Friday, September 28, 2007

Catholics prolonging life

More on whether "Catholics are enjoined to pursue all means to prolong life":

The Time article sets up the case for John Paul II’s alleged hypocrisy with this statement: “Catholics are enjoined to pursue all means to prolong life.”

This is false. It’s good for the story, but it’s not true. Time magazine will never find such a pronouncement in any official teaching of the Catholic Church. On the contrary. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, commissioned and approved by Pope John Paul II, clarifies that our moral obligation to preserve life in its last stages does not include applying extraordinary or disproportional means:

Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. (#2278)

Father Jonathan Morris via

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gateway One vs. iMac

Gateway is releasing an all-in-one PC called "One".

In its official press release Thursday, Gateway said it plans ship the One series in late October with two retail models and a single online-only version. Pricing for the retail line is slated to start at $1,300 for a model that includes a 1.5GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive, and Intel X3100 graphics. A high-end model ($1800) will boost the processor speed to 2GHz, memory to 3GB, hard disk space to 500GB, and add a Mobility Radeon HD 2600 dedicated video card.

The online model ($1,500) sits in between the two store models with the same hardware as the base PC save for a 400GB hard drive and Radeon HD 2600 chipset. (AppleInsider)

Compare this to the current iMac:

Apple's new aluminum iMac line starts at $1200 for a 20-inch model with a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB of memory, 250GB hard drive, 8x double-layer SuperDrive, and ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128MB memory. For the same $1500 as Gateway's online One model, Apple also offers an iMac with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 320GB hard drive, and ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory.

Jumping up to the $1800 price point, Apple buyers get an addition 5-inch of screen real-estate (24-inchs) compared to Gateway's high-end One model, which remains at just 19-inches.

The Gateways come with more base RAM and hard disk space.

The iMacs come with 20-33% faster CPU, dedicated graphics card even on the low-end, and a bigger screen.

And people still say Macs are more expensive than PCs?


And the Gateways are easy to open(*) and have wireless keyboard & mouse.

It's not exact comparison. But the Gateways are not a better deal based on components alone. It depends on what pieces you value more and what would be more easy to upgrade if necessary.


(*) My iMac G5 is also easy to open. Apple designed them to let users replace components (even the monitor). But subsequent iMacs are harder to work with, I hear.

Big business "conservatism"

Rod writes:

It's a fairly common belief among the left, I find, that big business is conservative. It's a total myth -- if by "conservative" you're talking about moral and cultural issues. A reader of Andrew Sullivan's blog writes in to talk about how big business in Indiana got behind a successful move to defeat a state gay marriage ban. This is not surprising in the least. Corporations are quite progressive, in general, on issues related to race, ethnicity, gender and homosexuality. They conclude that doing so is good for business, which is ultimately their bottom line.

I guess the only thing I'd say differently is that corporations are now quite progressive. Since their interest is the bottom line, it shouldn't be surprising that it used to help the bottom line to be culturally conservative. But it is silly to continue to label them so.

Reminds me how it's also silly to call the Republican party "pro-family".

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

OpenOffice 2.3

OK, here's something cool included in the latest OpenOffice release (2.3): Extentions (aka "plug-ins").

Some cool sounding ones:

This release does work on the Mac, but only the ugly X11 version. If you want something more usable, wait for NeoOffice or the official Aqua port to catch up.

VW Dieselution

Volkswagen of America, Inc. is launching the Dieselution Tour, a mobile marketing exhibit, to educate the media and the public on advances in clean diesel technology and alternative fuels.


The Dieselution Tour will also feature the 2009 Jetta TDI, Volkswagen’s new, 50-state clean diesel offering. The vehicle is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in spring of 2008. Also on display, a 3.0-liter V6 TDI Touareg, the Polo Blue Motion and the oldest Volkswagen diesel in America, a 1977 Rabbit. (VW Vortex)

What a bunch of teases. They won't sell the Polo in the US but they'll display it? Pffft.


Oh, since everyone knows I'm into carbon offsets, I suppose I should include this.

Signifying Volkswagen’s environmental concern, the Dieselution Tour will be certified as CarbonFree by Volkswagen and recently announced a partnership to offset one year of carbon emission from each new Volkswagen sold in the U.S. from September, 2007 through January 2, 2008. In return, Volkswagen is working with to reforest land in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV) in northern Louisiana, a wetland ecosystem that had been largely converted to farmland.

Ah well. I guess, whatever one thinks about purchasing carbon offsets, reforesting land is not a bad thing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MS Office 2008 for Mac pricing

Perhaps the most interesting edition is the Home and Student version, which includes all the apps of the standard edition, but lacks the ability to connect to Exchange Servers, as well as some bundled Automator actions. The Home and Student edition will retail for the (relative) bargain price of $150, which leads to the inevitable question — does Microsoft really think Exchange Server access is worth $250? (Wired Compiler)

That's what I'd like to know. To be honest, Entourage with Exchange Server access is the biggest draw for me. I don't need the other "office" functionality -- I have iWork and NeoOffice. But I also work at a place that uses Exchange Server. If I want my Mac fully integrated (and not have to use Parallels to do the Exchange thing), I need Entourage. But the only way for me to get it is to buy Office for $150. No, wait -- $400. It was a tough sell at the previous price; it's impossible now.

Friday, September 21, 2007

John Paul II Euthanized?

In an article about speculation that Pope John Paul II was euthanized, Jeff Israely says, "Catholics are enjoined to pursue all means to prolong life."

Surely this is not true in all cases. I can think of a number of exceptions. Like when an abortion is required to save the life of the mother. Or when treatment requires embryonic stem cells or other unethical actions or research.

There are definitely points where a "pro-life" stance can be perverted into sin in the eyes of the Church. Like when a couple creates and destroys (or freezes) nine embryos in the hope of giving birth to one. In this case, a couple can "love" children too much. "Love" that is willing to kill nine children is something entirely different. It is selfishness and a rebellion against God's will.

"Life" here on earth is not the end-all be-all. The point is not to "pursue all means to prolong life" or have that big family -- it is to involve God in the decision. Yes, that means not ending a life where it can continue and allowing children to join the family. But at some stage it also means acknowledging that God may have something in mind different from what you assumed. He may not want that couple to have children. He may calling that person home and we should let them go.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Prayers for atheists

“There are even those in my community who come to Shabbat worship each week who don’t believe in God,” said Rabbi Frishman, who leads the Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes, N.J. “How do we help them resonate with the language of prayer, which is very God-centric and evokes a personal God, a God that talks to you in a sense?"

On the new new Reform Jewish prayer book, “Mishkan T’filah".