CXXXIV. Softly, soothingly,
The winter wind sails about
Answers not questions.
CXXXV. Awakened long past,
A postage stamp sits unsent,
Bought on a cold day.
CXXXVI. O fair wind which blows,
Here and there unanswered, flows.
By whom have you passed?
To all of my friends in the blogosphere, I hope you have the merriest of Christmases. May Christmas Day be a joy for you as we reflect on the joy of Christ's coming and may the days beyond glow richly with that same good news.
Jayson Stark writes:
So settle in for a memorable evening — as two tough, talented baseball teams empty their tanks for the right to keep playing, and keep dreaming. Yeah, it's “just” Game 5 of a tremendous National League Division Series. But in truth, you know, and we know, and they know, it's much, much more.
It is going to be quite an evening.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
I must confess I didn't see this coming:
The Vatican has taken another step in its efforts to embrace social media by offering “indulgences” to followers of Pope Francis' (@Pontifex) Twitter account. Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reports that the church will reduce the time Catholics have to spend in purgatory if they follow official Vatican events on TV, radio, and through social media.
Can't you just imagine @DrMLuther nailing an iPhone with the #95Thesis displayed onto the door of the Wittenberg cybercafe? Charles V would have had a much easier time if he could have just tracked trending hashtags.
A fascinating op-ed in the New York Times from Malte Spitz:
In Germany, whenever the government begins to infringe on individual freedom, society stands up. Given our history, we Germans are not willing to trade in our liberty for potentially better security. Germans have experienced firsthand what happens when the government knows too much about someone. In the past 80 years, Germans have felt the betrayal of neighbors who informed for the Gestapo and the fear that best friends might be potential informants for the Stasi. Homes were tapped. Millions were monitored.
Those last two, short sentences sound familiar?
Three weeks ago, when the news broke about the National Security Agency’s collection of metadata in the United States, I knew exactly what it meant. My records revealed the movements of a single individual; now imagine if you had access to millions of similar data sets. You could easily draw maps, tracing communication and movement. You could see which individuals, families or groups were communicating with one another. You could identify any social group and determine its major actors.
All of this is possible without knowing the specific content of a conversation, just technical information — the sender and recipient, the time and duration of the call and the geolocation data.
The whistleblower, who revealed the shockingly disturbing surveillance techniques that the National Security Administration has been engaging in, has revealed himself as Edward Snowden.
For him, it is a matter of principle. “The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to,” he said.
I'm sure the government will go after him. I hope the public makes it clear it won't tolerate the government doing so.
Tom Kowaleski recounts the story of the Viper's development:
Viper was a major part of my education in the automobile business. I worked at Chrysler in the '80s and '90s, and the Viper's development – indeed, its whole story – was critical to Chrysler's revitalization and comeback into credibility. The Viper program was done on a shoestring. It came to life as the result of four incredibly strong personalities agreeing on a single vision. It was a car no consumer research would ever support. It was a car one no one else would ever think of building. Yet, it became the flame that started the fire of belief in the next life of Chrysler.
Focus groups never create great things. Focus groups only find what is acceptably mediocre.
John Dyer writes:
Fast forward 20 years, and just about any time I teach from the Scriptures I have to point out a place where the English Bible says “you,” but the original Hebrew or Greek indicates you plural rather than you singular. This means the original author was addressing to a group of people, but a modern English reader can’t detect this because in common English we use “you” for both singular (“you are awesome”) and plural (“you are a team”). This often leads modern readers to think “you” refers to him or her as an individual, when in fact it refers to the community of faith.
Relating the Greek second person plural pronoun to “y'all” seems to be a required part of a beginning Greek class, at least if anyone in the class is from the south. Rather creative of Dyer to make a plugin to actually “fix” Bible translations so that they use it.
Just in case you've forgotten, every time the Cardinals score six, Mobil on the Run has discounted fountain drinks and coffee. The price has risen to fifty cents (for any size), but it is still a generous deal and On the Run has quite good brewed coffee.