Daily Archives: January 15, 2014

(SMH) Experts say password-stealing software is a Huge Threat to Economy+Consumers

The shadowy steps your fingers take when you key in a password could be exposed through one of the slyest crimes in the digital playbook: “keystroke logging”. Also called “keylogging”, this is the remote, criminal act of recording which computer keys you press, through malware (malicious software).

“Keystroke logging malware is one of the biggest threats to the economic well-being of us all,” says identity theft expert Steven Weisman, author of 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.

Worse, it seems, it is easy to fall prey to the malware. According to Weisman, the identity thieves are smart at their shtick – luring users into clicking insidious links promising free music or video games to younger people and pornography to older people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

(Reuters) How much is that halo? Vatican regulates costs of making saints

Even “poor” saints will benefit from Pope Francis’ drive to control costs and introduce a sense of sobriety and accounting transparency in the Vatican.

The Vatican newspaper said on Tuesday that the Holy See department that oversees the making of saints had introduced a “price list”, or a rough guide to the costs of sanctity.

It will clearly inform dioceses, associations or orders of priests and nuns who promote sainthood causes for deceased people considered to have been holy during their lifetime what they can expect to spend.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Stewardship, Theology

(Time) 11 Surprising Facts About Women and Poverty From the Shriver Report

Here’s what we learned from the in-depth report on how women are doing in post-recession America.

–1 in 3 American women, 42 million women, plus 28 million children, either live in poverty or are right on the brink of it. (The report defines the “brink of poverty” as making $47,000 a year for a family of four.)
–Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, and these workers often get zero paid sick days.
–Two-thirds of American women are either the primary or co-breadwinners of their families.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Poverty, Theology, Women

(Medium) Charles Wheelan–Garbage in, Garbage out–or how to Lie with Bad data

Behind every important study there are good data that made the analysis possible. And behind every bad study . . . well, read on. People often speak about “lying with statistics.” I would argue that some of the most egregious statistical mistakes involve lying with data; the statistical analysis is fine, but the data on which the calculations are performed are bogus or inappropriate. Here are some common examples of “garbage in, garbage out….”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Media, Philosophy, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(Churchman) Gerald Bray on Gafcon II and Anglican Developments–A Canterbury Tale

…there is no denying that GAFCON has come a long way in a short time. The improvised character of GAFCON I has gone and in its place has come a much more sophisticated and responsible organisation. No other group of Anglicans could stage an event with as broad a participation, and that alone ought to persuade people to take it seriously.

Unfortunately, things do not work like that in the real Anglican world. The archbishop of Canterbury could not attend but he was good enough to find time in his diary to make a quick trip to Kenya just before it opened, and to send greetings to it on a video that was played to the assembled delegates. He meant well, and those who met him testified to the warm relations that they had with him. Unfortunately everything he said and did betrayed the fact that the English church establishment had been outflanked and had effectively missed the bus. The official communiqué from Lambeth Palace stated that the main reason for the archbishop’s visit to Kenya was to express solidarity with the victims of the Westgate Shopping Centre atrocity the previous month, but laudable though sympathy for them was, it was an implausible excuse. The archbishop did not rush off to Peshawar to show his support for Christian victims of Muslim terrorism in Pakistan, nor would anyone have expected him to.

Unless of course, GAFCON had been meeting there at the same time”¦In the end things got so bad that Lambeth Palace was citing the baptism of Prince George as a reason for the archbishop’s non-attendance, as if the royal family would not have been willing to find a more convenient date for the ceremony. The impression left is one of incompetence and dysfunctionality in which almost any excuse to downplay the significance of GAFCON has been eagerly seized on and exploited for far more than it is worth.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates, Theology

(Fresno Bee) Anglican vs. Episcopalian legal fight in Valley may be nearing an end

In a Fresno courtroom Monday, Anglican Bishop John-David Schofield’s presence loomed large in the long, legal battle between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.

Schofield, who died in October, is a key witness in a Fresno County Superior Court civil trial that will determine who owns dozens of pieces of property — the Anglican diocese or the national Episcopal Church?

The bishop gave his videotaped deposition in late 2011, long after he led 40 of 47 parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin away from the national Episcopal Church to form the Anglican Diocese of the San Joaquin.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

(BBC) Nigeria violence: Deadly bomb blast in Maiduguri for which Boko Haram Claims credit

A car bomb has exploded in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, killing at least 17 people.

The Islamist group Boko Haram said it carried out the attack. A suspect has been arrested, the military says.

The bomb went off near a market, sending up a large plume of smoke. People were seen fleeing the scene covered in blood.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CSM) Enough Project team–The South Sudan strife ”“ followed by satellite

For the past month, South Sudan has been engulfed in an expanding civil war. Unlike Sudan, where the Satellite Sentinel Project pioneered its work (and with a few exceptions) South Sudan’s government has been allowing both journalists and humanitarians to operate around the country, even as violence spreads.

As a result, harrowing videos, interviews, and photographs documenting the crisis have been emerging for weeks.

The United Nations estimates that over 395,000 people have been displaced by violence, 352,000 internally, of which 60,000 have sought shelter at UN compounds around the country. Another 43,000 are refugees in neighboring countries including Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, with an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people from South Sudan arriving daily in Uganda alone.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --North Sudan, --South Sudan, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sudan, Theology, Violence

(CT) Are Roe v. Wade's Days Numbered? Clark Forsythe Thinks So

Forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade decision, a leading pro-life legal expert believes the decision has never been more vulnerable to being overturned.
In his new book, Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade, Clark Forsythe, senior legal counsel at Americans United for Life, details what he uncovered in examining the private papers of the justices, their case files, and oral arguments. After 20 years of research, Forsythe found that

–The justices decided to hear Roe under a misunderstanding that it concerned state criminal prosecutions, not a constitutional right to abortion.
–They arbitrarily expanded fetal viability from 12 weeks to 28 weeks with little discussion or medical knowledge.
–The Court’s majority relied heavily on popular, but unproved, ’70s-era evidence that there was an urgent need for population control in the United States.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

(CC) Suzanne Guthrie–Dislocated: A household move unleashes demons

I need to acknowledge right from the start that I’m moving from one great situation to another great situation. After six years living with Episcopal nuns on an organic farm, my husband and I find that we need to slow down a bit and give more space to the young people who come here to work and pray on the farm. Bill has been the farm’s handyman””a relentless job in this complex of old buildings and new gardens. I’ve served as the community’s priest, flower gardener and intern director. We will miss this gorgeous life of liturgy, laughter and close observation of nature with passionate people committed to the environment.

Now we’re moving to our own home in Woodstock, New York, near many old friends. The house is a bit of a fixer-upper to keep Bill happy for a long time; for me, it means a landscape tabula rasa. I will continue teaching and writing. It’s a great move.

So why the interior drama? Why demons and zombies? How do I pull out of a downward spiral of selfishness?

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Travel

(New Atlantis) Timothy Dalrymple–Redeeming Technologies

Near the end of my doctoral program in modern Western religion at Harvard University, I became convinced that the Internet was the most powerful platform available for global religious conversation. When I joined the team that was building Patheos.com, we had a vision for creating online a marketplace of religious ideas, attracting the world’s most talented writers to engage life’s most important questions. About five years later, we have four million unique visitors monthly and a vibrant multi-religious conversation that attracts a constantly growing number of participants from all religious (and nonreligious) backgrounds and all parts of the planet ”” and we are still only beginning to scratch the surface of what new media technologies built upon a global telecommunications infrastructure could mean for faith in the modern world.

In summary, then, the work of the technologist is meaningful from a Christian theological perspective for several reasons. It reflects the creative and constructive ingenuity of God, for we are created to be creators in the image of our Creator. The Jewish and Christian scriptures affirm the original goodness of the natural world, and technology can serve to repair the broken world and restore humankind’s capacity for stewardship. It helps us fulfill the creation mandate to subdue the earth and give it order. Technological development can be a form of neighborly love, as countless technologies ”” from the roofs above our heads to the vaccines that eliminate diseases to prosthetic limbs ”” serve directly to minimize human suffering and make the world more hospitable for human flourishing. From the perspective of the Christian theological tradition, the mental disciplines formed in the processes of technological innovation are infused with spiritual potential, cultivating the powers of attention and self-control that are intrinsic to prayer and obedience. And technologies can serve not only the interests of humankind generally but also the growth of the Body of Christ on earth. Thoughtful early adopters of emerging technologies have revitalized existing religious communities and planted more communities on fertile new soils.

We cannot travel from the garden to the heavenly city without crossing the tractor marks outside the walls.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Evangelicals, Globalization, History, Other Churches, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(TLS Blog) Adrian Tahourdin–'Drawing the Line'

Everyone knows that Indian Partition was a very bloody affair, but how many of us can name the man given the responsibility of laying the groundwork for it? In July 1947 Prime Minister Clement Attlee appointed Cyril Radcliffe, a barrister, to the task of drawing the boundary lines between the two new sovereign states of India and Pakistan. There had been riots in the country and the British were looking for as orderly an exit from empire as possible.

The guiding principle, crudely, was that as many Hindus and Sikhs as possible should remain within India’s redrawn borders, while the newly created Pakistan would be home to the majority of Muslims. There was the additional problem of populous Calcutta and Bengal in the East. Radcliffe, absurdly, had five weeks to accomplish this: Independence was set for August 15.

Howard Brenton’s new play Drawing the Line, which has been playing to full houses at the Hampstead Theatre (the curtain comes down with a live-stream performance this Saturday, available on a certain newspaper’s website), focuses on Radcliffe as he struggles with an impossible assignment in a country he has never until now visited, pulled in different directions by representatives from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Congress Party and Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Muslim League

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, England / UK, History, India, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(WQ) Alex Horton reviews David Finkel's book ”˜Thank You for Your Service’

Wars are violent, loud, and gruesome. But combat is fleeting, and for young troops, what remains is a lifetime of untangling the dense consequences of decisions and actions made (or not made) in uncompromising conditions. A single moment in combat can bring a soldier home with honor or send him back broken and ashamed, unprepared for what Washington Post staff writer David Finkel calls the “after-war.”

In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel exhaustively documents the course of the after-war for the members of an Army infantry battalion known as the 2-16 Rangers, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. In his first book, The Good Soldiers (2009), Finkel chronicled the battalion’s bloody 15-month tour in Iraq. He spent eight months embedded with the unit and was present for many of the pivotal moments described in the book; 2-16 was responsible for patrolling the area where two Reuters journalists and several Iraqis were killed by U.S. helicopter fire in an attack that was recorded in a video and released by WikiLeaks under the title Collateral Murder.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Books, Defense, National Security, Military

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Thou, in whom we live and move and have our being: We offer and present unto thee ourselves, all that we are and have, our thoughts and our desires, our words and our deeds, to be a living and continual sacrifice. We are not our own; therefore we would glorify thee in our bodies and our spirits, which are thine; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.

–Hebrews 2:14-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) WW1 soldier diaries placed online by National Archives

Diaries from British soldiers describing life on the frontline during World War One are being published online by the National Archives.

Events from the outbreak of war in 1914 to the departure of troops from Flanders and France were recorded in official diaries of each military unit.

About 1.5 million diary pages are held by the National Archives and a fifth have been digitised so far.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, History, Military / Armed Forces

Bishop Mark Lawrence–Stepping from the Stable to the Jordan

How quickly they disappear””the greens, the wreaths, the poin­set­tias. Gone. Another Christ­mas comes and goes. For some it was sad and lonely. For oth­ers it was bright, joy­ous, even unforgettable””and yet all too short lived. Now in one short step a new year has begun. In the con­gre­ga­tions of the Dio­cese of South Car­olina we step litur­gi­cally into a new sea­son as well. Into the sea­son after The Epiphany and with it from Jesus’ birth to his bap­tism; we step out of the sta­ble of Beth­le­hem into the muddy waters of the Jor­dan. As the old spir­i­tual puts it, “The River Jor­dan is muddy and cold. It chills the body but not the soul. All my tri­als, Lord, will soon be over.” This speaks of a cross­ing over. Life is filled with many cross­ings and changes and in the midst of them it is good to remem­ber the great truths such as””“Jesus is the same, yes­ter­day, today, and for­ever.” The cul­tural trap­pings of the Christ­mas sea­son pass and in their place the waters of the Jor­dan flow and the Lamb of God comes to river bank for the Bap­tism of John.

This is impor­tant for us because the cross­ings and changes of life are like the poor ”“ they are always with us.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Christmas, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Economist–Who is a Jew? Competing answers to an increasingly pressing question

Who is a Jew? This question is becoming ever more pressing for Jews around the world. It looks like a religious issue, but is bound up with history, Israeli politics and the rhythms of the diaspora. Addressing it means deciding whether assimilation is a mortal threat, as many Jews think, or a phenomenon to be accommodated. The struggle over the answer will shape Israel’s society, its relations with Jews elsewhere, and the size and complexion of the global Jewish community.

For Orthodox Jews like Rabbi Tubul, the solution is simple and ancient: you are a Jew if your mother is Jewish, or if your conversion to Judaism accorded with the Halacha, Jewish religious law. Gentiles might be surprised that for Jews by birth this traditional test makes no reference to faith or behaviour. Jews may be atheist (many are: apostasy is a venerable Jewish tradition) and still Jews. Joel Roth, a Conservative rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, likens this nativist criterion to that for American citizenship: Americans retain it regardless of their views on democracy or the constitution. Some strict rabbis even think that a child is not Jewish if born to a devout mother but from a donated gentile egg….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture