Links from the last week, May 29, 2018

More of a random collection this week of stuff I found interesting.

1. History of the negation “ne… pas”

Quick history of how the modern French language came to use “ne.. pas” for negation – and, in the first comment, a history of English negation as well.

“ne” which descends from the latin “non” and stayed the same in italian, turned into “no” in spanish and “não” in portuguese. In French, it was once “non” too, became “nen” and then “ne”. This part was the heart of the negation and has stayed so in other latin languages.

2. Uber’s Self-Driving Car Didn’t Malfunction, It Was Just Bad

Wanted to share especially for,

1.3 seconds before the impact, the self-driving computer realized that it needed to make an emergency-braking maneuver to avoid a collision. But it did not. Why? Uber’s software prevented its system from hitting the brakes if that action was expected to cause a deceleration of faster than 6.5 meters per second.

Physics students say, “6.5 meters per second is not a unit of acceleration!”.  I’m guessing they meant 6.5 meters per second squared?  Maybe the original report even said that, but some “editor” “cleaned” it up?  Also I need to start collecting articles like this.

3. (Video) Methane gas burning through road cracks in Hawaii

Pretty impressive.  Also this site is regularly posting official USGS photos and video.

4. How a 4-Hour Battle Between Russian Mercenaries and U.S. Commandos Unfolded in Syria

Remarkable read on what some early reports had speculated was the largest engagement between US and Russian forces since the end of the cold war.

American warplanes arrived in waves, including Reaper drones, F-22 stealth fighter jets, F-15E Strike Fighters, B-52 bombers, AC-130 gunships and AH-64 Apache helicopters. For the next three hours, American officials said, scores of strikes pummeled enemy troops, tanks and other vehicles. Marine rocket artillery was fired from the ground.

5. If Only Francis were Luther!

Interesting read by Carl Trueman.  Especially for:

There are many ways of dividing up the various traditions that claim the name “Christian.” One is the classic Roman Catholic–Protestant divide over the issue of authority. A more subtle distinction is between those who regard Christianity as fundamentally dogmatic and those who regard it as essentially pragmatic. In view of the latter, we might make the case for setting Martin Luther and Newman in the same stream. They did at least agree that Christian faith was dogmatic and that the issue of authority was of central importance for this reason.

By contrast, Erasmus’s vision seems consonant with that of Pope Francis.

A dogmatic/pragmatic dividing line that cuts not just between, but also through, denominations, no doubt.  And also:

To put it in the language of the Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machen: Christian orthodoxy and Christian liberalism are not two forms of the one religion. One is Christianity, and the other is not. Machen regarded orthodox Roman Catholicism as Christianity, albeit a very imperfect form thereof, whereas he regarded liberal Presbyterianism as paganism. One asserts the supernatural nature of the faith grounded in history and now manifested in doctrinal assertions; the other sees the faith as a psychological or practical thing.

6. Christianity for Iceberg Time

Found the Positive/Neutral/Negative World model here helpful (speaking of how Western culture generally views Christianity).

Positive World: You get the religious-right, Moral Majority, unashamed public and often political attempts to oppose secularism.

Neutral World: Tim Keller par excellence. Urban ministry, often consciously apolitical, an attempt to connect with cultural elites because Christianity has something to offer them. Most Christian leaders in America still trying to live in this world.

Negative World: Benedict-option-esque behaviors.

See also the suggestion (though the original was written last October) that the reason many present-day Christian leaders are suddenly sounding rather social-gospel is because they are Neutral World leaders trying to maintain their influence in a world turning more strongly against them.

7. What Augustine Teaches us Today

I’ll end with a nice audio lecture by Carl Trueman if you’re the listening sort.  Actually persuaded me to pick up the Modern Library translation of the Confessions.

This week brought to you by classic architecture on the campus of Michigan State University.

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