Saturday, February 24, 2007

The 24 Thomistic Theses (Latin and English translation)


After our most Holy Father Pius X ordered in the Motu Proprio Doctoris Angelici, on June 29, 1914, that in all schools of philosophy the principles and main teachings of Thomas Aquinas be held, some teachers from various institutions proposed some theses for this Sacred Congregation to examine, which theses they had been accustomed to teach and defend as being those of the Holy Teacher [St.Thomas], especially in metaphysics.

This Sacred Congregation, having duly examined the aforementioned theses and having presented them to the Holy Father, by the mandate of His Holiness, declares that they clearly contain the principles and more important thoughts of the holy Doctor [St. Thomas].

Prehispanic Raised Field Agriculture

"The research includes agricultural experimentation based on the now-abandoned technology defined from archaeological research. Between 1990 and 1994, we developed an "applied archaeology" program whereby indigenous communities participated in the raised field experiments. Since 1995, we have focused our investigations on a vast complex of pre-Columbian earthworks in the Baures, the region along the border between Bolivia and Brazil. [...] During the 1980s, I investigated prehispanic raised field agriculture in the Lake Titicaca Basin of Peru."

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Quotable Rudy - some liberal quotes by Rudy Giuliani

POV-Ray: Newsgroups: povray.binaries.images: Reflections on Refractions (190K)

"They're all done in a numbered series that usually starts out with a simple glass sphere, light, and reflective plane. Then I basically just keep fiddling around with the variables (IOR, light color, angle and color of plane, sometimes emission color, etc. etc. etc.) until one finally pops out as interesting."

Some source code:
POV-Ray: Newsgroups: povray.binaries.scene-files: Reflections on Refractions

POV-Ray: Newsgroups: povray.binaries.images: blended cells - a blurry version of the cells pattern

"Basically what I'm doing is trilinear blending between the same cells pattern, offset by 1 square in each direction. Since the blend region is no bigger than 1 square (actually I mean one cube, i.e. one cell) we just need to overlay 8 copies of the cell pattern offset by <0,0,0> <0,0,1>, <0,1,1>, etc... so we have all 8 possible values available for tri-linear blending..."

Source code:
POV-Ray: Newsgroups: povray.binaries.scene-files: blended cells

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NASA's Spitzer telescope used to study atmospheres of exoplanets


NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured for the first time enough light from planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to identify signatures of molecules in their atmospheres.

Spitzer, a space-based infrared telescope, obtained the detailed data, called spectra, for two different gas exoplanets. Called HD 209458b and HD 189733b, these so-called "hot Jupiters" are, like Jupiter, made of gas, but orbit much closer to their suns.

The data indicate the two planets are drier and cloudier than predicted. Theorists thought hot Jupiters would have lots of water in their atmospheres, but surprisingly none was found around HD 209458b and HD 189733b. According to astronomers, the water might be present but buried under a thick blanket of high, waterless clouds.

Those clouds might be filled with dust. One of the planets, HD 209458b, showed hints of tiny sand grains, called silicates, in its atmosphere. This could mean the planet's skies are filled with high, dusty clouds unlike anything seen around planets in our own solar system.

Spitzer was able to tease out spectra from the feeble light of the two planets through what is known as the "secondary eclipse" technique. In this method a so-called transiting planet is monitored as it circles behind its star, temporarily disappearing from our Earthly point of view. By measuring the dip in infrared light that occurs when the planet disappears, Spitzer can learn how much light is coming solely from the planet. The technique will work only in infrared wavelengths, where the planet is brighter than in visible wavelengths and stands out better next to the overwhelming glare of its star.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Top Programs Reports - weekly Canadian TV ratings: top 30 shows in various markets

TV, Eh? What's Up in Canadian TV - TV business-related news

Open Subtitles - subtitles or closed captions for TV shows and movies

Some old units of measurement:

12 inches in 1 foot (foot length)
9 inches in 1 span (hand span)
2 spans in 1 cubit (forearm length)
3 feet in 1 yard
3 feet in 2 cubits
2 cubits in 1 yard
2 yards in 1 fathom (outstretched arms)
6 feet in 1 fathom
11 cubits in 1 rod

4 rods in 1 chain
100 links in 1 chain

10 chains in 1 furlong
40 rods in 1 furlong
8 furlongs in 1 mile

3 nautical miles in 1 league

Elitist special-interest groups press Congress to curb "grassrootslobbying," as NRLC fights back

A coalition of special-interest groups, funded in large part by liberal foundations, is working with the new Democratic leadership in Congress to enact laws that would restrict what they call "grassroots lobbying" – by which they mean organized efforts to motivate members of the public to communicate with their congressional representatives about pending legislation.

Pro-life and pro-family leaders warn that under the proposed new laws, many genuine grassroots organizations – including state-level pro-life and pro-family organizations – would be saddled with burdensome new registration, record keeping, and reporting requirements.

NRLC [National Right to Life] and many other grassroots organizations are fighting the proposals. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is also urging Congress to reject such regulations as infringements on rights protected by the First Amendment.


New features in Blender 2.43

Sculpt Modeling
Multi-res Mesh
Image Painting

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Science fiction, fantasy, and faith - lots of blog posts on the subject