Over stimulation

Buuuzzzz, the alarm clock goes off; the radio comes on with all the terrible news that happened yesterday. Just to make sure I wake up on time, I also set my cell phone to ring; and there it goes, right on time. I immediately check the 20 text messages on my cell phone and answer the ones I want to; then I go to the computer to check my email and delete a whole bunch of useless ads. A few messages sent by humans I respond to and ignore the rest. My cell phone beeps every few moments as a new text message comes across the airways to me. I turn on the TV so I can watch the current news. While half listening to the news I play a few rounds of ANGRY BIRDS on my cell phone. Glancing out the window reminds me to check the weather which I can do with an app on my phone. The weatherman says there was a freezing rain last night and the roads may be hazardous. Searching out my car keys, I touch the button that starts my car so it will be warm and defrosted when I am ready to leave.
This may sound like fiction to some of you, but trust me, when I say this is the ever present lifestyle of the current technological generation, and more importantly, only the first wave of technologies to come! The question I wish to pose is: Can the human brain handle all this constant stimulation? At what point will some people’s brains simply shut down and refuse to allow all this stimulation in? Our kids are already being trained to cope with the constant barrage of information as computer technology becomes more Omni-present in the classroom. I just read that a school system in California has equipped every student with a computer pad so that they are continually connected to the web.
I fear that I am showing my age with this growing concern for where we are heading as a culture. I do not want to join the ranks of my father’s and his father’s generation and denigh the wonderful innovation that I am benefiting from. I love my computer and cell phone and would be hard pressed to be without them! The difference is this: I try to not let these devices interfere with my day-to-day interaction with people around me. Regardless of where I am, I see more and more people totally engaged with their cell phone, unable to acknowledge the world around them. People biking, driving cars, running, or doing just about any other activity are totally engaged with their devices. We have all heard of the growing number of auto wrecks caused by cell phone use while driving. I wonder how many bicycle wrecks could be attributed to mobile devices? How many runners have run out in front of a car while stripped of one of their best defenses, their hearing? How many conversations have you missed because you were on your phone as an old friend walked by but kept going because you were on the phone?
As I write this blog, this all seems a little trite, but I am more concerned with the long-range implications of this new wave of innovations. So often over the last half century we have created devices and then worried about the problems they caused after they became an integral part of society. One examples of this is the car by which more than 100 people a day on average die. Many experts have concerns about the effect that cell phone micro-radiation has on the human body, particularly the brain. Consider this-our wonderful dish TV beams down a constant 5 to 10 watts of micro-radiation on the earth 24/7. The chemicals in our environment are so toxic and pervasive that over the last 100 years, due to the estrogen mimicking industrial chemicals in the air, ground and water, girls now reach puberty at the average age of 11 instead of 17. I found the following on a site called The Guardian:

Today most doctors accept that the age of onset of puberty is dropping steadily. Many studies have showed this to be
the case for girls, and new research carried out by Herman-Giddens, and published by the American Academy of Pediatrics,
has found the same for boys. The age of onset of biological adulthood continues to plunge. Consider the statistics
provided by German researchers. They found that in 1860, the average age of the onset of puberty in girls was 16.6 years.
In 1920, it was 14.6; in 1950, 13.1; 1980, 12.5; and in 2010, it had dropped to 10.5. Similar sets of figures have
been reported for boys, albeit with a delay of around a year.

Boys are maturing prematurely as well! The world-wide sperm count is dropping every year!
So back to where I started; how do we know the long-term effects of all this new technology on world population? The answer is: we don’t know! But guess what, we are all taking part in a large experiment to find out how this new communication technology will affect us, and some day in the not too distant future, some scientist will publish a paper telling us the results of our latest experiment. Who knows, maybe he will send us a thank-you note for being part of the data set. Don’t hold your breath on that!

I had to post this. Rules for being human.

Rule One – You will receive a body.

You may love it or hate it, but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth.

Rule Two – You will be presented with lessons.

You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called “life”. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.

Rule Three – There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Growth is a process of experimentation, a series of trials, errors and occasional victories. The failed experiments are as much as a part of the process as the experiments that work.

Rule Four – The lesson is repeated until learned.

Lessons will be repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them, you can go on to the next lesson.

Rule Five – Learning does not end.

There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

Rule Six – “There” is no better than “here”.

When your “there” has become “here” you will simply obtain another “there” that will look better to you than your present “here”.

Rule Seven – Others are only mirrors of you.

You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

Rule Eight – What you make of your life is up to you.

You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you.

Rule Nine – Your answers lie inside of you.

All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

Rule Ten – You will forget all this at birth.

You can remember it if you want by unraveling the double helix of inner-knowing

Back in the saddle again

bike oct 2013 009
Photo by Dylan Streisel

It has been a long year for my wife Sue. About 9 months ago she started complaining about her hip. Not being one to complain about her physical aliments, (which does not imply that she does not complain about other things), Sue caused me to take notice. The discomfort continued to increase so we scheduled an appointment with a chiropractor in Moorefield who worked with her for a while and finally suggested that she see a orthopedic doctor in Winchester. Several weeks later she went to see the orthopedist. He suggested an x-ray, and when he saw it, his first comment was, “You are going to need a hip replacement.” Wow, talk about having a load of rocks fall from the sky and landing right on top of you! He suggested that Sue receive a shot in the hip to help relieve the pain, so we jaunted over to the “shot center” where Sue got a shot. Within a day she was up and moving around as if nothing was wrong but this only lasted about two weeks and then the pain returned with a vengeance. So it became obvious that she was going to need a new hip. Now was the time to learn everything we could about this procedure. This turned out to be a mountain of information with several dead ends, ending up with us choosing what is referred to as the ‘anterior approach’ to the joint, which is by far superior to the older method of coming in from the side or back of the hip.
We found a doctor who performed this surgery and scheduled an appointment with him in the Washington, DC area. To make a long story short, Sue had her surgery on September 20, and everything has gone great. It has been almost 8 weeks; yesterday we pulled out the tandem bike and went for a four-mile ride! I think the new hip weighs more than her real hip because several of the short climbs seemed a little more difficult, but that is only conjecture on my part.