Saturday, May 31, 2008

Always fun to see the clinic escorts beat up on the old people


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Call center life

Raymond Chen pointed out a call center based soap opera. Ah India.

And of course there's always the short film on the same topic.


Vatican document declares: them vows are for reals

The Vatican has issued a new document underlining the importance of obedience in religious life. Entitled "The Service of Authority and Obedience," the 50-page document from the Congregation for Religious takes the form of an Instruction.

Obedience, the Vatican document says, should be understood by religious as "a way to help the community or institute to seek and achieve the will of God." The basis for religious obedience, the Instruction notes, is found "in that search for God and for his will which is particular to believers." In offering their obedience, religious imitate "the fundamental experience of Christ Who, out of love, was obedient unto his death on the Cross."
Wow, I guess when you take that vow of obedience you are supposed to mean it!


A most lovely video about check cashing

It's hard to explain, but it's great.

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Sacramental marriages

Useful data. I had never realized that a non-sacramental marriage between a baptized and unbaptized perosn is potentially disolvable, as only sacramental consummated marriages are indissolvable. Though I guess if I had turned my brain on I would have realized this.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

I will derive!

To those from high school - Stelly, are you ok?

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Science considered harmful

Four years ago, in 2004, Planned Parenthood lied and told us "there's no scientific proof" when in fact, there was: 5 studies between 2001 and 2003 (linked to in the Myth #3 debunking) and the APA's DSM III-R: in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1987-1994), abortion was listed as a life event which can produce Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It appears that Planned Parenthood believes its own Koolaid so rabidly that first they lie about those 5 research studies from 2001-2003, evaluating National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) data (the objective, anonymous medial records of 1,884 women with a first pregnancy) and the objective, anonymous records of 173,000 California women...THEN they dismiss the studies, which were not flawed (note PP provides no proof of this claim either, you're just supposed to b e l i e v e what they tell you...again).

Ah I love science.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Entrapped in the Entrapment: New York Man Stuck in Elevator for 40 Hours

In addition to the YouTube video above, I read this article from the New Yorker which gives a fascinating survey of elevators. Okay, I just spent half an hour reading the article instead of doing work. Not very productive, but it's the stuff of urban legends and sometimes you can't resist stories like this.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A slow bug fix

The code was only broken for 25 years. Not so significant in geological terms.

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Food Waste

Don't do it.

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Moscow and the Pope

Moscow, May. 20, 2008 ( - The Russian Orthodox Church has officially rejected a doctrinal statement approved by a joint Catholic-Orthodox theological commission at a meeting in Ravenna, Italy last October.

. . .

In January, Patriarch Alexei of Moscow charged that the Ravenna meeting had been "deliberately orchestrated to exclude the Moscow patriarchate." In fact, Russian Orthodox representatives walked out of the meeting before discussions began, protesting the seating of a delegation from the Estonian Orthodox Church, which Moscow does not recognize.



Sunday, May 18, 2008

Talking to old people

Today I attended a very nice church luncheon. I was, you might say, rather younger than the average. It was rather educational. I recommend it if you can get it.

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A new definition of art

Last week, Shvarts caused a firestorm of media attention when she announced that she had deliberately impregnated herself multiple times and then aborted her children using drugs over a period of nine months, as her senior art project. Yale University officials soon thereafter issued a statement that the claim was false and that Shvarts' announcement had been a piece of "performance art".

Shvarts, however, insisted in a column in the Yale Daily News on Friday that she had indeed done as she had claimed. Shvarts said she had inseminated herself "as often as possible" over nine months and subsequently took herbal substances that are known to induce abortions. She claims to have preserved some of the blood from the process and to be storing it in a freezer. The exhibition was also to include video recordings of the abortions.

I would comment, but reality is often stranger than I can understand.


Creating Catholic Culture Tip #10 - Making the Sign of the Cross

Something to recall on this feast of the Most Holy Trinity:

"The word Catholic means "universal" and one of the most universal signs of the Catholic Faith is the sign of the cross. For most Catholics this most simple prayer and outward sign of our Faith is done daily but the history of the prayer and sign is unknown. Remember the Sign of the Cross is a prayer. We see the sign of the Cross most often as a introduction and closing to our prayers. Catholics love prayer so much they pray before and after they pray."
I teach science, but I think maybe I need to teach my students about the meaning of the cross as a prayer. It is used so often that they get sloppy with it (we all do). I have also noticed that some Protestant students will refuse to make the sign of the cross, perhaps because they were taught it is a sign of Catholicism. This is true, but maybe if I tell them that it was a prayer of the early Church fathers and has its roots in the Gospels, they will allow themselves to pray it.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Respect for employees

A year before, I had responded to a Friday plant disaster that left inventory and manufacturing untouched but destroyed the office space and all computers. Thanks to spare equipment and offsite backup tapes, our Monday morning shipments went out on time, saving the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. This event opened the purse strings a bit, and I was allowed to purchase a backup server to use in case one of the other factories had a similar disaster.

. . .

At one point, the VP of Finance asked the CIO why I still worked there. To his credit, my boss said that although I was not going to be involved in the ERP planning, I would be instrumental in the installation and training. I, of course, brushed up the résumé and prepared for the inevitable.



Monday, May 12, 2008


Perhaps Squach would rather the details not be broadcast, but please pray for his family during this time of mourning the loss of a family member. Also please pray for the soul of the deceased. Thank you.


Merton Quote

“Monastic solitude, poverty, obedience, silence and prayer dispose the soul for this mysterious destiny in God. Asceticism itself does not produce divine union as its direct result. It only disposes the soul for union. The various practices of monastic asceticism are more or less valuable to the monk in proportion as they help him to accomplish the inner and spiritual work that needs to be done to make his soul poor, and humble, and empty, in the mystery of the presence of God. When ascetic practices are misused, they serve only to fill the monk with himself and to harden his heart in resistance to grace. That is why all monastic asceticism centers in the two great virtues of humility and obedience which cannot be practiced as they ought to be practiced, if they do not empty a man of himself.” The Silent Life - Excerpt from chapter 1

I felt the need to post this as this message is particularly profound to me at the moment.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Privilege, Ownership, Poverty

I own a lot of things. This fact is troubling to me sometimes when I take the time to dwell on it, because I’m not sure I’m entitled to own the things I own.

I take something as simple as the bamboo floor mats I bought for my room, purchased at Target. They cost maybe about $70 for the set which now reside on my bedroom floor. I bought them because I didn’t like the feel of the cold tile floors on my feet in the winter and because I wanted something to make the room look more furnished and cozy. They were on sale. They weren’t very expensive. They make the room look very nice and suit the purpose. Still, although I bought them about five months ago, I question this purpose. If I was truly living a simple life, would I have bought them? Could not that $70 have been better spent helping others in more dire need? And there are many other questions that trouble me. Here is a list:

Was the money really mine to spend? What I mean by that is:

a) Did I truly earn/deserve the money required to make this purchase?

b) Should I be spending money when I have (education) debts?

c) Should I be spending money on a something frivolous when my brothers and sisters in humanity are starving, thirsty, in dire need of medical care, etc?

Secondary questions that concern me are:

d) Am I only able to afford this item because of unfair/exploitive labor practices?

e) What was the ecological impact of my purchase? Am I adding to my footprint?

f) Who is profiting from my purchase? Who is losing?

Tertiary questions:

g) Are my motivations pure? Is there an alternative that is cheaper, or more socially conscious that I am overlooking because of ease/laziness or vanity?

h) Would I care for the item and utilize it fully if purchased?

i) Will this item be in keeping with a spirit of simplicity, solidarity with the poor, and detachment from worldly things?

If I made myself answer all these questions before every purchase, it is very likely I would cut back considerably on my spending and perhaps save my money for more worthy causes. This is a high standard to hold oneself to, I know. But still, Jesus said: “If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Serious technical problems

Blog may be suspended for several days. Sorry reader.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Nihilism, act 1

they who said among themselves, thinking not aright: "Brief and troublous is our lifetime; neither is there any remedy for man's dying, nor is anyone known to have come back from the nether world. For haphazard were we born, and hereafter we shall be as though we had not been; Because the breath in our nostrils is a smoke and reason is a spark at the beating of our hearts, And when this is quenched, our body will be ashes and our spirit will be poured abroad like unresisting air. Even our name will be forgotten in time, and no one will recall our deeds. So our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud, and will be dispersed like a mist pursued by the sun's rays and overpowered by its heat. For our lifetime is the passing of a shadow; and our dying cannot be deferred because it is fixed with a seal; and no one returns. Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that are real, and use the freshness of creation avidly. Let us have our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no springtime blossom pass us by; let us crown ourselves with rosebuds ere they wither.

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Spiritual fulfillment

Rote makes right?

The Torah's demand this week to be kdoshim — holy, pious, dedicated and sanctified — seems at first glance to be quite a tall order. Is it not unrealistic for the Bible to ask people immersed in trying to get through the day, make a living for themselves and their families, fight illnesses and the difficulties of society and life generally, to raise themselves somehow to a level of being kdoshim?

This week's reading contains many varied and different mitzvos (religious duties) which deal with all areas of human life and experience. In fact, the portion contains the greatest number of mitzvos in the Torah. It is not coincidental that this plethora of mitzvos occurs in the parsha of kdoshim.

Religious duties often lead one to greater love of God, even if they seem inane. EG. Not eating meat on Fridays probably didn't do a lot for most people to make they "feel" closer to God. However, corporate observance of the law created a sense of community that did bring people closer to God.

I think this is a biger debate in the Jewish world (in my experience) mostly because there aren't exactly a great number of rules left to be broken in the Catholic world, beyond the procreative/reproductive/sexual issues.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

The dignity of a day's work

If you happen to be in Florida construction, something tells me you get a few more bonus points with God for showing up to your job on a daily basis.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Healing on the Sabbath

Jesus’ argument seems to be that if it is permitted to cause a wound on the Sabbath to a limb of the body and then apply the salve and bandages required to heal it, it should certainly be permitted to heal the entire body.

. . .

But the main difficulty is that Jesus’ argument is easily refuted.

This is indeed a point that several OJs I've discussed this with have brought up. Luckily there's a decent solution.

But the problem is not Jesus’ argument. The problem is the translation of the RSV!

According to Mr. Diary, the main issues with the argument are translational in nature, and he argues from Duoay-Rhiems and Latin to address them. Now the point, I think, isn't that Jesus spoke the Latin of the Vulgate, but rather that this argument can rise and fall on minor differences in the connotations of words.

This is his argument: If it is permitted to heal on the Sabbath so that a person may be initiated into the path of holiness (circumcised), certainly, he can be healed in order to make him holy.

Or this might be his argument: If it is permitted to heal on the Sabbath so that an innocent may be brought to the ways of G-d, we can certainly heal the sinner on the Sabbath in order to turn him from the ways of death to the way of G-d and eternal life

I sort of tried to make this argument when talking to my friend Dan, but it was three in the morning and I wasn't aware of the translational issues at work here.

Either way, a big thanks to Mr. Diary for putting in his $0.02.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ascension and BDOS

Firstly, a happy Ascension to all

When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.

And secondly, the rest of today and tomorrow will be blog days of silence for Yom Ha'Shoah.

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