Daily Archives: 7 Nov 2010

Take That, LeBron James!

Thank Heaven for Wolfgang Mozart

RockMelt: A New Way to Surf the Web?

Image representing RockMelt as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

The Beta version of the new webbrowser RockMelt is scheduled to be released tomorrow.  You can watch the video introducing it here.  And if you’d like to be a Beta user, it seems you can request an invite via Facebook connection there as well.  Crunchbase has a discussion of it here.

I don’t know if it will be something useful or not.  I suppose we shall see.  The story, according to news reports, is that…

On Monday, RockMelt, a company founded and financed by a group of Netscape alumni, will release a new Web browser, 16 years after Netscape introduced the first commercial Internet browser, and 12 years after the company was sold to AOL after its defeat by Microsoft in the so-called browser wars.

“We think it is a fantastic time to build a company around a browser,” said Marc Andreessen, who co-founded Netscape, and whose venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, is the principal financial backer of RockMelt.

Although most people spend more time using their Web browser than any other program on their computers, most browsers have not kept up with the evolution of the Web into a social media hub, Mr. Andreessen said. He and Mr. Campbell, a former Netscape board member who is advising the new company as well as investing in it, say RockMelt is a browser for the Facebook era.

At first glance, RockMelt looks like an ordinary browser, a digital windowpane onto the Web. But along the side of its main window are two thin rails with icons, one showing a user’s friends on the left, and another displaying a user’s favorite social sites, including Twitter and Facebook, on the right.

A “share” button makes it easy to post a Web page, a YouTube video or any other items, to Facebook, Twitter or other sites. Similarly, users can update their status or keep tabs on their friends’ activities on any social network right on their main browser window. They can also easily add and remove friends, or chat with them, on the left-side rail.

When a user searches the Web using Google, RockMelt not only delivers the Google search results, but also fetches the pages associated with those results, so a user can preview those pages quickly and decide which to click to.

So is it a web browser per se or is it just a social media ‘central location’?  We shall see, I suppose.

Many Anglicans Just Can’t Take it Any Longer…

Flag of the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Flag

And they are leaving the Anglican Church in a show of their utter displeasure for the direction the Communion has taken.  For the Catholic Church (which isn’t really that big a move- the Anglicans are just Catholics without a Pope). Stuart relates

Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to announce the resignation of two bishops on Monday, in the first of what is feared will be a wave of departures from the Church of England by traditionalists converting to Roman Catholicism. The Bishop of Richborough, the Right Rev Keith Newton, 58, is expected to become leader or the Anglican Ordinariate, set up to provide Catholic refuge to Anglicans who leave the Church of England over the issue of women bishops. The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Right Rev Andrew Burnham, 63, is also expected to join the Ordinariate, along with the Bishop of Fulham, the Right Rev John Broadhurst, who announced last month that he will be resigning at the end of the year. A fourth retired bishop, Edwin Barnes, is also expected to join the Ordinariate.

And then he goes on to say

I’m also ‘converting’ to Catholicism and as I’m simply an anonymous pew-sitting layman, this revelation won’t rock the world. My wife and I are baptised and confirmed Church of England and I have only been loosely affiliated with my local rural Anglican churches since returning from Spain a couple of years ago. I have a ten year old son and these little churches are sadly devoid of families and other children. This coupled with the internal struggles bedevilling the Church of England currently, has prompted my decision. Our local Catholic church is huge and bursting with families of all ages. I’m not leaving the Church of England for the same reasons as these good Bishops, as I suspect they are unhappy with what they would perceive as the ‘liberalising’ of the church. On some issues I’m more conservative, and on others more liberal, but the direction of the church is not my main concern. My main concern is the ongoing war and bitterness shattering the Anglican communion from within. I can’t deal with grieving over it anymore.

And you know what? To me, that’s the damnably sad part. Normal Anglicans (and Episcopalians) are being shoved out of their Church by radicals who aren’t staying in the Church once they get their corrupt and corrupting way. That’s right, the hinge of all the trouble, ‘Bishop’ Gene Robinson, is leaving the Church because it’s just too stressful for him…

Bishop V. Gene Robinson, whose consecration as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church set off a historic rift in the global Anglican Communion, announced to his New Hampshire diocese on Saturday that he intended to step down. The news took some by surprise because Bishop Robinson is an energetic 63-year-old, and mandatory retirement age for Episcopal bishops is 72. He has led a relatively stable and healthy diocese, despite predictions by some that his election would undermine the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire. The reason to depart, he said in a speech delivered at the close of the annual convention of his diocese, is that being at the center of an international uproar has taken a toll on him and on the diocese.

Nicely done, Gene. Do your best to destroy the Church to advance your own agenda, and then, once you’ve done it, ‘retire’. Perhaps you should have retired before you became a Bishop. Or would that have brought you too near to Christ’s command that you ‘deny yourself and take up your cross’? Something you never intended on doing. No, easier for you to slaughter the sheep and decimate the flock than deny yourself… Selfish, self centered, totally depraved prat.

But so it goes. Self serving clerics abandoning the flock in pursuit of their own agendas. Just like mega-church pastors, seeker sensitive pastors, emergent pastors, and of course the ‘let’s drink booze and have rasslin matches in church to draw in men’ pastors.

Despicable. Just completely despicable and unworthy of Christianity.

Our Iraqi Brothers and Sisters…

A church in Baghdad.

A Baghdad Church

Show themselves to be true and faithful disciples of the Crucified Nazarene in a profoundly devoted way when they meet in their blood splattered Church in spite of the danger.

The walls were still splattered with blood and pieces of flesh as Iraqi Christians celebrated Mass on Sunday in the church that just a week before had been the scene of a horrific bloodbath in which dozens died. Parishioners holding candles and wearing black gathered in Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation church, which had been stripped bare of pews and still bore bullet holes along its walls, while overhead the chandeliers and ceilings were stained with blood.

Many Christians in America stayed home today because ‘they forgot to set their clock back’. I think the faithfulness of Iraq’s persecuted Christians is an indictment of American Christianity’s apathy.  Threat of violence doesn’t keep Iraqi Christians home.  Threat of missing their fantasy football league draft does keep American Christians home…  And that’s precisely why Christianity is growing in every part of the globe except Europe and North America.

I Don’t Drink…

But some bibliobloggers do.  And when they do, here’s what they choose:

Total Depravity: The Tale of Patty Bigbee

A Florida woman and her boyfriend have been charged with trying to sell her infant grandson for $30,000. Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents arrested 45-year-old Patty Bigbee and 42-year-old Lawrence Works on Friday in Daytona Beach after they met with an agent posing as a buyer. Both were charged with illegal sale or surrender of a child, and Bigbee was also charged with communication fraud. FDLE agent Wayne Ivey said an investigation began last month after an informant told authorities the woman was trying to sell the baby. Authorities say the woman originally wanted $75,000 but was talked down to $30,000.

There’s a special place in hell for people like this. Right next to Satan. Right where they belong.

The child’s mother is currently incarcerated on unrelated charges.

That’s not at all surprising. Like mother, like daughter. Nor is it unsurprising that there’s apparently no father on the scene. That poor child. God help it, it’s ‘family’ sure won’t.

The Gays in Spain Stay Mainly on the Protest Plane

Overview of the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada...

Pope Benedict XVI strongly defended traditional families and the rights of the unborn Sunday, directly attacking Spanish laws that allow gay marriage, fast-track divorce and easier abortions as he dedicated Barcelona’s iconic church, the Sagrada Familia. It was the second time in as many days that Benedict had criticized the policies of Spain’s Socialist government and called for Europe as a whole to rediscover Christian teachings and apply them to everyday life. As he headed to the church named for the sacred family, about 200 gays and lesbians staged a ‘kiss-in’ to protest his visit and church policies on homosexuals, condom use and a host of other issues. Church teaching holds that gays should be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

Church teaching is correct. Homosexuals should and must be treated with utmost dignity and respect. There is no justification whatsoever for gay-bashing or campaigns of hatred like we find in the cruel sub-human behavior of Fred Phelps and his sycophants.  Nor is there any cause for homosexual activists to denigrate straights as ‘breeders’ and those who don’t agree with them as ‘homophobes’.

But the Church (Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox branches) cannot afford to abandon the Scriptural stance on the issue and must maintain that homosexual acts are indeed ‘intrinsically disordered’.  That isn’t homophobia any more than urging justice for the Palestinians is antisemitism.

Naturally such issues always stir debate. But they never need stir acrimony. Unless people just want to be acrimonious. And persons on both sides are guilty too often of exactly that.

Lindsey Graham is a War Loving Fool

List of United States Senators from South Carolina

Lindsey 'Warmonger' Graham

War with Iran is an absurd idea because 1) no applicable Just War theories apply and 2) the US can’t even manage in Afghanistan and Iraq; how does he think we can broaden to yet another theater?  And if we do, what if a real and serious threat from elsewhere springs up?  And finally, if Israel is so worried about a nuclear strike, let them declare war on Iran and let them deal with their troublesome neighbors on their own.  (But of course what Israel is hoping is that the US will do its wet-work for it so that it can focus its energy on pushing the Palestinians into the desert and that the fools in Washington are stupid enough to go along).

A leading U.S. senator on defense issues says any military strike on Iran to stop its nuclear program must also strive to take out Iran’s military capability. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who sits on the Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, said Saturday the U.S. should consider sinking the Iranian navy, destroying its air force and delivering a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard. He says they should neuter the regime, destroy its ability to fight back and hope Iranians will take a chance to take back their government. His remarks stunned many in the audience at the Halifax International Security forum.

His remarks should stun everyone on the planet and be denounced by every person of sense.

Graham told the audience that newly elected conservatives would back “bold” action against Iran, reports Agence France Presse: If President Barack Obama “decides to be tough with Iran beyond sanctions, I think he is going to feel a lot of Republican support for the idea that we cannot let Iran develop a nuclear weapon,” he told the Halifax International Security Forum. “The last thing America wants is another military conflict, but the last thing the world needs is a nuclear-armed Iran… Containment is off the table.”

Actually the last thing the world needs is more US interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. We have plenty of problems here at home that need attention and funding. But I suppose that wont help Graham’s military-industrial complex cronies across the country, will it. No, for them war is desirable for only one reason- they will become even wealthier. The only reason the United States has fought any war since Vietnam is for the enrichment of corporations and their political toadies. No war we have engaged in since Vietnam has been a Just War. Not one.

Graham and his warmonger colleagues and supporters are totally depraved.

There’s Nothing New Under the Sun- Not Even Bedbug Infestations

One bedbug (Cimex lectularius) traumatically i...

And thanks to Bob Cargill for pointing out the simple as pie solution for ridding yourself of the nasty little pests:

… get an apostle to order the bugs out of the bed before you go to sleep every night. It’s an almost biblical solution to the bedbug infestation terrorizing America.

How’s he figure? Well he cites the extra-canonical Acts of John!

Now on the first day we arrived at a deserted inn, and when we were at a loss for a bed for John, we saw a droll matter. There was one bedstead lying somewhere there without coverings, whereon we spread the cloaks which we were wearing, and we prayed him to lie down upon it and rest, while the rest of us all slept upon the floor. But when he lay down, he was troubled by the bugs, and as they continued to become yet more troublesome to him, when it was now about the middle of the night, in the hearing of us all he said to them: “I say unto you, O bugs, behave yourselves, one and all, and leave your abode for this night and remain quiet in one place, and keep your distance from the servants of God.” And as we laughed, and went on talking for some time, John addressed himself to sleep; and we, talking low, gave him no disturbance (or, thanks to him we were not disturbed).

But when the day was now dawning I arose first, and with me Verus and Andronicus, and we saw at the door of the house which we had taken a great number of bugs standing, and while we wondered at the great sight of them, and all the brethren were roused up because of them, John continued sleeping. And when he was awakened, we declared to him what we had seen. And he sat up on the bed and looked at them and said: “Since ye have well behaved yourselves in hearkening to my rebuke, come unto your place.” And when he had said this, and risen from the bed, the bugs running from the door hasted to the bed and climbed up by the legs thereof and disappeared into the joints. And John said again: “This creature hearkened unto the voice of a man, and abode by itself and was quiet and trespassed not; but we which hear the voice and commandments of God disobey and are light-minded: and for how long?”

So there ya go!  Just go get yourself a long dead apostle about whom ridiculous stories have been told and get said apostle to pay you a visit.

‘The Dynamics of Change in the Computer Imaging of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Inscriptions’, by Bruce Zuckerman

From Bruce Zuckerman via Joseph Lauer-

Thought everyone might be interested in an article I just posted and which can be downloaded at:


The reason the article needs to be downloaded is that it contains a lot of animated illustrations and is therefore too big simply to send as an attachment.

It is written in In-Design and readable through Adobe Reader 9 or higher (which, if you don’t have it, is a free download, as is explained in the cover note on the site).

There are distinct limitations to what one can do in this format, but it was, to date, the best one I could find for an article of this nature.

This article (expanded from a print version in the recently published Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls [Eerdmans 2010] edited by Maxine Grossman) summarizes my perspective on the methodological issues involved with the study of DSS in a digital environment using the currently available imaging tools.

Featured in the article (toward the end) are “reflectance transformation images” of the Dead Sea Scrolls we photographed in the Syrian Orthodox Church collection in Teaneck NJ. As far as I am aware, these images are the first RTI images ever done of DSS. The impact of RTI imaging—especially for the paleography of DSS—is preliminarily assessed in the article.

At the same time, InscriptiFact (8.6) has just been released and this contains a comprehensive set of ALL the images we did in NJ, including RTI images.

InscriptiFact 8.6 is a major upgrade that has been moved to a new server with new hardware. So it needs to be reinstalled by ALL users. It also contains a full set of images of the “Vision of Gabriel” inscription, more images of the Persepolis Fortification Archive and many other things as well.

For current InscriptiFact users, it will be necessary to go to http://ruth.usc.edu:7060/index.jsp and click on the “InscriptiFact Banner” to reinstall the database. It should take less than a minute.

Those who wish to register for InscriptiFact for the first time, should go to http://www.inscriptifact.com and download and send in a signed “Use Agreement” (either as a PDF attachment, a fax, or even by conventional mail) as instructed. They will be assigned a user name and password which will be sent to them by email. Use of InscriptiFact is free of charge. Anyone who encounters difficulty downloading or using my article, should contact me at bzuckerm@usc.edu. Should anyone run into technical glitches reinstalling InscriptiFact they should contact Li Hunt at lihunt@usc.edu.