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Incorruptibility

Incorruptibility

Let us drive another nail in the tired and completely false Hollywood/pop culture trope of science vs religion shall we? Because, in case one forgets, a huge number of the world’s greatest scientists, mathematicians, and Nobel Prize winners were Christians that saw no conflict of science and religion but as two paths equally seeking truth. One path via the created world, and the other path via divine revelation of the human condition – and not in conflict but in harmony with each other.

Delayed Decomposition

“It’s definitely happening, and it’s definitely weird”. Scientists are increasingly agreeing something is going on, but in the centuries it has been happening, no science has come forth to explain it. Most recently, scientists have noted that after the death of some Tibetan Buddhist monks, their bodies remain in a meditating position without decaying for an extraordinary length of time, often as long as two or three weeks. A fascinating account of the phenomenon was written by Daniel Burke for the publication Tricycle.

The Thukdam Project of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds is now studying the phenomenon. For Buddhists, thukdam begins with a “clear light” meditation that allows the mind to gradually unspool, eventually dissipating into a state of universal consciousness no longer attached to the body. Only at that time is the body free to die. Neuroscientist Richard Davidson first encountered thukdam after his Tibetan monk friend Geshe Lhundub Sopa died and then saw him five days later: “There was absolutely no change. It was really quite remarkable.”

But this isn’t a new phenomenon, incorruptibility and long delays in decomposition of particularly holy individuals has been well known in the Christian world for centuries.

Faith and Science together – as they always have been.

As Fides Et Ratio and other Catholic documents point out, faith and science are two sides of the same coin of seeking truth. This isn’t just a Catholic idea, here’s a particularly interesting quote from Dalai Lama from the article:

What science finds to be nonexistent we should all accept as nonexistent, but what science merely does not find is a completely different matter. An example is consciousness itself. Although sentient beings, including humans, have experienced consciousness for centuries, we still do not know what consciousness actually is: its complete nature and how it functions.

Dalai Lama

Links:

Corpus Christi – A local film

Corpus Christi – A local film

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi, and what a perfect moment to mention an energetic young local lady from Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church near Seattle produced this short film Faith Prevails: The Miracle of Bolsena about the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena-Orvieto in 1263. She was inspired to make the film after she participated in a play about the event written by her local pastor. Over 1800 volunteer hours were logged from the 20+ individuals who participated as cast and crew.

The film follows the story of Fr. Peter of Prague, a priest doubtful of the Real Presence. After a pilgrimage to help his unbelief, he was celebrating Mass in the tiny Church of St. Christina when the consecrated Host began to bleed. It is said that this miracle, in conjunction with the visions of St. Juliana of Liège, caused Pope Urban IV to institute the Feast of Corpus Christi for the universal Catholic Church. The feast has been celebrated ever since and the corporal that held the host can still be seen on public display in the Duomo di Orvieto.

Playing music together – on the internet

Playing music together – on the internet

Covid lockdown has had some surprising side effects – especially to musicians. It turns out playing music or singing together on the internet is much, much harder than you think. In some situations, it is likely impossible to overcome the lag issues due to the basic laws of physics (unless we get quantum entanglement communication systems)

Turns out, JackTrip and Jamulus (free) has been able to solve some of these issues. I’m going to have to read more about it.

Beyond ECS for game design

Beyond ECS for game design

ECS (Entity-Component-System) has been the staple of game design since the 90’s. Unfortunately, it isn’t great in some ways – especially for the naïve implementations. While it sounds very object oriented to create objects for all the monsters, characters, rooms, and so forth – it turns out that the object classes usually become unmanageably huge, become overly complex when adding new functionality (duplicating functionality across types, start having multiple inheritance problems, etc), and often perform poorly once you get large numbers of assets.

Text roguelike games are great microcosms of game design. Because they don’t have fancy graphics – you can quickly learn good and bad patterns of game engine design.

Here Bob Nystrom, the author of Game Programming Patterns (free and worth checking out), describes some of the classic ECS issues he ran into when he built his roguelike game and how he used design patterns to solve some of them. Definitely worth the 20 minute listen as a good introduction to game engine issues.

These dreams are made for you

These dreams are made for you

Media Molecule’s latest title Dream is a creation platform that allows users to make virtual worlds/games and then sharing them with others.

It’s first year has seen some great creations – with a lot of content created by some amazing artists and game developers. With such a powerful creative engine/tool available for anyone and everyone to create amazing worlds and share them – you’d expect it to be a panacea for both developers, artists, and players.

In reality, however, it seems like there is a problem. While there is no shortage of amazing creators and amazing art, music, and playable creations, there seems to be a real shortage of players. This actually surprised me.

Are these issues new, part of larger issues, or exposing issues we’ve already had before? There are complaints about getting visibility to your creation above the noise – much like mobile app developers and indie musicians have had for years. Is continuing to lower the bar of entry, that enables anyone to create whatever they want, leading to oversaturation? Or is it an age-old problem that the vast majority of creative work isn’t actually compelling to the masses?

Give the linked article a look – it’s a great discussion on how the whole game industry might be going.

Mad Mex Gobblerito

Mad Mex Gobblerito

Mad Mex in Philadelphia has brought back a traditional favorite: the Gobblerito.

The popular combination of Thanksgiving dinner staples wrapped in a tortilla. The burrito is a Thanksgiving dinner wrapped in a tortilla including turkey, black bean mashed potatoes, stuffing and corn that’s drenched in gravy and served with a side of cranberry sauce.  

The Gobblerito has grown in popularity each year, said Big Burrito Restaurant Group president Bill Fuller.

I made one myself – and with a little Cholula hot sauce – it was AMAZING:

The Art of Code

The Art of Code

Dylan Beattie leads us through a really fun history of the ways programming has evolved and opened new avenues of exploration over the years: Conway’s game of Life, Mandelbrot set, Obfuscated code, and many more.

Would make a great first class for any programming major in school and invigorate students.

Check out more of NDC’s talks, courses, and conferences in the following links:
https://ndcconferences.com/
https://ndc-london.com/

High Altitude Penitentes

High Altitude Penitentes

Snow can get funny at high altitudes and on mountains. It can be powdery soft, squeeky and crunchy, wet and gummy, or even form strange shapes depending on pressure, humidity, temperature, and a host of other conditions. It’s one of the fascinating parts I love about climbing mountains.

In the high Atacama desert, Penitentes, or nieves penitentes (Spanish for “penitent-shaped snows”), are snow formations found at high altitudes. They take the form of elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice, closely spaced and pointing towards the general direction of the sun.

The name comes from the resemblance of a field of penitentes to a crowd of kneeling people doing penance. The formation evokes the tall, pointed habits and hoods worn by brothers of religious orders in the Processions of Penance during Spanish Holy Week. In particular the brothers’ hats are tall, narrow, and white, with a pointed top.

These spires of snow and ice grow over all glaciated and snow-covered areas in the dry andes above 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).They range in length from a few centimetres to over 5 metres (16 ft).

Penitentes up to 15 metres (49 ft) high are suggested to be present in the tropics zone on Europa, a satellite of Jupiter. According to a recent study, NASA’s New Horizons has discovered penitentes on Pluto, in a region informally named Tartarus Dorsa