the minor premise

the minor premise

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Canon Fodder

This from our local arts and entertainment weekly. I have to admit it made me laugh:

No, Muslims don't believe that Jesus was the messiah. Think of it like a movie. The Torah was the first one, and the New Testament is the sequel. Then the Qu'ran comes out and it retcons the last one like it never happened. There's still Jesus, be he's not the main character anymore, and the messiah hasn't shown up yet. Jews liked the first movie, but ignored the sequels. Christians think you need to watch the first two movies, but the third one doesn't count. Muslims think the third movie was the best, and the Mormons liked the second one so much that they started writing fan-fiction that doesn't fit with any of the series of the canon.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bible Belt or Swath of Sin?

Do you live in "Sin City?" Is your county the envy of the nation, or just rife with envy? Geographers from Kansas State University have put together a project which attempts to lay out where each of the Cardinal Sins is most prevalent. For each sin, the group used various statistical measures for 3000 counties nationwide. As with any attempt to quantify the abstract, there may be room for argument for any given measure.

Envy is measured by the total number of thefts in an area:

Greed is a comparison of average incomes with the number of people living below the poverty line:

Gluttony is the number of fast food restaurants per capita:

Wrath is the total number of violent crimes:

Lust is the total number of STDs per capita:

Sloth compares expenditures on arts, entertainment and recreation with the employment rate:

Pride is an aggregate of the other six sins:

I don't know if "Fast Food equals Gluttony" is a good measure here, but amount of groceries consumed per capita is probably harder to measure. I thought the Lust and Wrath measures are pretty good. I also thought the Greed measure was pretty clever, but I wonder if charitable giving could be used as an offset? And looking at the Pride map, the old Bible belt doesn't fare too well.

Hat tips to Junk Charts and FlowingData.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Grimm Statistics

This past November I heard about a horrific case of child abuse/murder in the UK. Baby P was a toddler who, despite having been seen by the local child protective services on several occasions, died of abuse while in the care of his mother and her boyfriend. The case has stayed with me because of the particular cruelty that was shown such a small child.

I ran across the case again in a column by Times Online writer Camilla Cavendish ( Hat Tip to Christopher Chantrill of the American Thinker) on the Cinderella Effect: a term describing the phenomenon that "children are at far greater risk from stepfathers and non-blood 'relatives' than from natural parents. A Canadian study lasting over 20 years put a stepchild's risk of death at 50 to 100 times that of a child who lived with his natural parents. A University of Iowa study claimed that a child's was 4 times as likely to be sexually abused by a "non-biological father" than a natural one. British research reinforces theses findings.

Wicked stepparents are a staple in children's fairy tales, and I always felt like they got a bad rap stemming from the natural desire to be with ones own kin. It appears that there is a practical aspect to this desire as well.

I have not looked it up, but I would bet that these numbers do not hold true when talking about parents who adopt very young babies. I would be interested in seeing that data.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Certain Chemistry or Give Me a Little Sugar

A Mother's Day Poem -- Impossibly Sweet

Roses are red
and Pekoe is Tea
Can Sugar be Sweet
And be carbon-free?

Violets are blue
and pretty to see
do marketers take
high-school Chem'stry?

And can Hydrogen-free water be far behind?

Hat tip to Watts Up with That?"

On another note:

Happy Mother's Day C!

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Indulge Me

From the religious products and services department we have two features:

Courtesy of the American Catholic and Donald R. McClarey, we have the latest in hermenutic innovation:

Well, perhaps I'll keep my manual version . . . .

From the blog Henley the Great Dane Says "BOOF!", a bit of "liberation" theology:

I think I'll let the truth set me free, if you don't mind.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Emus and Roosters and Goats, Oh My!

From our county council's monthly newsletter:
The Animal Care and Control Department is finding more and more livestock that has gotten loose and it is very hard to find the owners. They know the owners want their animals back but cannot keep livestock for long periods of time. This new free service to register livestock will help people get their animals back quicker.

Not too long ago, I heard an emu was picked up--well, okay, chased down and subdued with some difficulty. I was kind of surprised that Animal Control put out a call for the owners, as I'm pretty sure there's only one ratite farm in the county. From whence did they think the critter came? Perhaps the owners wanted that particular bird to stay lost:

"Maw, we missin' any emus?"
"Why no, Paw, I put 'em all in the barn last night."
"This hyar officer says he's got one of our-n. You recknize it?"
"That ain't our emu, officer. He ain't got our brand. And he's mangy. Must be one o' them maverick emus allus roamin' around hyah. Plumb nuisance."

Other than that, I must say that I had no idea we had an unidentified roaming livestock problem. Live and learn.

About ten years ago, we had a loose rooster attempt to take up residence in our backyard and I can attest that locating owners can be no easy task. (Also, that one courts ridicule posting ROOSTER FOUND signs in public places.) We never did find the owners (and no, he did not end up as Sunday dinner. Not for us, anyway.)

jbr, if you happen by, you can practice your editing. What is wrong with the first sentence in the announcement, and how can you fix it? What is wrong with the second sentence, and how can you fix that? Then, please get back to those papers.