7 Quick Takes (9/13/13)

--- 1 --- I know it's been a while since I did Quick Takes, which kind of builds up tension for what link merits getting back on schedule.  Ohhh... that'll do nicely.Via io9, a video on how they built the Alien chestburster.  So clever!  And it's a whole month and a half to Halloween, if you want to take inspiration.  --- 2 --- And, of course, you can always costume on a budget.  I love this ongoing series called "Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style."Here's the ex … [Read more...]

[Turing 2013] Atheist Round Entries Index

In a conventional Turing Test, computer programmers try to write a computer program that can pass for human. In the Ideological Turing Test, atheists and Christians test how well they understand each other by trying to talk like each other. All the entries in the atheist round are collected below, so, in these answers, atheist contestants answer honestly, and Christians impersonate atheists as best they can. You can click on each link to read the entry to decide whether you think the author is … [Read more...]

[Turing 2013] Christian Round Entries Index

In a conventional Turing Test, computer programmers try to write a computer program that can pass for human. In the Ideological Turing Test, atheists and Christians test how well they understand each other by trying to talk like each other. All the entries in the Christian round are collected below, so, in these answers, Christian contestants answer honestly, and atheists impersonate Christians as best they can. You can click on each link to read the entry to decide whether you think the author … [Read more...]

Your Moment of Verklempt

It seemed particularly appropriate to post today: Also, housekeeping note, summer voting for the Turing Test was a bit low, so I'll be putting up the index posts for both rounds today, linking them around a bit, and then posting the results next week or the week after once I've doing one more whip for votes … [Read more...]

The Fear of God in Me

Yesterday, when I was attending Daily Mass, I was one of only four people present.  I sat up in front, and, after the priest had administered the Eucharist to himself, he motioned me up to assist as an extraordinary minister of holy communion, to distribute the Blood to the remaining parishioners after they received the Body from him.I was quite nervous walking up and receiving the chalice, and hoped that terror-as-reverence was about the right disposition, as long as I wasn't paralyzed by … [Read more...]

Servant of Two Masters

If I had a car, I suppose I could have a bumpersticker that read "My other Sunday obligation is the New York Times."  And part of the weekly ritual tends to be glaring at the Ethicist column, which frequently gives questionably ethical advice.A few weeks ago, a reader wrote in to say that she sorts mail for a group of homeless or at-risk American Indian people and, when she found that one new mother had been sent a free formula sample, wanted to throw it out, so that the woman wouldn't be t … [Read more...]

If the Phantom Tollbooth were a musical for grad students…

My friend Scott has published the full story from the second installment of his Dungeons and Discourse game Fermat's Last Stand.  Here's the prologue: Centuries ago, brilliant mathematician Pierre de Fermat came up with a proof so elegant that the God of Truth himself, mighty Aleithos, grew jealous. Taking inspiration from Fermat’s failure to fit his discovery in the margin of his notebooks, Aleithos afflicted the genius with the curse of macrographia: handwriting so large that his equations co … [Read more...]


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