I’m Speaking in Maryland (and possibly Austin, Memphis, and New Orleans)

pax cath

On October 15th, I'll be heading out to Maryland to speak at a Theology on Tap in St. Mary's County.  Pax Catholic has been running a series of talks on conversion, and I'll be chiming in with a talk titled: "Backed into Belief: A Journey from Atheism to Catholicism."The full logistical details are available at the facebook event page at the link.  If you're in the area, I'd love to see you there!It also so happens that, as part of my current job, I'll be travelling a couple times t … [Read more...]

As We Have Also Forgiven Our Debtors…

shana tova

This year's Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of a shmita year for Jews; the time, once every seven years, when the land is supposed to be left fallow, the poor are allowed to eat what does grow, and debts are forgiven.  The New York Times had an interesting piece this week on how rabbinical authorities have translated the tradition in the modern age, when few people (Jewish or otherwise) work on farms: Yossi Tsuria, a founder of NDS, a video-software company now part of Cisco Systems, has been … [Read more...]

7QT: Submarines, Alchemy, and Pious AI

blur face

--- 1 --- While we've discussing the virtues of counterfactual history, I ran across this interesting argument about real history from Wired arguing that U-boats in WWI marked the beginning of unrestricted warfare, starting us down the path that would lead to the firebombing of Dresden and the use of drones today: The Brits, worried about losing hugely expensive battleships to U-boats, kept their big guns near home. They formed an effective blockade of German ports using smaller vessels, s … [Read more...]

What’s Wrong with the Cuddling App?

squeeze box

I've been trying to work out exactly how I feel about Cuddlr, the new app that connects partners for a bout of platonic cuddling.  On the one hand, I keep trying to find ways to promote more non-sexual touch.  On the other hand, this particular solution gives me a wiggins, and I've been trying to put my finger on why.  Here's how Salon describes the app: You log on, link up with your Facebook profile and start browsing for nearby cuddle partners. If someone looks especially smush-able, you send … [Read more...]

Mind Continuing this Argument in a Counterfactual World?

01Crisis on Infinite Earths

Cass Sunstein is mounting a defense of historical counterfactuals in The New Republic.  At their simplest (and, he would argue, most useful), they are baked into the entire historical discipline: Yet the most fundamental problem is that Evans does not grapple sufficiently with the fact that historians do not only offer narratives; they also offer explanations. They say that some event—the rise of Nazism, the Vietnam war, the election of Ronald Reagan, the attacks of 9 / 11—had particular causes. … [Read more...]

If Someone Put Me in Charge of Yenta-ing You All…


Prompted by our discussion of modern dating, PEG has offered his thoughts on how to build a better model for dating and discerning marriage: Frankly, what is needed is a way to connect people with similar goals. I did the hedonic thing in college and law school, and at the ripe old age of 21 found out that it was wrecking my soul, and desperately wanted to settle down, but there were no takers for that. It was only sheer random luck (a.k.a. the mighty grace of the Holy Spirit) that threw the … [Read more...]

Finding Fellowship in Exile [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.This chapter is called "The Solitude of Prayer" but, as I read Pope Francis's meditations on exile -- the first, individual one, experienced by Adam and Eve, the Babylonian exile endured by the Jews, the state of Christians described … [Read more...]