The father of the "green revolution" in agriculture, Norman Borlaug, recently passed away due to cancer, at the age of 95. Borlaug didn't approve of the "green revolution" moniker, dubbing it "a miserable term" (what he would have made of "The Agrichemical Revolutionary" isn't clear) but his work has had a far-reaching impact on the course of human development.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
DD: How important are science and technology in modern society, as an ideology, or, if you like, a religion? Why do people prefer to believe that the problem will be solved by hanging solar panels on the roof and buying an electric car, although obviously a more simple solution would be to change the lifestyle so that one's dependence on the car is minimal?
DO: I have thought about this long and hard, and came to the conclusion that it all comes down to a very basic question: "How to please a girl?" After all, any modern, progressive, educated and attractive person begins to scoff if you take away her flush toilet and substitute a bucket, or if she has to go shopping leading a donkey, or if, instead of a shower, she is invited to go and stoke a sauna. From time immemorial status in society has been determined by access to luxury goods. As society becomes richer, luxuries turn into necessities. And when society starts to grow poorer again, it turns out that there is no going back. That is, there is a way back, but it is blocked by the innate tendencies of our clever species. My wife and I spent two years living aboard a very attractive and practical yacht slightly less than 10 meters in length at the waterline, and although the wife understands everything very well, even she cannot stop herself from casting a sideways glance when a yacht like Abramovich's walks past us, and from making some comment, like "Oh, now this I understand, this is the real thing!" And there is no point in explaining to her that what we have here on board is a very high level of civilization, while Abramovich is just an ordinary consumer. It is very hard, gentlemen, to change the lifestyle, but not change the woman! If someone succeeds in this, then he is a hero and a genius, and we should all learn from him. In the meantime, we are going to live in an apartment, and put the boat on the hard, and install all sorts of solar panels, water heaters, and other technological junk.
How many women would be willing to embrace a simpler way of life?
I hope that I have made it clear that I am not here in any sort of professional capacity. I consider what I am doing a kind of community service. So, if you don't like my talk, don't worry about me. There are plenty of other things I can do. But I would like my insights to be of help during these difficult and confusing times, for altruistic reasons, mostly, although not entirely. This is because when times get really bad, as they did when the Soviet Union collapsed, lots of people just completely lose it. Men, especially. Successful, middle-aged men, breadwinners, bastions of society, turn out to be especially vulnerable. And when they just completely lose it, they become very tedious company. My hope is that some amount of preparation, psychological and otherwise, can make them a lot less fragile, and a bit more useful, and generally less of a burden.
Women seem much more able to cope. Perhaps it is because they have less of their ego invested in the whole dubious enterprise, or perhaps their sense of personal responsibility is tied to those around them and not some nebulous grand enterprise. In any case, the women always seem far more able to just put on their gardening gloves and go do something useful, while the men tend to sit around groaning about the Empire, or the Republic, or whatever it is that they lost. And when they do that, they become very tedious company. And so, without a bit of mental preparation, the men are all liable to end up very lonely and very drunk. So that's my little intervention.
Veritatem Facientes in Caritate: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (plus some photos of the practice sessions)
The Veritatem Facientes in Caritate posts also have clips of the Mass.
Photos at the website for the Institute of Christ the King.
I was going to upload some pictures from this event, which took place two Sundays ago, but I had been unable to do so for a few reasons, the most serious of which is that my computer was not working. I should try to upload some this weekend.
Now for some reactions:
There was the use of cover music to cover "dead time" -- when the clerics were doing something, but the laity were not really doing anything. What is liturgically appropriate music during the vesting and unvesting of a bishop, for example? A litany? A hymn to the Blessed Mother? What is the solution in the other rites?
I do wonder about Gregorian chant as well... are there "too many notes," to quote a certain emperor in Amadeus? If one compares the propers with Greek Byzantine or Melkite sacred music, the singing might be more complicated (it may even use a scale with more notes!), but it doesn't linger as much on each word? This can make it difficult to focus on the meaning of the text? Perhaps I am just not proficient enough in Latin. But what is the average layman doing when the propers are being sung?
Should EF communities not provide some sort of training in music and Latin for its members?
Regarding polyphony -- I might change my mind after hearing works of polyphony, like what I have been posting this past week. Those pieces were quite beautiful... But when they are sung within the context of the eucharistic liturgy, it is easy to be distracted, especially when one does not have a copy of the text to follow along. Vocal prayer is much easier for me at a low Mass, or Mass with straightforward chants (like a Melkite liturgy). It doesn't necessarily have to be in English -- it could be in Latin, like Lauds or Vespers. Can one "actively" pray the text while it is being sung polyphonically? Is listening to the words the only possible option?
Should there be certain texts reserved specifically for the cantor/schola? Or should the singing and praying of the propers be given to the faithful as much as possible?
On finding a wife--
I don't know if a traditionalist would be a suitable match. While I am familiar with the EF, there is still a gap in culture and spirituality between me and most traditionalists. Minor differences, you might say, but maybe they are not so minor after all? My own "liturgical preference" is still rather fluid. I haven't really settled one a particular form of the Roman rite, and I still mull over switching to an Eastern rite (though that looks less and less likely as time passes). At times I prefer an OF low mass in English celebrated somewhat well -- while ad lib petitions bother me, and other abuses may be present, at least there is no bad music in an OF low mass.
Many traditionalists have a "rigorist" attitude towards matters liturgical and also culture. To say that they return the Church to the '50s may be a caricature of their understanding of liturgy and theology (though some may believe that the low mass is the norm). But they are comfortable with mid-2oth century cultural norms and forms. I can't say that I am attached to mid-20th century American fashion or mores.
Maybe a woman associated with Opus Dei would be a better fit. (As opposed to Regnum Christi, which is tainted and suspect -- do its members have a cultist mentality, or worse, a twisted spirituality?) I haven't really met too many women who are associated with Opus Dei, and the ones I have can be as Yankee as anyone else.
Begun on September 24, 2009.
But what’s the reason for all this? Why did the Church always fight resolutely against such trends in the past, only to succumb to them to a large degree this time? There are, I believe, several reasons.
The first one is the seductive allure of the Anglo-Saxon liberalism. The Anglosphere has been at the undisputed forefront of Western civilization for almost a century now, and especially after WW2. Thus, it’s nearly impossible for any intellectual, Catholic or not, to avoid the temptation to succumb to its intellectual trends, rather than to stick to traditionalism and be branded a troglodyte by the fashionable opinion. So, we’ve ended up in a situation where the Church leaders, all the way up to the Pope, are bending over backwards to be as PC as possible on all questions except those few ones where it would mean out-and-out heresy or apostasy. Thus, they’ll hold the line when it comes to, say, abortion, gay marriage, or woman priests, but they’ll frenetically try to make up for it on all issues that the Church has traditionally considered as a matter of free personal opinion and a free choice of the secular authorities, such as e.g. mass immigration, death penalty, or the policies and attitudes towards Islam. Of course, like all appeasement, it only feeds the beast and creates further pressure to abandon the traditional doctrine on all other matters where it might conflict with the PC worldview.
The second one is the frog-boiling principle. The modern PC liberalism has acquired its present extreme characteristics only slowly and gradually. There was no single point at which mainstream politicians and public intellectuals started advocating things grossly incompatible with the Catholic faith, which the priests and bishops could then recognize as the time for a decisive break with them. (Like, for example, the Church in Eastern Europe suddenly found itself under an openly hostile regime in 1945.) Rather, the priests and bishops have stuck to their prominent social roles, even if this required tolerating (and endorsing by silence) more and more grossly heretical and sinful views among the social elite whose part they wanted to remain. Thus, we have slowly drifted towards a situation where Catholic bishops cavort with pro-abortionist politicians without daring to mutter a single word against their views, and a priest gets arrested for protesting against abortion on the campus of a supposedly Catholic university, lest the reverend fathers running it might be deemed uncouth by their social peers. On a more mundane level, the same prideful lust for social prestige leads to the disgusting modern church architecture and art that will win praise by the modern art establishment, even if it’s at the same spiritual and aesthetic level as an abandoned warehouse. (How anyone can have any respect in the first place for this bunch of obnoxious poseurs and charlatans and their nauseating output is beyond me, but that’s a topic for some other discussion.)
The third one is that many Catholic hierarchs, theologians, and other intellectuals have committed the same ignorant errors that have pushed the Mainline Protestant churches into de facto dechristianization. By this I mean the naive conflation between the traditional Christian virtues of charity, mercy, justice, and love of neighbor and the modern PC/Universalist sugary liberalism, and the similarly naive conflation between traditionalism and fascism/Nazism. Thus, many of them actually believe that even the most abominable and extreme left is preferable to even moderate traditionalism. These days, among liberal Catholics, one will certainly draw much more controversy by being a fan of the Tridentine Mass than the Clown Mass, and one will be considered far more evil for giving un-PC comments about issues such as multiculturalism than for outright heresy and apostasy aimed at making one’s views more PC. For various reasons, some of them discussed above, the present power of such currents of thought among Catholics, both laymen and clergy, is at a historically unprecedented level, as well as the favorability of the surrounding environment for their growth.
Britannia Arms Downtown (Better or worse than the ones in Almaden and Cupertino?)
Firehouse No. 1 Bar and Grill
Cafe do Canto
Mission Ale House
Teske's Germania Restaurant & Beer Garden
O'Flaherty's Irish Pub
Rabbit's Foot Meadery
Los Gatos Brewing Company
Where does one go to find Irish music in the Bay Area?
Traditional Celtic Music Resources in the S.F. Bay Area
Slowplayers.org - Celtic Traditional Music - Welcome!
So Sarge, you willing to step foot in a dance club?
The Blank Club
Just taking advantage of Yelp...
Previous post. I should go to Los Gatos sometime. Forbes Mill Steakhouse and Los Gatos Meats and Smoke House... Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino will have to wait until I get a decent-paying job and a sufficient reason to go...
By Sara Schonhardt
I should learn more about Indonesians and Malaysians.
Batik makes UNESCO list of heritage
Visit Malaysia vs Visit Indonesia — Both Claiming From Other People’s Culture
Todd Woody, The New York Times
In a rural corner of Nevada reeling from the recession, a bit of salvation seemed to arrive last year. A German developer, Solar Millennium, announced plans to build two large solar farms here that would harness the sun to generate electricity, creating hundreds of jobs.
But then things got messy. The company revealed that its preferred method of cooling the power plants would consume 1.3 billion gallons of water a year, about 20 percent of this desert valley’s available water.
Now Solar Millennium finds itself in the midst of a new-age version of a Western water war. The public is divided, pitting some people who hope to make money selling water rights to the company against others concerned about the project’s impact on the community and the environment.
“I’m worried about my well and the wells of my neighbors,” George Tucker, a retired chemical engineer, said on a blazing afternoon.
Here is an inconvenient truth about renewable energy: It can sometimes demand a huge amount of water. Many of the proposed solutions to the nation’s energy problems, from certain types of solar farms to biofuel refineries to cleaner coal plants, could consume billions of gallons of water every year...
Peccantem Me Quotidie, Coral Polifónica "Ciudad de Marbella"
Morales - Peccantem me (Auckland Catholic Music Schola)
Friday, October 02, 2009
Women's Taekyun Battle 2004.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
The problem is that virtually all American infantry are trained in Second Generation tactics. The Second Generation reduces all tactics to one tactic: bump into the enemy and call for fire. The French, who invented the Second Generation, summarize it as, “Firepower conquers, the infantry occupies.” The supporting firepower, originally artillery, now most often airstrikes, must be massive. If it is not – as is now the case in Afghanistan, under General McChrystal’s directive – the infantry is in trouble. Everything it has been taught depends on fire support it no longer has. Inevitably, its casualties will rise, and it will often lose engagements.
Fortunately, the answer to this problem has been known for a long time – several centuries, in fact. It is true light infantry or Jaeger tactics. True light infantry has a broad and varied tactical repertoire. It depends only on its own (modest) firepower. Jaeger tactics were an influence on the development of Third Generation tactics, but Jaeger tactics remain a more sophisticated version of those (infiltration) tactics. They are ideally suited to Fourth Generation wars, especially in mountain country like Afghanistan’s.
If we are to reduce American casualties in the Afghan war while sustaining General McChrystal’s absolutely necessary restrictions on supporting arms, we need a crash program to teach U. S. Army and Marine Corps infantry Jaeger tactics. The Marine Corps, which as usual is somewhat ahead of the game, has began such a program, called “Combat Hunter” (Jaeger is the German word for hunter).
This is not a case where we need to invent anything. The literature on true light infantry tactics is extensive. Works on 18th century light infantry remain instructive; I would recommend Johan Ewald’s diary of the American Revolution (Ewald was a Hessian Jaeger company commander) and J.F.C. Fuller’s British Light Infantry in the 18th Century. More recent works of value include the light infantry field manuals published by the K.u.K. Marine Corps (available on d.n.i. and the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Warfare School website); Dr. Steven Canby’s superb Modern Light Infantry and New Technology (1983 – done under DOD contract); and John Poole’s books. Some of our NATO allies also have Jaeger units from which we could learn.
About twenty years ago, a commander of the Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, General Burba, attempted to shift the school to teaching light infantry instead of Second Generation tactics. He formed a Light Infantry Task Force, which I visited and which was doing excellent work. The effort died when General Burba left, but some of the officers who participated in it should still be available. The Army could and should find them and their work and put them in charge of an emergency training program.
By Cristian Segura and Wu Zhong
In his book, Blasko recounts that ancient war treatises are important for the PLA. "These ancient and modern texts provide the PLA with a military heritage that is imprinted on soldiers before they enter the service through their social roots and then throughout their professional military education experience." The aim of the Communist Party is to modernize the PLA in a way that will combine this ancient knowledge with high-technology resources.
Li Shaoting, the commanding officer of the Third Guard Division, insisted that the PLA had nothing to envy in the US or any other big power in terms of the quality of light weapons and the skills of the infantry. The times when China went to war with millions of soldiers to compensate for a lack of military technology were over, he said.
Li quoted from the Defense White Book released by the government in 2008, which introduced the mantra of a "new PLA". "The priority is a technological revolution, to move from mechanization to informationalization." This evolution is first to be achieved in the navy and the air force; it is imperative that China can control sea trade lanes and gain air superiority.
Admissions that the Chinese are adapting to 3GW and 4GW? They're not going to talk about the use of hacking and other means to destabilize a country's financial system and so on...
I was watching this clip -- both seem to have rather slow hand speed (in comparison with pro boxers), and that's always been the impression I've gotten from MMA fighters. Still, I wouldn't mind having a connection to SPIKE right now, so I could watch The Ultimate Fighter.
The Ultimate Fighter® : Heavyweights
Spike - The Ultimate Fighter
UFC® : Ultimate Fighting Championship®
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
That meant, among other things, that the labels assigned to his treatises by that anonymous Alexandrian savant became the basic categories of scholarship in the Middle Ages. (Most of them remain basic categories today, which is why your local university has departments of physics, meteorology, and so on.) Metaphysics was no exception, and the philosophical issues Aristotle tackled in that treatise have carried that label ever since.
Those issues are what Aristotle himself called “first philosophy:” an analysis of the basic terms that have to be sorted out before any kind of philosophy can be sure of its foundations. The medieval scholars who blew the dust off Aristotle’s treatise, however, interpreted his work in their own way, which meant that the basic issues of philosophy were redefined in terms of Christian, Muslim, or Jewish theology. By the time the 18th century rolled around, metaphysics as a discipline was almost entirely identified with the theological basis given it by the scholars of the Middle Ages, and so it got dropped like a hot potato as secularism swept the academic world.
Not quite -- metaphysics for Aristotle was not really the same as the modern quest for certain knowledge. (Although in the 19th century, some Catholics attempted tried to reorient metaphysics as a way of answering modern epistemological questions. Even today there may be courses on epistemology and criteriology at European universities.) Did metaphysics die because of its association with Christianity and theology? Or because of the influence of Kant's idealism instead?
I agree with Mr. Greer that part of the problem with the sciences (both traditional sciences and pseudo-sciences) is that many of their practioners claim that certainty can only come with quantification and mathematical formulae. The problem is not the loss of metaphysics (though the consequences of that are serious), but the truncation of the other sciences (used in the Aristotelian sense) and the confusion between speculative and practical science.
IBMA ANNOUNCES INTERNATIONAL
BLUEGRASSMUSIC AWARDS NOMINEES
Dan Tyminski Band, Dailey & Vincent, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, The Grascals and Newcomer Steve Martin Lead the Pack with Nominations
Nashville, TN….IBMA is proud to announce the nominees for the 20th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, hosted by Grammy®-winning country artist Kathy Mattea and the legendary bluegrass band, Hot Rize, on Thursday,, at the historic Ryman Auditorium in October 1, 2009 . Nashville, Tennessee
Two decades after the very first IBMA Award Show—an intimate industry gathering at the Executive Inn’s Showroom Lounge in Owensboro, Kentucky hosted by Vince Gill and the Dirt Band’s John McEuen—bluegrass music’s premier night continues to be the most anticipated evening of the year. Now a generation away from that first show, the bluegrass tradition of passing the music on from one generation to the next also continues, evidenced by the six bands nominated for Entertainer of the Year in 2009. All have gained valuable experience as journeymen musicians with established artists in the past, and have now become the band leaders and musical stylists who will inspire future generations.
Reigning Entertainers of the Year Dailey & Vincent apprenticed with legendary stars Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs. Key members of The Grascals were members of the Osborne Brothers band. Doyle Lawson himself is a former member of The Country Gentlemen and Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys. Del McCoury is a former guitarist and lead singer with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. Members of Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out were former sidemen in Lawson’s band, Quicksilver. And Dan Tyminski has been one of Alison Krauss’s right-hand men in Union Station for a number of years.
Dan Tyminski and two Union Station alumni, Adam Steffey and Barry Bales, have taken the opportunity to make a name for their own group the past two years, while Alison Krauss focused on a critically acclaimed recording and tour dates with Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. On the strength of Tyminski’s chart-topping album Wheels, the band leads with nine nominations. In addition to Entertainer of the Year, Instrumental Group, Album of the Year, Song of the Year for the title cut and Male Vocalist nods, band members Ron Stewart, Bales and Steffey are nominated for their individual instrumental skills, with Stewart earning nods in both the Banjo and Fiddle Player categories.
Dailey & Vincent, whose popularity has only continued to grow since they received seven awards in 2008, including Entertainer of the Year, have a new album out on Rounder Records entitled Brothers from Different Mothers and seven new IBMA nominations. Along with nominations for Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist—an award Dailey took home last year—the band is up for Vocal Group; Album of the Year; Bass Player (Vincent); Gospel Recorded Performance for “On the Other Side,” a song written by Jimmy Fortune, Kevin Denney & Tom Botkin; and “After the Fire is Gone,” a song Vincent recorded with his award-winning sister Rhonda Vincent and the legendary Bobby Osborne.
Multiple Emmy®- and Grammy® winning actor, musician and best-selling author, Steve Martin, burst onto the bluegrass scene this year, trusty banjo in hand, to receive nominations in six IBMA award categories: Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year for “The Crow,” Recorded Event of the year for both “Daddy Played the Banjo” and “The Crow,” Banjo Player, Best Liner Notes and Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project. After charity appearances in
Los Angelesand and an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in May, Martin has recently announced a cross-country series of tour dates in support of his album, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo. The Crow currently sits at the top of the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart, and Steve has brought mainstream media attention to bluegrass music with a number of appearances on television and radio programs this year, including A Prairie Home Companion, American Idol’s season finale, Saturday Night Live, Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, CBS Early Show, Tavis Smiley and Late Night with David Letterman. Martin, whose fans will remember his impressive banjo chops from his early days as a stand-up comedian, wrote all the songs on The Crow. New York
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper have been recognized with six nominations, including Instrumental Group, Bass (Marshall Wilborn), Fiddle (Cleveland), Mandolin (Jesse Brock), Print Media Person (guitarist & lead singer, Tom Adams), and Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year for the Bill Monroe classic tune, “Jerusalem Ridge.”
The Grascals, who were named Entertainers of the Year in 2006 and 2007, have nominations in five categories. Along with nods for Entertainer and Album of the Year for Keep on Walkin’, current Banjo Player of the Year Kristin Scott Benson is nominated for Instrumental Recorded Performance for her original composition “Don’t Tread on Me,” and she receives a new Banjo Player nomination. The entire band is recognized in the Recorded Event of the Year category for their collaboration with Vince Gill, “Sad Wind Sighs.”
The following groups received four nominations each for their outstanding contributions during the current eligibility period:
Blue Highway, The Isaacs, Danny Paisley, The Del McCoury Band, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice and Rhonda Vincent & the Rage.
The bluegrass industry’s highest honors of the year go to the new members of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, the legendary string band formed in 1937 by Ezra, Ray and Ned Cline in West Virginia and The Dillards, the influential band from Salem, Missouri known for their popular appearances on The Andy Griffith Show who blazed a trail on the West Coast in the 1960s for progressive bluegrass bands and were instrumental in laying the foundation for the “country rock” music genre. (For complete information on this year’s inductees, please visit http://www.ibma.org/ibma.awards/currentpress/HOFPress.asp.)
IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award is an honor which recognizes individuals, groups and businesses for ground-breaking work and fostering the music’s image and accessibility. This year’s recipients are early bluegrass pioneer Hylo Brown; long-time event producer from Maine, Pati Crooker; veteran performer and radio announcer Jody Rainwater; author, musicologist and radio broadcaster Dick Spottswood; and the National Council for the Traditional Art’s Joe Wilson.. (For complete information on this year’s recipients, please visit http://www.ibma.org/ibma.awards/currentpress/distachieve.asp.)
GLENN: What happens when Israel strikes Iran or Iran has the Earth rays and we know that they now have a nuclear weapon, what happens to our financial system at that point?
RON PAUL: I think the Chinese take over. If there's a real panic and oil shoots up to a couple of hundred bucks, the Chinese will dump their dollars. Chinese are maneuvering for this. The more we threaten Iran, the stronger the Chinese influence gets because they're using the dollars that they have earned from us and saved, they have a trillion, and they are starting to buy up assets in Iran and build plants and get involved in their energy. So the whole thing is back firing on us. We're getting ready to put tougher sanctions on the Iranians and that will make things that much worse. It won't help the dissidents in Iran. It's going to cost us a lot of money, and there will be a bombing and that will be a big, big event. I think it will crash the dollar is what I think it would do.
GLENN: What does America look like after a crashed dollar?
RON PAUL: Not like it looks today. We think it was bad with the financial crisis. When you have a dollar crisis, the whole thing quits functioning. The checks bounce and literally the federal government's checks bounce if you have -- if inflation goes up --
GLENN: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Does that mean that all of your friends in Washington then just go away?
RON PAUL: Yeah, that might be a good part of it.
GLENN: That might be a good idea! I say we crash the dollar today if that's the effect!
RON PAUL: I think we're going to have a de facto Tenth Amendment, secession. People are just going to ignore the federal government because they won't -- and there's, you know, a total loss of credibility. You know, this idea that Obama says that we're going to have all this new medical care, we're going to take care of everybody and it's not going to cost us anything and we're going to balance the budget and actually cut the deficit by giving people more services, all that does is build, you know, the lack of credibility and people just say that's not believable. But no, it will continue that way. And the checks will keep coming. People will get their Social Security checks. But like this year, even though there's been a lot of inflation that they don't admit to, there's no cost of living increases in the Social Security check. So the people who are dependent on fixed incomes or Social Security, their standard of living is going down right now and it will continue to go down. It will go down rapidly in the midst of a dollar crisis.
The Supreme Court is going to take up the question whether the 2nd Amendment is enforceable against the states. Any guesses? My own rule is “Always assume that the Supreme Court will get it wrong,” and so I’m betting that once again, they’ll say that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause means that a Bill of Rights provision—in this case, the one regarding gun rights—has the opposite meaning from the one it originally had. In other words, I’m guessing that the Supreme Court will declare that the Due Process Clause makes all gun-related state (including local) laws subject to federal judicial supervision. We’ll soon see.
Is BC still proceeding with expansion? Do they have the money to do it? "Pride goeth before the fall..." With the property they purchased from the archdiocese I suppose there is a lot that could be done. The school certainly has great aspirations.
I had a post about the expansion, but it seems to have been deleted. Unless I actually finished it. Perhaps the plans made sense if the status quo could be perpetuated indefinitely, but with the recession and the higher education bubble (and BC's participation in that bubble), is expansion prudent? As far as I know, the university has not done anything to prepare for peak oil, and this is probably true of all of the other Jesuit institutions in America.
From June of this year: Buildings & Grounds - City Approves Controversial Boston College
Brighton Centered: Two Brighton Residents Sue City Over Boston College's Expansion
From late 2007:
Boston College - Institutional Master Plan
$1.6 billion plan calls for grand expansion at Boston College
Buildings & Grounds - Mayor Criticizes Boston College's Expansion
BBC - BBC Radio 3 Programmes - Choral Evensong
Music & the Choir - Westminster Abbey
Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue: Webcasts
Choral Evensong - The Anglican Singers
Washington National Cathedral : Choral Evensong
Francesco Sisci reviews Military Culture in Imperial China, edited by Nicola Di Cosmo -- A culture at ease with war.
The book dispels the easy notion of any conflict in Chinese culture between wen (culture, literature) and wu (military affairs), in which wen is superior to wu, and as if wu were the last resort of the weak, uncultured mind.
From ancient times, the Chinese had a passion for stratagems and ruses that minimized the full brunt of combat. Nevertheless, war was considered "a matter of life or death for the state" and everybody took it seriously, as Sun Tzu (722-481 BC), the influential author of the book The Art of War, wrote.
That the civil service was more highly regarded than the military service is a standard trope one hears in Chinese history courses. (Even if a civil officer held the same nominal rank within the imperial bureaucracy as a military officer, his de facto rank was actually higher.) Is it accurate?
Confucians would not be opposed to all war -- just war as a means of expanding empire, instead of using moral persuasion.
Still, those who seek an explanation for Chinese military defeats in the 19th and 20th centuries by attributing weakness to a Chinese culture that was too effete should probably read this book.
How can you have egalitarianism without assuming that men and women are exactly the same? The author does not discuss female misbehavior and exaggerated expectations, and the social consequences of these, either. Another sign that TAS just isn't traditional or conservative enough.
The question, of course, is where we go from here. I’m with Hymowitz’ critics in recognizing that there was a reason we threw out the chivalric code, and if that were our only alternative, awkwardness would be a small price to pay. But I don’t think it is the only alternative. Creating a new code of etiquette would eliminate the guessing game for nice guys and allow for the punishment of the pseudo-nice-guy brutes who emulate pickup-artist behavior because they claim it’s the only way they can get women’s attention.
A lot of liberals seem to view any social code as intentional or unintentional discrimination in disguise, which is an attitude I don’t necessarily share. But given just how lost the “nice boys” seem to be, I wish people would give just a little more consideration to creating a new, egalitarian social code, instead of assuming that awkwardness is a necessary consequence of equality. The alternative is watching variations on this xkcd strip get reused year after year, each time provoking a wistful sigh from thousands of nerds who think they’re unlucky in love but are actually just timid.
Kay Hymowitz's original piece: Love in the Time of Darwinism. I can understand the harsh reaction against Will Wilkinson. 'Nuff said.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Alas, he is running for the 8th, and not the 15th.
Hmmm... pondering a visit there.
Marc Wegerif is an old school friend of mine from when I grew up in Bristol. After school he moved to South Africa and was very involved in activism there, and he now lives in Tanzania and works for Oxfam. He recently got back in touch and I sent him a copy of The Transition Handbook. Subsequently he sent me a long and thoughtful letter, with his reflections on the book, and on how it might relate to Africa. The whole question of what Transition might look like in a developing world context is something we have rarely explored at Transition Culture, and Marc has given me permission to reprint his letter here by way of initiating that discussion.
(originally posted at Transition Culture)
As readers know, I've written about the difference between healing and today's petrochemical-drug oriented medical system. The insurance being debated is seldom about true health care, especially not for post-petroleum living. Should Baby Boomers be worried only about government programs, or also some of their modern conveniences taken for granted? Some of these trappings of our troubled civilization hardly work and are toxic.
I first heard about the National Guard/police using a sonic weapon on protesters on Coast to Coast AM. There was speculation that the so-called anarchists were undercover police provocateurs, as it followed their standard m.o. and it had been "proven" in the past that the police had planned to take action against protesters through their use.
Military uses Sonic Weapon and Tear Gas on Protestors at g20 Pittsburgh
Monday, September 28, 2009
Question: Assume for the moment that declines in demand have flattened and that we resume modest growth in demand in a year or so. Are there adequate new oil projects in the pipeline to meet rising demand for a few more years?
Sadad: I’ve been tracking the number of projects, globally, for a long time both in the Middle East and elsewhere—Russia, Brazil, west coast of Africa, and others. A lot of this information is in the public domain, so there is no mystery there. The International Energy Agency recently reported on the same numbers. The bottom line is that there are not enough projects...
Sunday, September 27, 2009
It was good to spend some time with rhk yesterday, and it made me think about how I still don't have a life, even though I've been back in California for 2 years. I don't have a wingman to go to the pubs on weekends, unless I ask ah Fai to go, but he doesn't seem like he'd be interested in that. But there isn't anyone else... I need to make friends with more single (Catholic) males.
For lunch, rhk and his gf ordered pizza from a pizza joint down the street, Ascona -- the atterhorn. It was rather good, though I didn't really like the big chunks of ham; but it's also $$, much more expensive than your Costco pizza. Which reminds me -- the Sunnyvale Costco must have a phone number which one can call ahead and place an order for pizzas. This would be handy information to have if one is feeding teenagers. The question is whether there is a budget for it.
It turns out that Vista had been corrupted on the computer, possibly by a bad install of the new burner or by a virus hidden in a program. I replaced the boot drive and I still need to install a few programs. The computer did crash last night when I was burning a disc, so there may be a problem with the drivers for the burner.
For dinner we headed over to a ramen place at the Ulferts Center in Dublin, apparently the local Asian shopping center there. I believe the ramen restaurant was operated by Taiwanese. The ramen was ok, but expensive. There are other things I'd prefer to spend $8.50 on. I have to admit that the ramen was different from what I expected, since up to last night I was only familiar with the instant variety. Dinner was followed by a viewing of Surrogates at the Dublin Regal Theaters. (The only good thing about the movie was Rosamund Pike, and she wasn't enough to make the movie worth the time and money.)
It's been a while since I've spent a whole day outside of the room, with people other than family. Now if I could only find some sort of job that would make going out on weekends possible.
I learned about the Peralta Adobe and Fallon House on Friday, watching KPIX news. Just as I asked about cob, is it possible to build an adobe house in California under its current earthquake regulations?
HSJ: Visiting HSJ: Peralta Adobe & Fallon House Historic Site
Pilgrims in traditional dresses wait for Pope Benedict XVI to serve a Sunday Mass at Eastern Czech metropol of Brno, on September 27, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI called Sunday for hope and a renewal of faith in the former communist Czech Republic, as he served a large open-air mass in Brno, watched by some 120,000 faithful. The pope is paying his first visit to the Czech Republic ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that toppled Communism in former Czechoslovakia in 1989. (Getty/Daylife)
Papal Address at Ecumenical Meeting
"As Europe Listens to the Story of Christianity, She Hears Her Own"
PRAGUE, Czech Republic, SEPT. 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today at an ecumenical meeting in Prague.
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Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am grateful to Almighty God for the opportunity to meet with you who are here representing the various Christian communities of this land. I thank Doctor Černý, President of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic, for the kind words of welcome which he has addressed to me on your behalf.
My dear friends, Europe continues to undergo many changes. It is hard to believe that only two decades have passed since the collapse of former regimes gave way to a difficult but productive transition towards more participatory political structures. During this period, Christians joined together with others of good will in helping to rebuild a just political order, and they continue to engage in dialogue today in order to pave new ways towards mutual understanding, cooperation for peace and the advancement of the common good.
Nevertheless, attempts to marginalize the influence of Christianity upon public life - sometimes under the pretext that its teachings are detrimental to the well-being of society - are emerging in new forms. This phenomenon gives us pause to reflect. As I suggested in my Encyclical on Christian hope, the artificial separation of the Gospel from intellectual and public life should prompt us to engage in a mutual "self-critique of modernity" and "self-critique of modern Christianity," specifically with regard to the hope each of them can offer mankind (cf. Spe Salvi, 22). We may ask ourselves, what does the Gospel have to say to the Czech Republic and indeed all of Europe today in a period marked by proliferating world views?
Christianity has much to offer on the practical and ethical level, for the Gospel never ceases to inspire men and women to place themselves at the service of their brothers and sisters. Few would dispute this. Yet those who fix their gaze upon Jesus of Nazareth with eyes of faith know that God offers a deeper reality which is nonetheless inseparable from the "economy" of charity at work in this world (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 2): He offers salvation.
The term is replete with connotations, yet it expresses something fundamental and universal about the human yearning for well-being and wholeness. It alludes to the ardent desire for reconciliation and communion that wells up spontaneously in the depths of the human spirit. It is the central truth of the Gospel and the goal to which every effort of evangelization and pastoral care is directed. And it is the criterion to which Christians constantly redirect their focus as they endeavour to heal the wounds of past divisions. To this end - as Doctor Černý has noted - the Holy See was pleased to host an International Symposium in 1999 on Jan Hus to facilitate a discussion of the complex and turbulent religious history in this country and in Europe more generally (cf. Pope John Paul II, Address to the International Symposium on John Hus, 1999). I pray that such ecumenical initiatives will yield fruit not only in the pursuit of Christian unity, but for the good of all European society.
We take confidence in knowing that the Church's proclamation of salvation in Christ Jesus is ever ancient and ever new, steeped in the wisdom of the past and brimming with hope for the future. As Europe listens to the story of Christianity, she hears her own. Her notions of justice, freedom and social responsibility, together with the cultural and legal institutions established to preserve these ideas and hand them on to future generations, are shaped by her Christian inheritance. Indeed, her memory of the past animates her aspirations for the future.
This is why, in fact, Christians draw upon the example of figures such as Saint Adalbert and Saint Agnes of Bohemia. Their commitment to spreading the Gospel was motivated by the conviction that Christians should not cower in fear of the world but rather confidently share the treasury of truths entrusted to them. Likewise Christians today, opening themselves to present realities and affirming all that is good in society, must have the courage to invite men and women to the radical conversion that ensues upon an encounter with Christ and ushers in a new life of grace.
From this perspective, we understand more clearly why Christians are obliged to join others in reminding Europe of her roots. It is not because these roots have long since withered. On the contrary! It is because they continue - in subtle but nonetheless fruitful ways - to supply the continent with the spiritual and moral sustenance that allows her to enter into meaningful dialogue with people from other cultures and religions. Precisely because the Gospel is not an ideology, it does not presume to lock evolving socio-political realities into rigid schemas. Rather, it transcends the vicissitudes of this world and casts new light on the dignity of the human person in every age. Dear friends, let us ask the Lord to implant within us a spirit of courage to share the timeless saving truths which have shaped, and will continue to shape, the social and cultural progress of this continent.
The salvation wrought by Jesus's suffering, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven not only transforms us who believe in him, but urges us to share this Good News with others. Enlightened by the Spirit's gifts of knowledge, wisdom and understanding (cf. Is 11:1-2; Ex 35:31), may our capacity to grasp the truth taught by Jesus Christ impel us to work tirelessly for the unity he desires for all his children reborn through Baptism, and indeed for the whole human race.
With these sentiments, and with fraternal affection for you and the members of your respective communities, I express my deep thanks to you and commend you to Almighty God, who is our fortress, our stronghold and our deliverer (cf. Ps144:2). Amen.
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