From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Letterman set dumped: So much for fame

Ramsesses II (The British Museum)
The applause from David Letterman’s final show had not even grown cold before workmen began hauling off pieces of his iconic stage set.

Most of these remnants were being sent to the nearest dumpster, rather than to the Smithsonian.

Letterman, who during his last hurrah joked about saving some accolades for the funeral, knows all too well the fickle fingers of fame. 

One of his farewell jokes went something like this:  I’m beginning to think that I won’t be getting the Tonight Show.’

Fox News reports that onlookers gawked as “blocks of blue stage and hacked up pieces of the iconic New York City bridges that made up the set of the ‘Late Show’” were tossed to the street.

If there were a poet in the crowd, he would have uttered:  Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! A philosopher might have echoed:  This too shall pass… 


Copyright May 22, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Aliens: On knowing we know not

'Grey Alien'  (Image by LeCire)
To know that we know not could be a step in the right direction. 

Natalie Wolchover of Live Science takes this step when analyzing the many theories concerning extraterrestrials.

Wolchover states that we really have no clue as to whether aliens actually exist, let alone how they might look if they do.

They won't necessarily be "soft, squishy and big on mucus.”  Nor will they make it their immediate priority to gobble us up.  Who’s to say they could even digest us?

Most likely “immune to Earth’s bacteria,” they won’t succumb to the first microbe that comes their way. 

Contrary to popular theories, aliens are probably not our long-lost ancestors.  According to Stephen Hawking, they are more likely our future enemies. 

If so, they may attack us with AI technology, rather than with self-revealing methods.  Such invaders might never set “foot” on Earth.  After all; a civilization advanced enough to target us would probably instead send robots.


Copyright May 21, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Together forever? Shared mind

(Public Domain)
When brains (along with hearts, hands, bathrooms, bank accounts, etc.) mingle long enough, a phenomenon known as
“shared mind” develops.

Rin Brodwin of Business Insider reports that a new language might even emerge.  This can include “everything from   inside jokes to nicknames,” the more the merrier.

Self-editing tends to diminish, and stream of consciousness thrives.  In other words, long-term intimates are far more likely to “talk fluidly and naturally” with one another than with others they encounter.

Such partners begin to sound alike over time.  This “emotional contagion” includes accents, speech rhythms and text structures.

They even start to look alike.  This occurs via mirroring one another’s “gaze, body sway” and other “little mannerisms…”


Copyright May 20, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Braggarts: Empathetically challenged

Step right up...   (Brooklyn Museum photo)
Have you ever been in the company of those who go on and on about their (real and imagined) accomplishments? 

Have you ever noticed how quickly they lose interest when the spotlight shifts to other topics?

Tia Ghose of Live Science reports that braggarts have “trouble imagining how they would feel if the situations were reversed.”  In other words, they have difficulty empathizing with listeners who grow “annoyed, upset or angry” from an overabundance of self-promotion.

Michael Norton of the Harvard Business School explains, “I think we tend to be pretty self-focused; we tend to not understand that other people think differently about the world.”

In other words, we (all) tend to be empathetically challenged.  We find it difficult to walk a mile in another’s moccasins. Nevertheless, the world could be a lot more peaceful if we took a few such steps each day.


Copyright May 19, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 18, 2015

Average attention span: Goldfish wins

Huh?      (Public Domain)
People have often attributed the lack of privacy in today’s world to a “fishbowl” sort of lifestyle.

It turns out that life in a fishbowl is not only transparent, but also scattered.  In other words, many modern-day people have less of an attention span than even a goldfish.

Kevin McSpadden of TIME reports that the attention span of a goldfish averages nine seconds.  A new study from Microsoft reveals that “people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds.”

And Microsoft should know, since it is often “the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain” that causes the mind to hop around like a bunny on steroids…


Copyright May 18, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved


Sunday, May 17, 2015

NASA's Webb

Infrared Telescope Image  (NASA photo)
Whereas Charlotte’s Web loomed large in its own little corner of the universe, NASA’s Webb will cover a lot more territory.  A whole lot more…

As the Hubble Space Telescope nears the end of its uber-impressive life cycle, NASA has been priming the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to take its place.

NASA representative Amber Straughn recently explained to Mashable that the even more powerful Webb “will once again revolutionize the way we understand the universe.”

Because of Webb's ability “to see the universe in infrared wavelengths of light,” humans will soon be peering through cosmic dust “in order to see the star formations beneath.” 

This infrared vision will allow for an even better understanding of “the first galaxies that popped into existence in the early days of the universe.”  A sort of cosmic archaeology, if you will…

Webb’s infrared capabilities will also assist scientists in studying exoplanetary atmospheres.  Such life-indicating molecules as water vapor and methane can best be detected within those longer


Copyright May 17, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Saturday, May 16, 2015

'Hand of God' revives brain-dead teenager

(Chart by Delldot)
Despite her youth, 15-year-old Taylor Hale had been given up for dead.

Woman’s Day reports that Hale “suffered a severe brain injury” after taking a fall.  This was complicated by a subsequent “brain hemorrhage,” making Hale’s overall prognosis quite dismal.

A portion of Hale’s brain had even “dipped into her spinal canal.”  Doctors then made the pronouncement that she “would never wake up again.”

It seems, however, that God had other plans.  Shortly after this “death sentence,” Dr. Jeff Stickel stopped by.  Stickel was not only a friend of Hale’s family, but also a chiropractor.

He had felt prompted by God to somehow “treat” Hale.  Since standard chiropractic techniques did not seem applicable at that point, Stickel simply placed his hand on Hale’s neck and “prayed to God that Taylor would recover.”

Stickel explained, “I could feel [her] life force in my fingers.”  He then went on to pray while feeling Hale’s skull.

That same day, doctors had been scheduled to remove Hale from life support, which they did. Amazingly, Hale “started to try to breathe on her own for the first time.”

Later that day, Hale “mumbled words and moved her eyes.”  These incredible responses defied all medical odds.

After intensive rehabilitation, Hale is currently “walking, talking and even driving on her own.”  Although she is very grateful for the medical help she’s received, Hale emphatically states:  God can save people…  God did most of the saving.


Copyright May 16, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke    All Rights Reserved