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Nov 18, 2023

"Can we make a new world with new words?" --Robin Wall Kimmerer

Invisible Landscapes

"Until quite recently, if doctors wanted to study human tissue from a living person, they had to remove it first. Then they'd essentially mummify it: drying, freezing, slicing, and fixing it on a slide so they could peer at its shriveled dead form under a microscope to ascertain what was happening at a cellular level. As a result, scientists and doctors were taught in medical school that collagen tissue is essentially a dense wall: a barrier. But a new endoscope, a microscope that snakes into the body through one of two holes, now enables us to see and study living tissue inside a breathing body with a beating heart. And once this special endoscope shone its light just below the skin into the collagen layer, it revealed something much more like a sponge than a wall, with fluid rushing between a fractal, honeycombed network..." Scientists' recent discovery of a 'new' part of the human body, the interstitium, is an invitation to think differently about our relationship with the world at large.Jennifer Brandel shares more.


Reflect on a word that opened up your understanding of the world.