(Note: This is being posted several hours after it was written.)
"Unless we remember we cannot understand." - E. M. Forster
I'd like to insert a "correctly" after remember, but yes.
This post is going to contain several interesting ideas; however, I can't take credit for any of them. Most of this is coming from my dad on the ride to school this morning. But before, I get to those... ...I just found out that my great-uncle died at some point last night, from cancer. I didn't really know him at all, but...you know.
We didn't know about it this morning, but the points my dad made are only more poignant now.
As part of his current obsession with immortality, singularity, and the extension of the human life-span, he's been listening to a lot of different podcasts and lectures and reading news articles and such. One of these was about DNA, so bear with me while I explain a little bit of the science.
So when cells divide, the DNA in the center of the nucleus splits into two strands, each of which becomes the DNA in the center of one of the daughter cells. You probably knew that already. Now, the thing that you might not have known (mainly because I didn't) is that there's this thing on the end of the DNA (whose name I don't remember). That thing gets a little bit shorter every time the cell divides, and once it's all gone, the cell can't divide, so it just dies. The theory is that once we can figure out how to stop that thing from getting shorter, we'll be able to live forever in healthy bodies. There are two problems with that: 1. We don't know how to make it happen 2. That would mean uncontrolled cell growth, which is...cancer, basically.
So you see why he's dwelling on the problem. He, his brother, and one of his sisters were/are planning on driving up there tomorrow. It just sucks that they're too late. I think the worst part of it is the waiting. Waiting the 5 hours to get to my uncle's tomorrow night. Waiting the 8 more to get up to NY where everyone else is. And that's not even counting him sitting at the car dealership waiting for the repair to be finished like he is now. I'm just hanging out on Google chat keeping him company and his mind occupied.
Personally, I'm more worried about my grandparents. Not only do they have to mourn, but they also have to deal with all of the people flooding into town, and making sure my great-grandma and great-great-aunt are okay and in the loop about everything...
So yeah, that's what's going on over here. It's interesting to see what different people use as coping mechanisms, though. Dad, for instance, is as we speak devoting himself to intellectually thinking through and coming up with general solutions for every global problem he finds both interesting and concerning. Yes, this is what my father does while sitting on benches at car dealerships. You see where I get it.
(Also, I'm going to be quoting him next post, because he's said some really interesting and insightful stuff.)
My coping mechanism for this? Well, I'm mostly-pleased to announce that I'll be participating in Script Frenzy this year. Actually participating, unlike last year when I just used it as a spring board for typing up the ridiculously bad Oz parody I wrote with some friends in middle school.