Out And About (2014/08/27)

The Middle East

  • Palestine ≠ Terrorism by Adam McIntosh challenges conservative Christians to think a bit more deeply about the Israel/Palestine situation and not jump to conclusions about Palestinians. It is worth a read. Adam is the son of missionary parents who were reaching out to Muslims in Israel and West Bank.


  • This is fascinating. It shows how much $100 is worth in each of the United States.


  • This map represents the second most spoken language in each borough in London, England.


  • J.D. Flynn wrote an open letter to Richard Dawkins relating to his recent comments about aborting babies with Down syndrome.

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Out And About (2014/08/26)


  • This article explores how list making helped Ray Bradbury in his writing.
  • This article by Philip Jenkins is helpful for those seeking to find a historical to write about.
  • This guest post on Thomas Kidd’s blog is an interesting look at how a mom who is also a professor fits in her academic writing. Seems like a hectic life, although the main takeaway point is that its amazing how much you can get done when you prioritize and plod away!


War/Foreign Policy




  • UPS has been hacked. “Malware that impacted 51 franchises in 24 states may have compromised customers’ credit and debit card information


  • Confirmed: Genuine opera music will ward of Mountain Lions.

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Blind City Planner

My poem, Blind City Planner, has been featured at Second Nature Journal today.

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A Book Spine Poem

unnamedHere is my first attempt at a book spine poem–composed entirely out of books from the local library.

I wrote it in February and submitted it to Essex County Library’s Book Spine Contest. They just announced the winners–my poem didn’t place among the winners or runner ups.

A boy called Dickens
missing mittens:
the plot that thickened.
Punctuation celebration,
Lost nation.
Assassination vacation:
This explains everything.

I know, I know. A lame attempt!

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Out And About (2014/08/20)

The Ferguson Situation/Civil Liberties in General


  • Did you know the U.S. copyright office will not copyright: (a) photos taken by a monkey, (b) a mural painted by an elephant, or (c) a song naming the Holy Spirit as its author?  It’s here on pages 8-9.

World War II

  • These accounts of the liberation of Paris from the Nazis by Hemmingway and Nin are fascinating! For exmple, Nin said: “JOY. JOY. JOY. JOY. JOY. JOY. JOY. JOY. JOY. Such joy, such happiness at the hope of war ending. Happiness in unison with the world. Delirious happiness.”


  • Ever feel oppressed by grammar nitpickers, or what some might call “grammar nazis”? This video by Stephen Fry (who played Jeeves in the BBC program, Jeeves and Wooster) is an excellent response.

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Out And About (2014/08/19)

Liberty & Civil Rights

  • In a nutshell, this article argues that demilitarizing the police is generally impossible because of the extent to which weapon’s manufacturers own the U.S. Congress
  • This article at the Washington Post shows some of the bravado that goes on in the name of “police work”. Even if the bio didn’t say it, I think I could have guessed that it was written by a former LAPD officer. The author says “I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.” The basic underlining presupposition of this article seems to be that people should act as if they are guilty while they are dealing with the police, and then only vindicate themselves afterwards.  One reader comment is excellent: “I would gently suggest to the writer (‘gently’ because I don’t want to be stomped into the ground) that if he doesn’t like dealing with people in stressful situations when they don’t always act their Sunday best, he might consider a career change.”
  • Reason argues, based on the aforementioned Washington Post article, that the problem in law enforcement is much deeper than merely militarization
  • Yesterday a Getty Images photojournalist was situation in Ferguson.
  • Thabiti Anyabwile has an excellent (but sad) article about his fear about moving from Grand Cayman back to the United States, it ties into the incidents in Ferguson.
  • Chinese scientists are developing a mini camera which scans crowds for highly stressed indivduals.
  • This article by Zoltan Istvan is causing quite a stir. He argues for restriction of human breeding from a “transhumanist” position. It’s astounding that he thinks he simultaneously be a “liberty-loving person” and propose such plans to restrict one of the most significant and consequential decisions human beings can make.


  • These photos of libraries across the United States are quite cool!


  • This video of a 9 language boy meeting a 6 language girl is pretty neat.

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Out And About (2014/08/15)

Foreign Policy

Liberty and Privacy

  • This article over at New York Times gives a window into Obama’s “strange and awful aggression against reporters and whistle-blowers”.
  • Did you know that the F.B.I. plans to put the mugs of 1 in 6 Americans in a facial recognition database by next year?



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The Importance of Strasburg And Bucer In The French Reformation

In reading The French Reformation by Mark Greengrass now and found an interesting excerpt on page 21 from a French Catholic judge named Florimond de Raemond. It comes from 1605. I will not quote the excerpt, but rather summarize a few details.

  1. Raemond called the Reformed faith the “Hydra-Headed Heresy”.
  2. In his view, Strasburg was the movement’s “New Jerusalem” and Martin Bucer was “the great enemy to catholics”.
  3. Calvin’s institutes were called “the Talmud of the new heresy”.

I’ve always found French Catholic writers and readers to be most eloquent in their polemic against the Reformed faith, sometimes even to the point of hilarity. Like that time when a French writer said that Calvin’s impudence “surpassed that of the devil”.

However, something else got my attention here: the underrated importance of Bucer and Strausburg. According to Greengrass, Raemond was right about at least one thing:

“Raemond was not exaggerating the influence of Strasburg on John Calvin or on the French reformation; and it is a regrettable but understandable consequence of a Genevan bias to the historical writing about the French reform that its role has been often obscured.” – Mark Greengrass, The French Reformation (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987), 21.

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