Jack sent me this article from Weird News (in Huffington Press). I know I'm being juvenile but I loved the writing and the comments.
Here is the church:
And some excerpts from the article:
Some of the comments are pretty funny.
Jack sent me this article from Weird News (in Huffington Press). I know I'm being juvenile but I loved the writing and the comments.
Here is the church:
And some excerpts from the article:
Some of the comments are pretty funny.
I wonder if the US is just hoping that after the Egyptian military takes power, they'll become nice guys (eventually), stop killing the opposition, and (eventually) hold free elections, and (eventually) with proper guidance from smart economists, the economy will grow and people will be much better off.
After all, isn't that what happened in Chile? Pinochet and military had the socialists ousted from office and, in the process, many were killed. But eventually with help from many bright economists the economy grew much faster than it possibly could have under Allende and the socialists, and eventually democracy was restored.
But the Muslim Brotherhood is not the socialists of Chile. Its members are not nearly so likely to give in, be swallowed up, and become part of the mainstream. I hope the US is not being myopic in its strategic planning about what to do and how to react to the recent military coup and the killings of people from just about every group by members of just about every other group.
(from JR, my favourite drug dealer)
From the BBC: (via Jack)
The smoke comes partly from the burning of ballot papers in a special stove in the chapel. But to colour it white or black, this smoke is mixed with that from chemical additives burnt in a second stove. Traditionally the Vatican produced the different colours by burning wet straw for white and tarry pitch for black.
Anyone who has ever made a bonfire knows that damp grass will work for the former; the less responsible of you will know that chucking old tyres or roofing felt into the flames will turn the smoke black – and what’s more, noxious, because it is then full of sooty carbon particles that can clog the lungs and are potentially carcinogenic.
It’s not concern for the environment that has led the Vatican to change its ways, however. Rather, the smoke in some previous elections came out an ambiguous grey, prompting the decision for the last conclave in 2005 to use a more reliable method based on chemical ingredients.
The Vatican has now revealed what these are. For black, it uses a mixture of potassium perchlorate, anthracene and sulphur; white comes from potassium chlorate, lactose and the conifer resin called rosin, which is often rubbed on violin bows to increase friction.
Wilders is a well-known public figure who sees Islam as more of an ideology than a religion. During his talk, he lambasted multiculturalism. Two quotes:
Multiculturalism is the biggest disease in Europe today.
And the reason for that?
Multiculturalism would not have been such a catastrophe if it weren't for Islam.
Because of his views, his public statements, his film, and his policy proposals, Wilders' life is constantly in danger. The organizers of the evening event, the International Free Press Society, refused to advertise the dates and locations of his talks while he is in Canada. Instead, we found out about them through word-of-mouth and then had to register before receiving the information [he does have two more talks planned while he is in Canada, in case you are interested; the information is available at the IFPS website].
Accompanying Wilders were about 10 security personnel from The Netherlands; also the RCMP had a large security contingent on hand. We all went through a security check before being admitted to the place where he spoke.
This is just plain wrong. People speaking about religion and ideology should not live in fear for their lives and the lives of their friends and families.
The warm-up act for Wilders was a dialogue between Ezra Levant (of human rights and freedom of the press fame in Canada) and Sam Solomon, a noted scholar of Islam and Sharia Law; it was mostly an interview of Solomon by Levant. During that interview, Solomon (who converted to Christianity and was at times quite coy about his past) proclaimed,
If you do not hate, you cannot be a complete Muslim.
Both Wilders and Solomon are very outspoken critics of Islam.
Here is a photo I took of Solomon and Levant ( all my photos from the event: twelve-times optical zoom, no flash, from about 50 feet away):
The session was introduced by Bjorn Larsen, who recently filmed a documentary about Caledonia, freedom, and property rights and who heads up the IFPS:
One more photo of Wilders, who was extremely engaging and compelling as a speaker:
One would expect that as capital becomes relatively less expensive, all sorts of organizations, profit and non-profit alike, would find it reasonable to use more capital and less labour. It has even happened with confession in the Catholic church.
While there have been several apps for the iPhone or iPad developed dealing with confession, a recently developed and upgraded app has received the stamp of approval from the Vatican [via CBC News, h/t Ms. Eclectic]:
The app "is not intended to function as a replacement for confession" at church," [the developer] said in an email to CBC News.
Instead, it is supposed to help people prepare for confession and is designed to be used in the confessional, the booth in church where people sit while confessing to a priest, he said.
The app walks people through confession step by step, based on text developed in collaboration with Catholic pastor Dan Scheidt and U.S. Catholic official Thomas G. Weinandy.
It reminds users when their last confessions were and keeps track of sins they have previously confessed.
It also advertises features such as password protection to allow multiple users, a "custom examination of conscience" based on age, sex and marital status, the ability to add sins that aren't listed and a choice of seven different acts of contrition — prayers that express sorrow for sins.
However, absolution or release from the sin can still only come from a priest.
The app substitutes for labour only to some extent, namely in preparing people for the confessional. It thus both reduces the necessary time for the confession and improves the quality of the confession.
I briefly looked through the other iApps dealing with the Catholic confession, and it appears none of them offers a fully automated confessional service.
But why not? Why can't apps be written that ask enough questions and then behave as a priest hearing a confession might behave in making recommendations? Is there any reason (other than job protection?) that confession cannot be fully automated and free up priests to do other aspects of God's work with their extra time?
One thing for sure: if I were a Catholic and if I used this app, I would make sure it was extremely carefully password-protected!
John Chilton (The Emirates Economist) has a recent posting about polygamy in Canada.
These are societies that close themselves off from the world and construct codes and practices that perpetuate polygyny. Like teenage boys being exiled from the community. Child brides. Denying girls an education that would make leaving more attractive. Parents, particularly fathers, determining who their daughters will marry. A system of institutions, values, brainwashing and beliefs is created to keep women in check. Add to this that men are physically stronger. It's curious of course that women in these cult societies very often defend them. I won't pretend to understand that, but we do know that many of us have a tendency to defend what we have lived especially if we have been taught that there is evil outside your community and your community is under siege.
For my own musings on the topic several years ago, see this, where I added
As a male who would likely have risked being left without a partner in a society that permitted polygamy, I am understandably opposed to polygamy out of pure self-interest. It strikes me that in a society of free choice, permitting polygamy only increases the demand for women as potential marriage partners, thus making women better off relative to men, in comparison with the situation under monogamy [a point also discussed by John Chilton]. ...
For more on the economics of polygamy, see this chapter in David Friedman's Price Theory text, especially the first portion of the chapter.
My sister and I have had some recent e-mail exchanges about this cover from the Saturday Evening Post (Dec 12, 1953). We both recall that it was posted somewhere in our church Sunday school above verse 11 from I Corinthians 13 (which we were all supposed to memorize, as I recall).
When I was a child, I spoke as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Digression #1. Speaking personally, and given that one of my favourite sayings is "You're never to old to have a happy childhood", I really doubt that I have put away very many metaphoric childish things.
Digression #2. I see the cover price of the Saturday Evening Post in 1953 was 15 cents, about three times the price of a standard candy bar or bottle of pop. The Post died long ago, but are there many or any weeklies with its quality and reputation that have a cover price of only $3 today (triple the very roughly standard $1 price for pop or candy bars)? And even if there are, does anyone care? (I have changed my subscription to The Economist to receive just electronic, not dead-tree issues).
This cartoon was pulled from a number of newspapers. [h/t Jabber]
It is a poke at the uproar caused by the Danish cartoonists who published cartoons depicting Muhammad.
The parallels are disturbing: Children and young people from different walks of life being brain-washed into being willing to sacrifice their lives for a cause.
For another parallel, see this, about some veiled threats against atheists from some Christians in Oklahoma [from Ted Frank, no link available].
I understand and agree with the need to teach children and youngsters the importance of principles and morality. But killing and threatening to kill those who disagree with you is rarely, if ever, defensible (I was a pacifist for much of my life). I much prefer competition in marketplace for ideas.
Here is yet another disturbing story about female children in Yemen being treated as chattel to be sold off as brides to willing bidders. In this case it was a swap, a trade in kind: my sister for your sister [h/t Gary]:
The practice of marrying young girls is widespread in Yemen and drew the attention of international rights groups seeking to pressure the government to outlaw child marriages.
Legislation that would make it illegal for those under the age of 17 to marry is in serious peril after strong opposition from some of Yemen's most influential Islamic leaders...
More than a quarter of Yemen's females marry before age 15, according to a report last year by the Social Affairs Ministry....
Last month, a group of the country's highest Islamic authorities declared those supporting a ban on child marriages to be apostates.Okay, I guess I am an apostate. News stories like this one highlight the importance of understanding that freedom of religion cannot be and should not be absolute. There are far too many religious practices and dictates throughout the world that impinge on and threaten other personal freedoms that I consider more important.
Living in Regina, Saskatchewan, reminds me in several ways of a very brief visit I once inadvertently made to Lincoln, Nebraska, on an autumn game day. In both places, everyone wears the team colours, especially on game day. In Lincoln, all we saw was red and white; in Regina, everyone was wearing green, mostly Roughriders shirts, hats, flags draped around them as capes, and other paraphernalia. In Lincoln, people were loud and boistrous, waving and honking their horns. Pretty much the same thing in Regina .... perhaps a bit more subdued (not much, though).
After the game, I changed out of my pep band uniform before Ms. Eclectic and I went out for dinner. I didn't think about it until we were in the restaurant, but I was wearing a pale blue shirt, and Ms. Eclectic was wearing a dark blue sweater over a pale blue shirt. Nearly everyone else in the restaurant was wearing Roughrider green shirts or jerseys; I'm sure some of them must have thought we were from Winnipeg (whose colours are dark blue and gold). I wonder if that contributed to the mediocre service we had.....
I'll have a chance to play during at least four more home games for the Roughriders this fall. And then the pep band regularly puts in an appearance at the Grey Cup (non-stop playing at different venues for several days, I'm told) no matter what teams are playing in it.
Update: In the comments, Steve asks about the ticket prices, so here are some further thoughts:
The games are all pretty much sold out. It looked to me the last time I checked as if the prices were much higher than I would have thought, but given that they sell out at those prices (people drive in from all over Saskatchewan to watch the games), maybe the prices aren't high enough! Next home game, if I get a chance, I'll ask some of the quasi scalpers what tickets are going for.
The stadium here in Regina isn't much smaller than SkyDome, and the population base is MUCH smaller. You'd think, then, the Argos should sell out in Trono, too. I guess the Argos don't sell out because they aren't very good. After all, one of the important determinants of the demand for tickets to sporting events is fans' expectations about whether the home team will win.
Also there is an immense sense of both belonging and stakeholdership (if that's a word) among the people in Saskatchewan. That must contribute immensely to their willingness to buy tickets, attend rallies, buy jerseys, etc.
No, the pep band doesn't pay for its tickets. But if all I wanted was to attend and watch the game, given where the pep band seats are (low in the endzone), maybe I should quit the band and try for a media pass instead. 8-)
Be skeptical. From The Economist (which has, until recently, been quite mainstream in its lack of skepticism about the science of global warming):
Perhaps the most worrying thing about the PBL [Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency] report, though, is a rather obvious one about which its authors say little. In all ten of the issues that the PBL categorised as major (the original errors on glaciers and Dutch sea level, and the eight others identified in the report), the impression that the reader gets from the IPCC is more strikingly negative than the impression which would have been received if the underlying evidence base had been reflected as the PBL would have wished, with more precise referencing, more narrow interpretation and less authorial judgment. A large rise in heat related deaths in Australia is mentioned without noting that most of the effect is due to population rather than climate change. A claim about forest fires in northern Asia seems to go further than the evidence referred to—in this case a speech by a politician—would warrant.
The Netherlands look more floodable, Asian glaciers more fragile. A suspicion thus gains ground that the way in which the IPCC sythesises, generalises snd checks its findings may systematically favour adverse outcomes in a way that goes beyond just serving the needs of policy makers. Anecdotally, authors bemoan fights to keep caveats in place as chapters are edited, refined and summarised. The PBL report does not prove or indeed suggest systematic bias, and it stresses that it has found nothing that should lead the parliament of the Netherlands, or anyone else, to reject the IPCC’s findings. But the panel set up to look at the IPCC’s workings by Dr Pachauri and Mr Ban should ask some hard questions about systematic tendencies to accentuate the negative.
After a series of e-mails on this and related topics, Jack wrote:
I can't even get my head around the concept of a universe without borders/end. One would think a deity would at least create borders for the playpen.
Every spring, Tim Hortons runs a "roll up the rim to win" contest, which many of us refer to as the TH Lottery. Several years ago, my older son (David Ricardo Palmer) and I spent three months working on a three-dimensional art piece commemorating playing and losing in this lottery. To see photos of the work and to read more about it, click here. The piece was exhibited in two different art galleries (at different times, of course) in Ontario that summer.
From the artists' statement:
L’ Arc des Perdants Anonymes
(The Arch of the Anonymous Losers):
A Celebration of the Existential Quest
by John Palmer and [David Ricardo] Palmer
Like many triumphal arches, this sculpture is a celebration.
In this work, we celebrate the process of continued search and quest despite not reaching a specific goal or prize. Constructed entirely of losing cups from the 2004 Tim Horton’s “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest, our work is rooted in the ontological search for meaning.
People who search for meaning in life are often frustrated, feeling lost when they are unable to arrive at some clear and definitive sense of purpose. The existential answer lies in the joy and value of the search activity itself.
We see the experience of playing the Tim Horton lottery as a reflection of this search. People buy cups of coffee hoping to win a big prize. They lose. They go back for more. And the process makes people smile. This simple, day-to-day process is a symbolic representation of the joie de vivre that is evinced in the human experiential quest for meaning.
L’ Arc des Perdants Anonymes is constructed with nearly 3000 used, losing cups from the Tim Horton’s 2004 contest. The artists used approximately 10 pounds of glue sticks to construct the sections of the structure. These sections are held together in places with 3M hook and loop material. The artists gratefully acknowledge the assistance of their families and persons at their respective workplaces.
Ever since I read some popular works for non-physicists about string theory and the possibility that there might be multi-verses and many more dimensions than just three or four to our known universe, I have been increasingly impressed by the imagination shown in the 19th century novel Flatland.
But now the concept of the universe (as we ordinarily might perceive it) as a holographic projection from more than just four or more dimensions seems like a similar mind-bending exercise [h/t Craig Newmark].
More importantly, confirming the holographic principle would be a big help to researchers trying to unite quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of gravity. Today the most popular approach to quantum gravity is string theory, which researchers hope could describe happenings in the universe at the most fundamental level. But it is not the only show in town. "Holographic space-time is used in certain approaches to quantising gravity that have a strong connection to string theory," says Cramer. "Consequently, some quantum gravity theories might be falsified and others reinforced."
Hogan agrees that if the holographic principle is confirmed, it rules out all approaches to quantum gravity that do not incorporate the holographic principle. Conversely, it would be a boost for those that do - including some derived from string theory and something called matrix theory. "Ultimately, we may have our first indication of how space-time emerges out of quantum theory." As serendipitous discoveries go, it's hard to get more ground-breaking than that.
This is mind-blowing stuff, well beyond my ability to comprehend. And yet I find it terribly exciting.
[Reminder: If you're skeptical about string theory, or just want to learn more about some of the controversies, be sure to read Peter Woit's blog, Not Even Wrong]
When you read Flatland, just skim over the bleeding-heart socionomology of this book and revel in the mathematical imagination:
My older son, David Ricardo Palmer, recently sent me a message about LOLspeak.
I don't know if you are "up" on LOLspeak, but it's the crap that kids text to each other. It is somehow associated with Cats and Cheeseburgers now, and so this group has translated ALMOST THE WHOLE FREAKIN' BIBLE into it. John 3:16 is translated, ""So liek teh Ceiling Kitteh lieks teh ppl lots and he sez 'Oh hai I givez u me only kitteh and ifs u beleeves him u wont evr diez no moar, k?'"
Amusing? maybe, but it certainly doesn't cut down on keystrokes. And why all those stupid misspellings, especially the ones that don't save keystrokes? The bible in LOLspeak? Lord, save us.
One of the songs performed recently by Thatotherchoir, of which I am a member, was "You Raise Me Up."
Mostly I try to avoid thinking about the words of the songs we sing, especially when we perform in churches, but this one made me suspect strong Freudian or maybe Penthouse overtones. Here is the portion that particularly caught my attention:
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
Or in some ways the entire song sounds like double-entendre poetry written by an older person who thinks s/he has rediscovered youth in a younger partner. Complete lyrics here.
Judith sent me the following message yesterday:
by Pamela Geller
Priest puts mosque in Nativity scene hat
tip Andrew Bostom
Italy's Right-wing Northern League have reacted with fury after it emerged that a Roman Catholic priest added a model mosque to his church's nativity scene.
The League, which has campaigned against the building of new mosques, bitterly attacked Father Prospero Bonzani as an "imbecile".
The miniature mosque, complete with a minaret, was included in the skyline of Bethlehem in the nativity scene at Father Bonzani's Our Lady of Providence church in the northern port of Genova.
The anti-immigration Northern League has called for a referendum to before any more mosques are built. Mario Borghezio, a Northern League MEP, called the priest an "imbecile" and said: "What on earth possessed him to put a mosque in a traditional Christmas nativity scene? I hope that the Church authorities in Genova will investigate this as a matter of urgency.''
He added: "What will this priest do when he says Mass during Ramadan? Ask us to turn towards Mecca? He may as well have included a suicide bomber wearing dynamite."
But Father Bonzani said that his nativity scene was designed to send a message of inter-faith harmony. "I included the mosque as a sign that we should have more dialogue with the Muslim faith. I do not have any regrets. At the end of the day the most important thing to focus on here is the Holy Family. I have only one had one complaint from within the parish and that's it."'
Spoken like a true dhimmi.
Father Bonzani added that another reason for including the mosque was that it accurately represented today's Bethlehem. "Someone asked me why I had put one in and I said I wanted it to be a modern Bethlehem."
A modern Bethlehem? That would be one that the Islamic jihad had 'cleansed' of all its Christians and the remaining few live under siege.
Father Bonzani also responded to his fiercer critics. "They said that I was allowing Islam to infiltrate Catholicism. As for Mr Borghezio, he is showing complete ignorance of his so called Catholic faith to love thy neighbour as thyself."
UPDATE: Meanwhile in Muslim controlled Gaza:
Christians living in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip are holding only small, quiet Christmas celebrations after local leaders received warnings from Muslim groups against any public display of Christianity this holiday season, according to a Gaza Christian leader.
Publicly, some Christian leaders announced the dampened festivities were to protest an Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza after Hamas seized control of the territory in the summer of 2007. Israel limits trade convoys but still allows in humanitarian aid and directly supplies Gaza with 75 percent of its electricity. The Jewish state also provides monthly infusions of Israeli currency that fuel the Gaza economy.
The dhimmis blame the Jews.
UPDATE: John Jay points out:
pamela & friends: If this good priest wanted to promote inter-faith harmony, instead of putting a mosque in bethlehem, (need anyone be reminded that islam did not exist at the birth of christ), why did he not put a synagogue along the skyline of the ancient city, and a rabbi amongst the witnesses to the baby's birth? Jews were present at the birth of Christ, to put the matter succinctly, in the presence of the Christ Child and His mother. Jesus Christ, was after all, a Jewish rabbi, of an evangelical bent to be sure, laughing, but a rabbi of some note, and some following, before and after his crucifixaton. or, has the good father forgotten this? Has he also forgotten the matters of faith and theology that tie Christianity and Judaism together, that leave them intertwined over the centuries, as they were at the birth of Christ? The good father reaches out to muslims, to "dialogue" with them (no doubt), as they kill and persecute Christians and Jews the world over, ... , as he denigrates the plight of those of his own faith by ignoring this, and ignores those who birthed his own faith, and whose traditions and values and ethos are the source of his own, and of his brethren. to do this to a nativity scene.-- This good father is an imbecile, and he has been rightly chastised for being so. he compounds his ignorance by defending it, in public, and by not taking the mosque from the skyline of Bethlehem. he mocks the nativity, and he mocks the tenets of his own faith, and the faith of his flock, and he mocks the birth of Christ. and, he mocks the historical fact of Christ's life as a Jew, and as a rabbi of the Jewish faith.
John Jay Milton Freewater, Oregon USA
From the Washington Post,
"Even nothing, even empty space, weighs something, and because in our universe we've got a lot of nothing, it has a major effect on our evolution and causes space itself to accelerate," said David Spergel, an astrophysicist at Princeton University.
What remains unclear is what dark energy is, exactly.
Nothing weighs something? What is this, a love song? Magic? Voodoo? Inferential science? Ontological epistomology? Whatever it is, it sounds a lot like macroeconomics to me.