The Generic God of the Stump Speech

Patheos bloggers are roundtabling on issues of faith and politics in the run-up to the election.  This week's prompt is: "What's wrong--and what's right--with the role of faith in American politics today?  For instance: How should church and state be separated, and how should they work together? Does one side manipulate faith more than another? How do you see you the candidates appealing to voters of faith?"I was ticked off during the Democratic National Convention when the party crowbarred a … [Read more...]

I’m speaking at Chicago Ideas Week today!

I'm on the Religion panel, and I think my talk on the Ideological Turing Test and fostering productive fights will go up online.  I'll keep you posted.  Oh, and in honor of the talk, I've finally overhauled my pre-conversion "About Me" tab above.  Want to take a look and give me any notes in the comments of this post?  I'll have time for a few revisions after my plane touches down.  Older versions of the "About" description are archived here, for comparison purposes.And while I'm aloft, chec … [Read more...]

A Disquisition on the Nature of Love, or, Contra Ron/Hermione

Ron's face is how I feel about this pairing

See, this is exactly why I love culture-wide book clubs.  I mention Harry Potter in passing, and you all start discussing the proper nature of love, and whether Ron/Hermione or any of the other case studies we're all quite familiar with from the series, fit the mold.I said that one of the reasons I hate the Ron/Hermione pairing is that Ron has, at best, apathy and at worst contempt for Hermione's curiosity and brightness.  I didn't she, or anyone else, should you marry someone wh … [Read more...]

New Years Come and Go So Quickly Around Here

First there was the start of the fiscal year, then the beginning of school (I still haven't broken myself of the habit of marking time in semesters), then Rosh Hashanah, and now, sneaking in just before Advent, is start of the Year of Faith (beginning on Oct 11, the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council).I've signed up for two interesting readings meant to supplement the year, so I wanted to pass on the information to the Catholic (or just very curious) readers of the blog.The … [Read more...]

Fending off near occasions of sin

Late last week, Xanthate asked: I got to ask, as a Christian, how do you feel comfortable watching media which frequently glamorises violence, non-married sex, and other sins? I’m a recent convert, and I’ve chosen not to watch/read this sort of stuff, so I’m interested to hear your thoughts. I don't watch much TV, just The Thick of It (for the vigorous and inventive invective) and Switched at Birth (for the ASL practise).  So I don't run into much sex on either show.  (Plenty of wrath-as-humor … [Read more...]

Stop, Drop, and Catch Fire

costume dress

Oh dear.The dryad costume is not going well.  My inability to hand draft a corset meant I had to turn to a commercial pattern.  While I waited for it to arrive, I started working on the big branchy mask, only to find that I'd ordered the wrong gauge of wire, and this stuff was too weak to help my hair stand on end (even though this is the style my hair is normally most cooperative with!).So now I've got all my materials finally lined up, but very little accomplished.  It happens to be hi … [Read more...]

“Just one more thing” on LARPing

Via statistician Andrew Gelman's blog, this description of Columbo's method seemed like a nice example about how something like the LARPing exercise can return a negative result. Here’s what Columbo does. He hears the killer’s story and he takes it very seriously (it’s murder, and Columbo never jokes about murder), examines all its implications, and finds where it doesn’t fit the data. Then Columbo carefully examines the discrepancies, tries some model expansion, and eventually concludes that he … [Read more...]


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