Monday, June 25, 2012

Links for Thinking

* Evidence of medieval eyeglass use: the imprint of eyeglasses on a manuscript. (hat-tip)

* James Rogers has a good discussion of the meaning of the phrase "pursuit of happiness" at "First Things". Since similar issues come up whenever you teach ancient or medieval philosophy, given how great a role the good life plays in ancient and medieval thought, I always point this out to my Intro students.

* Christopher Tollefsen looks at the Augustinian approach to the question of lying. I still don't like his tendency to define lying as "making false assertions"; in the sense he means, it's entirely right, but I think it's highly misleading for most people. But the argument's a good one.

* Running trucks on woodgas. It sounds like gasoline is still used as the starter fuel, but since gasoline is an extremely efficient fuel, it doesn't take much. Whether woodgas is the best way to go or not, it's still the case that it makes more sense to use gasoline as a starter fuel than as a primary fuel, if you can get the same results with a cheaper and handier (even though less efficient) fuel like wood.

* Fr. Mark Pilon has a very nice article on the often-misunderstood sacrament of extreme unction, or anointing the sick, as it is usually called these days.

* Fr. Thomas Berg discusses the Legionaries of Christ and makes some good points. I've said it once and I'll say it again: this is a time for pulling out the Templar solution. Just disband it: put a more stable and less scandal-ridden order in charge of handling its property, provide for a means for Legionaries, of whom there are undeniably many good ones, to enter other orders or secularize, and tear the rotting building down.

* Historical fencing resources: how people actually fought with swords. (ht)

* Jimmy Carter has an interesting op-ed on the increasing tendency of the U.S. to play fast and loose with human rights.

* Wayne K. Spear has a nice bit in the National Post on the War of 1812 from the indigenous Canadian perspective.

* I wish I were in a town to see the Nuns on a Bus tour; I very much like seeing nuns out in the world, since I think they tend to be overlooked despite doing an immense amount of good. I don't think whether one agrees with their politics really matters much, and even when their theology is dubious at best -- and it is true that there are a lot of nuns with theology that is dubious at best, although there are also many who do not fall into this category -- there is still plenty to learn from them.

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