Flying cars

As someone who grew up on the Jetsons, I have been disillusioned that the we did not get a lot of the things Walt Disney’s Tomorrowland promised us “by the year 2000.”  Yes, we have moving sidewalks, but they are humdrum people movers at the airport, rather than soaring avenues in the sky.  Yes, we have computers, the internet, and GPS systems that go beyond the wildest fantasies of 1950′s futurists, but where are the flying cars?  Actually, right now a company has one on sale.  Details and videos after the jump. [Read more...]

1,000 Bible translations on your phone

In church, when you seem people staring at their smart phones, they aren’t necessarily texting, surfing, or playing games.  They may well be using their Bible apps, allowing them to read the Scriptures and follow along with the text of a sermon on their mobile devices.  They can also switch translations so that they can use the one the pastor is using.  The one I use, YouVersion, gives me access to 41 Bible translations in English.  But YouVersion also allows you and people around the world to access the Bible in other languages–over a thousand of them.  The app, which is free, now offers the Bible in (at last count, a few minutes ago when I checked) 1,030 languages.

You can download the app here or at your phone’s app store.  See details about YouVersion’s achievement after the jump, including which languages are most popular and what percentage of the world’s languages this covers. Do any of you have other Bible or devotional apps that you would recommend? [Read more...]

Cell phones the police can’t tap into

You can set up a passcode to protect the information on your cell phone.  But the manufacturers can still unlock that information if given a court order, giving police and other government agencies access to people’s private data.  But Apple has announced that the new operating system for iPhones, iOS 8, will not give the company access to passcode-protected phones, making it technologically impossible to comply with snooping requests.  Android is following suit.

What do you think of this?  Is it a commendable blow for personal privacy against government surveillance?  Or is it an abdication of responsibility to help authorities fight crime?

[Read more...]

Alibaba and the 40 Thieves

In China, pretty much everyone buys pretty much everything from the online site Alibaba.  Last week, the company came to the United States, getting listed on the New York Stock Exchange, where it raised over $21 billion, becoming the second-biggest IPO in history.  Alibaba has a market capitalization of nearly $220 billion, making it bigger than Facebook, eBay, Disney, and Amazon.  There are plans to open operations in the United States.

But there might be some dangers in investing in a company that is under the thumb of a government that does not believe in capitalism or private property. [Read more...]

What a comet looks like, up close

The European Space Agency spacecraft Rosetta has rendezvoused with Comet 67P, with plans to send a smaller craft to land on it November 11.  The project was launched back in 2004.  The comet is about 3×5 kilometers across (1.86×3 miles).  Go here for more information.  After the jump, photographs from the probe, showing what a comet looks like up close. [Read more...]

Back to school–I mean, “possibility space”!

Daniel J. Flynn has written a book entitled Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America.  He writes about a time when “intellectuals” spoke to “the common man,” and how many in the demographic of “common man” (and woman) distinguished themselves as “intellectuals” in their own right.  He writes about blue collar savants like Mortimer Adler, Milton Friedman, and Eric Hoffer.  All of this contrasts with the tendency today, in which “intellectuals” speak only to themselves in an arcane idiom that no one else can even understand, while the “common man” is content with mindless pop culture pablum.  And even intellectuals have become anti-intellectual.

But that’s not what I want to blog about.  An excerpt from his book published in the Intercollegiate Review includes a devastating send-up of the state of contemporary education.   I offer it to you as a “Back to School” present. [Read more...]


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