Another degree, and a passion realized

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Bridging the visual arts, dance, and animation, Catherine Musinsky ’86, a graphics assistant with the Museum of Comparative Zoology, will process for Harvard again this month.She earned her undergraduate degree in East Asian languages and civilizations. Now, Musinsky is a digital media arts and sciences concentrator in the Extension School’s master of liberal arts program in information technology. Her thesis, a 3-D reconstruction of skeletal and muscle movement for a kinetic and functional study of chewing in herbivores, combines her scientific focus with a lifelong love of movement and art.“Animation fascinates me because I’m a dancer, so I’m always moving,” said Musinsky, who also holds an M.F.A. degree from the Tisch School of the Arts. “I’ve been obsessed with dance ever since I was a kid, and still am.”One of Musinsky’s greatest challenges may have been how she has overcome illness by transforming a devastating experience into art. In 2006, she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. The life-threatening illness led to intense treatment, including a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, as well as several months of chemotherapy and radiation.Just a week before her surgery, Musinsky performed a dance with Lorraine Chapman The Company. “It was both a ritual preparation for the surgery and the chemical rite of passage I was about to go through,” she said.  “All told, I went through about 18 months of treatment, and I just wanted to be still — not eat, not move, just be still. It was as close to being dead as I have ever felt.”After her treatment, Musinsky struggled to come to terms with her life and body, and to find a new concept of normal. A friendship with documentary filmmaker Brynmore Williams, a multimedia and digital video specialist with the Division of Continuing Education, prompted her to embark on a film project.Inspired by the SCAR Project, a series of photographs of semi-nude women who have had mastectomies or lumpectomies, Williams envisioned a film that would focus on Musinsky and her relationship with her body after surviving cancer. The film could aid breast cancer awareness. “I was very shy about my mastectomy and reconstructive surgery,” Musinsky said. “So I asked Genevieve Levin, a henna tattoo artist, to come and do a design on the breast that had been surgically reconstructed.”The four-minute documentary film focused on the application of the henna tattoo, and a subsequent semi-nude dance performance by Musinsky. “Unchastened” has won numerous awards on the film festival circuit.“To be honest, I never really understood public nudity,” Musinsky said, laughing. “I thought people should generally keep their clothes on, and I didn’t really want to be ogled. But this project had nothing to do with that. This was about something that I was struggling with, something that I was ashamed of, and how revealing what’s hidden can take that shame away. It was really about finding acceptance with my body as it now was.”For Williams, the film’s success is directly linked to Musinsky’s openness, honesty, and vulnerability. “The fact that she surrenders so much on film prompts very revealing conversations among audience members who have dealt with breast cancer themselves,” he said. “They feel comfortable to share their own perspectives and anxieties, tell their own stories, and celebrate what they have. The most powerful thing is that, in a way, the film has helped people to see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”As Musinsky prepares — for a second time — to process in Harvard’s Commencement ceremony, she might just break into a few dance steps. “When you hear music, your body just starts to move,” Musinsky said. “When I don’t dance, I feel less human. There’s no way, at least for me, to keep still.”last_img read more

UK, Canada slap sanctions on Belarus strongman Lukashenko

first_imgLukashenko ‘has to go’ Macron on Sunday said that Lukashenko “has to go”, but has also vowed support possible mediation in the crisis by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).”Our objective is for this mediation to begin in the next few days or weeks,” Macron said, adding that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU chief Charles Michel would “push” Belarus to accept mediation.”The aim is a peaceful transition, the release of people who are in prison for their political opinions and the holding of free elections under international observation,” he said.Tuesday’s meeting with Macron was Tikhanovskaya’s most high-profile so far.She has previously addressed the UN Human Rights Council and the European Parliament and has met with EU foreign ministers and the leaders of neighboring Poland and Lithuania.Tikhanovskaya, a political novice whose blogger husband is in prison in Belarus accused of trying to overthrow the government, told AFP after the meeting that she had accepted an invitation to speak at the French parliament.Parliamentary officials said she would address the lower house’s foreign affairs committee. Britain and Canada on Tuesday became the first major nations to slap sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko over the country’s seething political crisis.The move came as Russia lashed out at what it dubbed “unprecedented external pressure” on Minsk after Lukashenko’s disputed election victory triggered massive street protests and Western condemnation.The European Union has so far failed to impose blanket sanctions on Lukashenko, with only its small Baltic members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania targeting the strongman leader and around 100 senior regime officials. ‘Difficult situation’Tikhanovskaya said the crisis should be resolved “as soon as possible” and new free and fair elections should be held by the end of the year.”[Macron] supports the idea of mediation because he understands that powerful countries need to be involved to begin negotiations with Lukashenko. He is ready to help with this,” she said.”I think he will speak with the Russian side about Belarus and will do everything possible to involve Russia in these negotiations.”Macron has said that Putin, Lukashenko’s main ally, is favourable to mediation in the Belarus crisis by the OSCE.But Putin on Tuesday said that Belarus was in a “difficult situation” and was facing “unprecedented external pressure”.Addressing a forum on the Belarusian and Russian regions, the Kremlin chief said Moscow was ready to stand by Minsk, describing ties as “timeless and all-weather”.Putin has promised to provide Lukashenko with security assistance if the political crisis worsens and gave Belarus a loan of $1.5 billion.Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov downplayed Macron’s talks with Tikhanovskaya, saying it amounted to a meeting between the “French president and a Belarusian citizen”.Topics : But French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday signaled that EU sanctions were in the offing after he promised that Paris would help foster mediation of the crisis.London and Ottawa imposed the sanctions on Lukashenko, his son and senior regime figures for a string of alleged human rights violations.Belarus has been in upheaval since a disputed August 9 presidential election in which opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya claimed victory against Lukashenko, who has ruled since 1994.The United States, European Union, Britain and Canada regard his presidency as illegitimate, but he has the backing of long-time ally Russian President Vladimir Putin. Macron met Tuesday with Tikhanovskaya in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in what was seen as a major show of support for the activist.Tikhanovskaya fled to the Baltic EU state bordering Belarus in the aftermath of the vote as mass protests in former Soviet republic were met with a brutal crackdown in which thousands were arrested.”Europe is putting itself in a position to exert pressure, through sanctions that we will have to take in the coming days and weeks,” Macron told reporters.EU leaders are preparing to adopt sanctions against Lukashenko and other top Belarusian officials at a summit later this week.last_img read more

Redknapp wary of Leicester’s pace and feels Brighton could emerge as challengers

first_imgQPR boss Harry Redknapp insists Leicester will be formidable opponents on Saturday despite their recent results.The Foxes, third in the Championship, face the leaders having drawn one and lost two of their last three league matches.But the reports Redknapp received on those games warned him to expect a tough challenge against Nigel Pearson’s team.He said: “Leicester are flying. They’re a good side and Nigel Pearson has done a great job. We’ve watched them and they’ve got pace and look a really good outfit.“They’ve had difficult games; Nottingham Forest and also Brighton, who are a team that when everyone’s fit could challenge. But Leicester will be there.“We’ve got some tough games coming up. Leicester, Forest and Watford are all interesting fixtures.”See also:Rangers midfielder rates Leicester, Nottingham Forest and Watford The goal that gave QPR victory over Leicester on their way to promotionFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Minding the Brain, or Braining the Mind?

first_imgThere’s a battle brewing over who controls your brain: nature or your mind.  Materialist scientists are recognizing that creationists are getting a foothold on this hill and “declaring war over the brain,” according to an article in New Scientist.  Psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz fired this salvo: “Materialism needs to start fading away and non-materialist causation needs to be understood as part of natural reality.”    Amanda Gefter, author of the article, also took note of the book The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist’s case for the existence of the soul by O’Leary and Beauregard.  Schwartz and Beauregard were among the speakers at an international symposium in Manhattan called Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: New Paradigms in the Science of Consciousness.  Gefter listed several fronts in the war to reclaim the mind: “Schwartz and Beauregard are part of a growing ‘non-material neuroscience’ movement,” she explained.  “They are attempting to resurrect Cartesian dualism – the idea that brain and mind are two fundamentally different kinds of things, material and immaterial – in the hope that it will make room in science both for supernatural forces and for a soul.”    After giving adequate white space for proponents of the non-materialist view (including Angus Menuge, J. P. Moreland and the Discovery Institute), Gefter clearly wanted to throw her vote to the reigning materialist paradigm on this matter of mind.  She commented on an experiment Schwartz used to support the independent existence of mind, saying, “these experiments are entirely consistent with mainstream neurology – the material brain is changing the material brain.”    In the middle of her article, Gefter got really serious:Clearly, while there is a genuine attempt to appropriate neuroscience, it will not influence US laws or education in the way that anti-evolution campaigns can because neuroscience is not taught as part of the core curriculum in state-funded schools.  But as Andy Clark, professor of logic and metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh, UK, emphasises: “This is real and dangerous and coming our way.”    He and others worry because scientists have yet to crack the great mystery of how consciousness could emerge from firing neurons.  “Progress in science is slow on many fronts,” says John Searle, a philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley.  “We don’t yet have a cure for cancer, but that doesn’t mean cancer has spiritual causes.”    And for Patricia Churchland, a philosopher of neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, “it is an argument from ignorance.  The fact something isn’t currently explained doesn’t mean it will never be explained or that we need to completely change not only our neuroscience but our physics.”To Gefter, the debate is just a quibble over words:The attack on materialism proposes to do just that, but it all turns on definitions.  “At one time it looked like all physical causation was push/pull Newtonianism,” says Owen Flanagan, professor of philosophy and neurobiology at Duke University, North Carolina.  “Now we have a new understanding of physics.  What counts as material has changed.  Some respectable philosophers think that we might have to posit sentience as a fundamental force of nature or use quantum gravity to understand consciousness.  These stretch beyond the bounds of what we today call ‘material’, and we haven’t discovered everything about nature yet.  But what we do discover will be natural, not supernatural.”Andy Clark continued his tone of alarm over this battle, calling the intelligent-design position “an especially nasty mind-virus” because it “piggybacks on some otherwise reasonable thoughts and worries.”  He argued that it is a non-sequitur to leap from the empirical evidence that we can change our brains with our minds to the conclusion that the mind is non-material.  “That doesn’t follow at all,” he said, applying his material brain to the process of logic.  “There’s nothing odd about minds changing brains if mental states are brain states: that’s just brains changing brains.”    Gefter became enough alarmed over this new front in the creation-evolution battle to suggest some strategy.  “If people can be swayed by ID, despite the vast amount of solid evidence for evolution,” she worried, “how hard will it be when the science appears fuzzier?”  She reminded scientists of criticisms that they have already been too lax in teaching the public about evolution.  It’s time to get on offense.  “Maybe now they need a big pre-emptive push to engage people with the science of the brain – and help the public appreciate that the brain is no place to invoke the ‘God of the gaps’.”Apparently the irony of this article was completely lost on Amanda Gefter and her materialist experts.  They were all using their minds to argue and debate about immaterial concepts.  If nothing more was happening than molecules bouncing around in their skulls, how could they even know what they were saying?    Remember when Mom, Dad, or some other childhood mentor showed you that when you point an accusatory finger at someone else, three other fingers are pointing back at you?  Clark just lectured us on logic.  Flanagan just lectured us on definitions.  Gefter just lectured us on God-of-the-gaps arguments.  All three have just shot their little finger-guns right back into their own skulls.  Example: Gefter dismissed Schwartz’s empirical evidence that the mind can change the brain by saying, “the material brain is changing the material brain.”  OK, class, what’s the next question?  Think about it (yes, think), [Jeopardy tune plays], and the bell rings – Aha!  Who is making the material brain change the material brain?  And who is observing the change?    Now, if you think that is just a logical trick, you have to realize that without a person doing the changing, no one would ever know a change had occurred.  This is a mind-body problem that cannot be so easily swept away.  If you could shrink yourself to the size of a cell and wander through the brain, you would no more see thought than if you wandered through Big Ben could you see time.  Time and thought live in the conceptual realm, not the material realm.  Suppose you walked through a computer chip like a pedestrian on the streets of London.  Would you see Boolean logic?  Oh, you might see certain switches light up, and perhaps you could perceive electrons in a diode or transistor junction flowing one way instead of the other.  But it is not the chip that would be sensing that logic is occurring: it would be you, the Observer.  The operation of a physical system is not the same as concept behind the system.  A system cannot tell itself the purpose of the system in a way that brings understanding.  That takes a Person.  Consider: if Amanda’s mind is not directing her argument, how could she have any free will to believe that her argument is true, and that ID is so false it should be pre-empted?  And to what is the pre-emptive strike referring, if not some well-intentioned but misguided appeal to immaterial truth and morals?    Gefter and Flanagan dismissed this all as quibbling over definitions.  But look at the fingers pointing right back at them: they suggested that any possible concept might be enveloped within the words material or natural – even things like sentience, a quantum-gravity theory of consciousness, or any future discovery of science.  “These stretch beyond the bounds of what we today call ‘material’, and we haven’t discovered everything about nature yet.  But what we do discover will be natural, not supernatural.”  This is a rescuing device to end all rescuing devices.  No matter what the evidence, they can envelop it, like The Blob, into their materialistic worldview.    OK, let’s push that envelope.  Suppose they find irrefutable evidence for angels.  Will they call them material?  Will they be a part of the “natural” universe?  Even God has a divine “nature.”  The word nature or natural is so slippery it can mean a dozen different things – including immaterial things like natural laws (Note: material things may obey natural laws, but laws are not material).  Materialists constantly invoke non-material things in their reasoning: mathematics, abstract logic, scientific methods to name just a few.  They also frequently make reference to unobservable entities – information, feedback, signal transduction, classification, reason, honesty and much, much more.  They help themselves to immaterial concepts and stuff them into their materialist bag, oblivious to who is doing the classifying.God-of-the-Gaps:  J. P. Moreland, who was mentioned in Gefter’s article, has three comeback arguments to the perennial charge that Christians fill gaps in scientific knowledge with appeals to God.  Paraphrasing, he says, (1) Christians would not expect there to be many gaps.  The Biblical worldview indicates that the world runs according to predictable patterns (natural laws) most of the time.  In fact, it is only the Biblical worldview that makes sense of the concept of natural laws.  (2) Some gaps are getting wider.  Scientific discoveries about the cell and the origin of life and the fine-tuning of the universe are resisting all attempts at materialist explanations.  We should follow the evidence where it leads.  If that evidence is pointing to design, so be it.  (3) Materialists are just as guilty of the charge.  Whenever some incredibly-complex mechanism is discovered in a cell, for instance, they assume that natural selection produced it, or assume that some day in the future, a material cause will be discovered.  This is nothing more than naturalism-of-the-gaps.The material/spiritual and natural/supernatural distinctions are false dichotomies.  They cannot stand up to a half-hour of scrutiny by a skilled philosopher.  What it boils down to is this: naturalism is anything and everything that allows a scientist (or a party animal on drugs) to avoid responsibility to their Maker.  That’s the real argument from ignorance.  They can believe in space aliens or unobservable multiverses – anything, no matter how crazy, as long as they never have to bow the knee and confess, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for Thou hast created all things, and by Thy will they exist, and were created” (Revelation 4:11).    You can put a brain into a jar of formaldehyde, and you can throw a used computer onto a junk pile, but the concepts of mind and design, like Halloween ghosts, will always find the materialist’s haunted house and come back to join the party.(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Refentse Morake: from busker to the stage

first_imgMusician Refentse Morake was discovered giving Afrikaans pop music a unique African flavour on the streets on Vereeniging in 2015 by Cecilia Marchionna. (Image: Refentse Morake official YouTube channel)Brand South Africa reporterMarchionna uploaded a video of his performance on to Facebook and it soon become one of most shared videos in South Africa.With more than 120 000 video views, plus a stage debut at one of the country’s leading music festivals under his belt already, Morake has now released his first album of Afrikaans songs.Titled My Hart Bly In ‘n Taal, the album features his versions of modern South African pop classics, including Johannes Kerkorrel’s Halala Afrika, Koos Kombuis’s Bicycle Sonder ‘n Slot and a Laurika Rauch medley. Among his other performances not on the album but available to view on YouTube are Karen Zoid’s Toe Vind Ek Jou and Jan Blohm’s Breyten se Brief.Zoid, one of South Africa’s most popular musicians, is a big Morake fan. She asked him to perform with her at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, the annual arts festival in Oudtshoorn, in 2015. She also helped in the recording of his album, which is currently the fourth best-selling album on the iTunes local music charts.A true South African, Morake also enjoys kwaito and Zulu gospel music, which he hopes to incorporate with Afrikaans music on a grander scale with his second album. His aim is to bring the diverse South African cultures together through the power of music.While he is excited about the interest in his music, Morake, who matriculated in 2015, is taking fame in his stride. He has chosen rather to study for his law degree at North West University before he takes his music on the road full-time.Source: News24/Netwerk24Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Farm Bureau launches energy program

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest  3 CommentsOhio Farm Bureau is partnering with an Ohio-based energy management firm, Community Energy Advisors, to establish the Ohio Farm Bureau Energy Program. The program will assist members in making energy choices, shopping for energy, learning about rebate options and the best ways to manage their energy resources.“We have worked together to develop this program to provide education, protection and savings to members statewide,” said John Marihugh, OFBF director of member services. “The program can provide highly competitive pricing to members in shoppable electric and natural gas regions.”Ohio Farm Bureau’s newest member benefit takes the guesswork out of energy costs and gives members an opportunity to save money. It doesn’t matter if power is generated through a cooperative or a municipal utility, or in one of the large, for-profit utility regions, the OFBF Energy Program provides tips and tools to help better manage electric and natural gas costs. The program evaluates rebate opportunities that can add up to savings for Farm Bureau members. Members served by for-profit utilities may see an average 10 percent cost savings on electricity or natural gas through a process that requires suppliers to compete for the member’s business.It also provides alerts regarding scams and fraudulent activity to protect member’s homes and businesses, no matter what part of the state members live in.“For many members, energy is one of the biggest costs they assume they have no control over,” said Kevin Lauterjung, principal and co-founder of Community Energy Advisors, noting that “Farm Bureau staff went through a rigorous process with us” to ensure that all members find value in the program.Farm Bureau chose to partner with Community Energy Advisors because of its experience in designing and managing programs for member organizations, understanding utility tariffs and supplier pricing and strong credibility in the industry. For a limited time, all members can sign up for the OFBF Energy Program Sweepstakes and be eligible to win $500.  3 Commentslast_img read more

Residents air lifted out as rising Churchill River threatens Labrador town

first_imgHAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. – Police in Labrador say residents of a small community surrounded by water are being evacuated as an ice jam causes a river to swell and flood the area.RCMP Cpl. Rick Mills says the air lifts from Mud Lake began at about 5 a.m. local time today as the Churchill River continued to rise and threaten residents of the largely seasonal community.He says the ice is blocked up at the mouth of the river going into Lake Melville, causing water to back up to most people’s houses.Local provincial legislature member Perry Trimper says homes have been lost, and the Churchill River is as it has never been before but some people are choosing to stay in Mud Lake.Military aircraft are being used to transport people to nearby Happy Valley-Goose Bay, but it wasn’t clear how many residents had been removed or lived in Mud Lake.Mills says it was the highest he had seen water levels, adding that Mud Lake residents often have to be flown out during the spring ice breakups.(The Canadian Press, VOCM)last_img read more