Lost in the Not-A-Blog

Wow. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into when I started reading David Byrne's not-a-blog. There's hardly any time left over for my own not-a-journal, but maybe that isn't such a bad thing right now. This is more fun.

David's journal is nicely divided into categories, and although some of them overlap, it's great to have a choice of subject matter to suit the mood. I'm currently poking around in the Science category, where I found some interesting material—from December 2005 in this case—about stress reactions.

I read in the New Scientist that neurologists have discovered a way to treat post-traumatic stress syndrome — wipe the memory. It seems that traumatic events trigger both adrenalin and formation of neural pathways that "save" the memory of that event in case a similar event should occur in the future. The presumed idea is that if a similar ever occurs you’d recognize the signs and then the adrenalin, and other (appropriate) reactions would go into effect. It’s a survival mechanism.

Interesting, but the creepy part is yet to come.

It was discovered that immediately after a traumatic event the neural connections are live and labile. It was also found that certain drugs inhibit the formation of these neural pathways — and therefore the formation of the hot volatile memories — if the drug is taken soon enough. It’s a little hard to imagine the possible scenario in an emergency room or police station where the attendents might ask a victim, "Do you want to remember this?"

That do you want to remember this? scenario is straight out of a sci-fi film. I can visualize the scene, and the way things are going, not just on the screen, either. And then there's creepy part number two, in which the substance falls into the wrong hands, as it invariably must.

Of course, if this option is given to witnesses, the police will be effectively destroying evidence — these people will become useless as witnesses as they won't remember what happened. All we need is for perps to obtain these pills too, and then they can make their victims forget the crime ever happened.

Entertaining, and also thought provoking. What a great combination, no?


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