Daily Archives: August 28, 2008

Steve Jobs obituary published by Bloomberg by mistake

The story, marked “Hold for release ”“ Do not use”, was sent in error to the news service’s thousands of corporate clients.

The stock obituary was published “momentarily” after a routine update by a reporter, and was “immediately deleted”, Bloomberg said.

Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, but there is no suggestion that the news wire has recent news on his health. Most media organisations regularly update their pre-prepared obituaries of newsworthy figures.

The obituary contained blank spaces for Jobs’s age and cause of death to be inserted.

The opening sentence described Jobs as the man who “helped make personal computers as easy to use as telephones, changed the way animated films are made, persuaded consumers to tune into digital music and refashioned the mobile phone.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Media, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology

Court Divides Endowment Between San Joaquin Dioceses

A California Superior Court judge ordered that endowment assets be divided between the two dioceses of San Joaquin in a decision filed Aug. 25.

Last December, deputies to the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin voted overwhelmingly to disaffiliate from the General Convention and to come under the primatial oversight of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone in South America. In March, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reconstituted an Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin consisting of those clergy, parishes and individuals that did not wish to leave. The Episcopal diocese sued the Anglican diocese in June for control of the endowment.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

In Britain, both Church and State worry about teenage stabbing

Celebrations marking Britain’s best Olympic success in 100 years, with the country’s athletes winning 19 gold medals, were marred by the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old Londoner, adding to a knife-wielding trend that is worrying both church and government leaders.

The young man’s death on 24 August brought the total number of violent teenage killings in the British capital alone to 24 so far this year.

The Anglican bishop of Exeter, Michael Langrish, who also sits in the House of Lords, Britain’s upper parliamentary chamber, said that knife crime, which some politicians have described as an “epidemic”, should be tackled by a “long-term strategic approach”.

Langrish said in July, “Addressing the issue of knife and other violent crime, it emphasises that what is really needed are long-term strategic partnerships between churches, community groups, the police, criminal justice partners and local authorities.”

The majority of those killed in Britain as a result of the use of knives and guns, say sociologists, are young males, mainly of Afro-Caribbean descent. Researchers say that the crimes are related to drug pushing, gang rivalry based on members’ post (zip) code addresses, or even just a “look” deemed to show a lack of respect.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture

In Kaduna Nigeria Anglican Church Restates Stand On Same Sex Marriage

Following the lingering debate on the possibility of same sex married priests holding Church leadership positions, erudite scholar and bishop of Kaduna Anglican Diocese, Rev.Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has stated that the Anglican Church stood by its determination in rejecting same sex marriages and would not accept at any level, holding of Church leadership by men of such status.

According to Bishop Fearon who spoke after conducting a confirmation service, “The position of the Church has not changed in standing by the standard of the Church which has been on for time.Our position is not different from the one we took in 1998, which we called resolution 110. It is clearly stated there that in this church, as far as we are concerned, marriage is between a man and a woman. It is clear and we have not changed that position.

Secondly, people who have other sexual orientation, which is if you have a man who is living with another man and they claimed they are married, we cannot accept them to be leaders in this church. That is the position of the Anglican community, and that has not changed”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Bishop Michael Jackson: Anglicanism, blessing or curse – the Irish experience

I hold doggedly and dearly to the primacy of Scripture. It forms the bedrock of both my faith and my action. It constantly and properly confronts me with inadequacies and failures along with inspirations and opportunities. At the same time, I see no way in which contemporary people can continue to fly in the face of what, for example, a scientific discipline such as Genetics may yet reveal about why any of us is as we are. But through-out my main point is that the dynamic, pro-active theological method of Scripture, Tradition and Reason contains within it an elasticity of approach and a faithfulness of intention to new situa-tions, problems and difficulties: with Scriptural authenticity; within the total Tradition; informed by Reason both in terms of Hooker’s understanding of the natural law as revealing something vital
of God and in terms of rigorous criticism, scholarly acumen and scientific credibility. For none of these I make an apology in an Anglican world. The Church of Ire-land is not a confessional church and the
Anglican Communion is not a confessional Communion. Anglicanism is built on a foundation of the saving work of God in Christ but also on the utter provisionality of existing ecclesial institutions and earthly articulations of belonging. This is to do nothing more radical than to say that Anglicanism, in its self-definition, takes eschatology very seri-ously. I see a great deal of sense in the final sentence of the Editorial of The Church Times of June 20th 2008 following events in St Bartholomew’s Church, Lon-don: ”˜The challenge for the Lambeth Con-ference, and for GAFCON before it, is to demonstrate how Christians can disagree profoundly and yet recognize the work-ing of the Holy Spirit in those with whom they disagree.’ This, my friends, is where The Tower of Babel meets The Day of Pentecost and is redeemed in the encounter.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland

Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid’s Limits

When the builders of the Maple Ridge Wind farm spent $320 million to put nearly 200 wind turbines in upstate New York, the idea was to get paid for producing electricity. But at times, regional electric lines have been so congested that Maple Ridge has been forced to shut down even with a brisk wind blowing.

That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.

The grid today, according to experts, is a system conceived 100 years ago to let utilities prop each other up, reducing blackouts and sharing power in small regions. It resembles a network of streets, avenues and country roads.

“We need an interstate transmission superhighway system,” said Suedeen G. Kelly, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources

A NY Times Editorial: Mr. Obama’s Moment

Now that others have helped set the stage, Mr. Obama must demonstrate his own passion and policy mastery. He needs to show that he has his own plan for solving this country’s many problems, from reviving the economy to rebuilding a broken military. That is especially true if Mr. Obama is to win the votes of moderate Republicans. Many recognize that President Bush’s terms have been a disaster but still see the Democrats the way Republicans have painted them: the party of a weak defense and economy-killing taxes.

This country certainly can use true bipartisanship ”” something it has not seen under Mr. Bush. But conventions, like elections, are partisan events, where candidates begin to define themselves for voters. At the 1932 Democratic convention, Franklin D. Roosevelt promised a “New Deal.” At the 1980 Republican convention, Ronald Reagan declared his revolution against “overgrown and overweight” government.

Without such clear choices, elections end up where they are now, wars of attack ads with voters focused on labels and minutiae.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

She's happily married, dreaming of divorce

Don’t misunderstand: I would not, could not disparage my marriage (not on a train, not in the rain, not in a house, not with a mouse). After 192 months, Will and I remain if not happily married, then steadily so. Our marital state is Indiana, say, or Connecticut — some red areas, more blue. Less than bliss, better than disaster. We are arguably, to my wide-ish range of reference, Everycouple.

Nor is Will the Very Bad Man that I’ve made him out to be. Rather, like every other male I know, he is merely a Moderately Bad Man, the kind of man who will leave his longboat-sized shoes directly in the flow of our home’s traffic so that one day I’ll trip over them, break my neck, and die, after which he’ll walk home from the morgue, grief-stricken, take off his shoes with a heavy heart, and leave them in the center of the room until they kill the housekeeper. Everyman.

Still, beneath the thumpingly ordinary nature of our marriage — Everymarriage –runs the silent chyron of divorce. It’s the scarlet concept, the closely held contemplation of nearly every woman I know who has children who have been out of diapers for at least two years and a husband who won’t be in them for another 30. It’s the secret reverie of a demographic that freely discusses postpartum depression, eating disorders, and Ambien dependence (often all in the same sentence) with the plain candor of golden brown toast. In a let-it-all-hang-out culture, this is the given that stays tucked in.

This is the Mid-Wife Crisis.

Mind you, when I say Mid-Wife Crisis, I mean the middle-of-married-life kind, not the kind where you go to Yale to learn how to legally brandish a birthing stool. As one girlfriend remarked, it’s the age of rage — a period of high irritation that lasts roughly one to two decades. As a colleague e-mailed me, it’s the simmering underbelly of resentment, the 600-pound mosquito in the room. At a juncture where we thought we should have unearthed some modicum of certainty, we are turning into the Clash. If I go will there be trouble? If I stay will it be double? Should I stay or should I go?

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family

Officials may evacuate New Orleans as Gustav nears

National Guard troops stand ready, batteries and water bottles sold briskly, and one small-town mayor spent a sleepless night worrying. The New Orleans area watched as a storm marched across the Caribbean on the eve of Hurricane Katrina’s third anniversary.

With forecasters warning that Gustav could strengthen and slam into the Gulf Coast as a major hurricane, a New Orleans still recovering from Hurricane Katrina’s devastating hit drew up evacuation plans.

“I’m panicking,” said Evelyn Fuselier of Chalmette, whose home was submerged in 14 feet of floodwater when Katrina hit. Fuselier said she’s been back in her home one year this month, and called watching Gustav swirl toward the Gulf of Mexico indescribable. “I keep thinking, ‘Did the Corps fix the levees?,”Is my house going to flood again?’ … ‘Am I going to have to go through all this again?'”

Taking no chances, city officials began preliminary planning to evacuate and lock down the city in hopes of avoiding the catastrophe that followed the 2005 storm. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin left the Democratic National Convention in Denver to return home for the preparations. Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency to lay the groundwork for federal assistance, and put 3,000 National Guard troops on standby.

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Posted in * General Interest, Weather

People of faith challenge Democrats

Religious leaders and people of faith who’ve been invited to the table at this week’s Democratic National Convention are not sitting quietly with their hands in their laps.

The head of a large African-American denomination challenged the party on abortion. An Orthodox Jewish rabbi raised his voice about school choice. A thirty-something evangelical Christian author warned against Democrats who mock believers.

Although well aware that party officials have political reasons for reaching out to them, several faith figures taking part in convention events say they want to go beyond talk about how faith and values inform longstanding Democratic policies. They are also calling for change on core Democratic issues, which could create tension.

“It’s important that people of faith are being listened to just like other constituencies, that we’re not marginalized,” said Alexia Kelley of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which has pressed the party to support policies aimed at reducing abortion rates. “Just because we’re participating in the process and engaging people who may not agree with us doesn’t mean we’re just a mascot.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

Notable and Quotable (I)

You don’t play to win.

California-based artist and video-game designer John O’Neill has gone back to basics with an old-fashioned board game with a twist: It’s meant to shake up the preconceived notions of “winning” and “losing.” Paradice combines the strategic challenge of checkers or chess with a thoughtful new approach to competition. A favorite at eco-conscious festivals, Paradice is a game for two to four players who switch roles between Giver and Taker as the game progresses. In the end, the Giver wins by bringing all the “humans” on the board eye to eye. The game embodies the philosophy it teaches: The set is constructed of sustainably harvested wood and nontoxic dyes. Paradice also comes in an elegant version made from hand-poured resin.

— Liz Seymour, USAirways Magazine August 2008

Posted in * General Interest, Notable & Quotable

Don't Stop at the Lights: Church plan for a year of action on tackling climate change

Don’t Stop at the Lights, launched [this week]… by Church House Publishing, includes sermon ideas and extensive bible study notes drawing on ancient theological themes which aim to reconnect the church to the natural world and the roots of its faith. It inspires priests to make churches beacons in their community, offering case studies linked to the Church’s year including:

* setting up a decorations swap shop during Advent for people to exchange unwanted decorations;
* using Lent as an opportunity to carry out a complete internal environmental audit and to set targets, beginning on Ash Wednesday;
* re-establishing the tradition of beating the bounds at Rogationtide to help refocus congregations on God’s gifts and the role of the Church in preserving justice and extending charity;
* limiting the number of nights that the church is floodlit and then inviting members of the congregation and wider community to ”˜sponsor’ an evening’s illumination in memory of a loved one or to mark an anniversary

Former Church of England environment adviser Claire Foster and David Shreeve, a current adviser to the Church and director of The Conservation Foundation, have written the book to help enable churches to take climate change seriously as a core Christian concern. It follows last year’s successful pocket guide by the same authors and also produced by Church House Publishing, called How Many Lightbulbs does it take to Change a Christian? which will be published in the United States this Autumn.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources

Technology that outthinks us: A partner or a master?

In Vernor Vinge’s version of Southern California in 2025, there is a school named Fairmont High with the motto, “Trying hard not to become obsolete.” It may not sound inspiring, but to the many fans of Vinge, this is a most ambitious — and perhaps unattainable — goal for any member of our species.

Vinge is a mathematician and computer scientist in San Diego whose science fiction has won five Hugo Awards and earned good reviews even from engineers analyzing its technical plausibility. He can write space operas with the best of them, but he also suspects that intergalactic sagas could become as obsolete as their human heroes.

The problem is a concept described in Vinge’s seminal essay in 1993, “The Coming Technological Singularity,” which predicted that computers would be so powerful by 2030 that a new form of superintellligence would emerge. Vinge compared that point in history to the singularity at the edge of a black hole: a boundary beyond which the old rules no longer applied, because post-human intelligence and technology would be as unknowable to us as our civilization is to a goldfish.

The Singularity is often called “the rapture of the nerds,” but Vinge doesn’t anticipate immortal bliss. The computer scientist in him may revel in the technological marvels, but the novelist envisions catastrophes and worries about the fate of not-so-marvelous humans like Robert Gu, the protagonist of Vinge’s latest novel, “Rainbows End.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Abercrombie & Fitch employees allege promotions based on looks

There’s no in between. You’re either Abercrombie hot ”“ or you’re not.

Kristen Carmichael discovered she didn’t fit the clothing store’s self-described “sexy, effortless style” when she was pulled from a sales position on the floor of the NorthPark Center store and shoved back to the stockroom to fold clothes.

This was after they’d rated her face.

The college student who was in Dallas for the summer and her female co-worker had received a 0 ranking on a district manager’s monthly audit. The report, posted on a wall in the office, included the question, “Do all female models currently working have beautiful faces?”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Law & Legal Issues

Charles Wesley's 250-year-old journals reveal fears that Church of England could split

Rev Prof Kenneth Newport, pro vice-chancellor of Liverpool Hope University, has deciphered more than 1,000 pages written 250 years ago between 1736 and 1756.

He has uncovered details of Wesley’s anxieties over the possibilities of a split from the Church of England, his younger brother’s plans to marry and even over the growing influence of Islam.

He used a handwritten transcription of the four gospels made by Wesley as a guide to deciphering the journals themselves.

Wesley’s concerns over the prospect of the newly founded Methodist Societies splitting from the Church of England echo the Anglican Church’s current debate over the consecration of gay clergy and the threat of schism.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE)