Saturday, October 30, 2010

The fun of fear

Some thought-provoking points about Halloween. An excerpt:

I believe Halloween is good -- not the way some people celebrate it today, as a borderline satanic ritual or a dive bomb into the depths of depravity, but in the way it has traditionally been celebrated in this country: a game designed to give the players a shiver (with a few sweets thrown into the bargain).
Because all of us -- and especially little children -- carry around so many fears, large and small, about everything from death to how the rent will be paid this month to (in the case of my oldest daughter) a sudden crack in the earth opening and swallowing us up, Halloween gives us a raucous stage for the free expression of our anxieties.

"Did you always want 11 children?"

An excellent reflection from a mom who just found out she's expecting their 11th child.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The dynamics of despair

A fantastic post by Abbot Joseph. An excerpt:

If the devil had his way, he would lead us all along a progressive path that looks something like this: sin, despondency, despair, suicide. His ultimate goal is to lead us to despair of salvation, and then to seal our doom by forever cutting ourselves off from the Source of Mercy. This is a fairly long process in most cases, but the devil really doesn’t have anything else to do, so he can apply himself diligently over the long haul to gradually lure souls away from God and then, at the right moment, zero in for the kill.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why certain baby names are popular

An interesting article. An excerpt:

Metropolis: When we look at the list of girls — Isabella, Sophia, Mia, Emily, Madison, Olivia — they are romantic names or soft names. What is behind that?
Wattenberg: You are sensing something about names. The most powerful trend in baby names is something individual parents are almost never aware of: we don’t like consonants anymore. Every parent will say I like old-fashioned names, quirky, I’m looking for something really powerful and creative. What they don’t say is, I’m really looking for a name with no two consecutive voiced consonants. That is really what America wants.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A picture of a mosquito's heart

This is amazing. Also, details about how they got the shot:

Preparing and photographing a mosquito's heart is an incredibly exacting job. A slit has to be cut into the bug's abdomen. Its stomach and other organs have to be removed. Two types of stain have to be applied to the heart and its surroundings: fluorescent green phalloidin for the muscles, and blue Hoechst stain that binds to the DNA in cell nuclei. Then the specimen is put under a microscope, and filtered light zeroes in on the stained cells.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

When the womb is empty

Great thoughts from Betty Duffy about the mixed feelings that come with successful use of NFP to avoid pregnancy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

People in "persistent vegetative states" given the ability to communicate

Very interesting. An excerpt:

The team used the fMRI scanner to measure the patient’s brain response while asking him questions. Brain signals associated with “yes” and “no” are complex and quite similar, and to overcome this problem the researchers asked the patient to imagine playing tennis for “yes” and walking through his home for “no”. Tennis movements activate regions at the top of the brain associated with spatial activities, while moving around the home is a navigational task that activates areas in the base of the brain. Using this technique the patient was able to correctly answer six test questions.