Thursday, May 24, 2007

Remember that Friday, May 25 is Towel Day, set aside as a remembrance of Douglas Adams (1952-2001), author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This means that everywhere you go on Friday, you must carry a towel with you.

To quote from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

"More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

See the site: for more information.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I recieved the "queries" from Michelle, my editor today. They are the result of a consultant that Reader's Digest hired to go through my manuscript. Most the the questions have to do with minor issues, like a desire for a biblical reference, or to double check if I got something right, or to clarify how I wrote something (and there are, unsurprisingly, some questions regarding interpretation that are more substantive, especially with Mary Magdalene), but it's about 24 pages worth total (much of that space is taken up with quotations from my manuscript, so it's not so long as it seems). So, I started work this morning around 8:30 and worked without a break until about 4:30. I forgot to eat lunch. I finished the OT queries and now have only the NT ones to go through. I think I'll have everything done by some time on Monday, most likely.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 has reprinted a press release from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics that I think is very exciting:

For the first time, astronomers have created a rough map of a planet orbiting a distant sun-like star, employing a technique that may one day enable mapping of Earth-like worlds. Since the planet just charted is a gas giant and lacks a solid surface, the map shows cloud-top features. Using the Spitzer infrared space telescope, astronomers detected a bright hot spot that is offset from "high noon," where heating is greatest.

For images and other details:
Extrasolar World

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The news about Herod's tomb is very interesting. Though it took them all day, by this evening even MSNBC had corrected the error regarding when Herod ruled. It certainly took them long enough. Kind of odd, really.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Herod's tomb has apparently been discovered. The AP story, reprinted by both CNN and MSNBC, both get a minor detail wrong, reporting that Herod began ruling in Judea around 74 BC (which is actually about when he was born):

Herod became the ruler of the Holy Land under the Romans around 74 B.C.

Encyclopedia Brittannica gets it right (as does Wikipedia):

Herod the Great, Latin Herodes Magnus Roman-appointed king of Judaea (37–4 BC), who built many fortresses, aqueducts, theatres, and other public buildings and generally raised the prosperity of his land but who was the centre of political and family intrigues in his later years.

So, besides the date being wrong, it is also a bit imprecise in suggesting that he ruled the "Holy Land" when in fact he only ruled a piece of it: Judea.

I emailed MSNBC's science editor at 6:04 PM PDT; as of 11:48 PDT the mistake remains. I wonder if they'll ever bother to make a correction? I can't imagine that they'll actually pay any attention to an email from me, after all.


CNN's website at least, has the correct date up now. Perhaps MSNBC will notice eventually and follow suit.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day has been a holiday for Communists for many years. I ran across the suggestion, by way of Instapundit today that, just as there is a Holocaust Rembrance Day for recalling the slaughter of millions by the Nazis, that perhaps May 1 should be transformed into a day to remember the 80 to 100 million people murdered by those who marched under the banners of Communism in such places a the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Cambodia, Poland, Rumania, East Germany, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslavakia and the like.

Communism is and was at least as great an evil as Nazism; I find it startling the numbers of people who still hold it in honor.