Friday Link Love: Firewalking, Harry Potter Mysteries, Gabby Douglas and More

I am just barely back from the Young Clergy Women's Conference in Chicago. In fact, it's possible that not all of the pieces of me are completely home yet, but it's Friday, and that means Link Love. (More on the conference next week, but for now: it was fun, it was deep, it was crammed full of laughter and lightbulbs and relief because "you're not the only one.") Away we go...


It's Her Turn -- The Sky is Laughing

Susan Olson reflects on Gabby Douglas and what her victory means for Susan's beautiful daughter, Selam.

In the car after camp today, I told her we’d stay up for it–for the highlights.I knew the end results, of course, but decided to play dumb.  ”Who do you think will win, Selam?” “The brown girl, Gabby Douglas.” “Well, there are lots of good gymnasts, we’ll have to wait and see…” “But mommy, it’s a brown girl’s TURN to win!” How does she know this? I have no idea.

In fact, while she sang Herbie the worm and took swimming lessons at camp today, a brown girl took her turn and became the first African American woman to win Olympic all around gold.  It was her turn.

It was indeed.


10 Unsolved Mysteries of the Harry Potter Universe -- Atlantic

I have to admit that I have never wondered about Voldemort's sexual proclivities, but apparently others have.


Come Firewalk with Me: The Physics of Hot Coals -- Scientific American

I've always wondered how firewalking works:

According to Willey: “What I believe happens when one walks on fire is that on each step the foot absorbs relatively little heat from the embers that are cooled, because they are poor conductors, that do not have much internal energy to transmit as heat, and further that the layer of cooled charcoal between the foot and the rest of the hot embers insulates them from the coals.”

Psychologically, there also seem to be some benefits in terms of promoting group dynamics. Per Wikipedia:

“A scientific study conducted during a fire-walking ritual at the village of San Pedro Manrique, Spain, showed synchronized heart rate rhythms between performers of the firewalk and non-performing spectators. Notably, levels of synchronicity also depended on social proximity. This research suggests that there is a physiological foundation for collective religious rituals, through the alignment of emotional states, which strengthens group dynamics and forges a common identity amongst participants.”


Fifteen Minutes of Meaning -- Atlantic

I love the term nanostory to describe the things we get into a lather about, many of which are quickly forgotten:

Wasik tells the story of Blair Hornstine, a kid who sued her high  school when she found out it was going to allow a boy with a slightly lower GPA to be co-valedictorian. The media got hold of the story and things got ugly: Hornstine was found to have plagiarized several papers and Harvard rescinded her acceptance.

"I would like to propose a new term to encompass all these miniature spikes, these vertiginous rises and falls: the nanostory. We allow ourselves to believe that a narrative is larger than itself, that it holds some portent for the long-term future; but soon enough we come to our senses, and the story, which cannot bear the weight of what we have heaped on it, dies almost as suddenly as it was born. The gift we so graciously gave Blair Horstine in 2003 was her fifteen minutes not of fame but of meaning."

In related news, I'm told that Wait: The Art and Science of Delay is a good read.

May you not get sucked into the kerfuffle du jour this weekend. Find time to breathe deeply and live from the heart.