Friday, January 4, 2019

Culture - Civilization returns

The mid-term representatives convene and Nancy Pelosi returns as Speaker, third in line to the throne. She is surrounded by kids of other House members.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Culture - The power of disinformation - an asymmetric war

From the Texas Tribune. No people were in charge, but a nasty, culturally damaging tribal event was created out of thin air. Full Article:
Last year [2016], two Russian Facebook pages organized dueling rallies in front of the Islamic Da’wah Center of Houston, according to information released by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican.
Heart of Texas, a Russian-controlled Facebook group that promoted Texas secession, leaned into an image of the state as a land of guns and barbecue and amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. One of their ads on Facebook announced a noon rally on May 21, 2016 to “Stop Islamification of Texas.”
A separate Russian-sponsored group, United Muslims of America, advertised a “Save Islamic Knowledge” rally for the same place and time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Geology - Afar Triple Junction in Ethiopia

From the New York Times.  The boundary between three tectonic plates.

Click the picture, and then click the new picture!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Culture - Citizenship Pledge

Vive la différence

UK Citizenship Pledge

 "I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen."

Simple, straightforward, and of today

US Citizenship Pledge

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

Too verbose, too militaristic, too religious

Monday, December 10, 2018

Exorcism is alive and flourishing

Can a liberal democracy flourish when half the American people believe in the devil and demonic possession?

Snippets from an article from The Atlantic

Belief in demonic possession is widespread in the United States today. Polls conducted in recent decades by Gallup and the data firm YouGov suggest that roughly half of Americans believe demonic possession is real. The percentage who believe in the devil is even higher, and in fact has been growing: Gallup polls show that the number rose from 55 percent in 1990 to 70 percent in 2007.

It may surprise some Catholics to learn just how literally the modern Church interprets Satan and his army of demons. While many people today understand the devil as a metaphor for sin, temptation, and unresolvable evil in the world, the pope consistently repudiates such allegorical readings.

In sermons, interviews, and occasionally in tweets, Pope Francis has declared that Satan—whom he has referred to as Beelzebub, the Seducer, and the Great Dragon—is a literal being devoted to deceiving and debasing humans. In an apostolic exhortation released in April [2018], he wrote, “We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea,” but rather as a “personal being who assails us.”

Monday, November 26, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018