Archive for General Interest

Innovation + Abortion = Stagnation

I recently attended a week long technical symposium which, normally, I find myself too busy to take the time to indulge. However, I realized that I had managed to let a decade slip by without connecting with peers outside of my immediate circle. So this year, I decided to reconnect and get inspired. In addition to an impressive forum of technical presentations the symposium hosted a rather large trade show. By about mid-week, I had had my fill of technical papers and so decided to stretch my legs and spend the rest of the day walking the show floor. This

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The Swiss Guard

Last week, on May 6, the Swiss Guard swore in a new batch of recruits at St. Damaso Courtyard within the Vatican City.  During the ceremony, the new recruits raise three fingers and swear the following oath: “I swear I will faithfully, loyally and honourably serve the Supreme Pontiff Francis and his legitimate successors, and also dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing if necessary also my life to defend them. I assume this same commitment with regard to the Sacred College of Cardinals whenever the See is vacant. Furthermore I promise to the Commanding Captain and my other

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Trumpet

From the start of  Donald Trump’s run for president, all conventional wisdom wrote him off as a joke, predicting, and predicting again … and again his inevitable crash and burn. Yet with each such prediction and with each successive condemnation of him from all quarters, his popularity has grown. Not only do people support him, but they do so with numbers and enthusiasm not enjoyed by any other candidate running. With the focus on Trump himself, less attention has been paid to his supporters, who are often brushed aside in the discussion, dismissed as a bunch of angry bigots or

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1=Pysanka, 2 or more=Pysanky

Last Thursday I frequented a favorite lunch stop, a Ukrainian delicatessen known for their variety of delicious handmade sausages. Upon entering the store, my eye was immediately drawn to a sales kiosk set up with a beautiful display of pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs). In years past this kiosk was manned by teenagers fundraising for their youth group. This year, however, it was being operated by members of Minnesota Maidan, to raise funds for those caught in war torn Ukraine. As I began to browse through the collection of beautiful eggs I couldn’t help but linger on the photos posted along

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The New Evangelization Hype Cycle

Gartner, Inc. has developed a useful tool in the graphical representation of the maturity and adoption of technology and its applications known as the Hype Cycle.  For example, here is an interesting hype cycle that the company put out in August of 2015 that is a snapshot of notable technologies and products at that time. The hype cycle can also be used to track the history of a specific technology over time. I find hype cycles fascinating.  While they are subjective in nature, they are also helpful in explaining the interaction between ideas and the public. I also think introducing concepts from one

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Technology: A Marriage of Science and Ethics

Recently, I traveled to Asia.  During my trip, I had the opportunity to visit IBM and discussthe present state of their cognitive platform Watson, along with strategic plans for its future development.  Watson’s ability to analyze and draw insight from large amounts of disparate data, and offer functionality very close to learning, is quite impressive.  During our discussion, its ability to provide answers and solutions to questions that were bias free was touted.  On this, I challenged my host on two counts. The first issue I had was that the statement categorized all bias as being of negative value.  It’s true

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Charitable Accountability

There is a time in the liturgical calendar, sometime after the close of Advent and the start of Lent, when I perceive a slight uneasiness as I enter church. On a somewhat subconscious level, I find myself panning the worship space looking for the large projector screen which announces the start of the Archdiocese annual appeal for funding. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the appeal for money that bothers me, for years my wife and I have been a tithing family and like many we can attest to the blessings that this practice has brought. What bothers me is

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Momento Mori

“Remember death” My family and friends gathered recently to celebrate the funeral Mass of my 99 year-old mother.  Through both of my parent’s deaths, I have found that travelling the path of death and burial in the Catholic tradition is truly a consolation to the grief we experience.  So many elements of our Faith are brought together in the funeral liturgy: the remembrance of being born to anew in baptism; being united to the Body of Christ in the Eucharist; the Angels and Saints being called upon to accompany the soul of the departed into heaven; the repetition of “eternal

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Only One Way Out

I had at least four ideas for posts this week, but only energy enough for this one. We live in a country on a downward spiral. The two front-runners in our current presidential race are, I fear, bad people. Not bad like they have bad ideas or  I don’t agree with them — though both of those things are true. Bad as in not good. As a country, we have enough experience and history with the Clintons to guess the sort of people they are: power-hungry, elitist, vindictive, and predatory. And the Donald makes no attempt to hide what he is: opportunistic, unprincipled, selfish, and

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What ever happened to “Safe, Legal & Rare”?

A few years ago I presented a paper to the Junto titled, “Seeing is Believing”. At that time our country was confronted with the horrors of the abortion industry during the trial of Kermit Gosnell. In the paper I pondered the words of former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathenson (author of the film Silent Scream) “America won’t reject abortion until it sees abortion”. Thankfully, in the Gosnell case, seeing the truth caused the jury, including nine pro-abortion jurors, to convict him of the murder of an expectant mother and the killing three babies who were born alive. Additionally, the publicity of

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