Daily Archives: September 28, 2011

(LA Times) Household robots are moving from science fiction to reality

Willow Garage, a start-up in Menlo Park, Calif., has designed a robot called the PR2 that bears some resemblance to “The Jetsons'” beloved Rosie. It’s still under development, but already the PR2 can fold clothes, fetch a drink from the fridge, set the table and even bake cookies.
The robot’s backers aren’t ready to say just how soon the PR2 will hit the mainstream market. Right now it costs too much, does too little and is too slow to be of interest to most consumers. But to many experts, the idea of a skilled and intelligent household robot finally is drawing near.

“The technology is much closer than most people think,” said Andrew Ng, an associate professor of computer science at Stanford University. “We’re not yet there, but I think that in less than a decade the technology will exist to have a useful household robot.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Digital technology brings new life to Dead Sea Scrolls

For decades after they were discovered in a cave, the Dead Sea Scrolls were allowed to be examined closely only by fewer than a couple dozen scholars and archaeologists.

Now, with infrared- and computer-enhanced photography, anyone with a computer can view these 2,000-year-old relics, which include the oldest known copies of biblical text and a window on the world and times of Jesus.

High-quality digitized images of five of the 950 manuscripts were posted for free online for the first time this week by Google and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the scrolls are housed. The post includes an English translation and a search feature to one of the texts, the Great Isaiah Scroll.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, History, Israel, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

About the Faith–St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church, El Centro, California

We however, because of selfishness, have turned away from the Father, desiring only our own will, when we want it, no matter how much it may hurt others or the creation. This is called sin, and it is a rejection of the love of God. God in His love allows us to be as selfish as we wish, but not in His presence. When we sin, we turn our backs on God, and separate ourselves from Him. That sin also separates us from becoming part of the purpose of God for this universe, thus making our lives pointless and short. We live now in such a world — evil in part, pleasant in part, but pointless — it is a prison of our own making.

But God has never stopped loving us. Using His Spirit, he inspired men and women around the world to reach for Him, for Meaning, for Understanding — and this has resulted in world religions — every culture has produced its own religion based on its partial understanding of God. Of all these religions, the one that understood the best about God was Judaism; so He worked with their prophets, priests, and leaders to grow that understanding, until a point was reached that would allow God to reach out to us, to come to us, and to be understood. At that point in time, God entered our world, the world of humanity, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, took our flesh and was born among us — we called Him Jesus.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes, Theology

(FT) Tax plan raises fears for Europe business

Introducing a financial transaction tax across the European Union would wipe out or displace up to 90 per cent of derivatives transactions and hit the bloc’s economic output by almost 1.8 per cent over the long term, according to an official impact assessment.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Update: “Trade groups hit EU’s ‘misguided’ transaction tax” has some early response, including this:

Julie Patterson, director of authorised funds and tax at the Investment Management Association, warned that such a tax would “penalize ordinary long-term savers” and would drive institutional fund managers out of Europe.
She said: “Ordinary European investors will get hit, while the very high net worth individuals and institutional funds will just move their business outside of Europe.

“The tax would happen at every level. It isn’t just the investment banks selling something and the fund or individual buying it. It’s on every party in the chain.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Thisday) Nigerian Archbishop Okoh Speaks on Marriage and Slipping Sexual Standards

“It’s through marriage that people should enter into true sexual life. It’s not the process of re-inventing the third person because God did not invent the marriage between two same-sex persons as the cases in homosexuality and lesbianism.” He admonished those practising it to repent and come out of it because it’s evil.

The cleric argued that if God considered that yet another man was what Adam needed as companion and help mate in the Garden of Eden, He would have created another man, not a woman for Adam, stressing that, “He did not do that but rather created a unique person in the form of a woman different from the man.”

He lamented that there is moral decadence pervading the labyrinth of society in so much a way that hitherto despicable acts like lesbianism and homosexuality are gradually being decorated with public appeal and now receiving tolerance and even applause in today’s society.

Read it all (another from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops in 'Big Bible Study' at Worcester Cathedral

Archbishop Bernard Longley, the Archbishop of Birmingham, joined Bishop John Inge, Anglican Bishop of Worcester, in a joint ‘Big Bible Study’, in Worcester Cathedral on 24 September, as part of the celebrations to mark the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible.

Catholics from parishes in the Archdiocese of Birmingham joined with members of Anglican parishes from across Worcestershire and Dudley as well as Christians from other traditions.

More than 200 people looked together at four versions of the chosen scripture reading – “On the Road to Emmaus” – taken from the Jerusalem Bible, New Revised Standard Version, New International Version, and the Authorised Version or King James Bible.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Lutheran pastor appointed dean of Canadian Anglican diocese

In an historic move, the Anglican diocese of Rupert’s Land has appointed a Lutheran pastor ”“ the Rev. Paul Johnson ”“ as dean of the diocese and incumbent for St. John’s Cathedral in Winnipeg.

This is the first time that a Lutheran pastor has been appointed dean in an Anglican cathedral in Canada. A dean is the priest in charge of a cathedral (“mother church”) and occupies a senior position in a diocese.

The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) have been in full communion since 2001, which means that their clergy may serve in one another’s churches.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

As Episcopal Priest, Steve McCarty can serve the mind, body and soul

Steven “Steve” McCarty seems to gravitate to careers that require weekend work ”” first in law enforcement and the National Guard, and now as an ordained Episcopal priest.

“We’ve had vacations canceled because of the state police. I’ve had leaves canceled. It seems like I’ve always worked weekends,” McCarty said.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(CBS) Americans get too much health care, doctors say

At a time when many Americans say they’re having trouble getting good health care, a new survey of doctors said just the opposite.

A poll of 627 primary care physicians showed that nearly half believe their patients in their medical practice are getting too much unnecessary care, prompting the survey’s authors to call for reform of the industry.

The survey – published in the September 26 issue of the Archives of internal Medicine – showed that only 6 percent of doctors felt patients received too little care.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine

(RNS) Judaism without God? Yes, say American atheists

For an atheist, Maxim Schrogin talks about God a lot.

Over lunch at a Jewish deli, he ponders the impulse to believe ”” does it come from within or without? Why does God permit suffering? Finally, he pulls out a flowchart he made showing degrees of belief, which ranges from unquestioning faith to absolute atheism. He stabs the paper with his pen.

“This is where I fall,” he said. “Zero.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Michiko Kakutani reviews Michael Lewis's new book “Boomerang”

In “Boomerang” Mr. Lewis captures the utter folly and madness that spread across both sides of the Atlantic during the last decade, as individuals, institutions and entire nations mindlessly embraced instant gratification over long-term planning, the too good to be true over common sense.

Greece, Mr. Lewis writes, ran up astonishing debts ”” from high-paying government jobs and generous pensions, as well as waste, bribery and theft ”” that came to “about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars for every working Greek.” In just the last 12 years, he says, “the wage bill of the Greek public sector has doubled, in real terms” with the average government job now paying almost three times the average private sector job. Those who work in jobs classified as “arduous” can retire and start collecting pensions, he adds, “as early as 55 for men and 50 for women”; more than 600 Greek professions have somehow managed “to get themselves classified as arduous: hairdressers, radio announcers, waiters, musicians, and on and on and on.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Germany, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Vanderbilt University nondiscrimination policy called unfair to religious groups

Vanderbilt University’s review of student organizations’ obedience to its nondiscrimination policy has some students, professors and outside advocates saying the university itself is the one doing the discriminating.

Vanderbilt has asked “a dozen or so” student groups, including five religious ones, to come into compliance with the policy, which says the Nashville school doesn’t discriminate against individuals based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Those groups, which the university declined to identify, have been given provisional status for the time being but could ultimately lose access to Vanderbilt funding and facilities if they don’t comply.

“We are committed to making our campus a welcoming environment for all of our students,” Vanderbilt said in a statement after declining to make administrators available for interviews Monday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, TEC Bishops

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We beseech thee, O Lord, to give us more love to thee, more joy in our worship, more peace at all times, more longsuffering, more kindness of heart and manner. Grant us the grace of meekness and the power of self-control. May we know something of what it is to be filled with the Holy Ghost; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.

–1 Corinthians 8:9-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture