Weekly Meanderings, 26 April 2014

A beautiful story about Lacey Holsworth:

The purpose of the universe, by George Dvorsky:

It’s tempting to think of the universe as a meaningless repository for celestial objects like planets and stars. But an intriguing theory suggests there’s much more to the cosmos than meets the eye — and that black holes play an integral role in what our universe is actually trying to achieve.

It’s called the theory of Cosmological Natural Selection and it was conjured by Lee Smolin, a researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Waterloo. His theory suggests that the universe is — for all intents and purposes — a black hole generator, or a system that’s optimized to produce as many baby universes as possible.

In his book, The Life of the Cosmos, Smolin proposed that Darwinian processes still apply at the extreme macro-scale and to non-biological entities. Because the universe is a potentially replicative unit, he suggests that it’s subject to selectional pressures. Consequently, nearly everything the universe does is geared toward replication.

Image source.

Hank update:

Hank will soon be in the doghouse. Not that the adorable pooch is in trouble. But every hound needs a home, and Hank, the pup who quickly wagged his way into the hearts of Brewers fans, will move into his own pad at Miller Park.

Starting on Monday when the Brewers return home for a six-game series against the Padres and Cubs, the “Hank House” will debut in one of the fan sections in center field. His new digs while he’s in residence at the stadium will be a roomy, one-bedroom Cape Cod-style dwelling. No word on whether it will be wired for cable with a large-screen TV tuned to Animal Planet. The “Hank House” is actually a mobile home and will move around the ballpark throughout the season. Whenever Hank is in the house — Miller Park — he’ll have a home to lay his furry head. It’ll be used for photo ops and appearances.

Virginia Episcopalians and Anglicans:

FAIRFAX, Va. — The two ministers were foes before they ever met, partisans in a war they did not start, but partisans nonetheless.

For four years, they did not speak.

But in the spring of 2011, the Rev. Tory Baucum drove 100 miles south to Richmond to introduce himself to the Rev. Shannon Johnston. And now the friendship that resulted, nurtured over Guinness in the bar of Richmond’s storied Jefferson Hotel, at dinner with their wives and during many difficult conversations, is being hailed as one of the most unexpected and intriguing developments in a bitter feud that has split the Episcopal Church in the decade since the denomination elected an openly gay bishop.

Mr. Johnston is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia — the most populous Episcopal diocese in the United States — and a supporter of same-sex marriage who has blessed same-sex couples. Mr. Baucum is the rector of an unusually vibrant parish, Truro Church in Fairfax, which left the Episcopal Church over the election of the gay bishop, Gene Robinson, the final straw in a long-running dispute over theological orthodoxy. By the time the two men arrived in Virginia, in 2007, their flocks were suing each other over who owned the Truro property, worshipers had been forced to choose sides, and sharp-fingered bloggers were trading medieval-sounding epithets like “heretic” and “schismatic.”

Wesley Hill:

Here’s what I mean: When I initially came out to myself and then to pastors, counselors, family, and friends, I thought that my future should be one of (a) learning to pinpoint the cause of my same-sex attractions in my childhood or adolescence, (b) seeking, if possible, to have those feelings diminished, and (c) seeking, if possible, to get married to someone of the opposite sex.

But as time went on and I talked with counselors and studied more of the relevant literature, I became convinced that there was no one cause (such as absent father, overbearing mother, sexual abuse, failure to bond with same-sex peers, etc.) that explained my sexuality. I fit none of the usual profiles, as I’d heard them articulated by conservative Christians. Nor did my same-sex attractions seem to be diminishing at all. And, consequently, I grew less and less hopeful—not to mention lessinterested—in the possibility of marriage.

We will all miss Adrianne Wadewitz:

Adrianne Wadewitz, a scholar of 18th-century British literature who became one of the most prolific and influential editors of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, died on April 8 in Palm Springs, Calif. She was 37.

The cause was head injuries sustained in a fall on March 29 while Ms. Wadewitz (pronounced WAH-de-wits) was rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, said Peter B. James, Ms. Wadewitz’s partner.

She had taken up rock climbing only in the last couple of years, and on her personal blog she described the thrill of creating “a new narrative” about herself beyond that of a bookish, piano-playing Wikipedia contributor.

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