Friday, February 28, 2003

Thanks to the lovely Jeanetta for passing along this beautiful and moving tribute to Fred Rogers.
Some cool news today... I finally got the reviewer comments back on the paper Dr. Zeigler and I wrote and submitted (I blogged about this here). They're good comments, very helpful and thoughtful. Also in looking around I found this paper by Dr. Zeigler, in which he actually references the paper I wrote last year for SCI 2002. Very cool!
An interesting Slashdot discussion on Accidental Privacy Spills. It's in reference to this allegedly leaked email from a reporter at the World Economic Forum.
So, our diocese's Rite of Election is coming up on Sunday. Presumably as in years past, there will be liturgical dance during the Rite, despite the fact that many of the parish RCIA directors complain every year that it is inappropriate, etc. This year, presumably to try to stop the tide of dissent, the Catechumenate Board sent out a list of quotes from documents that purport to support the idea of liturgical dance. The only problem is that only one of the documents actually mentions dance at all, and that document is the much-reviled Environment and Art in Catholic Worship. Note that even the US Bishops have deprecated the importance and authority of EACW:

Environment and Art in Catholic Worship does not have the force of law in and of itself. It is not particular law for the dioceses of the United States of America, but a commentary on that law by the Committee for the Liturgy. However, it does quote several documents of the Apostolic See and in that sense it has the force of the documents it quotes in the areas where those documents legislate.

It's also helpful to note that the successor to EACW, Built of Living Stones: Art, Architecture, and Worship, doesn't mention dance at all. Check out the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments document, Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines (2001):

Among some peoples, song is instinctively linked with hand-clapping, rhythmic corporeal movements and even dance. Such are external forms of interior sentiment and are part of popular traditions, especially on occasions such as patronal feasts. Clearly, such should be genuine expressions of communal prayer and not merely theatrical spectacles. The fact of their prevalence in one area, however, should not be regarded as a reason for their promotion in other areas, especially where they would not be spontaneous.

Check out Adoremus's critique of EACW. Does anyone know of an online copy of EACW?

Aristotle Esguerra's Confessions of an Accidental Choir Director has moved to a new home -- he's forsaken for his own hosting and traded in Blogger for Movable Type. I confess it's a very attractive site! Congrats, AAE!
The Arizona Daily Star eulogizes Fred Rogers -- Goodbye, neighbor.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Okay, I had to laugh at this -- ESPN's Page 2 has a poll on the Hottest Female Sports Personality. Really, now, can't we give them credit for their athletic talent without focusing on their looks? To be fair, apparently last week they also did a poll for hottest male sports personality, so they are equal-opportunity objectifiers.

Page 2 is always panting after Anna Kournikova so naturally they had to exclude her from this poll. The Arizona connection is that so far, former UA Wildcat softball player Jennie Finch is winning with 32% of the vote. Jennie's softball career at UA was.. well, astonishing. She finished the 2001 season with an NCAA record 32-0 pitching record.
A sad note -- Mr. Rogers has died. Like millions of Americans I grew up watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and a nice neighborhood it was, too. Rogers was my brother in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia men's music fraternity. He will be missed.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Jeanetta blogged about this article -- Caring for Your Introvert. It's pretty good. It ties in with my blog about being extroverted. Check it out; this sort of thing is one of the more positive ways that social science really can be helpful.
NASA reports it has lost contact with Pioneer 10. Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972 and is now in interstellar space, where it should reach Aldebaran in about 2,000,000 years. Check out the Pioneer 10 home page.
Wow! Really great news today, the Supreme Court rules against NOW. Yep, amazingly enough, the Supes ruled 8-1 that pro-life protesters can't be prosecuted under RICO. This is a really, really big break against NOW and PP's attempts to stifle protesters.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

The Arizona Daily Star now has an entire section on Msgr. Trupia, the alleged child molester who is now living fat in Maryland and is still being paid by the Diocese. Trupia has apparently been successful in using his canon law degree to fight his laicization.
If you love Big Iron.... I mean, if you really love Big Iron... here's a classic VAX 11/780. Ah, the good old days!

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Pew Lady writes about Hell. It's the February 21st column. Check it out, it's pretty good on why Hell is important and we need to talk about it more. Thanks to the beautiful Jeanetta for the link.

Friday, February 21, 2003

This is exciting... I got an email from my advisor today that the paper we submitted a while back was rejected, but with an invitation to resubmit. They asked for some more literature review and a few other things my advisor thinks shouldn't be too hard. So I might get published again, that would be really cool!

Thursday, February 20, 2003

This is yet another silly quiz. I love the Veggie Tales though!

Take the test, by Emily.

Hmm. I appear to be backsliding a bit; I've gained a couple of pounds over the last couple of weeks. Nothing serious, but a reminder I need to be vigilant...
Mark Shea shares this great link: Peace in Middle Earth in our Time. I especially like:

“We need more time for diplomacy,” said a key member of the Middle-Earth Security Council, Saruman the White. “I am not convinced by the evidence presented by my esteemed colleague, Gandalf the Grey, or that the Dark Lord Sauron presents an imminent danger to the peoples of the West.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Yet another silly quiz....

Generally Liberal
How Republican Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla
Check it out -- The Curt Jester exposes the truth about St. Blog's.
So like many other St. Blog's folks I went to Bloginality to check my personality. Bloginality claims I'm an INTJ. I thought that was interesting, since the Keirsey Sorter I took 3 years ago had me as an ENTJ. I suspect that the KS is a bit more accurate, since it's much longer and defined than the four questions Bloginality asks :-). Also I suspect that my years of trying to rein in my latent loudmouthed and obnoxious qualities have made me less obviously an extrovert. Check out Typelogic's ENTJ description and compare it with an INTJ description. Anyone who knows me well will see that I'm an ENTJ.
New Blog. Check out Mark and Rich, the Whys Guys. They're from Cornell but they are okay anyway :-).
Rocks Clusters 2.3.1 has been released! Check out the release announcement. Rocks is free software for Linux clustering, a sort of clustering made easy. It's a lot like Scyld Beowulf clustering only it's still freely available with downloadable ISOs (Scyld is supposedly freely available but there are no free ISO downloads). Check out the Rocks Clusters website for more info, ISOs, etc. I'm really excited about this, I've been waiting for 2.3.1 to install my new cluster now that I have all the hardware in place.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Here's CNN's take on President Bush's God-talk: Bush talking more about religion. Personally I feel very comfortable with it, and I like to believe that I would feel the same way if he were a devout Muslim or Jew. Indeed, about the only thing I really admire about Joe Lieberman is his willingness to be forthright about his religious observance -- I just wish he'd be more in line with Judaism's traditional respect for life.
Help needed! Our Living Stones class has been discussing biomedical ethics. Our teacher mentioned that he'd read that the Pope, or the Vatican (he wasn't clear) had recently said that it was okay to withdraw nutrition/hydration in some circumstances -- he said it was in the last few months. My preliminary searches have turned up nothing like this at all. I have found online copies of Nutrition and Hydration: Moral and Pastoral Reflections (1992) by the US Bishops, and also the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, Fourth Edition (2001). Any help or references would be appreciated.

Interestingly enough, the Diocese of St. Petersburg has an online Catholic life and death form.
From Slashdot, a cool link to an editorial from IEEE Software on The Software Developer as Movie Icon. It's good stuff.

"As a college professor, I often get an opportunity to speak with incoming freshmen who have decided to major in computer science. Virtually all these young people share a single attribute: they have no idea what a professional software developer does."

Monday, February 17, 2003

Disputations writes interestingly on just war and Iraq. In particular, he says that the two sides seem to start from "a presumption against violence" vs. "a presumption against injustice" -- a distinction I'd not seen nor thought of. It does give one an interesting way of clarifying one's own position. He does go on to point out that even those who start from the presumption against violence seem to not be categorically opposed to violence, and similarly, those who start from the presumption against injustice don't categorically favor violent solutions.

He also cites The Summa on just war. It's a good reference to have and ponder. Also the USCCB reiterated just war doctrine back in 1993.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Music for Mass
SSPP Latin Schola
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Prelude: I Have Longed For Thy Saving Health (Byrd)
Gathering Song: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (Traditional)
Penitential Rite: Kyrie (Chant Mass)
Gloria: (Chant Mass)
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 32 (Dominican tones)
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia (Chant Mass)
Preparation of the Gifts: O Sacrum Cor Jesu (Pius X Hymnal #13)
Attende Domine (Pius X Hymnal #202)
Holy,Holy: Sanctus (Chant Mass)
Memorial Acclamation: (Chant Mass)
Great Amen: (Chant Mass)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Agnus Dei (Chant Mass)
Communion: Pange Lingua (Pius X Hymnal #48)
Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
Recessional: Send Us As Your Blessing, Lord (vs. 3) (Walker, OCP)

Friday, February 14, 2003

Interesting... in reading this article on Slashdot, someone mentioned that the Social Security Administration has a database of baby names. Based on their data, here's how my first name's popularity has waned (numbers are ranking where 1 is most popular):

1900s -- 122
1910s -- 92
1920s -- 81
1930s -- 79
1940s -- 107
1950s -- 135
1960s -- 185
1970s -- 281
1980s -- 368
1990s -- 521

Perhaps more tellingly, for 2000 and 2001 the ranking was 644 and 715, respectively. So my name is fairly uncommon. I think that's not a bad thing :-).

Happy Birthday Arizona

On this data in 1912, Arizona became the 48th state in Union!
I've been thinking about solfege today. Solfege is the system of assigning syllables to note values, as popularized in "Sound of Music"'s famous song, "Do Re Mi". There's a really nice introduction here. Solfege is used for ear training and sightsinging. Basically "do" is assigned to the root of the scale (c for C major, etc.) and the other syllables (re mi fa sol la ti do) are assigned to the ascending notes of the scale for the full octave.

I wrote a simple ear-training drill program for the Macintosh, way back in 1985, for my senior project at The University of Arizona(tm). This was on the original 128K Mac with two 400K floppy drives. What a pain in the neck! I wrote it in Basic as that was the only language we had available. It was really pretty neat, it would come up with some random sequences of notes and play them at you, and you would click on a staff to enter the values of the notes you'd heard. I still have the code around somewhere, with my report, but of course I don't have a Mac to read it on. There's a GNU project to teach solfege, called, oddly enough, GNU Solfege. I've not played with it but I should give it a try -- it runs on Linux and Windows. If you try it let me know what you think!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Yet another silly quiz....


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

I was hoping I'd be Westley. Oh well, at least I'm not Vizzini!
Whee! It's raining. In Tucson rain is something worth writing about. Our average rainfall is 12 inches a year, but with the drought we've had, last year we had less than 8.. It sprinkled off and on yesterday and started raining steadily sometime last night and it's pretty socked in now. Weatherpoint says we've had .33 inches already.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Two different stories on Michael Novak's writing on the possibility of war with Iraq. CNS and National Review. As I understand it, Novak's argument is that a war with Iraq is not a "preventive war" as some have claimed, but rather is justifiable under traditional just-war doctrine. Check it out.

Novak also talks about those who claim that the war is about oil. He points out that the US only gets about 6% of its oil from Iraq, while Europe gets a much larger percentage. The conclusion can be drawn (though he doesn't say so) that this is the cause of Europe's reluctance to engage Iraq. I think there's a lot of truth in that.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Hey, this is way cool! Aristotle Esguerra has found a source of chant fonts you can use with Word! Check it out -- Chant Font - PC.
A very cool article on the future of the universe -- NASA findings shed light on 'dark energy'. If they are correct, the implications are really astonishing. First, the universe will keep expanding and not contract into the "Big Crunch". But more interestingly, there is a force opposed to gravity. What does that mean, and can we find a way to make use of it?
A nice article about the Catholic astronaut aboard Columbia, Cmdr. Willie McCool. Rest in peace.
A nice piece by Mark Shea on women's ordination -- Rights and Gifts. Check it out.
Ow! I took my car in to the shop today because my clutch felt slippy. Sure enough, I need a new clutch. Yow! The car only has 82K miles on it (it's a 97). (*sigh*)

Saturday, February 08, 2003

So, the Department of Homeland Security has raised the national threat level to orange -- Credible threats pushed terror alert higher. This is pretty scary stuff. I feel fairly safe here in Tucson, although considering our proximity to the border and having the Raytheon plant and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base perhaps that's foolish.

Friday, February 07, 2003

An interesting article in Nation -- USA Oui! Bush Non!. It's kind of annoying. We have 3000 people killed in New York and Washington, and everybody in Europe says they are our friends, but when it's time to start going to do something about it, where are they? Putting their heads in the sand just as they did in the 1930s. It's ridiculous. Thank God for Tony Blair.

The whole article reminded me -- we still have troops in Germany. We should pull them out and send 'em to Korea where they might be both needed and wanted. In Germany they aren't needed and aren't wanted anyway.
I watched my videotape of Colin Powell's UN presentation on Iraq. If you missed it, I strongly urge you to read the transcript and/or watch the video on the State Department website. It's very damning evidence, and very scary. It seems to me that anyone who watches it would be convinced that Iraq has not complied with its obligations under Security Council Resolution 1441 and other resolutions. Given that truth, I don't see any option but war unless Iraq backs down and complies, which seems very unlikely.

It's very tempting to say that war never solves anything, but certainly World War II seemed to have solved a lot.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Thanks to Mark Shea for a link to the Pontifical Council For Culture and Pontifical Council For Interreligious Dialogue statement, Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Life: A Christian reflection on the “New Age”. See also Amy Welborn's commentary.
Yay! I took my phone to the Sprint PCS store (conveniently right next to my work) and they gave me a new phone, no hassle, no questions, no problem! Kudos to Sprint for good customer service! Not only that, they transferred my phone book to the new phone! Phew!
Speaking of Iraq and the UN, here's the text of Resolution 1441. It's worth a read. As my buddy ElfGirl has reminded me in the past, there's nothing like original sources.
An "Anonymous Coward" on Slashdot posted this gem:

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, at the eleventh hour, has altered his presentation to the U.N. Security Council to try to satisfy the concerns of Congressional Democrats, as well as U.S. critics elsewhere in the world.

Previously, Mr. Powell planned to show images and documents demonstrating that the Iraqi government has weapons of mass destruction and is deliberately deceiving U.N. inspectors.

However, the White House has become convinced that even with such evidence, the U.N. and Democrats in Congress will still oppose action to disarm Saddam Hussein.

So, instead, Mr. Powell will present the following accusations against Iraq:

--Saddam Hussein personally owns guns, and uses them.
--Iraq produces oil, the combustion of which will doom the planet to a second ice age.
--Saddam supports the death penalty and uses it.
--Some Iraqis, including government officials, drive Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV).
--Saddam believes Iraq is better than other countries.
--Saddam is decisive, often seeing issues in black-or-white terms, rather than countless shades of grey.
--Many Iraqis are meat eaters.
--Many Iraqis are "pro-life," opposing abortion.

A few Democrats who have previewed the script for the presentation expressed outrage at Iraq, and wondered why President Bush has not previously gone public with this "damning evidence."

"We are ready to authorize the use of overwhelming force," said one unnamed Senate Democrat. "This crazed dictator must be stopped before his ideas spread throughout the region."

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Dagnabbit! I pulled out my cell phone a couple of minutes ago to make a call, only to discover that something has happened to the display! It appears that it's cracked or something. Darn it! I have had this phone less than 3 months! Sheesh. And of course it was an expensive phone. I don't understand it, it's not like I sat on it or dropped it or anything, it was just in my pocket! GRRRRR!
I watched my tape of the Columbia memorial service last night. I thought it was very well done. In particular I thought they did a good job of keeping it about the astronauts and their families. The head of the astronaut corps (can't remember his name) talked about the crew and what they were like. It was very moving and really made one appreciate just how talented and special these people were and how much they contributed, and how much they'll be missed. President Bush's remarks were focused on the astronauts themselves, and their families, and only briefly about the broader issues. I think that was just right.

There was some discussion on Mark Shea's blog about how we now react to such things. Some people said that we react differently because of 9/11. Others say it's because of Challenger. I think it's really both. I have noticed that national tragedies seem to draw more reaction now because I think as Americans we are more aware of the service rendered to us, and the risks taken on our behalf, by police/firemen/servicemen/astronauts and others. That's just as well.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Scary stuff -- Most meat plants violate food safety rules. In particular, this lead quote:

"About 60 percent of the largest U.S. meat plants failed to meet federal food safety regulations for preventing the E. coli bacteria in their products, the U.S. Agriculture Department said Tuesday. "

This is cause for concern, although it should be noted that E. coli and its cousins aren't a problem if food is cooked properly (160 degrees).

Monday, February 03, 2003

Another silly quiz....

Which OS are You?
Which OS are You?

I'd hoped to get OpenVMS, but it's not one of the choices. Oh well!
Today is the one-year anniversary of the final concert of the Lane Justus Chorale. It seems like it's been a lot longer than a year. Wow, I really miss the group. I sang with the Chorale for 5 years and recorded 3 CDs, "Legacy", "Cantoria", and "O Vos Omnes." I can't really describe what it was like to sing with such a talented group, except to say that rehearsals were a joy -- we worked hard (5 concerts a year) and learned a lot of music. I learned a lot, and my sightreading improved tremendously. It was the kind of group where we would sightread something and then, without a word being said about the mistakes we made, we'd sing it again and it would be near-perfect. Without sounding too biased I have to say that our second reading of most pieces was better than many choir's performances. I miss it horribly! Here's a poem I wrote and dedicated to the Chorale:

Introspection on the Muse

Is it that beautiful?
We get a feeling for it as it goes by
A brief moment of cognition
On a duet between lines, or a suspension
Or just a nice chord.

We aren't hardened or jaded, truly we aren't;
But we work so hard on
Word stress
Reading vertically
And a million other things --

That sometimes we just lose our vision of
and Truth.

It's only in retrospect,
In reflection on our sense-memory
And in the treasured recordings
That we recall,
And remember,
And are so very grateful.


(Dedicated to the Lane Justus Chorale, Tucson, Arizona)

Sunday, February 02, 2003

A nice piece by Fr. Andrew Greeley on capital punishment -- Forgiveness necessary for psychological health.
Information continues to come in about the Columbia disaster. The best I've seen so far is this article at Spaceflight Now. Thanks to Catholic Light for the link, as well as the link to Peggy Noonan's excellent piece.

God bless and bless and bless their souls, and rest their souls in the morning.
Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk/hike in Sabino Canyon with my friend Jenn. It was really nice to get out in the fresh air and sunshine. Since it was another record-breaking day in Tucson (86 degrees!) it was nice to be in such an oasis. We walked from about 4:30 until almost 6:30; it was getting dark when we got back to the parking lot. We saw a couple of deer!

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Shuttle Columbia Lost

I woke up very late this morning, about 11:30, and took a shower. After I got out of the shower I checked my email and found a "breaking news" email from ABC saying Columbia was apparently lost. Like most Americans, probably, I immediately ran to the TV and turned it on and the news was confirmed. 'Valiant' crew lost in shuttle disaster.

The crew:

  • Rick D. Husband, Commander
  • William C. McCool, Pilot
  • Michael P. Anderson, Payload Commander
  • David M. Brown, Mission Specialist
  • Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist
  • Laurel Clark, Mission Specialist
  • Ilan Ramon, Payload Specialist

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Apparently the orbiter was re-entering Earth's atmosphere after a successful mission. Some will, of course, claim that the loss is no accident, and point to the presence of the Israeli astronaut as making the shuttle a target for terrorism. Others will blame Columbia's age (it was the oldest shuttle, first flown in 1981). I hope in all the finger-pointing and investigation we don't forget to properly mourn those who have been lost today.

Here's President Bush's address to the nation, quoting Isaiah.