Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dorthy Day on Ephemeral NY

Woot to unlikely saints.

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Some interesting data points concerning human sexuality

Thanks to OK Cupid. Not really worth reading, but this caught my attention:

In the Bible, in between the part where Reuben kills a he-goat so he can dip some clothes in the blood of the he-goat and where Judah tries to give Tamar a goat but decides maybe she should be burned to death instead, God kills a man named Onan because Onan intentionally spills his seed on the ground.

(1) Thou shalt not whack off. (2) Mo goats mo problems.

Life lessons! From the Iron Age!

I feel that point 2 is a fairly good summary of the Bible in one sentence.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

I am ridiculous, I suppose

The title of the article is "The most ridiculous job interview questions".

The first question is

"Given the numbers 1 to 1,000, what is the minimum number of guesses needed to find a specific number, if you are given the hint 'higher' or 'lower' for each guess you make?" -- Facebook

The answer, of course, is lg 1000, where lg is log base 2. Something any programmer should be able to answer in under two seconds, more or less, I would think. Though I have seen some people in my classes flub that one pretty badly.

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Make paying bribes legal

Well, sometimes.


Mickey Mouse Copyright Laws

In the end, Jefferson was persuaded by Madison that a strictly limited copyright would indeed “promote the progress of science and the useful arts,” as the Constitution was to proclaim. By enjoying a short-term monopoly on the publication of their writings, authors would be encouraged to share their ideas in print. How short should the term be? The copyright act of 1790 set it at 14 years, renewable once. The founders took this limit from British precedents, which went back through a series of court cases to the original copyright act of 1710. Along the way, some experts argued that copyright should be perpetual, because intellectual property was like ownership of land — absolute until alienated by sale. But that view was overridden by the notion that knowledge belonged to everyone and should revert to the public domain, where everyone can make use of it.

Today, however, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years — or even longer in some cases. The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, because the monopoly on Mickey was about to expire) now prevents most 20th-century literature from being available in the public domain. When asked how long he thought copyrights should last, Jack Valenti, the lobbyist for Hollywood, quipped, “Forever, minus a day.” Valenti has won, Jefferson has lost.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Meet the Patriarch!

In his homily, Patriarch Rai called attention to the significance of the date, March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, pointing out that it was instituted in 2010 as a national holiday in Lebanon because it is holy to Christians and Muslims.

The patriarch also noted the special meaning of the Annunciation for him personally, as he was baptized on the feast at the Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation in the village of Chouya, Lebanon, 71 years ago. His name, “Bechara,” means “Annunciation” in Arabic.

Our Lady is honored by both Christians and Muslims, hence the national Lebanese holiday on March 25, Feast of the Annunciation, also day of Muslim-Christian unity. Perhaps Our Lady will be a guiding light to unity and peace between these two faiths. Let's pray for peace, continued dialogue, and an end to persecution.

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Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Vatican and Irish biships

Turns out that following the law is not equivalent to hushing up abuse claims, unless you work for the New York Times.


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