Our second link round-up!
These are things I read today that interested me, with some commentary on what I read and what I thought.
BBC World Service: Space – The BBC World Service has begun an occasional podcast series of podcasts on an astronomy/space exploration theme. As of right now, there are four episodes, ranging from a look at whether or not there’s life on Saturn’s moon Enceladus to why fictional universes, like Star Wars and Harry Potter, have become such a force in pop culture. Naturally, I subscribed. BBC World Service
Unbelief As A Belief System: Core Tenet For Christians’ Fight For Religious Rights – I heard this segment on All Things Considered, and I’m still puzzled by it. Essentially, Christian conservatives are attempting to argue that the separation of church and state and placing all belief systems, as a matter of public policy, on a level footing is itself a violation of the separation of church and state as they view the groups working for a religiously neutral, secular society as working in favor of the religion of secularism. This is a definition of secularism that I’m wholly unfamiliar with; it’s taking a word and twisting its definition so that the word is used in a way completely opposite its meaning. NPR
House Republicans Introduce Resolution to Fight the Very Real War on Christmas – A House Republican has introduced a resolution in which the House of Representatives would take a firm stance on the War on Christmas.I read his resolution. I’m an atheist, and I don’t object to any of it. Not because it’s toothless. Because it doesn’t say anything objectionable. Jezebel
Papelbon unites leaders of a divided Senate — against him – There’s not much that Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell agree on — except that the Washington Nationals need to get rid of clubhouse cancer Jonathan Papelbon. Washington Post
MLB free agent prediction: Which team will sign Chris Davis? – Last week, the Baltimore Orioles pulled the offer they had on the table to free agent Chris Davis. The Orioles made him an offer of roughly 7 years and 150 million dollars. Davis wanted something closer to 200 million for the same 7 years. Davis is a difficult player to project — he hits the ball really hard, he strikes out a ton, his defense is suspect, and he’s reached the age when ballplayers start their inexorable decline. Is there anyone who will give Davis what he wants? Or will Davis have to take less money and/or fewer years? Grant Brisbee, one of my favorite baseball writers today, looks at the market for Davis. Brisbee thinks the Nationals could end up with Davis on a 7-year contract. If the Nationals wanted to pursue Davis, I think a 3-year/50 million contract would be more appropriate. SBNation
In Praise of Admiral Piett, the Best Background Star Wars Character – I had no idea that Kenneth Colley, who played Admiral Piett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, also played Jesus in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian. It’s his Sermon on the Mount that causes Brian to say “Blessed are the cheesemakers.” Jesus is Darth Vader’s boot-licking toady. Suddenly, it all makes sense!The rest of the article is good, too. The Atlantic
Ted Cruz: Five things to know about the 2016 contender – The BBC takes a look at Republican Senator and presidential contender Ted Cruz. It’s all basic stuff — gifted public speaker, an underdog who doesn’t give up, a man who makes enemies easily and doesn’t care — and it makes the argument that he really does have a shot at winning the nomination. The presidency? Maybe, maybe not. BBC
I spent some time digging into the plugin’s code last night. I’ve identified the problem — or, rather, where the problem is happening — but my attempt at fixing the code didn’t work. The fix I coded looks right, but for some reason it doesn’t do what it should.
I need to ponder this some more.