— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 11, 2017
Daily Archives: April 11, 2017
Do not take yourself too seriously Dept.–Top novelist @fictionfox’s husband’s career change prompts Twitter gold
So, last week the new Bishop of Sheffield was announced. What this actually precipitated was the most creative burst of episcopally related shenanigans on Twitter that we’ve ever seen from @fictionfox (who happens to be married to the bishop-designate of Sheffield).
Here are some of her best tweets…
Some cathedrals are facing possible closure because of problems with finance and management, according to the Church of England.
A report said their financial independence posed “serious risks to the reputation of the entire Church”.
Despite increasing numbers of visitors, some cathedrals have been hit by serious financial problems.
A new working group will consider whether or not cathedrals should continue to raise their own funds.
If a suicide bomber had detonated himself in a pew at St Peter’s Basilica while the Pope of Rome was presiding over the liturgy, the world’s media would be talking about an assassination attempt on the life of Francis, which it surely would have been. When a bomb or a bullet gets within a whisker (that is to say, within a church compound) of a pope at prayer, it may reasonably be surmised that the target is that praying pope. Why else would a rather devout Muslim seek to outfox security to gain entry to an iconic church on that particular day? It’s not likely to be for inter-religious dialogue and ecumenical fellowship, is it?
But when a suicide bomber tried to gain access to St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria on Palm Sunday while the Pope of Alexandria was presiding over the liturgy, the world’s media seemed to ignore the presence of Tawadros II, for some reason, as though he were a bit player in a fringe play. To around 18 million Coptic Christians worldwide, he isn’t ‘a pope’; he is His Holiness the Pope, Patriarch of the See of St Mark in the Province of Alexandria, Egypt, Pentapolis, Libya, Nubia, Sudan and all Africa, with an apostolic lineage going all the way back to 42 AD. A bomb going off in his historical seat is an attack on him.
Alexandria’s pontiff doesn’t get as many column inches as Rome’s; perhaps he isn’t supreme enough. But you’d think an assassination attempt on his life – however amateurish and botched – would merit a few headlines, wouldn’t you? The mainstream media have condemned the Palm Sunday outrage with an outpouring of sorrow and sadness, compassion and prayers, and column inches dedicated to political assurances that more will (or must) be done. But no mention at all that Pope Tawadros II was the likely target.
Make no mistake, this was an attempt on the life of the Pope – not that Pope, but this one.
(MIT Tech. Review) The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI–No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do
…The car didn’t follow a single instruction provided by an engineer or programmer. Instead, it relied entirely on an algorithm that had taught itself to drive by watching a human do it.
Getting a car to drive this way was an impressive feat. But it’s also a bit unsettling, since it isn’t completely clear how the car makes its decisions. Information from the vehicle’s sensors goes straight into a huge network of artificial neurons that process the data and then deliver the commands required to operate the steering wheel, the brakes, and other systems. The result seems to match the responses you’d expect from a human driver. But what if one day it did something unexpected—crashed into a tree, or sat at a green light? As things stand now, it might be difficult to find out why. The system is so complicated that even the engineers who designed it may struggle to isolate the reason for any single action. And you can’t ask it: there is no obvious way to design such a system so that it could always explain why it did what it did.
The mysterious mind of this vehicle points to a looming issue with artificial intelligence. The car’s underlying AI technology, known as deep learning, has proved very powerful at solving problems in recent years, and it has been widely deployed for tasks like image captioning, voice recognition, and language translation. There is now hope that the same techniques will be able to diagnose deadly diseases, make million-dollar trading decisions, and do countless other things to transform whole industries.
But this won’t happen—or shouldn’t happen—unless we find ways of making techniques like deep learning more understandable to their creators and accountable to their users. Otherwise it will be hard to predict when failures might occur—and it’s inevitable they will.
Archbishop Justin Welby’s Holy Week Lecture 1: ‘Are we together for more than we can get out of it?’
Let’s be clear, I am all in favour of plans and outcomes and spontaneous gestures being well prepared beforehand to get the result you want. But this is different. It is a genuine spontaneous outpouring of the heart, an expression of love and pleasure in knowing Jesus. Again that speaks of what leads to human flourishing. Human beings are not entirely transactional: we are filled with passion and when we reflect Christ we overflow to common good.
So why is that all so significant today? Because what we are to become as a nation is at this time especially open to choice and decision, and thus what the church has to show in itself and point to in its advocacy and example (and the church is of course all of us, not the institution) is the extravagant, gratuitous love that is the Kingdom of God and which when even palely absorbed into human society is the root and flower of human flourishing.
The great periods of change and reform in the way we behave as a nation have come from a combination of huge events and overseas influences. We have never been just some islands off the north-west coast of mainland Europe. In the mid-19th century, the ferment following the ending of the Napoleonic wars combined with the industrial and agricultural revolutions. At the same time victory over France, especially at sea, had led to the creation of the second British Empire. As more and more of the Indian sub-continent fell under British suzerainty, the demands of Empire grew, for better and for worse. It was a very potent mix of economic change at home and overseas development. It led to the reforms which began in 1832 largely inspired by Christians such as Wilberforce, Shaftesbury and others, and which continued apace until the Education Act of 1870 and afterwards.
— Lambeth Palace ن (@lambethpalace) April 11, 2017
With the chances of a gas-tax increase to pay for road repairs dwindling, advocates of bringing casinos to South Carolina think they have found a winning hand.
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster declared last week that he would veto raising the state fuel tax for the first time in 30 years to fix crumbling roads and bridges. He favors a plan to borrow $1 billion, which would cover a small portion of the state’s repair tab and comes a year after lawmakers already agreed to borrow $2 billion for roads.
But there’s another roads-funding plan, one favored by a majority of South Carolinians, that’s on the table.
Casinos in the Myrtle Beach area and along the borders of North Carolina and Georgia could have South Carolina cashing in a potential $500 million a year while not raising gas pump prices or adding to the state debt load, legalized gambling backers say.
The risk of mass starvation in four countries – northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen – is rapidly rising due to drought and conflict, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.
“We are raising our alarm level today that the risk of mass deaths from starvation among populations in the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Nigeria is growing,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news briefing.
Nadeen (*), a born-and-raised Yemeni woman in her late 20s, became a Christian before the civil war broke out in 2015. She had to keep her new faith hidden as her family would probably disown her if they knew. Yemen ranks 9th on the Open Doors 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries in which it is most difficult to live as a Christian.
It meant for Nadeen that she had to live her faith in isolation, as she could not meet with other Christians.
Not only can Christians not openly gather in Yemen, for her as a single woman it was especially hard to get away from the house.
“My family strictly controlled everything I did,” she says.
Lord God, whose blessed Son, our Saviour, gave his back to the smiters, and hid not his face from shame: Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
O LORD, rebuke me not in thy anger, nor chasten me in thy wrath. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is sorely troubled. But thou, O LORD–how long? Turn, O LORD, save my life; deliver me for the sake of thy steadfast love.