More Stuff I Won’t Get to Write About, at length (dang editing)

Computer power and intelligence. I actually did a video bit about this one the other night.  Hopefully I’ll get it edited soon.  Simple fact: We DO NOT WANT TO CREATE AN AI!   Really, it would not be a good thing.

What invasive species are trying to tell us.

Shaq isn’t human, he’s dancer. (Thanks, Case!)

Watching Republicans Grieve. O.k. I am actually going to write about this one.

The War in Afghanistan gets personal.

Repeat: Plasma bullets create Northern Lights. Had to look this one up again for the book (dang editing).

Why I Blog…

You end up writing about yourself, since you are a relatively fixed point in this constant interaction with the ideas and facts of the exterior world. And in this sense, the historic form closest to blogs is the diary. But with this difference: a diary is almost always a private matter. Its raw honesty, its dedication to marking life as it happens and remembering life as it was, makes it a terrestrial log. A few diaries are meant to be read by others, of course, just as correspondence could be—but usually posthumously, or as a way to compile facts for a more considered autobiographical rendering. But a blog, unlike a diary, is instantly public. It transforms this most personal and retrospective of forms into a painfully public and immediate one. It combines the confessional genre with the log form and exposes the author in a manner no author has ever been exposed before.

Indeed, and I turned a blog for a month into a book…as an experiment in New Media.  We’ll see how it turns out…I’m very curious to see if it works.

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Thank God For Small Favors

Declining membership, baptisms worry Southern Baptists – USATODAY.com

For most of four decades, Southern Baptists could boast of rising membership even as more moderate and liberal Protestant denominations lost members in droves.

But with membership slightly down last year, and flat for the past five, Southern Baptists face a growing anxiety about their future as they gather for their annual meeting Tuesday in Indianapolis.

“We have peaked,” Southern Baptist statistician Ed Stetzer wrote in an online commentary on the latest statistics from 2007. “…For now, Southern Baptists are a denomination in decline.”

I blame the dancing, or lack thereof.   This trend will generally continue in the modern world because of two things.

1) This is the Information Age and many (most) dogmatic religions require a good bit of ignorance to be considered accurate descriptions of the (unknown) world.  With more information available, it is more likely people will be exposed to a world their religion does a poor job of explaining/describing.

And…2) People are getting smarter…

Professor Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, said many more members of the “intellectual elite” considered themselves atheists than the national average.

A decline in religious observance over the last century was directly linked to a rise in average intelligence, he claimed.

But the conclusions – in a paper for the academic journal Intelligence – have been branded “simplistic” by critics.

He said religious belief had declined across 137 developed nations in the 20th century at the same time as people became more intelligent.

“Linking religious belief and intelligence in this way could reflect a dangerous trend, developing a simplistic characterisation of religion as primitive, which – while we are trying to deal with very complex issues of religious and cultural pluralism – is perhaps not the most helpful response,” [Professor Gordon Lynch] said.

[full story]

Quite the contrary, in fact.  Looking at it as primitive is precisely what the world needs.   There are primitive things that are useful, but they are not dominant…anymore.  That’s why we call them “primitive”.  We have better answers now.

I Can Draw Quite Well, Thank You

Elephant paints an elephant – Boing Boing

Elephant paints an elephant

In this video, an elephant is led to an easel, picks up a paintbrush, and paints a picture of an elephant holding a flower. Or at least, that’s what appears to happen — there are lots of cuts in the video and it’s hard to say what’s really going on. Fake or real, it’s a great way to spend 8 minutes. Link See also: Elephant artists