Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Moving

I'll be moving to Wordpress, later than all the cool kids. The new address is mithlond.wordpress.com; see you there!

RIP Alan Ball

From Brian Glanville's obit in the Guardian:

...It was now that Ball came truly into his own, with his constant runs down the right. Within 90 seconds, he had left Schnellinger behind, ending with a shot which Tilkowski turned over the bar. On 100 minutes, Nobby Stiles sent him a searching pass. Ball would later say that he had "already died twice" and that he told himself, "Oh, no, I can't get that one! I'm finished!" But get it he did, putting over the cross which Geoff Hurst struck furiously against the underside of the bar. Bakhramov, the Soviet linesman, flagged for a goal and controversial though it was, it tipped the balance.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cuss in Kinyarwanda

Profanity in 180 languages. Dazzling stuff. (Not Safe For Work - this happened after I first came across the link, by the way)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Christos Anesti

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

(John 11:25-26. KJV)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Embarrassingly, I had never heard his name before

While my government was devoting its energies to figuring out how to describe what was happening in Rwanda without using the word "genocide", Mbaye Diagne just saw what had to be done and did it, at the cost of his own life.


(Via Hilzoy, who continues to be mandatory reading.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Chrysostom on Wine

St. John Chrysostom had very definite views on wine:

Paul is not ashamed, and does not blush, after the many and great signs which he had displayed even by a simple word; yet, in writing to Timothy, to bid him take refuge in the healing virtue of wine drinking. Not that to drink wine is shameful. God forbid! For such precepts belong to heretics;...

I desire to ask one favor of you all, in return for this my address, and speaking with you; which is, that you will correct on my behalf the blasphemers of this city [i.e., blaspheming against God by saying that wine is evil.]. And should you hear any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God; go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so. Smite him on the face; strike his mouth; sanctify your hand with the blow


I've given up the booze for Lent, but relapsed last night. This quote comforted me.
via (MarkShea, and Fr. John)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Yotube just keeps on giving...(Your mother smelled of elderberries edition)

a good man is hard to find

Calestous Juma profile.

Juma often gets asked when he will return to Africa. It's a barbed question, coming from a continent bedevilled by brain drain. But he views it differently. Nobody accused him of leaving Africa when he was at the UN, but it was then he felt he'd left Africa behind. "That was when I was disengaged." In his current position, he feels engaged once more. He goes back to Kenya at least once a year, and co-chairs a panel drawing up a continental biotechnology strategy, among other things. But he won't go back to live there any time soon. His wife was born and bred in Boston and his family is settled. "The only reason I'd like to go back is to be involved professionally in Africa."


(Guardian, via politicaltheory)

Monday, March 05, 2007

RIP Chris Lightfoot

Chris Lightfoot, of ex-parrot, is dead. Truly sad news. More here, here, and here. (via VirtualStoa and Crooked Timber)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Concepts in Science explained (A Series)

Awesome piece of work by various ScienceBloggers. John Wilkins hosts. Apparently, it'll be updated regularly. You might like to begin at Theory.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wonderwoman II

Wangari Maathai was recently interviewed on Start the Week. She's got a new autobiography out. It looks promising.

Wonderwoman

Lene Hau stops light:
Lene Hau has already shaken scientists' beliefs about the nature of things. Albert Einstein and just about every other physicist insisted that light travels 186,000 miles a second in free space, and that it can't be speeded-up or slowed down. But in 1998, Hau, for the first time in history, slowed light to 38 miles an hour, about the speed of rush-hour traffic.

Two years later, she brought light to a complete halt in a cloud of ultracold atoms. Next, she restarted the stalled light without changing any of its characteristics, and sent it on its way. These highly successful experiments brought her a tenured professorship at Harvard University and a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation award to spend as she pleased.

Now Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and of Applied Physics, Hau has done it again. She and her team made a light pulse disappear from one cold cloud then retrieved it from another cloud nearby. In the process, light was converted into matter then back into light. For the first time in history, this gives science a way to control light with matter and vice versa.


From the Harvard University Gazzette (via Unfogged)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Hallelujah Chicken Run Band (Reloaded)

Back in the day, when things were just as bad as they are now in Zimbabwe, The Hallelujah Chicken Run Band (led by Thomas Mapfumo) put out a dazzling series of songs; songs that both changed the face of popular music in Zim, and gained fame outside Zim.

Matt Yanchyshyn, of benn loxo du taccu, has a song (time limited mp3) off the 2006 reissue. Head over there and listen to aural proof of Zimbabwean resilience.

Meng Ziwen

From his obituary in the Times:
The death of Meng Ziwen, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Nanning, deprives China of its oldest prelate and a man whose long life encapsulated the challenges — and personal costs — of practising the faith in a country where the Communist Government still sets limits to religious conduct, despite China’s much-vaunted economic reforms.


Requiescat in pace.

Awesome

Kenya v Scotland

Played at Gymkhana Club Ground, Nairobi, on 7 February 2007 (50-over match)

Result Kenya won by 8 wickets (with 73 balls remaining)

More here, and here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

An unusual refutation of Skepticism


SEARLE: Right...If you go back to the 17th century, and Descartes, skepticism -- the question of how it is possible to have knowledge -- was a live issue for philosophy. That put epistemology -- the theory of knowledge -- at the heart of philosophy. How can we know? Shouldn't we seek a foundation for knowledge that overcomes skeptical doubts about it? As recently as a hundred years ago, the central question was still about knowledge. But now, the center of philosophical debate is philosophy of mind.

IDEAS: Why the change?

SEARLE: We know too much. The sheer volume of knowledge has become overwhelming. We take basic findings from physics and chemistry about the universe for granted. Knowing much more about the real world than our ancestors did, we can't take skepticism seriously in the old way. It also means that philosophy has to proceed on the basis of all that we know...


John Searle in the Boston Globe.