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About email from banks where you have no account …

Wait until the bank with whom you do no business sends you confidential data, and that bank has the court temporarily suspend your (Business? Church?) email account.

For that decision, U.S. District Court Judge James Ware has won Jackass of the Week from Daring Fireball and a variety of somewhat more explicit characterizations at Slashdot.

Wyoming-based Rocky Mountain Bank started it all by complying with a request to send loan documents to a customer, and complied by sending the too much data to the wrong address. Rather than merely send loan documents, the employee also sent “a file containing confidential information for 1,325 other customers.”

Then, according to The Register:

After a failed attempt to recall the email, the employee sent a second note to that wrong address, requesting that the confidential email be deleted before it was opened. There was no response, so the bank contacted Google to determine what could be done to ensure that the confidential info remained confidential. According to the court papers, Google would not provide information on the account unless it received a subpoena or “other appropriate legal process.”

So the bank sued.

A truly bizarre series of events, since only a digital security nitwit would do anything with email purporting to be from a bank with which he does not do business, other than delete it. Because such emails are typically both scams and vehicles for malware.

But you can protect yourself (Business? Church?) from this sort of thing, can you not? Without exposing yourself to both endless distraction and malware?

September 27, 2009 Posted by | WWW | Comments Off on About email from banks where you have no account …

Nun run

Torres (right) and friend Kate (left)

Alicia Torres is running to pay off “more than $90,000 in student loans so she can enter religious life,” writes Joyce Duriga.

She’s a lifelong Catholic who wants to be a nun.

So Torres runs road races to attract donations, since she must be debt free to take up her vocation, blogging her effort at The Nun Run

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Nun run

‘Da Vinci Code’ author Dan Brown’s 20 worst sentences

Just three, explained, from Tom Chivers list:

20. Angels and Demons, chapter 1: Although not overly handsome in a classical sense, the forty-year-old Langdon had what his female colleagues referred to as an ‘erudite’ appeal — wisp of gray in his thick brown hair, probing blue eyes, an arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athlete.

They say the first rule of fiction is “show, don’t tell”. This fails that rule.

19. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 83: “The Knights Templar were warriors,” Teabing reminded, the sound of his aluminum crutches echoing in this reverberant space.

“Remind” is a transitive verb – you need to remind someone of something. You can’t just remind. And if the crutches echo, we know the space is reverberant.

18. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: He could taste the familiar tang of museum air – an arid, deionized essence that carried a faint hint of carbon – the product of industrial, coal-filter dehumidifiers that ran around the clock to counteract the corrosive carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors.

Ah, that familiar tang of deionised essence.

Read the rest here at The London Telegraph.

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, Cultural | Comments Off on ‘Da Vinci Code’ author Dan Brown’s 20 worst sentences

Heavenly beauty

An image of the Butterfly Nebula from the upgraded Hubble Space Telescope:

What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour — fast enough to travel from Earth to the moon in 24 minutes!

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Science | | Comments Off on Heavenly beauty

Uh-oh! What do we do now, Dr. Dobson?

Children who are spanked may as a result have lower IQs.

Not what Dr. James Dobson promised us in Dare to Discipline. He wrote that corporal punishment was a part of saving us, our society and our children from the unfortunate results “unstructured permissiveness we saw in the mid-twentieth century.”

Yet typically conservative Time reported yesterday:

On Friday, a sociologist from the University of New Hampshire, Murray Straus, presented a paper at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, in San Diego, suggesting that corporal punishment does leave a long-lasting mark — in the form of lower IQ. Straus, who is 83 and has been studying corporal punishment since 1969, found that kids who were physically punished had up to a five-point lower IQ score than kids who weren’t — the more children were spanked, the lower their IQ — and that the effect could be seen not only in individual children, but across entire nations. Among 32 countries Straus studied, in those where spanking was accepted, the average IQ of the survey population was lower than in nations where spanking was rare, the researcher says.

Children who are spanked are likely to as a result have lower IQs?

That’s not what Dr. James Dobson promised us in Dare to Discipline. He wrote that corporal punishment was a part of saving us, our society and our children from the unfortunate results “unstructured permissiveness we saw in the mid-twentieth century.”

Historically conservative Time reported yesterday:

On Friday, a sociologist from the University of New Hampshire, Murray Straus, presented a paper at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, in San Diego, suggesting that corporal punishment does leave a long-lasting mark — in the form of lower IQ. Straus, who is 83 and has been studying corporal punishment since 1969, found that kids who were physically punished had up to a five-point lower IQ score than kids who weren’t — the more children were spanked, the lower their IQ — and that the effect could be seen not only in individual children, but across entire nations. Among 32 countries Straus studied, in those where spanking was accepted, the average IQ of the survey population was lower than in nations where spanking was rare, the researcher says.

NBC’s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman summarized the issues well for MSNBC.

Straus’ conclusions are inescapable: “… across entire nations. Among 32 countries … .”

That does turn Dobson on his head. Although the issue is complex, the effect seems to transcend socio-economic groupings. Eloquent oversimplification at length was always Dobson’s sin, one which sold the book that was the true foundation of his media/political empire whose operation is detailed by Dan Gilgoff in his book, The Jesus Machine. There is simply more data now that Dobson’s oversimplification of childrearing issues was and is exactly that.

The American Academy of Pediatrics didn’t succumb to oversimplification in either direction in 1998 when it adopted a policy on discipline which reads in part:

When advising families about discipline strategies, pediatricians should use a comprehensive approach that includes consideration of the parent-child relationship, reinforcement of desired behaviors, and consequences for negative behaviors. Corporal punishment is of limited effectiveness and has potentially deleterious side effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents be encouraged and assisted in the development of methods other than spanking for managing undesired behavior.

Unless we wish to take the risk — which with each passing year of scientific research looks more like a certainty — of rearing children who are discernibly less intelligent than they might have been, we will dare to discipline without violence.

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Health, torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Refusing to equate religious fervor with terrorism

Paul Moses writes:

The New York Times carried a profile today of Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old man suspected of a terrorism conspiracy. I admire the way Michael Wilson wrote the piece because it reflects a humility often missing in news coverage: Although the piece is well-reported, it makes clear that much about Zazi is not known, and that he has not been proven guilty of the charges against him. … The article explores the way Islam played a role in Zazi’s life, but avoids the trap of equating religious fervor with terrorism … .

Read the entire blog at dotCommonweal.

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | Comments Off on Refusing to equate religious fervor with terrorism

Without linking to or naming a single Baptist blog

Douglas Baker of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger has penned a blog On Baptists and Blogging without linking to a single Baptist blog and without naming a single Baptist blog, although in a paragraph about ChurchRelevance’s top 100 church blogs he does allude to some Baptist bloggers by name.

Whew! What a relief.

Because, despite his headline, the primary named focus of Baker’s writing is on Joshua Micah Marshall’s decidedly secular Talking Points Memo.

After an eerie exercise in reading Marshall’s mind, Baker incorrectly describes Marshall as a “a junior editor at The American Prospect” while writing about the period during which Marshall was Washington editor. That was after Marshall served as associate editor. Not “a junior editor” in either case.

Having both lost track of the facts and demonstrated a failure to grasp the hyperlinked nature of blogs (by failing to do any linking himself), Baker proceeds to warn us, it seems, that blogs are somehow innately deceptive:

The challenge for the Christian blogger is to both expose and edify in a manner that obeys Jesus’ process of log and speck (Matt. 7:5). Far too often blogging can be both anonymous and autonomous, tricking the writer into thinking that what they write and how they respond represents true community and reality. The real test for great writing is not its spontaneity or immediacy. Rather it is the ability to write in a manner consistent with Christian doctrine and communicated in a manner that seeks to be salt and light in the midst of a very dark world. With this as the goal, there is hope that blogging might truly be used to the glory of God.

Speaking of deceptions, that paragraph is one.

It makes unproven, undocumented, unlinked and otherwise unillustrated assertions about blogs, effectively finding some unmeasured group of blogs guilty of “tricking” someone. It then proceeds immediately to reach a vague yet effectively irrebuttable conclusion about what these possibly nonexistent blogs should do.

Okey-dokey.

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Without linking to or naming a single Baptist blog