Lessening The Brain Drain


A study at UCLA has found that the Internet is actually “good” for the brain. (And all this time, I was convinced that I was losing my mind because of it.) Researchers there have determined that internet surfing, like “solving crossword puzzles” (or opening child-proof/ tamper-proof bottles, I might add), can reduce “brain shrinkage” and related misfortunes due to aging. Lead researcher Professor Gary Small said: “The study results are encouraging, that emerging computerised technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults.” (BBC)

Speaking as a still reverberating Baby Boomer on the Road to Peaceful Nonexistence, strutting and fretting his moment upon the stage for 59 years now, computers and the Internet never cease to amaze me. When I was a child, the only laptop that I owned was an Etch-a-Sketch, and “computerization” usually took the form of Forbidden Planet‘s Robby the Robot and Lost In Space‘s B-9 Robot; that’s where it was and we presumed that 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s HAL the Computer was where it was going…which, arguably, wasn’t too good.

Computers and the accompanying Internet, apparently being taken more and more for granted by kids of all ages, are among the most remarkably complex and revolutionary inventions of human civilization. People have a device at their fingertips that should not only exercise their growing or aging minds by using it, but should allow them an endless intellectual challenge in trying to analyze how they’re using it so conveniently and suddenly in the first place.


Flashing Out of the Blue


A meteor that shattered over Chelyabinsk, Russia, today injured some 950 people, with more than 110 hospitalized, RT reports. Several victims are said to be in “grave” condition, RIA Novosti reports. The 10-ton meteor was traveling at least 33,000mph when it entered the atmosphere, experts say, according to the AP. The explosion occurred between 18 and 32 miles from ground level near the Ural Mountains. Shockwaves damaged buildings, the BBC reports, breaking glass that caused most of the injuries. via Newser

Obviously, this could just as well had happened anywhere else in the world: here in Brooklyn or wherever you reside. I believe that this is the first time a meteor strike was so vividly captured on film; striking as it did, in broad daylight, over a populated area that was camera-ready. A miracle that even more people weren’t injured; a bigger miracle that no one (according to recent reports) was killed.

raw footage video: Live Science

Imagining Legendary Moments


Today marks the 32nd anniversary of John Lennon’s murder: the passing of a legend and also of a generation. For those of us who grew up in the Sixties, we’d thought that Lennon and the Beatles were somehow immortal. Despite the tragedies of Vietnam, the Kennedys, King, as well as our own private losses and despairs, we assumed (however unconsciously) that our rock-and-roll heroes were somehow immune to life’s harsher realities; and if they could die, so could we. Even though the like of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Elvis Presley had already departed, theirs was a self-imposed trip; an end result to their own unrestrained lifestyles. Not one, of all the legends that commercialism and escapism had created in our own image, had ever been murdered.

The BBC reported, in 2008, that a Vatican newspaper had finally “forgiven” John Lennon for his remarks to a British newspaper in 1966. An off-the-cuff response to a question concerning the band’s popularity, Lennon stated that the group was more popular than Jesus and wasn’t sure if Christianity or the Beatles would die out first. “In an article praising the Beatles, L’Osservatore Romano said Lennon had just been ‘showing off.'”

Both Lennon and Jesus continued to be equally cool and respectively controversial for millions of people. Lennon later apologized for his statement, but, in the course of his apology, added that he wasn’t suggesting that the Beatles were greater than Jesus or bigger than Christianity, but that they were, at the time, more popular. This, in fact, was the truth: in 1966, one would’ve been hard-pressed to find many teenagers willing to pass up tickets to a Beatles’ concert in exchange for an audience with Pope Paul VI.

We take the various phenomena seriously that, by chance or circumstance, arise as celebrity and descend as legend. Temporal beings, enacting our vicarious deeds and evincing our sincerest hopes, for which we grant them an eternity that we ourselves aspire towards.  Indeed, whether they’re nailed to a cross or gunned down in an alleyway, they transcend the fleeting moments of a generation to the loftier heights of our fleeting existence…we all tend to show off, at times.