From Oxford

A very OED Christmas

OED Consultant Editor Henry Hitchings unwraps the lexical history of Christmas with a little help from the Oxford English Dictionary. Read the full article here.

The noun Christmas, deriving from the Old English Cristes mæsse (the mass or festival of Christ), took hold only in the early twelfth century. In his book The Seasons, Nick Groom cites as the earliest description of an English Christmas a section of the fourteenth-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which pictures the seasonal revelry at King Arthur’s court in Camelot. Before the word established itself, the festival was known as midwinter or yule. Both were names for not only Christmas Day itself, but also the period surrounding it.

Today in history: Dec. 19

1813: Fur trader James McGill dies in Montreal. He leaves 10,000 pounds to establish the university that would bear his name.

1843: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is first published in England.

1846: The mayors of Toronto and Hamilton exchange greetings in Canada’s first telegraph message.

1941: Sgt.-Maj. John Osborn of the Winnipeg Grenadiers earns a Victoria Cross for throwing himself on a grenade during the battle for Hong Kong. He is killed but saves the lives of comrades.

1956: Steven Lane two days old!

1966: United Nations approves a treaty banning weapons in space.

1972: The last U.S. manned mission to the moon ends with the safe landing of the Apollo 17 spacecraft.

1975: Bertha Wilson becomes the first woman in Canada appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

1977: Canada withdraws government support for trade with South Africa to protest apartheid.

1984: Britain agrees with China to return Hong Kong to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997.

1998: U.S. President Bill Clinton is impeached by the House of Representatives. He is later acquitted by the Senate.

2011: Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk woman who died in 1680, is the first Indigenous woman from North America to pass the last test for sainthood by the Vatican. She is canonized the following October.

(With files from CBC and The Canadian Press)

Brian on autopilot


How the architecture of the brain shapes its functioning.
By Max Planck Institute for Human Development

The structure of the human brain is complex, reminiscent of a circuit diagram with countless connections. But what role does this architecture play in the functioning of the brain? To answer this question, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, in cooperation with colleagues at the Free University of Berlin and University Hospital Freiburg, have for the first time analyzed 1.6 billion connections within the brain simultaneously. They found the highest agreement between structure and information flow in the “default mode network,” which is responsible for inward-focused thinking such as daydreaming.

Read the essay.

THE REASONER

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                                              THE  REASONER 12(12)
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                              Volume 12, Number 12 December 2018

                                                    ISSN 1757-05 22


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  The Reasoner (ISSN 1757-0522) is a monthly digest highlighting
  exciting new research on reasoning, inference and method broadly
  construed.

  – Editor: Hykel Hosni (University of Milan)
  – News Editor: Lorenzo Casini (University of Geneva)
  – Features Editor: Teddy Groves (University of Kent)
  – Production Editor: Erik van Aken (University of Kent)


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