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Showing posts with the label getting a grip

Spiritualism, Attitudes

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I've read that spiritualism and spiritism started in the 18th or 19th centuries. Folks who take one or both seriously seem to think spiritism isn't spiritualism. How the 'isms' are different depends on who's talking.

Some say spiritualism is a religion, while spiritism is a social movement. Or spiritism is a science and spiritualism isn't.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Coming: Robots

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The Texas University robot football squad probably won't go pro, replacing the Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans.

They're too small, for starters.

But they're helping researchers develop robot office assistants. Smart ones. Maybe as effective as today's human office gofers.

I'll be looking at robots, humanoid and otherwise; tech and attitudes; what I see coming, and why I think we'll deal with whatever happens.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Mass Murder: No Fast Fix

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This year's Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day were the same day.

Folks exchanged greeting cards. Many got their foreheads marked with ashes. And 17 were killed at a high school.

Someone's already called last Wednesday's mass murder the 'Valentine's Day Massacre of 2018.' The famous Valentine's Day Massacre was in 1929. It happened when a Chicago gang tried resolving a disagreement over bootleg booze. It didn't succeed. Not quite....

...I'm quite sure the 17 folks killed at Stoneman Douglas High School will be missed by their families, friends, and acquaintances....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Firestorm Comet?

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Scientists figure a comet started breaking up about 12,800 years back. Nothing unusual there. Many comets break up while they're this close to our sun.

This time Earth got in the way before the fragments spread out much.

Fire rained from the sky, consuming forest and meadow alike.

Sounds a bit like Genesis 19:1, now that I think of it. Except we didn't start building cities until a few millennia later. Or maybe we haven't found our first cities yet. And that's another topic or two....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Remembering Wisdom

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I'm a Christian. So why, one might ask, am I not denouncing something most folks enjoy: like demon rum or Bingo? Or playing the Grinch for Halloween?

Or enjoying a friendly pint with the boys, but adding my voice to the ensemble 'prophesying' the purported perils of fantasy and imagination?

Or at least stalwartly refusing to learn anything we didn't know before the 18th century....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Alien Life: Notions and Research

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Scientists have been discussing alien life for some time: where it could be, what it might be like, and how we could find it.

Quite a few non-scientists have been talking about the same thing.

Some have pretty good grip on what we've been learning since Aristotle got famous and Anaxagoras didn't.

Others have contributed to supermarket tabloid covers. And made informed discussion of extraterrestrial intelligence harder.

Or more interesting, depending on your viewpoint. I see it as a bit of both.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

California Murders: and Remembering

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(From Getty Images, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("Police say a number of students had to be medically evacuated from the school"
(BBC News))

I hadn't planned on writing about murder and getting a grip this week. Or next. But another multiple murder is international news....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Murder — Again — Still

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That's Devin Patrick Kelley, and First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

We're still not sure why he opened fire on the folks gathered for worship yesterday morning. At the moment, it looks like he was in a snit because he’d been arguing with his former wife and in-laws.

That doesn’t mean I think we should ban marriage because it leads to mass murder. That makes about as much sense as my SADIST proposal. (November 6, 2017

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Daylight Saving Time: A Modest Proposal

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Perhaps I should remember my station, and be respectfully silent before the weekend's mighty display of power and glory.

I am, after all, but one of those who live neither in the Northeast megalopolis nor the shining lands of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Daylight Saving Time — Again — StillEnough of that 'umble posturing.

If you live in America, there's a pretty good chance that you remembered to set your clock back an hour during the weekend. We've gone through this routine every year for — too long, I think.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Science, Faith, and Me

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This universe is bigger and older than some folks thought, a few centuries back.

I don't mind, at all. Besides, it's hardly new information. We've known that we live in a big world for a long time.
"4 Indeed, before you the whole universe is as a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth." (Wisdom 11:22) If that bit from Wisdom doesn't sound familiar, I'm not surprised. It's not in the Bibles many Americans have. The one I read and study frequently is the unexpurgated version....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

A Century of Science

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BBC News posted what a scientist thinks about we've learned in the last hundred years. That's hardly news.

What's remarkable is that he didn't go on to say that the sea will catch fire, or that if we don't recycle with greater zeal all the birds will die.

In short, that we're doomed. Doomed! DOOMED, I TELL YOU!!!!!

Not that BBC News goes in for that sort of thing. They're very British. Even so, an essentially upbeat look at a century of science and technology is somewhat remarkable.

The way I see it, science and technology are tools. Whether we use them to help or hurt each other is up to us.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Love. And Science

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Pharisees and Sadducees had important roles in the Land of Israel for about two centuries by the time our Lord talked about love.

They agreed on quite a bit. Maybe more than they realized. But they didn't see assorted political, social, and philosophical points the same way.

Pharisees didn't like Helenization, adopting at least some foreign ideas. Sadducees thought Helenization was a generally good idea.

But Sadducees thought the written Torah was divine authority's only source.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Planet 9, Maybe; Nibiru, No

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The world didn't end last Saturday. That's nothing new, and neither is another fizzled End Times prediction.

I'll be talking about how a current End Times prediction affected someone whose name is the same as the wannabe prophet's; but is an entertainer, not a doomsayer.

I'll also take a look at the continuing, and serious, search for Planet 9; predictions involving close encounters of the cometary kind; and what we're learning about the outer Solar System....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

An Ichthyosaur Tale

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A nation's schools are returning to traditional values. Whether that's good or bad news depends partly on how you see what we've learned since about 1859.

I think we've learned more about how the universe works, and that this is good news. We haven't consistently made good use of the knowledge, but that's our problem.

We've made good and bad use of everything we've learned, from using fire to writing blogs. Whether it's good or bad depends on us, not fire or the Internet. And that's another topic.

Two scientists studied an ichthyosaur that had been used as a wall decoration. What they learned adds to what we're learning about those critters. I think that's worthwhile.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

More Disasters

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The good news is that folks on the Gulf Coast probably won't be affected by Hurricane Irma. Not directly.

Cleanup and rebuilding there is taking a back seat to news of this weekend's hurricane and Mexico's major earthquake.

I'll be talking about this week's disasters, and how folks deal with them. Also faith, reasonable and otherwise, and a little science....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Miracles

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I'll be talking about miracles today. Also religious art and kitsch, the Mayan apocalypse, and why folks occasionally see faces that aren't there. Even by my standards, this post rambles a bit.

Quite a few folks act as if they think faith and reason, religion and science, have about as much to do with each other as cheese and Wednesday.

Some go a step further, and blame the world's woes on religion.

The antics of loudly-religious folks don't help make faith look like a reasonable, or safe, part of today's world.

I think faith isn't reason, but that it's reasonable. I also think that an honest search for truth doesn't threaten faith. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 31-35, 159; "Fides et Ratio;" "Gaudium et Spes," 36)

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Using Vaccines Wisely

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Using drones to deliver vaccines seems reasonable for places like Vanuatu.

But vaccines won't help if folks don't know how to use them correctly, or can't.

Others avoid vaccines because they believe warnings from dubious sources.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Climate Change, Attitudes

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I'll be talking about Earth's climate, China's pollution problems, and icebergs: including one the size of Delaware. The big berg broke off from Antarctica this week.

The recent G20 meeting was mostly about economics, not climate change; but that didn't deter the usual colorful protestors.

I'm not complaining about folks at the fancy-dress street party in Hamburg. If nothing else, they added a touch of human interest to an otherwise-dry international business meeting....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

London Fires, Mostly

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Many folks who lived in Grenfell Tower got out. Many others died.

We don't know how many. A current estimate is 79. Determining the exact number will be difficult, since high temperatures may have effectively obliterated some human remains.

Some survived because they didn't listen to official instructions to stay in their homes. That advice makes sense in a building with sprinklers and adequate interior firewalls.

In Grenfell Tower, not so much....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Climate Change, Whirligig Icebergs

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Climate change is still in the news. Don't worry, I won't rant about impending doom, or say that Earth's climate isn't changing.

This planet's climate has been changing for several billion years. I'd be astounded if it stopped changing now.

How much we know and understand about our own past, and Earth's, is also changing. I'll be talking about that, and why I'm not upset that we're learning.

I'll also take a look at (real) climate change, why I think we are not doomed, and choices we must make soon. "Soon," in this case, is somewhere in the next millennium or so. My opinion. We really do not want to make these decisions hastily....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.