Terry Pratchett on Family Feuds

The Oggs were what is known as an extended family—in fact not only extended but elongated, protracted and persistent. No normal sheet of paper could possibly trace their family tree, which in any case was more like a mangrove thicket. And every single branch had a low-key, chronic vendetta against every other branch, based on such well-established causes célèbres as What Their Kevin Said About Our Stan At Cousin Di’s Wedding and Who Got The Silver Cutlery That Auntie Em Promised Our Doreen Was To … [Read more...]

A Tale of Two Financial Collapses: More BS?

IcelandVsUSA

Here we have another economic meme, somewhat similar to the meme I examined recently and accused of being BS.*It's comparing two disparate regions, Iceland and the United States. It's discussing economic actions and results. It's trying to make an implicit point.So what is it claiming?Both Iceland and the United States suffered financial collapses. I don't follow the news from Iceland, but I'll take it as read that Iceland has indeed had difficulties. The events here in … [Read more...]

Review: The Citadel of God, by Louis de Wohl

The Citadel of God, by Louis de Wohl

Louis de Wohl spent a considerable time in the middle of the 20th century writing historical novels about the great saints of the Catholic Church. I've read a number of them, and have found them to be uniformly well-written, entertaining, and informative. I wouldn't call them truly top-notch—they are a little lightweight compared to the historical novels I'm seeing these days, and they are certainly romanticized—but as a first look at one of the great saints, they aren't bad.One thing they … [Read more...]

CT 10.1: Identity of God with His Essence

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Now that Thomas has established that God exists, is eternal and everlasting, and is utterly simple (in the sense of not being composed of distinct, separable parts) he begins to get seriously metaphysical.  That is, he's going to look at the metaphysical notions we apply to the objects of daily experience, and determine the extent to which those notions apply to G … [Read more...]

Pope Francis on Fellow Travelers and True Believers

Historically, the phrase "fellow travelers" was used of those who sympathized with the aims and goals of the Communist Party but chose not to join it. Though not members, they were traveling in the same direction. That doesn't mean they precisely shared the beliefs of the Communist Party—presuming that the members of the Party themselves had a precisely unified set of beliefs beyond that week's party line.We see something similar in every area where people band together to do something: t … [Read more...]

Trimming the Quill: Some Development Notes

I've been continuing to put a lot of time into Quill, a build system for Tcl software projects (and so not into my Clojure project).I've gotten two significant pieces of feedback about Quill so far. One fellow mentioned that he'd like to try it, but Quill requires that you be using TCL v8.6, and he's still using TCL v8.5 (which is not at all unreasonable). Consequently, my focus for Quill 0.2.0 is making Quill work with whatever version of TCL you happen to have installed.Second, I do … [Read more...]

Byker Hill: Collier Lads For Ever More (Now with Trombones!)

"Byker Hill" is an English folk song about coal miners in Newcastle; and not coincidentally, my eldest came to me a couple of days ago and asked if I'd buy a particular recording of it for him. That recording is by a group called the Cottars, of which I know nothing except that they do a really good "Byker Hill":It's sung to several tunes, the but the one I first encountered is a rather frenetic folk-rock version with klezmer influences by Boiled in Lead, which alas doesn't appear to be … [Read more...]

On Tyranny

Being an absolute ruler today was not as simple as people thought. At least, it was not simple if your ambitions included being an absolute ruler tomorrow.— Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (On Lord Vetinari's philosophy of government.) … [Read more...]

Jack McDevitt: Antiques in Space!!!

A Talent for War

Recently I re-read Jack McDevitt's "Alex Benedict" series, which begins with A Talent For War and continues through four more volumes to Firebird, with Coming Home due this fall.Alex Benedict is an antiques dealer on the planet Rimway about 9,000 years in our future. 9,000 years is a long time, ample opportunity to accrue just oodles of lost civilizations, abandoned space stations, derelict space ships, and similar archaeological treasures, and they are all out there just waiting for an … [Read more...]


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