From Russia with Love

6341892558_531c1e9e93_zDonald Trump and his supporters have been dismissive of U. S. Intelligence claims that the Russians were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee e-mails.  These made Hillary Clinton look bad and were then given to Wikileaks, which made them public.  Those intelligence agencies have released a report giving the basis for blaming Russia and Vladimir Putin’s intelligence operations.

The unclassified version of the report leaves out the details but gives the nature of their evidence.  (Read the report for yourself here.)  It says that Putin despised Clinton and wanted Trump to win.  The actions, which also included the use of paid “trolls,” were intended to discredit Clinton–though the Russians expected her to win–and to boost Trump’s chances.

Defenders of Trump have said that some other group could have done the hacking, that the CIA has often been wrong (including finding evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq), that the intelligence agencies are part of the establishment, that they are part of the Democratic administration (despite their non-politicized organization and their history of conflict with liberals), etc., etc.   Yes, lots of things “could have” happened.  But I am not aware of any evidence connecting the hacks to anyone else other than the Russians.  (Do you know of any?  If so, please let us know in the comments.  I’ll continue my thoughts after the jump.) [Read more…]

Marshall McLuhan, conservative Catholic

5571845609_c077117223_oMarshall McLuhan, who basically invented the study of media, became an icon of the 1960’s with his praise of the new information technology and his predictions of the new tribalism that it would make possible.  McLuhan arguably predicted the effects of the internet before the internet was invented.

And yet, as Jefferson Pooley reminds us, McLuhan got his start as a conservative cultural critic who, influenced by G. K. Chesterton, became a traditionalist Catholic who opposed the reforms of Vatican II.

I would argue that his criticism of the printing press and the thought-forms it made possible is connected to his opposition to the Reformation, which he called “the greatest cultural disaster in the history of civilization.”  And that his “global village” that he thought the new electronic media would usher in represents his yearning for Medieval Catholicism, with its visual images and its corporate unity.

Read Pooley’s piece on McLuhan, started after the jump. [Read more…]

Top 10 Google searches of 2016

cyborg-438398_640The internet contains unfathomable amounts of information.  Search engines allow us to find anything we want to know, giving us access to knowledge on an unprecedented scale, thus advancing the capabilities of the human mind.

When we can fully connect our minds to the internet, we can attain the next level of human evolution.

So see what the year’s top searches on Google were. [Read more…]

Confession app

hand-apple-iphone-smartphoneA Scottish diocese has released an app that will help someone in urgent need of confession to find forgiveness.  Not that users can type in their sins and receive a text of absolution.  The app shows the nearest Roman Catholic Church.

Actually, the description in the press sounds rather sensationalized.  I think what we have is a church-finder, something every denomination should probably have.

Do you know of similar church-related apps?  What others would be useful?  (I am open to both serious and humorous suggestions.) [Read more…]

Vast oil deposit discovered in Texas

Geologists have found a site in the Permian Basin in Texas that holds some 20 billion barrels of oil.  The entire area may hold 75 billion barrels, making it the largest unconventional deposit in the United States, and the second in the world, next only to the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia.

The oil is in shale and will take fracking.  This will bother some people.  Does it bother you, or do you see this discovery as a big economic shot in the arm for the country?
[Read more…]

Assange blocked from internet, so supporters bring down US sites

Wikileaks has been releasing hacked e-mails embarrassing to Hillary Clinton, so–surprise!–the head of that enterprise, Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, has had his access to the internet cut off. In retaliation, his supporters are hacking into major American service providers, bringing down major sites, such as Amazon, Twitter, PayPal, Reddit, and more.

Assange, who can’t leave the embassy lest he be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges, is telling his supporters that they have made their point and should call off the attacks, which have mainly affected the East Coast.

We depend on the internet, but how fragile it is!

[Read more…]