Friday, March 4, 2011

Life is funny

Ah, life. You never know what you're going to get, ya know?

I know I'm incredibly lucky to have been born where I was born, to the parents I was born to, at the time in history that I was born. Washing machines, microwaves, and iphones? Life is easy. You don't see me beating my dirty clothes against rocks in a river in the bitter cold, carrying drinking water for miles each morning, or relying on Incan chasquis to run messages from one location to another.

But my point this morning is not gratitude (although I am grateful), it's that you never know where you are going to end up, how one singular decision might affect the rest of your life.

I was mesmerized by a news story this morning about a woman scientist who set out to study heart disease in women; a noble goal. She was inspired by a close friend that died suddenly of a heart attack in her early fifties, and by the fact that although there is a abundance of data about men and heart disease, information about women lags way behind.

The scientist did what scientists do, and started studying mice and rats for answers she hoped would apply to people as well. The first step was to make the rodents menopausal. So she did; she developed a substance that would render their eggs useless.

Well this changed everything. Do you know how many people, cities, entire nations are looking for a way to curb their rat populations? Many, many, many.

Her sterilization substance, which is put into edible rat bait, is getting a lot of attention. Ten to 50% of Southeast Asian rice fields are lost to rats, so nations there are very interested in her work. So interested, in fact, that her newly formed company is opening a factory in Laos to meet the great need.

She's also met with New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority about using the product to combat the city's subway rat problem.

And she's met with leaders in other countries about curbing wild and sometimes rabid dog populations.

In fact (and this was the part of the story that really struck me) she traveled 50 hours to meet with the Dalai Lama about using the substance on dogs in Tibet, because, you know, their world view does not allow for euthanasia. But painless sterilization that does not end the animals' lives? Well, even the Buddhists are on board.

So here's the point (finally). Do you think she ever for one moment thought when she was a girl, or in college, or even five years ago that she'd invent the mouse-pause process and meet the Dalai Lama?

I highly doubt it, but as I say, life is funny...


Pat said...

wow...what a story...proves you just never know what the future will bring.
Love, Mom

looking for life's curveball in PA said...

damn, that's amazing and inspiring.

I'm sure all my ass-sitting while surfing the web will one day pay-off when I come across some random thing that the Dalai Lama finds important.

And when I do...I'll need a travel partner. Are you in?!?

PS my verification word is "miecoe" 'bout that!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, I love that! I am very patiently waiting for my own million dollar moment. The Dalai will be the gravy



Me, You, or Ellie said...

Can you *imagine*? Going from mice research to an audience with Mr. Dalai?

I would swoon.

Then offer him a vodka and grapefruit juice. *With* seltzer. And a lime.