Daily Archives: January 11, 2008

The Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless Industry

The demo was not going well.


It was a late morning in the fall of 2006. Almost a year earlier, Steve Jobs had tasked about 200 of Apple’s top engineers with creating the iPhone. Yet here, in Apple’s boardroom, it was clear that the prototype was still a disaster. It wasn’t just buggy, it flat-out didn’t work. The phone dropped calls constantly, the battery stopped charging before it was full, data and applications routinely became corrupted and unusable. The list of problems seemed endless. At the end of the demo, Jobs fixed the dozen or so people in the room with a level stare and said, “We don’t have a product yet.”

The effect was even more terrifying than one of Jobs’ trademark tantrums. When the Apple chief screamed at his staff, it was scary but familiar. This time, his relative calm was unnerving. “It was one of the few times at Apple when I got a chill,” says someone who was in the meeting.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

The Amazing Tata Nano

Click on the video at the bottom–very cool.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Coca-Cola pulls "blasphemous" ad

Coca-Cola’s main Russian bottling distributor has removed religious images from its drinks refrigerators after a group of Russian Orthodox believers accused it of blasphemy, a spokeswoman for the firm said on Thursday.

Local people in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, 400 km (250 miles) from Moscow, complained to the prosecutor’s office last month about pictures of an orthodox cross and onion-shaped church domes on the outdoor refrigerators.

At the time, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. said it would not drop the marketing campaign and there had been no negative reaction in other Russian cities where similar images were used on the sides of the refrigerators.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Religion & Culture, Russia

George Mellon: Faith Without Borders

In Matthew 6, Jesus warns his disciples against trying to serve two masters, God and mammon. An overly strict interpretation of that injunction would seem to leave economics outside the realm of Christian theological inquiry.

But the most fundamental of all economic endeavors, pursuit of a livelihood, is rather essential to human existence, a prerequisite of spiritual development. Jesus was decrying the worship of mammon, not its necessity for human sustenance. The study of how best to create wealth and use it efficiently for human advancement is seldom deemed a sin.

This truth was acknowledged in 1999 when the Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI) in Princeton, N.J., launched a study project called “God and Globalization.” The 20 participants from a variety of disciplines recognized that the burgeoning integration and interdependence of national and regional economies resulting from reduced barriers to trade and finance has had profound social and political implications. It has raised millions of human beings out of poverty. The theologians among the CTI scholars are largely friendly toward the role free-market capitalism has played in this remarkable transformation. That’s a welcome relief from the style of theology that too often distrusts the normal impulses of human beings to improve their material well-being.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Religion & Culture

British Methodists launch 'credit card' to curb spending

THE METHODIST Church in Britain is launching a new credit card, but it will not be used to make purchases.

The ”˜Buy Less Live More’ credit card is being distributed to act as a reminder to people to think twice before making a purchase. The card is designed to be placed in a wallet or purse in front of other credit cards as part of a campaign to get people to curb their spending.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Methodist, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

US's triple-A credit rating 'under threat'

The US is at risk of losing its top-notch triple-A credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb soaring healthcare and social security spending, Moody’s, the credit rating agency, said yesterday.

The warning over the future of the triple-A rating – granted to US government debt since it was first assessed in 1917 – reflects growing concerns over the country’s ability to retain its financial and economic supremacy.

It could also put further pressure on candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties to sharpen their focus on healthcare and pensions in the run-up to November’s presidential election.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy

Burial is best ”” but you can scatter your ashes if you must, rules Vatican

Believers who choose to have their ashes scattered after being cremated are entitled to a Christian funeral, the Vatican said yesterday.

The ruling follows the refusal of a parish priest in the Italian Alps to hold a funeral for a local man who had asked to have his remains spread in the mountains. Father Carmelo Pellicone, of the parish of St Etienne in Aosta, told the man’s widow that a religious funeral was impossible because it was against the dogma of the resurrection of the body.

He said that scattering ashes in the countryside or at sea was a “pantheistic communion with nature in death, which is not part of our religion” ”“ a belief held by many priests. Bishop Luciano Pacomio, head of doctrine at the Italian Bishops Conference, said, however, that this reflected an out-of-date mentality.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

The Tablet: R.C. Bishops take firm line with Kibaki in Kenya

Kenya’s bishops have called for an investigation into claims of malpractice in the country’s recent disputed elections in a strongly worded statement that was apparently strengthened under pressure from the religious community.

The original document, sent on 2 January, expressed “deep sorrow and concern at the outbreak of violence and the breakdown of law and order”, and appealed to Kenyans to pray and “to refrain from violence and from the senseless killing of our brothers and sisters”.

Hours later the Catholic Information Service Africa (CISA) sent out a revised version that contained five more paragraphs and was prefaced with an apology for having sent out “a mutilated copy” of the bishops’ letter. “One full page was missing! Our only excuse is that this is an emergency service. Our journalists, who went home for Christmas and voting, are still stranded in their home areas.”

In the added paragraphs the bishops call for restraint among the security forces, dialogue and “independent mediation if need be” between the election winner, President Mwai Kibaki (a Catholic) and his opponent, Raila Odinga. The bishops also call for an investigation into claims of electoral malpractice, which, they said, could merit the establishment of an independent commission “to audit and review the tallying of the Parliamentary and Presidential polls”.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Kenya, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Church Times: Clergy criticise Nazir-Ali’s talk of no-go areas

Clergy on the ground acknowledge that parallel communities exist, but they insist that problems arise from social as much as religious factors, and that many bridges have been built since the riots in places such as Burnley and Bradford in 2001.

The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd John Goddard, insisted on Monday: “There are no ”˜no-go’ areas in Burnley, or in East Lancashire as a whole. There are areas of separation where there is what we would describe as parallel lives. This can lead to misunderstandings, not least fostered by groups such as the BNP. But there are superb good stories to be told, not least the work of the churches across all boundaries . . . a real attitude of presence and engagement.

“We remain in all areas. We serve the whole community through our schools. One of the things we recognise is that you have to learn to be church in rather a different way when you are a minority faith.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Meeting on neutral ground in Wichita Falls, Texas

[Tom] Woodward has found constructive ways in his diocese to deal with conflicts, and will offer insight to members of the Wichita Falls congregations during the event, said Owanah Anderson. Anderson is part of the Remain Episcopal group and a longtime member of All Saints Episcopal Church.

“I’m a Remain Episcopalian,” said Anderson, who worked for the Episcopal Church’s national office in New York before coming back to Wichita Falls to retire. “I intend to remain an Episcopalian. I’m not going to transfer my allegiance to anything outside the Episcopal Church.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, however, has moved ahead under the direction of Bishop Jack Iker with plans to end its associations with TEC in the United States and to align instead with a more conservative part of the Anglican Church in South America. The Province of the Southern Cone extended an invitation in 2007 to Episcopal churches until TEC changed direction or North America became home to a new structure of the Anglican Communion, the Fort Worth diocese’s Web site detailed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

Devilish debate on end for Church of England

Eyebrows were raised in the House of Commons on Thursday when a motion calling for the Church of England to be disestablished was listed with the number 666, symbol of the AntiChrist.

“This number is supposed to be the mark of the Devil. It looks as though God or the Devil have been moving in mysterious ways,” said Bob Russell, a Liberal Democrat MP among those proposing the motion for debate.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Hiltz writes to Primates of the Communion

Notwithstanding the fact that the 2007 General Synod defeated a resolution, “affirming the authority and jurisdiction of a diocesan synod with the concurrence of its bishop and in a manner respecting the conscience of the incumbent and the will of the parish to authorize the blessing of same sex unions,” three dioceses — Ottawa, Montreal and Niagara — have since voted by strong majorities to request their bishop to consider authorizing public rites for the blessing of same-sex couples who are civilly married.

I believe these resolutions present an opportunity to test the mind of the local church and the results speak of a pastoral need that cannot be ignored. In each case the bishop has indicated that he will consult widely before making a decision.

General Synod 2007 also concurred by resolution with the opinion of the St. Michael Report that the blessing of same-sex unions should not be a communion-breaking issue. Nonetheless some people feel compelled to leave our church over this issue. Their decision is regrettable given the fact that the bishops have made adequate and appropriate provision for the pastoral care and episcopal support of all members of our church including those who find themselves in conscientious disagreement with the view of their bishop and synod. These provisions are contained in a document known as Shared Episcopal Ministry approved by the House of Bishops in November 2004 and commended in September 2006 by an international Panel of Reference appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In light of these provisions, as well as of ancient canons of the church, statements of successive Lambeth Conferences, the Lambeth Commission on Communion (the Windsor Report), and the 2005 and 2007 communiqués from the Primates, we believe that recent interventions by another province in the internal life of our church are unnecessary and inappropriate.

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

Why did the New Hampshire Polls get it so Wrong?

Gwen, starting with you, do you have a “wrong” theory to share with us?

GWEN IFILL: I have a “reported wrong” theory.

JIM LEHRER: OK, all right.

GWEN IFILL: There’s five pieces to the wrong theory, OK?

There’s one, and it’s from the Obama point of view, I’ll tell you, because that’s — I was told this by an adviser to that campaign today. One is they think that there was an Edwards drain, that is that people went and voted for John Edwards.

Now, the polls show that actually — that the polls were correct when it said how many voters that he would get, Obama would get with the increased turnout, but, you know, they still say other people went away.

McCain drain. A lot of independents who they would have expected to vote for Barack Obama, who did in Iowa, instead voted — inexplicably, as Stuart was pointing is out — even though they may not agree with a lot of the same things that John McCain stands for, they went to vote for him because he seemed independent.

The women drain. There was a lot of discussion — and this was an Edwards factor, too — that in Edwards siding with Barack Obama at that debate and taking a little shot at Senator Clinton, that women said, “Hey, don’t pile up.”

And then, of course, there was — as I keep calling it — the weepy moment, so that there was women sympathy drain.

Then, campaign advisers really believe that their lead was depressed because of all these polling numbers showing that there were double-digit leads and that a lot of people who would have otherwise supported Obama said, “Oh, he doesn’t really need me. He’s fine. Let me look at somebody else.” Because basically most Democrats like all the candidates.

And the fifth is that college students in Durham, the University of New Hampshire, and in Hanover and Dartmouth College didn’t turn out in the numbers they had hoped for. And they had come to depend very heavily on college students in that youth vote.

Read it all–I found it helpful.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Clinton still lags in S.C. poll

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in South Carolina shows Barack Obama continuing to hold a double digit-lead over Hillary Clinton in the January 26th Primary Election. The survey, conducted the night after Clinton’s stunning victory in New Hampshire, shows no bounce for the victor. In fact, there is virtually no change in the numbers at all. It’s Obama 42% Clinton 30%. John Edwards attracts 15% of the vote, Bill Richardson picked up 2% and 10% were not sure. Richardson has since dropped out of the race for the White House.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Terry Mattingly: Invading Anglican closets

What we have here is an attempt to pull British bishops out and into open combat with conservatives in Africa, South America, Asia and other parts of the 70-million-member Anglican Communion. The presiding bishop has played the England card in a high-stakes game of ecclesiastical poker inside the Church of England.

The tensions were already rising, as Canterbury prepares for its once-a-decade global Lambeth Conference of bishops, this coming July 20-Aug. 3. Conservatives are planning their own Global Anglican Future Conference, June 15-22 in Jerusalem.

Thus, it was symbolic that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams recently presided at a closed-door Eucharist in London for the Clergy Consultation, a support network for gay Anglican clergy, seminarians, monks and nuns. The Times of London offered this detail: “Secrecy was so tight that a list of names attending was sent to Lambeth Palace with orders that it be shredded as soon as Dr. Williams had read it.”

Meanwhile, a few liberal activists have focused on the leader of the one U.S. diocese that has — so far — voted to cut its ties to the national church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

No Newfoundland area Anglican churches in danger of closing: bishop

Rt. Rev. Percy Coffin says there are churches in his region that are in financial hardship, but none are in danger of closing.

The bishop of the Anglican diocese of western Newfoundland said he’s not blind to the monetary suffering of parishes in the diocese, but there aren’t any churches that are in the last-resort area of closure.

“Closing a church is an extreme measure,” Bishop Coffin said. “There are a few parishes that are financially stressed.

“That concern would be addressed in a context other than closure because there are various ways of resolving financial difficulties.”

He said the primary task of the diocese is to provide ministry and threatening to close a church if they don’t pay up is not the way the business of the diocese is done. He said there are a number of solutions for financial stress and closing a church is the last resort.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Cardinal Newman's beatification 'imminent'

The beatification of the Church of England’s most significant convert to Roman Catholicism is ‘imminent’, according to reports in Rome today.

The move would pave the way for Cardinal John Henry Newman to be made a saint. He would then become the first non-martyr saint in England since the Reformation.

Cardinal Newman, the 19th century Anglican churchman who founded the high church Oxford Movement before his reception into the Catholic Church, was Britain’s most high-profile convert until the reception of former prime minister Tony Blair shortly before Christmas.

In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said Cardinal Newman was among several important personalities to be beatified soon.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Toronto Star: Anglican clergy told to declare loyalties

In what could be the start of real schism in the Anglican Church, a Newfoundland bishop is demanding clergy come to the provincial capital to declare whether their loyalties lie with him or his predecessor, the leader of a breakaway conservative movement.

“Attendance at these gatherings is mandatory,” Cyrus Pitman, bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador warns in a Dec. 18 letter to clergy obtained by the Star.

Clergy from Eastern Newfoundland’s 33 parishes are to be in St. John’s on Jan. 21 to restate their ordination vows and to get new licences, with a date for those from the six Labrador parishes yet to be set.

Clergy need a licence from the church to minister to a parish or perform marriages.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Nevada Bishop Plans Revision of Same-Sex Blessing Policy

Under Bishop Jefferts Schori, who served as Bishop of Nevada from 2000 until her installation as primate in November 2006, parishes were free to conduct same-sex blessings if the rector and vestry consented. Bishop Edwards said he believes the Anglican Communion has not come to consensus on the theological permissibility of invoking a blessing in the name of the church on a same-sex union. He said his policy will be similar to one commended by House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, which said that anything short of a liturgical blessing is appropriate at this time.

“It is not appropriate for us to proclaim that blessing without consensus,” Bishop Edwards said. “We are free to pray for each other and to invite God’s grace on their behalf, anything that does not constitute a blessing in the name of the church.”

Bishop Edwards said he was comfortable identifying himself as a “Windsor Bishop” as described in Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ Advent letter to the primates. He is adamantly opposed to the first draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

“I would not want to nail myself to the Windsor Report as an infallible document, but I do see it as the best vehicle for holding the Communion together,” he said. “Line me up with what Bishop Katharine and the House of Bishops did in New Orleans.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops