by Rana Asfour
Sherlock Holmes Booklet Found In Scottish Attic
I can’t seem to get enough of all this re-emergence of long lost manuscripts, and previously published yet disappeared books that it makes my heart flutter. Thursday, it was Dr. Seuss, today it’s a small Sherlock Holmes booklet, last week were the stolen book collection returned to Italy. It seems that unless something is deliberately destroyed, it will ultimately find its way back to where it belongs. Of course, one hopes into the hands of those who will take better care in the future.
Today’s discovery, the Sherlock Holmes booklet, will most surely be a news item at our dinner table tonight. Lest we kid ourselves, or you the reader, that our dinner table conversations are those reminiscent of literary salons, I hasten to set you at ease: they’re not. We are ordinary, not only in our evening meal topics, but also in the fact that we, just as everyone else as it turns out, show the same interest when items that were considered to be lost forever suddenly turn up again. It’s a ‘human’ thing apparently.
Anyway, the 1,300-word Sherlock Holmes story was written in 1904 by the author on the occasion of raising money for a bridge in Silkirk (in Scotland) that had been destroyed by floods in 1902. The report mentioned that the person who found it said that it must have been lying under a pile of his books for nearly 50 years. Where do you think that pile of books was? In the attic, of course! So, I’ve decided, next time we move to a new house, I want an attic, they seem the quaintest places to nestle a treasure or two!
To read a full transcript of the Sherlock Holmes story, click HERE.
‘Amygdala’: A New Word & A Film!
Producer Jeannette Louie, aware of the term ‘Amygdala’ set about in 2013 to make an experimental short film named after this almond-shaped region of the brain that controls our emotional life. In the 10-minute short, amygdala is this Shamanistic mystical woman who knows so much and who feels everything. She is the power keeping our fears in perspective and it is her wisdom that allows us to distinguish between real threats and those that aren’t.
According to the film’s synopsis, ‘Amygdala is an experimental film that illustrates how the perception of fear operates by combining the lyrical tradition of a fairy tale with the vernacular nature of presenting scientific fact’ and the result is phenomenal. Personally, there I was with my free popcorn and my free water bottle treated to one of the most astonishing easy-to-grasp explanations to one the most complex topics in science and I left ‘getting it’.
When you think of the amygdala, you should think of one word: Fear. According to brainmadesimple.com, the amygdala is the reason we are afraid of things outside our control. It also controls the way we react to certain stimuli, or an event that causes an emotion, that we see as potentially threatening or dangerous. Conditions such as anxiety, autism, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias are suspected of being linked to abnormal functioning of the amygdala, owing to damage, developmental problems, or neurotransmitter imbalance.
The film was showing at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island campus at the weekend as part of the Imagine Science Abu Dhabi Film Festival. There were 34 short films, an art-science exhibition, and workshops. Unfortunately, it was at the same time that a severe sandstorm persisted over Abu Dhabi for those two days, so as far as I could tell, the attendance could have been much better. ‘Amygdala’ is available to watch on vimeo.