Unsolicited Advice for Benedict XVI

by Kieran Healy on April 19, 2005

It’s a well-known fact that new Popes are always in need of advice. For instance, the late Pope John Paul II could have saved a terrific amount of theological confusion amongst under-twelves if, before his “visit to Ireland”:https://crookedtimber.org/2005/04/03/when-the-pope-came-to-ireland/ in 1979, he’d been told to make sure everyone knew that the word “Suffer” in the phrase “Suffer little children to come unto me” actually means “Permit” or “Allow.”

What bit of advice should we give the new Pope, I wonder? On the Biblical side, I’m a fan of “Micah 6:8”:http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=micah%206:8;&version=31, myself. (“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”) But you may have a different ideas.

Irrational Weighting of Probabilities: A Data Point

by Kieran Healy on April 19, 2005

You take your kid to the specialist to talk about persistent symptom x and he says, “Well it’s probably harmless thing A, or maybe harmless thing B. And there’s a very small chance it’s the horrible and ultimately fatal genetic disorder C.”

If I were rational, this conversation would not have upset me as much as it did.

_Update:_ Given all the parents in the world who really do have serious child-health problems to deal with, and worse besides, I now feel ashamed for even bringing this extremely remote possibility of bad luck up here. It wasn’t even meant to be the point of the post, just a springboard for an observation. Don’t be surprised if the post disappears altogether soon, having died of embarassment.

Gimme an “Air”! Gimme a “Miles”!

by Daniel on April 19, 2005

Yup, Thomas “Airmiles” Friedman is off on one again. Globollocks back in full effect, this time reminding us of the War For Innovation going on in his head. He’s got a book of this stuff out, apparently, bless.
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Exit, voice, loyalty

by Maria on April 19, 2005

So, let’s assume for a moment that you had a real personal stake in who became next pope and are beyond horrified at the ‘election’ of Ratzinger. Let’s also assume you go to Mass on a fairly regular basis (though maybe you haven’t been to confession since you were a teenager…), and know that from now on, you’ll be asked every week to pray for his holiness, Pope Palpatine, sorry, Benedixt XVI. And that’s the easy bit.

I’ll take it that you know there is no way for a mere lay person, and a woman at that, to have any real voice in the doctrinal decisions of the church. And also that loyalty can only mean the lie of silent apostasy. Is exit the only option?

Skeptical Inquiry

by Henry on April 19, 2005

Chris Mooney has a great piece of investigative reporting at Mother Jones detailing Exxon’s funding of anti-global warming groups ranging from Steven Milloy’s one-man disinformation campaign at junkscience.com to the American Enterprise Institute. Bottom line: there’s now an overwhelming scientific consensus that human caused greenhouse gases are causing the world’s temperature to rise. Many previous skeptics (e.g. BP and Shell) have now been convinced on the basic facts of global warming. Yet Exxon and the American Petroleum Institute, an organization with which Exxon has close links, have sought to cast doubt on this consensus through funding spurious “reports” and other publications that don’t meet the minimal standards to get published in peer-reviewed journals.[1]
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Everybody Say His Own Kyrie Eleison

by Kieran Healy on April 19, 2005

“It’s Ratzinger”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/19/international/worldspecial2/19cnd-conclave.html, as Benedict XVI. Oh boy.

Wonderful hack

by Eszter Hargittai on April 19, 2005

A fellow user of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has created a wonderful hack for Google Maps using Greasemonkey. By installing the script in Firefox, it is now possible to get addresses to overlay on the CTA system map. This was a feature seriously lacking on the Transit Authority’s own site and has caused many frustrations for me in the past. This is an awesome feature. [thanks]