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The ‘WOW’ Factor  
By Bonnie Boswell  Contributing Writer
Published July 28, 2022

Bonnie Boswell (Karen Steyr)

It’s been said that if we look at our situation with ordinary reason, there is not the slightest chance to win.  Rather, it’s the change of the human heart that ultimately determines our victory.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I find the on-going barrage of news events like the clear and present danger of climate change, on-going gun violence, racism, the threat to our democracy and women’s rights often overwhelming – even debilitating.

But, I’ve been refreshed by two recent experiences, that I now call the “wow” factor, to keep me going.  One “wow” factor happened this spring when I went to the Marine Biology Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

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I wanted to see MBL because my aunt’s father-in-law, Ernest Everett Just, worked there as a young African American scientist in the early part of the 20th century. Although Dr. Just felt the bruises of racism, he was able to produce cutting edge research on cell biology that is still being used today.

During my visit to MBL, a friend and I were given a tour of the laboratory. There we saw a display of butterflies with wings that looked EXACTLY like leaves! (Wow!) And in the same display, another group of butterflies sported wings so transparent that they became invisible when landing on a tree.

All this information was passed along from one generation to another, without words or human “intelligence,” in such a way as to perfectly protect the species. Then, we learned squid had the ability to naturally “edit” or change genetic information in RNA protein.

Who knew? (Wow!) Scientists are investigating what squid know so we can eventually correct diseases of the eye, liver, and central nervous system.
Another “wow” factor happened when I saw the pictures delivered by the Webb telescope from outer space. We can now see galaxies that existed 4.6 billion years ago. How does that happen?

So, there’s plenty of “wow” to go around: a newborn baby, an Aaron Douglas painting, Alvin Alley’s “Revelations.”  We all have our own ‘wow” moments—revelations that go beyond our perceptions but nonetheless refresh our humanity. Let’s celebrate them.

Watch Bonnie Boswell Reports on KCET Fridays at 2:50pm or go to www. kcet.org/bonnieboswellreports.

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Categories: Opinion
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