Tuesday, June 24, 2003

times square.
the new york marriot marquis. somewhere between
Modern Millie Musical on the second floor lobby and
revolving restaurant on the fourty-fifth floor
several thousand brain scientists converged.
science conferences are perhaps not as strange or mysterious as we would all like
but they are fun and learningful and overwhelming
the way science fairs would be
if they hosted 1500 exhibits
of brilliant professionals
who loved their projects to tears
this was a conference of the human brain mappers
scientists bound together in the common navigation
of trillion-cell space
new proposals took aim at better guides for surgery
one research group explained their efforts to convey the visual world
to the blind by applying electricity to their tongues
in patterned stimulation.
a language researcher tried to convince us that every word we encounter evokes within us immediately a binding of all its truths. our judgements of truth walk through walls of sentence and paragraph and dance through full realms of knowledge and experience, all before the word even finishes stepping out on stage.
new work suggested that bearers of absolute pitch
can know tones as language
while others must grapple with tones in relative space.
a group from Yale dipped its toes into the sea of consciousness.
new images provided a peek at acupuncture's mysterious workings behind our cortical curtains
a hypnoticed induced hallucinated pain in patients--
and showed it in pictures of the blood coursing through their brain