Catechism app

Get Luther’s Small Catechism for your smartphone, for free.  It isn’t exactly an app, but it’s the same difference, mostly.  Go online with your device to cph.org/catechism and bookmark the site, which is specially formatted for mobile phones and tablets. [Read more…]

The Obamacare rollout debacle

Obamacare got off to an inauspicious start as the website that people were supposed to use to sign up for health insurance kept malfunctioning–not letting users sign in, throwing up error messages, and crashing users’ computers.  To the point that hardly anyone has been able to sign up for the mandated insurance.  Are these mere technical glitches, a bad omen, or an example of the problem with the whole program?  Namely, that it is too complicated, tries to do too much, is poorly planned, and is being run by agencies that don’t realize what they are getting into.

After the jump, a discussion by Ezra Klein, who supports Obamacare, about just how bad the website is. [Read more…]

Keeping and remembering everything

In a discussion of memory, the internet, and our impulse to document every moment of our lives (are we really going to look back at all of the photographs on our cell phones?), novelist Dara Horn tells about a medieval synagogue that, in its refusal to throw away any mention of the Name of God, kept everything its members wrote down for 900 years. [Read more…]

What time is it?

In a story about how the rotation of the earth has slowed 2/1000 of a second over the last century, science writer Ivan Amato explains how dependent our technology is on extremely accurate time-keeping.  For example, if the clocks in your GPS device and the satellite it connects to are out of synch by as little as 1/1000 of a second, your location would be thrown  off by hundreds of miles. [Read more…]

Nuking North Carolina and other close calls

In 1961, a B-52 came apart in the air over North Carolina.  The hydrogen bomb it was carrying fell towards the earth, its systems acting like it had been dropped intentionally.  Its parachute and its trigger mechanism deployed.  There were four safeguards to prevent the bomb from exploding unintentionally.  Three of them failed.  One electrical switch, which could easily have shorted out, held, preventing the nuking of North Carolina.

We’ll probably never know all of the other close calls we’ve had, not just these big dramatic potential disasters as a nation, but also in our personal lives.   Have any of you had any close calls that you’d like to tell us about?

[Read more…]

Virtual evil in video games

“How Evil Should a Video Game Allow You to Be?”  That’s the title of a provocative essay for the New Yorker by Simon Parkin.  When you read a work of literature featuring an evil person, you are in the mode of an observer.  But when you  play certain popular video games, you enter into the point of view of the evil person and are implicated in what he does (since, after all, you cause them).  The article isn’t against video games as such–indeed, it shows how this ability to put the player into a particular point of view has great artistic possibilities.  But still, as the article recounts some of the depravity that video games cause us to act out, it raises important questions, especially for Christians for whom sin “in the heart” can be as soul-destroying as sin acted out. [Read more…]


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