The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: November 3, 2018
Welcome to our first brunch of November 2018. We’re past Halloween and Reformation Day. Many of us celebrate All Saints this Sunday. The season is getting darker, but we’ll get a bit more light soon on how politics here in the U.S. will trend going forward. We’ll honor our U.S. military veterans this month as the UK commemorates Remembrance Day with poppies. And then Thanksgiving, the end of this current Church Year cycle, and on into Advent. Thanks for joining us as we enter this auspicious month.
Public service announcements…
Don’t forget to set your clocks back tonight!
U.S. citizens: Don’t forget to VOTE next Tuesday!
Yeah CT! An article worthy of Michael Spencer…
We did not run our normal annual Halloween post from Michael Spencer this year, but I found a wonderful substitute at Christianity Today by Dr. Anderson M Rearick III.
“It’s Satan’s Holiday, Dr. Rearick,” affirmed one of my students. “Didn’t you know?”
Well, no, I didn’t know. And I am reluctant to give up what was one of the highlights of my childhood calendar to the Great Impostor and Chief of Liars for no reason except that some of his servants claim it as his.
I have always considered Halloween a day to celebrate the imagination, to become for a short time something wonderful and strange, smelling of grease paint, to taste sweets that are permissible only once a year. How wonderful to be with other children dressed up as what they might grow up to be, what they wished they could be, or even what they secretly feared. All of us, dreams and nightmares, were brought together on equal footing, going from door to door to be given treats and admired for our creativity. How delightful to go to parties with doughnuts, apples, brown cider, and pumpkin cakes—and to hear spine-tingling ghost stories and feel our hearts skip a beat when the teller grabbed for us.
…If we give up All Hallows Eve, we lose the delight of God’s gift of imagination and we condemn the rest of society to a darker Halloween because our laughter will not be there to make the devil run.
The doctor who treated the synagogue shooter…
One of the heroes who emerged during the tragedy at Tree of Life Synagogue was Jeff Cohen, president of Allegheny General Hospital. Dr. Cohen, who is Jewish, led the medical team who tended to Robert Bowers after he was shot multiple times by police taking him into custody on Saturday.
Despite the fact that Bowers was still shouting “I just want to kill Jews!” as he was wheeled into the emergency room, Dr. Cohen responded by saying, “My job isn’t to judge him … my job is to care for him.”
Dr Cohen also praised other Jewish workers at the Allegheny General Hospital, where the gunman was treated.
“Many of the people who attended to him were Jewish. And they’re heroes,” he said.
Protecting the wilderness…
We talk about the wilderness as a metaphor a lot here on Internet Monk. It is one of the most poignant and effective images in scripture, one which people throughout human history have evoked when describing certain life experiences.
Now, let’s talk about the real wilderness areas on this planet. The first map of Earth’s intact ecosystems show that just five nations are responsible for most of them.
Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have for the first time produced a global map that sets out which countries are responsible for nature that is devoid of heavy industrial activity.
It comes ahead of the conference of parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Egypt in November where signatory nations are working towards a plan for the protection of biodiversity beyond 2020.
Conservationists are calling for a mandated target for wilderness conservation that will preserve the planet’s vulnerable ecosystems.
The UQ and WCS study, published in the journal Nature, identifies Australia, the US, Brazil, Russia and Canada as the five countries that hold the vast majority of the world’s remaining wilderness.
…The researchers say that the planet’s remaining wilderness can be protected “only if it is recognised within international policy frameworks”.
They’re calling for an international target that protects 100% of all remaining intact ecosystems.
“It’s achievable to have a target of 100%,” Watson said. “All nations need to do is stop industry from going into those places.”
He said the five countries responsible for most of the world’s remaining wilderness had to provide leadership and could act to protect these areas through legislation or by offering incentives to businesses that do not erode nature.
John Robinson, the executive vice-president for global conservation at WCS, said wilderness would only be secured globally “if these nations take a leadership role”.
Parkinson’s Disease may start in your gut…
As a hospice chaplain, I meet people suffering from all kinds of terminal diseases and conditions. Of all the conditions, one I would rather not ever have to deal with is Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive nervous system disorder. If any of you have cared for loved ones or neighbors with a severe form of Parkinson’s, you know how devastating it can be for patient and caregivers.
It has long been thought that Parkinson’s, a brain disease in which certain neurons gradually break down or die, is linked somehow to problems in the gastrointenstinal system. Now scientists have found some intriguing new information.
The international team of scientists reviewed two datasets, including a large registry from Sweden, and found that removal of the appendix was associated with a decreased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. They also found that the human appendix contains clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein in a form associated with the disease. There’s more work to be done, and the authors are not advocating that people preemptively remove their appendixes, but they hope that the research could provide a pathway towards treatment.
“There’s potential for [gastrointestinal]-tract based therapies that could block the formation and spread of alpha-synuclein clumps as future, early, and preventative treatments for Parkinson’s disease,” professor Viviane Labrie from the Center for Neurodegenerative Science at the Van Andel Research Institute in Michigan said in a press teleconference.
…The team…analyzed surgical human appendix samples and found that they contained alpha-synuclein proteins—including shortened and mis-folded alpha-synucleins like the ones found in Lewy bodies.
Perhaps, and according to experimental evidence, “it can travel up the nerve that connects the G.I. tract to the brain,” says Labrie. “And if it were to enter the brain, it can seed and spread from there and have neurotoxic effects that could eventually lead to Parkinson’s disease.”
…John Woulfe, a scientist from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute’s Neuroscience Program, said: “This research is important because it provides some support for the idea that Parkinson’s disease may be initiated outside of the brain and, specifically, in the appendix.” He said he found the study results convincing.
Pictures from the Week…
Midterm Election Crafts…
Just in time for this Tuesday (don’t forget to vote!!!) — According to an article in the New York Times, Etsy, the online craft store, has in recent years become a clearinghouse for homemade political paraphernalia. Here are some of the current election items available.
This last one is my personal favorite. Here is the background:
Jonathan Crow, a programmer in Silicon Valley, started drawing all the vice presidents with octopuses on their heads when he was laid off in 2013. He thought the goofiness of the animal was a good match for the goofiness of the role, which he described as “the ultimate dead-end job.”
Expecting that Mrs. Clinton would win the presidency, Mr. Crow planned to release this portrait of her running mate on election night. Of course, it was not to be. Still, Mr. Crow said, he has sold 11 of the prints since, to “people who wanted to live in an alternate universe where he became vice president.”
Great recent headlines from…
This week in music…
Jon Pareles’s review in the New York Times says, ‘The passage of time, tenacious love, a life on the road and inevitable mortality suffuse “She Remembers Everything,” Rosanne Cash’s new album. “From this point on there’s nothing certain/except there’s not many miles to go,” she sings in one of the album’s most upbeat songs, the country-rocker “Not Many Miles to Go.” And in “Everyone But Me,” a solemn piano hymn, she counsels, “Our strange and beautiful lies/Fade and turn to dust.” Cash is 63, and she is neither pretending otherwise nor regretting where she stands right now.’