April 5, 2020

Saturday Ramblings, March 7, 2015

Hello, imonks, and welcome to the weekend.  Let’s get ready to rraaaaaaaammmmmmbbbbblllllleeeeee……

1950 convertible

In our 1950 convertible

The American Kennel Club has released its annual dog popularity ratings.  For the 24th year in a row, the Labrador Retriever tops the list.  Here are the top five (full list here).

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Bulldog
  5. Beagle

Wait, what? Bulldog? Beagle? Really?  I’d vote Australian Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador, Siberian Husky, and Border Collie.  Now those are cool dogs.  What do you think, imonks? Give us your top five in the comments.

And to honor the AKC king, I have randomly distributed some cute Labrador Retriever pictures in the post, starting now: column_him-no-he-doesn_t-want-a-cookie-he-says-i-can-have-two-funny-dog-memes

Climate experts said that 2014 was the warmest on record. But what do they know? Fortunately, we have some brave and learned politicians who will point out the hopeless logical fallacies of global warming.  In a mere 35 seconds, and armed with only a snowball, U. S. Senator (!) James Inhofe absolutely destroys the warmers.

Has Jesus’ boyhood house in Nazareth been found?  Well, there has long been an ancient house in Nazareth that has been venerated as Jesus’ home.  This month’s Biblical Archaeology Review published the report that archaeologists, led by Ken Dark, a professor at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, dated the house to the first century. “Was this the house where Jesus grew up? It is impossible to say on archaeological grounds. On the other hand, there is no good archaeological reason why such an identification should be discounted.” Well, can’t beat that logic. The article did note that the first proof that people venerated the house comes from several centuries after Jesus lived in Nazareth.

labrador-retriever-training-tips

Well, this in interesting.  A couple Italian designers have started The Capsula Mundi, which plans to develop organic, biodegradable burial capsules that will turn the deceased’s body into nutrients for a tree that will grow out of their remains. biodegradable-burial-pod-memory-forest-capsula-mundi-9

After being encapsulated in the fetal position, the deceased is buried and either a tree or tree seed is planted above their capsule. The project’s site already has a number of trees to choose from. The project is currently only a concept because Italian law forbids such burials. If it were allowed to proceed, however, the project’s aim would be to create entire memorial parks full of trees instead of tombstones. biodegradable-burial-pod-memory-forest-capsula-mundi-7

What do you think, friends?  Would you like to go out this way?  Any downsides?

Most American headline of the week: Court Says Applebee’s not liable for N.J. man burned while praying over fajita skillet. The judge, who apparently never read Descartes, said the danger was “self-evident”.  And the persecution of our religion sadly continues… th01543SUN

New York City schools have added two Muslim holidays to their calendars for official days off, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. All public schools in the largest US system will close for Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr beginning in 2016.  But you knew what was going to happen next, right? “While the addition of two Muslim holidays is commendable, the Mayor’s decision to exclude Diwali, a festival that is celebrated by thousands of Hindu, Jain, and Sikhs in NYC is beyond disappointing… the Mayor is falling short on his responsibility to equally represent all New Yorkers” said Sheetal Shah of the Hindu American Foundation. What do you think, imonks?  Is this, as the Mayor put it, “a change that respects the diversity of our city”? Or a fool’s errand?

I didn’t know He was lost, but CNN has a new six-week mini-series titled, “Finding Jesus.” The goal is to sift through six items of archaeology to see what light they might shed on Jesus.  Last Sunday’s was about the Shroud of Turin.  Future episodes focus on relics venerated as part of the True Cross, the gospel of Judas, relics believed to be of John the Baptist, the burial box of Jesus’ brother James and the gospel of Mary Magdalene.  Of course, this being the run-up to Easter, I expect either Time or Newsweek to have a cover story questioning the resurrection any week now.

tumblr_m6z6qevzl31qbvmnwo1_500

Man plans and God laughs. And sometimes we get to laugh with Him: Westboro Baptist Church’s attempts to protest at Leonard Nimoy funeral thwarted by their inability to find it.

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  Is it Superman?

risen

Ummm…kinda

This mammoth hot air balloon featuring the painting of a smiling Jesus will ascend to the skies of western New York during the Easter season. The balloon, christened (see what I did there) RISEN! will be 80 feet tall and be as large as three average sized homes.  Sky Sail Balloons will create the RISEN! on the above design, with its maiden voyage slated for this Easter season. “Once completed, the balloon is marketed as being available for events by Christian organizations provided the group in question affirms belief in the Holy Bible and the event itself does not advance unbiblical ideas.”  Lutherans, you’re outa luck.

Okay, Okay, I was just joking.  Put down the tomato, Miguel. And the inkwell. Click here to see my official apology to my Lutheran friends.

In case you were confused, here is the Labrador Retriever identification guide:

meth-lab

Well, this is cool.  A grad student at Berkeley discovered two new species of peacock spiders. The rainbow-themed one below she nicknamed Sparklemuffin. Westboro Baptist Church immediately called for its extermination.

Maratus_jactatus_male_photo_1

Come at me, bro

Ever feel disappointed in your kid’s choices? Need some perspective?  Just be glad you’re not Jassem Emwazi, the father of the man revealed this week to be Jihadi John, the hooded, British man in the ISIS snuff films.  A distraught Jassem phoned a colleague to explain his absence from work: “He was very emotional and crying the whole time. He said, ‘my son is a dog, he is an animal, a terrorist. He said he had talked to him a lot trying to persuade him to return to his personal life but that the son didn’t listen to him. He said, ‘To hell with my son’.” You know, I guess my daughter’s tattoo isn’t that big of deal…

More mysterious craters have been discovered in Siberia.  A lot more.  Last July reindeer herders discovered a 260-feet-wide (80 meters) crater. Now, satellite images have revealed at least four more craters, and at least one is surrounded by as many as 20 mini craters, The Siberian Times reported. Scientist do not agree on the origins of the craters, though some have opinions.

"Remember the giant worms in Dune?"

“Remember those giant worms in Dune?”

Those of us who hoped racism was withering away got a reality jolt this week.  The Justice Department found widespread bias against blacks in the Ferguson, Missouri, police departments.  Most damning were the officially circulated emails, in which President Barack Obama is depicted as a chimpanzee and Michelle Obama is shown as a bare-chested African woman. A November 2008 email stated that President Obama would not be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years” and a June 2011 email described a man seeking to obtain “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.” Unbelievable.  And there are lots more. The report concludes: “The racial animus and stereotypes expressed by these supervisors suggest that they are unlikely to hold an officer accountable for discriminatory conduct or to take any steps to discourage the development or perpetuation of racial stereotypes among officers.”  Ya think??? 55374458

Bansky, the world’s most famous graffiti artist, slipped into Gaza last week. He did so to draw the world’s attention to the suffering in “the world’s largest open air prison”.  Here are some of the shots:

iwwoh

israel-palestine-conflict-gaza-strip-street-art-banksy-4 israel-palestine-conflict-gaza-strip-street-art-banksy-1

Sigh.  Really deep sigh.  Three men tie the knot in Thailand to become the world’s first wedded threesome.  One of the three (!) grooms: “it became clear that we all had a lot of feelings for each other. We thought what better way to show our love for each other by getting married.It might seem strange to some, but many people understand our bond and the reasons we got married.” Why am I suddenly depressed? I think another dog picture is in order: column_10-funny-dog-meme

A Pennsylvania man had a problem.  He had just caused an auto accident.  Worse, his insurance was expired. But Pennsylvania men are resourceful (I think McGyver was from Pittsburgh or something).  So he simply got out his smartphone, looked up the number for an insurance company, and bought a policy while leaning on his dented car.  Of course, he had to lie about the time of the accident, which led to the company wondering if he really got into a wreck less than an hour after taking out the policy.  Shockingly, he was arrested this week on insurance fraud.  The story reminded me of an xkcd cartoon I saw:

uv

Finally, Vincent Van Gogh is my favorite painter.  So when I saw a link this week to someone editing his paintings using the tilt-shift technique, I was thinking, “don’t Gogh Vandalizing his work” (sorry). But the results are stunning.  You can see all 16 here. O2BEUcj jUNT0Z8 2qEK3GU mcrx6z5 tJDdAZW Zpq0OV3

Comments

  1. Dan from Georgia says

    First

  2. Dan from Georgia says

    1. American Eskimo
    2. Siberian Husky
    3. Beagle
    4. Golden Retriever
    5. Cairn Terrier (just kidding!)

    • Shelties and cocker spaniels all the way. And I respect the character of Jack Russells, although I’m not crazy enough to let one into my house.

    • My dog is a German Shepherd-Beagle mix, so that must make her the 3.5th most popular.

      • Dana Ames says

        Our last dog was a Shepherd-Beagle-Dobie mix. She was the smartest dog I’ve ever known. Had to teach her not to herd the children by nipping at their heels… but after we did, she was the best.

        Dana

  3. SECOND! I ain’t that proud…

  4. Three men marry in Thailand? So? What’s wrong with that?. If we can redefine marriage to accommodate same sex pairings then why NOT a threesome? If the definition of marriage is redefinable then ANYTHING is possible…AND probable! After all, isn’t it just about who we love?

    • jazziscoolithink says

      The inevitable straw man…

      • Not a straw man when it has already happened.

        • Joseph (the original) says

          …so the 3rd groom was made out of straw? or was it either the good, better or best man? what’s going on here!

          sheesh…i’m so confused… 🙁

    • The idea is consent. So no, not “anything”. It does not put a limit on the number of partners in a marriage, but it does limit it to adults, so please no bestiality or child marriage comments. That does not fit the consent ethic that most people who support such expansions of marriage espouse. As far as my opinion goes, I don’t care enough to have an opinion. It doesn’t hurt anyone that I can tell, so that’s something, but it’s weird and I’m sure it brings up tax/estate headaches that lawmakers wouldn’t like to deal with.

    • cermak_rd says

      My main problem with polyamorous marriages is that it would require some major reworking of our family law which was not required by just disregarding gender. In IL, if you are married, your spouse is the parent of your child if you bear it while married. Even if we’re talking 2 lesbians. Now, this is not bizarre, because the law does the same thing if you husband is infertile or impotent (he is the assumed father). How take this out to 3 or more partners. Of course, DNA could solve this problem (and cause new ones when the happy father is revealed not to be the actual father), but what about the decision to pull the plug? IF you’ve got 2 spouses and they split? What about disability and Social Security? Is it fair for A man with 2 wives to be able to have both wives receive his after he dies? Of course, we could divide it out, but again, we’re talking changes to laws that frankly, isn’t worth it for the small percentage of folks desperate to have multiple spouses.

      • Robert F says

        Imagine how difficult it would be to rewrite divorce laws to deal with the divorce of a marriage of more than two people.

        • Oh, but think of the $$$ to be made in such divorces. Someone, somewhere is rubbing his hands with glee.

      • But, but….they LOVE each other!

  5. Aussies all the way!

  6. The global warming experts predicted 20 years ago that snow would be a rare event:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-snow.html?_r=0

    Hmmm…

    • Did you link to the wrong article, that is from 2014.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        It is an interesting choice of links, inasmuch as it in no way supports the claim presented in the comment. Perhaps it was included on the theory that no one would actually click through?

      • Yes I did.

        But the point is that the “experts” do not know enough. They are constantly getting things wrong.

        • One of my daughters moved to Anchorage, Alaska. For the second winter, it’s been warmer there, and with less snow, than here in Maine. That sort of thing is what the experts have been talking about.

    • Jazziscoolithink says

      I once heard Wendell Berry say that talking about “global warming” or “climate change” is unproductive because the terms have become so politicized. Instead, we should talk about trying to cut down on waste and pollution. Being against waste is a good, conservative position. And it would help the earth–whether or not you can get behind the vast, vast majority of the world’s climate scientists or not.

      • I make a point to not have an opinion on climate change because the discussion has become so politicized that I don’t trust anyone, no matter the side they’re on or if they’re allegedly neutral, to accurately report the science behind it. Politics ruining science for the benefit of no one.

      • @ Jazziscoolithink…
        +1

      • Wendell Berry has a lot of wisdom. Probably the best position to take. Who could possibly be FOR pollution?

    • Christiane says

      STEVE,
      that was before the experts saw the film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs56_GqTyIQ

    • Winter weather does not refute global warming, anymore than your eating lunch disproves world hunger.

      • Thank you.

      • Right.

        The earth is warming…so we will have colder weather.

        Right.

        • Think of it this way –

          More energy in the system, more instability, greater swings in extremes, trending upward.

          If that doesn’t make sense, I don’t know how else to convince you.

        • Colder weather here. Blowing down from the Arctic. Warmer up there. That’s the problem.

        • The phrase “global warming” is completely outmoded. It’s only used by it’s detractors, usually in conjunction with a comment about how much snow we got this year, or how it’s below freezing, or something like that.

          But it’s not “global warming,” and hasn’t been for awhile. It’s called “global climate change.” It’s also nothing an individual, or even an individual city, can anecdotally notice and make a judgment about. It has to do with the aggregate weather across the globe (hence “global”), and the various extremes to which it swings, over long periods.

      • I’ve found it helpful when discussing global warning to underscore the now-ism of the issue politically, which is quite distinct from what I (and most scientists) feel is the real problem — the FUTURE state of the climate.

        In order to do anything about the future, activists/legislators (not scientists) have to convince people that there’s a problem that needs to be addressed now. It’s here that things go wrong. For, politically, people only tend to move when they’re told that the problem is MANIFESTING itself right now. So the pro- camp tells us that the poles are melting RIGHT NOW, and the other side throws snowballs on the Senate floor by way of refutation.

        For the record, I think that what we’re seeing in the Arctic is pretty clear evidence that things are currently changing, but even if there was 0% evidence of such change, I still think there’s ample reason to worry about what happens EVENTUALLY. Specifically,

        1) Annual atmospheric CO2 levels, in the 60 or so years they’ve been measured precisely, have shown year-over-year increases every single year. I can think of no other earth-science time series with such unmistakable trends. The isotonic regression code I wrote at work this week would be bored to death with this data series because it’s too obvious for words — or statistics.

        2) These CO2 levels seem destined to continue to increase for at least another couple of decades (though the US has made great, and too often unremarked, strides in addressing our own contribution [pats self on back])

        3) Higher CO2 levels are associated with greater heat retention. This is laboratory physical chemistry.

        4) The CO2 levels we have now attained are higher than anything we’ve seen during human civilization (and probably for several hundred thousand years, actually). We’re in extrapolation territory.

        5) Precisely because we’re in uncharted waters, a conservative course of action would be to BE CAREFUL rather than simply assuming that things will go on swimmingly.

        These points convince me, not that the sky is FALLING TODAY, but rather that there’s reason to ACT TODAY to prevent future problems — a position that one can take on other issues, such as US budgetary woes.

        • I wonder what the intersection between climate change deniers and YEC and premill eschatology believers is? Because that seems to be a lot of the problem. There can be NO data about CO2 levels past 6000 years ago. And there can be NO anticipation or need to change since at most we’ve only got another 5-25 years…certainly any of our lifetimes!

          The signs are evident for those who have eyes to see, Christ is coming back soon to rapture his church!

          So, demonic atheistic lies all around, right?

          Well…break YEC, break dispy end times theology…wake up to reality…and look what we get.

          • Stuart,

            With Ice core sampling they can determine CO2 and temperature levels going back 100s of thousands of years.

            See for example:

            http://www.climatedata.info/Proxy/Proxy/icecores.html

          • I think it’s more than those… I think there’s also the belief that a secular scientist is incapable of telling any truth of any kind ie “oh he believes in evolution so that means everything else is suspect or dismissible. Now of course a lot of scientists are believers and some of them probably believe in/propose climate change… but the deniers (and I assume most of them consider themselves christians) over-generalize and generally speak as if all scientists are materialist/secularists out to get them or out to purposely lie about things and so when they come along with something like climate change, the ‘protectors’ of right religion immediately write it off; they just know it’s wrong because it’s coming from “those” people…

          • It’s an interesting question, StuartB, but I think that the real chain of “logic” is more along the lines of:

            “If climate change is real, then we’d have to do something about it. That means we’d have to curb the free market in some way. Since there’s absolutely no way God would want us to abandon free market principles as laid down by the holy prophetess Ayn Rand, it follows that climate change simply can’t be real. QED.”

            Nonetheless, I agree that it can be frustrating to argue with people who don’t believe in an actual deep past, face-slap-worthy ice core samples from Mr. Bell’s home country notwithstanding. That’s part of the reason I underscored that CO2 is at levels not seen since the dawn of human civilization: That’s still enough for a YECer to grapple with without bringing Darwin & Co. into the conversation.

            As for end-time influences, I think those are exaggerated. After all, the same people DON’T want the economy to actually tank any more than anyone else: that’s why they tend to be so free-market oriented. So they really do care about making the future better: they just don’t think that curbing CO2 is the way to do it.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            The signs are evident for those who have eyes to see, Christ is coming back soon to rapture his church!

            When all you have is an End Time Prophecy hammer…

            So, demonic atheistic lies all around, right?

            The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

      • Apocalypticism of any sort – Biblical, Environmental, Social, Economic, or Political is all predicated on the same set of “facts”
        1. Things are BAD!
        2. At the rate we’re going, they can only get WORSE!
        3. If we don’t do something DRASTIC! it’s all going to collapse before our eyes.
        4. The time to act is NOW!

        The proposed action will inevitably be expensive, require the involvement of the “expert” and will not be guaranteed to avert the looming disaster, but why take chances when the future is at stake?

        • Strictly speaking, apocalypticism has generally tended to view humans as powerless in the face of looming disaster, so it’s interesting how we often use the term in the way that you are using it. (Now that I think about it, I do so as well, Rick — all the time!)

          Riffing on this a bit more, it seems like many anti-apocalypticists are, paradoxically, often the ones who say that we can’t do anything about an unknown future. “Who knows what higher CO2 levels would really do?” becomes a reason for doing nothing at all rather than THE OVERWHELMING reason to keep from exacerbating the situation. (This is in contrast to how most conservatives view investing their money: Future returns may be uncertain, but you don’t just keep all your savings in either a 0.01% savings account or in Greek sovereign debt — they act in the face of uncertainty in some financially reasonable manner.)

        • And then the Japs bomb Pearl Harbor?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Global Warming(TM) is a secular version of Apocalyptism.

          As Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War(TM) was before the Second Russian Revolution.

          The reason I’m skeptical about Global Warming is the behavior of the Activists; they remind me way too much of street preachers and/or Sixties radicals with Mother Gaia instead of Inevitable Marxist-Leninist Dialectic as the Answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything. I have heard accounts of people being high-pressured with “DO YOU BE-LEEEEEEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING?????” like Calvary Chapelites witnessing through a bullhorn.

          And I’m struck by the idea “what would the response be if this had surfaced in the Nifty Fifties, right after we came off WW2?” Back then, there was a can-do optimism — remember the WW2 song “We Did It Before, and We Can Do It Again!”? — that would have knee-jerked the response How Do We Solve This Problem? (Granted, some of the solutions would have been dumb ones — remember Project Plowshare? — but they would have been solutions.)

          Instead, with our current pessimistic zeitgeist (with or without Hipster Irony), what we get is “ANGST! ANGST! AAAAAANGST! THE PLAAAAAANET IS ANGRY! WE MUST MORTIFY OURSELVES FOR OUR SIIIINS AGAINST THE PLAAAAAAANET!!!!! HAIR SHIRTS! METAL-SPIKED WHIPS! GARGLING LYE! FOR OUR SIIIINS! ANGST! ANGST! AAAAAAAANGST!” Not mentioning the documentaries on how the Planet will Heal Herself once the cancer of humanity is finally extinguished, like something out of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (an actual group, by the way). Oh-so-delicious Angst, like Hypercalvinists playing Can-You-Top-This in How Utterly Depraved a Sinner *I* Am. Counting Coup and copping Righteous attitudes, except these are Secular Righteousness instead of Fundy Righteousness.

          And like the Communists and Reconstructionists, those to whom it is nothing more than an opportunity to Advance MY Agenda, which always involves MY group climbing into Power over your bodies, Utterly Certain of MY own Righteousness.

  7. It’s not a bird or a plane, it’s Kenny Loggins – going to the danger zone!

  8. Those Van Gogh things are fantastic. I’d like to see an animated short done in that style. It’d be amazing.

    I’d like to bring up something that I’ve seen mentioned a few times by Miguel and a couple of other people here that kind of baffles me, and that is that the aforementioned people have expressed some admiration for the concept of arranged marriage. They’ve said that they think arranged marriages can be more stable because they are set up by more mature and knowledgeable adults who have a better grasp on what is required for a successful marriage because young people are too hormone-driven and immature to make decisions of such a scale or have an understanding about what true commitment is what required for marriage. They’ve also said that marrying for love is a relatively new concept and that it is not needed for marriage.

    Okay, now that I’ve established the premise, I shall render my opinion on it, and my opinion is that it is bogus, callous, and exemplifies Christianity’s fear of sexuality and passion. First, I must protest the depiction of young people as too immature to make such decisions. We infantalize twenty-somethings enough as is in our culture and it is pretty insulting to declare that they aren’t mature enough to make big decisions for themselves. Yes, it is good to get ADVICE from older, experienced people before making big decisions like marriage, but that doesn’t mean that it is better for the decisions to be taken out of the hands of the younger people.

    I also think that while the concept of marriage for love may be new, it is superior to arranged marriages that just exist to serve a social function. If I may be blunt and perhaps slightly unfair, I think the people here may be focusing a bit to heavily on past traditions due to the usual Lutheran skepticism of new things, and I don’t think that is a good thing in this case. I also think that the idea of communal decision-making in this regard that they’ve also mentioned as being a good thing may not be preferable in the case of something as personal as marriage. Again, advice is highly useful, but the final decision should be up to the main parties involved, not parents or other such figures.

    And finally, I think this also shows a apprehension towards sexual attraction. Arranged marriages are based more on function and if desired can even be deconstructed down to JUST the function, whereas standard modern marriage has the component of sexual attraction built into it as well, probably as the starting point for the initial relationship, and for many Christians, that is still a scary thing that is not to be trusted at all, and perhaps even best to be avoided.

    I spoke about this topic in detail back in November too, but it was far down the Ramblings thread of that week and got missed I think. I apologize for again hijacking a Ramblings entry, but I thought it would be best to post this here rather than on my blog since this is directed specifically at a handful of iMonk readers. For reference, here’s a link to my prior post on this.

    https://internetmonk.com/archive/52657/comment-page-1#comment-942579

    • Rick Ro. says

      +1 regarding the Van Gogh paintings. Cool.

    • The younger a person is when they marry, the greater the chance they will divorce early, often leaving children in poverty. I can’t speak for women on this, but men, generally, are unfit for marriage till sometime in their mid, to late, twenties. There are always exceptions to my premise, but that’s why I said GENERALLY.

      Here’s a link to the NY Times discussing the issue: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/12/style/divorce-at-a-young-age-the-troubled-20-s.html

    • People who profess admiration for arranged marriages – i wonder if yhey know people who are *in* arranged marriages? Because they can be a nightmare. Sometimes they work, but all too often they are hell, for the women especially.

      Btw, Vega, this Lutheran woman isn’t getting on that particular bandwagon!

      • Looking at divorce statistics, I’m not sure the current alternative is better. People seem more than capable of forming their own bad marriages without requiring third parties to arrange them.

        • Better for the people to make a decision on their own that doesn’t work out than for them to be forced into something they don’t want because their elders have determined it is good for them. Besides, I don’t think that if you were in the situation where you were being put into an arranged marriage that you’d like it very much. It’s easy for you to say that it is preferable when you have distance from it and would never have to deal with it and when you seem to have no knowledge of the negative impacts of arranged marriage in societies that practice it. I’m sorry if I seem a bit curt in my answers, but I’m really puzzled by this view of yours.

          • Vega – you betcha. Having known a few women who were extremely unhappy in their arranged marriages (one was married, against her wishes, to a man who was over 30 years older than she was at the time), I just can’t accept arguments in their favor from anyone.

          • I’ve watched people – including relatives – who are serial divorcers. The presumption in your case is that people making free choices will also make good ones.

            Arranged marriages involved a lot more than forcing a young couple to commit matrimony. I’m sure good parents not only took their children’s feelings into consideration, but more importantly, their welfare. They had a less passionate view and a longer view than the youngsters getting married. I have children at marrying age and I care less about the individual they are interested in than I am the family they want to be associated with. The reason? Most apples don’t fall far from the tree. I look at parents and grandparents and use that to form an idea of what’s in store for the future. Not sure my kids are doing that. Absolutely sure I didn’t do that when I was courting.

            Bottom line, I don’t think young people (including myself) are equipped to make good decisions on their own without third-party counsel. Watching the second and third divorces of people I know, I’m not sure older people are any better suited when left to their own devices. Better to get an outside honest opinion.

    • Robert F says

      Vega,
      +1 on the reflections about arranged marriages.

      -1 regarding the mutilation of Van Gogh’s paintings.

    • Wow, Vega, I’m a bit surprised, as I don’t remember commenting on that (and I’m not saying I didn’t either), but I’ll share just a few random musings on the topic (since you brought it up):

      1. Arranged marriages can be more stable. They are performed in much more constricting cultures where leaving because you are unhappy is not so much an acceptable option as here today. That doesn’t mean they are automatically superior, simply that instability is a higher factor in “marry for love” cultures.

      2. It’s hard to call something bogus that has worked for the majority of cultures in various times and places. I’m not so enamored with our current state of enlightenment that I pontificate that what worked for our ancestors was bogus. It at least worked, you gotta give them that, if you expect anybody to concede to you that “marry for love” works for you. For the record, it works for me too (the fact that my own parents admit they couldn’t have arranged better is superfluous.).

      3. It is absolutely not callous. There is plenty of pain and suffering to go around on either side of the equation.

      4. Christianity has no fear of sexuality and passion. THAT is a bogus assertion and a baseless strawman. “Be fruitful and multiply” is the first order of business!

      5. It is a psychological fact that younger people are less mature. Our cognitive ability to make responsible decisions develops through the end of our twenties (and the fact that I just exited them is also superfluous 😛 ).

      6. I agree: we shouldn’t take the decision out of the hands of the youth. But we should also recognize the legitimate damage done by foolish decisions. Most of us are impacted by the consequences of those foolish decisions daily. It’s not all fun and games with love: Sexuality may not be something to be feared, but it is also one of the greatest sources of emotional pain. Call a thing what it is.

      7. As for one form being superior to another, I believe that is contingent on your culturally informed values. To go back to more “primitive” cultures and enforce your enlightened values would be very intolerant. Not everybody who doesn’t have what you have feels like they’re missing out. And for many of them, their system worked just fine.

      8. You swear as if Lutherans are actually advocating a return to arranged marriage. Good grief! NONE of us practice that today.

      9. Apprehension to sexual attraction is very biblical: Beauty if fleeting and charm is deceptive. If you can’t learn to treat your hormonal urges with skepticism, you can’t make responsible adult decisions. Sexuality is a good gift from a loving creator, but we are not to be led around by our biological promptings. Rather, we are to master them, subdue them, and use them as a tool to love and serve others.

      10. Arranged marriages are not JUST about function, that’s a very elitist way to generalize so much of human history. You’re practically asserting that if your marriage was arranged, you can not possibly have any legit romance in it. Now I’m also not very big on the Hallmark version of romance either, but that’s besides the point. Husbands have always been capable of loving their wives well, and treating them with gentleness, dignity, and respect. Perhaps marrying for love has led to an increase in this, as the divorce option provides a sort of accountability in favor of the wife. But we didn’t invent happy homes.

      That’s a good number. I’d enjoy your thoughts on them.

  9. Great job this week Daniel and thanks for the puppy picks.

    I’ll add Boxers to the list

  10. cermak_rd says

    The Jesus on the balloon looks happy and friendly. Maybe it will be successful in getting people to give Christianity another look.

    • Robert F says

      It would have done just the opposite for me when I was alienated from Christianity.

    • The Jesus balloon is just weird, in my opinion. I look at that and think “No wonder Christianity is losing steam.” Christianity is no longer a radical, life changing encounter with the divine, but a commodity to slap on a balloon and sell. It’s a race to entice more people for membership on our team, so we can feel good about ourselves because we’re in the cool crowd.

      • Suzanne,

        I do insist on a literal interpretation of “Christ has risen” but you’re right, this is just plain weird.

    • cermao, really? To me, it looks unforgivably tacky, right down to its surfer dude Jesus.

      • cermak_rd says

        Yes. The Jesus presented to me was either impossibly sorrowful hanging on a cross or stern and angry, saying he’s come to divide or demanding that you judge others (admonishment of sinners).

        • cermak – oh, i forgot about your background, and that makes total sense. Still, there has to be some kind of middle ground between those depictions and this kind of ( to my mind) vapidity.

        • Btw, part of my academic training is in art history, so i really do get what you’re saying about the depictions you were raised with…

  11. Rick Ro. says

    +1 to the Ramblings and puppy pics!

  12. Re: the Jesus balloon: Don’t churches show The Gospel Blimp anymore?

  13. “…available for events by Christian organizations provided the group in question affirms belief in the Holy Bible and the event itself does not advance unbiblical ideas.” Lutherans, you’re outa luck.
    That was very funny. So was the meth lab pictured just under it. Fine work!

    • That’s a really bad looking convertible. Not sleek. Looks like the top was sheared off, most unfortunately, but they are putting on a happy face.

  14. Shelties are the best dogs ever. I like Van Gogh better this way. Could someone explain to me why we take politicians and preachers opinions as truth about climate change? Quite astounding, lol.

    • Yay Shelties.

    • flatrocker says

      > Could someone explain to me why we take politicians and preachers opinions as truth about climate change?

      For the same reason we take their opinions as truth on anything else.

      The bigger question is why are we surprised that scientists and researchers are all too eager to release their inner politician and preach from the trough of their own funding? Align with a politicized funding source, deliver the intended prescribed results and generate new funding. Repeat cycle and make it to retirement. Understand the patron and we begin to understand the behavior.

      • Robert F says

        Sociologist Peter Berger reminds us to look for the vested interests not just of business people and politicians and preachers, but also of the burgeoning knowledge classes, which presumably include scientists.

        • ANYTHING scientists come up with is funded by SOMEONE, and NO ONE is without some sort of bias. So does that mean that scientific studies are ALL suspect, or only the ones a person does not like? How do we reasonably tell the difference?

          I am not as jaded as some who think that scientists feel bound to prop up their benefactors’ views. That is just too insulting to scientists in general, and I’ve known a few.

          • Robert F says

            No doubt you’ve also known enough business people to refute the notion that as a group they are mostly money-grubbing, exploitative opportunist. Human beings in general have a powerful tendency to be shaped by the expectations and perceptions and conclusions of the communities they occupy, scientists and business people included.

            Politicians, of course, are a separate case.

      • Question – is it the actual research scientists who are doing the media preaching? Nine times out of ten, no. Bear in mind that what you read in the headline about any specific scientific report is often a very twisted “summary” of its actual contents. Try tracking down a report from a news article sometime – it’s a very interesting experiment. And all sides in the debate do this, pro- AND anti-.

        • flatrocker says

          Even though nine out of ten researchers may be quiet, why is it with the tenth one we get Bill Nye? Sigh….

          Regardless, ten out of ten researchers are suppling the synopsis talking points to the funding source.

          Just place the next wheelbarrow of coin near my bunsen burner in the corner.

        • Robert F says

          Well, scientists do no work in isolation. They receive checks written by organizations, and the data they derive from their researches do not belong to them, but to larger organizations. Scientists belong to, and derive their livelihoods from, research communities; as such, it’s inevitable that their findings will take expression in the language of those communities, which have certain expectations and perspectives. To say this is no more than toe say that scientists and the research communities they belong to are human.

          I believe that human generated, cataclysmic global warming is occurring; but I don’t do so primarily on the basis of specific scientific evidence, since I don’t understand the specific scientific evidence. I do so because my cultural setting and educational background, along with the working of my common sense, lead me to believe that you can’t displace as much matter and energy in the biosphere as humans do without have a cataclysmic affect on the preexisting fine balance of that system.

          But I also believe that humanity will not willingly embark on wide-scale changes, nor undertake the intentional economic dislocations, necessary to alter the course we’re on. No doubt, the exigencies forced upon humanity by the actual environmental changes our behavior has caused will lead to changes; but these will be reactive changes, not deliberate and intentional ones, and no doubt will likely aggravate the situation as much as alleviate it (ethanol in gasoline might be an example of what I mean).

          In the meantime, I will do what I think myself capable of doing to help preserve the environment, and support legislation that I think might help. But the very things I think may help may ultimately be insignificant, or bring their own unforeseen negative consequences.

          • I read the book “Collapse” by Diamond recently, which discusses societies that collapsed, often due to climate change ( deforestation, etc. not necessarily global climate change). It’s rare for a society to change their habits to accommodate the changes; usually it ends badly.

          • Good book, Suzanne. I also just read it as well as The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter. A lot to think about.

      • Christiane says

        politicians and preachers on ‘global warming’ ?

        well, the politicians are being financially supported (bribed) by the fossil fuel industries, and the preachers are kow-towing to the politicians who are know-towing to the oil companies because the preachers figure the political far-right will somehow stop abortions politically . . . and the other hosts of social issues the preachers now see as solvable by political means . . .

        please tell me I’m wrong here

  15. “The project is currently only a concept because Italian law forbids such burials.”

    I’m just curious about the specifics of those Italian laws. That must have been some awkward forward thinking on the part of legislators right there. “It shall be unlawful, should some company every attempt to to develop and market such a concept in the future, for the deceased to be interred in a capsule that would turn him or her into a living tree.”

    I bet the United States is less strict. If we planted roses bushes instead of trees no one would have to bring flowers to cemeteries anymore, the gravesites would just decorate themselves.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      I’m just guessing, but it might be that coffins made to certain specs are required. Such laws have existed in various US jurisdictions, enacted at the behest of the funeral-industrial complex, though I would imagine justified on some bogus basis such as public health.

    • I’m all for green funerals. Apparently there is at least one cemetery in Indianapolis that allows them, which I hope my kids will avail themselves of. As a gardener I’d far rather compost than be locked in a $7000 tupperware leaching chemicals.

      • Daniel Jepsen says

        Yeah, I’d rather be remembered as a tree than a headstone, though it would kinda suck if the tree toppled over or got diseased.

        • “though it would kinda suck if the tree toppled over or got diseased.”

          Or struck by lightning. I think it would make quite a statement is Daniel’s tree was struck by lightning.

        • Christiane says

          nature recycling our elements into nutrients for a tree . . . the elements that once formed our physical being become a part of an organism that gives shelter to other living creatures and provides seeds and fruits and offers the comfort of shade, so our physical elements continue on in the passage of time to be ‘of use’ in a world that has harbored us in life

          what’s not to like? it actually sounds pagan, if it were not driven by a loving-kindness towards all living things which honors Our Creator going forward after our passing . . . the way lighting a candle keeps our prayer vibrant, even after we have physically departed from a sanctuary

          it’s all good, all good

      • Only $7000? I didn’t know they were that inexpensive…

      • Dana Ames says

        My parents (yes, both) were funeral directors. A “traditional funeral” was what I knew, and what I wanted until I began thinking about all the toxic chemicals involved. That’s why certain kinds of caskets and grave liners are required – to try to prevent that leaching. Cremation was never something I wanted, and besides that, it takes a lot of energy to get a fire hot enough to do what it’s supposed to do, and then to run the machinery that crushes the bones; there are toxic emissions from that process as well. So that’s actually not a very “green” option, either.

        Long ago I decided on a green burial. It’s easier to find cemeteries in the west that are set up for it. Then I become Orthodox and find out that a green burial is the traditional Orthodox way…. There are both Catholic and Orthodox monasteries where the monks/nuns make and sell simple wood caskets as part of how they earn their money – fairly easy to find by Internet search now.

        Dana

        • Dana, that kind of plain coffin is the only kind used by Orthodox Jews, and there are many sources for them. (Which you probably already know; just sayin’…).

          • Dana Ames says

            Yes indeed. One of the many threads I have found from Orthodoxy back into Judaism. It would not be likely that Orthodox Jewish carpenters would embellish their work with Christian symbols, though…

            D.

          • The symbols: you got me there! 😉

        • Christiane says

          a coffin-maker for Christians ?
          . . . yes, this:

          https://vimeo.com/65019294

  16. Sparklemuffin is most definitely a Rastafarian.

  17. Robert F says

    The Capsula Mundi seems like a good idea to me. But I also like the idea of traditional cemeteries, where generations of survivors can go to site specific burial/interment locations to remember and honor their parents, grandparents and ancestors; this is certainly an important part of the Christian tradition surrounding burial/interment, especially burial/interment in and around church buildings. In the early centuries, the first dedicated church buildings were constructed near already existing Christian cemeteries, not only to honor the dead, but to express the Communion of Saints as a single living community of those on both sides of the grave. Could Capsula Mundi cemeteries be tailored with these concerns in mind?

    • Yes, but what about the ground water? I fear for the safety of the water table. (Seriously.)

      • Brianthedad says

        In the scheme of things, not high on the worrisome list. I deal with water quality as part of my job. We make dirty water clean so folks can drink it. Way, way more problems with plain ole agricultural runoff (silt and chemicals) for surface water, to a lesser extent groundwater. threats to groundwater vary, depending on the subsurface geology, but leaking tanks are a prime concern here. In an ironic twist of unintended consequences, one of the additives used to minimize air pollution from gas-burning vehicles, MTBE, is nearly impossible to get out of groundwater.

        • Robert F says

          This ironic twist is another example of the unintended negative ecological consequences of even our attempts to preserve and fix the environment; I would include ethanol in gasoline as another such example.

        • I believe you re. runoff from farms. (I live in a rural area where agriculture is very important to the local economy and to many peoples’ lives and identity.)

        • Robert F says

          Brianthedad,
          What a great job you have: making dirty water clean so people can drink it. When I grow up I want a job like yours.

  18. Our dog is the absolute bestest kind of all.

    A shelter rescue mutt.

    • That Other Jean says

      OK, I volunteer for a shelter, and you’re right. Shelter dogs can be wonderful, and there are way too many of them. I’m a chihuahua person (don’t laugh–they’re not the nasty, yippy little dogs you remember from your great aunt, they just don’t like little kids), and my last three chihuahuas have come from shelters. Too many people think they’re personal accessories, not creatures with their own minds and needs.

      • Hurray for chihuahua lovers! I have two that my daughter left when she moved out and got married. Now they are MINE because I feed, walk, and care for them. But one of them LIKES little children, probably because she is only 4 pounds and small children are not as intimidating as large adults. BOTH chihuahuas, though, do NOT like other dogs, and they will bark like idiots when they are around them. The male chihuahua even barks at the television when he sees another dog.

        • That Other Jean says

          Chihuahuas do have a tendency to believe that they’re eight feet tall and bulletproof, don’t they? Mine barks at the collie down the street to the point that the collie runs from him, which only feeds his ego. He gets along fine with our cats, though, even though they’re twice his size, plus some.

      • At the AKC Meet & Greet we met the nicest chihuahua ever. Calm, friendly to everyone, very atypical from what I’ve known. I asked the owner about this and she said that he was raised with big dogs and treated the same as the big dogs, so he never developed “small dog syndrome.”

        My quirky rescue girl, a mix of lab and who knows what is my favorite breed.

    • Absolutely, Eeyore! I can understand why someone would pay a lot of good money for a good working dog bred for a particular practical purpose, but it baffles me otherwise. Mutts rule, and rescues are in desperate need, mostly unmet.

    • Both of our shelties are from a rescue. It’s a great thing to do.

    • cermak_rd says

      All 3 of ours are former shelter mixes. Spikey is a 10 year old Dane type mix, Skampy a Jack Russell terrior born with a birth defect of crooked back legs, and Jax, a err um, welll, I have no idea, but he’s energetic! My neighbor has referred to him as a Canardly hound, as in, you can hardly tell what he is.

  19. Daniel, did you ask Chaplain Mike’s permission before you posted those corrupted Van Gogh paintings???

    You might get kicked out on your butt.

  20. What? No news about Harrison Ford crashing while flying “Solo”?

  21. Sadly, trees are not a perpetual memorial, as those of us in the west can attest, where draught, insects, and fire have destroyed thousands of acres of trees.

    • Drought. Sometimes spell check goofs up my words; other times it sits back and laughs.

    • OTOH, how long will a stone marker last? The writing may last what, 200-300 years, if that? How much longer, in historic terms, is that compared to a tree? How often will friends and family visit a gravestone after a generation?

      I guess it all boils down to a matter of perspective.

  22. “Starry Night” loses all its strength and beauty.

    • They all lose their beauty, IMO. Some things should not be tampered with. Photoshop: just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

      • Very much agreed. Van Gogh’s presentation was partly rooted in his admiration for Japanese woodblock prints, which did not use linear perspective and are intentionally “flat.” there are days when i wish Photoshop had never been invented, and this is one of them.

      • Dana Ames says

        Yup.

        D.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Starry Night was my least favorite of these; Perhaps the stars should have been highlighted instead of the village.

      • They both are in focus in the painting. Taking one out of focus breaks the composition.

        • Doing what this person did literally wreck the composition of evety single painting treated in this way. Van Gogh used linear perspective in his earliest work, but deliberately moved away from it as his career progressed. none of the later paintings were meant to be seen in this way, and it bugs the living daylights out of me that someone had the bad taste to try.

      • Robert F says

        Blurry Night

  23. What will be the news reporter say when the Jesus balloon strikes a power line, bursts into flames and crashes to earth?
    1. Oh the humanity?
    2. Oh the divinity?
    3. Oh the hypostatic union?
    4. Oh look! A flying butter Jesus!

  24. OldProphet says

    As Captain Kirk said to Nomad, “you are in error!”. The belief that dogs are better than cats is in ERROR! Cats rule! I can’t abide dogs especially happy little dogs. Surely God made an error when He created Chihuahuas!? Yap,yap,yap,whine,whine,arrrroooooo,bark,bark, aaaaarrrr. Give it a rest you mangy mongrels! Puuurrrr, not that’s a sound I love. Wait, where’s my pooper scooper!

    • If you own a dog, you are your dog’s best friend.

      If you own a cat, you are your cat’s household staff.

      Here endeth the lesson.

      • Excuse me, but who owns cats? Ours allow us to live in their house.

        • Exactly, Damaris. And it’s a privilege I appreciate.

          • You’re a good man, Ted. I expect your cats will allow you to stay.

          • Only one cat. Wife won’t allow any more. She’s a dog person, God help her.

            Little Sal loves me. She cuddles up on my lap, spills my coffee, loses pages in whatever book I’m reading, or crowds the laptop for its heat. Then as I shuffle her aside to keep reading, she bites my wrist and stalks off in a huff.

            But she always forgives me.

          • Well, but Ted, if you have a Little Sal, you have to have a Jane. Literary completeness requires it. Surely your wife will acknowledge that.

          • It ain’t gonna happen right away. We used to have a Mike, though. How many Mikes does it take to run this blog, btw?

      • A dog looks at its owner and thinks “he feeds me, shelters me, pets me and tells me how much he loves me. He must be God.”

        A cat looks at its owner and thinks “he feeds me, shelters me, pets me and tells me how much he loves me. I must be God.”

  25. OldProphet says

    LOL

  26. I am a tad partial to dachshunds, as they are the only breed I’ve had so far, but I love just about every breed/mix of canine (sorry Chinese Cresteds, you’re just plain weird looking). They are like potato chips, I couldn’t pick just one. Though there are some breeds I would rather admire than own.
    It is a fantasy of mine to live on an island with a plethora of dogs. It would be great, and no need for fencing!
    Cats would be welcome too, but only if they have dog-like personalities.

    I concur with those who take the position of conservation without taking official sides on global warming. Preservation of your environment seems a reasonable aspiration.

    I had to check out the hot air balloon twice. The image looks like Buddy Jesus from Dogma.

  27. OldProphet says

    Eeyore, you truly are the cat’s meow. Picture a guy walking after his little dog, with his baggie and scoop picking up its little gems. Who’s the servant there? I love you foo foo!

    • “Look at me. Judge me by the size of my dog, do you? Hmmmmm? Hmmmmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Dog. And a loyal ally he is.”

  28. Within the first three notes my son looked at me and said, “Did you just get Rick Rolled?”

    My top three
    1, Corgi
    2. Basset Hound
    3. Bernese Mountain Dog

    And congrats for finding the only picture of a spider that didn’t make me throw my iPad across the room!

  29. I’d call the spider “Bob”. Looks Jamaican, mahn.

  30. Randy Thompson says

    Will they be tossing Easter eggs out of the balloon next month?

    Just curious.

  31. Dan, you’re just too much. You should have said inkwell before tomato, now I have a blotch on my wall to clean up. That’s ok, though, I’m pretty sure I hit the devil with that one. 😛

    Oh, and BTW, you were right about John 6. Apparently the Lutheran confessions take your side on that debate, saying that it is not about Eucharist and to read it thus is anachronistic. Holding to traditional sacramental theology, you can draw some sacramental motifs from the passage, but it is neither a proof text nor a source for building a sacramental theology.

    Next time you argue with a Lutheran (’cause I’m sure that for most people this happens quite often), find yourself one who knows what he’s talking about! 😉

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Hey, Miguel. Thought you would like the inkwell reference.

      And thanks for the kind words, but you are one of the most theologically informed people I know, of any denominational heritage.

  32. Some thoughts about marriage. what would be wrong with having contract marriages as has been suggested by various people over the past few years. A pre determined time such as 2 years or 5 years etc. the contract would be renewable at the end of its predetermined life. The contract would have all the terms of the dissolution already spelled out before the marriage even happens. So in the event that the contract is not renewed you just refer to the contract for all the terms of splitting up and it’s a done deal. and maybe just possibly doing this up front before the marriage happens will prevent some bad decisions in the first place. And I wonder where does the idea of lifelong marriage come from anyway? We all know that it’s in most cases simply not true, most people do not stay together for their entire lives. So essentially till death do us part is really a sham and everybody knows it. should it be harder to get married.?

    • MelissatheRagamuffin says

      In that case – why not just shack up?

      • Huh? Thought marriage was the subject.

        Anyone know when/how marriage became the life-long-one-man-one-woman institution of today ? Not a rhetorical question. Really trying to make sense of how we got to this point.
        Thanx
        KB

  33. MelissatheRagamuffin says

    Dachshunds rule! But, I also love my cockapoo!

  34. CCSoprano says

    Let me clear up some misconceptions about the funding of scientific research in the USA. I am a long timer lurker and very rare commenter here, but I can no longer stay silent about how scientific research is really funded. The topic doesn’t matter. It just so happens that today it is global climate change. Tomorrow it could be cancer or vaccines. As a former lab rat researcher myself, I know this area very well. In my former career, I’ve been a grant director, more precisely – a principal investigator of research grants I wrote and submitted to a federal agency.

    Most STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) faculty at any college or university worth its rankings engages in research. The funds to do this research come from a wide variety of federal agencies. Those federal agencies get their money from your tax dollars. These agencies include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. There are more. These are the ones, as a life scientist, I had research monies from some of them or knew others who were funded from these agencies.

    Here’s how it works:
    1. Faculty member or a group of faculty (these can involve multiple universities) writes a grant proposal to the best fit of a federal agency.
    2. Federal agency sends the grant proposal out for peer review.
    3. Depending on the outcome of the peer review and this is agency dependent – a group of scientists will gather in a conference room at the agency to discuss the fate of a whole lot of these grant proposals. Some will make it to the discussion stage, but others will not.
    4. The ones that make it to the discussion stage will be ranked by their peers as to whether they merit funding.
    5. What happens in that conference room stays in that conference room. The peer reviewers will not know who is funded when they leave. That happens later.
    6. If a grant proposal is funded, the agency will call the faculty member to tell them the good news. They will follow up with an award letter sent to the university administration telling them that the grant will be awarded to the university on behalf of the principal investigator proposing the research.

    No federal agency in my experience writes a check to a faculty member. Once funded, there are rules. Rules about human subjects. Rules about animals in research. Rules about genetically modified organisms. Rules about nondisclosure. Rules about conflicts of interest. Rules about toxins or infectious agents. Rules about how one is allowed to spend the money. And yes, faculty or other personnel salaries can be covered by research funds.

    I’ve no experience with foundations that support research, but the ones I know a little about follow something close to the federal model. I can’t speak directly to contracts with commercial firms, but those do exist.

    In general, the scientific community in the USA wants more money for more research. Much of this research is what we call “basic”. These are the big scientific questions to us – the whys of the universe that skate close to the theological. Unfortunately with the push for STEM education and careers, the general public remains focused on the practical-that is the T for technology and sometimes the E for engineering, without understanding the foundation that makes those possible.

    • Thanks for inside view of the funding process.

    • I appreciate your experience, CCSoprano. Let me ask you this: A relative works at the University of Illinois and says that she knows of dissertation topics in the agriculture department being denied or approved by Monsanto and Archer-Daniel-Midlands. Big agri-business apparently funds U of I’s ag program pretty heavily, and they have been allowed to call the shots. Does this not happen in other departments in other universities? I’d be happy to hear that it doesn’t.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      And the process is pretty much the same in the countries I have lived / worked / studied – South Africa and Canada. Occasionally industry supports a student thesis (this happened a fair amount in geology, for instance), where the object was to solve a particular problem, understand a particular phenomenon etc. But this was always highlighted right at the beginning of the Masters or Doctoral thesis…

  35. IndianaMike says

    With the regard to the comments on Ferguson, that dog won’t hunt.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/node/414764/print

  36. Poor clueless Sen Inhofe doesn’t realize what a complete fool he’s making of himself. But what does that say about us that we cede power to such fools?

    I’m not philosophically opposed to The Capsula Mundi but it could get kinda creepy if people insist on nailing pictures of the dearly departed to the trees and piping cheesy organ music over a PA system. I’m still holding out for mummification and my own pyramid.

    What’s Mayor Bill de Blasio going to do when the Satanists come calling? Come to think of it Halloween should definitely be a holiday.

    Ya know folks I always used to criticize Hippie Jesus in a bathrobe but he shines next to Happy Republican Jesus.

    A couple weeks ago there were mysterious eruptions of dust on Mars. Now the appearance of equally mysterious craters on earth. Hmmm…you don’t think… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzC3Fg_rRJM

  37. OldProphet says

    Yes, Stephan. They’re seed pods, definitely seed pods. Don’t fall asleep! Watch C-Span all night! Err,oops, maybe not.

  38. OldProphet says

    Or read every post Steve Martin has ever put up on Imonk That will keep you up. ????

    • That 1st clip is a blast from the past, Robert. I wish true variety shows still existed.

  39. What is it like when a marriage of three goes sour?

    Pedestrian, at best.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-nr1nNC3ds

  40. Posting this Sunday night after reading just a few of the Van gogh negatives.just to be heard and nothing more. I thought it was pretty cool and zipped the focus into a new light.