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

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Post-wedding blues: Uh oh for life?

(Public Domain)
As the excitement of the wedding and honeymoon fades, the reality of a lifetime together begins to sink in.

For some, this could be a period of “Uh oh, what did I get myself into?”  Thoughts such as these could make a person feel tremendously guilty.

However, in many ways they are perfectly normal.  After all, marriage can be a rite of passage from “adolescence” to adulthood.  With that transition comes the perception (and often the reality) of giving up independence and adventure.

Nevertheless, this transition doesn’t have to be such an either/or.  Katherine Schreiber of Greatest offers suggestions for combining the best of both phases of life.

These tips include the following: Continue to incorporate adventure into your life, with your spouse and on your own.  Do not forsake those creative endeavors that “defined” you as a single person.  Speak with your partner about marital fears, and work on them together.  If needed, seek counseling help.    


Copyright October 8, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Would moving microbes on Mars make sounds?

A Rotifer    (Image by Bob Blaylock) 
Let's face it:  Detecting the presence of microbes on Mars might not be as easy as spotting the movements of little green men.

Nevertheless, scientists are well on their way to figuring out how to hear those microbes wiggle.  Leonard David of reports on “a new microphone technology called the remote acoustic sensor (RAS).” 

The RAS is allegedly capable of “capturing sounds within extreme and often inaccessible aerospace environments.”  Its detector is “sensitive to small audio-frequency variations in electromagnetic energy.”

Yes, but how small?  According to RAS Lead Technologist Dan Slater, this device has already recorded the “acoustic activity produced by a 75-micron (0.003 inches) rotifer, a type of protozoan, of the genus Cothurnia.”  


Copyright October 7, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Neutrinos couldn't fool them

Inside of MiniBooNE Neutrino Detector  (Public Domain)
Ace “detectives” Arthur McDonald of Canada
and Takaaki Kajita of Japan recently won the Nobel Prize in physics for catching on to the “chameleon-like” characteristics of neutrinos.

Long thought to be without mass, neutrinos are
forged within nuclear reactions.  As they “whiz
through the universe at nearly the speed of light” they morph from one identity to another (kind of like Clark Kent and Superman).

Although scientists now know that neutrinos can have mass, researchers are still trying to figure out just “what the actual mass of the neutrino is.”  Physicists are also wondering whether there might be even more than the three known types of neutrinos.

Such conundrums will be tackled by future pioneers.  For now, it remains fulfilling to contemplate the wonders of Kajita’s and McDonald’s discoveries.


Copyright October 6, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 5, 2015

Core identity: Moral or cognitive?

(Kohlberg's Model of Moral Development)
We often think of identity in terms of what people do or know, rather than in terms of who they fundamentally are.

However, researchers at Arizona and Duke Universities have concluded that true identities remain essentially in tact until severely-impaired people become “stripped of their moral characteristics – i.e., courage, kindness, and honesty…”

This conclusion is based upon feedback from caregivers of patients suffering with “either Alzheimer’s, fronto-temporal dementia (FTD), or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).”   

Scientific American also affirms that "identity is not what we know, but what we stand for.”


Copyright October 5, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Prison food: Cruel punishment?

Rare in Prisons   (Photo by Ali ringo)
Being confined to a cell is bad enough, having to depend upon most prison fare for sustenance is worse yet.

Samantha Olson of Medical Daily reports on the disclosures of an inmate, Brent Kostner, who has spent 43 years behind bars.  Kostner stated that prison food has gotten “progressively worse and worse and worse.”

Although budget cuts have intensified the problem, prison food has never been all that healthful.  There is an often-used “re-rack system” that freezes and re-serves “95 percent of uneaten food.” 

Kostner points out that “questions of ethical standards” can certainly be raised.  Not only do prison meals “lack basic dietary necessities,” but they also generally lack fresh fruits and vegetables.

Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Health food regulations that apply to the general public do not necessarily apply to prisoners.

After Olsen tried eating a prison-oriented diet for just a week, she noted that this regimen had terribly affected her ability to “concentrate, exercise, sleep and eat. 

Sounds cruel and inhumane, to say the least…


Copyright October 4, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Reality trumps science once again

Black Hole with Corona   (NASA/JPL artistry)
Science can be really helpful when it comes to solving parts of the universal puzzle.  Nevertheless, when looking at the big (gigantic) picture, science often falls woefully short.

Such was recently the case when scientists
discovered the “mother” of all known black holes.  CNN reports that researchers “detected a supermassive black hole at the center of a newly found galaxy that’s far bigger than current theories allow.”

According to current theories about how “galaxies evolve,” this huge hole is “30 times larger than expected for this size of galaxy.”  New theories will now need to be devised in order to explain why the old ones didn’t quite work.


Copyright October 3, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pope: This shall pass, but that won't

Pope Francis    (Photo from Agencia Brasil)
Throngs of fans notwithstanding, Pope Francis remains more at heart the pastor than the celebrity.

Keenly recognizing the worldly wisdom of “This too shall pass,” Francis fixes his gaze upon that which will be steadfast as all else falls away.

When a reporter recently asked him whether being a “star” was beneficial for the Church, the pontiff replied, “The media uses this term, but there is another truth – how many stars have we seen go out and fall.  It is a fleeting thing.”

The pope then immediately added, "...being a ‘servant of the servants of God’ does not pass.”  Philip Pullella of Reuters explains that this “servant” description is actually one of the pope’s official titles.


Copyright October 2, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved