In this post I’m going to go more into depth over some of the things I did not yet cover in my earlier posts, like books I read, how I perceive Braille, how I do music, and all of that good stuff. I was also going to dedicate the first section to NASA and their research on sensation as well.
So first of all, I’ve been looking, as several other people have already, to build a new home on Mars, after changing its atmosphere by creating factories and regulating the amount of greenhouse gasses, or possibly setting up a forest of plants. Over at http://www.blindscience.org/ I was able to partake of a week-long course that explored some of the possibilities but soon I discovered astronomy was harder to understand than astrophysics, since I liked things that moved, rather than to know the order of stars and the materials they are composed of. I am also interested in cosmology, knowing the origin of the entire universe. While there, I was able to learn about the sensations involved in micro-gravity, and it had me thinking of ways to simulate weightlessness on earth. NASA has been doing visual, vestibular, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory-related research to help us understand why some people get more sick than others, how motion sickness could be treated with chemicals, and things like that. I proposed an experiment in which I wanted to find out if it was true that blind people could not be grossed out by a sickening image the way a sighted person would. The thing is we would have to find a way to send the image to their brains, and to see if blind people have an instinctive response or if they have to learn how to associate it.
Once, in the year 2004, I went over to the county fair and there I rode a ride that I will never forget. At the time, I had absolutely no idea that I could have someone read the ride name to me and I could research it, which applies to all rides, and for this reason I am an amusement ride enthusiast. This is because I had no computer back then, yet I had a quick way of learning it later. I probably wouldn’t have ever known what the name of the ride was, except that I read a book once that mentioned the Gravitron. I decided to look it up and by the description of the ride it remminded me of the very ride I went on. The operator who sat in the centre of the centrifuge told me after I asked him when the ride it ended what it was called, and he said it was called the Starship.
I will describe to you all the sensations that I experienced and why it was that I experienced it. When I got on board by climbing a small set of steps, I ventured into the chamber, and then I walked to the right to lean back on a panel that was padded with diagonal (20 degrees) bars with gaps in between. I remember the ride started spinning anticlockwise and I knew this because my ear canals and my tactile sense was communicating that sensation I learned to associate through various repetitions. After that, I could feel the ride spinning faster and faster, until suddenly I felt like I was being forced back onto the wall and suddenly I felt like I was tilting until I was suddenly lying back and staring up at the ceiling. This is actually false but the reason why I felt this sensation was because the centrifugal force was pulling down on the fluid found within the vestibule, located in the middle of the ear canal to give me the sensation as if I was lying on the ground. In reality, I was still facing the opposite wall, but without vision you would never know.
When the ride reached its maximum speed of twenty-four revolutions per minute, I decided to sit up, thinking it would make me feel better, for I really didn’t like riding the ride lying down, or so I thought. Imagine someone sitting on a wall that is perfectly perpendicular to the ground. That is how it looked like when I sat on the wall. I should mention that when I was lying down, the feeling of spinning disappeared altogether. The purpose of the ride was to make passengers believe based on vision that they are pinned to the wall and their feet are off the ground. When the wall moved on the rollers, I felt like I was being scooted back, and then forward, rather than up and down because I was now experiencing a new sensation. I could have either moved sideways or go upside down, which would have felt like I was lying on my stomach, or I could have stood up on the wall and grabbed onto the railing that surrounded the booth, but the force would have been so strong that I might have never made it and escaped the force.
Finally, after the operater timed the ride to end in eighty seconds, he slowed it down and I began to feel myself tilting as if the whole ride was tilting me upright rather than my brain doing it. I got off and I remember feeling a little dizzy afterword. I’m wondering what would happen if you blindfolded someone and then they went on a ride, would they have a different experience than they would have had if they saw everything?
I am also interested in knowing if vision and hearing correlate to one another. Kids are afraid of certain images, and the dark, but are they afraid of the silence because you can hear tinnitus or because your brain starts associating sounds at random? What makes some afraid of loud noise and afraid of certain sounds, including some people who are twenty something and afraid of fireworks? Is it something to do with how our cerebellum is developed? I remember being scared of a certain sound, emited by a toy keyboard. It was a breeping sound that was at around 680 HZ with isochronic beats of 15 HZ, pulsating at three times per second. This happened when I was five years old. I remember this very clearly. I was learning how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in the key of E-major. I was sitting in a small table in a small room with a tile floor. A speech and language pathologist, who didn’t know how to speak Spanish was trying to teach me how to play the keyboard, but she didn’t realise I was covering my ear because I was afraid of that sound. She thought I wanted to nap.
Later, I started having dreams in which my brain would amplify certain sounds in my dreams if I twitched the inner muscles of my ears, and I would hear a crackling or clicking sound, followed by a loud ringing at 1000 HZ. This would usually happen if my brain was warning me if I was to have a nightmare. When I was younger I used to sleep call once a year for two years, but I never remembered them.
BRAIN: Okay body, I am going into a really high brain activity. I need to lock you in so I can safely carry out these tasks.
BRAIN: Oh no, I cannot seem to lock you in. We will just have to continue.
The brain maps out the following scene of a person going to the airport. The scenes change, but the movement of a person walking from the security check point to the gate are carried out in real life. The body moves from the bed to the door going out.
When the plane is boarding and everyone is seated, the body is moving to the nearest car and climbs in. The scene shifts to the time when the plane is on and taxiing for takeoff. The body starts up the car and drives out. Suddenly the plane takes off into the air and the body pushes down on the accelerator hard and the car speeds off. The sensations from both the dream and reality become mixed that the sensation of crashing becomes a feeling that the plane crashed during takeoff. When the person wakes up screaming, they will find themselves in a big mess. This is just a reminder that sleep-action happens when the brain cannot paralyse the body to not act out the movements in the dream. This is why unconscious crimes and other wrongly-accused actions are happening but many people find that hard to believe.
In one of my readings, an author predicted through a story that in the 2080’s, the crude oil would have run out, and because of it, no more plastic could be manufactured, cars could not be built, planes and such would not be able to travel, and not only that, but the ice caps located on the poles of the earth would melt because of too much heating that it would flood the oceans, causing lands like Florida to submerge, forcing its inhabitants to move to higher ground, adapt, or go extinct. Many science-fiction enthusiasts would be disappointed because they thought people would have been able to do better than that. Like George Carlin said, let it all happen because “the longer we live,” he said, “the more selfish we are being to each other.” If I had to choose sides, I would neither agree or disagree. We can protect our environment so we would not die a miserable death as long as we are willing to do goodness, not just protect endangered species like those in the ocean and in the forest. “You know what they say, ‘here today, gone to-morrow'” George once said. When I got down to discussing this, I didn’t realise there was a culture totally devoted to driving, why people like to drive big vehicles on the road cross-country, etc, rather than go on a boat or fly. To me, driving is primitive, hovercrafting is more exciting. If time was not scarce then we could do what we wanted.
That brings me to think of something. What is the origin of time? How has humankind defined that concept throughout history? Was it possible that a time system existed before the human race evolved? Could someone who invented the watch might have been a perfectionist? What about the sundial? What kind of scientists did we have before the first century in the world? Some people say there are things you just know when they ask you how you know it, but truth is you forget how you know those things because language is not innate, only sensation is. Surely time works the same way, which is why it is easier for people with eidetic, superior, and spacial sequential memories that allow them to perceive time and space together. People like us can remember things of the past, but nothing before our birth. This is known as hyperthymaesia.
Can a learning disability be caused by lack of repetition which forces the brain to biologically change, and not just biological imbalances or deficiencies caused by a mutation or by a predetermined gene? People say it gets as narrow as knowing the building blocks that we can refer to when we are little, which is why child development fascinates me. People use month numbers for about two years to accurately measure a milestone and we just get used to it over time and it becomes a habit. In Louis Sachar’s Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, a mind-listener tried to perceive what was inside the infant’s mind, but all they could perceive were the emotions associated with oxytocin, endorphins, dopamin and external sensations. The language part of the brain was still not developed, so the author said it was impossible to describe in words what was being perceived, yet I know there must have been a way, because I just described it.
I’m also fascinated with hypnosis as well, though I am not sure how this neurobiologically change your brain in the end. I could imagine having someone hypnotise you to extract information from your brain, something you would not remember. It is like you are trying to get the brain to extract hidden memories by shutting down a small portion, the part that makes us go to sleep. That’s why when they hypnotise you in the movies, they swing a watch back and forth, at delta speed. You can do this with sound and slow down your brain waves as well. Can you really erase someone’s mind, change their thinking patterns to make them not addicted to something using hypnosis? I am not sure how that would be possible, using amnaesia-like characteristics. How can psychological trauma cause the brain to get rid of certain cells that holds the information to that particular memory? Some say lightening causes memory loss if you are struck by it. I may have to do research on things like neurosteroids and how and why people use synthetic substances rather than naturopathic ones. The main reason is because of patenting, which leads to profits, which you cannot do with natural things.
Ever since I learnt the music Braille system, I discovered a pattern in the literary Braille system as well. After I discovered this new analogy, I decided to have people perceive Braille as a table, not just as a shape felt underneath one finger or have them perceived as dots that many people assume the Latin alphabet can be written in twenty-six dots when you only need six dots total. I started to experiment on making simulated dots using Excell spreadsheets so I could better explain the concept of how Louis had it in his mind at the time. Since he was a musician as well I decided to learn the music Braille system. That itself took about two to four months to master, even though I never read it until 2011-2012 since it was Late into the year when I started, and early in the year when I started to apply it to my band exercises.
The first thing I had to understand was the fact that everyone had me play music all by ear, and that I would simply never learn the notation of music. An example of that would be when the teacher asked me to copy the rhythm he clapped out to me and I just clapped back without knowing. That’s how it is for many people when they are learning something new. You imitate it before you get the meaning. However, like any other language, music is a language everyone can understand. I sometimes wondered to myself, though I rarely gave it a second thought, how did my fellow students know what to play when they saw it on the board? That I would have needed to learn before I could begin to read Braille because then I would know how to associate the organisation of dots to a note value and pitch, and an added dot for the octave mark. For this reason, I thought music Braille was confusing because I didn’t know how to interpret it. Luckily, a teacher, who ironically didn’t know Braille, was able to get me to read music Braille after being fascinated by the fact that music and math have in common. This was because they knew how to read print Braille and they were able to assist me in understanding the process in a kinaesthetic way. I was thinking, why can we not apply math concepts and use music as an analogy to veer a person’s motivation that is relevant so they can get a math concept? Same thing with Algebra and computer programming.
Here are the list of authors I have read and why I read them starting with Doctor Seus. He was the first author who I read and that I fully remembered because my mother would read Spanish books to me and I would remember those nights clearly. I had a cassette machine from the National Library Service, a branch of the Library of Congress. Then I began to read a few books here and there, starting in 2002. Usually I would read them and tell myself what I liked about that book, like this subject,such as in Gloria Rising, by Anne Cameron, I liked the idea of being an Astronaut, but I did not find a theme or a moral within those books because I haven’t learned to look out for those. Then I advanced to reading in Braille and I read Judy Blume’s book. At first I wasn’t really interested in the book in 2004 until I got the book on tape, and later, I would revisit her, including Beverly Cleary when I had access to accessible books on the internet to see if there were more books the authors wrote as opposed to what the schools had on their reading list. Sometimes I am fascinated by one subject that motivates me to look at series or something, maybe because they gave me a book in the middle of the series rather than the first book. If i am in the middle of a series I have to know what goes on next, like in the R. L. Stine Goosebumps series, I would wait for every book that came out just to finish that mystery. These are known as cliff hangers.
When I started receiving automatic-send from the library, I just decided whether or not to read the books depending on whether the title interested me, but as they say, never judge a book by its cover. I soon read Lynn Reid Banks, The Indian in the Cupboard, followed by the two books succeeding it, and the former was in our reading list. Then I read several short stories like the Ballad of Mulan from the Rewards textbook and I enjoyed reading those a lot because it made me think. I should mentioned that in 2005, like in November, I read the Wizard of Oz, and all the books by the same author once I had access to the public domain. I read plenty of Tom Swift books. I didn’t really begin reading till later in 2008, but the first book I read was Tom Swift and His Sky Racer, Or, the Quickest Flight on Record. Then I read Jamie Gilson’s Hobey Hanson, You’re Weird book and then I found out I read the middle of the sequel,so I read the rest when I had access to accessible books. I read E. B. White, Dan Gutman’s A BaseballCard Adventures, Andrew Clements and James Howe the Herold and Chester books, Laura Ingalls Wilder, which was a blast from the past. Then In ninth grade I started reading young-adult novels and re-visiting books that I read, which I do when I am bored. If you constantly read something, even if you already read it, you refresh your memory and you read something new that you haven’t discovered, or something that first didn’t make sense but which it does now because of change.
One reason I might have decided to move from pure science to medical science was based on influences by Deborah Kent, a totally-blind author, and Lurlene McDaniel. One of the books I really enjoyed was One Last Wish. I was able to catch on on what she was trying to convey, and ever since then I realised books were my friends, and I could stay up with popular culture and still enjoy listening to Western art music.
Gradually I expanded to reading other authors as I re-read the current books I had, and last year I managed to re-organise my books by author’s first name ascending alphabetically for easy searching. This year I started to learn about the difference between young-adult and full-adult novel, and when I started learning about the principles of what it means to read something from a student’s, a teachers, a reader in general, and from an author’s perspective, all the kinds of literary devices that are out there. It was the reading that inspired me to do other things, and I would make any book recommendations to anyone who wishes to acquire the same kind of knowledge I got from reading. It is for these reasons people get close-minded sometimes, even though I observed drama in novels so bad I would be scared to read because I would not be able to keep myself from cringing, same applies to movies.
I’m going to end this section with a revelation. I didn’t always listen to Western art music, though I have been exposed to it several a time. In seventh grade, when I was starting to conform to teenage life, I started to listen to the radio and many of the songs I heard I liked because of its catchy rhythm, the lyrics, the ostinato, etc. In 2010 I was tested and diagnosed with perfect pitch. After that I started to learn modern basic music theory and I began to relearn how to play the piano. I started with oldies, but soon I found myself sliping back and back and back until finally I arrived at the olden times. So as you see, I used to be like everyone else in popular culture. My writing improved dramatically since then, and it might have to do with the Mozart effect. I soon discovered I had more reasons for liking Western art music than they had as to why they liked modern music. For this reason I cannot easily blend into the popular mainstream.
So, that is all I have to say in this post, but like always, feel free to look up anything in here, and remember, everything I say can be contradicted, can have exceptions, information is based on best educated guess, and I may have forgotten to include something important long after I published this post. Merry Christmas to all of you!