In correlation with our sense of impossibility we tend to think of “apocalyptic” promises as pointing “off the map” of human experience, off the scale of time, in that they announce an end to history….Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom was unacceptable to most of his listeners not because they thought it could not happen but because they feared it might, and that it would bring down judgment on them.
Sunday 26 July, 02009
Saturday 30 May, 02009
From a CPX interview [21mb mp3]
Interviewer: Being a Christian in the army… Doesn’t Jesus tell us to turn the other cheek? How do you match those two things up?
Jim Wallace: It’s a question I’m asked often, you know, and I personally have no problem with it. One, because I actually became a Christian in my first year in the army, and certainly as Christians we believe you stay where God calls you, where he’s called you to himself, unless he calls you out of that. And he didn’t call me out of it for 32 years, very clearly. But the other thing was, I had a friend of mine, actually, who was a Christian, and became a Christian about the same time I did, in Duntroon. (more…)
Friday 08 May, 02009
Postnaturalism is not about recycling your garbage, it is about making something good out of grandpa’s garbage and leaving the very best garbage for your grandchildren.
Wednesday 06 May, 02009
Let me try to sum up. On the one hand, we have a large number of true but commonplace ideas, especially about how simple rules can lead to complex outcomes, and about the virtues of toy models. On the other hand, we have a large mass of dubious speculations (many of them also unoriginal). We have, finally, a single new result of mathematical importance, which is not actually the author’s. Everything is presented as the inspired fruit of a lonely genius, delivering startling insights in isolation from a blinkered and philistine scientific community. We have been this way before.
I’m a bad egg for starting to read reviews before finishing the book. Perhaps Wolfy will be vindicated when Alpha goes live… perhaps.
Tuesday 05 May, 02009
From Democracy Now!:
US Soldiers Accused of Proselytizing in Afghanistan
Al Jazeera has revealed US soldiers are being encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan’s predominantly Muslim population. Soldiers have been filmed with Bibles printed in Afghanistan’s main Pashto and Dari languages. In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, is seen telling soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility “to be witnesses for him.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley: “The special forces guys, they hunt men, basically. We do the same things as Christians: we hunt people for Jesus. We do. We hunt them down, get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into kingdom. Right? That’s what we do. That’s our business.”
Monday 04 May, 02009
Yet more from MacKay (p.161):
The mass of the fossil fuels consumed by “the average British person” is about 16 kg per day (4 kg of coal, 4 kg of oil, and 8 kg of gas). That means that every single day, an amount of fossil fuels with the same weight as 28 pints of milk is extracted from a hole in the ground, transported, processed, and burned somewhere on your behalf. The average Brit’s fossil fuel habit creates 11 tons per year of waste carbon dioxide; that’s 30 kg per day. In the previous chapter we raised the idea of capturing waste carbon dioxide, compressing it into solid or liquid form, and transporting it somewhere for disposal. Imagine that one person was responsible for capturing and dealing with all their own carbon dioxide waste. 30 kg per day of carbon dioxide is a substantial rucksack-full every day – the same weight as 53 pints of milk!
In contrast, the amount of natural uranium required to provide the same amount of energy as 16 kg of fossil fuels, in a standard fission reactor,
is 2 grams; and the resulting waste weighs one quarter of a gram. (This 2g of uranium is not as small as one millionth of 16 kg per day, by the way, because today’s reactors burn up less than 1% of the uranium.) To deliver 2 grams of uranium per day, the miners at the uranium mine would have to deal with perhaps 200 g of ore per day.
So the material streams flowing into and out of nuclear reactors are small, relative to fossil-fuel streams. “Small is beautiful,” but the fact that
the nuclear waste stream is small doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem; it’s just a “beautifully small” problem.
Wednesday 15 April, 02009
One kilowatt-hour per day is roughly the power you could get from one human servant. The number of kilowatt-hours per day you use is thus the effective number of servants you have working for you.
Tuesday 14 April, 02009
Clive Matthew-Wilson is a good dude:
If the Australian government simply shared its $6 billion car industry bailout among the affected car workers, these workers could pay off their mortgages or perhaps start small businesses. At least that way the money wouldn’t be wasted. As things stand, the government’s $6 billion is simply paying the bills for a few multinational corporations, while doing nothing to solve the underlying problems.
Thursday 09 April, 02009
Citizens should not depend on financial assets or fallible ‘expert’ advice for their retirement. Economic life should be definancialised. We should learn not to use markets as storehouses of value: they do not harbour the certainties that normal citizens require. Citizens should experience anxiety about their own businesses (which they control), not their investments (which they do not control).
Wednesday 08 April, 02009
It will raise the level of scientific things that the average person can do. People will find that the world is more predictable than they might have expected. Just as running Google is like having a reference librarian to help you, running Wolfram|Alpha will be like having a house scientist to consult for you.
[via Bruce Sterling]
Saturday 04 April, 02009
Social network[ing sites] don’t grow because they provide utility to their users: they grow because they keep pushing the social stimulus button. And any utility they provide is incidental to that function.
New Zealand is under pressure to donate some of our SAS special forces to the US military ‘surge’ in Afghanistan. … New Zealand currently has about 200 troops doing reconstruction work in Bamiyan province, an Afghan backwater far from the fighting raging elsewhere in the country. If the SAS is to offered up to the Americans, [Murray] McCully should spell out what the goal of their deployment would be. We would deserve an explanation. After all, raising the stakes and the visibility of our military contribution to Obama’s war in Afghanistan would make New Zealand a more likely target for terrorism. That risk should be balanced against clear, achievable goals. Would we be there for the limited military purpose of eliminating any threat still posed to the outside world by al Qaeda? Or would our goal in Afghanistan be seen as a domestic one, to help turn that country into a viable, self sustaining democracy?
Saturday 07 March, 02009
Fun question from Sue Bradford to the Minister of Housing: “Does he see any opportunity to simultaneously deal with the job losses in the housing construction sector and assist the nearly 10,000 people on the Housing New Zealand waiting list?”
Thursday 05 March, 02009
Paul Graham: “The economic situation is apparently so grim that some experts fear we may be in for a stretch as bad as the mid-seventies. … When Microsoft and Apple were founded.”
Tuesday 11 November, 02008
Obama! Obama! said:
There is no better potential driver that pervades all aspects of our economy than a new energy economy. I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it’s creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they’re contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That’s just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.
Friday 15 February, 02008
from second episode of the best documentary in the world, The Century of the Self:
My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness. When in fact possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people’s suffering. The problem is not to undo suffering, or to wipe it off the face of the earth, but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to ‘cure’ ourselves of it constantly, and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call ‘happiness’. There’s too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him – of defining him, rather than letting him go. It’s part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad.