Daily Archives: September 30, 2021

(Bloomberg) U.S. Covid Recovery Spreads as Prospects Improve in 47 States

The U.S. recovery from the latest Covid-19 wave is taking hold across the country, with cases dropping or poised to start falling in the vast majority of states.

In 47 states plus the nation’s capital, a measure of average new infections from one newly infected person is below the key level of 1, signaling that cases are expected to decline, according to covidestim, a modeling project with contributers from Yale School of Public Health, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Stanford Medicine.

That measure, known as the effective reproduction number or Rt, was below 1 in 42 states and the capital a week ago; a month ago it was just nine. Meanwhile, the seven-day average of new cases in the U.S. was 110,232 as of Sept. 27, down from more than 160,000 at the start of September, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Church Times) Move to online worship a loss, not a gain, say universities’ researchers

A “deep-seated dissatisfaction” with online worship during the Covid-19 pandemic has been identified by new research published this week.

The key finding of the report British Ritual Innovation under Covid-19, the result of a year-long joint project by the University of Chester and Manchester Metropolitan University, is that, “by almost every metric, the experience of pandemic rituals have been worse than those that came before them. They are perceived as less meaningful, less communal, less spiritual, less effective, and so on.”

The report, published on Wednesday, concludes: “Our research has revealed both considerable innovation in, and deep-seated dissatisfaction with, digital worship during the pandemic. There have been important positive developments and adaptations which will strengthen British religious life in the long term, but for most people, the move to online ritual has been one of loss, not gain.

“Rituals — regular weekly worship, funerals, baptisms, festival celebrations, and the like — have been exceptionally difficult for most participants and leaders during the pandemic.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Globalization, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Washington Post) Workers are putting on pants to return to the office only to be on Zoom all day

Nick Kneer was excited to go back to the office. After working from home for about a year and a half, Kneer had missed the camaraderie he had with his co-workers at the Ohio-based university library system where he works as a communications coordinator. He was counting down until he could mingle with students and staff again.

But his excitement quickly faded after the reality of in-person work turned out to be far from what he expected.

Instead, to avoid contracting the delta variant, he ended up locked in a “windowless, cinder block room” — his temporary office — attending most of his meetings via Zoom.

“It was definitely a bummer,” he said….

“There’s this weird tension,” said Brian Kropp, chief of HR research for research firm Gartner. “We want everyone back in the office, but we still want everyone to do work by video.

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Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

([London] Times) Can Mo Gawdat save the world from artificial intelligence?

Amid all this, he says, AI was an afterthought, if even that. And then, it was exciting. In 2009, Google X left an AI watching YouTube. All by itself, it started hunting for cat videos. “I’m a geek,” says Mo. “I freaking loved it. I was dying on this. I was, like, imagine what we can create!”

A few years later, Google bought DeepMind, the AI start-up. Now near the top, Mo was at an early confidential briefing by a co-founder, Demis Hassabis, about what his toys could do. Basically, they were learning to play computer games on an Atari. “After four hours [the AI] started to play really well,” he says. “After five hours it started to figure out new strategies. After six hours it was the best player on the planet.”

Still, he was thrilled. “Geek,” he reminds me. “Oh my God,” he thought at the time. “We’re going to build amazing things that are going to change even more people’s lives.” But then came the arm and the yellow ball. “And it completely froze me,” he says. He saw where this was going. The only way it could go. “The reality is,” he says, “we’re creating God.”

Only it’s worse than that. “Because if you think about it,” he says, “every technology we have ever built magnifies human abilities. You can walk at 5mph, or you can get in a car and drive at 200mph. Now, this technology is going to do two things. It’s going to magnify humanity a millionfold. A billionfold. And it’s going to be autonomous.”

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in Science & Technology

A Rembrandt Etching of Saint Jerome in Prayer for his Feast Day

Posted in Art, Church History

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Jerome

O Lord, thou God of truth, whose Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give thee thanks for thy servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we beseech thee that thy Holy Spirit may overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, may transform us according to thy righteous will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the ACNA Prayerbook

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.3This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop. If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim upon you, do not we still more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have any one deprive me of my ground for boasting.

–1 Corinthians 9:1-15

Posted in Theology: Scripture