Saturday, July 30, 2005

Brothers Karamazov - searchable

I'm nearly to the end of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. It is turning into my favorite book of all time. I'll write an essay about it in a later post, but here is a link to a searchable version of the book, along with study guides.

Friday, July 29, 2005

is math true?

a discourse on formal language vs natural language, from SciTech Daily:

Gödel and the nature of mathematical truth [the story]

If you're a mathematics layperson, as I am, you'll need to wind your way through the trade talk. The following quote gave me a good introduction to the article:
Now, let me turn to the Edge 162 of June 8, 2005 headed by a synopsis of the story Rebecca Goldstein is telling:
"Gödel mistrusted our ability to communicate. Natural language, he thought, was imprecise, and we usually don't understand each other. Gödel wanted to prove a mathematical theorem that would have all the precision of mathematics — the only language with any claims to precision — but with the sweep of philosophy. He wanted a mathematical theorem that would speak to the issues of meta-mathematics. And two extraordinary things happened. One is that he actually did produce such a theorem. The other is that it was interpreted by the jazzier parts of the intellectual culture as saying philosophically exactly the opposite of what he had been intending to say with it."
This may sound interesting, but, disregarding history and context, it is misleading a potentially receptive audience. Ms Goldstein's claim to knowledge of Gödel's personal motivations is presumptuous.


pinball wizard

from SciTech Daily:

Brice Mellen is a whiz kid at video games, despite being blind [the story]

Thursday, July 28, 2005

philosophy comix

the link
here's my favorite:

music you can see


Trying to Catch Sight of Sound - Considering the Exhibition 'Visual Music'

Washington Post - 23 June 2005 Read Article

rock meets classical (again)


Pink Floyd Member Roger Waters Set to Debut His First Opera
Associated Press - 13 July 2005 Read Article

progressives out of the closet


from Alternet:

The last time U.S. progressives won, people of faith were at the center of the movement -- not stuck in its closet. [the story]

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

is my red your red?


I was looking at this with my son, who is very color-blind. He did seem to agree with the color labels of our culture, which I found interesting.

who you calling Hitler?!

the article is not the only interesting part - the discussion down at the bottom is interesting as well.

from Alternet:
For more than 40 years, comparing an administration'senemies to Hitler has been a reliable way to convince apliant media and unquestioning public to go to war. [the article]

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Monday, July 25, 2005

sound overload

Turn Up the Quiet

Is your world getting noisier? Pealing cell phones, blaring personal stereos, constant chatter -- sometimes it can be difficult to endure the relentless drone of modern life. But beneath the racket, there's still a creative and natural soundscape all around you -- the music of nature, the laughter of friends and neighbors, even the sound of your own inner voice. Perhaps listening to what really matters will soothe your soul. -- Utne magazine, July/August 2005

Judges are apt to be naif, simple-minded's quote of the day:

Judges are apt to be naif, simple-minded men, and they need something of Mephistopheles. We too need education in the obvious—to learn to transcend our own convictions and to leave room for much that we hold dear to be done away with short of revolution by the orderly change of law.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

The Invisible Library

from Yahoo!Picks:

Want to read Jo March's "The Curse of the Coventrys" or Eccentrica Gallumbits' "The Big Bang Theory, A Personal View"? Sorry, you can't. They're fictional. Not books of fiction, but fictional books. These and all the other books listed in The Invisible Library are imaginary titles dreamed up by authors and referenced in actual works of fiction. Librarian Brian Quinette, with help from friends also obsessed with fictional fiction, has carefully cataloged hundreds of non-existent titles. Browse the names of real authors and titles to find the pseudo versions. From the "books" written by Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's novels, to the "Misery" series created by the fictional hero of Stephen King's "Misery," to the mysterious "Necronomicon" by H.P. Lovecraft's Abdul Alhazred, this library boasts lists of potentially rich reading material -- if only they existed. (in Arts & Humanities > Literature)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

some live online church sites

do not know this tradition yet
The Palace, palace : 9998
Sundays, 8pm
have not attended yet

Trinity Church, Manhattan, NY
Sundays, 11:15am
they also have some nice Vespers services and other concerts archived
have not attended yet

Norwich Tabernacle, Norwich, CT
Sundays, 10am, 6pm, Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:30pm
7/24: has good messages about living with Jesus, but overly concerned with getting "poisoned" by differing opinions

First Unitarian Society, Madison, WI
Sundays, 9am & 11am (Central)
have not attended yet

Unity/New Age
Renaissance Unity, Warren, MI
Sundays, 9am & 11am (Eastern)
11/6: looks like one of those megachurches, but it's not Fundamentalist, Billy Graham stuff. It's somewhere between the earthy/humanist Unitarian services and Episcopal services. The person who did the sermon today was GREAT.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

waterbed inventor

from Wikipedia:

Robert Heinlein invented the waterbed - I never knew!

I'm Hagrid


Quiz: Your Potter Personality
J.K. Rowling's books are full of colorful characters. Which one are you most like?

'nuther article: Harry Potter vs. Spirituality

history major AND employed


You might think that studying philosophy or English will put you on a path to nowhere when it comes to employment possibilities. Instead, the demand for arts grads is growing these days. [the story]

alien flu


Dear Cecil:
OK, "War of the Worlds" is fiction, but is there any reason to think earthly bacteria and viruses would beable to get their hooks into a species from another planet? [the story]

Thursday, July 21, 2005

religious liberty vs. Roberts


Will Roberts defend religious liberty?

graphics & BPD

I read this in depth this evening:

from SciTech Daily:

graphical design vs. subject expertise

Borderline Personality Disorder is a very depressing topic, but it does help to understand what is known and not known about it [more] [on Wikipedia][Dialectical Behavior Therapy]

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

St. John's Bible

This is so cool. I remember the PBS-type shows talking about it. Great artwork.

no books

from Arts & Letters Daily:

Many students who enter university come from nearly book-free homes. Many have not read a single book all the way through. Now they are to be offered book-free libraries... more»

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

American Christianity

Here's an article that discusses a history of American Christianity. Special emphasis is given to the evolution of New England Puritanism to Unitarianism [the article].

The article makes me want to seek out more info on "history of American Christianity". This particular article does not delve into topics such as evolution to Quakers or Mormons. Perhaps there's a "family tree" of the growth of American types of Christianity?

While looking around for another text on this subject, I found this library search utility. Cool.

Update 7/20: Wikipedia's History of Christianity article

Sunday, July 17, 2005


from Arts & Letters Daily:

In his dingy little “writing hut,” Roald Dahl kept candies and bottled bits of his lower spine. Kids love it. Their parents don’t... more»

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Job-Seeking Bloggers Beware

Job seekers who keep online journals should remember that prospective employers may be able to read everything they post in their blog. One writer wonders why job-seeking bloggers sometimes gossip about former employers, complain about the nature of work or reveal personal quirks in easily accessible online journals.
Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education

power of prayer

forwarded by a friend:

Prayer's Power to Heal Strangers Is Examined (The Washington Post)
By Rob Stein, Page A08, July 15, 2005
Praying for sick strangers does not improve their prospects of recovering, according to a large, carefully designed study that casts doubt on the......

rule the world!

from Science & Theology News:

Brain can signal world even if body can't Being able to control the world with your thoughts is no longer just the stuff of science fiction.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

family album

from Utne Web Watch:

By Frank Klein, Baltimore City Paper
Time and time again, photographer Frank Klein saw the Oxendine family getting drunk, fighting, and screaming outside their rowhouse in Southwest Baltimore, a neighborhood plagued by drugs and alcohol. He began documenting their tumultuous lives with his camera, and over the course of a year, got to know the family. Klein enlisted the frank voice of one family member to give captions to his bleak and touching photos. -- Archie Ingersoll [the story]

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I was interviewed by my local newspaper recently. They were working on a story about blogging in general. Although no direct details from our conversation made it into the article, I am still tickled that I was able to contribute to the thought process.

One thing we discussed was, "why do you suppose people write such candid things in their blogs?" For instance, people will write about their work and get fired for saying inflammatory or trade secret types of things.

My thoughts ranged in a couple of directions:
1. online journaling has gotten SO popular. Perhaps people don't really realize who is reading their information. I bet that, when secured blogs become more prevalent, more people will move in that direction (have secret blogs)
2. vanity. There's something satisfying about seeing your words in print.
3. devil-may-care beligerance. The attitude that one doesn't give a --it who sees their stuff.

My reason for blogging has generally been to save up those articles that I want to get around to reading. Instead of having gobs of printouts of articles that will get lost in the mountains of paper floating around my house, I have them archived here, where I'll be able to find them more readily later.

That, and the fact that I used to send so many articles to my "peeps" that I'm sure they were getting quite annoyed with me. Now they don't get so many; only if they sign up here.


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Condi Rice

Democracy Marches On
How would universal democracy usher in a better future for all the world's people?

7/12 update: I really did read it at the time I posted it. I'm not sure I can buy-in to what she's saying. I'm wondering if she's getting some inspiration from the same place our forefathers did. I suspect yes. I don't think she's an indepth philospher, though. More like a pop-philosopher.

Friday, July 08, 2005

thinking about thinking

from Arts & Letters Daily:

Who could lay claim to being the greatest thinker of the modern world? Marx? Surely not. Sartre? Well, if attitude counted. How about the redoubtable David Hume... more»

Thursday, July 07, 2005

the moral value of sports

from Speaking of Faith:

Theologian Don Richter notes that the practice involved in sports can be just as fruitful in teaching moral values as attending church services. [the story]

Now I can feel less guilty about missing church!


from SciTech Daily:

The didgeridoo may have only one note, but its timbre is phenomenal [the story]

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

intelligence = hell?

from Arts & Letters Daily:

“If men were rational in their conduct,” wrote Bertrand Russell, “intelligence would be enough to make the world almost a paradise.” It might, of course, make the world a hell... more»

7/7 update: extremely wordy, and high in the use of vocabulary words. I will have to read and re-read to get a better picture of what he's talking about. One thought that was interesting, though: we can't expect that technology will enable us to be nicer people; that would suggest that we were nice in the first place.