Germany: “Yep, We Still Hate Jews”

Britmilah

Did you know that Germany banned circumcision in May? True fact! Why? I … I just don’t know. I know some people get seriously het up about this issue [coughAndrewSullivancough], but I always assumed it was just gay guys and their phallic obsessions. I didn’t know a whole nation has suddenly gone nuts over penises. I [Read More...]

Beyond the Cloud: DNA is the Next Storage Frontier

DNA strand with code

I try to resist computer-to-human analogies like “the brain is just an organic computer!” They’re facile and, ultimately, inaccurate. One role of DNA, however, is to act as a kind of data storage. It’s a wild oversimplification to compare genetic code to computer code, but there’s a kernel (geek pun: sorry) of truth in there. [Read More...]

The King is Dead

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Thirty-five years ago today, the greatest entertainer of the 20th century took his last ride in a long black limousine. Godspeed, Elvis. I hope you made it. In honor of the king I’m taking today off, so comment approval will be slow. Since most comments in the wake of the Augustine post have been of [Read More...]

St. Augustine Asks the Hard Questions Atheists Don’t Ask UPDATED

Atheists think Christians believe this is how things really happened.

It’s fun to read or listen to super-duper-smart professional atheists (well, they think they’re smart) banging on about the book of Genesis. It’s a useful issue for them, because the primeval history in scripture is mysterious, complex, and rich in symbolism. So, naturally, Reason Warriors approach it with the childish literalism of a young-earth creationist. Perhaps this works for them [Read More...]

Should Autism Be a Death Sentence?

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Paul Corby is 23, autistic, and suffers from a potentially fatal heart condition called left ventricular noncompaction. He’s high-functioning enough to have written and self-published a novel for pre-teens, but he also has severe social problems, is prone to emotional outbursts, and suffers from various psychological and developmental issues. He spends much of his day playing [Read More...]

Ryan, Rand, and the Catholic Angle UPDATED

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Even though I misspent about a decade calling myself a Libertarian and paying party dues, I was never suckered in by that nasty old witch Ayn Rand and her cult of personality. Objectivism is a philosophy for college students and people who don’t have kids. A modest sense of enlightened self-interest is not necessarily an [Read More...]

The Singing Mouse

No, it’s not the title of a new animated musical feature, although it should be. It’s the nickname of this little fella (turn down your speakers: it gets loud): This is Scotinomys teguina, another of God’s weird and wonderful little masterpieces. He chirps a single note about 20 times a second in order to woo a [Read More...]

Yes! VICTORY!!!

12FirstEggsTom

In your face agricultural-industrial complex! It took five months, about $600, and daily work, but two of our birds just laid their first eggs. These are the small eggs they lay when they start, but they’ll get bigger as the birds get older. Diamond and Ruby are the stars of the day: Amber is still [Read More...]

Scripture Study During the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Glossed medieval manuscript.

Andrew Jones, of Logos Bible Software’s Catholic division, has written an excellent pair of posts about the way Christians of the Middle Ages and Renaissance approached scripture study. Although medieval Christians were known for striking feats of memory (some of them achieved using techniques I still teach to my own students), Jones points out that [Read More...]

Welcome to Baby Greydanus

saint brigid

Christendom’s leading film critic and all-around Decent guy Steven Greydanus and his wife Suzanne have welcomed their seventh child, Matthew, into the world. St. Gerard, pray for them. St. Brigid, pray for them. Blessed Mother, pray for them. May the Lord God almighty, who through the earthly birth of his own Son has filled the [Read More...]

“Person of Interest” Becomes Real

So the TV show Person of Interest just became real in the city where it’s set. In the show, Michael Emerson (Ben Linus from Lost) plays a computer programmer who created The Machine for the government. This black box system sorts all the data feeds from all the CCTV cameras, cell phones, computers, and other digital detritus looking for [Read More...]

The Oxyrhynchus Project: Desktop Papyrology

ancientlives

el-Bahnasa is a sand-blasted village about 100 miles south of Cairo. Once known as Oxyrhynchus (“City of the Sharp-Nose Fish”), it prospered under the Greeks, and became largely Christian under the Romans and Byzantines. It had a gradual decline until about the 7th century, when Arab invasions finished it off. Its structures–including a number of churches and monasteries–were [Read More...]

British Veterans Discover Remains of Ancient Soldier

Remains of Anglo Saxon warrior

Operation Nightingale is an innovative program designed to help soldiers learn new skills while recovering from injuries. The soldiers, who had been wounded in Afghanistan, were performing a routine excavation to learn the techniques of archaeology. Instead, they turned up something more significant and, for them, meaningful: a warrior like themselves, buried 1400 years ago. Mike [Read More...]

Pakistan: Christian Nurses Poisoned Because of Their Faith

It’s a horrifying story, and the details are still sketchy: Eleven Pakistani Christian student nurses were allegedly deliberately poisoned with mercury on Sunday, July 29, 2012, at the Civil Hospital in Karachi. According to one of the affected nurses, a colleague had made the tea for them and after 10pm they immediately fell ill after [Read More...]

Get Offa My Cloud!

Cloud

Put all your eggs in one basket — and watch that basket! Mark Twain, “The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” It was only a matter of time before the holes in the grand dream of cloud computing and data sharing began to appear. I’ve been a bit concerned about this move towards reliance on the cloud [Read More...]