* At "The Angry Astronomer," there's a good post clearing up a number of common misconceptions about the Big Bang in an accessible way. (H/t: Pharyngula)
* Open theist and pastor Greg Boyd has been getting into the right type of political trouble, losing members of his congregation due to his view on Christianity in politics. (H/t: A Blog Around the Clock) His view on Christianity in politics is that Christians should be like Christ. Apparently that doesn't play among some Christians quite as well as one might assume. Admittedly, Boyd does say a few controversial things here and there, but nothing that justifies leaving the church (or the verbal reactions of some of those who did). (You can find the culprit sermons mentioned in the article here, and information about the book mentioned here.)
* Who knew that the question of whether we must tip coffee shop baristas was of pressing philosophical concern? But it turns out to raise all sorts of issues that are being discussed in detail at FQI and Think Tonk.
* Thomas Nagel's classic 1972 essay, War and Massacre. (H/t: verbum ipsum)
* One of the glories of YouTube is that you can see things you never would otherwise see: you can watch a 1941 film on Solemn High Mass, narrated by none other than Fulton Sheen. (h/t: Mirabilis, via Dappled Things) Because of size restrictions, it cuts off about twenty minutes (it's still 54 minutes long), and due to deterioration, the credits and captions had to undergo reconstruction; but other than that, it's a bit of a window into Catholic life sixty-five years ago.
* Johnny-Dee gives advice to philosophy students applying to grad school.
* Without doing any research or rereading, answering all the questions, and taking the test in fifteen minutes, I got 218.94 points out of 316.84 at Barliman's Tolkien Test. Of course, I also made a few mistakes that in retrospect were rather stupid. In any case, can you beat my score?