Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic
Dé, Cách 'na suan dís araon.
Dís is dílse 'faire le spéis
Naíon beag, leanbh ceansa 'gus caomh.
Críost, 'na chodladh go sámh.
Críost, 'na chodladh go sámh.
[ Lyrics found at ]

Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic
Dé, Aoirí ar dtús chuala 'n
scéal. Allelúia aingeal ag glaoch.
Cantain suairc i ngar is i gcéin.

Críost an Slánaitheoir Féin.
Críost an Slánaitheoir Féin.

Silent night, night of God's son,
Everyone is asleep, the pair together.
The most faithful pair, watching with hope
A little baby, a mild and gentle child.

Christ, calmly asleep.
Christ, calmly asleep.

Silent night, night of God's son,
Shepherds were first to hear the tale.
The angels crying out Alleluia.
Lovely chanting near and far.

Christ, the saviour himself.
Christ, the saviour himself.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Theology Can Be Tough

The Children's Director at church decided to reward the kids with a pizza party if they learned X # of questions from the Children's Catechism (# depends on age of student). Quarto (age 6) learned 19 of his 20 questions but was stuck on "What is God?" The answer is "God is a spirit and has not a body like man." I was trying to help him the other day:

Me: "What is God?"

Quarto: "God is a.... a..."

Me: "Ssss.."

Quarto: "God is a... sin?"

Primo: (as an aside to me) "Ooooh... he's going straight to hell."

Then we all burst out laughing. (We figure he was thinking he had a 50/50 shot since the two big religious "S" words he knows are "sin" and "spirit.")

We kept working on it (obviously), and yesterday he didn't even wait until class to tell his teacher (the Children's Director) the answer. He ran up to her in the hallway, mouth full of doughnut, and yelled, "GodisaspiritandhasnotabodylikemancanIgotothepizza party!?" LOL!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Poor Guy

As reported in The New York Times:

The director Roman Polanski was released from custody on $4.5 million bail and transferred to house arrest in the upscale ski resort of Gstaad Friday pending a judicial ruling on an American request for his extradition.

Mr. Polanski is wanted in the United States on charges dating to 1978 that he fled the country to avoid sentencing for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977...

Mr. Polanski will be restricted to the house and grounds of his chalet but is free to receive visitors and “whether he wants to show himself or hide in the chalet is up to him,” Mr. Galli said.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Brain Observatory

In 1953, Henry Molaison (soon to go down in history as "H.M." to protect his privacy) underwent brain surgery to eliminate the occurrence of dangerous seizures. Following his surgery, two facts became apparent to his doctors:

1) the surgery was successful at eliminating his seizures

2) Mr. Molaison was now incapable of creating new memories

This second realization was a landmark discovery in brain science, and Mr. Molaison consented to tests and observation for the rest of his life which have allowed scientists to develop understanding, proceedures, and techniques that would improve the lives of countless other human beings. (It had been previously thought that memories were created through universal brain processes, but Mr. Molaison's inability to create new memories after the removal of two narrow, inch-long plugs revealed that memories are indead created in very small, distinct areas of the brain. Over time, however, Mr. Molaison was able to become increasingly proficient at new tasks, revealing that an area of the brain completely distinct from the memory-creation areas is instrumental in the learning process.)

Mr. Molaison died on December 2, 2008. On December 2, 2009, Mr. Molaison's unplanned but generous contributions to science and humanity began anew when neuroscientists began slicing, sampling, and mapping his brain in a project that has been dubbed Project H.M.

Even more fascinating - the scientists are chronicalling the historical, painstaking proceedure live online. You can watch their daily progress online at The Brain Observatory website.

If you would like to read more about the project and Mr. Molaison, you can do so here.