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Space Travel???

By Howard Sachs, MD, PhD

I went to bed early, but not sleepy, I began to muse about the most recent writings on my exploits and travels. It seemed that I had been just about everywhere on this planet. So then, what next, how does one go into outer space without an association with NASA? I began to think of medical research programs that would interest NASA, such as, “The neurological consequences of space travel,” or “are select segments of the brain affected by space travel?” concentrating on the known “pleasure centers” of the brain. I thought of offering myself as the first study subject undergoing PET and functional MRI studies before and after space travel.

But, then, I began to feel unenthusiastic. I just felt tired and sleepy and that’s what I wanted most to do, sleep. Then it struck me, this is crazy, I’m 84 years old and crippled, I’ve lost it, will I ever again be thrilled and get a kick out of such exploits again? Probably not.  What do I do now? Help me, aren’t they having sales on rocking chairs for the holiday season? No, there must be alternative pleasures at this age and when I wake up, I’ll begin to search.

Swimming with Piranhas

On my 8000 mile journey around South America with my second wife, one part involved being paddled up the Amazon River by natives and then swinging down to Rio de Janeiro.

The trip up the Amazon had been oppressively hot and humid in the jungle air, and since I was standing at the shore of the river, in an overwhelming desire to cool down, I told the natives that I would meet them on the opposite shore and reflexively dove into the waters of the Amazon and started swimming to the opposite side, about 100 yards away.

I had been warned of the Piranhas, touted to devour a cow in minutes. I had never seen a Piranha, but didn’t see anything moving in the water ahead of me. Many of  my friends in high school were great swimmers who had taught me well, so that in record time, I swam across the river, intact and untouched. Maybe my kicking feet and stroking arms were not an inviting prey?

Once on the opposite shore, I collapsed into an empty canoe being made ready for a fishing venture. The natives arrived, moved the boat into midstream and let out their lures. Within minutes, they started hauling in Piranhas, which I was reluctant to touch. This creature was about 9 inches long, equipped with fins and a tail, but dramatically, the body consisted of one long mouth, imbedded with jagged sharp teeth. But, where in the world did digestion of their prey take place, or utilization of what they ate for reproductive purposes? However, I soon closed my eyes, removing them from my sight, and simply accepted these monstrous creatures as one of the wonders of nature.

Fortunately, I hadn’t seen these creatures before my swim, because had I done so, it’s unlikely that I would have attempted the challenge.

by Howard, MD, PhD

This occurred several days ago after I had clicked on a C Span interview of the new GM CEO. The automotive giant, GM was on its back, bankrupt, when this new CEO, referred to as Dan took over.

Apparently, Dan had left a fortune on the table at his previous employer, Carlyle, in order to assume the CEO position at General Motors. With the help of loans from the US Federal Reserve, he was able to put GM back on its feet and restored its world leadership role in the automotive industry. Remarkably, however, this was done with a concern, not only for the welfare of GM, but also for the welfare of the planet. He paid attention to the threat of global warming and created a desirable line of electric cars.

It was gratifying to listen to this CEO his concern for the future and welfare of our world as well as for GM profits. I was particularly impressed when he expressed his desire to leave this world as a better place for mankind. Thank you Dan for that inspiring interview.

I-Robot

By Howard Sachs, MD, PhD. Howardsachs@rocketmail.com

Thoughts inspired by the reappearance of George Bush Jr. on TV selling  his so-called Memoirs and the discovery that robots could be used effectively for dealing with children with behavioral disorders.

What about foreign diplomats or countries who refuse to conform to U S policies or plans for exploitation of their resources? Indeed, a robot president might be best qualified to handle such problems. The same goes for Congress, and not to worry, evolution emerged us from chimpanzees over millions of years, maybe a higher form of human life would evolve from robots?

By Howard, MD, Phd; howardsachs@rocketmail.com

How grateful I am to be a retired neurologist and scientist, and no longer a high school student facing the newly sought after curriculum of How to Become an Entrepreneur – a businessman devoted to accumulation of profit as foretold by this morning’s TV news.

Imagine a total culture devoted to nothing more than profit, wealth and power. Now at least there is still some semblance of a belief in art, creativity and human worth. Will a Christ–like figure arise from Wall Street to form the most powerful, soulless religion? I think not, making life on this planet still desirable, though not necessarily in America.

Anybody out there interested in exploring with me the value systems of New Zealand, noted to be civilized and  caring about the worth of the human race?

by Howard Sachs, MD, PhD; howardsachs@rocketmail.com (or leave a comment below)

This letter is in response to the Kendal brochure of September, advertising the new “Admiral at the Lake” retirement facility. I am a retired Neurologist currently residing at the Lathrop retirement facility at Easthampton, Mass. The brochure promises a well thought out financial investment and a luxurious comfortable existence for any elderly moving into The Admiral. I suppose that’s what the wealthy segment of our society look forward to with advancing age.

The only communication that I’ve ever received from Kendal was a questionnaire asking if I would recommend a friend to retire at Lathrop. My response was “Not unless his/her sole purpose in life was eating, as the food is quite good here. Then, in fact, we do exist here by bread alone.” Unfortunately, the waistlines attest to this belief, but I never did get a reply from Kendal. Have you ever considered a study group to inquire of the elderly themselves, “ What kind of a niche would they like for themselves beyond a secure shelter and 3 meals a day; a place that they would find to be a  fulfilling, creative and happy environment which stressed the importance of physical movement, rather than the enhancing decay of immobility.

October 2nd – by Howard, MD,. PhD

Nature is endowed with a remarkable biodiversity permitting the survival of life.

At times however, the environment is not compatible with the survival of living things. Nevertheless, many species have managed to create niches for themselves where survival was possible. Examples are the beavers and their dams, the birds and their nests, and even many human species have managed to create livable niches at the roof of the world in the Himalayas, the Sherpa’s, as well as the tribes in the jungles of Africa, or the Amazon.

But today, probably the elderly constitute a human species, diverse and largely incompatible from a youthful culture. But niches of facilities for the elderly have been created for them throughout the country, and rarely by themselves; Kendall and Lathrop are examples. Do you think that it would be reasonable for the elderly  to contribute some ideas with regard to the kind of niche that they would prefer to survive in, a niche in which they felt secure, comfortable and compatible with a happy, creative existence? Let’s talk about it, let’s hear your thoughts about the kind of environment in which you would like to spend your golden years. Have no fear, its all anonymous and no one can accuse you of rocking the casket.