Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Fact: Jesus is the biggest name in human history
Data experts' survey puts Jesus ahead of all others
Picture: Wikimedia Commons
- Cathy Lynn Grossman for Religion News Service
- December 13, 2013
He’s a man with a ton of titles — Prince of Peace, Son of God, Shepherd of Souls — but now Jesus has one more: the biggest name in human history. Ever.
So say the authors of a startling new book, “Who’s Bigger: Where Historical Figures Really Rank,” which tries to settle, once and for all, the question of who’s who.
It’s a work of “culturometrics,” a fancy term to describe quantitative data analysis applied to individuals in society the same way Sabermetrics tracks performance in baseball, pundits aggregate polls in elections, and algorithms rule computer search engines.
“Bigger” is a complex collection of lists and rankings, but none is more provocative than its Top 100: Jesus is No. 1, Adolf Hitler is No. 7, everyone is overwhelmingly white and 97 are male.
But keep your blood pressure in check. “Bigger does not mean better,” said co-author Steven Skiena, a computer science professor at Stony Brook University where he heads the Data Science Laboratory.
To research “Bigger,” Skiena and Charles Ward, an engineer on the ranking team at Google, created a complex amalgam of measures. To establish their “significance” ranking, they assessed more than 800,000 names, calculated scores of celebrity and achievement or gravitas and then factored in how long, and how long ago, someone lived.
Hence the Top 10 names need no introduction:
4. William Shakespeare
5. Abraham Lincoln
6. George Washington
7. Adolf Hitler
9. Alexander the Great
10. Thomas Jefferson
Where things get really curious is moving down the list:
– Protestant reformer Martin Luther (No. 17) is just above Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
– Elvis Presley (No. 69) is notched between Socrates and William the Conqueror.
– King Arthur (No. 85), who may be a myth, tops Michelangelo.
– Only Queen Elizabeth I (No. 13), Queen Victoria (No. 16), and St. Joan of Arc (No. 95) make the Top 100; whether the list includes anyone who is black depends on how you classify St. Augustine of Hippo (No. 72), the North African/Roman theologian of the early Christian church.
– President Obama barely missed the top 100, coming in at No. 111, but ahead of the Virgin Mary (No. 127).
Researchers say there was no nefarious plot to exclude women and blacks. But in centuries past, those two groups were barred from historically significant roles, their social contributions unrecorded by others.
Full Story: Jesus, Elvis, and Aristotle: Who’s bigger?
Source: Religion News Service