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Lunch Links, with a great comeback story, Charlotte dogs, planetary controversies and more

Happy Friday, loyal N.C. Policy Watch readers. Glad we made it through another week together.

For Lunch Links today, I’ve got a smorgasbord of things I’ve been reading, things I’ve been thinking about and just things I used as procrastination techniques when I should have been writing or reporting this week.

First, I had a chance to read this compelling BusinessWeek profile about the impressive woman behind several technology startups , which I stumbled across from Longreads.

The profile of Ramona Pierson, the founder of a new technology company called Declara, is one of the most amazing comeback stories I have ever heard of. Not comeback as in, she had a company that fell apart and then came back years later with another successful business. A comeback where she was so severely injured and mangled from a drunk driver running over her that no one thought she would live. Not only did she live, but she’s coped with injuries that most of us would never recover from and launched her toward enormous success.

From the article:

Passersby saved her life. One massaged her heart to keep it beating; another used pens to open her windpipe and vent her collapsed lung so she could breathe. The crude handiwork kept Pierson alive long enough to get her to a hospital.

She spent the next 18 months in a coma, being fed through a hole in her chest. Then one day, to her doctors’ surprise, she woke up. Weighing 64 pounds, she was bald, with a cubist face, metal bones, and a body covered in scars. And she was blind. The one part of her that wasn’t ruined was her mathematical mind.

And

The blindness was terrifying. But it also forced Pierson to expand her ability to solve puzzles in her mind. As she listened to her doctors and other people, she began to “see” them as what she calls “glow globs,” patterns of light with different properties. Then she recognized patterns within descriptions others gave her—such as how items were arranged in a grocery store or how the figures on a spreadsheet interconnected. “I learned to create a cognitive map of the world, sort of like The Matrix,” she says. “I see the world in my head.”

Read the whole piece, and I suspect you’ll be just as much in awe of Ramona Pierson as I now am.

On some lighter notes, the Charlotte television station WCNC had the fun idea to look at the names of all the dogs registered in the city and put up a searchable database. Most common name? Bella, with 1,311 of them in the Queen City. And, there are only 46 dogs named Spot, but one dog named Spotzilla and another named Inkspot. Who knew?

More on the amusing side, this link to letters some very upset kids wrote to top American astrophysisist Neil DeGrasse Tyson about Pluto being de-classified several years ago as a planet. They really do make some good arguments, including this one: “Some people like Pluto. If it doesn’t exist then they don’t have a favorite planet. Please write back, but not in cursive because I can’t read in cursive.” Love it, love it, love it.

Here’s a link to a very engaged North Carolina youngster, 11-year-old Hallie Turner who is helping hold a march about climate change this weekend in Raleigh. More information here.

Finally, here’s a video comedian Jimmy Fallon did with the Roots and the “cast” of Sesame Street commemorating the 44th anniversary of the show. Spoiler: Cookie Monster definitely takes a selfie with his cell phone. And eats it.

One Comment


  1. Emma

    September 28, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Looks like the JW Pope Foundation won the State Policy Network Award this week at the #SPNAM. It must be for sabotage governing because nothing good is happening here.

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