Thursday, January 5, 2017

January 5, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

"Anti-surveillance clothing aims to hide wearers from facial recognition"--Guardian. According to the article, the Hyperface project involves printing patterns on to clothing or textiles that computers interpret as a face, for the purpose of overwhelming facial scanning systems.

Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore made headlines when on Saturday when she pulled a gun on three intruders who had climbed over her security gates and proceeded to knock on her front door — and she’d do it again too! 
  • "Night Vision Considerations for Prepping"--On Point Preparedness. Discussion on the different generations of night vision equipment, mounting options, the importance of having a head mount and an infra-red laser for use with weapons and when patrolling. The author also lists what equipment he uses. Although the monocular that he uses is a Gen 2+ system, it is still basically $1,500 for the scope and easily another $500 for the mounts and laser.
  • "Field Test: Henry .45-70 lever action rifle"--Bayou Renaissance Man. Short story: he liked it. The only problem he noted is that as a Henry rifle, it lacks a side-loading gate which would make topping off the magazine or reloading very slow. However, the recourse in that situation is to treat the rifle as a single shot rifle: open up the action, dump a round into the action and close it and you are ready to fire again.
  • I had cited to a short article recently discussing Colt's soon to be released Cobra--the first double-action revolver that Colt has produced in quite some time. Colt has information on its web-site, including an MSRP of $699, which is on the low end of what I had predicted. So, rather than competing against Kimber, it appears they are going after Ruger and S&W's market. I find it interesting the resurgence of the revolver: first Kimber producing a small defensive revolver, the continued expansion of the revolver lines from both S&W and Ruger, and now Colt reentering the business.

Other Stuff:
     For decades, Swedes have taken pride in providing a safe haven to the world’s huddled masses. Their country took in 163,000 refugees in 2015 alone. That equaled about 1.6 percent of Sweden’s population, an intake of refugees far higher than most of Europe, both in absolute terms and per capita. But times have changed.
         Unlike new arrivals who were often previously awarded permanent residency, the vast majority of asylum-seekers who have arrived since November 2015 are only eligible for a temporary permit to stay in Sweden. The government stated at the time of this policy shift that it aimed “to temporarily adjust the asylum regulations to the minimum level in the EU so that more people choose to seek asylum in other EU countries.” As a result, bringing families of migrants and refugees into Sweden has become much harder. 
      Greenland’s “surface mass budget” for winter 2016-2017 is already more than two standard deviations higher than the northern ice sheet’s mean snow and ice accumulation over the last 24 years. DMI data shows the ice sheet added 8 gigatons of ice and snow Jan. 1, well above the standard deviation for that day.
             ... It was almost 20 years ago that John Shelby Spong, a U.S. bishop in the Episcopalian Church, published his book “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” It was presented as an antidote to the crisis of decline in mainline churches. Spong, a theological liberal, said congregations would grow if they abandoned their literal interpretation of the Bible and transformed along with changing times.

          * * *
                 But the liberal turn in mainline churches doesn’t appear to have solved their problem of decline.

              * * *
                     Over the last five years, my colleagues and I conducted a study of 22 mainline congregations in the province of Ontario. We compared those in the sample that were growing mainline congregations to those that were declining. After statistically analyzing the survey responses of over 2,200 congregants and the clergy members who serve them, we came to a counterintuitive discovery: Conservative Protestant theology, with its more literal view of the Bible, is a significant predictor of church growth while liberal theology leads to decline. The results were published this month in the peer-reviewed journal, Review of Religious Research.
                       We also found that for all measures, growing church clergy members were most conservative theologically, followed by their congregants, who were themselves followed by the congregants of the declining churches and then the declining church clergy members. In other words, growing church clergy members are the most theologically conservative, while declining church clergy members are the least. Their congregations meet more in the middle.
                         For example, we found 93 percent of clergy members and 83 percent of worshipers from growing churches agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb.” This compared with 67 percent of worshipers and 56 percent of clergy members from declining churches. Furthermore, all growing church clergy members and 90 percent of their worshipers agreed that “God performs miracles in answer to prayers,” compared with 80 percent of worshipers and a mere 44 percent of clergy members from declining churches.

                      * * *
                             For example, because of their conservative outlook, the growing church clergy members in our study took Jesus’ command to “Go make disciples” literally. Thus, they all held the conviction it’s “very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians,” and thus likely put effort into converting non-Christians. Conversely, because of their liberal leanings, half the clergy members at the declining churches held the opposite conviction, believing it is not desirable to convert non-Christians. Some of them felt, for instance, that peddling their religion outside of their immediate faith community is culturally insensitive.
                               It should be obvious which of these two convictions is more likely to generate church growth.
                                 While our research helps explains the dwindling ranks of liberal mainline congregations, it isn’t likely to bring much “joy to the world” of mainliners, especially those on the theological left. But, if it’s any consolation, when it comes to growth in mainline churches, Spong and other liberals are right to claim that Christianity must change or die. They just get the direction of the change wrong.
                              Liberalism is anathema to Christianity, and destruction will fall upon any church or congregation that does not purge itself of liberalism. I understand that a church is a "hospital for sinners," but it still needs to be separated from the world so as to not become a "den of thieves."

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