Weekly Meanderings, 4 January 2014

Weekly Meanderings, 4 January 2014 January 4, 2014

Thinking of warmer weather might help us in this frigid weather.

As Andy Williams Griffith once said, “What it was was football.” Well, the shape of the football deserves explanation:

The reason a football bounces so strangely is because of its shape. A football is a prolate spheroid, and it’s shaped that way because that’s also the shape of an inflated pig’s bladder, which is what the first footballs were made of. Soccer balls were also made of pig’s bladders, but as soon as technology permitted, those balls got rounder, which made them easier to kick. But as the football evolved — and was constructed of cowhide and rubber — it got even more prolate, which made it easier to carry and easier to throw. And much harder to pick up when it bounces on the ground.

What this oddly shaped ball — and the physics behind it — lends to our national pastime is randomness. The randomness of a bouncing ball adds an element of uncertainty that coaches and players try mightily to minimize. Indeed, the unpredictable bounce is powerful enough to determine which teams will be vying for a trip to the Super Bowl and which teams will be watching the playoffs from the comfort of their couches.

Snake oil health supplements.

Speaking of football, this guy played some — from Derwin Gray:

I recently asked a question on my Facebook Page: “What are some of the “labels” that have been attached to you that have had a negative impact in your life?” The answers I received was heartbreaking:

  • “Slut”
  • “Stupid”
  • “You Will Never Amount to Anything”
  • “Failure”
  • “Divorced”
  • “Alcoholic”
  • “Gamableaholic”
  • “Fat”
  • “Black Sheep of the Family.”
  • “Nobody Wants You.”
  • “Pizza Face”

Can you imagine waking up every morning and carrying these negative, life-stealing labels with you?  I can, and I have.  It’s terrible. How we see ourselves impact how we live. Negative labels attack and chip away at that fact that we are made in the image of God.

Why do dogs circle and circle before they poop?

If your dog spins in circles or acts like a spaz before squatting to poop, don’t worry: She just might be trying to align herself with the Earth’s magnetic field.

We’ve known for a long time that animals use the planet’s magnetic field, or MF, to orient themselves. Birds and sea turtles use it to travel unfathomable distances with stunning accuracy. Cattle, for whatever reason, prefer to align themselves along the north-south axis while grazing. Light-sensitive proteins recently discovered in the human eye suggest we may have once been able to even see it.

And dogs might use it to poop. According to a new study by Czech and German researchers published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, a two-year analysis of more than 70 dogs from 37 breeds showed that our furry friends “preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the north-south axis under calm MF conditions.”

Speaking of labels, one of them might be “woman.” So this interview with Pat Storey is worth a read:

On Saturday 30 November, history was made as the first female bishop in the UK and Ireland was consecrated. Bishop Pat Storey officially took up her role as new Bishop of Meath and Kildare at a ceremony that took place at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. After studying French and English at Trinity College, Dublin, she trained at the Church of Ireland Theological College – now Institute – and was ordained deacon in 1997 and priest in 1998. Before consecration as bishop, she was rector of St Augustine’s Parish Church, Londonderry; a position she has held since 2004. Her appointment as bishop has been welcomed by many, including the Most Reverend Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, who said her election would bring “delight” to many Anglicans. “Pat herself brings to this work of God a warm personality and a breadth of spiritual gifts to share generously in the church and in the community,” he said.

CT: What are your hopes for the future of women bishops in the Church?BP: Really honestly, I just hope that the right people are put in positions as Bishop. I was assured when I was phoned with news of my election, which was shocking news for me, that it wasn’t tokenism and they felt that I was the right person; I wasn’t elected because I was female. I suppose I would hope for the future that that would continue; the right people would be elected to the post and I hope and pray and know, actually, that many of them will be women. Because of course they have great skills and abilities and they are the right people and perhaps they’ve been overlooked. I don’t think that’s going to be so much the case now, I think that it’s easier once you’ve got the first one in!

Persecution of Christians in the world: “Despite the fact that Christians make up roughly a third of the world’s population, there are still large pockets of the planet where they are targeted and hunted down simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Below are just six among hundreds of stories of persecution from the bloody, painful and tumultuous year of 2013 for Christians around the globe.”

Who says theologians can’t have fun?

Cape Cod fishing for cod? Not much.

Good luck finding local cod in Cape Cod, Mass.

The fish once sustained New England’s fishing industry, but in recent years, regulators have imposed severe catch limits on cod, and the fish remain scarce.

“I’ve never seen cod fishing this bad,” says Greg Walinsky, who has been fishing on Cape Cod for more than 30 years. “It looks to me like it’s over. And I can’t catch any codfish.”

It’s so bad, many fishermen say, that for the first time, they cannot catch enough cod to even reach shrinking government quotas.

At Finely JP’s, a seafood restaurant on the Cape, owner John Pontius says he has always served local cod, but the shortage caused prices to skyrocket. So for a while, he took it off the menu.

Now Pontius serves cod imported from Iceland. He is not alone.

“Everybody up and down the road has got the same cod from Iceland on their menu right now. If it’s on the menu, it’s more than likely Icelandic,” he says.

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