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Showing posts with the label history

Materialism, Robots and Attitudes

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Robots are starting to look and act a lot like humans.

Wondering if robots can be people, or if humans are merely biological robots, involves assumptions about reality. I'll look at one of those assumptions in this post and why I believe there's more to me than chemicals.

Whether a robot could be a person is more of a philosophical question than a legal issue. So far. The question would be particularly interesting if a robot asked to be recognized as a person. Or disturbing, depending on how you look at it.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Trust and Mercy

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Divine Mercy Sunday:
Acts 4:32-351 John 5:1-6John 20:19-31 (April 8, 2018; this homily is from April 7, 2002)
Divine Mercy Sunday, 2018 By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas April 8, 2018 (originally April 7, 2002)

20 years ago we wanted to dedicate our community to the Mercy of God. The story of which is far too long to share with you this morning. But you need to know that we asked our Bishop Speltz to conduct the dedication but were told, 'no he can't come because of confirmations.. Just days before the dedication, he personally called and said that it was too important for him not to be here and so changed appointments to be with us. At one point he said, he saw this as a way to get the Sacred Heart enthroned in every home and saw this was a means to fulfill that because The Divine Mercy image fits perfectly with the Sacred Heart - as well it should. Now what does he do? Not only does he dedicate our community, but dedicates the whole Diocese to The Mercy of God: to the great joy of a…

Murders, Life and Death

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Mass murder at a Florida high school is in the news again.

Someone has been accused of killing 17 students and staff on February 14, 2018. He's being tried and may be executed.

I'll be talking about him, one of the dead students and why I think human life matters. All human life....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Lent: Not Doing Too Much

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Quite a bit happened this week.

We started Lent's 40-day stay with our Lord in the desert. Not literally. That's mentioned in today's Gospel: Mark 1:12-15. I've talked about deserts and Deuteronomy, penance and porridge, before. (February 11, 2018; February 26, 2017)

There's a more technical — and more useful, probably — discussion in Catechism of the Catholic Church 538-540....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Mars and Beyond

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Falcon Heavy's test flight last week wasn't perfect. But I'll call it a success. That's good news for SpaceX. Not my opinion: the largely-successful flight.

The test flight's dummy payload included an actual dummy. "Starman" is that mannequin wearing a spacesuit at the wheel of a red Tesla roadster.

I'll be talking about that, how I see the news, technology, and humanity's new horizon....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Smoke and Monkeys

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Folks in the United Kingdom may be changing their rules for wood and coal fires. Or maybe not. It depends on whether their rules match Europe's.

Volkswagen paid researchers to mistreat monkeys and people. Or maybe not. We know the research happened. It's complicated, a bunch of folks are upset, and I'll get back to that.

Fireplaces, outdoor grills, and coal-burning furnaces aren't basically bad. Neither is learning how stuff in the air affects animals. And us.

But having smoky fires upwind of our neighbors isn't a good idea. Neither is mistreating critters. Or people.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Magi, Meds and Me

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It's Epiphany Sunday. It's not about the magi, wise men from the east. Not exactly. They're involved; along with King Herod, religious experts, Mary and Jesus. But they're not what this is all about.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Off the Rails

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About 78 folks were on Amtrak Cascades passenger train 501 Monday morning. They'll be late. At best.

I'll be looking at what happened, new and old technology. Also how I see change and progress....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Disorders, Decisions

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Whether you call it mental illness, lunacy, or insanity, being crazy isn't fun. It's not a lifestyle choice either. Not for most. Certainly not in my case. I'll get back to that....

...Somewhere along the line "mental hygiene" got repackaged as "mental health." I think it wasn't just a new coat of paint on old ideas. We were learning more about how minds work, and sometimes don't.

We were also learning what we can do: and what we shouldn't....

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.

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.

On the Halloween Express

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Tomorrow is Halloween. I hope you have a good one.

I mentioned St. Wolfgang of Regensberg, All Hallows' and All Souls' Day, and the autumnal equinox, last year.

Also Gaelic and Welsh traditions, jack-o'-lanterns, and Easter eggs.

Enjoying my culture's traditions, within reason, makes sense. To me.

It's arguably better than bitter bewailing stuff I can't change: and don't want to....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Swatting Fast Flies

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We're a lot smarter than flies, which probably helps us swat them.

But the insects are very good at being somewhere else when the flyswatter or newspaper hits whatever they were on.

I've run into a few reasonable speculations. One was that flies are hypersensitive to air movements, and feel an approaching object. That may be part of the answer.

Scientists found another piece to that puzzle recently. "Recently" by my standards, that is. Flies live a whole lot faster than we do. Or, in a fly's eyes, we move in slow motion....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Wanting Truth

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I think truth is important, so do many others. Some see truth in ways that doesn't line up with my views.

Sometimes I can respect how they reached their conclusions. But I still think I'm right. Closer to what's true, at any rate.

That doesn't make me one of humanity's paragons of candor and acceptance....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Finding New Worlds

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We could detect oxygen in Proxima Centauri b's atmosphere. It's a biosignature, but not proof of life.

Some extrasolar planets are like Earth, almost. Many are unlike anything in the Solar System.

I'll be looking at recently-discovered worlds; some almost familiar, others wonderfully unexpected. Also an informal 'top 10 best exoplanets' list.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Einstein's Waves: New Views

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Einstein's theories gave scientists good reasons for thinking gravitational waves exist. A century later, instruments detected the elusive radiation.

Three American scientists won this year's Nobel Prize in Physics for work that led to the discovery.

Observatories in America and Italy have detected three more gravitational wave signals. What they learned wasn't quite what they expected....

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.

Cassini-Huygens Mission

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The Cassini-Huygens mission ends this week, after 13 years in orbit around Saturn. Scientists found answers to some questions they had, and uncovered new questions.

I think they'll be studying Cassini's and Huygens' data for years. Decades.

I'll take a quick look at what we've learned, and why scientists want follow-up missions to the Saturn system.

The Enceladan subsurface ocean wasn't a complete surprise.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.