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Bringing guns to a game fight & vice versa

Monday, August 24th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — the sheer variety of what occurs in the Venn overlap between games and guns never ceases to amaze ]
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and:

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Is there something about Pokemon I don’t know, that would explain this level of crazed?

As for the Dutch soldiers story — it takes the Independent a little while to get from the concept of ammo-free warfare suggested by the headline to the admission in the article that the ammo shortage was confined to training exercises..

Even so, as they say in the real estate business, morale, morale, morale.

On the shadows of camels, and the camels that throw them

Monday, August 24th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — in lieu of a belated Sunday Surprise, and slightly more serious ]
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Camels throw shadows — a fact brilliantly exploited by George Steinmetz in a rightly celebrated photo, to be found lower in this post — but first, a taste of Steinmetz’ methodology:

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It is, I suppose, possible to argue that it is the shadows that throw the camels — but I suggest that only by way of saying that when I post here, fresh angles, not particular statements of opinion, are mostly what I am after.

Steinmetz’ photo illustrates my point nicely:

george-steinmetz-camels_shadows

As you may know — and Snopes confirms — this image is an overhead view of shadows cast by camels in the desert. What’s not immediately obvious is that the black shapes are the shadows, while the camels themselves are the thin strips of white that accompany them.

As Steinmetz’ website explains:

His latest passion is photographing the world’s deserts while piloting a motorized paraglider. This experimental aircraft provides him with a unique physical perspective over remote places that are inaccessible by conventional aircraft.

The unexpected, perhaps even unique, perspective then is what I’m chasing — an “angle” that encourages a frehs view of the matter at hand.

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It’s intriguing to note the consonance between Steinmetz’ comment:

I always want to go to the blank spots on a map, or go just a little bit farther. Reality is always more interesting than imagination.

and a comment I quoted with a quick tsk, tsk from David Hume thw other day:

It were better, therefore, never to look beyond the present material world.

I feel a DoubleQuote coming on..

Christianity, culture, compassion, camels — and their shadows too

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — by way of TS Eliot, Mario Vargas Llosa and others, and leading to a post on camels and their shadows ]
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limits of compassion

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In the year I was born, 1943, TS Eliot published a series of essays titled Notes Toward the Definition of Culture in the New English Weekly. Mario Vargas Llosa supposedly references Eliot’s essays in his own Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society — which Joshua Cohen then distills into this paragraph:

Eliot defines culture as existing in, and through, three different spheres: that of the individual, the group or class, and the entire rest of society. Individuals’ sensibilities affiliate them with a group or class, which doesn’t have to be the one they’re born into. That group or class proceeds to exercise its idea of culture on society as a whole, with the elites — the educated and artists, in Eliot’s ideal arrangement — ­leveraging their access to the media and academia to influence the tastes of the average citizen, and of the next ­generation too. As for what forms the individual, it’s the family, and the family, in turn, is formed by the church: “It is in Christianity that our arts have developed,” Eliot writes; “it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe have — until recently — been rooted.”

I’m not sure of the bibliographic details here, but you’ll note the similarity of Eliot’s claim in quote marks above to certain claims made concerning America in recent years — and indeed, to others in Anders Breivik‘s Manifesto.

It’s the concept of culture as comprised of the sensibilities of individuals, groups and society that first and most interests me here, though — and the significance of family, and I’m hoping Michael Lotus will have something to say about that.

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Here’s more from Eliot:

It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe — until recently — have been rooted. It is against a background of Christianity that all of our thought has significance. An individual European may not believe that the Christian faith is true, and yet what he says, and makes, and does will all spring out of his heritage of Christian culture and depend upon that culture for its meaning .. I do not believe that culture of Europe could survive the complete disappearance of the Christian faith. And I am convinced of that, not merely because I am a Christian myself, but as a student of social biology. If Christianity goes, the whole culture goes.

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Now take a cool sip of water to cleanse the palate..

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This may nor may not seem to resonate with Eliot’s ideas:

Slovakia prefers its desperate refugees to be Christians, please

Slovakia would prefer to accept Christian refugees under a European plan to resettle people who have fled from wars and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

The Central European country will take 100 people from refugee camps in Turkey and 100 people from Italy, preferably Christians, a ministry spokesman said.

“We want to choose people who really want to start a new life in Slovakia. Slovakia as a Christian country can really help Christians from Syria to find new home in Slovakia,” spokesman Ivan Netik said.

“For most migrants we are only a transit country. In Slovakia we have really tiny community of Muslims. We even dont have mosques.”

If Muslim asylum-seekers chose Slovakia, they would not be discriminated against, he said. But Slovakia would not take in refugees who did not want to stay in the country but intended to move on.

“We do not discriminate against any religion, but it would be a false, insincere solidarity if we took people .. who dont want to live in Slovakia,” he said.

That. btw, is the most nuanced version of the Slovakian response to the refugees I’ve seen.

Comnpassion? A conceptual radius of compassion?

Are there, should there be, limits to compassion?

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In an upcoming post on the shadows of camels, I’ll explain my overall intent in posting such items as this one — and it is not to suggest that Breivik is the same as Slovakia, or Eliot the same as Breivik, or Christianity across Europe equivalent to camels or the shadows of camels across the desert.. nor that compassion should or should not have a radius, conceptual or otherwise.

On the Shoulders of Giants — Merton’s OTSOG illustrated?

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — I first saw the fish on @arlogilbert’s Twitter page, and I think I saw the turtle on someone’s FB? ]
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The Turtle has gotta be a giant if it’s to carry elephants and a world on its back..

SPEC turtle fish

and moving from macro to micro, the Fish had best be sizeable if it’s to carry an island and village.

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There are those who delight in the Turtle Hypothesis, but throw in a tiger atop the elephants, then extend the concept to encompass turtle upon turtle, Mr Justice Scalia (in Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 [2006]. footnote 14) for instance:

In our favored version, an Eastern guru affirms that the earth is supported on the back of a tiger. When asked what supports the tiger, he says it stands upon an elephant; and when asked what supports the elephant he says it is a giant turtle. When asked, finally, what supports the giant turtle, he is briefly taken aback, but quickly replies “Ah, after that it is turtles all the way down.”

Likewise, there are those who reject it, as for example David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

How can we satisfy ourselves without going on in infinitum? And, after all, what satisfaction is there in that infinite progression? Let us remember the story of the Indian philosopher and his elephant. It was never more applicable than to the present subject. If the material world rests upon a similar ideal world, this ideal world must rest upon some other; and so on, without end. It were better, therefore, never to look beyond the present material world.

Never to look beyond the present material world?

Tsk, that’s a bit short-sighted, isn’t it?

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Which brings me to Robert K. Merton‘s brilliant book familiarly known as OTSOG, which I’ve read, and Tristram Shandy, which I haven;t but would presumably like.

As the saying goes, Odd Moves in a Mysterious Way.

I’m also reminded of the Hendrix Hedge, but that’s another story..

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Sources:

  • World on a tutle, The Science Behind Discworld’s Flat Earth on the Back of a Turtle
  • Island on a fish, Voted most likely to find a loophole
  • Recent hacks and the King James Version

    Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — the OMB and Ashley Madison hacks — and some verses to consider alongside them ]
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    SPEC OMB hack

    Given my interest in apocalyptic, which Wikipedia describes thus

    An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: apokalypsis, from apo and kalypto meaning “uncovering”), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden.

    — it is only natural that the revelation of secrets should provide a sometime theologian such as myself with scriptural memories..

    SPEC Ashley Madison hack

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    It has long seemed to me that “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7. 1-2) offers an extraordinarily non-vengeful, non-violent option within the tit-for-tat, eye-for-an-eye scriptural formulation of justice.


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