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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Google just announced a new app called “Inbox” that has the potential to transform the way we email. But it also looks like it’s going to seriously annoy advertisers as a result.
One of the key features of the Google Now-like app is “Bundles.” Basically, Inbox automatically bundles together certain kinds of messages like bank statements and purchase receipts so it’s easy to scan through them quickly.
Another feature likely to catch the eye of advertisers is “Highlights” which helps you find key information like flight itineraries and event info, but it also pulls in information from the web that wasn’t in the original email like the real-time status of your flight.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Media Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology
In an age of smartphones, instant messaging and 24/7 availability, it’s increasingly hard to find time to step away and reconnect with one’s self, especially in fast-paced tech hubs like Silicon Valley.
But before you lock your smartphone in a closet for an hour a day, check out some of the apps and websites available for learning and practicing the ancient art of meditation and the more contemporary mindfulness-based stress reduction.
You don’t need a new gadget to meditate — all the equipment necessary comes installed in the product.
But some meditation and mindfulness trainers are using technology in interesting ways. They range from simple meditation timers to complete courses.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Ready? Here’s what was fake on the Internet this week:
1. The only people who contracted Ebola in America, as of this writing, are two nurses who treated a Liberian man in Dallas. That is it, full stop, there is no one else. We could devote an entire Friday debunking — nay, an entire series of Friday debunkings — to nothing but the false Ebola rumors flitting around locations as far-flung as Anchorage. Instead, let’s make this brief: Nobody in the United States currently has Ebola, except (a) Nina Pham, who is currently being treated in isolation at the National Institutes of Health and (b) Amber Vinson, who was recently transferred to Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital,,,.
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In Detroit, a group of Catholics borrowed the idea of flash mobs for "Mass mobs" to help revitalize urban churches.
Every month, a group called Detroit Mass Mobs picks a church, spreads the word on Facebook — and just like that, it fills up and buzzes with the energy it once had.
St. Florian Catholic church is an eight-story, red-brick church built in 1908 by the Polish families who flocked here to work for Dodge, Ford and Packard. It seats 1,500 people, but normally only about 200 people attend noon Mass. On a recent Sunday, Thom Mann, an organizer with Detroit Mass Mob who's not a regular at St. Florian, had to get here early because, he says, "there'll be standing room only."
"People are upset that the churches are closing, but the simple reason is, people don't go," Mann says.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology
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Kelly Wood, 29, and her husband Ethan Bushman married last month, waiting seven years after they met in order to further their education and careers.
“I felt if I had gotten married at an earlier age, it would have been too young,” said Wood, a nurse in San Francisco whose husband is 30 and finishing a graduate degree. “Just being older and more established in our careers and our goals in life, that groundwork is letting us enter into marriage as strong as we can.”
Couples in the U.S. are increasingly postponing marriage, a decades-long pattern exacerbated by financial struggles still facing young adults five years after the end of the deepest recession since the 1930s. The delays are contributing to a lower birth rate and less homeownership, limiting consumer spending.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Marriage & Family Psychology Sociology Young Adults * General Interest Photos/Photography * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
No one reasonably disputes that attendance in Christian churches is in sharp decline. The real lingering question is "why?" which is one of the most important questions I take on in my new book, postChristian: What's left? Can we fix it? Do we care?
Though it's not solely responsible, the Internet -- along with the way it changes the way we interrelate, communicate, seek and consume information -- is certainly doing its part to contribute to the decline. And it's not just Church that is feeling the pinch; any hierarchic system in which the institution traditionally has played the role of guard, gatekeeper or mediator is finding their authority challenged.
As for why now, the answer is more complex than any single factor. On the one hand, changing domestic, social and economic systems have caused us to spread out and move around far more than before. The churches, as a result, are no longer social hubs of neighborhoods any more. And along with being social hubs, churches also served as economic engines, as businesspeople networked after worship or over a potluck meal. Now we just use LinkedIn.
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Often we want our churches to grow, but we're not sure what sort of tools to use. We don't have any sort of action plan to get the word out about our congregations. Of course, word of mouth is still the best way to get people to church, but there are things we can do to make that message sharable. Here are a few steps we can take.
Clarify our message—Think about who your church is and what they aspire to be. Can you think of a story in your history that reflects who you are? Can you think of a metaphor or some sort of physical object to reflect that message? Can you boil the message down to three to five words?
Google Maps—Find your church on Google maps and fill out the details. Make sure the contact information is good. Put your website there.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Theology Pastoral Theology
Hundreds of young women and girls are leaving their homes in western countries to join Islamic fighters in the Middle East, causing increasing concern among counter-terrorism investigators.
Girls as young as 14 or 15 are travelling mainly to Syria to marry jihadis, bear their children and join communities of fighters, with a small number taking up arms. Many are recruited via social media.
Women and girls appear to make up about 10% of those leaving Europe, North America and Australia to link up with jihadi groups, including Islamic State (Isis). France has the highest number of female jihadi recruits, with 63 in the region – about 25% of the total – and at least another 60 believed to be considering the move.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Teens / Youth Women * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam
Even with their technological head start, the U.S. and its allies are coming late to this battle for hearts and minds. Social media’s volume, velocity and verisimilitude have left the U.S. struggling to counter it and mine the communication for reliable information.
By the end of this year, the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union projects that 55 percent of the world’s 2.3 billion mobile broadband subscriptions will be in developing countries, where unemployed youth can use them to access messages from Islamic State and other extremists.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Globalization Media Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * General Interest Photos/Photography * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
If the church upholds this kind of decision, it is endorsing cruelty, discrimination and exclusion. Pope Francis’ view is that this is exactly the kind of thing that requires the church to exercise mercy not rigidity. But allowing a married gay couple to sing in the choir as an act of “mercy” would merely further expose the fragility of the church’s thirteenth century views of human sexuality. It would put the lie to the otherness of gay people; to the notion that it is essential or even possible for a tiny minority to live entirely without intimacy or love or commitment. It also reveals that gay men have long been a part of the church – and tolerated, as long as they lied about their lives and gave others plausible deniability with respect to their sexual orientation. It is an endorsement of dishonesty.
None of this is compatible with the core moral teachings of the church – about fairness, truth, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and inclusion. And this is clear to large numbers of Catholics – especially the younger generation who will rightly view this kind of decision as barbaric and inhuman. There is only so much inhumanity that a church can be seen to represent before its own members lose faith in it. I recall the feelings of my own niece and nephew who lost a huge amount of respect for the church when they heard a homily denouncing the civil marriage of their own uncle. I notice the outcry among Catholic high school students when a teacher was fired for the very same reason. When a church responds to an act of love and commitment not by celebration but by ostracism, it is not just attacking a couple’s human dignity; it is also attacking itself.
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Media Psychology Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
This week concludes our three-part BLOGFORCE challenge. The first challenge was, “Why the Church?” The second was, “Why Anglicanism?” This week, we asked, “Why the Episcopal Church?...”
Holli Powell blogs, “Why Why Why?”
And that’s exactly why the Episcopal Church, at least for this silly, frustrated soul. Because I care enough to keep slogging through this mess with these folks who all care just as much as I do, if not more, rather than separating from everyone and writing my own church creed with a cup of coffee in my hand in my back yard. Because all these arguments and disagreements mean that we are a family, bound together by the blood lines of liturgy and faith and reason, and even if you desperately want to run away from your family sometimes, you don’t get to. Because this institution has survived through hundreds of years in order to be just the thing I needed to remind me that I was a child of God, in order to remind me that everyone else is too. And it will survive hundreds of years more, God willing, in spite of ourselves, to be that for other Grumpy McFussypants just like me.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Identity Episcopal Church (TEC) * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology
In the eight years since, Facebook’s News Feed — that LED-lit window through which we glimpse news, memes and snatches of other people’s lives — has not exactly gotten less controversial. But the nature of that controversy has fundamentally changed. Where early college users raged against sharing, and seeing, too much information — of being subsumed, in effect, by the social media noise — our anxieties today frequently involve getting too little of it. Facebook’s latest changes to the News Feed, announced just last week, are essentially tooled to give users more content, more quickly.
Both concerns relate to control. Whether we see too much content or too little, everything we see in Facebook’s News Feed is determined by an algorithm — an invented mathematical formula that guesses what you want to see based on who posted it, where it came from, and a string of other mysterious factors known only to the programmers and project managers who work on it.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Globalization Media Psychology Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Folks still speak of “the blogosphere,” but it no longer is one sphere (if it ever was). Many readers have feeds of their favorite blogs, and that’s true of the religious realms as well. The 1994 document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” is now 20 years old, but in blogging, evangelicals and Catholics tend to be far apart.
And so, as a public service, I hereby introduce evangelicals to the best-written Catholic blog I’ve seen: The Anchoress. It comes from the mind and heart of Elizabeth Scalia (not one of the justice’s nine children), and it’s not only counter-conventional regarding the world at large but sometimes regarding Roman Catholicism as well. One of her articles asked, “Is the world making an idol of Pope Francis?”
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The story of how the Central Intelligence Agency came to operate a secretive program of rendition, detention, and interrogation under President George W. Bush has been made public by a number of investigations into the abuses that resulted. In 2007, the Red Cross detailed the methods used to interrogate suspects at CIA-run “black sites.” In 2010, the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility strongly criticized the Bush administration lawyers who wrote the legal memos permitting the CIA to use torture. And last year, the Constitution Project Task Force on Detainee Treatment—a nonpartisan group that included a number of former military and intelligence personnel—analyzed what is known about mistreatment of detainees and the policy decisions that led to such ugly consequences.
Now a new report is expected from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is charged with overseeing the activities of the CIA.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Globalization Law & Legal Issues Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy The U.S. Government Foreign Relations Politics in General * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Since the Jennifer Lawrence photo hack, Internet security has come under scrutiny. But why do many young women feel the need to take and share nude selfies in the first place? Don’t get me wrong: I think hackers are morally reprehensible and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But I also think that we need to build an alternative to the dogma “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Young women are told that it’s a sign of being proud of your sexuality to “sext” young men—a philosophy that has turned girls into so many flashing beacons, frantic to keep the attention of the males in their lives by striking porn-inspired poses.
Today if you watch the famous Algerian-French singer Enrico Macias singing to his late wife, Suzy, about how he “won her love,” their dynamic seems as if it’s from another planet. Some might watch this decades-old video and imagine her passivity indicates that she wasn’t empowered. But I see something else in her shy manner and dancing eyes: a drama between them that was not for the public to see. The words of his song are certainly moving—“In the exile’s nights, we were together/ My son and my daughter are truly from you/ I spent my life … waiting for you”—and yet there was even more than what those beautiful lyrics revealed.
The pressure on girls today to take sexy selfies comes out of a culture that routinely equates modesty with shame, instead of recognizing it for what it really is: an impulse that protects what is precious and intimate.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Psychology Sexuality Teens / Youth Women * General Interest Photos/Photography * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Remember that the more specific you can be, the more the rest of us will get from your comments--KSH.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet History Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Terrorism * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Google’s search engine makes it wonderfully easy to locate stuff on the web, whether it’s in a news article, a corporate website, or a video on YouTube. But that only begins to describe Google’s ability to find information. Inside the company, engineers use several uniquely powerful tools for searching and analyzing its own massive trove of data.
One of those is Dremel, a tool that helps Google’s employees analyze data stored across thousands of machines, at unusually fast speeds. What’s more, Dremel lets the Google team to manipulate all of this data using a language very similar to SQL, short for Structured Query Language, the standard way of grabbing information from databases.
Like most of its custom-built tools, Dremel is only available inside Google. But now, the rest of the world can hack data a little more like Google does, thanks to Quest, a Dremel-like query engine created by Theo Vassilakis, one of the lead developers of Dremel at Google, and Toli Lerios, a former engineer at Facebook. The tool is one of a growing number of that seek to mimic the way web giants like Google and Facebook rapidly analyze enormous amounts of online information stored across hundreds or even thousands of machines. This includes everything from a project called Drill, from a company called MapR, to a sweeping open source platform called Spark.
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Even as the world expressed its horror at the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff by the radical militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), there were those who exulted on social media. Self-proclaimed Western jihadists and ISIS supporters in Syria, these people proclaimed victory and promised more killings to come. “I wish I did it,” noted one on a Tumblr blog. Another asked for links to any videos of Foley’s execution and cackled, in a slang-filled Twitter post, that the “UK must b shaking up ha ha.”
They were both women. The Twitter personality, Khadijah Dare, whose handle Muhajirah fi Sham means “female immigrant to Syria,” declared her desire to replicate the execution: “I wna b da 1st UK woman 2 kill a UK or US terorrist!” Her statement may be pure jingoism, but as ISIS attracts more female adherents, the likelihood of seeing a woman brandishing a knife in the terrorist group’s name only increases.
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The more specific you can be (why did you choose this particular book, what especially do you like about it, etc. etc.), the more others can enjoy your contributions--KSH.
I know you understand. Posts will be catch as catch can. I am seriously considering an occasional open thread on an edifying subject so if you have suggestions for such threads please post in the comments below. Many thanks--KSH.
As usual with Facebook, this is not the whole story. For one, it has begun tracking users’ browsing history to identify their interests better. Its latest mobile app can identify songs and films playing nearby, nudging users to write about them. It has acquired the Moves app, which does something similar with physical activity, using sensors to recognise whether users are walking, driving or cycling.
Still, if Facebook is so quick to embrace – and profit from – the language of privacy, should privacy advocates not fear they are the latest group to be “disrupted”? Yes, they should: as Facebook’s modus operandi mutates, their vocabulary ceases to match the magnitude of the task at hand. Fortunately, the “happiness” experiment also shows us where the true dangers lie.
For example, many commentators have attacked Facebook’s experiment for making some users feel sadder; yet the company’s happiness fetish is just as troubling. Facebook’s “obligation to be happy” is the converse of the “right to be forgotten” that Google was accused of trampling over. Both rely on filters. But, while Google has begun to hide negative results because it has been told to do so by European authorities, Facebook hides negative results because it is good for business. Yet since unhappy people make the best dissidents in most dystopian novels, should we not also be concerned with all those happy, all too happy, users?
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Law & Legal Issues Psychology Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Stock Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Killucan, Co Westmeath, Parish Registers (1696–1786)
Drogheda, Co Louth, St Peter’s Parish registers (1702–1900)
Taughboyne Union Registers, Co Donegal, (Taughboyne, All Saints’ Newtowncunningham, Killea & Craigdoonish)
(1820 – 1900)...
Check it out.
A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion username and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses, security researchers say.
The records, discovered by Hold Security, a firm in Milwaukee, include confidential material gathered from 420,000 websites, ranging from household names to small Internet sites. Hold Security has a history of uncovering significant hacks, including the theft last year of tens of millions of records from Adobe Systems.
Hold Security would not name the victims, citing nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable. At the request of The New York Times, a security expert not affiliated with Hold Security analyzed the database of stolen credentials and confirmed it was authentic. Another computer crime expert who had reviewed the data, but was not allowed to discuss it publicly, said some big companies were aware that their records were among the stolen information.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Globalization Law & Legal Issues Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary Europe Russia * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The warnings come amid concern that fraudsters are targeting Anglicans by creating false social media profiles and then using them to build up a following before asking for financial assistance or support.
Last month, the Anglican Church in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, reported that "several fraudulent Facebook accounts bearing the name and picture of [Primate] Paul Kwong who claimed to the Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong Island" had been created.
The church said that its Archbishop, the Most Revd Dr Paul Kwong, "has no connection with the fraudulent website" and that members of the public should "be alert to internet scams and not to provide any personal information or conduct any financial transactions through the website concerned;" and it urged anybody who had given any personal information or conducted any financial transactions through the fake profiles to report it to the Police.
A similar warning has been issued by the Church of Nigeria.
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Read it all and see what you make of it.
You need to fill in all three blanks first:
At least ______ % [of] adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied recentlyNow, see how you did and read it all.
Among adult Canadians, _____% of males and _____% of females reported having experienced occasional or frequent bullying during their school years
_____% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children Education Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Sociology * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
[This illustration I heard is a...] great story about the power of a good deed. There’s just one problem: Almost nothing about this story is true. It’s one of the most popular myths about Churchill, according Snopes.com and the Downers Grove, Illinois-based Churchill Centre.
How do I know this?
During the sermon, I stopped listening to the pastor and instead turned my eyes on my cell phone. Something about the story just didn’t sit right — it was too good to be true. So whatever spiritual lesson I was supposed to learn in the sermon was soon overshadowed by the wisdom of a Google search.
Things get even worse when a pastor starts quoting statistics.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking History Religion & Culture Sociology * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Like many people, I trust Google to find me answers to everything from the mundane to the medical. Now, after a decade in which our increasing obsession with social media brought our computers out of the study and into the living-room, more of us are turning to the internet even when our question is emotional or irrational. The result: two decades after the birth of the web, our search histories have become a mirror to every aspect of our lives.
“Someone once said that what you look for is way more telling than information about yourself – this is something Google and other search engines understood a long time ago,” says Luciano Floridi, the Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the Oxford Internet Institute.
“Future generations will be able to trace our interests as a society just by looking at what we were looking for. Even if we don’t find the information, it doesn’t matter. Who we are, how we represent ourselves, how the world feeding back a mirror image of ourselves shapes our idea of ourselves – this is as old as philosophy, but today has a completely new twist. The online and offline are becoming more and more blurred, and that feeds back into our self-perception.” (If that sounds pseudy, then think of the example of a recruiter Googling someone who’s applied for a job: does the person on Twitter better represent who they really are, or the person on their best behaviour in the interview room?)
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Health & Medicine Philosophy Psychology Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK
Buzzfeed, the cheeky Web site that has soared in popularity with a mix of throwaway lists and hard-news reporting, has owned up to an ethical breach as old as journalism itself.
In an apology published late Friday night, editor Ben Smith acknowledged that one of the site’s most prolific writers, Benny Johnson, had plagiarized the work of others 40 times in some 500 articles and posts. Johnson has been fired, Smith said.
Johnson’s plagiarism began coming to light on Wednesday after Twitter users and a blog called “Our Bad Media” began reporting instances in which he took other’s work without crediting his sources.
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Since editing that page and adding 50 percent to the content, [Anthony] Willey has made more than 8,000 edits to the editable online encyclopedia, mostly on articles related to Mormonism. His top edited pages include entries on Joseph Smith, Mormons, Mormonism, and Black people and Mormonism.
The problem confronting many Wikipedia editors is that religion elicits passion — and often, more than a little vitriol as believers and critics spar over facts, sources and context. For “Wikipedians” like Willey, trying to put a lid on the online hate speech that can be endemic to Wikipedia entries is a key part of their job.
Religion is among several of the top 100 altered topics on Wikipedia, according to a recent list published by Five Thirty Eight. Former President George W. Bush is the most contested entry, but Jesus (No. 5) and the Catholic Church (No. 7) fall closely behind.
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A woman in her late 20s came to see me recently because her back hurt. She works at a child care center in town where she picks up babies and small children all day long.
She felt a twinge in her lower back when hoisting a fussy kid. The pain was bad enough that she went home from work early and was laid out on the couch until she came to see me the next day.
In my office she told me she had "done some damage" to her back. She was worried. She didn't want to end up like her father, who'd left his factory job in his mid-50s on disability after suffering what she called permanent damage to his back.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Health & Medicine Psychology Science & Technology * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Canada * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
As long as that phone is acting as a kind of electronic umbilical cord, parents can tell themselves their children are safe.
But increasingly the smartphone itself is an instrument of harm. Such is the case with a 16-year-old Houston girl named Jada, who entered the spotlight as she publicly confronted the evidence that she had been raped at a party by at least one other teenager. She says she passed out after drinking a beverage that was spiked and only learned of the crime after her classmates began tweeting photos and videos taken of her unconscious, partly nude body. (Houston police are investigating; no one has been charged.)
What happened next is remarkable in ways that instill faith in the human spirit and at the same time provoke disgust at the depravity and lemming-like behavior that teenagers with smartphones are capable of.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children Marriage & Family Science & Technology Teens / Youth Violence * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Mass surveillance of UK citizens is taking place without proper safeguards and in breach of people’s rights to privacy, it was claimed this week.
The British intelligence services share personal communications data collected by the US authorities on a “vast scale” — including on “a very substantial number of people located in the UK,” lawyers claimed at a hearing in London.
The claims came at the start of a landmark challenge to the legality of government intelligence-gathering before the normally secret Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which investigates complaints about the conduct of the security and intelligence services, often behind closed doors.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Law & Legal Issues Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
I now proceed to the task immediately at hand: to correct certain deplorable misrepresentations of fact and law that are passing for substantive analysis on the side of the rump group supported by ECUSA. Though I have done this on earlier occasions, no one among them has taken my analysis to heart, or still less, refuted it. Instead, they keep on promulgating the same fictions, dressed up in new language. This, I submit, is a gross disservice to those who would read and rely upon them.
The blog post which I fisk below comes from an otherwise admirable blog which seeks to compile a history of the current Episcopal divide in South Carolina -- a subject to which I have devoted posts here, and here. With regard to the regrettable division that occurred (regardless of who spurred it), the blogger, a retired history professor named Ronald Caldwell, has compiled a useful chronology, and indicates that he is writing a book tracing its origin and evolution.
Thus it seems more necessary than ever that an attempt should be made to set Prof. Caldwell straight, before he commits himself to print. I am taking as my text his post of July 9, 2014, entitled "Reflections on the First Day of Trial" [note: Prof. Caldwell has since modified the title to remove the first two words]. After a brief introduction, he writes:
1-the trial is "to protect" the assets of the independent diocese. Lawrence knows full well that under Episcopal Church law, that he swore to uphold in 2008, all local properties are held in trust for the Episcopal Church and her diocese. The diocese recognized this for years, until 2011. In fact, the trial is to convince the judge to hand over the Episcopal Church property to the independent diocese. There is a difference between protection and seizure.
Notice how this paragraph ignores the All Saints Waccamaw decision, as well as leaves out the trial court's obligation to follow it.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Polity & Canons * Admin Featured (Sticky) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet History Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
“Google it” is synonymous with seeking information. Now Google Inc. (GOOG) is struggling with a new rule: “Hide it.”
The world’s biggest search-engine company is grappling with how to apply a European Union court decision that said citizens have a so-called right to be forgotten when Internet searches throw up results that are “inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive.”
The company faces criticism from all sides for its response. It made a U-turn by restoring links to Daily Telegraph and Guardian newspaper stories in the U.K. after it was attacked for playing the role of press censor. Meanwhile, the country’s privacy watchdog said complaints have started to come from citizens who want information blocked.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Globalization Law & Legal Issues Media * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Check it out.
Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post.
Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.
Many of them were Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents. NSA analysts masked, or “minimized,” more than 65,000 such references to protect Americans’ privacy, but The Post found nearly 900 additional e-mail addresses, unmasked in the files, that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or U.S.residents.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Globalization Law & Legal Issues Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy The U.S. Government Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
How shocking: Facebook had the temerity to conduct an experiment on its users without telling them and now the results have been published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Actually, no one should be surprised.
For a week in 2012, the social network's staff scientist Adam Kramer and two collaborators used algorithms to doctor the news feeds of 689,003 English-speaking Facebook users. They reduced the number of posts containing "positive" and "negative" words, tracked their lab rat users' own posts, and found that their mood was influenced by that of the news feed. The term, well-known to psychologists studying real-world communications, is "emotional contagion."
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Nowadays, just about everyone says that everything in our homes will soon be connected to the internet. And some companies, including Google, Apple, and Amazon, are actually making it happen, offering internet-connected televisions, smoke alarms, and thermostats.
But Pandora has been actively pushing this idea even longer than most. Since at least 2006, the company has been working on ways to expand its free online streaming radio service beyond the personal computer. It started with mobile phones, and before long, Pandora was in the car, on the television, and even in the kitchen. In 2011, thanks to a partnership with Samsung, it became the first music service you could use via the refrigerator–for better or for worse, the abiding symbol of the “smart home.”
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Justin Prim isn’t just a bike messenger. He’s part of a new wave of self-employed go-getters, some making six figures, who are capitalizing on something called “the sharing economy.”
“For two years, this has been my main source of income -- just riding my bikes around, seeing the sights, picking up random stuff,” Justin said.
Online marketplaces where you rent out things you own have become booming businesses. You can rent out your home with AirBnb, Roomorama, Wimdu and BedyCasa, or your car with Buzzcar, Getawround and RelayRides, or even random stuff lying around with SnapGoods, Rentoid and Parking Panda.
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In the first day of the assault on Mosul, 40,000 pro-Isis tweets were unleashed, according to analysis by JM Berger, an author who researches extremism and social media, in a co-ordinated campaign of Twitter hashtags and digitally manipulated imagery.
Mr Berger this week discovered that Isis has its own web app, catchily named the Dawn of Glad Tidings. Downloadable by its digital footsoldiers, it allows Isis’ social media command to beam co-ordinated messages into their Twitter feeds, allowing a diffuse, but co-ordinated, mass messaging programme.
“They have used social media to great effect,” says Nigel Inkster, former assistant chief of MI6, the UK intelligence service, and now director of transnational threats at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank. “And its success was undeniably one of the factors in the collapse of the Iraqi army – they have been comprehensively psychologically bested.”
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The militant group that exploded on to the scene in Iraq this year has been carefully cataloging its list of brutalities over recent years in an annual report published online, according to a think tank that has analyzed the latest publication.
The report from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — known as ISIL or ISIS — records in explicit detail the number of assassinations, suicide bombings, knifings and even “apostates run over,” according to the analysis by the Institute for the Study of War.
The report doesn’t trace violence only. It also tracks “apostates repented,” a reference to winning over fellow Sunnis in areas that the group has seized.
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In a generation, we have shifted from parents trying to stop teenagers slumping in front of the TV to young people losing all interest in the box. US teens are so occupied with social networks and mobile video that they watch only about 21 hours of broadcast TV a week.
The ad industry is suffering from attention deficit disorder – the audience that once sat obediently in front of TV spots lovingly devised by its creatives is hard to pin down. Millennials are out there, on their phones and tablets, but they are as likely to be tweeting angrily about a brand as noticing its ads in the content stream.
“I am nervous about us all being out of a job a year from now if Reed Hastings [chief executive of Netflix] takes over the world,” Laura Desmond, chief executive of Starcom MediaVest, one of the largest advertising buying agencies, told a Cannes gathering. Netflix, the video streaming service, and cable TV network HBO rely on subscription fees alone and do not carry ads.
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I thought this was fun to look through--see what you make of it.
Isis is using a sophisticated strategy to spread its bloodcurdling message on social media sites.
Belying its ideology and rejection of Western values, the group has embraced modern technology and built its own computer app, which has been available since April.
The Dawn of Glad Tidings app is designed to circumvent spam filters on Twitter and stagger the release of identical tweets and hashtags through the accounts of those who have downloaded it.
The resulting “Tweetskrieg” has ensured that in recent days, Isis tweets have reached an unusually wide audience — a strategy echoing those used by marketing companies to build a “buzz” around a product.
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...perhaps more importantly, it’s become too emotionally exhausting to try to give myself to an institution and a constituency leadership that doesn’t want to resource the ministry that it claims it so much admires.
Read it all. I wish him Godspeed--KSH.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby arrives in Rome on Saturday for a two day visit that will culminate on Monday in a meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. On Sunday the Anglican leader will preach at Vespers at the church of St Gregory on the Caelian Hill, visit the two Anglican churches here in Rome and take part in a prayer service with the St Egidio community at St Bartholomew’s on the Tiber Island. During his packed programme, the Archbishop will also launch a new website for the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), showcasing ways in which members of the two communions are increasingly worshipping, working and witnessing side by side.
To find out more, Philippa Hitchen spoke with Canadian bishop Donald Bolen, co-chair of IARCCUM and Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, director of Unity, Faith and Order at the Anglican Communion office in London and co-secretary of IARCCUM…
Read and listen to it all.
Update: You may find a nice picture about this there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Francis
Like a trailer for a summer blockbuster, the video begins with loud music and the words “Coming Soon.”
But instead of superheroes or comedians on screen, there are images of a burning American flag and a jetliner hitting the World Trade Center, and the words: “Join the Caravan of Jihad and Martyrdom.”
As the music fades away, the blurred face of a man appears. He makes a direct appeal to Americans to join the fight.
The video ends with footage of a United States passport being burned. Men are heard laughing and shouting an Arabic phrase about God’s greatness.
Although the recruitment video has circulated among extremist groups for some days, intelligence analysts now believe the man with the blurred face is a 22-year-old from Florida who blew himself up last month in a suicide attack on Syrian government forces that killed 37, according to senior American government officials....
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Ms. Alkon writes that in our transient society we no longer have the constraints that existed when we lived in smaller groups and those who misbehaved were ostracized. Today you can be as rude as you like and get away with it because you'll probably never see your victims again. This observation won't come as a surprise if you've ever endured a train journey next to a person who yakked nonstop on a cellphone or had a concert or play interrupted by jangling mambo tones. When a woman next to me one night finally retrieved her cellphone, she shouted into it: "I told you not to call me when I was in the theater!"
But technology can also act as a weapon against rude behavior. "Webslapping is typically the best solution when someone is egregiously rude . . . ," Ms. Alkon writes; "there's a new sheriff out there, and it's the YouTube video gone viral."
Ms. Alkon delivers sound advice on navigating social-networking sites (she calls them "giant parasites targeting your personal information like tapeworms waiting for a move-in special on your large intestine."), on observing email etiquette and on texting at the dinner table: "If you're going to invite somebody to dinner and ignore them, at least have the decency to get married first and build up years of bitterness and resentment."
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...the Internet's impact on religion might not be entirely positive. A recent report in MIT Technology Review suggests a correlation between increased Internet use and the decline of religious affiliation. After analyzing data from the University of Chicago's General Social Survey, Olin College of Engineering professor Allen Downey found that the percentage of people in the U.S. population who claimed no religious affiliation increased to 18% in 2010 from 8% in 1990. That's a jump of 25 million people.
After examining education, socioeconomic status and religious upbringing, each of which contributed to the decline of affiliation, Mr. Downey was left with a great deal of the change unexplained. His hypothesis? The dramatic rise in Internet use. In the 1980s, almost no one used the Internet, but by 2010, according to the Social Survey, more than half of the population spent at least two hours online a week, and one quarter spent more than seven hours a week. Mr. Downey believes that as much as 25% of the decline in affiliation can be explained by this new habit.
Readers of the study should keep two things in mind: It measures "affiliation," that is, identification with a particular religious tradition, not belief in God. A strong majority of U.S. adults profess belief in God (although that number has also declined), but a smaller number are affiliating with institutions that promote those beliefs. Mr. Downey's study also measures correlation, not causation; he is not arguing that Internet use caused the decline, only that it occurred alongside it and might help explain it.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking History Psychology Religion & Culture Travel * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Days before the opening of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Facebook and Twitter have launched tournament coverage areas. Both social networks figure to have a big presence in the way people watch and follow the action and they are understandably trying to capitalize on that with some custom features.
Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has launched a page that aggregates popular public posts about the World Cup and features a match tracker. Also unveiled was a fan map, which shows a geographic breakdown of the fans of 10 prominent player Facebook pages. For example, it shows that Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s most followed player on Facebook, has 84 million fans. What might surprise is that by Facebook’s data, he’s huge in Sri Lanka, where his popularity is 20.5% “above average.”
Twitter is using the World Cup as a chance to sign up new users, enticing people to join by giving new accounts the opportunity to declare allegiance to a country and select a pre-made image as a new avatar. Twitter has also created a custom World Cup hub for the tournament and for individual matches. You can also now tweet to include a country’s flag, a feature called “hashflags” that was in use during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Pop star Shakira showed the feature off in what appears to be a coordinated launch for the product. Twitter will use these mentions in its “World Cup of Tweets,” which will go live on Thursday.
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What are British values? The Twittersphere has its own answers.
England's Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to promote "British values" in schools - including democracy, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths. The proposal comes after the "Trojan Horse" scandal, in which a group of fundamentalist Muslims were alleged to be plotting to "takeover" some schools in Birmingham.
But many on Twitter have been joking about exactly what British values are - using the hashtag #BritishValues. There have been more than 25,000 tweets since Monday.
One of the most retweeted came from the @SoVeryBritish account which wrote: "Waiting for permission to leave after paying for something with the exact change #BritishValues." British Brand Marmite seized on the opportunity, and shared a photo of a jar of Marmite, with the simple words "Me".
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Nine European countries endorsed plans on Thursday [this past week] to step up intelligence-sharing and take down radical websites to try to stop European citizens going to fight in Syria and bringing violence back home with them.
The initiative by states that deem themselves most affected by jihadist violence was given new urgency by the killing of three people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels last month.
A 29-year-old Frenchman arrested on suspicion of the shooting is believed to have recently returned from fighting with Islamist rebels in Syria’s civil war, authorities said.
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Anxiety about the state of the church is everywhere you look. Church professionals, lay and ordained, are constantly bombarded by books, articles, blog posts, Facebook updates, and on and on, all about how the church is dying, and why, and what we should do in response: save it! let it die! Often these recommendations come with a handy bulleted list.
I don’t think the church is dying, but it is changing. Or at least, the culture around us has changed, and we are--slowly, painfully--changing too. The question is, are these changes a cause for despair? Or hope?
We no longer enjoy the cultural hegemony that Christendom afforded--those many centuries when culture, political power, and the church were tightly intertwined. But I think this is actually a blessing.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism
The ban on texting while driving is expected to come up for a vote at the Legislature on Wednesday, after members of both bodies reached a compromise.
Three members from the House and three from the Senate met on Tuesday to discuss what versions of the texting while driving ban they will agree on to send back to the bodies for a final vote. They agreed on leaning toward the House's version, which applies to all drivers; the Senate's was geared toward those with beginner's permits.
But there is a holdup as lawmakers work on clearing up a technicality. Once that's done, the bill will go back to both bodies for a vote.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Law & Legal Issues Science & Technology Travel * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * South Carolina * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Consumers’ willingness to pay for digital content is in danger of being held back by their rising spending on internet access, according to a new forecast that raises questions about the media industry’s hopes for streaming music and video subscriptions.
The report from consultancy PwC, to be released on Wednesday, estimates the total size of the industry will grow to $2.15tn by 2018. But the fortunes of the market’s three segments will vary, with internet access revenues growing faster than both consumer spending and advertising.
That suggests internet providers such as Time Warner Cable and AT&T will be poised to capture a growing share of industry revenue. Streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify , the latter of which had Macklemore & Ryan Lewis as its most popular music artists last year, will also be well-positioned to lead growth in consumer spending, as they capture subscribers willing to pay for round-the-clock access to movies, television shows and music.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Globalization Movies & Television Music Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Sacramental Theology
During our time together, I was approached by a number of clergy who had been reading some of the blogs which are deeply critical of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). They came to me with this question: “Will we survive?” Their concern, even anxiety, has to do with the season of transition that is upon us as we prepare for the Provincial Assembly in June and the election of a new Archbishop.
And it was an epiphany to be able to realize, with them, that the same heart and skill set we have been seeking to impart to them as “change leaders” in their local churches – the very same principles – apply exactly to the transitions we are facing in the ACNA:
- Staying focused on Jesus and his Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20).
- Clear line of sight from the present reality to the God-given vision of “What God wants to do through my church in this community at this time.”
- Not personalizing inevitable resistances and conflicts but staying calm and maintaining a non-anxious presence.
- Above all, leading as Jesus would if he were in my shoes.
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We respect and love Greg dearly. We recognize all too well the emotions and felt needs that led him to seek peace for his family, and a stable church situation. Those of us with children recognize the need to avoid non-Christian expressions of false gospels, as are found among so many leaders of The Episcopal Church; we also recognize the desire to find a sane and functional entity to join, and grant that currently Roman Catholicism provides structures that are sane and functional even as Anglican entities in the US do not. Those of us in Episcopal dioceses led by bishops who do not share the same faith also recognize the deep division that exists between layperson and clergy or bishop when the two do not share the same faith or preach the same gospel; it is a very challenging place to be as an Anglican.
Greg’s heartfelt statement of explanation as to how he came to make such a decision is a devastating indictment both on his former Episcopal bishop, Duncan Gray, as well as on conservative Anglicans throughout the US....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Marriage & Family Media Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology
[The split off of ISIS]... was the first time in the history of the world’s most notorious terrorist organization that one of the affiliates had publicly broken with the international leadership, and the news sent shock waves through the online forums where jihadists meet. In no uncertain terms, ISIS had gone rogue.
That split, in June, was a watershed moment in the vast decentralization of Al Qaeda and its ideology since 9/11. As the power of the central leadership created by Osama bin Laden has declined, the vanguard of violent jihad has been taken up by an array of groups in a dozen countries across Africa and the Middle East, attacking Western interests in Algeria and Libya, training bombers in Yemen, seizing territory in Syria and Iraq, and gunning down shoppers in Kenya.
What links these groups, experts say, is no longer a centralized organization but a loose ideology that any group can appropriate and apply as it sees fit while gaining the mystique of a recognized brand name. In short, Al Qaeda today is less a corporation than a vision driving a diverse spread of militant groups.
Read it all and there is more on this today there.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Globalization Psychology Science & Technology Sociology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Terrorism * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
...for me, a move to Rome is not about a revolution in my theology, and certainly not about a rejection of Anglicanism. It is about a very painful choice between two dilemmas:
On the one hand there is Anglicanism, an expression of faith that in the abstract - its doctrines and theology - is as nearly perfect as I believe man has ever succeeded in achieving, but which in practice has unraveled into a chaotic mess. There is of course the heresy and false teaching that infects all but a handful of Episcopal parishes in this diocese - including its bishop, its cathedral, its dean, almost all of its clergy, and a distressing number of the few laypeople who have made the effort to pay attention and learn what’s happening - but the promise of the orthodox Anglican movement outside of The Episcopal Church never materialized either. Populated as that movement is by many good people, it has the institutional feeling of something held together by duct tape and baling wire. It is beset by infighting and consecration fever, and in several of its highest leadership positions are people of atrocious judgement and character.
On the other hand there is Roman Catholicism, some of whose doctrines give me serious pause, but which in practice has shown itself to be steadfast in its opposition to the caprices of the world. Even the horrific pedophile priest scandal forces one to concede that Pope Benedict’s purging of the ranks, while not complete, was at the very least spirited, and based on a firm rejection of the “everything is good” sexual sickness that’s all but killed the Episcopal Church.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Marriage & Family * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
"We cannot be bombed out of the Love of God... We will love and serve humanity and strive to preserve [the] life of all God's creation."
--From his post last night on Facebook, quoted by yours truly this morning in the parish prayers of the people
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Violence * Theology
Fernando Corbató didn't intend to unleash havoc when he helped create the first computer password at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1960s.
"It's become kind of a nightmare," says the 87-year-old retired researcher. "I don't think anybody can possibly remember all the passwords."
Passwords are a bane to computer and smartphone users and a security threat to companies. On Wednesday, eBay Inc. EBAY -0.73% urged its 145 million users to change their passwords because of a data breach. But if the past is a guide, few people will heed the warning.
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Contemporary American Christians are faced with their own creation. Their individualistic and democratic views idealize the religious entrepreneur. Moreover, their distrust of hierarchy and institutions combines with a lack of commitment to organic unity (this is a newer development).
The state of the divinity school doesn’t help matters, either. The seminary, in its classical form, is where one engages in deep, orthodox theological study under the authority and spiritual formation of the Church. Obviously, this classic ideal is increasingly rare in the United States these days. As history has shown, seminaries have abandoned orthodoxy, become hyper-academic without thought to spiritual formation, have been reduced to degree factories, or have removed the Church in favor of the parachurch or nondenominationalism.
Many American seminaries languish. Thus, the streams which should feed and guide the theologically curious are insufficient. Making matter worse, social norms encourage more trust in the internet than in the Bride of Christ. Instead, seekers look to ecclesiastically untethered and academically undisciplined smooth talkers for spiritual guidance and insight. Welcome to the Anti-Seminary.
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The Justice Department on Monday accused five members of the Chinese military of conducting economic cyber-espionage against American companies, marking the first time that the United States has leveled such criminal charges against a foreign country.
Industries targeted by the alleged cyberspying ranged from nuclear to steel to solar energy, officials said. The hacking by a military unit in Shanghai, they said, was conducted for no other reason than to give a competitive advantage to Chinese companies, including state-owned enterprises.
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Danielle Wagasky, a stay-at-home wife and mother of two, has managed to stretch $14,000 a year to cover her family’s needs for the past five years. That’s less than a third of the $50,000 median household income in the U.S.
And, perhaps a little surprisingly, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Wagasky, 29, lives with her husband Jason, 32, and their two young children ages 9 and 7, in a three-bedroom family home in Henderson, Nevada. While Jason, a member of the U.S. Army, has been completing his undergraduate studies, the family’s only source of income is the $14,000 annual cost of living allowance he receives under the G.I. Bill.
Despite all odds, the family has barely any credit debt, no car payment, and no mortgage to speak of.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy Personal Finance
The rise of the Internet means that lies and misunderstanding now spread around the world faster than the truth, Lord Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has warned.
An increasing reliance on instant communications, effectively means that people should expect their words to be routinely misinterpreted, he said.
It has also changed the way people communicate, making it less and less common for people to be able to see those they are talking to, he said.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Globalization Media Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The National Security Agency might be tracking your phone calls. But private industry is prying far more deeply into your life.
Commercial data brokers know if you have diabetes. Your electric company can see what time you come home at night. And tracking companies can tell where you go on weekends by snapping photos of your car’s license plate and cataloging your movements.
Congress and the administration have moved to rein in the National Security Agency in the year since Edward Snowden disclosed widespread government spying. But Washington has largely given private-sector data collection a free pass. The result: a widening gap in oversight as private data mining races ahead. Companies are able to scoop up ever more information — and exploit it with ever greater sophistication — yet a POLITICO review has found deep reluctance in D.C. to exercise legislative, regulatory or executive power to curb the big business of corporate cybersnooping.
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A European Union top court ruling that may require technology companies to delete personal information on request pits Europeans’ rights to privacy against the freedom to publish.
Google Inc. (GOOG) risks being ordered to remove search results where citizens’ fundamental rights are harmed by personal information posted online and where there is no public interest in publishing it, the EU Court of Justice said today.
The result could “open the floodgates for tens of thousands of requests to have legal, publicly available information about Europeans taken out of a search index or links removed from websites,” said James Waterworth, the head of the Brussels office of the Computer & Communications Industry Association.
Read it all. Astute blog readers will remember this phrase "right to be forgotten" because it has resonances with Jeffrey Rosen's NY Times Magazine: The Web Means the End of Forgetting in 2010.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Law & Legal Issues * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Everyone loves to whack away at blogs but they sift information through a personal grid which means you get information someone else sees that you do not.
Case in point, when was the first Boko Haram post on this blog? August 2009: Nigeria violence sparks new concerns.
Filed under: * By Kendall * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
...here’s a challenge.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and, by all means, let’s use it to celebrate the moms in our lives with flowers and brunches. But let’s also use the occasion to honor the girls still missing in Nigeria.
One way is a donation to support girls going to school around Africa through the Campaign for Female Education, Camfed.org; a $40 gift pays for a girl’s school uniform.
Another way to empower women is to support Edna Adan, an extraordinary Somali woman who has started her own maternity hospital, midwife training program and private university, saving lives, providing family planning and fighting female genital mutilation. At EdnaHospital.org, a $50 donation pays for a safe hospital delivery.
Read it all.
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Netflix is now paying two major internet providers for a more direct path into the homes of all those people watching movies and TV shows on its popular video streaming service.
This week, the company announced it has reached an agreement with Verizon to connect its service directly to the ISP’s network, a deal similar to the one Netflix reached with Comcast in February. In the past, Netflix delivered its service into Comcast and Verizon through middlemen networks — “transit networks” that provide the backbone for the internet. But in order to ensure that its video streams arrive in homes without too many hiccups, it’s following in the footsteps of Google and Facebook, building a straighter path into ISPs.
The rub is that Netflix doesn’t want to pay. Netflix has been loudly complaining about this sort of deal, saying that Comcast unfairly forced the agreement after allowing transmit network links to “clog up.” Comcast, Netflix says, is setting itself up as a gatekeeper that can charge whatever it likes for access to American homes.
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Full-time U.S. employees are upbeat about using their computers and mobile devices to stay connected to the workplace outside of their normal working hours. Nearly eight in 10 (79%) workers view this as a somewhat or strongly positive development.
These findings are from Gallup Daily tracking interviews, conducted March 24-April 8, 2014, with 3,865 U.S. workers employed full-time by an employer.
While a strong majority of working Americans view the ability to work off-hours remotely in a positive light, far fewer say they regularly connect with work online after hours. Slightly more than one-third (36%) say they frequently do so, compared with 64% who say they occasionally, rarely, or never do. The relatively low percentage who check in frequently outside of working hours nearly matches the 33% of full-time workers who say their employer expects them to check email and stay in touch remotely after the business day ends.
Read it all from Gallup.
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Anyway, on the Twitter thing, inserting links to a document giving a more in-depth take on the subject of the tweet is badly needed.
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A few months ago, a Twitter friend deleted her account in favour of Facebook, then signed on again because she missed the interaction with her Twitter friends. Another friend signed up for Twitter, but soon dropped out because it seemed too noisy and busy, and the short form was just too short for what he wanted to say.
I agree that Twitter can be overwhelming, but mainly I’ve found it fun and a great way to connect with people who I might not otherwise have gotten to know. Here are my best tips on how I’ve managed to make the most of Twitter without getting lost in an endless stream of tweets....
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Catherine Dunphy came to seminary in her mid-20s, full of passion to work in the service of the Catholic Church. By the time she left, for many reasons, she had lost her faith.
“I had this struggle where I thought, ‘I don’t believe this anymore,’” said Dunphy, now 40 and living in Toronto. “I felt I had no space to move or breathe. I felt like an outcast.”
Now, 10 years later, she is part of a new online project aimed at helping others like herself who are isolated by doubt in a sea of believers. Called Rational Doubt: The Clergy Project Blog, it debuts this week on Patheos, an online host of religion and spirituality blogs.
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Read it all and enjoy the great pictures.
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...for many, it’s no longer good enough to just “be yourself” online, and selfie lovers want to put their best face forward.
"The days of that bare fresh face, no retouching, are kind of behind us. I think we're all moving into an era that it's so easy to do," image and fashion consultant Lori Ann Robinson said.
Like millions of people, Triana Lavey loves taking selfies, but doesn’t always love the result. She uses the Perfect365 app to touch up her photos now, but she used to hate the way she looked so much that she underwent a radical transformation, all to look better online.
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For those interested, please do alert us to good Easter efforts in parishes that are worthy of sharing--KSH.
We are interested in your theological as well as personal reflections.
The more specific you can be the better.
As is our custom, we aim to let go of the cares and concerns of this world until Monday and to focus on the great, awesome, solemn and holy events of the next three days. I would ask people to concentrate their comments on the personal, devotional, and theological aspects of these days which will be our focal point here. Many thanks--KSH.
Efforts to fix the notorious Heartbleed bug threaten to cause major disruptions to the Internet over the next several weeks as companies scramble to repair encryption systems on hundreds of thousands of Web sites at the same time, security experts say.
Estimates of the severity of the bug’s damage have mounted almost daily since researchers announced the discovery of Heartbleed last week. What initially seemed like an inconvenient matter of changing passwords for protection now appears much more serious. New revelations suggest that skilled hackers can use the bug to create fake Web sites that mimic legitimate ones to trick consumers into handing over valuable personal information.
The sheer scale of the work required to fix this aspect of the bug — which makes it possible to steal the “security certificates” that verify that a Web site is authentic — could overwhelm the systems designed to keep the Internet trustworthy.
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Holy Monday is also frequently linked to the Lord’s cleansing of the Temple which had become a den of thieves. The House of God, supposedly a place set aside for meditation and prayer, had become a place of hypocrisy, insincerity, greed and lust. Nothing really changes.
Christians are called to be living sacrifice; to worship God daily in their actions and their words. This is becoming increasingly difficult in a context of increasing secularisation confronted by a compromised church. But the witness of our extravagant devotion to the Lord is wholly dependent upon the purity and honesty of our lives: and that must be marked by humility and love, not by aggressive demands for rights or assertions of pride.
Let Caesar collect his taxes and make his laws: it is for Christians to cleanse our temple and devote ourselves lavishly to the Lord, that we may find peace, joy and happiness.
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There are links to a lot of good material here.
Emma Pierson studied “studied 1 million matches made by the online dating website eHarmony’s algorithm, which aims to pair people who will be attracted to one another and compatible over the long term; if the people agree, they can message each other to set up a meeting in real life. eHarmony’s data on its users contains 102 traits for each person — everything from how passionate and ambitious they claim to be to how much they say they drink, smoke and earn.”
She found that the old adage about opposites and attraction doesn’t hold...
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As a part of a mutually agreed court settlement of a defamation of character lawsuit, David Jenkins has apologized to Bishop Michael Bird of the diocese of Niagara “for any suffering he has experienced as a result of blog postings” on his blog Anglican Samizdat.
The settlement also stipulated that Jenkins would pay “a majority of the legal costs involved, remove the Bishop from his posts, and agree not to publish any similar posts about the Bishop in the future,” according to a release issued by the diocese of Niagara. In a related post on Anglican Samizdat, Jenkins noted that he had agreed to pay $18,000 toward legal costs, which Bird’s lawyer had stated were $24,000. Jenkins did not pay damages, which were listed as $400,000 in the original claim filed in February 2013.
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Once upon a time, we pasted photos of our babies and kids into scrapbooks. The scrapbook has increasingly moved online – in many cases onto social media sites such as Facebook – and the ease of filling up virtual page after virtual page is hard to overstate. This is not without consequences, of course.
These days, parents need to develop a strategy – either through forethought or facts on the ground – in order to use social media services such as Facebook as a way to document and share the moments of their kids' lives. Err too far toward conservatism, and you lose a sense of community (and irritate the grandparents). Err too far in the other way, and some of your friends may view you as the equivalent of a polluter, clogging up their news feed with baby photo after baby photo.
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In Silicon Valley, where personal quirks and even antisocial personalities are tolerated as long as you are building new products and making money, a socially conservative viewpoint may be one trait you have to keep to yourself.--The opener of a front page article from Friday saying so much more than the author thinks
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When Dennis Schimpf was growing up the amount of photographs he appeared in were “few and far between.”
“Now kids at 9 or 10 years old are having daily pictures,” he said.
Schimpf is a plastic surgeon at Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery in Summerville, working in cosmetic surgery.
A recent study released by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) shows that there has been an increase in cosmetic procedures – and the survey finds that the selfie trend is the cause for this increase. The selfie trend refers to the action of someone taking a photo of his or herself and posting online on popular social media websites and smartphone applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
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The cherished idea of the Twitter universe as a gloriously turbulent and fluid place for debate has taken a major hit, thanks to new research from China.
At the same time, findings from the United States have demolished another plank of common wisdom about digital communications. There is, it turns out, no relationship at all between the number of times an online article is shared and the number of times it is actually read.
In a paper published in March, two Chinese social scientists, Fei Xiong and Yun Liu, of Jiaotong University in Beijing, revealed unexpected results from an in-depth study into how opinions form on social media.
The pair analysed 6 million posts from almost 2.5 million Twitter users during a six-month period. In looking at how Twitter users are influenced by the thoughts of other micro-bloggers, the researchers came to what they termed a ''non-trivial'' conclusion, meaning, pretty much, they aren't.
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Tenuous connection to reality or not, Harmon says he is excited about combining exercise with his diet. “Now that I won’t be spending nine, ten, eleven hours a day parked in front of a computer working on this stupid blog, I can spend more time on my pilates.” Neighbors even claim they have been awakened in pre-dawn hours by the sound of Tae-Bo tapes, coming from Harmon’s residence.
“He used to be such a nice boy,” said Mrs. Mildred Kratz, an across-the-street neighbor of Harmon’s. “Always blogging. I’d see him in the yard and say, ‘Now Kendall, you need to get back in there and blog. That blog’s not going to write itself!’ And we’d just laugh and laugh. Nowadays, the only time I see him is when he walks down the driveway to get the mail, and even then, he doesn’t speak… just makes a big point to flex his glutes as he walks back inside.”
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By 2005 we had indeed joined the ranks of smaller Anglican blogs, and got regular mentions from the Big Guys. In late August of that year, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and I found myself as the channel through which the American Anglican Council sent tens of thousands of dollars of relief money to coast residents. I made many trips to the coast on their behalf and helped countless families through the generosity of blog readers and AAC members.
I had also started to “franchise” the blog, setting up state “chapters” like Louisiana, West Virginia, and Alabama. The Alabama group was particularly energetic, but eventually all the state chapters proved unable to maintain the posting level that was then being required of Anglican blogs if they wanted to build and maintain an audience of any size.
In early 2006, I shut down the state sites, audaciously changed the slogan to “Traditional Anglicanism in America,” and recruited two new writers. Andy Figueroa was first aboard, and in my search for a second I found Matt Kennedy. I noticed that when I read comment threads at TitusOneNine, I would begin reading a comment and find myself smiling and agreeing with whoever it was writing it. Every single time, it was Matt. I sent him an email asking him if he’d like to join me, and he’s been a fixture at Stand Firm ever since.
Take the time to read it all.
Even those who advocate most strongly for the legalization of marijuana concede the impaired functioning that research has shown. One such site acknowledges,
The short-term effects of marijuana include immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing. The cognitive process most clearly affected by marijuana is short-term memory. In laboratory studies, subjects under the influence of marijuana have no trouble remembering things they learned previously. However, they display diminished capacity to learn and recall new information. This diminishment only lasts for the duration of the intoxication. There is no convincing evidence that heavy long-term marijuana use permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions.
Other studies suggest that the effect on diminished brain function is more lasting, especially for teenagers.
Thus, unlike caffeine, marijuana is not generally thought of as an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee. Rather, for most users, it is a recreational escape, which produces diminished accuracy of observation, memory, and reasoning. And it may have lasting negative effects on the mind’s ability to do what God created it to do.
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The response to your Facebook post has been staggering. Was it written on the fly or what?
In the last month, there were four instances where I was subtly or not subtly moved along. I was having lunch with a mother younger than I am who was recently bereaved. Her loss was 14 months ago. I said, "Before the one-year mark was up, did you have people telling you, hinting or saying to you that you should move on?" I asked other people who had lost children. I was hearing the same story. It just made me mad. I jotted off that Facebook post and have been completely astounded by the response—3,780,000 views and more than 10,000 comments.
Aren't most of the comments supportive?
Somebody wrote, "I want to print words around my neck that say, 'Please just read Kay Warren's Facebook post.'"
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Billions of dollars are flowing into online advertising. But marketers also are confronting an uncomfortable reality: rampant fraud.
About 36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites, according to estimates cited recently by the Interactive Advertising Bureau trade group.
So-called bot traffic cheats advertisers because marketers typically pay for ads whenever they are loaded in response to users visiting Web pages—regardless of whether the users are actual people.
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Check it out and please, please do not believe everything you read on the Internet and learn to check your sources.
Notice this one today--(#2) Facebook 'No Religion' Campaign
From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram and Google, many big Internet successes depend on coaxing people into sharing every last bit of information about themselves and their lives.
But a five-week old social app, Secret, is testing the limits of just how much sharing Silicon Valley thinks is a good thing. That’s because the sharing is done anonymously. And, as it turns out, much of the chatter is about Silicon Valley itself — offering a rare, unvarnished look at the ambitions, disappointments, rivalries, jealousies and obsessions of the engineers and entrepreneurs who live and work there.
Secret, like a number of other recent apps, connects people anonymously through their address books. Messages appear only as from “friend” or “friend of friend.” Juicy posts that receive a lot of likes or comments also appear occasionally, identified simply by the city or state where they originated.
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Longtime blog readers know well that one of my favorite examples of the importance of listening to the screaming silence of something missing comes from the Sherlock Holmes saga entitled "Silver Blaze." In one of the most famous sections in all of Arthur Conan Doyle's writing in this saga we find the follow exchange:
Inspector Gregory [of Scotland Yard]: "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"I mention this because recently the Anglican Communion Office launched an Anglican Communion Facebook page. You may find the page here. Being preoccupied recently with the diocese of South Carolina convention and other matters, I only recently checked out the page.
Sherlock Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Inspector Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Sherlock Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
Imagine my surprise when on the front of the page I read the following:
A page to see posts shared by members of the Anglican Communion - 85 million Christians who share faith, tradition, history & ways of worshipping.Now 85 million people is a lot the last time I checked--but I would have thought the Bible had something to do with it.
The silence is screaming and it is oh-so-significant--KSH.
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