24 May 2011


O'BAMA'S IRISH ROOTS. I've kidded around about the similar sound between our president's surname and a typical Irish name, but it turns out that Barack Obama does indeed have ancestral ties in Ireland. It's true that the president's surname comes from his Kenyan father, and that when spoken aloud, it sounds like a typically Irish name. But it's also true, as reported by Reuters, that Barack Obama can trace part of his ancestry to the tiny Irish village of Moneygall, which lies in both County Offaly and County Tipperary, south west of Dublin. As part of his tour of Europe, Obama visited Ireland, where he was grandly treated like a long-lost son. Not since John F. Kennedy has an American president been so welcomed in Ireland, whose current economic struggles Obama addressed directly. He even offered the signature phrase from his 2008 presidential campaign, translated to Gaelic -- "This little country that inspires the biggest things -- your best days are still ahead. And Ireland, if anyone ever says otherwise, remember that whatever hardships winter may bring, springtime is always just around the corner. And if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed, 'Is feider linn' (Yes we can)."

The president is a popular figure in Ireland, and rightfully so.

BRAIN MYTHS. Thanks to Andea Kuszewski for posting this link from Smithsonian.com, Top Ten Myths About The Brain. I'll provide a few teaser statements, and you can click on the article to read more about those that pique your interest.

1. We use only 10 percent of our brains.

2. "Flashbulb memories" are precise, detailed, and persistent.

3. It's all downhill after 40 (or 50, or 60, or 70).

4. We have five senses.

5. Brains are like computers.

6. The brain is hard-wired.

7. A conk on the head can cause amnesia.

8. We know what will make us happy.

9. We see the world as it is.

10. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.

BONUS FEATURE. I came across a wonderful video posted in Roger Ebert's Journal at the Chicago Sun-Times. In it, a young black woman delivers an impassioned and contentious response to pop singer Beyonce's song "Girls Who Run The World". As Ebert notes, this young woman has clarity and conviction .... and as I note, we need many more like her.

No comments:

Post a Comment