Thursday, June 22, 2006

All The Hype That Money Can Buy

I was over at the Ritchie/Powell Residence the other night for a lovely shared meal, where I got talking to Rhett about the old days when I used to review music for the Baptist and he used to read my reviews in the Baptist (he was also jealous of my trend setting hair style). Of course we didn’t know each other back then. I think Jacob might have been in on the conversation as well when I was explaining why I don’t review music anymore. I promised I’d let them read a copy of the Parachute review that essentially got me fired from the music reviewing business. If you click on the small image you should (if blogger works the way I’m hoping it does) get a large enough image to read. It’s probably worth noting that this is the EDITED version. It’s also probably worth noting that I wanted to talk to Parachute before submitting my review, but they were a little hesitant to talk to media post Festival and declined all my requests. The good thing is that my wonderful editors let me continue (and expand) with my DVD reviews, and I have access to as much music as I want through my current job. It’s funny how some things work out for good.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sex Selection to Combat Autism

Eleven cousins in California have had their stomachs removed, and now a team of doctors at the University College Hospital in Britain will apply for a license to screen out autistic embryos, according to the Times Online. Both are possible thanks to genetic testing.

As boys are four times more likely to be born with autism than girls, couples with a family history of the condition want to ensure they have only girls. Such sex selection is not at present permitted.

The technique, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), has been used to create babies free from life-threatening illnesses such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and haemophilia.

However, screening embryos to prevent babies being born with autism would prove controversial because children born with the disorder can live long and healthy lives. Critics claim the treatment would be a step closer to creating babies free from all imperfections.

The couple would have to go through in vitro fertilization. A specialist would choose only female embryos for implantation into the mother's uterus.

While sex selection is illegal in many countries, it's legal in the United States and can cost up to $20,000.

Wow, sounds a little to much like Gattica.

Source: Wired

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I’m a Heretic

I’ve just finished watching (and reviewing) The Gospel of Judas. The actual documentary was so-so, but the special features were a bit of an eye opener – you see, Elaine Pagels has opened my eyes to the fact that I’m a heretic.

Now before you reach for those large and very solid looking stones, or before you start to stroke your chin and say ‘I knew it!’, lets look at the original meaning of the word heretic:

[Middle English heretik, from Old French heretique, from Late Latin haereticus, from Greek hairetikos, able to choose, factious, from hairetos, chosen, from haireisthai, to choose.]

Able to choose. That defines me rather well. I’m able to choose. I chose to belong to a church that calls itself Cession. I’m able to choose not to eat the noodles on offer last Sunday.

I’m also able to choose what I believe, and I’m able to choose to discuss, debate and be convinced or convince others that certain streams of though are valid or not.

And that apparently makes me a heretic.

Hooray for the heretics!

I’m also probably a bit of a Gnostic:

[Late Latin Gnsticus, a Gnostic, from Late Greek Gnstikos, from Greek gnstikos, concerning knowledge, from gnsis, knowledge. See gnosis.]

I’m a seeker of spiritual knowledge. I want to know more. I choose to know more.

Is there any hope for a Heretical Gnostic wannabe?

Monday, June 19, 2006

There's a New Blog in Town

My favorite blogger (sorry Frank, it's not you) has started a new blog. Pretty soon she'll have more blogs than me! Check it out now.

Friday, June 16, 2006

God Backs Hacker in DNA Dispute

The genesis of hacker Adrian Lamo's refusal to give the FBI a blood sample for DNA sequencing is, well ... Genesis.

Lamo cites the Good Book repeatedly in a court filing this week, and even seems to borrow the prose style of his source material in his sworn affidavit, which makes the point that he offered his probation officer DNA samples in less liquid form.

I am not an unreasonable man. I understand that we live in modern times, and that I am called on to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. I offer up my hair follicles, my cheek swabs in the interests of justice. To the very hand of the probation office I offered an envelope with my hair; to the same hand I offered to pluck a hair from my brow and to clip the nails from my fingers.

The Book of Genesis leaves unambiguous this matter. Therein, those who would spill the blood of man are rebuked as follows: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." Genesis 9:6 (New International Version). Under this admonition, not only would I be blinding myself to the direct instructions of scripture by shedding blood, but I would similarly be casting whomever facilitated this act into sin, multiplying my culpability.

Neither is this a sole warning, though a lone warning in scripture would carry no less weight than a multitude. When Cain slew Abel, the first words the Lord gave to him were "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground." Cain had not only killed, but he had spilled blood, and done so in sin, and this was first and foremost in the Lord's rebuke to Cain.

To the contrary, the scripture is replete with references to the Lord calling for blood to be put to use for His own purposes. Clearly, while blood may flow, this is reserved for the Lord to decree, and not for His servants.

Now 18 months into a two-year probation sentence for hacking The New York Times, Lamo is known for a string of brazen, mostly-harmless hacks against large companies carried out from 2001-2004, in which he openly took credit for the intrusions.

In May, Lamo's probation officer asked the court to send the hacker to jail after Lamo declined to give blood for the FBI's DNA database, as required of all recently-convicted federal felons under the 2004 Justice for All Act.

In Monday's court filing, Lamo's attorney, federal public defender Mary French, argues that the Supreme Court has explicitly left open the question of whether religious beliefs can form the basis of refusing to give blood when alternative means of collection are available. French urges US District Court judge Frank Damrell to exempt Lamo from the sampling entirely, or to order his probation officer to accept some other biological product in lieu of blood.

Lamo is free on his own recognizance pending a July 17 court hearing in Sacramento, California.


Soup Kitchen

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Body Parts

Tonight at church Brett handed out body parts for us to take home. Sorry Brett but as soon as that concept was launched all I could think of was Jigsaw. I'm not sure what this says about what part of the body I am, especially so soon after blogging about suicide...


I’ve been thinking about suicide recently. Not for me personally, just in general. Though I have thought about it in the abstract in the past, I even figured out what I’d do.

The thing is I couldn’t. It’s not that I don’t think I could do the actual deed, it’s just that I couldn’t put my 4 most precious girls through the pain and loss.

And that’s what’s got me thinking. Fear of going to hell wouldn’t stop me. I’m loved by God, forgiven by God, and I don’t think committing suicide would prevent God from loving me and welcoming me into his heavenly presence. Indeed It even got me thinking that probably more Christians should be thinking about suicide - I mean isn’t heaven the ultimate destination?

But the cut is the pain that it would cause others – it’s a dilemma really.

So what is the theological standing on suicide? I don’t know. Should Christians really fantasise about suicide? Probably. But not in the usual way. If we think more about what the deed would do to those who know us. Really think about the pain we would cause, and then we’d know just how much these people mean to us.

Now if we focused on these people and decided to show them just how much we love them. Not just in the normal hey you’re great way, but in the; what if this is my last chance to leave a lasting impression with this person kind of way. In the, what if I actually die tomorrow kind of way.

If we treated each day as if we were going to commit suicide tomorrow we wouldn’t worry about the trivial things. We’d probably be more generous. More generous with our material things, more generous with our time, our ears (listening), our love and commitment. We’d strive to get our life in order, to seek forgiveess and offer forgiveness, depending on circumstances.

And if we lived everyday like this, it would slowly start to go beyond the people we know and love to the random people we meet everyday.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


A couple of points of wisdom from Aimee durning our visit to the supermarket tonight…

“Don’t get those firelighters they’ve got satan on them. We’ll just tell mum that there was none left. We can’t lie to mum though.”

“Dad, I didn’t step on the cigarette butt so I won’t be addicted because cigarettes are addictive aren’t they dad.”