In the space of 20 minutes, I learned three fascinating things this morning, all of which seemed directly relevant to me and my concerns, listening to KQED on my drive to work. (I normally bike, but I have a lot of stuff to carry today.) According to a story on NPR’s Morning Edition, autism may be caused, at least in part, by an interconnectivity problem between different parts of the brain. From KQED, I learned that one in every $3 donated to California state campaigns since 2000 came from a tiny group of just 100 individual and group donors who together gave over $1 billion, and that more than 40% of registered voters in California are new voters, or people who only turn out occasionally.
The latter two facts/figures obviously reflect troubling trends in our political system that are only getting worse, and are skewing politics dramatically to the right. The autism study seemed particularly fascinating to me because it held out the hope of limited treatments in the present, which was discussed in the story on NPR, and because it suggests that possibility of discovering why there has been an apparent increase in the prevalence of autism; if improperly functioning fibres in the brain are to blame, in whole or in part, we can begin to investigate what might be damaging the formation of these fibres or discover which genes regulate their structure and function. It’s pretty exciting.
I felt charged up in different ways and different directions by these three fascinating facts – but definitely charged up, and grateful to have learned them. So I joined KQED. I get more out of KQED and NPR over the course of a year than I do from a lot of the other media and entertainment I pay for. Easily more than any five books I might buy during the course of a year. So donating $100 seems the least I could do.
That’s what I feel good about this morning.
- What’s Different About The Brains Of People With Autism? : Shots – Health Blog : NPR.
- Epidemiology of autism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
- In State Politics, Big Money From Few Donors: Forum | KQED Public Media for Northern CA.
- Finding Ways to Motivate the Occasional Voter: The California Report | The California Report.
- Donate, Join, Renew | KQED Public Media for Northern CA.