Noteworthy News – February 9, 2009


February 9, 2009

alcatraz I thought this was a joke – but apparently not. Have any of you been to Alcatraz? It is not only a National Park, but the state of this relic suggests to me a certain lack of, um, security. Here is more about the “controversy.”

john-updike Since John Updike’s recent death, there has been a lot of articles about this Pulitzer Prize winning author. He wrote his fair share of short stories and novels, but he was also a literary critic. In June 2006, Critical Mass featured an article about John Updikes Rules for Reviewing that is worth reading – especially for bloggers who like to review books on their blogs.

smoky (Smokey photo: copyright Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, Inc.) Do you remember this story? Smokey was rescued from the fires in Shasta County last summer by a fire fighter…his little paws were burned and he needed extensive medical care  – which he received through the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center. The center kept a blog about Smokey which is loaded with videos and photos. The best news is that Smokey was released back to the wild last week.

bannedbooks More about banned books from Fahrenheit 451 blog.

espresso_still_life Are you a coffee drinker like I am? Then you might be interested to know there are stovetop espresso makers out there which are absolutely gorgeous. But I have a question…how do these work exactly? Anyone know?

brain_glow Check out this interesting study by Washington University which discovered that certain parts of readers’ brains lit up when reading about certain activities. “For instance, if a character pulled a light cord in the story, the frontal lobe region, which controls grasping motions, would increase in activity.” So simply reading about an action causes our brains to act as if we are doing that action. Maybe an alternative to exercise!?!?

So have you found anything interesting in the news lately? Please share!!!

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  1. Thanks for posting the link to Updike’s review rules. I think my blog will be better if I follow them so I will give it a try.

    • mari on February 9, 2009 at 14:40

    The Alcatraz story is interesting/ I hadn’t heard about that. Seems very silly and very unrealistic. I have been there many times, along time ago on school trips, and back then the place is in controlled ruins. As Pelosi said, I don’t thing those Congressmen know what they are talking about. Probably never been there.

    • Isabel on February 9, 2009 at 15:09

    Here’s an article that Updike wrote:

    I like the idea of the brain reacting to words. Very cool.

    So, if I read about someone climbing Mt Everest, can I skip going to the gym that day?

    • Lexi on February 9, 2009 at 16:36

    My fiance’ is Cuban, and he likes his Cuban coffee. He got one of the stovetop espresso makers to have a jolt of caffeine in the mornings. As far as I can tell, you pack the coffee into the bottom part, which detaches, and put the water in the top carafe, then set it on the stove to boil. There’s a sieve-like strainer between the two parts, to combine the coffee and water.

    He seems to like it, but I’ll take my Dunkin’ Donuts over that, anytime!

  2. maybe an alternative to exercise?? LOL!!! I would like to think so too!!

    • Lisa on February 9, 2009 at 19:57

    I saw a 2 cup (?) espresso maker for the campfire the other day. I’m so tempted to get it for this summer!

    • Wendy on February 11, 2009 at 08:54

    You’re welcome, Violette!

    Mari: Thanks for your validation 🙂 I agree – the place is in ruins…I have no idea what these guys are talking about!

    Isabel: *laughing* Yes, read Krakauer’s excellent book on Everest and you won’t have to exercise for months!!! Thanks for the link!

    Lexi: It sounds like a lot of work! Thanks for giving me some instructions…I knew *someone* would know how these things work!

    Staci: *giggling*

    Lisa: *nods* I think these would be great for camping (although some of them are pretty pricey to use over the campfire!). I use a Press for camping which works great.

  3. These are called Mirror neurons (they light up when you see someone perform an action, and when you perform an action). They have identified the neurons themselves in monkeys, and actions that resemble them in humans. They are thought to form part of the basis for our ability to empathize with others, the development of language etc. Think of the implications in the developing brain. Interesting stuff.

    • Wendy on February 16, 2009 at 09:18

    BCTea Girl: Thank you for that information – it is truly fascinating! I love learning about how our brains work…and empathy is one of those rather elusive things, don’t you think? I mean, some people have tons of it; others seem to lack it entirely. And of course, it is something developmental as very young children don’t seem to be able to generate it.

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