionarily significant is its ability to reproduce. But can this clear-cut rationale be applicable to all species of organisms? Humans are substantially different from penguins. We have evolved into higher functioning organisms, developed complex societies, and invented medicine and technology that has potentially allowed us to side-step the force of natural selection altogether. Yet, when asked in class whether or not individuals who choose not to reproduce are evolutionarily significant, the majority response indicated that, evolutionarily speaking, such individuals had no purpose. No purpose? How could that be? Could someone actually imply that if a person doesn't pass on his or her genes, that he/she is simply insignificant? After close attention to human lifestyle, observations associated with this issue seem to point us in the opposite direction. In fact, through the examination of overpopulation, policymaking, and the spread of ideas to future generations, it seems clear that "non-reproducers" are not only significant, they are necessary contributors to the process of evolution.

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