2.21.2017

Journal, August 14, 1976 AM

Boy I needed a good night’s sleep after yesterday, and I got it. I got up early, getting less than 5 hours of sleep, and darn near fell asleep in my chair at work, despite the aid of a cup of coffee.

I wrote up the first draft of a letter to the University of Wisconsin Genetics Department. I feel kind of foolish writing the thing, but I noticed an interesting connection between an article in “Hoard’s Dairyman” and one in “Scientific American”, and felt the need to let someone (to whom the information might be of use) know about it. In the “Hoard’s Dairyman” a guy discussing sex control in cattle A.I. {Artificial Insemination} said they had already found a way to “label” the Y chromosome in human sperm with florescent dye, and hoped to do it in cattle sperm, to be able to identify “enriched” sperm mixtures under the microscope. Well, I had read in my March “Scientific American” where some folks at Stanford had a new apparatus which allowed them to separate cells if they could be distinguished by marking one type with florescent dye. The machine employs a laser and two light-sensitive receptors to “read” cell size and coloring due to the dye. It gives a charge to fluid droplets containing cells of a given specification, and thus they are directed to the proper receptacle by an electric field. Why not use the device to separate X and Y sperm? If you can “mark” the Y sperm it should be feasible. Of course I am no chemist, and don’t know all the possible problems involved, but it seems to me that science is on the verge of making possible sex control (in humans, cows, who knows what all, with the help of A.I.), and I want to know if geneticists realize how close they are!

I played buckets {basketball} with the “Informatica” {Information Technology} team again yesterday. Mike {Shank} and Francisco weren’t there, so we almost didn’t have 5 guys, and we were losing 39-26. But we won when the officials’ table told the opposing captain he had fouled out, & he got pissed off and refused to leave the game! What weird games they play here! So much arguing and so many whistles that the game never develops a rhythm.

<I got a ride to Peace Corps Office from team captain Morgan, and there found a letter from Sofia.> What a great letter! I don’t know who she borrowed the lines from or if she did, but they were sheer poetry, and then she dropped the big one: She scored the highest of anyone in her group on their midyear exams at the university {Universidad Nacional}! I may have a fucking genius on my hands! She’s more like me than I thought. All the time saying she was worried about earning her credits, and that she didn’t really study much, and then coming out with the best exam. Worriers make better students I guess.

Her reaction was very different from mine though. When I got a 4.0 cumulative for my first semester in college, I said to myself, “Oh no, here we go again!” I had been valedictorian of my highschool class (96.2 average), and feared I was in for another 4 years of being treated as a brain instead of a human being. I was pleasantly surprised. College is open enough that most folks don’t know your GPA, at least until after they know you. Highschool was a bummer; everyone knew & it made it tough to be accepted as a person. <Now Sofia doesn’t seem to have any reservations, she’s “feliz como una lombriz!” {happy as a worm} ‘o sea’ {or that is} happy.> I feel like throwing in my lot with her may be the biggest piece of luck I’ve ever had!

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