Category : * General Interest

One of the best stories from this week for your encouragement–(NBC) UPS Driver Delivers Touching Tribute To New Mom

“New mom Jessica Kitchel was still recovering from a c-section and feeling a little down when a U.P.S. driver delivered a package to her Georgia home. Dallen Harrell, a new dad himself, left a simple, heartfelt message wishing them well with their newborn.”

Take the time to watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Anthropology, Children, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology

(Reuters) Celebrating the Epiphany around the world

Take a look at them all (30 total).

Posted in Epiphany, Globalization, Photos/Photography

(BBC) London’s 2022 fireworks

Posted in * General Interest, England / UK

(BBC) In pictures: the World celebrates Christmas in 2021

People across the world are celebrating Christmas – one of the holiest times in the Christian calendar. However, for the second year in a row, there are smaller crowds at church services and other events because of the continuing coronavirus outbreak. Here’s our snapshot of global festivities….

Take the time to go though them all.

Posted in Christmas, Globalization, Photos/Photography, Religion & Culture

(Reuters) Deepfake anyone: AI synthetic media tech enters perilous phase

“Do you want to see yourself acting in a movie or on TV?” said the description for one app on online stores, offering users the chance to create AI-generated synthetic media, also known as deepfakes.

“Do you want to see your best friend, colleague, or boss dancing?” it added. “Have you ever wondered how would you look if your face swapped with your friend’s or a celebrity’s?”

The same app was advertised differently on dozens of adult sites: “Make deepfake porn in a sec,” the ads said. “Deepfake anyone.”

How increasingly sophisticated technology is applied is one of the complexities facing synthetic media software, where machine learning is used to digitally model faces from images and then swap them into films as seamlessly as possible.

The technology, barely four years old, may be at a pivotal point, according to interviews with companies, researchers, policymakers and campaigners.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Photos/Photography, Pornography, Science & Technology

Monday food for Thought from Calvin and Hobbes

—This was used by yours truly in yesterday’s sermon–KSH.

Posted in Anthropology, Humor / Trivia

(Guardian) Monarch butterflies may be thriving after years of decline. Is it a comeback?

On a recent November morning, more than 20,000 western monarch butterflies clustered in a grove of eucalyptus, coating the swaying trees like orange lace. Each year up to 30% of the butterfly’s population meets here in Pismo Beach, California, as the insects migrate thousands of miles west for the winter.

Just a year ago, this vibrant spectacle had all but disappeared. The monarch population has plummeted in recent years, as the vibrant invertebrates struggled to adapt to habitat loss, climate crisis, and harmful pesticide-use across their western range.

Last year less than 200 arrived at this site in 2020 – the lowest number ever recorded – and less than 2,000 were counted across the California coast.

But ahead of the official annual count that takes place around Thanksgiving, early tallies show monarchs may be thriving once again across California. The rise has sparked joy and relief, but the researchers, state park officials, and advocates say that doesn’t mean the species is safe.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals

(C of E) Church Commissioners among leading financial institutions to commit to actively tackle deforestation

More than 30 leading financial institutions, representing over US$ 8.7 trillion in assets under management, including the Church Commissioners for England, have committed to tackle agricultural commodity-driven deforestation as part of broader efforts to drive the global shift towards sustainable production and nature-based solutions.

Ending deforestation and implementing natural climate solutions could provide a third of the solution to achieving the Paris climate target, help halt and reverse biodiversity loss, and support human rights and food security.

With most deforestation driven by unsustainable production practices for palm oil, soy, cattle products and pulp and paper, resulting in more carbon emissions annually than the EU, action on these commodities is particularly urgent, which is the focus of the commitment made today.

Today’s commitment – to use best efforts to eliminate agricultural commodity-driven tropical deforestation from portfolios by 2025 – is clear evidence of the increasing awareness of the systemic risks and associated actions needed to address deforestation related to production of these commodities and accelerate the transition to sustainable commodity production.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Stewardship, Stock Market

Tuesday Morning Encouragement–Restaurant Makes Special Chocolate For Blind Customer With Birthday Message in Braille

There may be a thousand ways to say, ‘Happy Birthday!’ but the sweetest of all may very well be a special chocolate message that was recently served up by an amazingly thoughtful restaurant staff.

Creating natal felicitations in warm liquid cocoa was nothing new at London’s Luciano by Gino D’Acampo restaurant, but for birthday girl Natalie Te Paa, who is totally blind, the best wishes were spelled out in Braille.

What gave the message an even greater meaning was that there was no advance planning involved. When the restaurant crew learned the dinner Te Paa was sharing with friend Claire Sara was a birthday celebration, they took it upon themselves to find and recreate the Braille translation that summed up their best wishes in well-chilled chocolate.

Te Paa could barely believe her fingertips as she traced over the raised confectionary dots.

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Stewardship

Yet More Vermont Vacation Pictures

Posted in Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

I bet you Guessed it, Yes We went to Lake George Also

Posted in Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

Still More from Vermont

Posted in Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

Vermont vacation Photos

Posted in Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

Thursday Morning Encouragement–(NBC) Co-Workers Donate Organs To Each Other’s Spouses

“After Tia Wimbush and Susan Ellis connected over their husbands’ kidney failures and a long transplant waiting list — a serendipitous moment occurred. Tia and Susan realized they matched blood types for each other’s spouse. Several months later and after a smooth recovery, the pair say they are now family.”

Watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Stewardship

(Local Paper front page) Researchers detail findings of rare, white-skinned alligator hatchlings in Lowcountry

For decades, there were few detailed accounts or photos of rare, white-skinned alligators in coastal South Carolina.

But a Clemson University researcher who found six such American alligator hatchlings in the Lowcountry in 2014 has published what is believed to be the most detailed account of such a discovery to date.

Thomas Rainwater was working as a wildlife toxicologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Charleston when he and other biologists found the six rare hatchlings in an undisclosed location in the Lowcountry.

Someone had notified Rainwater and the other researchers after stumbling across them by accident.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Animals, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

(Global News) Up to a billion seashore creatures were cooked to death during B.C. heat wave, researcher says

As many as one billion seashore animals along the Salish Sea may have died as a result of the heat wave in British Columbia.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia say the heat caused a mass die-off of creatures like sea snails and sea stars, as well as mollusks like clams and mussels.

Chris Harley, a professor with UBC’s Department of Zoology, said large quantities of dead sea life were spotted at beaches across Metro Vancouver.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Canada, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

Wednesday Food for Thought–Immanuel Kant on how people treat animals can tell you who they are

Our author here goes on to speak of duties to beings that are above us and beneath us. But since all animals exist only as means, and not for their own sakes, in that they have no self-consciousness, whereas man is the end, such that I can no longer ask: Why does he exist?, as can be done with animals, it follows that we have no immediate duties to animals; our duties towards them are indirect duties to humanity. Since animals are an analogue of humanity, we observe duties to mankind when we observe them as analogues to this, and thus cultivate our duties to humanity. If a dog, for example, has served his master long and faithfully, that is an analogue of merit; hence I must reward it, and once the dog can serve no longer, must look after him to the end, for I thereby cultivate my duty to humanity, as I am called upon to do; so if the acts of animals arise out of the same principium from which human actions spring, and the animal actions are analogues of this, we have duties to animals, in that we thereby promote the cause of humanity. So if a man has his dog shot, because it can no longer earn a living for him, he is by no means in breach of any duty to the dog, since the latter is incapable of judgement, but he thereby damages the kindly and humane qualities in himself, which he ought to exercise in virtue of his duties to mankind. Lest he extinguish such qualities, he must already practise a similar kindliness towards animals; for a person who already displays such cruelty to animals is also no less hardened towards men. We can already know the human heart, even in regard to animals. Thus Hogarth, in his engravings,* also depicts the beginnings of cruelty, where already the children are practising it upon animals, e.g., by pulling the tail of a dog or cat; in another scene we see the progress of cruelty, where the man runs over a child; and finally the culmination of cruelty in a murder, at which point the rewards of it appear horrifying. This provides a good lesson to children. The more we devote ourselves to observing animals and their behaviour, the more we love them, on seeing how greatly they care for their young; in such a context, we cannot even contemplate cruelty to a wolf.

–Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), E.T. by Peter Heath, p. 212

Posted in Animals, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Philosophy

(NBC) Alabama teen donates hair for children in need

“Before heading to the U.S. Air Force Academy, 17-year-old Kieran Moïse needed a haircut. He donated his 19 inches of hair to children with hair loss, and he’s raised more than $35,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”

Watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Stewardship

Because–Puppies make life Better!

Posted in Animals, Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

([London] Times) Digby the dog saves woman from brink of bridge

So when reports came in on Tuesday of a vulnerable woman on a motorway bridge in Devon, a firefighter had the bright idea to take him along.

A team of trained police officers was on site trying to provide support to the woman and help her return to safety, but it was Digby who ultimately got her out of harm’s way.

“Today [Digby] did something amazing and helped save a young woman who was thinking of taking her own life on a bridge over the M5 near Exeter,” said a spokesman for Devon and Somerset fire service.

“We were at the incident as part of a multi-agency response. Police negotiators were speaking with the woman but the situation was becoming increasingly worrying. One of the fire crew had the idea to bring along Digby, our ‘defusing’ dog. Digby helps crews who have been exposed to trauma during talking therapy ‘defusing’ sessions.”

The spokesman added: “When Digby arrived, the young woman immediately swung her head round to look, and smiled.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Animals, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Police/Fire, Psychology

Lightning Strike Damages the Structure of Saint Philip’s, Charleston

The National Weather Service reported five lightning strikes on the Peninsula Saturday night, and one such strike reportedly landed near the corner of Church and Market Streets. More than likely, since the location may be approximate, “near the corner” may just be the tallest landing spot in the area: the St. Philip’s steeple.

The steeple bells were damaged beyond repair, as were three of the four video cameras used for streaming and parts of the air conditioning units. But the damage was not limited to the church building itself. The electrical current reached the Ministries Hall (church office building), knocking out one desktop computer and three phones (and temporarily knocking out the entire phone system), along with some PoE (power over ethernet) ports and the network card of the production printer used for the inSPIRE and bulletin preparation.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(CBS) 60 Minutes Interviews Sir David Attenborough, age 95

Anderson Cooper: You were skeptical of– of climate change And I think that’s– that’s interesting, because I think it makes your warnings now all the more powerful.

Sir David Attenborough: Yeah, yeah, certainly so. And if you’re going to make a statement about the world, you better make sure that it isn’t just your own personal reaction. And the only way you can do it, do that, is to see the– the work of scientists around the world who are taking observation as to what’s happening. As to what’s happening to temperature, what’s happening to humidity, what’s happening to radioactivity, and what’s happening ecologically?

Anderson Cooper: You’ve said that– that “climate change is the greatest threat facing the planet for thousands of years.”

Sir David Attenborough: Yes. Even the biggest and most awful things that humanity has done, civili– so-called civilizations have done, pale to significance when you think of what could be around the corner, unless we pull ourselves together.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in Animals, Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Stewardship

Communities to search churchyards for rare or endangered species

Churches Count on Nature, to run between 5-13 June 2021, is a citizen-science event covering churchyards across the England and Wales.

The project will see communities and visitors making a note of the animals, birds, insects, or fungi in their local churchyard.

Their data will then be collated on the National Biodiversity Network.

One church getting involved is St Pol de Léon’s Church, Paul, in Cornwall.

As part of their nature count the church will be marking Environment Sunday and be holding their morning service outside in their “Celtic Quiet Garden.”

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Ecology, Religion & Culture

(CNN) in Pictures–Memorial Day 2021 in the USA

Look through them all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Photos/Photography

Took a Break to Take a Trip with Wonderful friends from Nigeria this week

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Harmon Family, Photos/Photography, Travel

Yesterday While Leaving Christ Saint Pauls

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography

Dr. Jane Goodall Receives 2021 Templeton Prize, Biggest Single Award of 60-Year Career

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace and world-renowned ethologist and conservationist, whose groundbreaking discoveries changed humanity’s understanding of its role in the natural world, was announced today as the winner of the 2021 Templeton Prize. The Templeton Prize, valued at over $1.5 million, is one of the world’s largest annual individual awards. Established by the late global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, it is given to honor those who harness the power of the sciences to explore the deepest questions of the universe and humankind’s place and purpose within it. Unlike Goodall’s past accolades, the Templeton Prize specifically celebrates her scientific and spiritual curiosity. The Prize rewards her unrelenting effort to connect humanity to a greater purpose and is the largest single award that Dr. Goodall has ever received.

“We are delighted and honored to award Dr. Jane Goodall this year, as her achievements go beyond the traditional parameters of scientific research to define our perception of what it means to be human,” said Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation. “Her discoveries have profoundly altered the world’s view of animal intelligence and enriched our understanding of humanity in a way that is both humbling and exalting. Ultimately, her work exemplifies the kind of humility, spiritual curiosity, and discovery that my grandfather, John Templeton, wrote and spoke about during his life.”

Read it all.


Posted in Animals, Ecology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Photos from South Carolina Clergy Day and Renewal of Ordination Vows

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography

A Few Family Wedding Pictures

The oldest daughter gets married!

Posted by Kendall Harmon on Saturday, April 17, 2021

Posted in Harmon Family, Marriage & Family, Photos/Photography

(NBC) In pictures: Easter celebrated around the world

There are 24-take the time to look through them all.

Posted in Easter, Globalization, Photos/Photography