(urth) Short Story 44: Continuing Westward

Jeff Wilson jwilson at clueland.com
Tue Sep 4 22:29:18 PDT 2012

On 9/4/2012 10:16 AM, Jerry Friedman wrote:
>> From: David Stockhoff <dstockhoff at verizon.net>
>> On 8/31/2012 4:47 PM, Jeff Wilson wrote:
>>> On 8/31/2012 2:53 PM, Jerry Friedman wrote:
>>>>> From: Marc Aramini <marcaramini at yahoo.com>
>>>>> Continuing Westward
>>>>> though many of them seem somewhat deformed or blind in one eye (probably from an irradiated apocalyptic fall out, which has not actually affected these people, who never change much no matter how much the world changes).
>>>> I find it hard to see how radiation could make a lot of people blind in /one/ eye.
>>> The same way smoking can ruin one of your lungs.
> Cancer?
> Figuring out whether known radiation is likely to cause blindness in one eye would be too much work for me right now.  We can always imagine unknown radiation, but then we can always imagine unknown genetic or other diseases, too.

There's no particular reason for both eyes or both lungs to have 
identically symmetric responses to radiation or other carninogens, even 
if both were exposed to identical amounts. Tiny flecks of fallout can 
land in one place and not another, one cell can have an error in 
replication while another does not. These miniscule divergences can 
become magnified with time.

>>> People with two bad lungs die and are not observed; the wogs
>>> with two blind eyes die for lack of care or stay indoors for safety and are not observed. People with one good
>>> lungand one good eye can still be seen going about their impaired business.
>> I was about to respond with something similar. Superficially, people seem to get by; behind what the characters themselves see (which is not much), there's probably a lot of death. It felt like natural selection in progress to me but of course blind people would not be out and about unless they are used to it. They might not often be blind from birth.
> ...
> These are out and about.  "Between shawl and veil their [the women's] eyes looked huge and very dark, but I noticed that many were blind, or blind in one eye."

Apparently these villagers have a bit of surplus means to support their 
invalids, then; not so primitive after all.

Jeff Wilson - jwilson at clueland.com
Computational Intelligence Laboratory - Texas A&M Texarkana
< http://www.tamut.edu/CIL >

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