Daily Archives: January 22, 2014

(Wired) This Spider Makes Fake Spiders. But Why?

Scientists returned to the Amazon rainforest in December to collect data on one of their biggest finds of 2012: a spider that uses insect corpses and jungle trash to build big, spider-shaped decoys in its web.

But these Peruvian spiders, presumed to be a new species of Cyclosa, are not the sole sculptors of false arachnids. A second decoy spider lives in the Philippines, on the island of Negros. Finding two spiders that make such similar designs, 11,000 miles apart, has left scientists wondering how the behavior evolved and if the decoys serve as lures for prey or as an anti-predator defense system. The discoveries also suggest there may be even more sculpting arachnids.

You just have to know what to look for.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Science & Technology

(NYT) Eduardo Porter–The Great Recession’s True Cost Is Still Being Tallied

More than five years later, there is still no answer to perhaps the most critical question raised by the man-made disaster: How much did it all cost?

In July, three economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Tyler Atkinson, David Luttrell and Harvey Rosenblum, gave it a shot, at least as far as the United States economy goes.

…their examination offers a panoramic view of the variety of ways in which the financial crisis diminished the nation’s standard of living. At a bare minimum the crisis cost nearly $20,000 for each American. Adding in broader impacts on workers’ well-being ”” an admittedly speculative exercise ”” could raise the price tag to as much as $120,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. With this kind of money we could pay back the federal debt or pay for a top-notch college education for everyone.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Poverty, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Peter Ould) Statement from Lambeth Palace on Jersey

The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, is to assume interim episcopal oversight of the work of the Church of England in the Channel Islands on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, delegated the oversight of the Islands.

The interim arrangement, which has the fullest support of the Bishop of Winchester, will be in place within a matter of weeks. The reports commissioned by the Bishop of Winchester, being conducted by Dame Heather Steel and Bishop John Gladwin in relation to safeguarding issues, will be completed in due course.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Anglicans for Life's Curriculum which addresses end-of-life and death issues

Embrace the Journey was developed because Anglicans for Life recognized this growing segment of our population and their unique need for ministry and advocacy. Parishioners also need to hear what Scripture teaches about aging, dying, and death. This Adult-Ed Curriculum educates the people in the pews about the role of heaven in their faith walk and provides assurance of heaven as their home for eternity.

Anglicans for Life also produced Embrace the Journey because the term “end-of-life” for the elderly and terminally ill means something very different in today’s culture than it did 20 years ago. Treating vulnerable people as second class citizens is not something we fear may happen, it is happening. And with it comes a growing disregard for the value of life, especially in the ”˜golden years.’ Hastening of death via assisted suicide, the growing number of cases of emotional, physical, and financial abuse and the increasing fear of being a burden puts the elderly at risk. The Curriculum seeks to make people aware of these issues to help them be pro-active in preventing them from happening to loved ones or themselves.

The Embrace the Journey Curriculum includes video presentations by Anglicans for Life President Georgette Forney and interviews with Anglican bishops, parish priests, and experts in “end-of-life” issues…

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Theology

(BPT) John Stonestreet–Roe versus Wade and the Supreme Court's Abuse of Discretion

Obviously no one against abortion likes Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion on demand the law of the land, and has led to fifty-five million legal abortions in the forty-one years since.

But listen to a few lines from those who call themselves “pro-choice.” Harry Blackmun, the Supreme Court justice who actually wrote it, called the court’s decision to even hear Roe a “serious mistake.” And before joining the court, current Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Roe was not “measured” because it “invited no dialogue with legislators.”

In his new book, “Abuse of Discretion,” Clark Forsythe digs into the nuts and bolts of the decision like no book I’ve ever encountered. Forsythe, the former president and current senior counsel of Americans United for Life, is well versed in the ugly causes and even uglier consequences of Roe v. Wade, and he joined me to talk about it on the current edition of “BreakPoint This Week.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Men, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Violence, Women

Roger Federer makes his 11th-straight Australian Open semifinal, beating Murray in 4 Sets

Congratulations to Roger, he is certainly playing a lot better than the last time I have seen him.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Men, Sports

The Province of West Africa has confirmed the death of its Primate, Abp Solomon Tilewa Johnson

Per the ACO twitterfeed.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

Nigerian Anglican Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma Warns Northern Elders

The Anglican Bishop of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, yesterday, expressed dismay over the threat by the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, to drag the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika before the International Criminal Court, ICC, in Hague for alleged extra-judicial killings of some northerners.

He warned that the move could lead to a major crisis that would threaten the nation’s corporate existence. Bishop Chukwuma, who addressed a press conference in Enugu, said any attempt at persecuting the former COAS on account of the actions that were taken while he was in office would be resisted by the Igbos, urging the northern leaders to be well guided and advised.

He said Igbo would resist any attempt to humiliate the respected military officer who had succeeded in checkmating the activities of northern insurgents and their sponsors. His words: “Northern elders should be warned or they will set up inter-tribal war in Nigeria. Is it because Ihejirika is an Igbo man.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Politics in General, Theology, Violence

(PR) Council of Christians and Jews meets at Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed the presidents of the Council of Christians and Jews to Lambeth Palace yesterday, for their first meeting since Archbishop Justin and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis took office last year.

The presidents, including Archbishop Justin, the Chief Rabbi, the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols and Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, pledged to take a more upfront role in the CCJ activities at local and national level.

Among the topics discussed were the importance of encouraging local CCJ branches, the need to confront a worrying increase in anti-Semitism, and the role of CCJ in enabling churches and Jewish communities to discuss the situation in the Holy Land in a spirit of mutual respect and generosity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Anglican Ink) Gavin Ashenden–The reality of the demonic

As the Church of England debates whether or not it should be specific about rejecting the devil at baptism I joined the debate by writing an article for the Church Times.

I wrote to try to convince people that the devil existed.

At one level, ”˜professionally’ one might say, that a rather stupid thing to do.
– See more at: http://www.anglicanink.com/article/reality-demonic#sthash.LzqlLUB4.dpuf

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Theology

(Barna) Three Major Faith and Culture Trends for 2014

In the not-so distant past, institutions were trusted and valued as important parts of a functioning society””from government, corporations and schools to marriage and even organized religion. Yet trust in institutions is quickly giving way to a nation of cynics. New Barna research reports that Americans are ranking their confidence in institutions at abysmal levels. And this institutional skepticism comprises a significant backdrop for the major faith and culture trends of 2014.

This cultural attitude of institutional distrust has not arisen out of nowhere, of course. Public mistrust””generated by a spectrum of events from Watergate to the financial crisis””has been mounting for decades. During 2013 alone, citizens lamented the failure of their leaders and institutions. From the government shutdown to Pope Francis’ public callout of the Vatican bank to the whistleblowing of the NSA to the problematic rollout of Obamacare, Americans were reminded again and again that institutions apparently have a habit of breaking promises. The Associated Press even went so far as to call 2013 “The Year of Dysfunction, Discord and Distrust.”

Still, while tens of millions of adults are questioning the value of institutions, there is also a growing countertrend revealed in new Barna data: increasing resolve among many Americans to advocate for these institutions. This erosion of public trust””as well as the countertrend of supporters of those institutions””underscores three of the major trends that Barna Group has included in the newly released Barna FRAMES project.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Apologetics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Vincent

Almighty God, whose deacon Vincent, upheld by thee, was not terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us, we beseech thee, to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Into thy hands, O Lord, we commit ourselves this day. Give to each one of us a watchful, humble, and diligent spirit, that we may seek in all things to know thy will; and when we know it may gladly perform it, to the honour and glory of thy name.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

–Psalm 38:21-22

Posted in Uncategorized

Ezekiel Emanuel–Sex and the Single Senior Today–rapid increases in S.T.D.’s among older people

…while they are having a lot of sex, seniors didn’t seem to get the safe sex memo, or when it came through they ignored it because they did not think it applied to them. They obviously don’t have to worry about pregnancy. And they grew up before the safe sex era. So seniors might think they have no reason to use condoms. According to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, among college-age Americans, condoms are used in about 40 percent of sexual encounters, but only in about 6 percent of sexual encounters among those 61 and older. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that older men who use Viagra and similar drugs are six times less likely to use condoms compared with men in their 20s.

Combine retirement communities, longer life, unfamiliarity with condoms and Viagra ”” and what do you get? You get an S.T.D. epidemic among the Social Security generation that rivals what we imagine is happening in those “Animal House” fraternities.

These S.T.D. numbers demand that seniors take responsibility for their actions.”

Read it all and there is more here also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology

(AP) Jailed American Missionary appears before reporters in North Korea

An American missionary who has been jailed in North Korea for more than a year appeared before reporters Monday and appealed to the U.S. government to do its best to secure his release.

The missionary, Kenneth Bae, made the comments at what he called a press conference held at his own request. He was under guard during the appearance. It is not unusual for prisoners in North Korea to say after their release that they spoke in similar situations under duress.

Wearing a gray cap and inmate’s uniform with the number 103 on his chest, Bae spoke in Korean during the brief appearance, which was attended by The Associated Press and a few other foreign media in Pyongyang.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, North Korea, Politics in General, Prison/Prison Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(CNS) Seattle Archbishop: Staffer's departure over marriage follows church teaching

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said a local Catholic school’s requirement that the vice principal quit after it learned of his same-sex marriage was not discriminatory but held to church teaching and the school’s Catholic mission.
According to a statement from Eastside Catholic School in the Seattle suburb of Sammamish, Vice Principal Mark Zmuda resigned in mid-December during a meeting with school officials “for violating his signed agreement to abide by Catholic Church teachings.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture