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Woman Plays Violin While Undergoing Brain Surgery (via Guardian News)

Guardian News featured this clip of a woman playing the violin while undergoing brain surgery.
The aim was to ensure that the surgeons were not damaging parts of the brain responsible for fine motor skills.
Apparently having patients awake during such operations is not rare, but the violin playing was unusual.

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Guessing Names By What The Letters They Start With

Follow this link and go to a page at a site called flowingdata where data has been crunched on USA names born in different years in order to produce a search device that guesses your name based on what decade you were born in, whether you are male or female (or have a male or female name, I guess) and what letter(s) your name starts with.
I guess the names are pretty consistent from USA to Australia.
It’s pretty close.
Go see if you’re curious.

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Pulpit Chair, Penola

This chair is in the pulpit of the Presbyterian church at Penola.

No one sits in it anymore, but it’s still there.

A chair is not what the church is about, but it is a reminder of the centrality of the word in that place. It represents a wonderful legacy.

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“Knocker-Uppers” The Human Alarm Clocks Of Industrial-Era Britain (via Flashbak)

I wake up without an alarm each morning, but there are mornings where I’m 20 or even 30 minutes past the time I usually rise.
Of course I’ve got any number of devices that I can set as alarms.
Before those devices we used an alarm clock (or two).
Some of you might even remember the wake-up call, where you could book someone to ring you up.
This article on Flashbak recalls the time when folk had the job of going around and knocking on doors (or windows) for a fee.
Knocker-Uppers have passed into history, but the struggle to get out of bed continues.
From the article:

Known as the “knocker-upper” these predawn risers would pass by working-class buildings, rapping on the windows of those who need to get up.
Rural laborers, used to keeping time with the seasons, relocated to manufacturing towns and cities at significant rates. They not only had to adjust to dangerous, fast-paced industrial work, but to new schedules. Night shifts in factories disturbed circadian rhythms; dock work in London depended on the movement of the tides. There were alarm clocks at the time, but they were expensive and unreliable.
Some workers might only find out they’d been called in for a shift from the knocker-upper that morning. Such was the case for many clients awakened by Doris Weigand, Britain’s first railway knocker-upper (below in 1941). Conditions could be cutthroat. “In London’s East End,” Paul Middleton writes “where life for the employed was forever balanced on a knife edge, being late for work could mean instant dismissal and a speedy spiral for those workers and their family into poverty, homelessness and destitution.”
Knocker-uppers used canes, long batons, and even pea shooters…

read the rest at Flashbak.

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Why The Queen's Christmas Decorations Remain On Display Until February (via Hello!)

Our decorations were packed away yesterday, after the twelve days of Christmas had concluded.

I noticed a story about why the Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas decorations remain on display until February 6. Looking around it seems various media sources have been reporting the story; the earliest I found was from Hello! back on December 26.

The reason is sentimental, sweet, and long-standing.

Read about it at Hello! (or google the subject and take your pick of sources)

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The Origins Of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’

Hallelujah is a song composed by Leonard Cohen and performed by hundreds of popular music artists.
Come Christmas time you may hear another set of lyrics that have been composed as a seasonal (Christian) version.
If you want to know more about the background of the song this Mental Floss article has a few facts I hadn’t read before.

The article makes the observation that the many, many, many (too many) renditions of the song might make it seem overexposed, but the word at the heart of the song “Hallelujah” is both an invitation to, as well an expression of, praise.

In 2009, after the song appeared in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, Cohen agreed with a critic who called for a moratorium on covers. “I think it’s a good song,” Cohen told The Guardian. “But too many people sing it.”
Except “Hallelujah” is a song that urges everyone to sing. That’s kind of the point. The title is from a compound Hebrew word comprising hallelu, to praise joyously, and yah, the name of god. As writer Alan Light explains in his 2013 book The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah,” the word hallelujah was originally an imperative—a command to praise the Lord. In the Christian tradition, it’s less an imperative than an expression of joy: “Hallelujah!” Cohen seemingly plays on both meanings.


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Captive Congregation (via Atlas Obscura)

This Victorian era prison chapel placed the congregants/prisoners in seperate booths so they couldn’t see one another.
Today they just have worship with the lights out instead.
Though I accept that putting a roomfull of malcontents together in a dark room would have made for a very risky environment.
These days we could market it as introvert church.

Source: Atlas Obscura.