Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

17 Feb 2017

Pollution: Still Learning

Scientists found PCBs and PBDEs in deep-sea critters, armyworms are on the march in Africa, and Mexico City's air isn't as clean as we'd hoped.

Rational concern seems reasonable....

...Last week I talked about blaming our tools for our mistakes. (February 10, 2017)

This week I'll revisit Lovecraft's "placid island of ignorance,"sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Jan 2017

Gems, Metal, and Earth's Core

The Fire of Australia, a whacking great chunk of opal, isn't particularly interesting from a 'science' viewpoint.

But I'm human, which is probably why anything big and shiny gets my attention: including that rock.

Wrenching myself back on-topic, scientists found a stream of liquid metal flowing at the edge of Earth's core. Studying it may help us learn why Earth's magnetic field flip-flops at apparently-irregular intervals. What we'll learn is beyond me: we didn't know much about geomagnetic reversal when I started school.

We still don't, for that matter. As I keep saying, there is a very great deal left to learn.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Jan 2017

Conservative? Liberal? No: Catholic

My father-in-law has been asked if he's conservative — or liberal.

His answer: "I'm Catholic."

I'd give the same answer.

Catholic teachings are quite definite, so it's possible to peg them on the American political spectrum — as long as you don't look at the big picture.

Taking bits and pieces of Catholic beliefs, and the history of Catholics in America, I could claim that the Catholic Church is conservative or liberal. That would be as big a mistake as seeing all conservatives as hate-fueled foes of diversity, or all liberals as irresponsible lunatics.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

20 Jan 2017

Climate Change Continues

Climate change is still in the news. So is a growing crack in an Antarctic ice sheet, and a Ladybird Book co-authored by England's Prince Charles.

The book, "Climate Change," is a Ladybird Expert Book: written with adults in mind....

...This post has an afterword, mostly my take on climate change and being human....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Jan 2017

Life, Death, and Choices



Last week's Gospel reading, Matthew 2:1-12, ends with a sort of cliffhanger. "Magi from the east" arrived in Bethlehem, found our Lord's house, and paid their respects....

...Or maybe not so much — we read Matthew 2:13-18 on December 28. I don't suppose we'll see the massacre of the innocents1 in an animated Christmas special any time soon. It's far from the most cheerful parts of the Bible.

That didn't keep folks in Coventry from including it in their Shearmen and Tailors' Pageant. We got "Coventry Carol" from that mystery play....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Jan 2017

Deciding Who Dies

Death at a Bible study back in 2015, and at Fort Lauderdale airport last week, has been in the news.

It's probably not as exciting as what glitterati were wearing and saying at the Golden Globe Awards; but I figured now would be a good time to talk about those deaths, and decisions

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

8 Jan 2017

Epiphany Sunday



Statues1 of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar started near the clock in our living room. I took those pictures of them on Wednesday. Their trip to the nativity scene ended today, Epiphany Sunday.

We read about "magi from the east" in today's Gospel: Matthew 2:1 through 12:
"1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, 2 behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,
"saying, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star 3 at its rising and have come to do him homage.'"
(Matthew 2:1-2)
"Magi" is how μάγοι, mágoi, looks in my native language. That's the Greek version of an Old Persian word that would sound something like "magus" if I tried pronouncing it.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

25 Dec 2016

"Good News of Great Joy"



The Christmas Mass marathon — that's not what it's called — started yesterday with the Vigil Mass. Mass During the Night was next, followed by Mass at Dawn and Mass During the Day.

I didn't go to all four, I don't know how many folks do, but I looked up the Gospel readings for each....

"...We heard parts of the Vigil Mass Gospel last week. That's Matthew 1:18-24, when Joseph learns why Mary is pregnant...."

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

16 Dec 2016

Mars, Aliens, and SETI



I'd love to be talking about unambiguously artificial signals picked up by the Allen Telescope Array, or reports of a ship from beyond the Solar System settling into orbit around our moon.

But that hasn't happened, and probably won't. Not in my lifetime.

Instead, I'll talk about why I don't "believe in" extraterrestrial life; and do not assume that we are alone in the universe. That puts me in the third of folks who aren't sure, and I'll get back to that.

My 'Friday' posts are usually about more-or-less-current 'science news.' That won't happen this week. I've read a few interesting articles, and will be talking about them — after the Christmas-New Year's gymkhana is over.

This week I'm using material that didn't quite fit into an earlier post. I'll also talk about the Great Moon Hoax, Nicola Tesla and Martians; and what I think about life in the universe.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Dec 2016

God, Angels, and Belshazzar

I don't know why encounters with angels,1 and God, aren't all alike.

Sometimes, like Abraham's meeting with the Almighty and two angels, described in Genesis 18:2, or Habakkuk's getting airlifted in Daniel 14:33-37, it's apparently much like meeting another human.

Other times, like Daniel's interview with Gabriel, it takes days to recover. I suspect that it depends on the personalities involved, and on just how much unshielded power we're exposed to.

"The writing on the wall" is still an idiom in my language, meaning "the likelihood that something bad will happen." (TheFreeDictionary by Farlex)

It comes from a reality check Belshazzar experienced....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

11 Dec 2016

Jesus and Expectations



Pip's Christmas doesn't have much to do with Christmas, or Advent, but I figured this post should have something that looks 'seasonal.'

"...Blessed is the One Who Takes No Offense at Me"


We'll be hearing Matthew 11:2-11 this morning. The readings still aren't particularly 'Christmassy.'
"2 When John heard in prison 3 of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him "4 with this question, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?'
"Jesus said to them in reply, 'Go and tell John what you hear and see:
"5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. "And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.' "
(Matthew 11:4-6)
Our Lord balanced that rebuke with a reminder of the Baptist's great function in Matthew 11:7-15, and a complaint about folks who wouldn't listen to John or Jesus....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Nov 2016

Celebrating Mercy

Pilgrim Registration, Jubilee of Mercy, 2015, from im.va, used w/o permission.

Here we go again. The headlines are accurate, as far as they go.
I'm pretty sure we'll see a replay of last year's sound and fury over the Pope's 'changing stand on abortion,' expressed in a letter dated September 1, 2015.1

The reality was nowhere near as horrific or hopeful as many folks apparently thought....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

8 Nov 2016

Numbers and Nero

From Wiley Miller's Non Sequitur (December 31, 2011); used w/o permission.

I don't have the 'I'd rather be dead' attitude of the deceased in that 2011 Non Sequitur strip. My viewpoint is more like Edison Lee's dad in yesterday's comic.

From John Hambrock's The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee (November 7, 2016); used w/o permission.

I figure that someone will win the 2016 American presidential election. It'll probably a candidate from one of the two major political parties.

I think which candidate wins matters. But I also think that whoever gets the job — America will keep going. There's a great deal more to this country than the national government.

That's not what this post is about, though....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

6 Nov 2016

Sin, Original and Otherwise

There's trouble everywhere, and that's not news. It's not new, at any rate.
"Your princes are rebels and comrades of thieves; Each one of them loves a bribe and looks for gifts. The fatherless they defend not, and the widow's plea does not reach them."
(Isaiah 1:23)

"Yes, I know how many are your crimes, how grievous your sins: Oppressing the just, accepting bribes, repelling the needy at the gate!"
(Amos 5:12)
How come the world is such a mess, and has been at least since we started keeping records?

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

30 Oct 2016

Authority, Superstition, Progress


(From Diliff, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)

Authority, superstition, and misapplied technophilia (it's a real word) rate at least one post each: but that'll wait until another day. Days.

This time I'll take a quick look at all three, and then say why I don't believe in Progress with a capital P — and don't yearn for the 'good old days.'

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Oct 2016

Sweet Potatoes, Genes, and Long Life

One woman decided to take a road trip after learning she had a terminal illness. Another switched careers. Both choices make sense, given the circumstances.

This year's World Food Prize goes to a team who developed a new sweet potato, scientists found a virus with spider genes, and there's a lively difference of opinion regarding human life span.

We've learned a lot since my youth, and there's a great deal left to learn.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

16 Oct 2016

Alchemy, Science, Life, and Health

(From BBC, via Wikipedia, used w/o permission.)
("I find that nothing's ever exactly like you expect...." (Professor Richard Lazarus))

A mad scientist's lot is not a happy one. All he wants is to redefine being human: and the next thing you know, he's eating guests at his victory celebration.

Doctor Who's The Lazarus Experiment doesn't have much to do with The Devil Bat and The Brain That Wouldn't Die, apart from featuring a mad scientist — and science gone horribly wrong.

Some movies, like Fantastic Voyage and Things to Come, present science and technology as useful.

But "tampering with thing man was not supposed to know," as Mr. Squibbs put it, keeps the plot going for quite a few; like Altered Species, They Saved Hitler's Brain, and Island of Lost Souls.

Reticence, reasonable and otherwise, regarding new ideas isn't new....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

2 Oct 2016

"Wait For It"


(From Radomir Vrbovsky, via Wikipedia, used w/o permission.)
(دروازه ایشتار, Ishtar Gate, eighth gate of Babylon's inner city: a reconstruction using original bricks in the Pergamonmuseum, Berlin, Deutschland.)

Prophets had their bad days, too — like Habakkuk, from today's first reading (Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4):
"1 How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you do not intervene.

"Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.

"Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision Clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.

"For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late."
(Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-3)
This was about 26 centuries back, and not a good era in our Lord's homeland. Folks who should have known better were misbehaving, badly. It wasn't the first time, and wouldn't be the last.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

25 Sep 2016

Amos and Social Justice

I think social justice is a good idea.

I'd better explain that.

I think acting as if people matter is a good idea: all people, not just the 'right' ones.

I'll be talking about "the poor of the land," private property, the universal destination of goods, and a job that's not even close to being done.

There's nothing wrong with prosperity, by itself. As 1 Timothy 6:10 and Hebrews 13:5 say, it's love of money that gets us in trouble.

Some Saints, like Francis1 and Claire, both of Assisi, were poor. Others, like Elizabeth of Hungary and Sir Thomas More, were anything but....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.