Links from the last week, June 18, 2018

1. Tesseract

OK, we actually invested a tiny amount in these folks, just so I can say I’m part of the orbital maneuvering thrusters business.  As they were answering questions they said a couple things I found interesting:

Some small satellite platforms use a method called differential drag for orbit phasing. They open up their solar panels and slowly maneuver using air resistance in the upper atmosphere. Using differential drag can take several months for newly launched satellites to reach their intended orbit, meaning a significant delay before they start producing valuable data and revenue.

I did not know that, interesting.  And then, when asked whether they have any patents, they essentially said “no, and that’s probably for the best”.

We are keeping our designs trade secret, rather than using patents. This is fairly common in aerospace (SpaceX does the same). Since this isn’t the kind of product that you can just buy off a shelf, reverse engineering is less of a concern than someone using publicly available info, like a patent, and creatively engineering a way to circumvent the protected IP.

2. Report: Netflix Bans Employees from Looking at Each Other for More Than Five Seconds

Patrick Deneen is his most recent book (I think) makes the point that as social norms governing human behavior go away (as liberalism destroys them, basically), rules and laws must necessarily proliferate to compensate.  This reads like a textbook example of that phenomenon.

Other new rules include: “Don’t give lingering hugs or touch anyone for a lengthy period of time,” “Don’t ask out a colleague more than once if they have said no,” “Steer clear of a colleague once they have said they are not interested in you,” and “Don’t flirt.” The rules also encourage employees to “Shout ‘Stop, don’t do that again!’ if a colleague has been inappropriate.”

3. Presbycast GA Wrap-up Show

A podcast wrapping up the PCA General Assembly, which just concluded.  Found especially interesting the note that the assembly voted to change “grave” in elder qualifications to “dignified”, the idea being that the former carries connotations that are too heavy and somber today.  One guest suggested that perhaps part of the issue is that death is no longer always before us.  It used to be more common for churches to have their own graveyards, and you would see it every Sunday.  To say elders should be “grave” was like saying “remember that is where we all end up and comport yourself accordingly”.  It was more a comment about being serious-minded than sad.

4. Toward a Theology of Apology

Some nice comments from the usually thoughtful Kevin DeYoung, especially about how institutional apologies today are sometimes really accusations.  We dress a lot of accusations in language of love and unity today, I think I would prefer the honesty of insults.

Similarly, public apologies are more or less appropriate based on whether their cost is mainly to us or mainly to someone else. When someone steeped in Southern Presbyterianism apologizes in tears for the sins of the 19th-century Presbyterians he grew up revering, that costs something. When college kids, who have never been tempted in their lives to idolize Richard the Lionheart, set up confessional booths on campus to apologize for the Crusades, that costs next to nothing. One is a public expression of personal lament; the other is a personal expression of public accusation.

5. Errors Caused by Poor Judgment

Amusing scribal errors.

The fourteenth-century codex 109 of the Four Gospels was transcribed from a copy which must have had Luke’s genealogy of Jesus in two columns. Instead of following the columns, the scribe copied across the columns with disastrous results. Of course, everyone is made the son of the wrong father. Worse than that, instead of ending with “…Adam, the son of God,” this manuscript has God being the son of Aram and the source of the whole race is not God but Phares!

6. Canadian Supreme Court Restricts Secular Court Oversight of Church Discipline

Not all bad news on religious freedom from the Supreme Court of Canada lately.

When it comes to churches and religious organizations, however, Justice Rowe made a further, significant conclusion. He acknowledged that, in religious contexts, procedural rules may actually involve the interpretation of religious doctrinewhich is something that Canadian courts have never wanted to touch.

7. Blue Urban Evangelicals & The Ben Op

I had a lot of sympathies for this published letter.  Especially wanted to highlight:

On the surface, I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that Evangelicals, whose primary purpose is outward-looking, would blanch at the Benedict Option, especially if they only read the WaPo piece for a definition.

Wonder if the idea that evangelicals tend to be “outward-looking” doesn’t help explain some of my annoyances with the movement in general… OBVIOUSLY being outward-looking isn’t all bad, but sometimes we don’t think about things as deeply and carefully as we ought.

This week brought to you by cyclists purchasing frying pans.



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