- Friday was the Earth's annual aphelion day! What is aphelion day, you ask? Excellent question, especially because I love etymologies. It comes from the Greek apo, meaning, "away from," and helios, which (of course) means "sun." And it's the day that the Earth is at its furthest distance from our star in its annual orbit:
At 9 a.m. PDT on Friday, the Earth was more than 94.5 million miles from the sun -- the farthest away it will get from our life-giving star for the entire year.I don't think I need to tell you what peri means in Greek, do I? Good.
At that time we were about 1.5 million miles farther from the sun than the Earth's average distance of 93 million miles, according to EarthSky.org.
The Earth moves in a lopsided elliptical orbit as it travels around the sun. That orbit takes it closer to the sun during the Northern Hemisphere's winter, and farther from the sun during our summer. The Earth will next reach is closest point to the sun -- perihelion -- on Jan. 2, 2014.
- I could be wrong, but I don't think calling for a return to the era of gas chambers is ever a good idea. The Attorney General of Missouri, however, disagrees.
Intent on moving forward with scheduled executions at any price, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said this week he would resort to the gas chamber while other methods are tied up in court battle.I'll bet he considers himself pro-life and what not.
Koster’s comments are the latest move to push forward executions, as litigation over the humanity of lethal injections using the anesthetic propofol continues. Koster dismissed concerns over the cruelty of reviving the gas chamber in an exchange with The Associated Press, saying, “The premeditated murder of an innocent Missourian is cruel and unusual punishment. The lawful implementation of the death penalty, following a fair and reasoned jury trial, is not.”
- Dominionist author David Lane is calling for martyrdom in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in the Windsor case that struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act. Because the fact that gay people can now get married is somehow equivalent to being fed back to the lions in the good old Coliseum days.
The only America that actually exists is one in which "marriage" includes same-sex couples and women have a Constitutional right to kill their babies. To be faithful, Christian witness must be witness against America.Bringing back gas chambers...being sent into ovens...can they just make it stop?
God has his winnowing fork in his hand, and he's ready to use it. There's likely to be a lot of chaff, blown away like mist. But there will be a harvest. We're being sent into an oven, but Jesus will crush the grain of the harvest so that, baked in the fire of the Spirit, it will become bread for the life of the world.
- Courtesy of the New York Times, you now know more about deer contraception than you ever did before. Or at least, you will if you follow through on the link.
- I've been saying this for a long time. Spiders are misunderstood creatures. People keep blaming them for all the infections, insect bites, and poison oak rashes they get. But it's simply not the case:
The vast majority of "spider bites" are caused by something else, research shows. One study Vetter cited found that of 182 Southern California patients seeking treatment for spider bites, only 3.8 percent had actual spider bites, while 85.7 percent had infections.Vindicated, at last. And so are the spiders.
And a national study found that nearly 30 percent of people with skin lesions who said they had a spider bite actually had methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Other things that can cause symptoms that mimic spider bites include biting fleas or bedbugs, allergies, poison oak and poison ivy, besides various viral and bacterial infections, Vetter said.
- An excellent essay by Ira Chernus on patriotism and conservatism.
- Let's review the last couple of columns by David Brooks, shall we? The one published on June 27 was titled "A nation of mutts" and it expressed some handwringing about how America will no longer be an outpost of Europe, but an eponymous "nation of mutts." He then followed that up with this:
It’s not that Egypt doesn’t have a recipe for a democratic transition. It seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients.Paging the ombudsman! Cleanup in the op-ed aisle!
- Did you know that in California, it takes a two-thirds supermajority for most local tax measures for schools and infrastructure to get voter approval? At the Los Angeles Times, George Skelton says it's high time to change that. Thankfully, the Democrats in the legislature couldn't agree more.
It was at this point that the authors of the Declaration of Independence said...oh boy. Now what? Or maybe they didn't. The point is, enjoy the continuation of your four-day weekend, and here are some links.
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