Culture

Idol Worship Ends in Disaster

As idolatry always does. This in via Sky news:

One person has been killed and six others injured after a balcony collapsed during a Hindu procession in India.

An idol of the god Ganesha was being paraded through the streets of Mumbai.

More than 50 people were standing on the balcony of an old building which could not hold their weight.

It happened during an 11-day festival which is celebrated in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Karnataka, as well as western Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Hundreds of thousands of Ganesha idols are worshipped during the Ganesha Chaturthi festival.

The celebrations finish with the statues being immersed in the nearest source of water – which includes wells, ponds, tanks, rivers and the sea.

There is a video of the actual incident too.

Culture

Glow in the Dark Cats

Fox News reports:

Cats that can glow in the dark from a new genetic  engineering technique are helping scientists study molecules that could stop AIDS,  researchers announced Sept. 11.

So far, the researchers have created three  genetically engineered kittens that can glow green and pass this gene onto their  offspring. They explained that cats are much better models for AIDS viruses than  are mice and other animals.

In addition to opening a window into the virus in  humans, the cat research may end up helping the felines themselves, the  researchers said…

Read more here.

Also, I see that glow in the dark dogs exist as well!

Culture

Sponge Bob Square Pants a Bad Influence?

Never! This can only be something that evil Plankton thought up!

A research study has found that watching even nine minutes of the fast-paced cartoon can have immediate negative effects on a preschooler’s brain function.

Compared with children who watched a sleepier cartoon or children who watched none, four-year-olds who watched the frenetic show did significantly worse on a series of tests measuring the brain’s executive function, the umbrella term for the collection of skills including attention, working memory and self-regulation that are strongly associated with academic success…

In the experiment, psychology researchers at the University of Virginia asked three groups of four-year-olds to either sit and draw, watch part of a PBS show “about a typical U.S. preschool boy,” or watch part of an episode of a “very popular fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea,” the authors wrote in the paper. (While the SpongeBob reference is obvious, Dr. Christakis says the PBS show is likely Caillou.)

After a number of cognitive tests, children who watched SpongeBob scored about 10 per cent lower than the other two groups.

Dr. Christakis says the likeliest explanation is overstimulation. The slower show changed scenes on average every 34 seconds, while the speedy clip changed every 11 seconds. Dr. Christakis calls this “supernatural pacing.”

“You’re asking your brain to process something it’s not well suited to. And it’s tired,” he says.

Dr. Christakis notes that more research is needed to answer many questions, including whether these effects are long lasting.

“At a minimum, parents shouldn’t have their kid watch SpongeBob before they take the kindergarten entrance test,” he jokes.

(HT)

I’ll go on record here and say that I for one think Sponge Bob is such a cute little fellow, and he is about the only thing really worth watching on those terrible little screens that they have on the seat in front of you when you’re sitting on a long flight.

Oh and by the way, his fan club is here.

Bible Archaeology

Ancient Byzantine Anchor Discovered in Israel

Speaking of accidental archaeological discoveries:

Two lifeguards found an ancient 600-pound metal anchor off the coast of Bat Yam, next to Tel Aviv, leading to the discovery of two others.

Arutz Sheva reports:

The anchor dates back to the Byzantine period of approximately 1,500 years ago and measured at 2.1 meters (nearly seven feet) long. It was found buried in the sand only 100 feet from shore.

The lifeguards originally thought the anchor was modern but after realizing it may be an archeological find, Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) officials examined it and certified it as ancient find.

Further explorations in the area uncovered an identical anchor and a stone anchor, much older.

IAA maritime archeologist Dror Felner said that the discoveries raise the possibility that boats anchored in the area, a fact unknown in the past. Another possibility is that the anchors were from boats that were out at sea and sought refuge from sudden storms.

He said the metal anchor apparently has not been used and may have been stored in ships as a reserve.

The well-preserved state of the anchors was attributed to their apparently having been buried deep in the oxygen-free environment in the sand until recently having reached closer to the surface.

HT

Bible Archaeology

Photos: Accidental Archaeological Discoveries

Some are relevant to the subject matter of this blog. Some not. All are interesting:

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of over 800 Biblical texts made of animal skin and papyrus. Dating back to around 2,000 years ago, between the years 200 B.C. and 70 A.D., the scrolls could well be the oldest Biblical documents in existence and have deepened historians’ understanding of religious history.

These documents may have been lost to history had a Bedouin shepherd named Muhammed edh-Dhib and his cousin not stumbled upon the first manuscripts along the northern shore of the Dead Sea at a remote site known as Qumran in 1947. The last fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection was uncovered in the mid-1950s.

Although the scrolls have been extensively studied and translated, one big mystery remains: Who exactly wrote them?

The rest of the discoveries can be checked out here.

Church

Prayer at the Beginning of the Week

Let’s start the week off with a prayer:

As Morning breaks, I think of you, O Lord,
and my desire is to serve You joyfully.

With gladness, I consecrate this day to Your Sacred Heart,
and offer whatever joys and sacrifices may come my way.

Thank You for the graces You will send,
all the love, all the beauty,
and the ways You will answer my prayers.

Today, may I love my enemies,
and treat others as I would ask to be treated;
may I forgive seventy times seven and show mercy;
may I welcome the prodigal,
have compasion for the Samaritan;
be a peace maker
and love my neighbor unconditionally.

Take all my heart, and mind and strength, O Lord,
that this day may be truly lived
for Your greater honor and glory
and for the salvation of souls.

Amen.