Destroyer of Worlds Collage Paper

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Unformatted text preview: 
 Destroyer
of
Worlds
 In
the
distance,
a
record
hurls
whining
notes
into
the
inanimate
night.

 “I
got
this
thing
called
chorea
in
my
head

 wanna
walk
but
I
fall
down
instead

 folks
say
"Woody,
he's
just
drunk
again"

 but
I
haven't
had
a
drink
since
I
don't
know
when

 besides...I
only
drink
when
I'm
alone...or
with
somebody” 
 That first breakthrough, spilling from the laboratory of Sir John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton in 1932, electrified the scientific community. For many years researchers had known of the incomprehensible amounts of energy residing in the cohesive forces of a nucleus. They theorized that, if the atom could be split, its energy could be harvested for the good of mankind. Finally, physicists had succeeded in this and many more labs around the world labored to perfect the science of nuclear physics. Leó Szilárd, a Hungarian-born physicist, proposed that if any nuclear process emitted more neutrons from the nucleus of an atom than were used to start the fission, a nuclear chain reaction might result, leading to an exponential increase in energy output. Szilárd also emphatically cautioned that, if such a reaction existed, it could be used as the catalyst in a new generation of weapons, atomic bombs. Szilárd worried about the consequences of his own research. 
 Those
last
months
were
difficult
for
Sara.
Though
she
wouldn’t
dare
let
on,
in
fact,
they
were
 agony.
Every
free
moment,
Sara
sat
at
her
mother’s
bedside
in
silence,
watching
helplessly
as
the
 disease
sculpted
its
final
cruel
masterpiece.
It
had
been
20
years
since
her
mother
was
first
diagnosed
 yet
she
still
remembered
exactly
the
way
that
day
had
progressed,
from
the
hot
pastrami
sandwich
she
 devoured
at
lunch,
to
the
uncontrollable
deluge
of
tears
that
quieted
her
to
sleep.
How
could
she
forget
 a
day
such
as
that?

 
 Huntington’s
disease,
a
degenerative
neurological
affliction,
is
caused
by
a
mutation
in
the
 Huntingtin
gene.
This
gene,
which
encodes
for
the
protein
HTT,
contains
a
small
repeated
DNA
 sequence
called
a
microsatellite.
Three
DNA
bases
constitute
one
of
these
microsatellites:
Cytosine,
 Adenine,
and
Guanine
or
CAG.
 (‐CAGCAGCAGCAGCAGCAG‐)
 Although
every
person
carries
microsatellites
in
the
Huntingtin
gene,
the
number
of
repeats
dictates
 whether
a
person
will
be
afflicted.
Normal
individuals
have
fewer
than
27
–CAG‐
repeats,
while
 affected
individuals
carry
35
or
more.
 
 Sara’s
mother,
Jane,
had
always
been
her
daughter’s
most
dedicated
advocate.
Jane
attended
 every
one
of
her
daughter’s
girl
scout
meetings,
dance
recitals
and
piano
lessons.
When
Sara
was
in
 Junior
High,
Jane
always
volunteered
to
chaperone
school
dances,
an
idea
which
mortified
her
 daughter.
Despite
Sara’s
objections
at
the
time,
she
felt
safe
knowing
her
mother
was
never
too
far
 from
her.
 Shortly after Szilárd’s proposal, the physicist established that the Uranium fission reaction proceeded in a fashion similar to the one he warned about. A single atom of Uranium needed only one neutron to be split, but generated three free neutrons once the reaction occurred. Szilárd later stated, “We turned the switch, saw the flashes, watched for ten minutes, then switched everything off and went home. That night I knew the world was headed for sorrow.” Although Szilárd attempted to conceal the results of this research and cautioned other physicists to do the same, scientific papers were soon published and the world became aware of the dawning nuclear age.
 “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.” My
arms
felt
funny
moving
all
the
time

 and
sometimes
my
head
didn't
feel
like
mine

 kept
telling
myself
it
was
the
Ballantine
Ale

 and
them
jugs
of
wine
on
the
writing
trail

 I
prefer
a
disease
you
can
sober
up
from.

 
 They
needed
to
stick
together.
After
Sara’s
father
died,
Jane
had
made
sure
Sara
never
saw
her
 cry.
It
was
only
the
two
of
them,
and
they
were
undeniably
close.
Watching
her
mother’s
jerky,
 repetitive
movements,
Sara
remembered
back
to
the
times
when
the
two
of
them
engaged
in
food
 fights
in
the
kitchen,
each
person
diving
as
banana
projectiles
whizzed
overhead,
rolling
in
laughter
as
 they
hurled
handfuls
of
chocolate
chips.
By
the
end
of
the
battle,
the
kitchen
appeared
as
a
landscape
 of
war
and
the
two
rivals
sat
exhausted
on
the
slick,
chocolate
covered
floor,
completely
content.
Those
 food
wars
became
less
frequent,
however,
after
Huntington’s
Disease
seized
Jane’s
body. In a nuclear fission reaction, neutrons bombard an atom, in this case Uranium-235. When the nucleus of Uranium absorbs one of these neutrons, the atom momentarily becomes Uranium-236, an extremely unstable isotope. This instability causes the atom to break apart into two new atoms, Barium-141 and Krypton-92, and three free neutrons. These free neutrons are then able to bombard other Uranium-235 nuclei. If each neutron hits a target, those three nuclei will also split, each generating three more neutrons to add to the reaction. As this process continues the number of neutrons increases exponentially. The process starts very small, but leads inexorably to enormous energy production. A
doctor
George
Huntington....he
gave
it
the
name

 and
all
these
years
later
it's
still
the
same

 no
cure
but
the
patience
of
the
ones
you
love

 and
the
busy
schedule
of
the
Lord
above

 you
can
usually
count
on
him....but's
he's
mighty
slow
 “For want of a shoe; the horse was lost.” 
 
 The
symptoms
appeared
trivial
at
first,
a
slight
twitch
in
the
elbow,
a
slurring
of
speech,
the
 repetitive
movement
of
an
arm
or
leg.
Slowly
and
painfully,
the
disease
took
over.
Jane
was
a
drowning
 swimmer,
sliding
effortlessly
into
the
depths,
surrendering
to
the
crushing
force
that
pulled
her
deeper.

 With
time,
she
could
barely
control
her
movements.
Instead
of
lovingly
stroking
her
daughter’s
 smooth,
amber
hair,
Jane’s
once
delicate
hands
became
rigid,
twisting
into
unnatural
shapes
under
her
 brain’s
incoherent
direction.
Her
legs
and
arms
seized
rhythmically,
jerking,
flailing
and
slapping
the
 air.
The
muscles
on
the
left
side
of
her
face
tightened
in
spasm,
allowing
large,
clear
droplets
of
saliva
 to
slide
mockingly
from
the
right
corner
of
her
mouth.
Only
ten
years
after
being
diagnosed,
Jane
 became
confined
to
a
wheelchair.
Her
pale,
withered
legs
budged
only
at
the
direction
of
the
disease’s
 pirated
signal
and,
even
then,
only
for
a
sudden
jerk.

 In August 1939, in response to fascist Germany’s invasion of neighboring Poland, Leo Szilárd drafted a letter which was to be sent to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He convinced his friend and colleague Albert Einstein to sign the letter as well, knowing that Einstein’s name would lend credibility to the warnings contained within. The Einstein-Szilárd letter, as it was later termed, found its way to President Roosevelt in October 1939. In the letter Szilárd explained the inevitable outcome of the new research: nuclear weapons. He urged the president to develop this new technology before Nazi Germany had any chance. The president listened. Within several months, the idea of the Manhattan project developed.

 
 
 
 When
DNA
from
Huntingtin
gene
is
transcribed
in
the
cell’s
nucleus,
the
microsatellite
 faithfully
remains
coded
in
the
messenger
RNA
sequence.
The
messenger
RNA
is
then
sent
out
of
the
 nucleus
into
the
cytoplasm
of
the
cell
where
ribosomes
translate
it
into
an
amino
acid
chain,
a
 protein.
Unfortunately,
a
ribosome
cannot
distinguish
between
RNA
with
the
correct
number
of
 microsatellite
repeats
and
mutated
RNA
with
aberrant
numbers.
Therefore,
the
cell
is
unaware
that
it
 makes
a
dangerous
product.
 The Manhattan Engineering District, or the Manhattan project, was one of the government’s largest undertakings, employing over 130,000 people, including the world’s top scientists, and costing a total of two billion dollars. Sites throughout the country performed special roles in the development of the atomic bomb. Los Alamos, New Mexico, considered by most to be the intellectual headquarters of the entire operation, became the site of final bomb assembly and testing. Richland, Washington produced the plutonium used in “Fat Man”, the atomic bomb eventually dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Oak Ridge, Tennessee served as the main site of Uranium-235 extraction, Uranium serving as the payload of the Hiroshima bomb, “Little Boy.” During the development process, the Oak Ridge site consumed 1/6 of the country’s electrical power and yet, few knew of its existence. Even the Tennessee governor was unaware of state’s newest city. To protect the vital advancements being made, the project had to remain top secret. “For want of a horse, the rider was lost.” 
 
 Although
the
exact
consequence
of
a
mutation
in
the
HTT
protein
is
poorly
understood,
the
 overall
effects
of
Huntington’s
disease
are
well
established.
The
disease
first
presents
itself
as
small
 changes
in
the
cognitive
and
physical
abilities
of
the
afflicted
person.
Patients
often
complain
of
 problems
with
coordination,
speaking
and
thinking
as
well
as
feelings
of
anxiety,
depression,
suicidal
 thoughts
and
compulsive
behavior.
Small
repetitive
movements,
called
chorea
can
also
be
observed.
 Due
to
their
infrequent
manifestation,
the
symptoms
of
Huntington’s
disease,
although
serious,
are
 often
overlooked
at
first.
 On August 6, 1945 at 8:15 a.m., the world became suddenly aware of the work of the Manhattan project when “Little Boy” exploded over Hiroshima, instantly killing 80,000 people. Three days later, on August 9th, “Fat Man” fell on Nagasaki, killing almost 74,000 people. “For want of a rider, the battle was lost.” 
 As
the
body
degenerates,
a
more
noticeable
pattern
of
dysfunction
appears.
Muscles
become
 rigid
and
move
repetitively.
Body
posture
becomes
irregular
such
that
facial
expressions
and
verbal
 ability
are
severely
altered.
Dysfunction
in
memory,
abstract
thinking,
moral
judgment
and
planning
 all
contribute
to
overall
dementia‐like
symptoms.
The
degeneration
of
Huntington’s
disease,
although
 typically
occurring
over
a
period
of
decades,
leads
inevitably
to
complete
destruction
of
the
patient’s
 physical
and
mental
capacities.
 The Manhattan project’s leader, J. Robert Oppenheimer later said: We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I suppose we all thought that one way or another. 
 For
Sara,
the
shape
in
the
hospital
bed
was
not
Jane.
That
could
not
possibly
be
her
mother,
the
 same
woman
who
nurtured
her,
the
same
fortress
of
comfort.
That
body
was
a
pillar
of
stone,
some
 ancient
beautiful
arabesque
straining
outward
with
mineral
eyes,
breaking
the
granite
only
to
swing
 out
in
repetitive
jerks.
Sara
could
barely
relate
to
this
mass.
Perhaps
her
mother
was
somewhere
still
 inside
the
façade,
looking
out
on
a
world
that
ignored
her.
Or,
perhaps
she
had
already
left.

 
 The
last
few
months
were
difficult
for
Sara,
yet
seeing
that
body
waste
into
death
presented
a
 welcome
relief.
Her
mother
suffered
greatly
throughout
the
previous
months
and
years
and
she
felt
 grateful
that
rest
had
finally
come.
She
thought
of
Hamlet:
 To
die,
to
sleep,
—
 No
more;
and
by
a
sleep
to
say
we
end
 The
heart­ache,
and
the
thousand
natural
shocks
 That
flesh
is
heir
to,
—
'tis
a
consummation
 Devoutly
to
be
wish'd.
To
die,
to
sleep;
—
 The
most
difficult
reality
of
Huntington’s
disease
occurs
as
a
result
of
the
disease’s
late
onset.
 Huntington’s
typically
presents
between
the
ages
of
35
and
44
years
old,
after
many
sufferers
have
 already
begun
families.
Unfortunately,
the
disease
passes
to
offspring
as
a
genetically
carried
 dominant
trait,
meaning
fifty
percent
of
the
children
of
affected
individuals
will
also
have
 Huntington’s
disease.
This
represents
a
death
sentence
because,
as
of
yet,
Huntington’s
disease
has
 no
cure.
 
 The
beginning
of
her
mother’s
rest
represented
something
all
together
more
terrifying
for
 Sara.
It
was
the
agony
of
that
period.
In
time,
her
mother’s
rest
would
become
her
own.

She,
herself,
 would
one
day
become
that
pillar
of
stone
because,
just
like
her
mother,
she
also
had
Huntington’s.
 In the years following the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hundreds of thousands of people died due to nuclear fall-out and injuries sustained during the blasts. Leo Szilárd’s epiphany contained all the truth of that time; beginning with only a few neutrons exploding from an atom, the world came to recognize a truly bitter sorrow. “For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost!” If
you
can't
remember
how
I
died
remember
how
I
lived

 and
if
you
can
find
it
in
your
heart
to
forgive

 know
that
the
piece
of
brain
that
had
to
fall

 never
affected
my
love
for
you
at
all

 I'm
gonna
play
this
thi…
 The
record
skips
 I'm
gonna
play
this
thi…
 Again.
 I'm
gonna
play
this
thi…
 
 
 I'm
gonna
play
this
thi…
 I'm
gonna
play
this
thi…
 I'm
gonna
play
this
thing
'till
they
find
a
cure...


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Part
2
 
 John
Muir,
the
famous
conservationist,
once
remarked,
“When
we
try
to
pick
out
anything
 by
itself,
we
find
it
hitched
to
everything
else
in
the
universe.”The
simple
beauty
of
the
collage
 paper
is
just
this:
every
idea,
every
event
has
a
thread
of
similarity
with
some
other
idea
or
event
in
 the
universe.
All
things
are
connected.
Moreover,
these
ideas
comment
back
and
forth
on
each
 other,
each
serving
as
a
thesis
to
the
other’s
argument.
Therefore,
as
I
constructed
my
collage
about
 Huntington’s
disease,
I
hoped
that
the
reader
would
dig
in,
shoveling
through
the
layered
ideas
set
 before
her.
I
hoped
that
she
would
eventually
put
down
the
paper
understanding
more
of
the
tone
 of
Huntington’s.
To
accomplish
this
I
explored
three
main
ideas
in
this
collage:
repetition,
 degeneration,
and
ignorance.
 
 For
a
physician,
the
most
noticeable
symptoms
presented
by
a
patient
with
HD
are
the
 repetitive
movements
called
chorea.
Therefore,
much
of
my
paper
focused
on
repetition.
The
short
 poem
regarding
the
fall
of
a
kingdom
uses
a
repetitive
style
to
illustrate
the
idea
of
the
butterfly
 effect.
While
playing
a
song,
a
record
player
malfunctions,
repeating
a
line
of
the
lyrics
several
times
 before
finally
correcting
itself.
One
can
find
repetition
in
a
nuclear
chain
reaction,
in
the
DNA
 sequence
of
the
Huntingtin
gene
and
in
the
labored
movements
of
a
dying
mother.
All
these
 coalesce
into
one
scattered
description
of
chorea.
 
 To
illustrate
in
greater
depth
the
disease’s
degenerative
process,
I
juxtaposed
the
narrative
 thread
with
threads
about
the
creation
of
the
Manhattan
Project.
Like
Jane’s
heartbreakingly
slow
 breakdown,
a
chain
reaction
is
also
degenerative.
The
nuclei
break
apart,
rocketing
out
neutrons
 that
break
even
more
nuclei.
The
entire
system
snowballs
out
of
control.

Moreover,
the
whole
 history
of
the
Manhattan
Project
illustrates
a
slow
deterioration,
starting
from
small
contained
 discoveries,
building
through
fear
of
attack
by
the
Germans,
and
finally
exploding
in
a
mushroom
 cloud
above
Hiroshima. 
 My
other
description
of
Huntington’s
considered
a
sufferer’s
ignorance
when
she
passes
the
 disease
unwittingly
to
her
child.
Jane
passed
the
disease
to
her
daughter,
Sara.
The
ribosome
 innocently
translated
a
mutated
DNA
sequence
into
a
flawed
protein
product.
The
entire
nation
is
 unaware
as
the
Manhattan
Project
conjures
up
its
destruction
at
sites
throughout
the
country.
All
of
 these
situations
illustrate
the
confusion
and
even
the
guilt
associated
with
such
ignorance. 
 While
these
connections
are
clear
throughout
the
paper,
they
represent
only
the
first
layer
 of
complexity.
Many
more
associations
lie
directly
beneath
these,
begging
to
be
woven
together
 with
the
rest
of
the
story.
That
is
the
beauty
of
a
collage;
the
writer
need
not
explicitly
state
a
thesis.
 He
must
only
present
seemingly
disjointed
ideas
and
rely
on
human
creativity
to
sew
together
a
 statement
of
truth.
As
the
reader
changes,
so
also
do
the
arguments.
As
the
reader
changes,
the
 collage
captures
loftier
observations.
 List
of
Crots
 1. A
record
player
plays
the
song
“Talkin’
Woody
Guthrie
Huntington’s
Chorea
 Blues”
by
Tom
Flannery.
Guthrie
was
a
singer­songwriter
who
died
of
 Huntington’s
disease
in
1967.

At
the
end
of
the
song,
the
record
begins
to
skip.
 Flannery,
Tom.
“Talkin’
WoodyGuthrie
Huntington’s
Chorea
Blues”.
2004.
Lyrics
accessed
 May
31,
2009.
<http://www.songaweek.com/woody/songs/huntington.html>
 2. The
development
of
the
atomic
bomb
during
the
30’s
and
40’s.
 “Leó
Szilárd.”
Wikipedia:
the
Free
Encyclopedia.
May
28,
2009.
May
29,
2009.
 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szilard>
 “Manhattan
Project.”
Wikipedia:
the
Free
Encyclopedia.
May
28,
2009.
May
28,
2009.
 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Manhattan_Project>
 Oppenheimer,
J.
Robert.

Television
interview.
1965.
Retrieved
May
28,
2009.
 <http://www.atomicarchive.com/Movies/Movie8.shtml>
 3. A
fictional
story
of
a
woman
whose
mother
is
dying
of
Huntington’s.
 
 4. A
short
poem
about
the
Butterfly
Effect.
 Gleick,
James.
Chaos:
Making
a
New
Science.
New
York:
Penguin
Books,
1987
 5. A
scientific
explanation
of
Huntington’s
disease.

 “Huntington’s
Disease.”
Wikipedia:
The
Free
Encyclopedia.
May
27,
2009.
May
29,
2009.
 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntington%27s_Disease.>
 
 
 ...
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