Wednesday

"Imagine" (Song by John Lennon) 1971

"Imagine" Important Facts:
  • "Imagine" by John Lennon
  • Opening track from the 1971 album Imagine.
  • In one of his last ever interviews, John Lennon claimed "Imagine" to be as good as anything he had written with the Beatles.
  • Ranked by Rolling Stone Magazine as the 3rd greatest song of all time.
  • Geoffrey Giuliano's book Lennon in America, quotes Lennon as saying that "Imagine" was an "anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic (song), but because it's sugar-coated, it's accepted."

John Lennon and Yoko Ono Playing "Imagine" In Madison Square Garden (1972):



Imagine (Lyrics):

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

by John Lennon

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7 English Coordinating Conjunctions (Mnemonic)

The 7 English coordinating conjunctions can be remembered with the mnemonic - FANBOYS.
F ... For
A
... And
N
... Nor
B
... But
O
... Or
Y
... Yet
S
... So

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William Langland (Medieval Writer of Piers Plowman) ca 1332 - ca 1386


William Langland Demographics:
  • Name - William Langland.
  • Born - ca. 1332 (West Midlands, England).
  • Died - ca. 1386
  • Nationality - English
  • Occupation - Supposed medieval English poet & moralist.
William Langland Important Facts:
  • Moralist of the late 14th century - wrote about the decline in discipline after the Black Death.
  • The conjectured author of the 14th-century English dream-vision Piers Plowman.
  • Piers the Plowman, full title — The Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman, together with Vita de Do-wel, Do-bet, et Do-best, secundum Wit et Resoun; usually given in Latin as Visio Willelmi de Petro Plowman, &c
  • The attribution of Piers to Langland is principally based upon the evidence of a manuscript held at Trinity College, Dublin.
  • This manuscript directly ascribes 'Perys Ploughman' to one 'Willielmi de Langlond', son of 'Stacy de Rokayle.
  • Other manuscripts also name the author as 'Robert or William langland', or 'Wilhelmus W.'.
  • The Piers Plowman itself, also points towards Langland as the author.
  • Langland's authorship is now widely accepted though is not entirely beyond dispute.
William Langland's Life:
  • Almost nothing is known of William Langland himself.
  • There is alot of possible biographical data in the poem, but it is difficult to know how to assess the details.
  • The distinction between allegory and 'real-life' in Piers Plowman is not truly absolute.
  • The detailed and sophisticated level of religious knowledge in the poem also does suggest that he had some connection to the church.

Image Credit - by kevinq2000 Piers Plowman Manuscript
(cc)

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Giovanni di Michele Savonarola (Italian Physician, Humanist, Scientist) 1385-1468


Giovanni di Michele Savonarola Demographics:
  • Name - Giovanni di Michele Savonarola
  • Born - 1385 (Padua)
  • Died - 1468 (Ferrara)
  • Occupation - Physician, humanist & scientist.
  • Nationality - Italian
Giovanni di Michele Savonarola General Facts:
  • Prolific author.
  • One of the most influential people in Northern Italy during the middle of the 15th century.
  • His many medical writings were based on those of Avicenna, Aristotle, Galen, Hippocrates, & contemporary knowledge.
  • He continually stressed the importance of experience & observation.
  • His grandson, Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498), was a famous Dominican priest & leader of Florence from 1494 - 1498 (until year of his execution).
  • Rosolio Liqueur - a traditional liqueur with the sweet savor of rose petals, was reputedly invented by Michele Savonarola.
Giovanni di Michele Savonarola Professional Life:
  • Studied Medicine at the University of Padua.
  • Professor at the University of Padua.
  • Subsequently moved to Ferrara (from 55th year of age) as court physician to the Ferrara Estense court in 1440.
  • Was first to write that bandages should be placed from distal to proximal for compression therapy treatment of leg chronic venous insufficiency.
Giovanni di Michele Savonarola & Bubonic Plague:
  • Gave elaborate instructions to priests and friars in plague times.
  • Firstly they should disinfect or fumigate the patients' room.
  • They should take confessions at a distance below the patient, with a sheet soaked in vinegar & water stretched between them.
  • During the exchange, the confessor should keep a disinfectant, called a "zedoaria" in his mouth & brush his teeth with tiriarca before entering.
  • Savonarola also advised against thinking dangerous sentiments i.e. 'heavy thoughts (gran pensieri) during plague epidemics.
  • Probably produced the second most famous plague tract of the 15th century.
Giovanni di Michele Savonarola Famous Publication:
  • Practica major - it contained all the knowledge inherent in the medicine of the time "from head to foot,".
References:
S.K. Cohn Jr (2002)
The Black Death Transformed. Arnold, London.


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Savant Syndrome (Savantism)


Savant Syndrome Facts:
  • Savant syndrome is not a recognized medical diagnosis.
  • Rare condition in which persons have one or more areas of expertise, ability or brilliance that are in contrast with the individual's overall limitations. (Treffert)
  • About half of persons with savant syndrome have an autistic spectrum disorder.
  • The other half usually have another disability (i.e. developmental disability, mental retardation, brain injury, optic nerve hypoplasia, or other disease).
  • Clearly not all persons with savant syndrome have autistic disorder.
Prodigious Savants (List):
  • Alonzo Clemons - Clay sculptor
  • Amanda LaMunyon - Artistic savant
  • Boone - Clock artist
  • Brittany Maier - Blind & autistic musical savant pianist
  • Bugra Cankir - Musical Savant
  • Christophe Pillault - Artist savant
  • Derek Paravicini - blind British musician
  • Daniel Tammet - British high-functioning autistic savant
  • Ellen - Musical savant
  • Flo & Kay - Calendar calculator twins.
  • George Widener - Multiply gfted
  • George & Charles - Calendar calculator twins
  • Gilles Tréhin - Artist, author
  • Gregory Blackstock - Autistic artist
  • Henriett Seth-F. - Hungarian autistic savant, poet, writer and artist
  • Hikari Oe - Japanese autistic composer
  • James Cucek - Piano savant
  • James Henry Pullen - Gifted carpenter
  • Jonathan Lerman - American artist
  • Kim Peek - original "Rain Man", speed reader, Megasavant
  • Leslie Lemke - Blind American musician
  • Matt Savage - U.S. autistic jazz prodigy
  • Rex Lewis Clack - Blind musician
  • Richard Wawro - British artist
  • Seth Chwast - Painter
  • Stephen Wiltshire - British architectural artist
  • Temple Grandin - “Emergence labeled autistic”
  • Thomas Greene Bethune "Blind Tom" - Musical savant
  • Thristan Mendoza - Filipino marimba prodigy
  • Tony DeBlois - blind American musician
  • Wil Kerner - savant artist

Image - L'écritoire savant by domitours (cc)


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Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris)


Irrawaddy Dolphin Biology:
  • Name - Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) see image.
  • Euryhaline species of oceanic dolphin.
  • Found in discontinuous sub-populations near sea coasts, in estuaries & rivers in Bay of Bengal & SE Asia region (ie including Mekong River).
  • It is one of two species in the genus Orcaella, the other is the Australian Snubfin Dolphin.
  • Belongs to the Delphinidae family.
  • Genetically related to the Orca.
  • Thought to reach sexual maturity at 7 to 9 yrs.
  • Lifespan is ~ 30 years.
  • Communicate with clicks, creaks & buzzes - also used for echolocation.
  • Swims, making only occasional low leaps, and does not bow-ride.
  • Swimming speed - is a slow swimmer, but speeds of up to 20–25 km/hour have been reported when these dolphins are chased in a boat.
Irrawaddy Dolphin History:
  • First described by Sir Richard Owen in 1866.
  • First specimen found in 1852 from harbour of Visakhapatnam, India.
  • IUCN Red List Status - Vulnerable.
Irrawaddy Dolphin Description:
  • Similar to beluga in appearance.
  • Colour - grey to dark slate blue, paler underneath.
  • Colour patterns - None distinctive.
  • Forehead - High & rounded.
  • Beak - not present.
  • Dorsal fin - Small & rounded behind middle of back.
Irrawaddy Dolphin Common Names:
  • Burmese - Labai
  • Chilika dialect - Baslnyya Magar / Bhuasuni Magar
  • English - Irrawaddy dolphin
  • Filipino - Lampasut
  • French - Orcelle
  • German - Irrawadi Delphin
  • Indonesia - Pesut
  • Khmer - Ph’sout
  • Lao - Pha’ka
  • Malay - Lumbalumba
  • Oriya - Khem & Khera
  • Spanish - Delfín del Irrawaddy
  • Thai - pía loma hooa baht

Irrawaddy Dolphin Swimming in Mekong River:



Image Credits Encyclopedia of Life (cc)

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How Do I Love Thee (Poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning)


Interesting Facts:
  • “How Do I Love Thee?” (1845) was written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861).
  • It is probably Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s most popular love poem.
  • At the time she was being courted by the English poet, Robert Browning.
  • The poem is also titled 'Sonnet XLIII', from Sonnets From the Portuguese, and inspired by her love for Robert Browning.

How Do I Love Thee

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


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Michael Green FRS (Physicist, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, University of Cambridge)


Michael Green is Stephen Hawking's successor as the 18th Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. His post starts on 1st November 2009.

Michael Green Demographics:
  • Name - Michael Boris Green
  • Born - 22 May 1946
  • Birthplace - London
  • Nationality - British
  • Occupation - Physicist
  • Parents - Genia Green & Absalom Green.
Michael Green Facts:
  • John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Theoretical Physics at Cambridge (till 31st October 2009).
  • Professor Green is one of the original group of physicists that developed string theory - member of the "string quartet".
Michael Green Education & Professional Life:
  • William Ellis School in London.
  • Churchill College at Cambridge University - BA (1967) & PhD (1970).
  • Postdocs at Princeton, Cambridge and the University of Oxford.
  • Lecturer & Professor at Queen Mary, University of London (1978-1993).
  • John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University (July 1993 - October 2009).
  • Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at University of Cambridge (November 2009).
Michael Green Research Interests:
  • Elementary Particles
  • Quantum Gravity & Quantum Field Theory
  • Statistical Physics
  • String Theory
Michael Green Academic Plaudits:
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (1989).
  • Reported to have a scientific research impact h-index of 44.
  • Pioneer of superstring theory.
  • Discovered the anomaly cancellation in type I string theory, with collaborator John H. Schwarz, in 1984.
  • Led to the incorporation of supersymmetry with string theory - now known as superstring theory.
  • Examined Dirichlet boundary conditions in string theory - leading to the discovery of D-branes.
  • Dirac and Maxwell Medals of the Institute of Physics, UK.
  • Dirac Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Trieste).
  • Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, American Physical Society (2002).
Michael Green Interesting Online Publication:
Superstrings - Scientific American (September 1986)


Image Credit - Michael Green University of Cambridge.

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