Story of the starfish.

4 07 2008

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.Tom Brokaw

Starfish 05 (paulshaffner).jpg

I was originally going to write about something else, but after reading through this incredible blog I just had to write about it. If you get anything out of my little blog, then it would be to go over there and read some incredible stories. It makes me feel very privileged and I should be very grateful to be in a part of the world where I do not fear for my life, when driving a car, or when living in my home or going to hospital. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are and how much for granted we take many things. I salute the owner of that blog and anyone else who is willing to stay in countries such as South Africa and try to do good for their country. Very brave and very noble. Never give up!

Which brings me to the next point. This is an excerpt (or a cut out, however you want to call it) from this one source of a scene (or a passage, again however you want to call it) that I thought I will share with everyone (anyone?) out there. I got the inspiration as I mentioned from reading the blog and in particular the latest post on that blog. The owner of that blog actually mentioned “the story of the starfish” and I think this is referring to the same/similar thing. 🙂 Hence enjoy: 

 ………

The balloon lands in a small open area, on the south beach of Cabeiri.  You get off and the balloon sails back into the sky.

The sand here gets very hot in the daytime. The beach | [ ] – [X]      
carries on to the west and to the southeast lay some    |           \ 
cliffs. There are several balloons here that will take     |             [ ]
you to different areas around this world. A beach        |
house is not too far from here either.                         |

There are three obvious exits:  house, west, and southeast.
                   

The Balloon Keeper is here.

Balloon keeper says: Welcome to the balloon landing.  There is a sign here which lists the services available, I hope you enjoy the ride.

 
 
   

>”You go South East”

There is very little life here. The coast is rocky        | [ ]            
and the cold sea air blows harshly against your        |    \       
skin.                                                                 |     [X]
     
                                                                                         | 

                                                                                                                                                                           

The only obvious exit is northwest.

A starfish is here.

>”You look at the starfish”

>”Suddenly from observing the starfish, you rember the story told many moons ago…”

A wise man was taking a sunrise walk along the beach.  In the distance he caught sight of a young man who seemed to be dancing along the wave. As he got closer he saw that the young man was picking up starfish from the sand and tossing them gently back into the ocean.

“What are you doing?” the wise man asked.
“The sun is coming up and the tide is going out; if I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
“But young man, there are miles and miles of beach with starfish along it.  You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The young man bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it lovingly back into the ocean, past the breaking waves.
“It makes a difference for that one,” he replied.

>”After the reminiscing of the story you pick up the starfish”

The one starfish is in your hands.

“You know what to do with it”

 ……





Limb regeneration. Science fiction or reality?

6 04 2008

So you amputate your hand or your arm in an accident. You are shattered and without even one limb there is a significantly reduced quality of life. You need to replace said hand or arm with a prosthetic in order to gain function and improve the general outlook. It is not the same but at least it’s not a pirate hook. But that might soon change! Imagine in 20-30 years time, there might be an ability to be able to regrow certain body parts? It will do what the dialysis machine did for those with kidney failure! (Uh OK maybe not such a good analogy in a few different levels).

Until quite recently (and even now so) all this is in the realm of science fiction. But according to this article from the ‘Scientific American’ we might not be so far away. The article goes on to describe the process and reasoning of why this process might be a reality and how it can eventuate into healing humanity in general. Salamanders were the key to this article and their properties of being able to regrow their limbs multiple times after each amputation is giving hope for scientists to somehow give this ability to humans.

SALAMANDER ATTACK!

Aaaaw aren’t you a pretty little yellow spotted Salamander. Owww yesh u R. Yesh u R.

So what can we make out of this? Obviously we need to rework society and give Salamanders the respect they deserve! I mean come on, how many animals can regenerate limbs!! This is so cool. I used to think when I was little that stem cells (when I first heard about them) would be the key to giving people back the ability to regrow limbs and solve a large majority of those problems. But screw stem cells… Those stem cells originate from aborted fetuses so it would be inhumane to go near those for research. Let’s go do some experimenting on animals such as said Salamander or even our fishy friend shown below:

IT'S GROWING!!!

You a star!! (For those that can’t tell, this is a pic of a starfish regrowing it’s…um Limbs? Tentacles? Penis? Ouch… Wait for that joke to work you have to assume starfish have two penises and they are as long as their legs/tentacles and… Umm I think I shall shut up now. 

You know, that lame joke I made above got me thinking. This technically means if we were to crack this and work out a way to regenerate as our new Salamander overlords, will that lead to um… “Extended limbs”… Haha my immaturity has kicked in. Oh well, all in the name of science. 

Jokes aside though there are some interesting times ahead! I for one am amazed and grateful at all this research and efforts that are leading to such discoveries and better understandings. It’s all a lead into the right direction in my honest opinion.

But well like 99% (or was it 98%…no wait 76%)  of breakthroughs and major discoveries unveiled don’t expect an “arm regrowth cream” anytime in your local supermarket…

Mmmmm mmm from the old and scaly to the new and creamy. Sign me up!