I held a brain last week.
I was on the #pictureDuke science photo walk of various research buildings on campus. We ended in the new Trent Semans Center for Health Education with hands-on brain education from Dr. Len White — he let us don gloves and hold various human brains that he uses to teach brain anatomy to the medical students (his first message was about the generosity of the people who donated their bodies).
Here’s a photo I took of my colleague, Geoffrey Mock. When it was my turn, I thought how amazing it was that my brain was processing the experience of holding another person’s brain that, similarly, had been full of thoughts.
Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a story pitch for the Story Collider, and I thought I had my first line: “I used to dream in color.” My dreaming activity during my Peace Corps service was dramatically changed by the malaria prophylaxis I had to take in Vanuatu. I thought that my dreams now are in black and white only. But last night, a vivid-green snake appeared, waking me. As I wondered if some snake was loose in my room, some part of my brain told me that the green snake was there to make a colorful point.
In the morning sunshine, fully awake and remembering, I beheld my brain in a new light.
The New Yorker article by David Owen, Hands across America, is about the Akron-based maker of Purell hand sanitizer. It’s everywhere, but apparently pretty effective at cutting down on the spread of germs.
Anna and Malia recently came back from the mall with handfuls of PocketBac, an antimicrobial hand gel sold at Bath & Body Works. Oliver calls this stuff hannitizer.