Welcome to the Reading Room

Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Animals Before Birth

by Frederica Mathewes-Green

What is life like in the womb? Thanks to National Geographic, we’ve been able to refresh our memories with a beautiful book (In the Womb: Witness the Journey from Conception to Birth through Astonishing 3D Images) as well as a TV mini-series that makes use of the most advanced video technology to reveal human prenatal development. Now a new book (In the Womb: Animals) and series examine the prenatal life of our fellow mammals — and it’s weirder than I ever expected.

If you’re a professional zoologist, nothing here will surprise you. But I was amazed to learn that an elephant’s trunk is a hundred times more sensitive than our fingertips. It contains 40,000 individual muscles, while the entire human body requires only 639. And did you ever think about an elephant’s feet? Those enormous, calloused feet, which stomp around under the weight of maybe 11,000 pounds of elephant all day, are so sensitive that they can receive sound waves through the ground; elephants can “hear” through their feet. And while those massive feet look as flat as pancakes, the sole is actually spongy and convex (a design that Nike might want to study).

Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.