Stranger In An Even Stranger Land - blog by Gurdur

 




A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.

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Meeting George

Posted 10-Apr-2012 at 11:56 PM (23:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 18-Apr-2012 at 09:47 AM (09:47) by Gurdur

Today I met up with Never, in West Virginia. Never lives up in Ohio with her husband and family. Then we drove down to Kentucky to meet George Warmbrodt (@G3org361), another Hub member under the username Iamwombat. George is a fascinating man; we've met once before on a previous USA trip of mine where I met him and his family (I blogged about that here) He is enormously intelligent, and had quite a hard-scrabble life behind him so far. He's a very decent bloke, who tries his best very hard for others....
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The journey of a thousand miles begins with a recalcitrant shrew

Posted 09-Apr-2012 at 01:37 AM (01:37) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 11-Apr-2012 at 04:25 PM (16:25) by Gurdur

I wanted to do a few blog posts on the road-movie of my life, and didn't get around to finishing reporting on the last trip, so I will start now. Typically a road-movie is some sort of individual self-exploration that doesn't really go anywhere real; all movement but no progress, really. This road-movie blog-post series of mine will be far more about other people and places, not about me.

Tomorrow I fly to the States, on a trip that will include brief side-trips to Ohio, West Virginia,...
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THIS

Posted 08-Apr-2012 at 07:29 PM (19:29) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 08-Apr-2012 at 07:46 PM (19:46) by Gurdur

THIS. An Instagram from @gwbstr (thanks and pic credit to him, as far as I know; he tweets at me, "Pic taken at @mudpeople"):






        


              

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Comments are welcome! Please keep in mind if you are not registered that comments posted here to this blog post may take a while to appear - up to 16 hours after you post them, since they go onto a moderation queue and have to be individually approved, in order to stop spammers. The answer to the so-called "Random Question" is always "human".

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Reporting on the CofE, part 2, or, What's a good atheist boy like me doing in a place like this?

Posted 06-Apr-2012 at 08:23 PM (20:23) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 12-Apr-2012 at 05:53 PM (17:53) by Gurdur

I have a lot of liking for a lot of Church of England (CofE) members. The CofE is a lot like England overall. On the one hand, you have all sorts of J.R.R. Tolkien territory, The Shire, shared by C.S. Lewis turf (we'll ignore for diplomacy's sake the fact Lewis needed redemption via an American Joy), John le Carré's nesting deep in the Home Counties, the ridiculously pretty village of Hurstbourne Tarrant, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull living nearby, heavy horses, the Lionheart England of Kate Bush....
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Reporting on and for the Church of England, Part 1

Posted 06-Apr-2012 at 06:36 PM (18:36) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 12-Apr-2012 at 05:54 PM (17:54) by Gurdur

In July, insofar as I can plan, I will be travelling to York for the general synod there of the Church of England (CofE), in order to report on it. It being Good Friday, it seems appropriate to talk about an institution that routinely crucifies itself in very odd, knotty ways. The CofE is a British and an English institution; the official established church of England, an uneasy range of ground between the Roman Catholic church and the extremes of the Protestants, and a big mess of historical accidental...
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Last personal update for a while

Posted 06-Apr-2012 at 05:24 PM (17:24) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 08-Apr-2012 at 07:27 AM (07:27) by Gurdur

Do pardon me please, another update on me. The facts: I had a long MRT in a very gruelling day yesterday. After the MRT, there was a long consultation with the doc. It had been originally thought I will be needing an op quite soon to remove about 30cm of ileum from me. It turns out after yesterday's very thorough diagnostic imaging I need to have around between 2 and 3 metres of tubing removed, and that semi-urgently, it's that bad. The problem is, any immediate operation would be a very bad idea,...
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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Fear of death, fear of life

Posted 04-Apr-2012 at 02:09 PM (14:09) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 04-Apr-2012 at 02:29 PM (14:29) by Gurdur

Sometimes I have no idea why so many think they fear death, when it's fairly clear they fear life more. Given I think that of others, then it's time to criticise myself to see how much I share that. Perhaps I have it too a tad more than desirable. Given the fact I was at death's door last week, earnestly, and not exactly over it yet, then an unspoken question from many is how scared do I get of death? I feel it being asked from others silently. And does it change the way I view things? Well, not...
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A small personal update, and with thanks to many of you

Posted 03-Apr-2012 at 08:24 PM (20:24) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-Apr-2012 at 09:14 PM (21:14) by Gurdur

As some of you know, I am going through a nasty patch. I will need to have the ileum, part and then some of the small intestine, completely removed. Unfortunately, this also means my health needs to recover a fair bit first, since operating on an inflamed colon is an extremely bad risk - the colon tissue tears easily leading to massive bleeding, other problems and the final big out.

There will also need to be a fair bit of post-op treatment, but hey. It could all be far worse. As...
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The moral blindness of pacifism? A reply to Marty Troyer and Kurt Willems

Posted 23-Mar-2012 at 08:46 PM (20:46) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 24-Mar-2012 at 08:55 AM (08:55) by Gurdur (fixed a typo)

Pacifism is one of those things I admire but do not choose. Is it possible to genuinely admire an ethical choice despite disagreeing with it? This is a question I have often examined myself on, but with no answer as yet. What exactly is the moral argument for pacifism? That too is not so clear. Marty Troyer (@thePeacePastor) has a guest blog post up on the @patheos Pangea blog run by Kurt Willems (@KurtWillems). Both Marty Troyer and Kurt Willems come from the wider Anabaptist branch of Christianity,...
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A hedgehog awakes from hibernation

Posted 17-Mar-2012 at 10:53 PM (22:53) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 18-Mar-2012 at 08:34 PM (20:34) by Gurdur

One thing I am very glad of is to often have hedgehogs in my garden. Usually it's only one, on one year it was a mother and three young ones. Today, a hedgehog emerged from its winter hibernation; I'm guessing it was one of the three young ones from that previous year, because it was very lean and quite small. The time of the emergence from winter hibernation is unpredictable; when it was the mother in a previous year, she emerged quite later in the year. I have no idea whether this hedgehog today...
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How do Katniss and Peeta cope with and overcome PTSD? Psychology in The Hunger Games

Posted 16-Mar-2012 at 10:14 AM (10:14) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 16-Mar-2012 at 10:52 AM (10:52) by Gurdur

If you haven't yet read all three of the books in the Hunger Games trilogy, you may not want to read this, since it gives away the ending. But if you're interested in how to cope with PTSD, and if you've read the books, then this is for you. I last blogged about the trilogy by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, set USA hardcover edition, British paperback edition) and the movie made of the first book in my post here.

At the end of the whole trilogy,...
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Power-blogging outreach to the media

Posted 16-Mar-2012 at 05:33 AM (05:33) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 16-Mar-2012 at 05:57 AM (05:57) by Gurdur

Do blogs matter to the press? I came across on Twitter what I thought was a strange statement from Fiona Fox, head of the Science Media Centre of Britain, speaking at a recent discussion on science-journalism in London. The relayed partial quote was: "Fiona Fox: blogs are fantastic but no journalists goes to them to look for full stories - must be realistic". I thought that was quite wrong, and more importantly, that it would discourage scientists and others from blogging and from reaching out to...
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In Alabama, 21% of polled are still against inter-racial marriage

Posted 14-Mar-2012 at 08:44 AM (08:44) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

A new poll of Alabama voters has just been released. The poll, which was carried out by Public Policy Polling (PPP), can be found on a .pdf here. The poll had as respondants 600 likely Republican primary voters in Alabama, and it was carried out on March 10th and 11th. According to PPP, the margin of error for the Alabama poll is +/-4.0%. The PPP say their poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. It was conducted through automated telephone interviews. Women...
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Sad news: Encyclopaedia Britannica goes completely digital, stops printing books

Posted 14-Mar-2012 at 07:32 AM (07:32) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 14-Mar-2012 at 09:05 AM (09:05) by Gurdur

Sadly, Encyclopaedia Britannica, which was hit very hard by the web and Wikipedia, will no longer print editions of its encyclopaedia, after 244 years of doing so. It will rely instead upon only its online and digital versions. The New York Times has a piece up about it, as does the Guardian, as does The Atlantic. I don't see this as good, though it was not unexpected. I own a copy of their encyclopaedia set, and I love it. Encyclopaedia Britannica themselves put a brave face on it in their video...
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The Hunger Games, and why you should take notice of it

Posted 14-Mar-2012 at 05:56 AM (05:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 14-Mar-2012 at 09:44 AM (09:44) by Gurdur

The movie The Hunger Games hits the cinemas worldwide around March 22, and should be in cinemas for around 4 weeks or more after that date. It is a film adaptation of the first novel from the trilogy of the same name by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy Box Set, USA hardcover edition, British paperback edition; the other two books in that set are titled Catching Fire and Mockingjay). The trilogy of books, meant for young adults and older children, is in my opinion quite a brilliant bit of...
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One good reason for bloggers to use Pinterest....

Posted 13-Mar-2012 at 12:51 AM (00:51) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Mar-2012 at 01:26 AM (01:26) by Gurdur

There is a new social-media network out, Pinterest, which has gathered a fair bit of interest and of incomprehension. A lot of people don't see yet what exactly Pinterest is for. This post gives one reason for you to start using Pinterest, and one reason only; I will give a fair few more reasons in a later blog post. What is Pinterest? In principle, a social network for posting images. But it hosts images with links; users can "pin" or "re-pin" images from all over the net on their Pinterest pinboards....
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Blogs and bulletin boards - what's the future?

Posted 12-Mar-2012 at 08:54 PM (20:54) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Mar-2012 at 12:17 AM (00:17) by Gurdur

In a way, blogs started off soon after the very first start of the world-wide-web (WWW), way back in 1991, since much of the information published was blog-like. Bulletin-boards started perhaps earlier, before the WWW and before hypertext, with the newsgroups using email. Both blogs and bulletin-boards only matured later. For a while bulletin-boards (BB's) took off in popularity, and became quite a feature of web life; then blogs started taking precedence.

Why is that so? If you...
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Palaeontologist Alan Dawn honoured by new gallery in the Peterborough Museum and memorial lecture

Posted 11-Mar-2012 at 08:04 PM (20:04) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Mar-2012 at 12:18 AM (00:18) by Gurdur

British palaeontologist Alan Dawn is being honoured through having a new gallery of the Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery (Britain) named after him, as well as a series of annual lectures in his honour. I've blogged on Alan Dawn before, but now the museum together with its new gallery will be re-opening on March 31st. Peterborough, which is near Cambridge, UK, itself offers quite a few prehistoric sites, and have a blog and Twitter account (@Vivacity_Museum). Alan Dawn died on October 31st, 2010,...
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You, you, all about you; where you all live

Posted 06-Mar-2012 at 09:10 PM (21:10) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Mar-2012 at 12:21 AM (00:21) by Gurdur

This post is part of my ongoing mini-series of looking at the first 1000 of those who follow me on Twitter and whom I follow back. You can see the other posts in this mini-series here.

There are quite a few ways of quickly looking at the localities (if given) for one's tweeps, those who follow you and you follow back. One way is to use schmap.it; on my other accompanying blog post I give the different data-sets first gathered from schmap.it for tweeps per city and nation. But before...
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The data-sets for "You, you, all about you; where you all live"

Posted 06-Mar-2012 at 09:09 PM (21:09) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

The below are the data-sets for my blog post "You, you, all about you; where you all live", part of my ongoing mini-series of looking at the first 1000 of those who follow me on Twitter and whom I follow back. You can see the other posts in this mini-series here. These are different data-sets first gathered from schmap.it.

Since some people list their country but not their city in their Twitter bios, then there is a large difference between total number looked at in the data-set for...
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