Tuesday, August 30, 2005


So I was reacting to my sticker shock at going to this site for clothes, home deco, etc., and typed "shop goodwill" in the Yahoo! Search bar. I found that there is actually a site where people can go to bid on the goodwill items. I found myself at odds with whether or not to buy. On the one hand, I couldn't see myself buying something on Goodwill that is beautiful, yet $110. But on the other hand, I struggled to justify paying shipping for something that cost $1. I will probably return at some point, after recovering from this particular bit of inner turmoil . . . ;-)

Monday, August 29, 2005

yes, we have no bananas

from SciTech Daily:

The banana is on a crash course toward extinction, and yes, we may have no bananas [the story]

Sunday, August 28, 2005

scout camping

We went to Gravel Ponds overnight last night. We set up our tents in the grass, the boys swam and fished and had fun.

I'd have to say it was more like setting up a tent in the backyard (which has its merits) than what some folks might call "real" camping. We didn't have to make sure all the food was in airtight locations to keep the bears out, for instance.

It made me a bit more interested to take my son out for some more remote camping. Hiking along the Appalachian Trail (official site, volunteer group) would be something he'd really enjoy.

Friday, August 26, 2005

how to get peace?

from Alternet:

"Doing what's necessary for a lasting peace in Iraq won't be easy -- and it doesn't include bringing the troops home now." [the story]

I'm just starting to read the article. I don't know yet if I will be in firm alignment with the opinions expressed, but it is intriguing.

prayer to live with grace

from Beliefnet.com:

May we discover through pain and torment,
the strength to live with grace and humor.

May we discover through doubt and anguish,
the strength to live with dignity and holiness.

May we discover through suffering and fear,
the strength to move toward healing.

May it come to pass that we be restored to health and to vigor.
May Life grant us wellness of body, spirit, and mind.

And if this cannot be so, may we find in this transformation and passage
moments of meaning, opportunities for love
and the deep and gracious calm that comes when we allow ourselves to move on.

- Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro

impractical, immoral

from Daily Dig:

Violence as a way of achieving justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.
Martin Luther King, Jr, Nobel address, Oslo, December 11, 1964

An army careerist mulls over the "global war on terror."

Monday, August 22, 2005

look into my eyes

from world-science.net:

Your eye movements may betray your culture: Chinese and Americans literally look at the world differently, a study has found. [the story]

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The American Dream Vs. the European Dream

from The Globalist:

A view of America from a European perspective:
"Which dream will ensure a better future for all the world's people?"

[the story]

Friday, August 19, 2005

Unintelligent Design

from the UUTheology mailing list:

an excerpt:
"23 different elephantlike species, including woolly mammoths, have arisen and died out during the past 5 million years, victims of an inability to adapt to changing conditions. Only Asian and African elephants remain. If an all-knowing designer was responsible for that work, [biologist Kenneth] Miller said to applause, 'it's distinctly substandard, because nearly every one became extinct. If you want to accept intelligent design, you'd damn well better account for' the numerous examples of failed species." [the story]

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

no more FAT

from IEEE:

The latest features utilized in Web browser software could transform the Web into the next desktop platform, according to an article from ZDNet Australia. Lars Rasmussen, head engineer of Goggle Maps, helped design Maps using browser-based Extensible Stylesheet and Microsoft's Vector Markup languages. The jump from programs designed with regular software-based languages like C++ to browser-based languages gives programs like Google Maps rapid deployment capabilities and other advanced features. Read more


from SciTech Daily:

Steven Rose takes a look at explaining, mending and manipulating the mind [the story]

magic vs science

from SciTech Daily:

Magic is a recessive trait, in the Harry Potter world at least, and therein lies a chance to educate [the story]

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

comic book math

from SciTech Daily:

Taking maths out of the textbook and into the novel, the comic, the best-seller [the story]

support America: kill animals

from powells.com:

As the Los Angeles Times wrote with approval last summer, Californians who enjoy decimating flocks of doves "simply park the pickup or SUV next to a field, unfold a chair, pop the ice chest and let it rip." Then there's baiting bears and shooting them at close range, frequently in the back, a custom that the citizens of Maine recently voted to preserve. It is obvious that the real attraction of these "sports" is the thrill of the kill, and the more honest devotees come right out and say so. ("An excitement just rushes through your body," a high school homecoming queen in Louisiana told a reporter last year, "when you see a squirrel and you say, 'I've got to shoot it.'") If one adds the many fans of circuses, rodeos, cockfights, dogfights, and other American spectacles in which animals are tormented or killed, the total would probably fill Spain itself. Judging from the T-shirts and postcards sold at highway rest stops, some of us are even tickled by the sight of wildlife hit by cars. (For a while there, Kraft was selling "road kill" candy animals, complete with tread marks.) Anyone who thinks this is all just redneck culture should look around the bleachers the next time Ringling Brothers drags its miserable menagerie into New York City.
[the rest of the story]

Friday, August 12, 2005


This is from the UUCF-L (Unitarian Christian Fellowship) list. I found the quotes in the article referenced to say undenyable truths. As I mentioned to the friend who brought it to our attention, it was like one more marble in the marble jar of wisdom.

Here are the words I found so inspiring (note that the friend who brought these words to our email list said the term "universalist" should be replaced with "unitarian"):

"1) Man is an evolutionary creature, literally lifting himself out of the dust of an animal past toward fulfillment as a mature and rational being.
2) Man is not a "fallen" sinner needing to be saved by miraculous saviours; he is a struggling being striving to remove the attributes of a brutish past. His "salvation" will be accomplished by his own good works and as he comes to realize that wholeness is achieved through love, charity, justice and freedom.
3) We view Jesus as a teacher of such ideals, a remarkable human being esteemed along with Gandhi, Buddha, Lincoln and others.
4) The universe is viewed as one natural process, always in flux, dynamic and growing. Man is a part of this natural process, a co-partner in its evolution.
5) The Bible is seen as one traditional point of view, not always accurate or inspirational. The Universalist selects from its pages what appears to him to be of worth and adds it to other writings, the large and ever-growing accumulation of which is his "sacred" literature.
6) Certain questions are recognized as unanswerable: the existence of after-life-realms, the nature of "God, " and so forth. Universalism does not dogmatize on that which it cannot know. Such beliefs are left to each individual to reason out for himself.
7) One life-at-a-time, however. Universalists are engaged in creating in this life, on this earth that thing which men have variously called "the Beloved Community, " "the Kingdom of God, " "the Commonwealth of Man. "


from SciTech daily:

The Peekaboom online game harnesses the brain power of players to train a set of powerful vision recognition algorithms. [the story]

Thursday, August 11, 2005


A friend invited my son to a birthday party using Evite. It's cool.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Peter Jennings and faithful journalism

from Beliefnet.com:

A Faithful Journalist
Peter Jennings pushed hard for better press coverage of religion—and stood by Beliefnet when few others would.

People of faith—and those interested in faith—lost a great friend with Peter Jennings’ death. We at Beliefnet have had the honor of working with Peter for five years, helping him and ABC with religion coverage, a partnership launched entirely out of his personal interest and conviction that faith was one of the most important facets of human life.

on the closet door-knobs

this is a follow-on to an earlier article (mentioned in misccubed).

from Alternet:

Jackie Mauro, AlterNet
Van Jones' essay about Rabbi Michael Lerner's 'Spiritual Activism' conference provoked a multi-faceted debate among AlterNet readers. [the story]

sooo boring . . . or is it?

from SciTech daily:

To a philosopher, boredom is not boring at all, and to the reader of this new work on boredom, it is surprisingly fascinating [the story]

It's a book review. The book being reviewed is a study of boredom from a philosophical history perspective.

It's funny, but this article could have been a little less boring if the author had actually had a point to make other than noticing, significantly, that the book that was being reviewed never mentioned Sartre, who was the king of boredom.

There are some intriguing thoughts on the Meaning of Life, however, that would be worthy of further study.

Monday, August 08, 2005

cow stress

from Arts & Letters Daily:

Farm animals are distressed by things people do not notice: hissing sounds, flapping clothes on a line, a moving piece of plastic... more»

Thursday, August 04, 2005


an interesting site

man boobies

from Scitech daily:

Break the ice at parties by telling folk that you know why men have nipples [the story]

tree pollution

from Scitech daily:

Ronald Reagan once said that trees cause more pollution than cars. So are trees a force for good or evil in urban air quality? [the story]

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

necessary evil

One thing that is called a necessary evil:
--the war in Iraq

Are there really necessary evils? As Tolstoy remarked in his "The Kingdom of God is Within You", where do you draw the line on killing someone? It has been said that it's been a necessary evil to wage war on Iraq in order to bring the citizens to freedom and a better government. It has been said that it is a necessary evil for civilians in various countries to be killed in order for the better good for the survivors.

Tolstoy talked about drawing the line on who you would kill. So you're a solder and you're commanded to kill the stranger for the better good. What if that other person were one of your own "peeps"? If that were your relative would you do it? (brings to mind the nightmares of the Civil War, when brother fought brother, but that's another whole set of thoughts to get into).