Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independently noted

On this Independence Day, these unrelated (or *are* they??) news items caught my attention, and I share them here for your edification:

(1) Man's brain rewired itself after car crash
Lately, I've become fascinated by the notion of "brain placticity," the process by which the brain continues to change (with appropriate stimuli), even long into adulthood. It used to be that folks thought the brain was "set" at adulthood, but cases like this prove that the brain is capable of rejuvenating itself (though usually is slightly more pedestrian ways). After nineteen years in a coma, this man regained consciousness and began talking. His speech continues to improve. A miracle for him and his family--and quite an astonishing and humbling reminder of the brain's capacity for growth.

(2) Hot-dog eating champ retains title, sets new record
Stomach plasticity? The look on the champion's face suggests maybe not so plastic. It's a Fourth-of-July tradition, friends. Does force-feeding oneself help or hurt brain plasticity?

(3)Keith Richards said to be almost on board for *third* Pirates movie
And falling from a coconut tree? How does that effect plasticity? (And we won't even talk about other insults to Mr. Richards' brain over the years.) Didn't Johnny Depp tell us Keith Richards would be in the upcoming second Pirates movie? Are we really to believe him this time?

And that's all folks. Three random pieces of news. They caught my attention. I put them here. The end. Happy fireworks and hot dogs to you.


chris said...

RE brain plasticity:

i think this is one of the draws of Vygotsky. Though his work (that i'm familiar with) doesn't say anything about the placticity of the brain on into adulthood, his method implies this very thing. That is, that b/c "development" is largely determined determined socio-historically it doesn't come to a gradual or sudden stop at a particular age. ...at least this is what i've been pulling from b/n the lines of Vygotsky, Wertsch and others.

Cool stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hey Donna, it's Marissa...I deleted my blog from our class, but I have a myspace account now. That's right, I sold my soul...I'm not proud of it, but it'll do for now. If you ever want to read it...myspace.com/jesuschristwasanonlychild

Donna said...

Hey Marissa! Good to hear from you. But you *deleted* your blog? Do you know how that hurts?

And, Chris, though it may affect my professional reputation to say so, I've never spent much time with Vygotsky. Perhaps I should. I have noticed that his stuff is giving you a lot of ideas over at your blog. (And hope Florida is treating you well so far.)

bdegenaro said...

That body has been through so much over the years...to think a coconut tree landed ole Keith in the hospital!

chris said...

Vygotsky seems to be much more of a force in the literature (and praxis) of education and literacy studies than he is in Comp/Rhet. While Bakhtin is (sometimes) viewed as a rhetorician, Vygotsky rarely is. Which is strange to me b/c they seem to have so much in common in terms of their theory/philosophy of language development and acquisition (as well as the fact that they were both working in the socio-historical period of post-revolutionary Russia; the Marxist influences are all over the place). The difference, i think, is probably related to their respective sources of data...

If you have a hankering to chill with something Vygotskian, you may want to consider James Wertsch's _Mind as Action_. Of course it's not the same as actually reading V, but it's prob more apropos to Comp studies than a shot of straight Vygotsky. I'll try to remember to post some notes on JW in the days to come.

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