September 14th, 2005

Okay, the last nine hours have just been *busy*.

1. Took the cat to the vet. Conjunctivitis. Annoying, but not life or vision-threatening to the cat.

2. Skipped hematology. Must view Monday and Wednesday's lectures online tomorrow.

3. Did a bodywork session on someone who *badly* needed the work. Made a significant impact. Go me, *and* go them.

4. Made flyers to attempt to acquire someone to sublet my apartment in Howell.

5. Skipped physiology. Must view lecture when rebroadcast on Sunday.

6. Put in an application for an apartment in East Lansing.

7. Went to LCC, jumped through administrative hoops, am now enrolled in the section of my anatomy class that I've actually been attending.

8. Applied for a job tutoring anatomy and physiology at LCC.

Okay, two of the eight are things that I *didn't* do. But still.

Anatomy class in 40 minutes. Time to decide if I'm getting dinner before that, or not.

Begone, naive biological understanding!

Jack Cohen, in The Science of Discworld, explains a lot about how science is taught. One of the things he talks about is the concept of science as "lies told to children" and "lies told to adults". These are the foundation concepts, of varying levels of complexity, that you must first be taught, in order to be later taught that they were only sort of right, or even, maybe, not right at all.

I've been getting lightly tangled up in one of my personal examples of "lies told to children".

Anyone but me remember in 7th grade biology being taught that all living things are made up of cells? Did your teacher show you, under a microscope, a slide of something, probably a section from a cork tree, which showed all these little compartments, tightly butted up to each other? Did you extrapolate from this that cells were, by their nature, closely spaced?

I did. So when I was taught about types of tissue which appeared to have a cell here and a cell there with large expanses of stuff, I just sat there confused, without ever understanding my confusion. I was waiting for them to show me the rest of the cells. Since they had to be there, since the human body is made up of a contiguous mass of various types of cells, which all work together to make tissues and body functions and the like.

Except we're *not* a big contiguous mass of cells. On the outside, our cells are contiguous, or nearly so. However, on the inside, we're as much non-cellular stuff as we are cells. The non-cellular stuff is *made* by cells. But it isn't made *of* cells.

Ground substance, extracellular matrix, the non-cellular parts of blood. All made up of stuff assiduously produced by cells, but no membrane, no nucleus, no organelles and therefore *not cellular*.

I'm excited. I'm geeked. I'm relieved. And I feel a little bit like an idiot.