4 things to know about Ash Wednesday


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The Conversation

4 things to know about Ash Wednesday

March 5, 2019

Author: William Johnston, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

Disclosure statement: William Johnston does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Partners: University Of Dayton provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

For Christians, the death and resurrection of Jesus is a pivotal event commemorated each year during a season of preparation called Lent and a season of celebration called Easter.

The day that begins the Lenten season is called Ash Wednesday. Here are four things to know about it.

1. Origin of the tradition of using ashes

On Ash Wednesday, many Christians have ashes put on their forehead – a practice that has been going on for about a thousand years.

In the earliest Christian centuries – from A.D. 200 to 500 – those guilty of serious sins such as murder, adultery or apostasy, a public renunciation of one’s faith, were excluded for a time from the Eucharist, a sacred ceremony celebrating communion with Jesus and with one another.

During that time they did acts of penance, like extra praying and fasting, and lying “in sackcloth and ashes,” as an outward action expressing interior sorrow and repentance.

The customary time to welcome them back to the Eucharist was at the end of Lent, during Holy Week.

But Christians believe that all people are sinners, each in his or her own way. So as centuries went on, the church’s public prayer at the beginning of Lent added a phrase, “Let us change our garments to sackcloth and ashes,” as a way to call the whole community, not just the most serious sinners, to repentance.

Around the 10th century, the practice arose of acting out those words about ashes by actually marking the foreheads of those taking part in the ritual. The practice caught on and spread, and in 1091 Pope Urban II decreed that “on Ash Wednesday everyone, clergy and laity, men and women, will receive ashes.” It’s been going on ever since.

2. Words used when applying ashes

A 12th-century missal, a ritual book with instructions on how to celebrate the Eucharist, indicates the words used when putting ashes on the forehead were: “Remember, man, that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” The phrase echoes God’s words of reproach after Adam, according to the narrative in the Bible, disobeyed God’s command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.

This phrase was the only one used on Ash Wednesday until the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. At that time a second phrase came into use, also biblical but from the New Testament: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” These were Jesus’s words at the beginning of his public ministry, that is, when he began teaching and healing among the people.

Each phrase in its own way serves the purpose of calling the faithful to live their Christian lives more deeply. The words from Genesis remind Christians that life is short and death imminent, urging focus on what is essential. The words of Jesus are a direct call to follow him by turning away from sin and doing what he says.

3. Two traditions for the day before

Two quite different traditions developed for the day leading up to Ash Wednesday.

One might be called a tradition of indulgence. Christians would eat more than usual, either as a final binge before a season of fasting or to empty the house of foods typically given up during Lent. Those foods were chiefly meat, but depending on culture and custom, also milk and eggs and even sweets and other forms of dessert food. This tradition gave rise to the name “Mardi Gras,” or Fat Tuesday.

The other tradition was more sober: namely, the practice of confessing one’s sins to a priest and receiving a penance appropriate for those sins, a penance that would be carried out during Lent. This tradition gave rise to the name “Shrove Tuesday,” from the verb “to shrive,” meaning to hear a confession and impose a penance.

In either case, on the next day, Ash Wednesday, Christians dive right into Lenten practice by both eating less food overall and avoiding some foods altogether.

4. Ash Wednesday has inspired poetry

In 1930s England, when Christianity was losing ground among the intelligentia, T.S. Eliot’s poem “Ash Wednesday” reaffirmed traditional Christian faith and worship. In one section of the poem, Eliot wrote about the enduring power of God’s “silent Word” in the world:

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent

If the unheard, unspoken

Word is unspoken, unheard;

Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,

The Word without a word, the Word within

The world and for the world;

And the light shone in darkness and

Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled

About the centre of the silent Word.

Ellen Garmann, Associate Director of Campus Ministry for Liturgy at University of Dayton, contributed to this piece.

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes Perform at the Davidson April 4

With a decades-long successful career, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes continue to deliver their soul-searing brand of raucous blues and R&B, with material mined from their many albums, featuring hits like “I Don’t Want to Go Home,” “Love on the Wrong Side of Town,” “The Fever,” “This Time It’s for Real,” “Talk to Me,” and their definitive, fun-time cover of “We’re Having a Party.” The Jukes’ legendary, high-energy live performances always satisfy with their classic blend of Stax-influenced R&B and gritty, Stonesy rock and roll.

CAPA presents Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes at the Davidson Theatre (77 S. High St.) on Thursday, April 4, at 8 pm. Tickets are $28-$48 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes emerged from the New Jersey shore scene in 1974, and though they carried over a significant influence (and some key personnel) from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the Jukes evolved as more of an R&B horn band in the Memphis Stax Records tradition. Organized by singer John Lyon, guitarist/songwriter Steve Van Zandt (who decamped for the E Street Band in 1975, but continued to produce, manage, and write songs for the Jukes), and Richie Rosenberg, the band is well-known for high-energy shows and no-holds-barred songs, including “I Don’t Wanna Go Home,” “Havin’ a Party,” “The Fever,” “Talk to Me,” “Trapped Again,” and “This Time It’s For Real.”

Still tinged with the exuberant rhythm and blues feel that is the Jukes’ trademark and loaded with the driving sound of the legendary Jukes horn section, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes continue to expound their signature Jersey Shore sound for the sheer joy of it.

www.SouthsideJohnny.com

CALENDAR LISTING

CAPA presents SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY & THE ASBURY JUKES

Thursday, April 4, 8 pm

Davidson Theatre (77 S. High St.)

With a decades-long successful career, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes continue to deliver their soul-searing brand of raucous blues and R&B, with material mined from their many albums, featuring hits like “I Don’t Want to Go Home,” “Love on the Wrong Side of Town,” “The Fever,” “This Time It’s for Real,” “Talk to Me,” and their definitive, fun-time cover of “We’re Having a Party.” The Jukes’ legendary, high-energy live performances always satisfy with their classic blend of Stax-influenced R&B and gritty, Stonesy rock and roll. Tickets are $28-$48 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. www.capa.com

The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, education excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. CAPA also appreciates the generous support of the Barbara B. Coons and Robert Bartels Funds of The Columbus Foundation and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

About CAPA

Owner/operator of downtown Columbus’ magnificent historic theatres (Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, Southern Theatre) and manager of the Riffe Center Theatre Complex, Lincoln Theatre, Drexel Theatre, Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts (New Albany, OH), and the Shubert Theater (New Haven, CT), CAPA is a non-profit, award-winning presenter of national and international performing arts and entertainment. For more information, visit www.capa.com.

Researchers uncover new facets of HIV’s ‘arms race’ with human defense system

Study could contribute to new therapies

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study reveals details about the evolutionary contest between HIV and the human immune system that could one day improve treatment.

Research led by Shan-Lu Liu of The Ohio State University demonstrates the important role of one protein in allowing HIV to flourish within human cells despite the immune system’s efforts to beat it back.

The study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides more information than previously understood about the role of a protein called Nef in HIV infection.

“We have identified new modulators of HIV, which is notoriously ‘smart’ and well-equipped at evolving to fight its adversaries in the human body,” said Liu, professor of virology in the university’s Center for Retrovirus Research and departments of Veterinary Biosciences, Microbial Infection and Immunity and Microbiology.

“HIV and the human immune system have been at war for so many years. Work such as this could advance efforts to give people an edge in that battle.”

By examining the cellular-level activity in the laboratory, the research team showed that the protein Nef antagonizes another protein called TIM, effectively reducing its power to protect human cells and making it easier for the HIV virus to thrive. TIM stands for T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain.

“Nef changes the rules so that the TIM protein is no longer working as well – it lowers its presence on the cell surface, and prevents it from getting out of the cell. We show for the first time that this promotes the release of the virus by antagonizing TIM,” said Liu, who is a co-director of Ohio State’s Viruses and Emerging Pathogens Program within the university’s Infectious Diseases Institute.

Study co-author Eric Freed of the National Cancer Institute said that scientists traditionally thought of cells as passive vessels that are taken over by viruses and altered to the viruses’ benefit.

“However, in recent years, virologists have been increasingly appreciating that cells have evolved complex defense mechanisms to combat viral infection. In turn, viruses have evolved mechanisms to counteract the cells’ innate immune system,” said Freed, director of the NCI’s HIV Dynamics and Replication Program.

In a previous study, the research team discovered that members of the TIM family of proteins are able to trap virus particles at the cell surface, preventing them from leaving the cell and going on to infect new cells, he said.

“The new study advances that finding, showing that Nef can counteract the activity of the TIM proteins by increasing their removal from the cell surface and trapping them within the cell. There is also a fascinating interplay between the TIM family of proteins and another group of antiviral factors known as the SERINC proteins,” Freed said.

Liu said it is critical that scientists understand these interactions “because HIV is really good at evolving to fight against its host and we want to find potential new approaches to fighting back. And it is important to not only look for ways to potentially change the virus, but to change the host’s response to it.”

“Can we someday use this information to make HIV less pathogenic to humans? I think it’s possible,” he said.

Though antiretroviral medications have been largely successful at keeping HIV from advancing to AIDS, researchers continue to search for potential therapeutic targets that could improve treatment. Many, including Liu, have worked for decades in hopes of developing a viable vaccine. But that day may never come, largely because of the rapidly evolving nature of HIV, Liu said.

Perhaps a more attainable goal would be to create some sort of “super restriction factor” that would anticipate the evolution of the virus and adequately fight it, he said, adding that at least one research team is exploring that possibility.

“Understanding this evolutionary battle may provide novel antiviral mechanisms that either harness the cell’s defense mechanisms or prevent the virus from counteracting these defenses,” Freed said.

Other Ohio State researchers who worked on the study were Minghua Li, Jingyou Yu, Cong Zeng and Yi-Min Zheng. Abdul Waheed of the National Cancer Institute was a co-author, as were Boston University researchers Amin Feizpour, Bjoern Reinhard and Suryaram Gummuluru and Academia Sinica researchers Hui-Yu Chen and Steven Lin. The work is funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

URL : http://news.osu.edu/researchers-uncover-new-facets-of-hivs-arms-race-with-human-defense-system/

IRAQ INVASION

Ahsan I. Butt, Ph.D., to Discuss New Theory of 2003 Military Action March 19 at Ohio Wesleyan

DELAWARE, Ohio – Policy and government expert Ahsan I. Butt believes the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States was a “performative war” conducted to demonstrate U.S. military might and establish the country as a feared global authority.

Butt, Ph.D., of George Mason University, Virginia, will discuss his theory when he presents “Why did the United States Invade Iraq in 2003?” on March 19 at Ohio Wesleyan University.

A 2006 OWU alumnus, Butt will speak at 7 p.m. in Benes Room B of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. His presentation is free and open to the public.

“Most scholars cite the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, a neoconservative desire to spread democracy, or placating domestic interest groups as the Bush administration’s objectives,” Butt states in a forthcoming article, “but I suggest these arguments are flawed. Instead, I proffer the ‘performative war’ thesis, resting on the concepts of status, reputation, and hierarchy to explain the Iraq war.”

At Ohio Wesleyan, Butt majored in international studies and minored in mathematics, and graduated summa cum laude. In addition to his OWU Bachelor of Arts degree, he holds both doctoral and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Chicago.

Today, he is an associate professor of policy and government at George Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government as well as a nonresident fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C.

Butt’s current research focuses on political violence, nationalism, and South Asia. His first book is “Secession and Security: Explaining State Strategy Against Separatists,” which earned the International Studies Association’s International Security Studies Section (ISSS) Best Book Award in 2019.

His work has been featured or is expected in peer-reviewed journals such as International Organization, Journal of Global Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, Politics and Religion, and Security Studies. He has received support from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Mellon Foundation, the Stanton Foundation, and the United States Institute of Peace.

Butt’s presentation is sponsored by Ohio Wesleyan’s International Studies Program. Learn more about the OWU program at www.owu.edu/internationalstudies.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

The Conversation

Autonomous drones can help search and rescue after disasters

March 5, 2019

Author: Vijayan Asari, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Dayton

Disclosure statement: Vijayan Asari is affiliated with University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, USA. Dr. Vijayan Asari is a Fellow of SPIE (Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers) and a Senior Member of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). He is a member of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS), IEEE Internet of Things (IoT) Community, Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T), and member of the Institute for Systems and Technologies of Information, Control and Communication (INSTICC). Dr. Asari is a co-organizer of several SPIE and IEEE conferences and workshops. Dr. Asari advises graduate and undergraduate research students in Vision Lab at the University of Dayton. Dr. Asari does not receive any funding for this specific research project. He uses internal funding for the human detection in complex environment research activity. Dr. Asari did receive funding from various organizations for several research activities that are linked to this research project. He received funding from the US Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) for long range human detection in infrared imagery, from the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) for detection of wounded individuals in war field (Research for Casualty Care and Management), from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for object detection and tracking in wide area motion imagery, from Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) for automatic building change detection in satellite imagery, and from the Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) for intrusion detection on pipeline right-of-ways.

Partners: University Of Dayton provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

When disasters happen – whether a natural disaster like a flood or earthquake, or a human-caused one like a mass shooting or bombing – it can be extremely dangerous to send first responders in, even though there are people who badly need help.

Drones are useful, and are helping in the recovery after the deadly Alabama tornadoes, but most require individual pilots, who fly the unmanned aircraft by remote control. That limits how quickly rescuers can view an entire affected area, and can delay actual aid from reaching victims.

Autonomous drones could cover more ground more quickly, but would only be more effective if they were able on their own to help rescuers identify people in need. At the University of Dayton Vision Lab, we are working on developing systems that can help spot people or animals – especially ones who might be trapped by fallen debris. Our technology mimics the behavior of a human rescuer, looking briefly at wide areas and quickly choosing specific regions to focus in on, to examine more closely.

Looking for an object in a chaotic scene

Disaster areas are often cluttered with downed trees, collapsed buildings, torn-up roads and other disarray that can make spotting victims in need of rescue very difficult.

My research team has developed an artificial neural network system that can run in a computer onboard a drone. This system can emulate some of the excellent ways human vision works. It analyzes images captured by the drone’s camera and communicates notable findings to human supervisors.

First, our system processes the images to improve their clarity. Just as humans squint their eyes to adjust their focus, our technologies take detailed estimates of darker regions in a scene and computationally lighten the images. When images are too hazy or foggy, the system recognizes they’re too bright and reduces the whiteness of the image to see the actual scene more clearly.

In a rainy environment, human brains use a brilliant strategy to see clearly. By noticing the parts of a scene that don’t change – and the ones that do, as the raindrops fall – people can see reasonably well despite rain. Our technology uses the same strategy, continuously investigating the contents of each location in a sequence of images to get clear information about the objects in that location.

We also have developed technology that can make images from a drone-borne camera larger, brighter and clearer. By expanding the size of the image, both algorithms and people can see key features more clearly.

Confirming objects of interest

Our system can identify people in various positions, such as lying prone or curled in the fetal position, even from different viewing angles and in varying lighting conditions.

The human brain can look at one view of an object and envision how it would look from other angles. When police issue an alert asking the public to look for someone, they often include a still photo – knowing that viewers’ minds will imagine three-dimensional views of how that person might look, and recognize them on the street, even if they don’t get the exact same view as the photo offered. We employ this strategy by computing three-dimensional models of people – either general human shapes or more detailed projections of specific people. Those models are used to match similarities when a person appears in a scene.

We have also developed a way to detect parts of an object, without seeing the whole thing. Our system can be trained to detect and locate a leg sticking out from under rubble, a hand waving at a distance, or a head popping up above a pile of wooden blocks. It can tell a person or animal apart from a tree, bush or vehicle.

Putting the pieces together

During its initial scan of the landscape, our system mimics the approach of an airborne spotter, examining the ground to find possible objects of interest or regions worth further examination, and then looking more closely. For example, an aircraft pilot who is looking for a truck on the ground would typically pay less attention to lakes, ponds, farm fields and playgrounds – because trucks are less likely to be in those areas. Our autonomous technology employs the same strategy to focus the search area to the most significant regions in the scene.

Then our system investigates each selected region to obtain information about the shape, structure and texture of objects there. When it detects a set of features that matches a human being or part of a human, it flags that as a location of a victim.

The drone also collects GPS data about its location, and senses how far it is from other objects it’s photographing. That information lets the system calculate exactly the location of each person needing assistance, and alert rescuers.

All of this process – capturing an image, processing it for maximum visibility and analyzing it to identify people who might be trapped or concealed – takes about one-fifth of a second on the normal laptop computer that the drone carries, along with its high-resolution camera.

The U.S. military is interested in this technology. We have worked with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command to find wounded individuals in a battlefield who need rescue. We have adapted this work to serve utility companies searching for intrusions on pipeline paths by construction equipment or vehicles that may damage the pipelines. Utility companies are also interested in detecting any new constructions of buildings near the pipeline pathways. All of these groups – and many more – are interested in technology that can see as humans can see, especially in places humans can’t be.

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