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Showing posts with the label history

Seeking Strange New Worlds, Life and Civilizations

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I noticed "Research sheds new light on intelligent life existing across the galaxy" in last year's science news headlines. That, and "'Mirror Image' of the Earth and Sun Discovered 3000 Light-Years Away," started me writing about exoplanets, SETI and vaguely-related topics. About 8,400 words later.... ...So I saved what I'd written and proceeded with reading, writing and not going bonkers during an election-year pandemic. Some of the "...sheds new light..." material went into "My Top 10 Science News Stories For 2020." Most of it will (probably) go into this series. More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Rereading Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus"

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"Dr. Faustus" keeps coming back. Christopher Marlowe's play, I mean, not Johann Georg Faust. J. G. Faust lived five centuries back. Give or take a bit. Extracting his biography from folk legends, chapbooks and assorted other retellings? I'll leave that for someone else. I haven't read or discussed "Faustus," since 2012. So I'll be rereading the play, looking what I wrote then, thinking about it and sharing the results. Together with whatever else comes to mind as I go along.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

New Year’s Eve, 2020: I Imagine We Will Survive

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Today is New Year's Eve. It's also Saint Sylvester's Day, the 420th anniversary of the British East India Company's charter and the 141st anniversary of Thomas Edison's incandescent light demo. But mainly, I figure, for most Americans, today is New Year's Eve.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Joy and Shadow, Free Will and Something Silly

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Advent started November 29, a couple Sundays back. It's my faith's Christmas warmup. I'll get back to that. My culture's Christmas begins after Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.... ...Today I'll be talking about Advent's serious side: a song that's been sung at funerals, a Nativity painting's crucifix, introspection and shortcomings. Also ♪ magi on Segways with Amazon cartons. ♪ (Try singing it to the tune of "My Favorite Things," from "Sound of Music:" The bit that goes "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens....") Anyway, these are today's headings: "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel" — Plainsong, Burial Chant and Advent Hymn Heaven's Peace: a Work in Progress Advent: Ordinary Folks, Unique Events Something Odd O Hipster Night Illustrators and Illustrations Joy and Shadow Joseph's Options News: Not Entirely Bad; Unsettling; and Disbelieved Herod,

COVID-19, Cells, Viruses and mRNA Vaccines

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I'll be talking about mRNA vaccines and COVID-19. And why I'll willingly wait for my vaccination, but think the new vaccines are a good idea. But first, I'll look at news, weirdness and a little history. In the News: Prospects and Concerns An Alleged North Carolina-China Conspiracy Mild Curiosity, Real Threat Wanting Immunity Vaccination Viewpoints Smallpox Vaccinations: "a Daring Violation" or "a Precious Discovery" Fear and Ethics Dealing With Differences Dosages and Unpleasant Results Science, Technology and Making Sense Trust and Prudence DNA, RNA and mRNA Vaccines, Briefly Decoding the SARS-CoV-2 Virus SARS-CoV-2 Build-a-Spike mRNA Snippet COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines, Build-a-Spike Code and — Virus Rights?? From the CDC's Factsheets New mRNA Vaccines: Good and Not-So-Good News Willing to Wait For My Turn More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Thanksgiving 2020: Pandemic Peril and Perspectives

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"This year's Thanksgiving is the first one affected by COVID-19. "Mainly because SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, didn't exist a year ago. Or hadn't spread to humans. Or was spreading to humans without anyone noticing it...." More at A Catholic Citizen in America : Conspiracy theories. Journalism's "unprecedented" precedent. News from the 1918 pandemic. Family, health and holiday plans. COVID-19 and Sauk Centre's hospital. Being thankful, anyway.

Arecibo Radio Telescope 1963-2020

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Part of the Arecibo radio telescope collapsed this summer. A supporting cable had snapped. Another cable gave way this month.... ...I'll be taking a quick look at the Arecibo observatory's origin and achievements. Make that achievements of scientists using the radio reflector. What? No Space Alien Conspiracies? Sic Transit Gloria Arecibo A Professor, Sputnik and an Act of Congress World's Biggest: 1963-2016 An Unexpected Spin-Orbit Resonance Pulsars, Planets and Prudence Science, Safety and Greater Admiration More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Religion and Science: Different Paths to Reality

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Scientific discoveries haven't threatened my faith. I don't see how they could, since I think that reality and truth exist. And that they're real. In other words, I think I'm not a figment of your imagination and that we live in the same universe. We see it from different angles, since no two people occupy exactly the same slice of space-time. Our metaphorical points of view may not match, either. Here's what started me thinking about science, religion, and making sense.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Armistice, Veterans, Poppy and Remembrance Day

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November 11 is Veterans Day. It's also called Armistice Day, Poppy Day and Remembrance Day. The Armistice Day Moniker made sense in 1919, a year after Ferdinand Foch signed the Armistice of Compiègne. A year without appalling body counts was reason to celebrate. So was the Treaty of Versailles, at least for folks who blamed Germany for the war. 1 I'll be talking about that, among other things. It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time Prohibition, Propriety and Good Intentions Crashes, Dust and Passing the Buck Events and Principles War and Preferences Valuing Human Life More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Halloween, COVID-19, Wolfgang's Axe and Apple Bobbing

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("It's the best I could do on short notice." ("Cinderella's Halloween") ;) ) Halloween will be different this year. Mostly because we're still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. I don't know what it'll look like here in Sauk Centre. Safer Trick-or-Treating More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Election-Year Weirdness: An American Tradition

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A presidential election is looming in my country. We have one every four years. Maybe I'd get more attention by demonizing or deifying a candidate. Or saying that nobody should vote, because "they" put subliminal messages in ballots. Oddly enough, I haven't heard that claim. Or I could express deep despair over the demonizing, deifying and drivel that dominates news and social media. I could do any or all of the above. But my heart wouldn't be in it. I am quite sure that no candidate is a fascist, the antichrist or a pawn of the Illuminati-pixie cabal. I don't even think the Illuminati-pixie cabal exists. More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Back from the Hospital: The Masked Minnesotan Rides Again

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I didn't feel all that sick Friday evening. That was August 21, 2020: 45 days ago. Online self-assessment guides from the Minnesota Department of Health and Mayo Clinic put me on the threshold of needing to call a doctor. My wife said calling the local hospital was a good idea. As it turns out, she was right.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America . Living in Room 20 Staph, Strep and Cellulitis Conspicuous by Their Absence A Century of Antibiotics Mice and a Man More Than You Need, Or Maybe Want, to Know About Penicillin Pandemic Precautions, Piety — and Prudence The "Source and Summit of the Christian Life" The Common Good Uncertainty Weirdness and Worship San Francisco's Rules It Could have been Worse Seating Capacity North Carolina in Cahoots with China?! New Lyrics, Old Song Sound, Fury and Making Sense Fear Appeal: Communist Agents, Tiny Cows and More Per

Beirut Blast: Ammonium Nitrate and Human Nature

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Last Tuesday, August 4, 2020, something exploded in Beirut. It was around 6:00 p.m., Beirut time, 15:00 UTC. By Wednesday afternoon, I'd read that the blast killed at least 100 folks and hurt some 4,000. Upwards of 100 people were missing. My guess was that the body count would increase. I was right about that, sadly. By Monday, August 10, the acknowledged death toll had passed 200. I don't know how likely it is that search and rescue teams will find more survivors. Some of the good news is that there were search and rescue teams. And that many folks in Beirut "...rushed to the blast location ... to offer support and assistance...." More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Floyd, Signs and Statues

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Derek Chauvin, a police officer, killed George Floyd about a month ago. I don't know whether a court will call that homicide a murder, or assign some other label. I do know that there was and is no apparent excuse for ending Mr. Floyd's life.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America . News and Views A Drive-Through Nap The Mystery of the Transferred Tazer Duality and Death St. Cloud, Minnesota: An Arrest, Social Media and Riots Good Neighbors and Ersatz Facts Rumors and Looting Fear and NASCAR Flags Prudence and Perspective "A Highly Charged and Emotional Time" Freudian Slips, a "Cavalier" Comment Moral Panic, Then and Now "A Day of Reckoning:" He Said, She Said Attitudes "Hooray for Our Side" Irish Lives Matter??? Cartoons, Slogans and Some Logic Statue Panic? Public Safety and Making Sense Minneapolis: [insert feared technolog

Pandemic Perspectives

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COVID-19, a coronavirus disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is still spreading. Thousands have died. Nearly 900,000 have been infected. A great many more are affected, directly or indirectly. Some are behaving badly. We cannot cure this disease. We can only endure it, or die trying. That's the bad news. The good news, part of it, is that this isn't the 14th century. We've learned a bit since the Black Death was spreading across Eurasia. Quite a bit, actually. More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Christmas, Octaves and History

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The American holiday and Christmas seasons overlap, with fuzzy terminuses. Termini. Beginnings and endings. For some, Christmas starts with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. That fine old American tradition has been joined by Cyber Monday. Oddly enough, I haven't noticed anguished laments over that newfangled technology and Macy's inflated cartoon characters.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .
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(St. Paul’s Church and its new addition. The St. Faustina Adoration Chapel is to your left.) I thought this was going to be a short and simple look at my parish's polka Mass and the Adoration Chapel in St. Paul's parish. Then I wondered when and where the first polka Mass was. That reminded me of my salad days, ancient philosophers, a Chinese emperor and liturgical dance. Which brought me back to the Eucharist and adoration.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

"One Small Step" in a Long Journey

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"A journey of a thousand li starts with a single step." (Tao Te Ching," Laozi) "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." (Neil Armstrong) I figure the journey to Earth's moon began when someone looked up and wondered what this world's "lesser light" might be. Uncounted ages, most likely, before folks like Laozi and Thales of Miletus added their thoughts to humanity's storehouse of knowledge. Thales of Miletus gets credit for figuring out that Earth's moon is roughly spherical. So does Anaximander, depending on who's talking. Those two lived about two and a half millennia back. A century later, Anaxagoras said Earth's moon was earthy, made of the same sort of stuff we stand on. He was right about that. Other details in his cosmology, not so much.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Apollo 11, 50 Years Later

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Apollo 11's Lunar Module reached Mare Tranquillitatis fifty years ago this month. I remember hearing Neil A. Armstrong announce the landing site's name: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." A few hours later, Armstrong opened the Lunar Module's MESA — a storage locker built into the lander's side. A television camera in the MESA showed us Armstrong's, and humanity's, first step onto another world. Back on Earth, one out of every five people were watching: at home, in pubs, at cafes, in New York's Central Park and at shop windows. Pope St. Paul VI watched at the Castle Gandolfo observatory.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

Jesus Didn’t Stay Dead

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We relive events from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday in close to real time. Our Lord was arrested Thursday night. The Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod had questioned Jesus by Friday morning.... ...By Friday evening, Jesus was dead.... (More at A Catholic Citizen in America )