Of “Playboy” and moral progress

Hef's place in Chicago

  Playboy has just announced that, effective next March, it will cease publication of images of naked women: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/business/media/nudes-are-old-news-at-playboy.html?_r=0 I know.  I know.  I had to check my calendar to make sure that it's not April Fool's Day.  For Playboy to give up naked women is as if Campbell's were to stop making soup, or Kleenex to turn from tissues to building tractors. Nevertheless, it … [Read more...]

Scientists demonstrate that future events decide what happens in the past

Hofstadter's "ambigram"

  http://www.digitaljournal.com/science/experiment-shows-future-events-decide-what-happens-in-the-past/article/434829 I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.  (J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Papers [1927], 286) (Thanks to John Kolak for bringing the linked article … [Read more...]

ISIS leader killed or wounded?

"The Invisible Shaykh"

  This is potentially big news, if it's confirmed.  Especially so if the self-proclaimed "caliph" of the so-called "Islamic State" has been killed: http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/11/world/iraq-al-baghdadi-raid/index.html But such claims have been made before, and this one hasn't yet been confirmed. We shall see.   … [Read more...]

New Testament 255

Judea's plains?

  Matthew 19:23-30Mark 10:23-31Luke 18:24-30Compare Luke 22:28-30 1. There is and was no gate in Jerusalem called "the eye of a needle," for which a camel had to kneel or be stripped of its load, or through which a camel was unable to pass. The idea here is clearly that, without grace, rich people won't be able to enter heaven. This happens, though, to be true for all of us, even if we're not … [Read more...]

“Republican candidates work to win over Mitt’s Mormon army in Nevada”

First temple in Nevada

  Quite interesting: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/republican-candidates-work-to-win-over-mitts-mormon-army-in#.jlVZ7NzWl4 I still wish Mitt himself were running, though. With Trump and Carson as the Republican frontrunners, and with Bush and Rubio and Cruz and almost all of the others failing to catch fire in any notable way, I fear that we'll end up with a President Clinton II, or a President Biden.  I'm not too afraid of a … [Read more...]

Life is so very fragile and transient

Abu Dhabi's Mormon chapel

  I just saw a personally shocking item from the United Arab Emirates: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/heritage/mormon-community-in-the-uae-loses-a-rare-individual I didn't know Rob Bateman well. Far from it, in fact.  I only met him following one of my lectures at Education Week this past August.  I had previously heard from his stake director of public affairs, and Rob Bateman and I spoke at some length by telephone in early September, … [Read more...]

New Testament 253

Chinese Xian art

 I think it's time for me to get back to my series of New Testament comments.  So here we go:  Matthew 19:13-15Mark 10:13-16Luke 18:15-17Compare Matthew 18:3; John 3:3, 5 Jesus' attention to little children tells us many things. Among them, we learn that he doesn't value wealth, status, power, sophistication, class, or degrees. He just doesn't care. Nor, apart from the very specific situations in … [Read more...]

And start now.

George, Tom, Teddy, and Abe

   “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  (Theodore Roosevelt)   … [Read more...]