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.
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.
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