Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mary's Birthday Novena

Please join me in a little novena in honor of Mary's birthday, September 8.
It starts today.

Just say one "Hail Mary" or the prayer of your choice, for the intentions of all who join us...

Note: I know this is posted late, but you can always join in late. Just double up for a day to keep your counting correct.

Five Years

Today, or rather tonight, when today ends, will mark five years since the end of the cable TV ad insertion system which I developed and supported. It is the "nadir" of the year, five and one half years after the Feast Day of Subsidiarity, March 2, which was the day that system went live back in 2000. (And, as I have recently learned, that date is something more, which I shall reveal at the proper moment.) Why Subsidiarity? Because that is how the machinery worked. Our system used technology arising from thirteenth century metaphysics, from the papal encyclicals Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII and Centesimus Annus of John Paul II, which was quoted in the source code.

It was an amazing time: two thousand days, two hundred thousand spots encoded, sent to an average multicast of 7 headends, two hundred million CUSTOS packets sent back, played over 230 million times with a play rate of over 97 percent...

All gone? Not quite.

The spiral of cue-tones and CUSTOS packets which we flung out into space continues in flight through our galaxy, and so too the memory of the hard work and good times that happened there. Just as Tolkien told the story of how the Two Trees of Valinor are preserved in their final fruits: the Sun and the Moon, so too this system, a "tree" of headends, is preserved in my novel Joe the Control Room Guy and in my little volume about the inner workings of that system, Subsidiarity.

And in my lasting gratitude to my friends and co-workers.

"It was a long yesterday ago."

--Dr. Thursday.

PS Oh, I forgot to add the link to my poem about the company. If you read it carefully, you will discover a complete high-level statement of the inner workings of the place, and a lot more besides.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A question about Catholic Scientists

I received a comment on this post about Catholic Scientists, wondering if I would extend the list. That is a great idea, and if I have time I will try to add some more. There is a real challenge in dealing with this subject, as anyone who has read Jaki - or even Chesterton - would be aware, but there is definitely a need for good books. Not only good books on science, but also books which give the truth about the role religion plays in science... and this is something I wish I had more time to treat. All I can say is I will do what I can, with God's help.

For the interim, I would recommend hunting for books like these:

These are obtainable from Real View Books:

K. A. Kneller, Christianity and the Leaders of Modern Science: A Contribution to the History of Culture during the Nineteenth Century. This has an introduction by Father Jaki; it has a magnificent collection of short biographies of scientists, showing the role their faith played in their lives - many of them were Catholic.

S. L. Jaki, Chesterton a Seer of Science. A great introductory book to Chesterton, to Jaki, and to some of the critical issues of science, faith and related matters. Short but very meaty. I highly recommend it.

These next are out of print, but you might find them from Loome or other good used bookstores:
Jamss J. Walsh, The Popes and Science.
Jamss J. Walsh, Makers of Modern Medicine.

These are just off the top of my head, and will give you something to start with. There are others in print which are BY Catholic scientists, but I shall have to go through my records to list them; some are probably mentioned in the above-linked posting; I recall texts by Lavoisier on chemistry and Fabre on insects...

Since there is interest, I hope to proceed with this as time may permit.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Medieval "Twitter"?

One of the funnier things to hear people whine about is my "lengthy" posts. But what is even funnier is the curious truth that this strange longing for shortness and conciseness is actually medieval. Or, to put it another way, the word "modern" is more than 700 years old.

The operative quote happens to be (from what I have read) a rather famous one. Here it is:
Gaudent brevitate moderni...
That is,
The moderns rejoice in brevity...
This comes from the text called Regule Roberti de Handlo, or "The Rules of Robertus de Handlo", a text on musical notation from about 1326. (I refer to the translation with commentary by Peter M. Lefferts.) With all the savings in text and time, I would think people would spend more time ornamenting their brevity, but alas this is not done. I'll consider becoming a twit when I see some illuminated posts, or perhaps one set to plainchant.

Meanwhile I'll rejoice in lengthiness. Hee hee!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Some odd links

I got caught in front of a camera here.
And one of my poems made it here.

Of course if you prefer stories, there is a little series...



and there's more to follow.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Now What!

Just the latest in a series of very curious experiments:

I hope I shall be able to tell you more about them someday. And that I won't get in trouble from any - er - government agencies by posting it. If anybody asks, tell them it's a new video game... hee hee.