A Quick Note About Comments

I have not yet written a comment policy, but as the Komen post draws the trolls out of their caves, I should point out that unless your comment is either benign or adds something to the conversation, it won’t get posted.

If a comment is painfully stupid, insulting, and devoid of content, the writer is added to the spam filter. I do not check the spam filter. I trust the spam filter to do its job, and it does it very well. That means someone may well type out some long ranting post, pointing out the precise nature of my idiocy and contemptiblity,  that I shall never see. I will somehow get over this loss.

You may also wind up in the spam filter if your tag contains a link to a spammy-looking site, or simply because of weird English, or bad links, or your brand of deodorant. Some of its decisions are mysterious and capricious, but it fills up with hundreds of posts each day, and I simply can’t comb through them all looking for the real ones that might get sucked into its gaping maw.

Insults alone are not enough to get a comment spam-killed. I can trade insults with readers all day long if they’re interesting enough. However, insults + nothing to say = Welcome to Spamland.

I am not here to reassure trolls of their okayness, and this space is not here for them to post long screeds about whatever. If they want to do that, they can start their own blog. It’s free!

Random bleats like “Patheos? More Like Pathetic!” or “The God you believe in doesn’t exist” [Yes, both of those are real.] head straight for spamland, and the writers shall never darken my eyeballs again. I’m really not interested in people writing on my site as though they’re writing on a bathroom wall.

If you are a smart, concise, nicely-groomed regular commentator, be assured that I read everything and appreciate the input, even though I don’t reply to each post unless I have something useful to add.


Komen Back in Bed With Planned Parenthood

Isn’t it touching when gangsters dedicated to the industrial-scale slaughter of children are able to kiss and make up with the charity they managed to intimidate into quiescence?

New money will be flowing from Komen to Planned Parenthood from new grants issued after the policy that disqualified Planned Parenthood:

Grants from the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure are flowing to Planned Parenthood, as the women’s health organizations seek to rebuild their relationship after the controversy in February over the breast cancer charity’s unsuccessful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

At least 17 Planned Parenthood affiliates will be funded this year, about the same number that received grants in 2011, according to a tally provided by Komen. The total amount of the grants, which are for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services, is still being worked out. Most recipients this year also received funds last year.

When I covered this story for the National Catholic Register, it changed so fast I was rewriting every fifteen minutes. My takeaway when the dust had settled was that Komen did not like being set afire by thugs like Cecile Richard and her pro-abortion stooges across the country, and that further grants would be denied. I guess Komen decided they liked being popular with the mass-murder crowd more than they enjoyed the sudden and overwhelming outpouring of support from pro-lifers.

I’m tired of the whole sickening saga. The astonishing success of Planned Parenthood’s vicious smear tactics is simply nauseating. Everywhere I look people are moaning about schoolyard bullies as if they are something new in annals of childhood, while real-life adult bullies can take down a charity that actually saved lives and be rewarded for it.

Lost Boy Finds Family Using Google Earth

In 1986, Saroo Brierley and his brother were working as sweepers for India’s train system when they got separated. Five-year-old Saroo fell asleep on a train and woke up in Calcutta: not the place for a five-year-old to find himself alone. After living on the streets for a time, he was taken into an orphanage and adopted, but he never stopped thinking about his lost family.

Saroo settled down well in his new home. But as he got older the desire to find his birth family became increasingly strong. The problem was that as an illiterate five-year-old he had not known the name of the town he had come from. All he had to go on were his vivid memories. So he began using Google Earth to search for where he might have been born.

“It was just like being Superman. You are able to go over and take a photo mentally and ask, ‘Does this match?’ And when you say, ‘No’, you keep on going and going and going.”

Eventually Saroo hit on a more effective strategy. “I multiplied the time I was on the train, about 14 hours, with the speed of Indian trains and I came up with a rough distance, about 1,200km.”

He drew a circle on a map with its centre in Calcutta, with its radius about the distance he thought he had travelled. Incredibly, he soon discovered what he was looking for: Khandwa. “When I found it, I zoomed down and bang, it just came up. I navigated it all the way from the waterfall where I used to play.”

Soon he made his way to Khandwa, the town he had discovered online. He found his way around the town with his childhood memories. Eventually he found his own home in the neighbourhood of Ganesh Talai. But it was not what he had hoped for. “When I got to the door I saw a lock on it. It look old and battered, as if no-one had lived there for quite a long time.”

Saroo had a photograph of himself as a child and he still remembered the names of his family. A neighbour said that his family had moved.

“Another person came and then a third person turned up, and that is when I struck gold. He said, ‘Just wait here for a second and I shall be back.’ And when he did come back after a couple of minutes he said, ‘Now I will be taking you to your mother.'”

“I just felt numb and thought, ‘Am I hearing what I think I am hearing?'”

Saroo was taken to meet his mother who was nearby. At first he did not recognise her.

“The last time I saw her she was 34 years old and a pretty lady, I had forgotten that age would get the better of her. But the facial structure was still there and I recognised her and I said, ‘Yes, you are my mother.’

“She grabbed my hand and took me to her house. She could not say anything to me. I think she was as numb as I was. She had a bit of trouble grasping that her son, after 25 years, had just reappeared like a ghost.”

Read the rest of the story at BBC News.

Make Your Own Tricorder

Another kid who was inspired by Star Trek grows up and makes a functional Tricorder, then places all the specifications, instructions, and schematics online for anyone to use or mod. Nerd win!

Peter Jansen has made two versions so far in his attempt to get as many sensors as possible into a single handheld device. Thus far, he’s equipped his Science Tricorder Mark 2 prototype with “ten different sensing modalities, organized into three main categories: atmospheric sensors, electromagnetic sensors, and spatial sensors.” He’s open-sourced the whole thing in the hope that other tinkerers will be able to take the designs even further.

In similar news, Qualcomm is offering a $10 million prize to anyone who can make one of Dr. McCoy’s nifty little medical tricorders. They’re looking for “a tool capable of capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of 15 diseases. Metrics for health could include such elements as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. Ultimately, this tool will collect large volumes of data from ongoing measurement of health states through a combination of wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements.”

Learn more at The Tricorder Project and the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize.

“The beliefs of the church are not going to change by poll”

Preach it, brother.  David Quinn has this to say in the Irish Independent:

The findings of the survey commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) are not even in the tiniest bit surprising. We have known for years that on issue after issue many or most Catholics, even weekly Mass-going Catholics, do not believe what their church believes.

The press release by the ACP says the survey “reveals a significant disconnect between official Catholic Church teaching and what Catholics actually believe”.

That is absolutely correct, but the question is what should be done about it? Does the church alter its teachings in line with the latest opinion poll or must it instead do a much better job explaining to Catholics and the general public why it believes what it believes?

The poll zeroed in on the teachings liberal Catholics want to see changed, for example celibacy, women priests and on sexuality generally.

Huge majorities want the Catholic Church to allow married priests and women priests.
But two other questions arise here. First, would allowing married priests and women priests revive the fortunes of the church by making it more ‘relevant’, and second, should these teachings be changed regardless of the effect on the life of the church?

In answer to the first question, allowing married priests and women priests would not result in very much of an increase in vocations, nor would it lead to a rush back to the pews.

It has done this for no church anywhere. This point cannot be stressed often enough because hardly anyone seems to be aware of it. The Lutheran Churches of Scandinavia have changed teaching after teaching in line with liberal opinion. For example, they routinely allow same-sex marriages to take place in their churches. They have had women bishops, never mind priests, for years.

But in Scandinavia hardly anyone attends church services. Liberal Christians and their secular cheer-leaders need to think long and hard about this. Why is it that the churches where their every ‘remedy’ has been introduced are not thriving? Worse than that, why have they shrivelled up even faster than the churches that have not altered their teachings?

I have never heard a satisfactory answer to this question from liberal Christians. They don’t like the question because they find it impossible to answer.

There’s a lot more, so read the whole thing.

Catholics fundamentally misunderstand the role of the Pope and the bishops. They are not bold leaders forging bravely ahead into new theological realms. They are caretakers. Their role is to preserve what they were given and pass it on unchanged, links in a chain stretching all the way back to Peter. They’re not supposed to create some new kind of faith, nor respond to the whims of the laity for innovation. They provide, as Cardinal George said, a “reality check” for the laity, large numbers of whom would gladly to follow the same Magisterium of the Zeitgeist that has left mainline Protestantism a hollowed-out shell. I thank God that the Church is not a democracy. It only took a couple hundred years for democracy to dig America into its present hole. Imagine what kind of hole the Church would be in after 2000 years of it.

Lego Star Wars Barrel Organ of Awesomeness

This is the Lego Star Wars Organ by Builders of Sounds:

You turn it with a handle, and as the various figures pass under these hammers, they make music.

Here’s how the team did it: “We took the iconic Star Wars Main Theme, rearranged it and translated it into a matrix – the constrution blueprint for the organ. Then, we took the four most famous Star Wars worlds – Hoth, Tatooine, Endor and the Death Star – and built them on to the barrel, accordingly to the musical composition. When the organ is turned, the bricks touch mechanical sensors – these strike the keys of a built-in keyboard and play the Star Wars Main Theme.”

And here it is in action: