Saturday, February 11, 2006

Latin Mottoes from 16th-century sources

A good one:
"Malo mori quam foedari."
(I prefer to die than to be dishonoured; i.e. death before dishonor)

FotoSearch - search over 700,000 images from over 50 stock photography, illustration, and video footage publishers at one website.

Baroque Stock Images and Photos - the results of a search

The NEW Megalith Map from the Megalithic Portal

The world's first multi-country map of megalithic and other prehistoric sites. Covers the whole of Europe. Other areas are under construction.

The Megalithic Temples of Malta - includes maps and Quicktime panoramas

Friday, February 10, 2006

Is Dan Brown a Crypto-Catholic? - on the idea that "the Da Vinci Code [is] a work of Catholic propaganda – [an] allegorical account of an post-Protestant New Englander's conversion to continental Roman Catholicism."

Refracted Light - reviews of science fiction and fantasy novels from a Christian perspective (Rose is a Catholic and Sasha is a Presbyterian)

SCORE - "Counselors to America's Small Business"

Get free, confidential business advice from a business professional via email.

Epoch Times IT Technician Beaten in His Own Home - Chinese government thugs commit act of terror inside the U.S.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

PD Pro Digital Painter

PD Pro (or Project Dogwaffle Professional) is a high powered, versatile artist's tool for use in natural and digital media painting. Version 3.5 is now available, delivering on the promise of super high performance, real time tools for the film and media community, as well as artist of all kinds.

[demo available]

China Syndrome - a blog on China and the various Internet search engines

No P2? No Cineporter? Here's an Alternative... - The Digital Video Information Network

I finally have my HVX, but no 8gb P2 cards to go with it [...] I just happen to notice that (1) 8gb card is the same price as a new 17" Powerbook, and since the camera doesn't require any cards to send an HD signal out Firewire, that spawned my perfect alternate solution: Capture direct to FCP in the Powerbook.

After days of researching the best hardware options I decided to share my knowledge - here's my setup:

- 17" inch Powerbook w/2gb RAM (don't buy RAM from Apple - see my note about RAM later in this post)
- OWC Mercury Elite Pro Aluminum 500gb FW800 16MB cache external (2 drives in a RAID enclosure)
- (1) 15ft 4 to 6 pin FW400 cable w/Ferrite Cores (see note on Cores later in this post)
- (1) FW400 Repeater
- (1) 15ft 6 to 6 pin FW400 cable w/Ferrite Cores
- LaCie FW800 PCMCIA card
- Xantrex Micro Inverter 400 (for unlimited power for the Powerbook, external drive and camera on location)

Here' the logic for this setup:


Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC)

The IMFC is focused on social policy research that affects marriage and family. Families are the foundation of society, but too often governments overlook the impact public policy has on family life. At the IMFC, we want to bring about change so that family is front and centre when public policy is being made.

Through a variety of research projects, publications, and events the IMFC will be giving family research and policy a seat at the table.

The spiritual treasures of Montreal - on various Montreal basilicas, shrines, etc.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hands-on HVX -A first-look review of the Panasonic HVX200, video’s latest quantum leap.

Getting the right image ?

[See posts 3-7]:

DVX100a Basic Primer

Here are the steps we will cover in the next several posts:

1. Camera baseline.
2. Selecting the scene file setting.
3. Adjusting the exposure.
4. Setting the White Balance.

The Ultimate Nurnie Collection: Volume 1 - someone is selling models of greebles (for 3D modelling)

Icons of the Celestial Kingdom - Christian Scrolls from Pre-Revolutionary China from the collection of the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History

On the Danish cartoon situation


There are many things that need to be said about the Muslim reaction to those cartoons in the Danish newspaper, and yesterday in this space Joseph Bottum said some of them very well. They need to be said because the most frontal challenge imaginable has been put to the West.

The challenge is simply this: A very large sector of the Islamic world is now demanding that the West live by Islamic rules.

The conflagration is not, as many American and European editorialists are opining, about sensitivity to the religious feelings of others.

No, the teaching of Islam is that it is blasphemy to visually depict Muhammed, whether favorably or unfavorably, but especially unfavorably. It is also impermissible to criticize the teachings of the Qur’an and the hadith. These and many other prohibitions are part of the sharia law that militant Islamists are intent upon imposing upon Islam and, insofar as they are able, on the world.

The current explosion of violent protest is to be understood as a demand that Denmark, and the West more generally, subject itself to Islamic rules about what can and cannot be published.

Of course, it would be much easier to resist Muslim demands if Europe in particular had a positive identity to which it could appeal. In response to those offended by the exercise of freedom, Europe could then say, "Ah yes, we understand your point of view, and you may very well be right about the requirements of Islam. But, you see, we are Christian, not Muslim, countries, and, meaning no offense, your rules don’t apply here."

On using Sibelius to write music for video:

Video & playback in Sibelius 4

You can simply add any video file to a score; Sibelius displays the video in a window, and plays it back in sync with the music. In fact, the video and score are always kept in sync, whether you're writing music, playing back, fast-forwarding or rewinding.

There are various new improvements to timecode in the score. And you can now add ‘hit points’ in the score to mark important visual events; these make it easy to write music to fit the action. Hit points automatically move when you alter metronome marks, so you can tweak the tempo to make a hit point fall exactly on a beat.

Flash video


"A Steampunk resource for anyone with an interest in adventure in the Victorian Age."


Steampunk is "a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power. [...] I guess I'm playing a bit more fast and loose than this definition. Within the scope of what I consider Steampunk I'd lump in alternative histories; Scientific romances; Anything which uses anachronistic technologies;  Swashbuckling adventure and several other works that border upon this genre."

The Drones Role Play Game - based on some of the works of P.G. Wodehouse ("Jeeves and Wooster")

On extension cables for the ReelStream Andromeda

"We recently tested the BAFO Active USB2.0 16ft extension cables. It seems that two of these cables end-to-end work fine with Andromeda, so you can have something like a 38ft cable in between the computer and camera."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Confutation of Tyndale's Answer by Saint Thomas More

It begins thus:

"Our lorde sende vs nowe some yeres as plentuouse of good corne, as we haue hadde some yeres of late plentuouse of euyll bokes. For they haue growen so faste and sprongen vppe so thykke, full of pestylent errours and pernyciouse heresyes, that they haue enfected and kylled I fere me mo sely symple soules, then the famyne of the dere yeres haue destroyed bodyes."

"Superiority lies with him who is reared in the severest school."

- Archidamus, King of Sparta, in The Peloponnesian War

Monday, February 06, 2006

GetHuman cheats - how to get a human being on the phone when calling the 800 numbers of various companies


"Wikicities offers you free MediaWiki hosting for a community to build a free content wiki-based website. Anyone can request a Wikicity, subject to the terms of use and Wikicity creation policy."

Oxford Dictionary of National Bibliography: Lives of the Week - articles from "an illustrated collection of more than 50,000 specially written biographies of the men and women from around the world who shaped all aspects of Britain's past."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Homeworld Access

Homeworld Access will provide basic and advanced information as to all the Homeworld-series games. On this site, we will give You all information we can to enhance Your Homeworld experience.

Homeworld 2 Lightwave Conversions - Homeworld 2 ship models rendered with nice lighting and radiosity

Paperstarships discussion forum - on modelling starships out of cardboard

Paper Starships - photos and models

Family law today appears to be embracing a big Law and the Marriage Crisis in North America (PDF)

Conclusion of the executive summary:

Family law today appears to be embracing a big new idea. The idea is that marriage is only a close personal relationship between adults, and no longer a pro-child social institution. This idea is fundamentally flawed. It will hurt children and weaken our civil society. For this reason, there is an urgent need for those outside the legal discipline to understand and critique the new understandings of marriage and family life that are driving current legal trends. Marriage and family are too important as institutions, affecting too many people, for basic decisions about their legal underpinnings to remain the province of legal experts alone.

If the proposed changes are put in place, there are likely to be important negative impacts on the lives of everyday people. A "close relationships" culture fails to acknowledge fundamental facets of human life: the fact of sexual difference; the enormous tide of heterosexual desire in human life; the procreativity of male-female bonding; the unique social ecology of parenting which offers children bonds with their biological parents; and the rich genealogical nature of family ties and the web of intergenerational supports for family members that they provide.

These core dimensions of conjugal life are not small issues. Yet at this crucial moment for marriage and parenthood in North America, there is no serious intellectual platform from which to launch a meaningful discussion about these elemental features of human existence. This report on the state of family law seeks to open that debate.

Children: Merely an Afterthought

Tradition and the bedrock social institution

Saving our children from the experimental family

From Marriage to Mayhem


In general, as a direct result of clearing the ground for same-sex marriage, the notion of marriage has become so tenuous that it is rapidly vaporizing into a misty abstraction. The situation is not more encouraging in Canada than it is in the United States.

In 1997 the Canadian Parliament established the Law Commission of Canada to serve both Parliament and the Justice Ministry as an advisory board on legal reform. In December of 2001, the commission submitted a report to Parliament concerning marriage that it entitled, “Beyond Conjugality.”

The Report, which is not so much concerned about “marriage” as it is about what it calls “close adult relationships,” makes three recommendations. The first directs judges to consider whether the individuals are “functionally interdependent,” regardless of their marital status. Needless to say, this view, that excludes any gender requirement, would include a mother who is functionally interdependent with her son or daughter. The second recommendation, which excludes monogamy, directs individuals to register their personal relationships with the government. The authors of “Beyond Conjugality” indicate that they see no reason to limit registered partnerships to two people. The final recommendation, which excludes permanence, is the legalization of same-sex marriage. This recommendation drew the most attention when it was released. Yet, the extension of marriage to same-sex individuals is really aimed at abolishing marriage altogether. The authors note that they do not believe that the public is quite ready to accept such a step.

In contrast with the traditional Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage, which is highly specific and well defined, “Beyond Conjugality” suggests alliances that are so vague and amorphous that virtually any combination of “close,” “supportive,” and “functionally interdependent” people can qualify to be “married” (or whatever the new term might be) in this novel and broad sense.


It is a small wonder, given these overbroad notions of marriage in which any number of any types can play, that many influential people - from radical reformist Martha Fineman (The Neutered Mother, the Sexual Family, and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies) to mainstream journalist Michael Kinsley - are calling for the abolition of marriage as a legal category. The balloon expands until it bursts. Marriage without limit is marriage without meaning. Marriage for everyone is marriage for no one.

The recent ultra-liberal attempts to extend marriage to virtually everyone who wants it (and in the manner they want it) logically leads to the end of marriage as a culturally recognized relationship. Stanley Kurtz makes the point in the Weekly Standard (Aug. 2003) that “Beyond Gay Marriage” is polygamy, “polyamory” groupings and finally, “no marriage at all.” In the meantime, the lunatic attempts on the part of lawyers and politicians to redefine marriage at least make it clear what marriage is not. Marriage is not a menu for sexual life-styles, a vehicle for the delivery of government benefits, a way of gaining self-esteem, a political advantage for oppressed special interest groups, an artifact of law, a sociological experiment, or a mechanism for securing social respectability.

Real marriage is and always will be a two-in-one-flesh union between a man and a woman who are committed to each other in love and for life, and who are open to the blessing of children whom they are prepared to love and educate to the best of their abilities. Least of all is marriage a self-absorbed life-style that neglects the needs of children.

Church Voices Concern Over Fate of the Family; Pope and Prelates Warn of Threats to Foundation of Society

The future well-being of society depends on strengthening family life. This is a constant message in many of the Pope's recent speeches. On Dec. 1, in a speech to the newly arrived ambassador of St. Lucia to the Holy See, Benedict XVI stated that "the sacred institution of marriage is vital to the well-being of every nation."

He warned that "any hope for renewal of society which does not adhere to God's plan for matrimony and the family is destined to founder, for it is there that the God-given dignity of every person is first realized and the self-esteem necessary for mature adult relationships is first experienced and nurtured."

In the face of current challenges to marriage, both civic and religious authorities need to work together to uphold this vital institution, the Pope insisted.

In his speech to another new ambassador, from France, on Dec. 19, the Pontiff called for "special attention on the institutions of marriage and the family." These institutions are, he said, "the basis of social life."

The Holy Father had earlier referred to the recent riots by young people in France. Marriage and the family, he said, "have an irreplaceable role in the education of the young, combining authority and emotional support, imparting to all young people the values that are indispensable to their personal development and sense of the common good, and the necessary reference points for social life."

The Pope has also raised the issue of family life in a number of meetings with bishops. On Nov. 18 he told visiting bishops from the Czech Republic that they had done well to make family life one of their pastoral priorities. The family is a basic building block of society, and plays a vital role in handing on the Christian faith, the Pontiff noted.

On Dec. 3 he spoke to the presidents of Latin American episcopal commissions for family and life. Marriage and the family, noted Benedict XVI, are threatened both by the phenomenon of secularization and the pressure of unjust laws that fail to recognize their fundamental rights. As a result, "Today, it is necessary to proclaim with renewed enthusiasm the Gospel of the family," he said.

The Pope has also spoken about family life to local Italian groups. On Dec. 30, the day when the Church celebrated the feast of the Holy Family, he visited the Vatican's St. Martha's dispensary.

In his speech to those working there, Benedict XVI thanked them for their devotion in helping children and their parents. The mission of being parents, he noted, often receives little help from modern society.

Then, in a Jan. 12 encounter with government officials from Rome and the surrounding Lazio region, he noted that in recent years the family has been a priority for the local diocese.

Benedict XVI explained that in insisting on support for the family the Church is not imposing Catholic doctrine or morality on a secular society. Rather, it is a question of "elementary truths that concern our common humanity." For government officials to respect these truths is perfectly legitimate since these realities are "essential for the good of the person and of society," the Pope said.

He further contended that local government can play an important role in supporting young couples, particularly regarding matters such as the cost of housing, and the availability of nurseries and schools.

And, in a clear reference to efforts to claim legal status for de facto couples and same-sex unions, the Holy Father insisted: "It is a serious error to obscure the value and roles of the legitimate family founded on marriage by attributing legal recognition to other improper forms of union for which there is really no effective social need."

Bishops in other countries are also speaking out to defend the family. On Dec. 30 the subcommission on family and life of the Spanish episcopal conference issued a message on the theme of transmitting the faith to children.

The document also spoke of the shadows cast on family life due to the "culpable omission" of support from the state for families in matters such as housing and education. The bishops also renewed their criticism of the Socialist government's law giving recognition to same-sex unions, as well as easing rules to make divorce easier.

And in Scotland, on Jan. 25 the Catholic Media Office released the text of pastoral letter on the family, written by Archbishop Mario Conti, on behalf of the bishops. "Nothing is more fundamental to the common good than the stability of family life," the letter stated. But this is being ignored by civil leaders and, hence, there exists "a society in moral decline, a civilization in cultural decay."

Instead of supporting married couples and family life, the government is extending benefits "to partnerships which are of their nature incapable of providing tomorrow's citizens whose values will determine our society," Archbishop Conti lamented.

The law is creating "a fiction of marriage" by permitting the registration of civil unions, his letter noted. We should not exclude people from society based on their sexual orientation, the letter said. But neither should we extend to same-sex unions "an equivalence in law and public esteem to that of conjugal love," it added.

"This is a time when marriage and the family are in crisis with many of our social ills traceable to this cause," Archbishop Conti noted. "Therefore we must be at the forefront of promoting family life."

In a New Year's Day homily preached in St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien also spoke out on family issues. According to a press release from his office, the cardinal's comments followed the introduction of legislation to allow same sex civil partnerships and the vote by the Scottish Parliament to dramatically reduce the waiting periods for divorce.

The family is "the basic social unit, which needs to be recognized protected and promoted as the most vital cell of society," the cardinal commented. Unfortunately this truth is being obscured today, he said. "It is not without reason that human societies throughout history and across cultures have flourished only when they have built their human relationships on the rock of marriage." A somber warning that the Church hopes governments heed.

Polish Bishops: Defense of Marriage Isn't "Homophobia"; Reject Europarliament Resolution

The bishops of Poland issued a statement against the European Parliament resolution that labels as "homophobic" countries that do not recognize same-sex unions.

The nonbinding resolution, passed Jan. 18, violates the autonomy of states and puts at risk the freedom of conscience of the citizenry, say the bishops of Poland at the end of the conference's plenary assembly.

The resolution, the bishops say in their statement, published Tuesday, "rightly rejects the attitudes of discrimination, ridicule and violence against persons with homosexual orientation."

"Concurrently, however, through an urge directed to the governments of member states to revise their legislation concerning same-sex couples, it infringes upon norms of social life in Europe," the statement says.

"By making use of the topic of discrimination of persons with homosexual orientation, this resolution indirectly promotes an idea of equal treatment of a relationship of man and woman and of homosexual relationships," the bishops say.

The bishops continue: "This way, it distorts the truth rooted in the nature of the person who was created as man and as woman. Consequently, the adopted resolution is a serious threat to marital and family life and to the entire order of social life in Europe.

"We join in with other European episcopates and Christian communities and with all people of good will who share the same anthropological truth as we do.

"This way, we express our objection to an attempt undermining not only the very foundations of the proper functioning of the EU but also human life itself."

The bishops call "on the European Parliament to abstain from activities which bear the stamp of dictatorship of relativism, putting at risk the freedom of conscience of the citizens of EU member states."