Notebook entry, December 31, 2000

An Associated Press story by Matt Crenson: Teen Brains Are Wired for Unsound Acts, tells us that new brain-imaging technologies have shattered the notion that the brain stopped growing by the time a child entered nursery school but now shows that that it grows throughout childhood and well into adolescence. Research at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has suggested that beginning about age 11, the brain undergoes a major reorganization in an area associated with things like social behavior and impulse control. 

In time-lapse images shown this year in the scientific journal Nature, the adolescent brain shows tremendous growth and then a pruning period after puberty in the part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex, an area that is responsible for "executive functions," including goal-setting, priority-setting, planning, organization and impulse inhibition. Throw in a trauma during this building and pruning period, and you can seriously mess up a child's mental development.

When one looks upon the new information available is not surprising that accidents are the leading cause of death among adolescents, or they are more likely to be crime victims, or that alcoholics and smokers get started during their teen years.  And another stunner: 25% of all people with HIV contract it before age 21.

Quoting a Craig Ferries at the University of Massachusetts at Worcester, concerning this new information: "The take-home of all this stuff is that the brain is constantly interacting with the environment.  During adolescence, the brain picks up clues from the environment to help determine "normal" behavior."  Bingo.  CLLB Cultural Longitude and Latitude Behavior, or CLL for short. A theory of yours truely.

Notebook entry, December 28, 2000

A small, yet important article about the aftermath of a collapsing socialistic state in Russia sheds light on another important subject: declining birth rates and the reason: Females looking around at the local environment and deciding that it might be best not to have children.  Interviewing a single 37 year-old women complaining that she would like to have a husband, a home, and children: "There are no normal men.  They've all got an inferiority complex because they can't earn enough money to support a family.  All of them live with their mothers.  Who would want to bear a child with a man like that?"  The numbers are staggering: In the past decade, the marriage rate has dropped 30 percent, the divorce rate has increased 60 percent, and the birthrate is down 40 percent.

The most important thing that we must remember, is that the female of our species is the ultimate judge of deciding when to expand or implode the populations.  When women are given free reign in their lives, the female can be trusted to make the best decisions concerning the future of her local environment.

The article appeared in The New York Times, December 28, 2000, the title: For All Russia, Biological Clock is Running Out, by Michael Wines.

Notebook entry, December 26, 2000

A sort of an interesting philosophical/scientific observation article in The New York Times, Dec. 26, 2000, First Cell, Then Species, Now the Web. by George Johnson, tell us the story that there have been an eruption of papers looking at the construction of the internet network and suggesting that it was designed according to the same rules that nature uses to spin webs of its own. Three theoretical biologists in the Complex Systems Research Group have found that studying computer models of three ecosystems A freshwater lake, an estuary and a woods.  "These results suggest that nature has some universal organizational principles that might finally allow us to formulate a general theory of complex systems, says a Dr. Solé.

Why do I feel that the further we study complex systems, be they living or artificial,  the closer we will find the wisdom of God talking back to us? Or perhaps, find that we ourselves made from the same makeup of God?

Notebook entry, December 17, 2000

Just a quick note to let you know that there is an excellent article on chimpanzee culture observation in the latest Scientific American, Jan. 2001 issue, p. 60. The Cultures of Chimpanzees, by Andrew Whiten and Christophe Boesch.  Basically what they did is took a survey of six separate site in Africa and ask the observers to note the existence or absence of 39 chimpanzee rituals to cross reference the data.  To quote the authors: "Typically, observers don't publish an extensive list of all the activities they do not see at a particular location.  Yet this is exactly what we need at each site."  The survey cross references such rituals as Rain Dancing, Knuckling Knuckles, Clipping Leaves, Throwing, Clasping Arms Overhead, and so forth.  To me, it just gives support to my CLL theory -- Cultural Longitude and Latitude behavior which states says that culture shifts  behaviors from the biological norm and adjusts to local environments according to social norms.   In my book, The Man in the Mist, I also speculated on the sexual couplings by the chimpanzees and suggested that sexual behavior also could be dictated by culture and learned behavior at particular longitudes and latitudes.  I assume that a small group of graduate students are sitting around a camp fire (or beer hall) right now and are discussing the methodology for such sexual observations right now.  Stay tuned.

Notebook entry, December 14, 2000

Still no word back from Abika.com.  I'm about to enter a black-hole at work with the Christmas holiday fast approaching.  So, on that note, there will be little added to this notebook section under I emerge on the other side.  Have a good holiday season.