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Golden calf – Wikipedia

Posted: January 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm

According to the Bible, the golden calf ( ggel hazhv) was an icon (a cult image) made by the Israelites during Moses’ absence, when he went up to Mount Sinai. In Hebrew, the incident is known as haggel ( ) or “The Sin of the Calf”. It is first mentioned in Exodus 32:4.

Bull worship was common in many cultures. In Egypt, whence according to the Exodus narrative the Hebrews had recently come, the Apis Bull was a comparable object of worship, which some believe the Hebrews were reviving in the wilderness;[1] alternatively, some believe the God of Israel was associated with or pictured as a calf/bull deity through the process of religious assimilation and syncretism. Among the Egyptians’ and Hebrews’ neighbors in the ancient Near East and in the Aegean, the Aurochs, the wild bull, was widely worshipped, often as the Lunar Bull and as the creature of El.

When Moses went up into Biblical Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:12-18), he left the Israelites for forty days and forty nights. The Israelites feared that he would not return and demanded that Aaron make them “gods” to go before them (Exodus 32:1). Aaron gathered up the Israelites’ golden earrings and ornaments, constructed a “molten calf” and they declared: “These [be] thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:4)

Aaron built an altar before the calf and proclaimed the next day to be a feast to the LORD. So they rose up early the next day and “offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” (Exodus 32:6) God told Moses what the Israelites were up to back in camp, that they had turned aside quickly out of the way which God commanded them and he was going to destroy them and start a new people from Moses. Moses besought and pleaded that they should be spared (Exodus 32:11-14), and God “repented of the evil which He said He would do unto His people.”

Moses went down from the mountain, but upon seeing the calf, he became angry and threw down the two Tablets of Stone, breaking them. Moses burnt the golden calf in a fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on water, and forced the Israelites to drink it. When Moses asked him, Aaron admitted collecting the gold, and throwing it into the fire, and said it came out as a calf (Exodus 32:21-24).

The bible records that the tribe of Levi did not worship the golden calf. When Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said: ‘Whosoever is on the LORD’s side, let him come unto me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them: ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.’ And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. (Exodus 32:26-28)

The golden calf is mentioned in Nehemiah 9:1621.

“But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies. “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.”

The language suggests that there are some inconsistencies in the other accounts of the Israelites and their use of the calf. As the version in Exodus and 1 Kings are written by Deuteronomistic historians based in the southern kingdom of Judah, there is a proclivity to expose the Israelites as unfaithful. The inconsistency is primarily located in Exodus 32.4 where “gods” is plural despite the construction of a single calf. When Ezra retells the story, he uses the single, capitalized God.[2]

Conversely, a more biblically conservative view offers a tenable explanation accounting for the discrepancy between “gods” in Exodus 32 and “God” in Nehemiah 9:18. In both instances, the Hebrew ‘elohim’ is used. Since ancient Hebrew failed to distinguish ‘elohim’ God (known as the majestic plural) from ‘elohim’ gods, Biblical translations are either determined by a) context or b) the local verb(s). In the original account in Exodus 32, the local verb is in the 3rd person plural. In Nehemiah 9, the verb connected to ‘elohim’ is singular. For the JEDP (i.e. Deuteronomistic) theorist, this inconsistency is confirmatory since the theory maintains a roughly equivalent date for the composition of Exodus and Nehemiah. More conservative scholarship would argue that these two texts were composed about 1000 years apart: Exodus (by Moses) circa 1500 BCE, and Nehemiah circa 500 BCE. The biblically conservative framework would therefore account for the verbal inconsistency from Exodus to Nehemiah as a philological evolution over the approximate millennium separating the two books.

According to 1 Kings 12:2630, after Jeroboam establishes the northern Kingdom of Israel, he contemplates the sacrificial practices of the Israelites.

Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.” After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.

His concern was that the tendency to offer sacrifices in Jerusalem, which is in the southern Kingdom of Judah, would lead to a return to King Rehoboam. He makes two golden calves and places them in Bethel and Dan. He erects the two calves in what he figures (in some interpretations) as substitutes for the cherubim built by King Solomon in Jerusalem.[3]

Richard Elliott Friedman says “at a minimum we can say that the writer of the golden calf account in Exodus seems to have taken the words that were traditionally ascribed to Jeroboam and placed them in the mouths of the people.” Friedman believes that the story was turned into a polemic, exaggerating the throne platform decoration into idolatry, by a family of priests sidelined by Jeroboam.[4]

The declarations of Aaron and Jeroboam are almost identical:

After making the golden calf or golden calves both Aaron and Jeroboam celebrate festivals. Aaron builds an altar and Jeroboam ascends an altar (Exod 32:56; 1 Kings 12:3233).[5]

The incident of the worship of the Golden Calf is narrated in the Qur’an and other Islamic literature. The Qur’an narrates that after they refused to enter the promised land, God decreed that as punishment the Israelites would wander for forty years. Moses continued to lead the Israelites to Mount Sinai for Divine guidance. According to Islamic literature, God ordered Moses to fast for thirty days, and upon near completion of the thirty days, Moses ate a scented plant to improve the odour of his mouth. God commanded Moses to fast for ten more days, before receiving the guidance for the Israelites. When Moses completed the fasts, he approached God for guidance. During this time, Moses had instructed the Israelites that Aaron (Harun) was to lead them. The Israelites grew restless, since Moses had not returned to them, and after thirty days, a man the Qur’an names Samiri raised doubts among the Israelites. Samiri claimed that Moses had forsaken the Israelites and ordered his followers among the Israelites to light a fire and bring him all the jewelry and gold ornaments they had.[6] Samiri fashioned the gold into a golden calf along with the dust on which the angel Gabriel had trodden, which he proclaimed to be the God of Moses and the God who had guided them out of Egypt.[7] There is a sharp contrast between the Qur’anic and the biblical accounts the prophet Aaron’s actions. The Qur’an mentions that Aaron attempted to guide and warn the people from worshipping the Golden Calf. However, the Israelites refused to stop until Moses had returned.[8] The righteous separated themselves from the pagans. God informed Moses that He had tried the Israelites in his absence and that they had failed by worshipping the Golden Calf.

Returning to the Israelites in great anger, Moses asked Aaron why he had not stopped the Israelites when he had seen them worshipping the Golden Calf. The Qur’an reports that Aaron stated that he did not act due to the fear that Moses would blame him for causing divisions among the Israelites. Moses realized his helplessness in the situation, and both prayed to God for forgiveness. Moses then questioned Samiri for the creation of the Golden Calf; Samiri justified his actions by stating that he had thrown the dust of the ground upon which Gabriel had tread on into the fire because his soul had suggested it to him.[6] Moses informed him that he would be banished and that they would burn the Golden Calf and spread its dust into the sea. Moses ordered seventy delegates to repent to God and pray for forgiveness.[9] The delegates traveled alongside Moses to Mount Sinai, where they witnessed the speech between him and God but refused to believe until they had witnessed God with their sight. As punishment, God struck the delegates with lightning and killed them with a violent earthquake.[10] Moses prayed to God for their forgiveness. God forgave and resurrected them and they continued on their journey.

In the Islamic view, the Calf-worshipers’ sin had been shirk (Arabic: ), the sin of idolatry or polytheism. Shirk is the deification or worship of anyone or anything other than the singular God (Allah), or more literally the establishment of “partners” placed beside God, a most serious and unforgivable sin, with the Calf-worshipers’ being ultimately forgiven being a mark of special forbearance by Allah.

Despite a seemingly simplistic faade, the golden calf narrative is complex. According to Michael Coogan, it seems that the golden calf was not an idol for another god, and thus a false god.[11] He cites Exodus 32:4-5 as evidence: He [Aaron] took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” Importantly, there is a single calf in this narrative, though the people refer to it as representative of the “gods.” While a reference to singular god does not necessarily imply Yahweh worship, it does not rule out the possibility that it is Yahweh that the people are worshiping, as the reference to a plurality of “gods” would. Additionally, the festival “to the Lord” in verse 5 is sometimes translated as “to Yahweh”.[11] It should also be noted that “in the chronology of the narrative of the Ten Commandments” the commandment against the creation of graven images had not yet been given to the people when they pressed upon Aaron to help them make the calf, and that such behavior was not yet explicitly outlawed.[11]

Another understanding of the golden calf narrative is that the calf was meant to be the pedestal of Yahweh. In Near Eastern art, gods were often depicted standing on an animal, rather than seated on a throne.[11] This reading suggests that the golden calf was merely an alternative to the ark of the covenant or the cherubim upon which Yahweh was enthroned.[11]

The reason for this complication may be understood as 1.) a criticism of Aaron, as the founder of one priestly house that rivaled the priestly house of Moses, and/or 2.) as “an attack on the northern kingdom of Israel.”[11] The second explanation relies on the “sin of Jeroboam,” who was the first king of the northern kingdom, as the cause of the northern kingdoms fall to Assyria in 722 BCE.[11] Jeroboams “sin” was creating two calves of gold, and sending one to Bethel as a worship site in the south of the Kingdom, and the other to Dan as a worship site in the north, so that the people of the northern kingdom would not have to continue to go to Jerusalem to worship (see 1 Kings 12.2630). According to Coogan, this episode is part of the Deuteronomistic history, written in the southern kingdom of Judah, after the fall of the Northern kingdom, which was biased against the northern kingdom.[11] Coogan maintains that Jeroboam was merely presenting an alternative to the cherubim of the Temple in Jerusalem, and that calves did not indicate non-Yahwehistic worship.[11]

The documentary hypothesis can be used to further understand the layers of this narrative: it is plausible that the earliest story of the golden calf was preserved by E (Israel source) and originated in the Northern kingdom. When E and J (Judah source) were combined after the fall of northern kingdom, “the narrative was reworked to portray the northern kingdom in a negative light,” and the worship of the calf was depicted as “polytheism, with the suggestion of a sexual orgy” (see Exodus 32.6). When compiling the narratives, P (a later Priest source from Jerusalem) may have minimized Aarons guilt in the matter, but preserved the negativity associated with the calf.[11]

Alternatively it could be said that there is no golden calf story in the J source, and if it is correct that the Jeroboam story was the original as stated by Friedman, then it is unlikely that the Golden Calf events as described in Exodus occurred at all. Friedman states that the smashing of the Ten Commandments by Moses when he beheld the worship of the golden calf, is really an attempt to cast into doubt the validity of Judah’s central shrine, the Ark of the Covenant. “The author of E, in fashioning the golden calf story, attacked both the Israelite and Judean religious establishments.” [12]

As to the likelihood that these events ever took place, on the one hand there are two versions of the ten commandments story, in E (Exodus 20) and J (Exodus 34), this gives some antiquity and there may be some original events serving as a basis to the stories. The Golden Calf story is only in the E version and a later editor added in an explanation that God made a second pair of tablets to give continuity to the J story.[13] The actual Ten Commandments as given in Exodus 20 were also inserted by the redactor who combined the various sources.[14]

Archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman say that while archaeology has found traces left by small bands of hunter-gatherers in the Sinai, there is no evidence at all for the large body of people described in the Exodus story: “The conclusion that Exodus did not happen at the time and in the manner described in the Bible seems irrefutable… repeated excavations and surveys throughout the entire area have not provided even the slightest evidence.”[15]

A metaphoric interpretation emphasizes the “gold” part of “golden calf” to criticize the pursuit of wealth.

This usage can be found in Spanish[16] where Mammon, the Gospel personification of idolatry of wealth, is not so current.

People and things in the Quran

Groups and tribes

Note: The names are sorted alphabetically. Standard form: Islamic name / Bibilical name (title or relationship)

Link:

Golden calf – Wikipedia

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Will Obama …

Posted: January 14, 2017 at 7:42 am

Last week, as the mainstream media continued to obsess over the CIAs evidence-free claim that the Russians hacked the presidential election, President Obama quietly sent 300 US Marines back into Afghanistans Helmand Province. This is the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone, and it represents a final failure of Obamas Afghanistan policy. The outgoing president promised that by the end of his second term, the US military would only be present in small numbers and only on embassy duty. But more than 8,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan as he leaves office.

When President Obama was first elected he swore that he would end the US presence in Iraq (the bad war) and increase US presence in Afghanistan (the good war). He ended up increasing troops to both wars, while the situation in each country continued to deteriorate.

Why are the Marines needed in the Helmand Province? Because although the foolish and counterproductive 15-year US war in Afghanistan was long ago lost, Washington cannot face this fact. Last year the Taliban controlled 20 percent of the province. This year they control 85 percent of the province. So billions more must be spent and many more lives will be lost.

Will these 300 Marines somehow achieve what the 2011 peak of 100,000 US soldiers was not able to achieve? Will this last push win the war? Hardly! The more the president orders military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, the worse it gets. In 2016, for example, President Obama dropped 1,337 bombs on Afghanistan, a 40 percent increase from 2015. According to the United Nations, in 2016 there were 2,562 conflict-related civilian deaths and 5,835 injuries. And the Taliban continues to score victories over the Afghan puppet government.

The interventionists in Washington continue to run our foreign policy regardless of who is elected. They push for wars, they push for regime change, then they push for billions to reconstruct the bombed-out countries. When the liberated country ends up in worse shape, they claim it was because we just didnt do enough of what ruined the country in the first place. Its completely illogical, but the presidents who keep seeking the neocons advice dont seem to notice. Obama the peace candidate and president has proven himself no different than his predecessors.

What will a President Trump do about the 15 year failed nation-building experiment in Afghanistan? He has criticized the long-standing US policy of regime-change and nation-building while on the campaign trail, and I would like to think he would just bring the troops home. However, I would not be surprised if he accelerates US military action in Afghanistan to win the war once and for all. He will not succeed if he does so, as the war is not winnable no one even knows what winning looks like! We may well see even more US troops killing and being killed in Afghanistan a year from now if that is the case. That would be a terrible tragedy.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Will Obama …

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Saturday (novel) – Wikipedia

Posted: January 11, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Saturday (2005) is a novel by Ian McEwan set in Fitzrovia, London, on Saturday, 15 February 2003, as a large demonstration is taking place against the United States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq. The protagonist, Henry Perowne, a 48-year-old neurosurgeon, has planned a series of chores and pleasures culminating in a family dinner in the evening. As he goes about his day, he ponders the meaning of the protest and the problems that inspired it; however, the day is disrupted by an encounter with a violent, troubled man.

To understand his character’s world-view, McEwan spent time with a neurosurgeon. The novel explores one’s engagement with the modern world and the meaning of existence in it. The main character, though outwardly successful, still struggles to understand meaning in his life, exploring personal satisfaction in the post-modern, developed world. Though intelligent and well read, Perowne feels he has little influence over political events.

The book, published in February 2005 by Jonathan Cape in the United Kingdom and in April in the United States, was critically and commercially successful. Critics noted McEwan’s elegant prose, careful dissection of daily life, and interwoven themes. It won the 2005 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. It has been translated into eight languages.

Saturday is McEwan’s ninth novel, published between Atonement and On Chesil Beach, two novels of historical fiction. McEwan has discussed that he prefers to alternate between writing about the past and the present.[1][2]

While researching the book, McEwan spent two years work-shadowing Neil Kitchen, a neurosurgeon at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, London.[1][3][4] Kitchen testified that McEwan did not flinch in the theatre, a common first reaction to surgery; “He sat in the corner, with his notebook and pencil”.[1] He also had several medical doctors and surgeons review the book for accuracy, though few corrections were required to the surgical description.[1][4]Saturday was also proof-read by McEwan’s longstanding circle of friends who review his manuscripts, Timothy Garton Ash, Craig Raine, and Galen Strawson.[1]

There are elements of autobiography in Saturday: the protagonist lives in Fitzroy Square, the same square in London that McEwan does and is physically active in middle age.[1]Christopher Hitchens, a friend of McEwan’s, noted how Perowne’s wife, parents and children are the same as the writer’s.[5] McEwan’s son, Greg, who like Theo played the guitar reasonably well in his youth, emphasized one difference between them, “I definitely don’t wear tight black jeans”.[1]

Excerpts were published in five different literary magazines, including the whole of chapter one in the New York Times Book Review, in late 2004 and early 2005.[6] The complete novel was published by the Jonathan Cape Imprint of Random House Books in February 2005 in London, New York, and Toronto; Dutch, Hebrew, German, French, Spanish, Polish, Russian, and Japanese translations followed.[7][8]

The book follows Henry Perowne, a middle-aged, successful surgeon. Five chapters chart his day and thoughts on Saturday the 15 February 2003, the day of the demonstration against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the largest protest in British history. Perowne’s day begins in the early morning, when he sees a burning aeroplane streak across the sky. This casts a shadow over the rest of his day as reports on the television change and shift: is it an accident, or terrorism?

En route to his weekly squash game, a traffic diversion reminds Perowne of the anti-war protests occurring that day. After being allowed through the diversion, he collides with another car, damaging its wing mirror. At first the driver, Baxter, tries to extort money from him. When Perowne refuses, Baxter and his two companions become aggressive. Noticing symptoms in Baxter’s behaviour, Perowne quickly recognises the onset of Huntington’s disease. Though he is punched in the sternum, Perowne manages to escape unharmed by distracting Baxter with discussions of his disease.

Perowne goes on to his squash match, still thinking about the incident. He loses the long and contested game by a technicality in the final set. After lunch he buys some fish from a local fishmonger for dinner. He visits his mother, suffering from vascular dementia, who is cared for in a nursing home.

After a visit to his son’s rehearsal, Perowne returns home to cook dinner, and the evening news reminds him of the grander arc of events that surround his life. When Daisy, his daughter, arrives home from Paris, the two passionately debate the coming war in Iraq. His father-in-law arrives next. Daisy reconciles an earlier literary disagreement that led to a froideur with her maternal grandfather; remembering that it was he who had inspired her love of literature. Perowne’s son Theo returns next.

Rosalind, Perowne’s wife, is the last to arrive home. As she enters, Baxter and an accomplice ‘Nige’ force their way in armed with knives. Baxter punches the grandfather, intimidates the family and orders Daisy to strip naked. When she does, Perowne notices that she is pregnant. Finding out she is a poet, Baxter asks her to recite a poem. Rather than one of her own, she recites Dover Beach, which affects Baxter emotionally, effectively disarming him. Instead he becomes enthusiastic about Perowne’s renewed talk about new treatment for Huntington’s disease. After his companion abandons him, Baxter is overpowered by Perowne and Theo, and knocked unconscious after falling down the stairs. That night Perowne is summoned to the hospital for a successful emergency operation on Baxter. Saturday ends at around 5:15a.m. on Sunday, after he has returned from the hospital and made love to his wife again.

McEwan’s earlier work has explored the fragility of existence using a clinical perspective,[9] Hitchens hails him a “chronicler of the physics of every-day life”.[5]Saturday explores the feeling of fulfilment in Perowne: he is respected and respectable but not quite at ease, wondering about the luck that has him where he is and others homeless or in menial jobs.[5] The family is materially well-off, with a plush home and a Mercedes, but justifiably soPerowne and his wife work hard. McEwan tells of his success rate and keeping cool under pressure; there is a trade off, as he and his wife work long hours and need to put their diaries side by side to find time to spend together.[5]

Perowne’s composure and success mean the implied violence is in the background. His personal contentment, (at the top of his profession, and “an unashamed beneficiary of the fruits of late capitalism”[3]) provides a hopeful side to the book, instead of the unhappiness in contemporary fiction.[2] McEwan’s previous novels highlighted the fragility of modern fulfilled life, seemingly minor incidents dramatically upsetting existence.[9]Saturday returns to a theme explored in Atonement, which plotted the disruption of a lie to a middle-class family, and in The Child in Time, where a small child is kidnapped during a day’s shopping.[10] This theme is continued in Saturday, a “tautly wound tour-de-force” set in a world where terrorism, war and politics make the news headlines, but the protagonist has to live out this life until he “collides with another fate”.[2] In Saturday Perowne’s medical knowledge captures the delicate state of humanity better than novelists’ imaginations: his acquaintance with death and neurological perspective better capture human frailty.[9]

The burning aeroplane in the book’s opening, and the suspicions it immediately arouses, quickly introduces the problems of terrorism and international security.[5] The day’s political demonstration and the ubiquity of its news coverage provide background noise to Perowne’s day, leading to him to ponder his relationship with these events.[11]Christopher Hitchens pointed out that the novel is set on the “actual day the whole of bien-pensant Britain moved into the streets to jeer at George Bush and Tony Blair” and placed the novel as “unapologetically anchored as it is in the material world and its several discontents”.[5]The Economist newspaper set the context as a “world where terrorism and war make headlines, but also filter into the smallest corners of people’s lives.”[2] McEwan said himself, “The march gathered not far from my house, and it bothered me that so many people seemed so thrilled to be there”.[12] The characterisation of Perowne as an intelligent, self-aware man: “..a habitual observer of his own moods’ [who] is given to reveries about his mental processes,” allows the author to explicitly set out this theme.[1]

“It’s an illusion to believe himself active in the story. Does he think he’s changing something, watching news programmes, or lying on his back on the sofa on Sunday afternoon, reading more opinion columns of ungrounded certainties, more long articles about what really lies behind this or that development, or what is surely going to happen next, predictions forgotten as soon as they are read, well before events disprove them?”[13]

Physically, Perowne is neither above nor outside the fray but at an angle to it; emotionally his own intelligence makes him apathetic, he can see both sides of the argument, and his beliefs are characterised by a series of hard choices rather than sure certainties.[5][14]

He is concerned for the fate of Iraqis; through his friendship with an exiled Iraqi professor he learned of the totalitarian side of Saddam Hussein’s rule, but also takes seriously his children’s concerns about the war. He often plays devil’s advocate, being dovish with this American friend, and hawkish with his daughter.[12]

McEwan establishes Perowne as anchored in the real world.[5][15] Perowne expresses a distaste for some modern literature, puzzled by, even disdaining magical realism:

“What were these authors of reputation doing grown men and women of the twentieth century granting supernatural powers to their characters?” Perowne earnestly tried to appreciate fiction, under instruction from his daughter he read both Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, but could not accept their artificiality, even though they dwelt on detail and ordinariness.[11]

Perowne’s dismissive attitude towards literature is directly contrasted with his scientific world-view in his struggle to comprehend the modern world.[11] Perowne explicitly ponders this question, “The times are strange enough. Why make things up?”.[11]

Perowne’s world view is rebutted by his daughter, Daisy, a young poet. In the book’s climax in chapter four, while he struggles to remain calm offering medical solutions to Baxter’s illness, she quotes Matthew Arnold’s poem Dover Beach, which calls for civilised values in the world, temporarily placating the assailant’s violent mood.[3] McEwan described his intention as wanting to “play with this idea, whether we need stories”.[16] Brian Bethune interpreted McEwan’s approach to Perowne as “mercilessly [mocking] his own protagonist…But Perowne’s blind spot [literature] is less an author’s little joke than a plea for the saving grace of literature.”[15]

Similarly he is irreligious, his work making him aware of the fragility of life and consciousness’s reliance on the functioning brain.[11] His morality is nuanced, weighing both sides of an issue. When leaving the confrontation with Baxter, he questions his use of his medical knowledge, even though it was in self-defense, and with genuine Hippocratic feeling. While shopping for his fish supper, he cites scientific research that shows greater consciousness in fish, and wonders whether he should stop eating them.[11] As a sign of his rationalism, he appreciates the brutality of Saddam Hussein’s rule as described by the Iraqi professor whom Perowne treated, at the same time taking seriously his children’s concerns about the war.

Saturday is a “post 9/11” novel, dealing with the change in lifestyle faced by Westerners after the 11 September attacks in the United States. As such, Christopher Hitchens characterised it as “unapologetically anchored as it is in the material world and its several discontents”.[5] “Structurally, Saturday is a tightly wound tour de force of several strands”; it is both a thriller which portrays a very attractive family, and an allegory of the world after 11 September 2001 which meditates on the fragility of life.[14]

In this respect the novel correctly anticipates, at page 276, the July 7, 2005 bombings on London’s Underground railway network, which occurred a few months after the book was published:

London, his small part of it, lies wide open, impossible to defend, waiting for its bomb, like a hundred other cities. Rush hour will be a convenient time. It might resemble the Paddington crash twisted rails, buckled, upraised commuter coaches, stretchers handed out through broken windows, the hospital’s Emergency Plan in action. Berlin, Paris, Lisbon. The authorities agree, an attack’s inevitable.

The book obeys the classical unities of place, time and action, following one man’s day against the backdrop of a grander historical narrative the anti-war protests happening in the city that same day.[9] The protagonist’s errands are surrounded by the recurring leitmotif of hyper real, ever-present screens which report the progress of the plane and the march Perowne has earlier encountered.[11]Saturday is in tune with its protagonist’s literary tastes; “magical realism” it is not.[5] The 26-hour narrative led critics to compare the book to similar novels, especially Ulysses by James Joyce, which features a man crossing a city,[15] and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, of which Michiko Kakutani described Saturday as an “up-to-the-moment, post-9/11 variation.”[10]

The novel is narrated in the third person, limited point of view: the reader learns of events as Perowne does. Using the free indirect style the narrator inhabits Perowne, a neurosurgeon, who often thinks rationally, explaining phenomena using medical terminology.[1] This allows McEwan to capture some of the “white noise that we almost forget as soon as we think it, unless we stop and write it down.”[16] Hitchens highlighted how the author separates himself from his character with a “Runyonesque historical present (“He rises ” “He strides “) that solidifies the context and the actuality.”[5]

Saturday was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, a best-seller in Britain and the United States. It spent a week at No. 3 on both the New York Times Best Seller List on 15 April 2005,[17] and Publishers Weekly (4 April 2005) lists.[18] A strong performance for literary fiction, Saturday sold over 250,000 copies on release, and signings were heavily attended.[19] The paperback edition sold another quarter of a million.[20]

Ruth Scurr reviewed the book in The Times, calling McEwan “[maybe] the best novelist in Britain and is certainly operating at the height of his formidable powers”.[9] She praised his examination of happiness in the 21st century, particularly from the point of view of a surgeon: “doctors see real lives fall to pieces in their consulting rooms or on their operating tables, day in, day out. Often they mend what is broken, and open the door to happiness again.”[9] Christopher Hitchens said the “sober yet scintillating pages of Saturday” confirmed the maturation of McEwan and displayed both his soft, humane, side and his hard, intellectual, scientific, side.[5]

Reviewers celebrated McEwan’s dissection of the quotidian and his talent for observation and description. Michiko Kakutani liked the “myriad of small, telling details and a reverence for their very ordinariness “, and the suspense created that threatens these.[10] Tim Adams concurred in The Observer, calling the observation “wonderfully precise”.[21] Mark Lawson in The Guardian said McEwan’s style had matured into “scrupulous, sensual rhythms,” and noted the considered word choice that enables his work. Perowne, for example, is a convincing neurosurgeon by the end of the book.[22] This attention to detail allowed McEwan to use all the tricks of fiction to generate “a growing sense of disquiet with the tiniest finger-flicks of detail”.[14]

The “set-piece” construction of the book was noticed by many critics; Mrs Scurr praised it, describing a series of “vivid tableaux”,[9] but John Banville was less impressed, calling it an assembly of discrete set pieces, though he said the treatment of the car crash and its aftermath was “masterful”, and said of Perowne’s visit to his mother: “the writing is genuinely affecting in its simplicity and empathetic force.”[3] From the initial “dramatic overture” of the aircraft scene, there were “astonishing pages of description”, sometimes “heart-stopping”, though it was perhaps a touch too artful at times, according to Michael Dirda in The Washington Post.[14] Christopher Hitchens said that McEwan delivered a “virtuoso description of the aerodynamics of a squash game,” enjoyable even “to a sports hater like myself”,[5] Banville said he, as a literary man, had been bored by the same scene.[23] Zoe Heller praised the tension in the climax as “vintage McEwan nightmare” but questioned the resolution as “faintly preposterous”.[11]

John Banville wrote a scathing review of the book for The New York Review of Books.[3] He described Saturday as the sort of thing that a committee directed to produce a ‘novel of our time’ would write, the politics were “banal”; the tone arrogant, self-satisfied and incompetent; the characters cardboard cut-outs. He felt McEwan strove too hard to display technical knowledge “and his ability to put that knowledge into good, clean prose”.[3]

Saturday won the James Tait Black Prize for fiction;[24] and was nominated on the long-list of the Man Booker Prize in 2005.[25]

According to songwriter Neil Finn, the Crowded House song “People Are Like Suns”, from Time on Earth (2007), begins with lyrics inspired by the beginning of Saturday, stating “…when I wrote it, I was reading Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday, which begins with a man on his balcony watching a plane go down, so the first lines borrow something from that image.”[26]

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The official Tor browser for iOS is free to use | Ars Technica

Posted: January 10, 2017 at 11:45 pm

J.M. Porup (UK) – Jan 9, 2017 1:42 pm UTC

Techno Fishy

When Mike Tigas first created the Onion Browser app for iOS in 2012, he never expected it to become popular. He was working as a newsroom Web developer at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, at the time, and wanted a Tor browser app for himself and his colleagues. Expecting little interest, he then put Onion Browser on the Apple App Store at just $0.99/0.69, the lowest non-zero price that Apple allows.

Fast forward to 2016, and Tigas found himself living in New York City, working as a developer and investigative journalist at ProPublica, while earning upwards of $2,000 a month from the appand worrying that charging for it was keeping anonymous browsing out of the hands of people who needed it.

“Given recent events, many believe it’s more important than ever to exercise and support freedom of speech, privacy rights, and digital security,” he wrote in a blog post. “I think now is as good a time as ever to make Onion Browser more accessible to everyone.”

Global concerns also influenced his decision. “Iran is not technically a country where you can get an iPhone, but on the grey market you can,” he told Ars. “People over there can’t get apps you have to pay for, because you have to have a credit card that Apple actually accepts,” he added, noting that economic sanctions forbid Apple from selling to Iranian iOS users.

Onion Browser is the leading, community-supported Tor Web browser for iOS, but it lacks some of the features available for Tor Browser (Linux, MacOS, Windows) and OrFox (Android), due to technical roadblocks peculiar to iOS. (The Tor Project has so far declined to officially endorse an app for iOS.)

Onion Browser for iOS.

Onion Browser settings

The two biggest challenges Tor developers on iOS face, as Tigas outlined in this blog post on the Tor Project website, are Apple’s requirement that all browsers use the iOS WebKit rendering engine, and the inability to run Tor as a system-wide service or daemon on iOS.

Developers have found workarounds to both problems, and iOS users can soon expect to see a new, improved Onion Browser, as well as a Tor VPN that routes all device traffic over Torprobably in the first quarter of 2017.

Unlike the Tor or OrFox, Onion Browser is not based on the Firefox Gecko rendering engine. This is goodOnion Browser is not vulnerable to Firefox exploitsbut also bad, because code cannot be reused.

A further challenge, Tigas said, is that Apples WebKit APIs “dont allow a lot of control over the rendering and execution of Web pages, making a Tor Browser-style security slider very difficult to implement.”

Many of iOS’s multimedia features don’t use the browser’s network stack, making it difficult to ensure the native video player does not leak traffic outside of Tor.

“Onion Browser tries to provide some functionality to block JavaScript and multimedia, but these features arent yet as robust as on other platforms,” Tigas wrote.

Moreover, it doesn’t support tabbed browsing, and the UX is pretty basic, but Tigas is working on a rewrite based on Endless. “It adds a lot of important features over the existing Onion Browser, he said, like a nicer user-interface with tabbed browsing, HTTPS Everywhere, and HSTS Preloading. Theres a new version of Onion Browser in the works thats based on Endless that will hopefully enter beta testing this month.”

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Dash (cryptocurrency) – Wikipedia

Posted: January 8, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Dash

Official Dash logo

Dash (formerly known as Darkcoin and XCoin) is an open source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that offers instant transactions (InstantSend),[1] private transactions (PrivateSend)[2] and token fungibility. It was rebranded from “Darkcoin” to “Dash” on March 25, 2015, a portmanteau of “Digital Cash”.[3]

Dash operates a decentralized governance and budgeting system, making it the first decentralized autonomous organization.[4]

Dash uses a chained hashing algorithm called X11 for the proof-of-work. Instead of using the SHA-256 (from well-known Secure Hash Algorithm family) or scrypt it uses 11 rounds of different hashing functions.[5]

As of 2016, Dash is among the top-7 most popular cryptocurrencies.[6]

Main website is http://www.dash.org

PrivateSend is a coin-mixing service originally based on CoinJoin. Later iterations used a more advanced method of pre-mixing denominations built into the user’s wallet. The implementation of PrivateSend also allows masternodes to submit the transactions using special network code called DSTX,[7] this provides additional privacy to users due to the deadchange issue present in other CoinJoin based implementations such as DarkWallet and CoinShuffle.[8]

DarkSend rebranded to PrivateSend June 2016.

In its current implementation it adds privacy to transactions by combining identical inputs from multiple users into a single transaction with several outputs. Due to the identical inputs, transactions usually cannot be directly traced, obfuscating the flow of funds. PrivateSend makes Dash “Fungible”[9] by mixing the coins in the same denomination with other wallets, ensuring that all coins are of the same value.

PrivateSend’s mixing is performed by Masternodes, servers operating on a decentralized network which have the responsibility of signing the transactions. For each round of PrivateSend, the user selects two to eight (or even more) rounds of mixing which vary the degree of anonymity achieved. Random Masternodes are then elected to perform the coin mixing. Masternodes are trust-less cryptographic technology, in the sense that they cannot steal user coins, and the combination of multiple Masternodes ensures that no single node has full knowledge of both inputs and outputs in the transaction process.

To avoid the possibility of sybil attack, a process where a peer-to-peer network is overtaken by “bad actors”, collateral requirements have been added to the process of joining the Masternode network second tier. These are presently 1000 DASH [10] and allow secure network communication in via signed messages. As an incentive for operating a Masternode, chosen nodes currently earn 45% of the mining rewards.[11]

InstantSend is a service that allows for near-instant transactions. Through this system, inputs can be locked to only specific transactions and verified by consensus of the Masternode network. Conflicting transactions and blocks are rejected. If a consensus cannot be reached, validation of the transaction occurs through standard block confirmation. InstantSend purportedly solves the double-spending problem without the longer confirmation times of other cryptocurriencies such as Bitcoin.[12]

InstantX rebranded to InstantSend June 2016.

X11 is a hashing algorithm created by Dash core developer Evan Duffield. X11’s chained hashing algorithm approach utilizes a sequence of eleven cryptographic hashing algorithms for the proof-of-work. This is so that the processing distribution is fair and coins will be distributed in much the same way Bitcoin’s were originally.[citation needed]

With chained hashing, high end CPUs give an average return similar to that of GPUs. Another side effect of the algorithm is that GPUs run at about 30% less electrical power than scrypt and 30% to 50% cooler, putting less stress on the computing setup and ensuring lower energy bills for miners.[13]

Dark Gravity Wave (DGW) is a mining difficulty adjustment algorithm created by Dash core developer Evan Duffield to address flaws in Kimoto’s Gravity Well. It uses multiple exponential moving averages and a simple moving average to smoothly adjust the difficulty, which is re-targeted every block. The block reward is not adjusted strictly by block number, but instead uses a formula controlled by Moore’s law: 2222222/((Difficulty+2600)/9)2.[14][15]

Dash is the first decentralized autonomous organization powered by a Sybil proof decentralized governance and funding system.[16] DGBB or Decentralized Governance By Blockchain as it’s called is a decentralized process by which the network determines where money is spent. Each Masternode operator is given the ability to use 1 vote on each governance proposal, which is a completely open and decentralized process.[17] Community interaction with proposal submitters is done usually through community driven websites, like DashWhale.[18] These websites allow proposal submitters to provide multiple drafts, then lobby for community support before finally submitting their project to the network for a vote. After the submitter has enough support, the network will automatically pay out the required funds in the next super block, which happen monthly.

Although, only in use a few months, the funding system has seen growth of its month revenue, from originally ~$14 thousands in September 2015, to nearly $30 thousands in March 2016.[19] Eventually the budget system can theoretically scale to $9M per month at a market cap of $500M.[20]

Since its inception, the project has used the system for important assets like acquiring dash.org,[21] adoption into the Lamassu ATM[22][23] and the Dash N’ Drink instant soda machine,[24] along with funding many public events.[25][26][27][28]

Masternodes utilize a cryptographic bond model, which results a supply and demand market between the interest rate Masternodes are paid and the risk of holding the underlying asset. Early on in the history of the asset, the high return caused a massive uptake of Masternodes, starting from about 500 in Oct 2014 and increasing to 3650 in March 2016.[29]

Dash was originally released as XCoin (XCO) on January 18, 2014. On February 28, the name was changed to “Darkcoin”. On March 25, 2015, Darkcoin was rebranded as “Dash”.[3]

I discovered Bitcoin in mid 2010 and was obsessed ever since. After a couple of years in 2012 I started really thinking about how to add anonymity to Bitcoin. I came up with maybe 10 ways of doing this, but I soon realized that Bitcoin would never add my code. The developers really want the core protocol to stay the same for the most part and everything else to be implemented on the top of it. This was the birth of the concept of Darkcoin. I implemented X11 in a weekend and found it worked pretty well and it would give a completely fair start to the currency. What I really was aiming for with X11 is a similar development curve where miners would fight to create small advantages much like the early start of Bitcoin. I think this a requirement to create a healthy ecosystem.

[30]

Within the first hour of launch, approximately 500,000 coins were mined, followed by another 1,000,000 coins in the next 7 hours and finally another 400,000 in 36 hours. All told 1.9 million coins were mined in 48 hours, or approximately 32% of the current supply (as of October 2015) of approximately 5.9 million,[31][32] generating controversy regarding the initial distribution of coins. According to Duffield, this was the result of an error in the code “which incorrectly converted the difficulty, then tried using a corrupt value to calculate the subsidy, causing the instamine”.[33] At the time, Duffield was working a full-time job and coding for Dash on the side, so its not surprising that there were errors in the initial code.[33] Duffield claims in the official bitcointalk.org thread (mirrored) that “Dash has no premine and was fairly and transparently launched”.[34]

At the time Dash (then called Xcoin) was launched, the cryptocurrency space was riddled with scams. People were creating new currencies, hyping their value, then dumping them and abandoning the project. Many likely feared the same for Dash. However, since Dash’s launch, there has been over two years of development, leading to a cryptocurrency that has over 50 volunteers and has solved such vexing issues as slow confirmation times, block size increases, decentralized governance, and a self-funding development budget.

According to CoinMarketCap, in August 2016 the daily trade volume of Dash was ~1% of the total trade of all cryptocurrencies,[35] and the market capitalization of Dash was ~80 millions of US dollars.[36] Since then, Dash has become the most active community on BitcoinTalk reaching more than 6000 pages, 122k replies, 6.6M reads.

Zerocoin, Cloakcoin and DarkNet also have built in the mixing services as a part of their blockchain network.[37]

The Dark Wallet client software for bitcoin was built to natively mix transactions between users.[38]

Monero_(cryptocurrency) is a cryptocurrency based on the CryptoNote protocol. It has gained attention recently for being adopted by dark net market AlphaBay.[39]

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US tanks roll into Germany to bolster NATO deterrent

Posted: January 7, 2017 at 12:52 pm

The Associated Press U.S. Tanks were unloaded in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, Friday Jan. 6, 2017. Ships loaded with U.S. tanks, self-propelled howitzers and hundreds of other fighting vehicles have arrived in the northern German port en route to Eastern Europe to bolster NATOs deterrence to possible Russian aggression. (Ingo Wagner/dpa via AP)

BERLIN Ships began unloading U.S. tanks, self-propelled howitzers and hundreds of other fighting vehicles Friday in the northern German port of Bremerhaven, to be moved into Eastern Europe to bolster NATO’s deterrence against possible Russian aggression.

Some 3,500 troops from the 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colorado, will join up with the equipment, which includes 87 tanks and 144 Bradley fighting vehicles, over the next two weeks.

The deployment marks the start of a new phase of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which foresees the continuous presence of an American armored brigade combat team in Europe on a nine-month rotational basis. The mission is meant to help allay concerns from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and other NATO allies over an increasingly unpredictable and bellicose Russia.

The new forces will gather first in Poland, then fan out across seven countries from Estonia to Bulgaria. A headquarters unit will be stationed in Germany.

When he announced the move last year, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the forces would take part in regular military exercises across the region with NATO allies. At that time, U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges called the deployment the “embodiment of the United States’ commitment to deterring aggression and defending our European Allies and partners.”

The U.S. also plans to move in a combat aviation brigade with about 10 Chinook and 50 Black Hawk helicopters and 1,800 personnel from Fort Drum, New York, and a battalion with 24 Apache attack helicopters and 400 personnel from Fort Bliss, Texas. They’ll be headquartered in Germany with some aircraft positioned in Latvia, Romania and Poland.

Other NATO members are also increasing their presence, with Britain sending fighter jets to the Black Sea area, while a battalion of troops, tanks and light armor will deploy in Estonia in the spring, backed by French and Danish troops. Germany also plans to send troops and tanks to Lithuania.

Albania, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia are also playing roles in what NATO has dubbed its Enhanced Forward Presence. The U.S. plans to relocate a Stryker unit from Germany to Poland as part of that group.

NATO has already started positioning equipment and ammunition in Eastern Europe to reduce the time it would take additional units to deploy if needed.

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Urban Dictionary: technology

Posted: January 5, 2017 at 10:54 am

1) The application of science, math, engineering, art, and other fields of knowledge to create tools and implementations deemed useful by a society.

2) Anything that has to do with computers. Often misused by stupid people and corporations that market to said stupid people.

The latest technology is Blu-ray.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Something that will eventually destroy society, make obesity the new “average” weight, and cause mass unemployment.

Damn technology.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

in economics: not a resource, but part of the production process. Anything that increases the performance of an resource without the change in resources.

In war, a country with the comparitive advantage in national defense, has a greater availability of technology that increases their performance without the need of a large quantity of troops.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

n. anything that was invented after you were born

“Technology is killing me.”

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

First coined by young ingenue Judy Alexander, “Technologies” is a term for any kind of awkward social interactions/dynamics. It can be used as either an adjective or a noun.

Or:

Don’t listen to those girls and what they say about you, they don’t know anything, it’s just technologies.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Something that allows one to talk with hot babes on the internet all day.

“I love technology, but not as much as you, you see. Still, I love technology… Always and Forever”

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

A pleasure inducing entity for those who consider themselves gadgeteers. Involves locking oneself in one’s room and playing with objects of a technological nature. Often times people with lisp’s or strange voices who can not socialize normally because of their impediment are accustomed to a love of technological activities as well as hold a fondness for all sorts of gadgets.

“Technology rules!” (commonly shouted by gadgeteers in conjuction with a hand sign meaning “I am a loser!”)

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

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Grasshopper Island – Ontario, Canada – Private Islands for …

Posted: January 4, 2017 at 6:19 pm

Located on Grasshopper Island, Rice Lake is a private island getaway, waiting for you less then two hours from Toronto. Your adventure starts with a five minute ferry ride on the Spirit of the Loon across Rice Lake, to an exclusive 25 acre island offering you tranquility and relaxation. We offer a private escape from life’s hectic distractions where you can kayak and canoe all day long, have fantastic photos taken of you and your children petting a newborn lamb, picking your first free-range eggs at the chicken coop, or bake homemade bread and pizzas in the 100 year old bread oven. The call of the loon, the painted turtles, the jumping bass, the blue herons, in the evening enjoy beautiful Rice Lake sunsets before you settle in for a night of stargazing around a crackling campfire!

Inclusions: Kayaks, canoes, unlimited campfire wood and ferry boat ride from mainland to island.

*Please note ferry is pedestrian only.

peace, paradise, unique, awesome, serenity

6 twin beds(brand new Simmons beautyrest mattresses (can be made up into three King sized beds)

Queen sized futon

solar lndoor lights

We supply pillows, dishpan, can opener, pots and pans, steel plates, steel mugs, plastic glasses, cutlery, BBQ utensils, oven mitts, lanterns. (NO candles allowed inside cabin!)

6 Muskoka recycled Lawn chairs, so comfy

Picnic table

Cedar deck

Fire pit, unlimited campfire wood

Propane BBQ (Filled tank included)

Outdoor privy / outdoor rain water shower

2- Toilet paper

Canoe + kayaks + Paddle Boats

Swimming (watershoes a must for everyone going in the water, including kayaking and canoeing!)

Adult lifejackets (we recommend you bring your own if you have them)

Walking, hiking and biking trails

Sandy Play areas

Sand Volleyball court , badminton court, horseshoe pits, reflections areas

Gigantic checkers

Books and board games

100 year old island fireplace, retrofitted with bread ovens (bring your bread mix etc)

baby sheep, piglets, freerange laying hens…….how cool is that? just imagine the photos? the island memories

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The Effect of Darwinism on Morality and Christianity | The …

Posted: at 6:08 pm

Download The Effect of Darwinism on Morality and Christianity PDF

It sometimes is claimed that one can be both a Darwinist and a Christian (Miller). Others argue that religion and Darwinism are incompatible because they are separate fields that should not be intermixed (Gould). In fact, the Darwinism worldview leads directly to certain clear moral and religious teachings about the origin, purpose, and ultimate meaning of life that are diametrically opposed to the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths. The problem is that Darwinists,

Some scientists are more open and forthright than Miller and Gould, some even concluding that “there is something dishonestly selfserving” in the tactic claiming that “science and religion are two separate fields” (Dawkins, p. 62). Most evolutionists fully understand what is at stake in the creation/evolution controversy. Futuyma admits that anyone who “believes in Genesis as a literal description of history” holds a “worldview that is entirely incompatible with the idea of evolution . . .” (pp. 12-13). Futuyma then claims that Darwinists insist on “material, mechanistic causes” for life but the “believer in Genesis” can look to God for explanations.

Historians have documented meticulously the fact that Darwinism has had a devastating impact, not only on Christianity, but also on theism. Many scientists also have admitted that the acceptance of Darwinism has convinced large numbers of people that the Genesis account of creation is erroneous, and that this has caused the whole house of theistic cards to tumble:

As a result of the widespread acceptance of Darwinism, the Christian moral basis of society was undermined. Furthermore Darwin himself was “keenly aware of the political, social, and religious implications of his new idea. . . . Religion, especially, appeared to have much to lose . . .” (Raymo, p. 138).

Numerous scientists have noted that one result of the general acceptance of Darwinism was acceptance of the belief that humans “are accidental, contingent, ephemeral parts of creation, rather than lords over it” and humans are not “the raison d’tre of the universe” as all theistic religions teach (Raymo, p. 163).

The Darwinism belief that humans (and all living things) are nothing more than an accident of history, “cosmically inconsequential bundles of stardust, adrift in an infinite and purposeless universe” is a belief that is now “widely embraced within the scientific community” (Raymo, p. 160). Darwinism was a major factor in causing many eminent scientists to conclude, in the words of Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, that the “more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless” (p. 154). Darwinism teaches “that our lives are brief and inconsequential in the cosmic scheme of things” (Raymo, p. 110), and that life has no ultimate purpose because there is no heaven, hell, or afterlife and “nothing we know about life requires the existence of a disembodied vital force or immaterial spirits, or a special creation of species” (Raymo, p. 42). Raymo concludes:

One of the most eminent evolutionists ever, Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson, taught that, “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind” (p. 345).

Raymo concludes that Darwin’s theory was “not what we want to hear” because it is difficult for humans who have long thought of themselves as “the central and immortal apex of creationthe apple of God’s eyeto accept that” we are, “unexceptional, contingent, and ephemeral in the cosmological scheme of things” (p. 129).

Raymo adds that since Darwinism has demolished the belief that the universe and human beings have an ultimate purpose, our educational system must inculcate young people in “cold and clammy truths like descent from reptilian or amoebic ancestors,” Raymo then suggests that although it,

Cruel or otherwise, Raymo states that Darwinism “is a fact by every criterion of science” and that our “school kids do not need intellectual security blankets” (p. 144). The implications of Darwinism “perhaps the most revolutionary idea in the history of human thought” are clear.

Acclaimed Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins has written extensively about the implications of Darwinism. In a speech titled “A Scientist’s Case Against God,” Dawkins argued that Darwinism “has shown higher purpose to be an illusion” and that the Universe consists of “selfish genes;” consequently, “some people are going to get hurt, others are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason for it” (Easterbrook, p. 892).

Dawkins believes that people who believe life was created for a purpose not only are mistaken, but are ignorant: “Only the scientifically illiterate” believe we exist for a higher purpose. The scientifically literate know there is no reason “why” we exist, we “just do” as an accident of history. Dawkins also teaches that no evidence exists to support theism, and that “nowadays the better educated admit it” (Easterbrook, p. 892).

The central message of Richard Dawkins’ voluminous writings is that the universe has precisely the properties we should expect if it has “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pointless indifference” (Easterbrook, p. 892). Dawkins even admitted that his best-selling book, The Selfish Gene, was an attempt to get rid of what he regarded as an “outright wrong idea” that had achieved a grip in popular sciencenamely, the erroneous “assumption that individuals act for the good of the species,” which he believes is “an error that needed exploding, and the best way to demonstrate what’s wrong with it . . . was to explain evolution from the point of view of the gene” (Easterbrook, p. 892). Dawkins added that the reason why The Selfish Gene was a best seller could be because it teaches the “truth” about why humans exist, namely humans,

Dawkins obviously is proud of the depressing effect his writings have on people. Raymo even claims that the dominant view among modern Darwinists is that our minds are “merely a computer made of meat” (pp. 187-188), and that “almost all scientists” believe the idea that a human soul exists is a “bankrupt notion”; and consequently, the conclusion that our minds are “merely a computer made of meat” is considered by Darwinists “almost a truism” (pp. 192-193, emphasis his).

In Futuyma’s words, “if the world and its creatures developed purely by material, physical forces, it could not have been designed and has no purpose or goal” (pp. 12-13). Furthermore, he notes that the creationist,

Is this pessimistic, antitheistic, and nihilistic view of humans widespread? One researcher claimed that “ninety-nine percent of the scientists whom I met in my career . . . support the view expressed by Dawkins [that anyone] . . . who denies evolution is either ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked” (Rrsch, p. F3). This oft’ made claim is totally false: an estimated 10,000 scientists in the USA and about 100,000 creation scientists in the world reject Darwinism, and hold instead to a creation worldview (Bergman). A question every concerned parent and grandparent should ask is: “Do we want our children taught that life has no ultimate purpose, and that our minds are merely a computer made of meat?” The fact is:

Why do so many people believe the pessimistic, nihilistic, and depressive Darwinist view? One reason is they are convinced that science has proven Darwinism to be true. Sadly, however, many scientists are unaware of the large body of evidence supporting creationism. And numerous scientists recognize that, at best, the view common among elite scientists is unscientific. Shallis argues that:

Darwinists have indoctrinated our society for over 100 years in a worldview that has proven to be tragically destructive. And they often have done this by a type of deceit that began before the Piltdown hoax and continues today in many leading biology textbooks (Wells).

Acknowledgments:

Bert Thompson, Ph.D., and Clifford L. Lillo for their insight.

References

* Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., is on the Biology faculty at Northwest State College in Ohio.

Cite this article: Jerry Bergman, Ph.D. 2001. The Effect of Darwinism on Morality and Christianity. Acts & Facts. 30 (6).

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Artificial Intelligence: What It Is and How It Really Works

Posted: at 6:06 pm

Which is Which?

It all started out as science fiction: machines that can talk, machines that can think, machines that can feel. Although that last bit may be impossible without sparking an entire world of debate regarding the existence of consciousness, scientists have certainly been making strides with the first two.

Over the years, we have been hearing a lot about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. But how do we differentiate between these three rather abstruse terms, and how are they related to one another?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the general field that covers everything that has anything to do with imbuing machines with intelligence, with the goal of emulatinga human beings unique reasoning faculties. Machine learning is a category within the larger field of artificial intelligence that is concerned with conferring uponmachines the ability to learn. This is achieved by using algorithms that discoverpatterns and generate insights from the data they are exposed to, for application to future decision-making and predictions, a process that sidesteps theneed to be programmed specifically for every single possible action.

Deep learning, on the other hand, is a subset of machine learning: its the most advanced AI field, one that brings AI the closest to thegoal of enabling machines to learn and think as much like humans as possible.

In short, deep learning is a subset of machine learning, and machine learning falls within artificial intelligence. The followingimage perfectly encapsulatesthe interrelationship of the three.

Heres a little bit of historical background to better illustrate the differences between the three, and how each discovery and advance has paved the way for the next:

Philosophers attempted to make sense of human thinking in the context of a system, and this idea resulted in the coinage ofthe term artificial intelligence in 1956. And its stillbelieved that philosophy has an important role to play in the advancement of artificial intelligence to this day. Oxford University physicist David Deutsch wrote in an article how he believes that philosophy still holds the key to achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI), the level of machine intelligence comparable to that of the human brain, despite the fact that no brain on Earth is yet close to knowing what brains do in order to achieve any of that functionality.

Advancements in AI have given rise to debates specifically about them being a threat to humanity, whether physically or economically (for which universal basic income is also proposed, and is currently being tested in certain countries).

Machine learning is just one approach to reifyingartificial intelligence, and ultimately eliminates (or greatly reduces) the need to hand-code the software with a list of possibilities, and how the machine intelligence ought toreact to each of them. Throughout 1949 until the late 1960s, American electric engineer Arthur Samuel worked hard onevolving artificial intelligence from merely recognizing patterns to learning from the experience, making him the pioneer of the field. He used a game of checkers for his research while working with IBM, and this subsequently influenced the programming of early IBM computers.

Current applications are becoming more and more sophisticated, making their way into complex medical applications.

Examples include analyzing large genome sets in an effort to prevent diseases, diagnosing depression based on speech patterns, and identifying people with suicidal tendencies.

As we delve into higher and evenmore sophisticated levels of machine learning, deep learning comes into play. Deep learning requires a complex architecture that mimics a human brains neural networks in order to make sense of patterns, even with noise, missing details, and other sources of confusion. While the possibilities of deep learning are vast, so are its requirements: you need big data, and tremendous computing power.

It means not having to laboriously program a prospective AI with that elusive quality of intelligencehowever defined. Instead, all the potential for future intelligence and reasoning powers are latent in the program itself, much like an infants inchoate but infinitely flexible mind.

Watch this video for a basic explanation of how it all works:

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Artificial Intelligence: What It Is and How It Really Works

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