My Year-End Book Recommendations in TAC and NRO

books, many

I've already shared with you guys the ten best books that I read (for the first time) this year, but in case you're still finishing up shopping for others, I've also added my suggestions to both The American Conservative and National Review's gift guides for the end of the year.   And my recommendations there are a little less narrowly tailored to my hobbyhorses--so fewer philosophy of medicine and disease on those lists.So head on over to both sites to see my ideas, and those of other wri … [Read more...]

7QT: Building Imaginary Bridges, Destroying Phantom Boats

prelude in c sharp

--- 1 --- I'm totally delighted by these mischievous bridges.  Euro notes apparently each feature a picture of a bridge, drawn in different architectural styles, but none modelled on a real bridge, so that the nations of the EU wouldn't be divided into "included in/excluded from currency" factions.  But the Netherlands has scuppered that compromise -- they've built all seven!The local council responsible for constructing a new housing development in Spijkenisse, a suburb of Rotterdam, hear … [Read more...]

Your religion… is it bigger than a breadbox?


I've been meaning for a while to highlight an interesting project that Christian H has been carrying out on his blog: coming up with taxonomies for religions. And I'm a big fan of the reason he started this project: While trying to find ways to frame my understanding of different religions, and different individuals’ religion, is a worthwhile activity in itself, I would be lying if I claimed that my primary motivation was anthropological or psychological. Rather, I’ve primarily been imagining th … [Read more...]

Tell Your College Women Friends About Arete!


The Arete Seminar has opened applications for it's Summer 2015 program, and it seems pretty likely to me that I've either got readers who are interested or who know people who would be interested.  Here's the basics: The Arete Seminar provides an educational program for college-aged women that emphasizes democratic participation and leadership, sustainability, personal and communal responsibility, and intellectual excellence. It combines a top-tier liberal arts academic programming with a p … [Read more...]

Filing Down the Sharp Edges of Failure [Pope Francis Bookclub]


In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.There are two paragraphs in particular from this week's chapter that give a pretty good impression of what Pope Francis is talking about when he titled this section "The Failure of Jesus" Our human tendency is to disguise all evidence … [Read more...]

A Rosary App from One of Our Regulars

rosary app

Following right on the heels of my guest post for Beeminder (on using that website's commitment contracts in spiritual life), Pedro Paulo Oliveira Jr., a frequent commenter here has taken a turn guest posting there, too.  He's outlining a Rosary app he's built, and the way he integrated it with Beeminder, so it can update your tally of prayers automatically, to keep you on the straight and narrow.  Here's how his project got started: Our popular Electronic Rosary app helps people to pray the … [Read more...]

7QT: Beautifully Built Things

heart rate proposal

--- 1 --- I always take pleasure in thinking about made things, so I especially enjoyed this article from the Kickstarter team on why so many Kickstarter projects have been focused on making a better wallet.  Apparently, they're a common starter project -- if you can manage to produce and ship wallets, you probably have the skills to Kickstart and deliver on the complicated project you really want to do: Using the wallet as a conceptual starting point isn’t just a Kickstarter thing, either. At … [Read more...]