Monthly Archives: April 2014

Mickey Mouse Has Force-Choked the Star Wars Expanded Universe

Well, not really Mickey Mouse or Disney, but Lucasfilms:

As of now, the official Star Wars canon consists of the six existing movies and the recent Clone Wars TV series. “These stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align,” explained the announcement on StarWars.com.

Most of the fanboys I think will stick with the original EU. My future-state prediction is that the original EU side will continue to release material while the Disney-fied version will start its own canon—maybe with installment with its own complimentary, non-film (TV series, books, comics, etc.) media.

So we’ll have two somewhat contiguous but separate canons, with the 6 original films and the TCW as their basis.

That sounds even more confusing than having Disney complicate the official, older canon.

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Gittip On Horvath

Chad Whitacre at Gittip posted about Julie Ann Horvath’s departure from GitHub*, and he invokes, with all the richness of proper proggy vocabulary, the secularized original sin so beloved by wealthy, white, leftoid man-dorks:

Speaking personally as someone who ticks all the standard boxes of privilege (straight white male, etc.), knowing that my conversations and interactions are public helps me pay more attention to what I’m saying and doing. Why do I want to pay attention to my words and behavior? Not, I hope, out of fear of reprisal (whether in court or on social media). I want to avoid bullying and harassing others out of love. I want my avoidance of harassment to be a byproduct of my pursuit of positive relationships with everyone I interact with.

At some point in the past the tech industry, as I understood it, was free from the infection of socio-sexual identity politics, gender quotas, and other such HR-saturated, meta-labor nonsense.

Gittip is a neat concept but individuals and organizations who begin to tap their foot to the wretched rhythms of the leftoid secular-religious drumbeat will eventually full-body dance to it. And the music doesn’t end.

* I don’t know if Horvath was actually harassed in the leftoid sense of the word, and I don’t care if she was.

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Jesus and the Afikomen Bread

My pastor’s sermon on Easter introduced a nice bit of new information concerning Jesus’ claims of divinity. He did make other, more verbal claims to Godhood but this one is more powerful if you understand the context.

During the Last Supper, the seder meal* that He shared with His disciples:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

The bread mentioned here is most likely the afikomen bread:

The afikomen is a piece of matzah, (unleavened bread) that is broken before the Passover meal. Part of it is wrapped in a cloth and hidden. At the end of the meal it is brought back, distributed to the participants and eaten as the final morsel.

In today’s Jewish celebration, the second or middle of three pieces of unleavened bread is taken from a special bag called the matzah tosh. The bread is removed, broken, and the portion that is wrapped in the cloth becomes the afikomen that is then hidden from view.

From the same Jews For Jesus link, it explains why the afikomen bread is significant (I took the superscripted references out):

Rabbi Hillel (who was most active between 30 BC-10AD) drew special attention to the afikomen as he led people through Passover celebrations. And, in the first century, Rabbi Gamaliel said that the bread pointed to the speed at which salvation came to Israel in Egypt. Further, we know that by the first century, some Jewish people viewed the bread as symbolic of the people of Israel and the hidden piece, the afikomen, as a symbol of the Messiah, who remained hidden from view.

Jesus, quite deliberately, through His words at the Matthew 26 consecration, is claiming savior status. Given the tradition in which His disciples were raised, there was little room for doubt to what He was saying. Non-Jewish minds will pass over (heh) this little sliver of context that adds a lot of meaning.

* There’s some dispute as to whether the Last Supper was actually an official seder or something else. I’m calling it a seder here for brevity’s sake.

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Happy Good Friday and Easter


Embodyment – Golgotha

Crucifixion up on the cross
Dying for sins fulfilling prophecy
Beaten for his faith
Praying for enemies upon sacrifice

Forsaken in the eyes of God
Sins of man to Him were taken
Innocent and blameless
Death without purity

Place of the skull Golgotha
Death of the Son

Descend into misery
His death to bring us life
He was covered in the blood
Supreme sacrifice

Bridging the gap
Between God and man

Flesh torn, humility
Blood flows purely
From the cross of calvary

Defying death
Rose from the grave
To show it is finished, to show all before
The ascension to empyrean

Atoning is the blood of Jesus Christ
Atoning is the blood of Jesus Christ
Give in, give in, give in to Him
Live in the blood of Christ
Give in, give in, give in to Him
Live in the blood of Christ

He rose, He rose, He rose, He rose
He rose, He rose, He rose, He rose
Rose, rose, rose, rose


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C.S. Lewis On Full Employment Fetishism

Again from The World’s Last Night, Lewis, in a roundabout way, addresses the “all the jobs, everywhere, all the time, for everyone, forever” angle heard during election season nationwide.

Such would seem to be the inevitable result of a society which depends predominantly on buying and selling. In a rational world, things would be made because they were wanted; in the actual world, wants have to be created in order that people may receive money for making the things. That is why the distrust or contempt of trade which we find in earlier societies should not be too hastily set down as mere snobbery. The more important trade is, the more people are condemned to and, worse still, learn to prefer what we have called the second kind of job. Work worth doing apart from its pay, enjoyable work, and good work become the privilege of a fortunate minority. The competitive search for customers dominates international situations.

Within my lifetime in England money was (very properly) collected to buy shirts for some men who were out of work. The work they were out of was the manufacture of shirts.

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C.S. Lewis On Scientific Experiments On Prayer

Years ago, during the Myspace era, there was a study done on the empirical effects of prayer on sick people. The results showed that prayer made no difference in the health of the patient*. I thought the experiment silly since, as God is a person who decides things (not quite like humans do, but I imagine it’s similar) and not a vending machine, answers to prayers are not “input + process = output.” There’s no way of scientifically knowing if a prayer “worked” because there’s nothing to measure; it could’ve worked out the way God intended all along. Bodily death was not originally part of God’s plan but it’s the state of affairs we’re stuck with now—He has already worked it into the equation.

C.S. Lewis addressed the same issue in “The Efficacy of Prayer” from The World’s Last Night (full text here).

Thus in some measure the same doubt that hangs about the causal efficacy of our prayers to God hangs also about our prayers to man. Whatever we get we might have been going to get anyway. But only, as I say, in some measure. Our friend, boss, and wife may tell us that they acted because we asked; and we may know them so well as to feel sure, first that they are saying what they believe to be true, and secondly that they understand their own motives well enough to be right. But notice that when this happens our assurance has not been gained by the methods of science. We do not try the control experiment of refusing the raise or breaking off the engagement and then making our request again under fresh conditions. Our assurance is quite different in kind from scientific knowledge. It is born out of our personal relation to the other parties; not from knowing things about them but from knowing them.

Our assurance if we reach an assurance that God always hears and sometimes grants our prayers, and that apparent grantings are not merely fortuitous, can only come in the same sort of way. There can be no question of tabulating successes and failures and trying to decide whether the successes are too numerous to be accounted for by chance. Those who best know a man best know whether, when he did what they asked, he did it because they asked. I think those who best know God will best know whether He sent me to the barber’s shop because the barber prayed.

* The study was fundamentally flawed, at least as far as Christian doctrine is concerned. In some contexts it might be apropos for church elders to “lay hands” and pray for the sick. Granted, that isn’t the only way but the experiment would have been more comprehensive if that was a considered variable.

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Governments Are Leprosy, Speeding Drivers Are Acne

Some blunt thoughts from Christopher Cantwell’s post, “Top 10 Reasons Libertarians Aren’t Nice To You” (emphasis his):

6. All those “what ifs” you’re so concerned about, they’re called choices.


You have become so used to the State being the arbiter of all things, that you seem to panic at every uncertainty. The funny part about this is, the State hasn’t provided you with any certainty at all. There’s absolute chaos in the world, governments have murdered over 260 million of their own citizens in the last century, not including war, and you’re still freaking out about speed limits.

Indeed. The concept of the state has consistently been an abysmal failure as a method of organizing people. How people believe another version of this failure, or getting the right people to administer it, or passing one more useless law, will work this time, this place after hundreds and hundreds of failures, is a baffling phenomenon.

Worrying that people will drive too fast if there’s no government is like having a panic attack about the zit on your nose while your leprotic extremities are being gnawed down to the bone by rats.

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Justification for Divinely-Directed Genocide

I was debating doing a post on this in the past, but it popped up on theChristian Libertarians group on Facebook: how does the God-commanded genocide of the Canaanites in Joshua 6:20-21 square if you’re a libertarian and Christian?

The first commenter offered a good start with 5 options:

1. They deserved it. The Canaanites were horrible child-sacrificers, and God gave them years to repent before wiping them out.

2. God has the right to do whatever he wants. This is known as divine command theory. In other words, there is a giant exception in all moral absolutes: God, as author of life, has the right to take it.

3. God was like that then, but Jesus is the pattern for us now (the traditional Anabaptist or dispensationalist position).

4. God is a god of holy and righteous anger. This view boldly faces down the depiction and says that this is what God has always been like and is still today.

5. God is actually not like that and did not actually order these genocides. Rather, the authors of the Biblical books used God to justify their own violence. This response requires dropping inerrancy and this is the option I take.

I disregard #5 completely. There’s no basis, save for someone’s own personal feelings on the matter, to discard one divine command as opposed to another.

Though I don’t care too much about offering materialist reasons for God’s commands or self-directed actions, here was my two cents:

What about this:

God owns everything, so he reserves the moral right to evict or use force to defend His property from agents He deems trespassers.

If you consider God as the ultimate landowner then this makes plenty of sense, though it’s not quite as strong since we don’t know in what manner He dealt with the Canaanites to begin with. He may have given them “every chance” or no warning at all. Given what we know of God in the Old Testament, the former is “in character” but the latter is not impossible.

I like #1, personally. God can do whatever He damn well pleases. He owes us nothing. If anyone has a problem with this, what exactly do you plan on doing about it?

Let me put it another way, if any skeptics are reading this. Let’s pretend the God of the Old Testament exists as described. What reason would God obligate Himself, as a being (the only being, in fact) that can “account for all things,” towards any other moral agent? And as a being that can in fact account for all things, would someone with such limited capacity be able to apprehend His reasoning?

It follows logically that the obligation is non-existent as a matter of necessity. He could or could not obligate according to His discretion. And if He chose to reveal His reasoning for not obligating Himself, we would not be able to comprehend it.

Acknowledging this can be labelled as “having a healthy relationship with ultimate reality as someone considers it,” or some such. That comes with the package of believing in the God of the Bible, and that package includes things that aren’t very pleasant to material-oriented minds. I can’t figure any other way around this.

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Final Fantasy 6 Final Battle and Ending

I’m posting this video because I’ve just finished a playthrough of this game. I had played it on the original SNES system twenty years ago and could “sense” how good of a game it was. Since it was pre-Internet days I was pretty much he only person I knew who really got into RPGs. It was only until later I knew how really popular it was.

Seeing the ending again reminded me of how a little uncertain the resolution was. Terra was more or less the main protag—the kids she cared for and Duane and Katarin’s baby are shown but it’s not clear that those are things that tied her human side to the world after all the espers disappeared. Unless, in fact, it really wasn’t that specifically but just the general sense of having friendship and finally being part of the world and not an Empire-controlled slave.

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How To Fix A Macbook Inverter Cable, Sort Of

I’ve had the problem with my 2007 Macbook described here in the video, to the point where the screen didn’t light up at all. The customer service guy at the Apple store said I probably needed a new LCD lamp when in fact it’s just the inverter cable. The stores don’t carry the parts for such an old model (understandably), but powerbookmedic.com had everything I needed.

I took it apart as per the video, exposing the inverter cable, and the screen lights up fine now. If I hinge the screen it goes off but I’m able to tinker around with the cable to make it normal. I didn’t actually have to replace the cable at all.

Seems to be a common problem with older model Apple laptops. I’d follow the steps in the video if you see it happening to you. It might save you some repair or replacement money.

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