Cline Ave, East Chicago, Indiana, 2009

"[...] Augustine was no die-hard biblical literalist. He took science very seriously, and his "principle of accommodation" would dominate biblical interpretation in the West until well into the early modern period. God had, as it were, adapted revelation to the cultural norms of the people who had first received it. One of the psalms, for example, clearly reflects the ancient view, long outmoded by Augustine's time, that there was a body of water above the earth that caused rainfall. It would be absurd to interpret this text literally. God had simply accommodated the truths of revelation to the science of the day so that the people of Israel could understand it; today a text like this must be interpreted differently. Whenever the literal meaning of scripture clashed with reliable scientific information, Augustine insisted, the interpreter must respect the integrity of science or he would bring scripture into disrepute. And there must be no unseemly quarreling about the Bible. People who engaged in acrimonious discussion of religious truth were simply in love with their own opinions and had forgotten the cardinal teaching of the Bible, which was the love of God and neighbor."
-- Karen Armstrong in The Case for God

Having just read Dawkin's new The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, this was a particularly enlightening passage in Karen Armstrong's (also new) book. In the risk of sounding too "see, can't we all just get along?", can't we all just get along? Why must science be the antithesis of religion?

This is a question for both the ardent anti-theists out there (like Dawkins) and the ardent anti-science-ists out there?

(Bear in mind, though, that I say all this as an atheist, so perhaps it is a bit much of me to request that Christians out there demure to my views on science.)


Foster Beach, Chicago, 2009

First of all, this picture has little to do with this post. Secondly, I love Chicago and what it has to offer. In a two week period, partly thanks to Julie's job, and partly thanks to Chicago, we'll have done these things here in the city:
1. Watched "Rashomon" on the big screen at the Music Box
2. Gone to the Field Museum (for free)
3. Walked six miles along the lake between downtown and where we live
4. Eaten the best Chinese food ever in Chinatown
5. Gone to a free talk at Columbia College (which was awesome)
6. Gone to a free talk at the School of the Art Institute
7. Watched "Valentino: The Last Emperor" for free at Gene Siskel
8. Signed up for free three credit hours via SAIC
9. Gone to a Bob Dylan concert
10. Been invited to (and hopefully go to!) four or five Halloween parties

Which, I realize, most of which you can kind of do in other cities, but I feel like Julie and I are doing a pretty damn good job of taking advantage of our city.


Wind Turbines, Benton County (?), Indiana, 2009

These guys are now the coolest part of driving between Chicago and Indianapolis. This last time we drove was the first time they were actually moving.

This picture at night gets closer to capturing how many are in the area: each red dot is one turbine.

Wind Turbines, Benton County (?), Indiana, 2009


70 degrees and sunny

On Approach, Chicago, 2009

I consider it great, great luck that I happened to take today off because of a dentist appointment. Since noon today I have been outside walking, or sitting at a cafe, or reading by the lake. Every time we have a day like today and I am stuck at work I want so desperately to be outside, so it worked out well.

The image above is actually from Monday night, when apparently planes are landing at O'hare every five three minutes. Julie and I walked on the lake and this was the view pretty much the entire time: constant planes appearing on the horizon and flying in over our heads.

I'm going to go out there next Monday and take some shots with my 4x5, although I'll need to buy some Provia for the long exposure (this one was 30 seconds).


A woman sleeps accompanied by her cat, inside an evacuation center for victims hit by floods caused by Typhoon Ketsana, locally known as Ondoy, in the town of Taytay, Rizal east of Metro Manila, October 13, 2009. (REUTERS/John Javellana)

Today's Big Picture is for World Animal Day, apparently, and it has what you'd expect: a slightly more sophisticated version of cute overload.

But this image (bear in mind I am a sucker for cats) is just a great, great image.


This American Life's "More is Less" is well worth the listen -- and a free download for the next few days.

"An hour explaining the American health care system, specifically, why it is that costs keep rising. One story looks at the doctors, one at the patients and one at the insurance industry."

Listen to it.


Deep Field

I'd read about this before, but Exposure Compensation, a lovely blog, was so kind as to remind me of Hubble's Ultra Deep Field image, which is one of the more profound photographs ever made.

The Economist used it as prime example of why risk taking is important to science, as before these pictures were taken no one was sure if they were taking a picture of anything.

(c) REUTERS/Xinhua/Huang Jingwen

Fuck, man. Shit. Between how much of our national debt they own and how outnumbered we are, if China ever decides they want to rule the world I am pretty confident they could.

I mean, look at their celebration of 60 years.

Maybe, though, I've been playing too much Fallout 3.