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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day. Let's celebrate with links.

* SEK considers Infinite Summer's weird morbidity (yes, it is weird), as well as the murky fluidity that constitutes literary "generations." Despite the many other projects that already threaten to consume July I've decided to halfheartedly participate in this, and may even post about once I've caught up to where I'm supposed to already be in the book.

* "Pseudo-Liveblogging Tenure Denial": just reading the headline is enough to fill me with dread.

* Richard Dawkins helps fund the world's least-fun summer camp.

* Following up on my post about Ricci and originalism from earlier in the week, in which as usual the comments are better than the post, here's Chuck Todd on MSNBC calling out the judicial activism to a speechless Joe Scarborough.

* Wal-Mart on the side of the angels? The monolith has endorsed an employer mandate in health care.

* Video games as murder simulators? The same claim can be made about just about any immersive media experience (and has been), with the existence of negative effects always taken as obvious but never actually demonstrated. (via /.)

* I have only vague memories of the original Alien Nation, though it's been in my Netflix queue for a while—so I'm glad to see rumors of a sequel series helmed by Angel's Tim Minear. More at Sci-Fi Wire.

* Sainthood in America: the Archdiocese of Baltimore may soon recommend a local 19th-century priest to the Vatican for canonization. I found it an interesting look at the balancing act that must now be played when looking for miracles in an age of science:

"Something worked very well," said Dr. Larry Fitzpatrick, chief of surgery at Mercy Medical Center, who will serve as medical expert on the archiocesan committee.

Preparing for his committee role, Fitzpatrick spoke to specialists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

"They've all got a few stories like this," he said. "Is this woman really any different from these, what I would call 'statistically improbable' cases? The outcome is very unusual, but it's not the only one."

Fitzpatrick said his role on the panel is to be the scientist, to "be the Doubting Thomas," but as a Catholic, he says, he must entertain the possibility of a supernatural cause.
What method could one possibly use to divide what is merely "statistically improbable" from what is "genuinely miraculous"?