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Archive for December, 2009

Brass Kickers and a Cello Shine at SUMC!

Monday, December 21st, 2009

The Brass Kickers and a Cello did a fantastic job with a lot of music this past Sunday!  For the first time when participating in a service they played the Prelude and Postlude as well as the Hymns and anthem piece.  They made a wonderful contribution to the service.

In addition to the instrumentalists, we had a core group of the children’s choir sing as well.  It is always fun having the children participate in the service.

I am blessed to have such a great group of instrumentalists and singers.  They all work very hard and take great pride in doing their best.  I thank all of them for their dedication and patience.

Christmas Eve will bring out some instruments and singers once again.  I love that service as it ranges from lively pieces with the brass, such as “Joy to the World” to the calm candle-lit sanctuary echoing the very peaceful “Silent Night.”  I will have an opportunity to sing a personal favorite, “O Holy Night,” for that service as well.

Below are links to the musical pieces from Sunday’s service.  The first three are my arrangements, which the group does a great job of bringing to life!

Brass, cello and children’s choir music from the Sunday, December 20, 2009 service at Scotia United Methodist Church:

Duet (trumpet and cello): In the Bleak Midwinter

Anthem (brass and cello): Good King Wenceslas

Postlude: We Three Kings

Children’s Choir: A Child Is Born in Bethlehem

Prelude: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Hymn: O Come, All Ye Faithful

Hymn: Joy to the World

Project H.M.

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

I have been following the work being done by The Brain Observatory at UCSD to carefully section the brain of patient H.M. The patient, whose identity was protected while he was living, is known as the most studied amnesiac.  His amnesia was caused by brain surgery he underwent when he was 27 years old.

Screenshot from the live broadcast of Project H.M.'s brain slicing process

Screenshot from the live broadcast of Project H.M.'s brain slicing process

I won’t redocument his history, it is widely available on various websites, a few of which I’ll list at the end of this posting.  For me, this study is fascinating in terms of the completely open way the work is being done.  The process of sectioning the brain was broadcast in real time on UCSD’s website.  The entire process that is being followed is being discussed in an open forum.  The data being collected will be freely available.  For me this shows the positive way that the web can be leveraged.

I spend so much time in the world of commercial and proprietary software solutions that I sometimes end up with a distorted view of how the web is used.  Most of my interactions on the web are in the creation of applications that are owned and controlled by companies whose content is only available to individuals with some sort of financial relationship with the web site owner.

Clearly sites like Wikipedia make meaningful content available at no cost to the user.  However, in the case of this work at UCSD, there is an enormous expense in terms of equipment and people in order to collect, store, refine and publish this data.  This is truly a gift being offered to those with an interest in this field.  I’m sure that other examples exist and perhaps a valuable service would be one that helps to organize such informational sites.

If you are interested in more information about H.M. and the project at UCSD, here are some relevant websites: