> She went on to become one Shakespearean heroine after another, each role performed with more emotional depth and strength than the one before. Years have now passed since she played Juliet. Against all expectations and medical prognoses, she has entered college, where she is pursuing a dual degree in medicine and theater, in which she will continue to “pass over” into one role after another.
> That young woman’s exceptional example is not so much about whether the mind and heart can overcome the limitations of the body...
I don't understand this. Is the writer implying that 'advanced cystic fibrosis' is a limitation of the body and not a real disease, and so she was able to 'beat it' by immersing herself in reading and drama?
The 2 statements - "she had only a brief time to live" and "Years have now passed since she played Juliet. Against all expectations and medical prognoses" completely contradict each other. Did she 'beat the disease' (which seems improbable) or was she misdiagnosed in the first place?
But phenotypes vary widely. And so mis-prognosed sounds more accurate here. Probably just as bad as a missed diagnosis, so this may be semantics...
I grew up with two CF children who are nearly as close as sisters to me.
They are both alive, and "healthy", at least five years past what we had expected to be the years of their demise, and they show no signs of passing soon - and this is not just limited to them; their CF classes (which do still dwindle in size) are much larger than had been expected.
There are many different kinds of CF, but across the board the treatment has improved massively. It's a testament to the advancing field, the strategy of the NHS, and the persistence of the parents and children, that the lifespans predicted (on solid evidence) for these children keep being invalidated and extended.
My understanding is that they are also cautious in generating such estimates, excluding any non-concrete factors (improvements in healthcare etc) that might be used to modify a purely frequentist estimation given historical data.
In general it's probably better to tell a cohort that they've an expected lifetime pessimistically than optimistically?
This reminds me of the story a few weeks ago of the hemophiliac kid who got HIV and then spent his whole childhood believing he would never grow up, never find love, never have a life.
How many people would just give in and roll over on that sort of news? It's self fulfilling prophecy.
They do a lot of work to play down expectations, especially with respect to the kinds of things that may be seen in the media
Math, programming, and writing are verbal skills, but good communication requires empathy, an emotional skill. I realized this was true after I realized I needed to consciously work on empathy because it is so crucial.
So yes, social empathy is important to craft great code.
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense, especially as it pertains to UI/UX. About empathy -- you need to relate to your users, understand, be aware and sensitive of their needs and their thought process as they use your application.
Thanks for the interesting view. Not sure I read it too literally, but it gave me something to think about.
I wonder how much this risk taking behavior learned from necessity helped her overachieve in adulthood, where she will now be an actor... and a doctor.
Not quite as immersive as a dead tree book, but at least I can still enjoy and be absorbed in it while walking/running.
but I've just finished about 4 Robert A. Heinlein books in a row... all around the 1950's with stories based on the future being late 70's to the year 2000.
Pretty funny listening really. though they're not meant to be.
Heinlein sounds good, I'll have to read more. Thank you.
yeah RAH is an interesting one... some of his stuff is just plain wrong. One time his character cloned himself into little girls, then another he went back in time to have sex with his mother (when she was a hotty)...
but yeah. dude writes some really odd stuff.
Considering the other options now available, it is amazing to see so many kids around with their heads buried in books.
This story about the actor is wonderful
Reading is the best.
Many concepts are simply better described by a visual demonstration. There’s less communicative barriers that way. Just observe the cause and effect. You could be illiterate and still understand a visual demonstration.
My three year understands engineering concepts from goofy YouTube videos. He doesn’t read.
Is all of this proclamation about books being the superior format just akin to old-timers screaming “back in my day we listened to great music, not like this crap nowadays!”?
Why can't I? Even to someone illiterate, this is an experience we've all had? And visually, seeing the blades of up close on a freshly cut lawn, with dew dripping down, might conjure up memories of summers past and the associated smells.
You're taking for granted that words are abstractions and aren't learned for most until they're 5 or 6. Meanwhile, visual recognition is something more innate and starts to appear in babies in as little as 2 or 3 months (smiling, recognizing parents, etc).
25% of the world's population is illiterate. By accessibility alone, video wins.
I don't think it's as clear cut as that. Literature doesn't have to be written; oral literature exists, and has been around for centuries, and was still fairly common even in living memory of people in the West. You can have literature without writing, basically... and that's always preceded video, and, I'd say, is probably the first form that humans encountered literature (and likely occurred when we first learned to speak, before Homo Sapiens Sapiens was even a thing)
Because, just like exercise strengthens your muscles, reading strengthens portions of your brain. TV, on the other hand, literally rots your brain.
Regarding books vs video : If a book mentions a Wankel engine, I have to look up that definition or gloss over it, hoping it's concept is revealed later.
If I watch a video and it mentions a "Wankel engine" and I see an engine rotating around and immediately get the gist of how it works. E.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=josJhz8VS8A
In general, a work in a visual medium - a painting, a comic book or a film - supplies ALL or most of the inputs. A book supplies only some of the inputs and we, the readers, supply the rest.
Here's the thing: a good reader supplies good inputs and an average reader supplies average inputs. This is why children are described as "imaginative readers". They "live" in the story-world whereas we adults skim through it.
So even if it's a Harlequin novel, you can make it as vivid as you'd like. But that effort will be substantially more than watching even a good film adaptation of a Harlequin novel.
Not according to the brain scans. The content doesn't matter. It's the act of reading that strengthens the brain. If you manage to get more out of it than that, well that's gravy.
> Regarding books vs video
Maybe this was intended for another comment? I haven't said anything about video. TV is not youtube. The consumption patterns are different.
Which brain scans? Isn't it common knowledge now that most of those stories of "we put someone in fMRI and had them do X" are nonsense? Also, fMRI is hard and until recently, 25-40% of studies got it wrong. See .
> It's the act of reading that strengthens the brain.
Good to know I'm strengthening my brain every day, spending 10 hours reading code and/or HN comments. :).
 - https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/scicurious-brain/ignobe...
This is true, however it's an argument for choosing hard goals (because they are hard, e.g. 'we choose to go to the moon...'); it's not an argument for doing things the hard way. For example, given a choice for learning how to build a deck I think I'd pick YouTube over a DIY manual.
The New Testament loses a lot, in my opinion, by being written almost purely for literary composition.