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Easter Day

There are three interesting articles on Christianity at the Spectator, obviously occasioned by Easter.

If we can pass over the pagan aspects of the fertility rite to the Christian/Passover, today is clearly the one upon which the entire faith rests. Historians don’t seriously question the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth but they do fall out over the arising.

For the people of the time, the arising is certainly the clincher but not the only phenomenon deeply impressing itself on the Galilean mind, there were those miracles – or party tricks if you’re an atheist – to take into account.

The reaction of the authorities added its own authenticity and the more widely attested Roman suppression, the gnostic threat and others certainly showed this Christianity to have become a substantial problem by the 2nd century. You can call it a superstition but it’s one which grew and grew and grew and as some of the finest minds of the time fell for it, it impressed more and more.…

Ukrainian leaflets – they’re getting desperate

You may have seen the report in the Telegraph about the Rabbi in Donetsk who is angry about pro-Russians demanding that Jews register with the local authorities:

The leaflet carries the crest of the “Donetsk People’s Republic”, whose leaders have taken over official buildings in nine towns and cities across this region, in reaction to the February Revolution in Kiev.

The Chief Rabbi of Donetsk spoke with controlled outrage, holding up a piece of paper bearing an elaborate stamp with two crossed hammers.

”The last time in history that someone wrote a text like that was in 1939 in the Nazi time,” said Pinchas Vishedski.

Open and shut case, eh?    Damned Russians about to start a pogrom, a new holocaust.   Except for one tiny bit of info you may remember from Russ, the NO correspondent from Russia, who wrote:

They [Ukraine nazis] did holocaust on their teritory before Hitler came).

Good Friday reflection


A certain worthy gentleman, tireless supporter of a club whose colours, I believe, are black and white [ :) ]- who incidentally is presenting the Easter music here this year and who is also known for his scathing views on PoMo and other ignoble trends in society, interprets the calling out of wrong more as:

“l’enfer c’est les autres” - Jean Paul Sartre

On this day when a certain Carpenter’s Son is nailed on a cross, I can imagine a conversation shortly after He overturned the moneylender’s tables, following His making a general nuisance of Himself all over Galilee.

A local lad named Bobby Ferrin steps into His path and addresses Him:

“Hey Man, can’t you just ease off? Get a life, enough of all this endless ranting at the Pharisees and Sadducees or whatever group is is today. Man, you’re so full of hate, you should look at yourself. Hey – there’s good in everyone, besides – it’s all just a matter of opinion.

New tech a double-edged sword


Nothing new in this but perhaps a timeless reminder:

Digital cameras are almost everywhere, and they’re getting smaller and smarter. Whole new categories of cameras are being developed that don’t need lenses or don’t need large sensors. Instead, algorithms are being used to manipulate digitized light rays to create impressive images without traditional camera components. Here are just a few examples.

Data harvesting goes mainstream

This from haiku on personal data harvesting gone awry – when even restaurants get in on the act:

A restaurant with three Michelin stars is now trying to up its customer service game by Googling its customers before they arrive. According to a report from Grub Street, an Eleven Madison Park maitre d’ performs Internet recon on every guest in the interest of customizing their experiences.

The maitre d’ in question, Justin Roller, says he tries to ascertain things like whether a couple is coming to the restaurant for an anniversary, and if so, which anniversary that is. If it’s a birthday, for instance, he wants to wish them “Happy Birthday” when they arrive. He’ll scan for photos of the guests in chef’s whites or posed with wine glasses, which suggest they might be chefs or sommeliers themselves.

It goes deeper: if a particular guest appears to hail from Montana, Roller will try to pair up the table with a server who is from Montana.

François Fillon redefines the word “tosser”

France's President Sarkozy speaks with PM Fillon at the end of a ceremony to mark the end of World War Two in Paris

Sarkozy trying to talk some sense into Fillon

The word tosser was invented for such as François Fillon.    This report was from last year:

Former French Prime Minister François Fillon risked sparking off more infighting in France’s opposition UMP party this week by announcing that he will be a candidate in the 2017 presidential election “whatever happens”.

Just as the bitter feud that nearly split France’s troubled UMP party appeared to be healing over François Fillon has stoked the embers by declaring he will be a candidate for the 2017 presidential election, come what may.

Despite being four years away from the vote, Fillon, a former PM, has already made his intentions clear when he said in an interview this week that “whatever happens” he will be a candidate.

His words are unlikely to have gone down well with Jean-François Copé with whom Fillon fought a bitter leadership battle to become UMP chief last year, that descended into allegations of vote rigging.