Early Man


(Guardian Film) – Steve Rose:

It might be set in the stone age but the latest claymation epic from Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman touches on two of the timeliest issues of the coming year. First, the 2018 World Cup: this is squarely a story about football, and therefore likely to find a global audience even if its sense of humour remains lovably, colloquially English. Second, this is a story concerned with Britain’s sense of history and identity. By accident or design, Aardman have made a Brexit movie! …

theguardian 2018/jan/14 early-man

Early Man, 2018 film


Free Will is an Idle Fancy


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

Jean Meslier:

Theologians tell and repeat to us that man is free, while all their teachings conspire to destroy his liberty. Trying to justify Divinity, they accuse him really of the blackest injustice. They suppose that, without grace, man is compelled to do evil: and they maintain that God will punish him for not having been given the grace to do good! …

Meslier’s argument seems to me to be basic incompatibilism: since our wills and desires are excited by things external to us, how can we possibly say that they originate in us.

I’ve never really cared for the free will debate; it seems silly. Why can’t we just accept that we are programmed to feel as though we have free will, so naturally we will behave as though we do? …

stderr 2018/01/15 meslier-80

Raphael: Philosophy / The School of Athens

Memorable Quotes


(xkcd) – Randall Munroe:

Looking for a quote for something? Here are some for general use …

xkcd 1942

Randall Munroe: xkcd 1942: Memorable Quotes

Lady Bird


(Guardian Film) – Benjamin Lee:

In Lady BirdGreta Gerwig tells a semi-autobiographical tale of growing up in California with authenticity, warmth and excellent performances from Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. …

theguardian 2017/sep/10 lady-bird

Lady Bird, 2017 film

Saoirse Ronan


(Guardian Film) – Vanessa Thorpe:

The Irish-American actor has been tipped for Oscar glory in Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed comic drama. …

theguardian 2018/jan/14 saoirse-ronan

Saoirse Ronan

How Hell Became the Opposite of What It Was Meant to Be


(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Neil Carter:

For Jesus, Hell was a useful rhetorical device to invert the social values of his surrounding culture, situating him thoroughly within the ancient prophetic tradition in Judaism which called the people of God back to its moral center. “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” Jesus was fond of quoting. As best as I can tell, that was the heart of his message, and Hell was appropriated in order to add teeth to his point.

But that’s not what eventually became of Hell, is it? In the hands of the massive ecclesiastical structure which eventually grew up around this figure, Hell became a place you go if you don’t stay pure enough. Or if you’re a child of Luther, you go there for not believing the right things. Or if you’re a Baptist, you go there for being sexually aroused by the wrong gender. In other words, Hell is now a place reserved especially for the poor and the marginalized. Jesus must be rolling over in his…wait…nevermind. …

godlessindixie 2018/01/09 hell


Numismatic Evidence to Contradict the Gospels


(Κέλσος) – Matthew W. Ferguson:

Numismatics is a useful piece of data for assessing historical reliability, since ancient coins furnish archaeological evidence that we can use to corroborate or contradict ancient narratives.

Can such numismatic evidence be used to evaluate the depiction of events found in the NT Gospels? Well, it turns out that it can. But rather than corroborating the Gospels, what scholar Fabian Udoh finds in To Caesar What Is Caesar’s – a scholarly monograph on tax administration in Roman Palestine from 63 BCE to 70 CE – is that the archaeological record actually contradicts the Gospel narratives. …

celsus 2018/01/12 numismatic-evidence

Craig Keener: Biographies and Jesus

The Final Year


(Guardian Film) – Julian Borger:

Ben Rhodes spent 10 years as Barack Obama’s right-hand man. As a new film puts him in the spotlight, he talks high-stakes diplomacy and the chaos of Trump’s White House. …

theguardian 2018/jan/13 ben-rhodes

The Final Year, 2017 film

Why Is Ice Slippery?


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

Back as in 1850, the great scientist Michael Faraday did some experiments and found that even though cubes of ice seemed to have a surface water layer, when you held two cubes together, their common surface froze together to form a single ice block. This suggested to him the phenomenon of pre-melting, that says that the surface layer of ice is unstable because of the lack of molecules above it, and so becomes liquid at temperatures below the freezing point. But when two cubes are brought together, the common surface is no longer a surface layer and thus freezes, binding the two. …

singham 2018/01/12 ice

ice skates

Close, But No Caesar


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

Phew, Julius Caesar is getting pretty heavy, isn’t it? Let’s take a brief moment for some comic relief before we move into Act 4. …

goodticklebrain close-but-no-caesar

Mya Gosling: Close, But No Caesar