Halloween

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door- Only this, and…

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Ave Maria

I’ve spent a lot of time in Ave Maria over the past few years. It’s also been a long time since I’ve visited; about a year. It’s a wonderful, fascinating community, located in some Southwest Florida pioneer territory. Ave Maria University has something like 1,100 students now; small but growing. It’s a traditional Catholic university,…

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City of Firsts

Buzz Bissinger’s A Prayer for the City addresses Philadelphia in the early 1990s at a time when America’s big cities were in a period of uncertainty. Specifically, it’s about Philadelphia and Ed Rendell’s first term as mayor. I loved this passage detailing Philadelphia’s legacy: It was still occasionally called the City of Firsts, and it was more than…

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Autonomous cars as public transport

Zack Kanter wrote earlier this year on “How Uber’s Autonomous Cars Will Destroy 10 Million Jobs and Reshape the Economy by 2025:” Morgan Stanley’s research shows that cars are driven just 4% of the time, which is an astonishing waste considering that the average cost of car ownership is nearly $9,000 per year. … It is now…

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Moral knowledge

I’ve been reading Pope Benedict XVI’s “On Christian Hope” lately: “…what may we hope? And what may we not hope? First of all, we must acknowledge that incremental progress is possible only in the material sphere. Here, amid our growing knowledge of the structure of matter and in the light of ever more advanced inventions,…

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Conscientious believers

“A lot of the recent religious freedom debate has taken place in terms of conscience. … That’s important, but it’s also important to maintain the social and institutional space within which Christians can be formed,” he continued. “Conscientious believers aren’t hatched; they’re formed. They’re formed in communities, and we’ve got to get religious freedom protections so those…

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A way of seeing

One abstract for a chapter in a book on “Seeing the Past: Augmented Reality and Computer Vision in History,” premised on the idea that “history is a way of seeing:” “‘History is all around us. The voices of the past thicken the air, calling out for your attention. When it all gets too much, pull the…

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Twitter Moments

Twitter Moments has been great in my first few weeks with it. It feels like a natural evolution of the service, and I hope it is developed faster and expanded into more categories. It feels like the most natural “what’s happening”/news source I’ve seen on social platforms so far, and Moments often clues me in…

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Looking away

What if the most valuable thing we could teach our children is how to look away? What if the most vital skill to teach ourselves in a desires-trained culture is to avoid the voices that exist to exploit our attention and prey on our insecurities? To learn to not see that which is designed to be inescapable. We…

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Fascinating places to spend time

On New York’s Monuments to Famous or Forgotten that dot its parks: There are about 800 monuments on city parkland in the five boroughs, scattered along rambling paths, grassy triangles and slender medians. They loom over passing pedestrians and cast a weary eye on gridlocked traffic — often somber, sometimes whimsical, frequently ignored, as the household names of…

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