Friday, March 27, 2015

Nebraska - demonstration of humility

I recently watched the Oscar-nominated film Nebraska, starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte. The film, as you know was shot in black and white, daring stylistic choice. This I think is a good demonstration of humility in the face those dominating features; no splashes of color to distract our attention from what are most real. The film's stark images of small towns, highways and relationships in the Great Plains are keenly explored.

This is a sensitive and whimsical look at the challenges faced by ordinary people as they play out the dramas of what they see as their little lives, long forgotten events, misinformation and face saving pride when reputation is often all that remains.

Nebraska is also a film about the commandment to honor your father and mother. David is a big-hearted son who has empathy for his father; he knows he's latched on to winning the lottery so he can pass something of value to his two sons. David's return gifts are well worth waiting to see. Here is a caregiver who does the best he can for his father.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A visit to the optometrist today

Had to visit the optometrist today – a far far more amiable experience than the trip to the dentist the other day. As well as the shiny new spectates, a script and timely down time in a dimly lit room there was an additional bonus – getting to see a part of my brain. A high resolution picture of my retina (retinas.)

As we know, the retina is a part of the brain pushed out into the eye during development. It retains many characteristics of other brain regions and hence has yielded significant insights on brain mechanisms. Visual processing begins there as a result of neuronal interactions in two synaptic layers that initiate an analysis of space, color, and movement. In humans, visual signals from 126 million photoreceptors funnel down to one million ganglion cells that convey at least a dozen representations of a visual scene to higher brain regions.

Interesting to read local electrical stimulation of the retinal surface in patients blind from outer retinal disease has resulted in focal light perception that seems to arise from the stimulated area. Such findings in an acute experiment warrant further research into the possibility of prolonged retinal stimulation, improved resolution, and ultimately, an intraocular visual prosthesis.