poe and frontal lobe syndrome, 3D printing and paradigm shifts, an oppressed zero

Edgar Allan Poe was the first person to describe in minute detail, frontal lobe syndrome fully eight years before scientists described a case and 139 years before researchers would write a formal description of the condition in children - The medical prescience of Edgar Allan Poe

The macabre story of Phineas Gage, a US railroad worker who survived when an iron spike penetrated his skull in 1848, is truly stranger than fiction. Gage’s impaled head became the darling of a budding medical profession who flocked to study his strange condition: fully functional, though his personality changed. But little did that profession realise that just such a fiction had already been created by the master of the macabre himself, Edgar Allan Poe.

Written eight years prior to Gage’s accident, but published posthumously in 1850, Poe’s story The Business Man, described a similar case. But how Poe was able to describe so precisely the symptoms of what is now known as frontal lobe syndrome is doomed to remain a mystery. When Eric Altschuler, a neurologist at New Jersey Medical School in Newark realised that the story describes the antisocial personality disorder and obsessions that are common to frontal lobe syndrome, he thought it was possible, although not likely, that the Gage case had inspired it. This conjecture was recently blown out of the water when he and reporter Seth Augustine, who were looking through Poe’s stories, realised Poe had written an earlier version in 1840. “It’s so exact that it’s just weird, it’s like he had a time machine,” says Altschuler.

Maybe because of the new movie The Raven, Poe seems to be having a new wave of popularity.

tire tracks desert wallpaper.

Make your own: the 3D printing revolution. Today you can make plant pots; in the future it could be phones, even houses. But should big business fear the 3D printing revolution?

Swainson’s basic idea – the dropping plate, the layered construction, the computer-aided design and control – has since spawned many magical machines. Perfect scale models can be made from hot wax shot out from tiny pipes attached to a printer head; electron beams can fire at lines of titanium powder, fusing them together, layer after layer; parts emerge from vats of plaster dust looking like finds from an archaeological dig.

I’ve seen so many research papers and popular articles on 3D printers in the last year that entertaining the idea of a genuine revolution does not seems too wacky. The reason I have reservations is because I am always reading papers that suggest this or that new discovery, new technology will revolutionize our lives, our culture, our economy. How many car models are introduced that use language hinting at a revolution in personal transportation – even though the basic concept, the internal combustion engine is as old as Edgar Allan Poe. At this point we’re getting real products from these printers. Mostly inanimate objects – toys, planters, chair – but since printable circuits are also very real, with advances in manipulating graphene reporting almost weekly, some very sophisticated home baked – or printed technology like a smartphone does seem just around the corner. Since at least one of the 3D printer models is open source and the software cost pennies, traditional manufacturing could be in real trouble. While economists and sociologists have said that most western economies moved to a largely service based economy back in the 90s, we still buy and use a lot of processed hard goods. Moving to a personal goods based society would that shifts our material needs to basic materials supply. Which would be a huge paradigm shift. Such shifts always scare some people.

boys

As soon as I sufficiently recovered my senses to comprehend the
terrific predicament in which I stood, or rather hung, I exerted all
the power of my lungs to make that predicament known to the aeronaut
overhead. But for a long time I exerted myself in vain. Either the
fool could not, or the villain would not perceive me. Meanwhile the
machine rapidly soared, while my strength even more rapidly failed. I
was soon upon the point of resigning myself to my fate, and dropping
quietly into the sea, when my spirits were suddenly revived by hearing
a hollow voice from above, which seemed to be lazily humming an opera
air. Looking up, I perceived the Angel of the Odd. He was leaning,
with his arms folded, over the rim of the car; and with a pipe in his
mouth, at which he puffed leisurely, seemed to be upon excellent terms
with himself and the universe. I was too much exhausted to speak, so I
merely regarded him with an imploring air.

For several minutes, although he looked me full in the face, he said
nothing. At length, removing carefully his meerschaum from the right
to the left corner of his mouth, he condescended to speak.

“Who pe you,” he asked, “und what der teuffel you pe do dare?”

To this piece of impudence, cruelty, and affectation, I could reply
only by ejaculating the monosyllable “Help!”

“Elp!” echoed the ruffian, “not I. Dare iz te pottle–elp yourself,
und pe tam’d!”

The Angel of the Odd by Edgar Allan Poe. From The Columbian Magazine, October, 1844.

It might sound cool to become one of those people has has seen, heard or experienced everything. The summary resulting in being nicely calloused from head to toe. The point at which the weary life traveler is no longer shocked. I wish I was immune to the shock felt on reading this near murder by the state, California Man’s ‘Drug Holiday’ Becomes Four-Day Nightmare in Holding Cell

Three Reasons Bain Capitalnomics Fails

Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital partner, Edward Conard, argues that what’s good for the top 0.1% is good for everyone else too. There are three reasons why his arguments are wrong.

While I hope he lives to be a healthy 276 years old, as a cog in the modern economic machine, Conard is an irrelevance. He adds no value to the game. He has never invented anything or achieved anything of substance. He and his ilk invented their necessity. Ticks are not a requirement for a healthy circulatory system, they have just evolved to take advantage of it. Without him labor would still produce capital, products and services. While that is as plain and bright as the neon sign on the  boulevard casino, a bloated ego can block out the brightest signs.

Zero

Zero is a 12’32 stop motion animation written and directed by Christopher Kezelos and produced by Christine Kezelos. For more information, visit zeroshortfilm.com or like us on facebook.com/zeroshortfilm