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Topics - AGelbert
« on: March 17, 2017, 02:12:53 pm »
How big is a petabyte, exabyte or yottabyte? What’s the biggest byte for that matter?
Tibi Puiu March 17, 2017
In less than ten years flash card storage has increased 1,000 fold. Credit: Computer World.
Thirty years ago, back in 1983, the biggest hard drives stored about 10MB of data. That’s barely enough to store two or three .mp3 tracks. Now, a typical notebook has one terabyte of storage or nearly 100,000 times more but even this is figure is laughable when you consider how much data we’re generating. According to IBM, every day we’re creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data and 90% of today’s digital data was created in the last two years.
Even those who are computer savvy still look at data at the gigabyte or terabyte scale but it’s clear we’re moving well past this point. It can get confusing and dizzy so let’s take a brief overview of how we quantify data and put some context on some of the more obscure units of digital information like the petabyte or yottabyte.About digital storage or memoryhttp://www.zmescience.com/science/how-big-data-can-get/
« on: November 22, 2016, 08:13:02 pm »
« on: September 28, 2016, 08:09:42 pm »
The Lipophilia Theory of Obesity
Everything you have been taught about the relationship of obesity to caloric intake is wrong.
« on: September 19, 2016, 01:34:15 pm »
Partial Cures in Later Medieval Canonization Processes
September 13, 2016 By Medievalists.net
Heavenly Healing or Failure of Faith? Partial Cures in Later Medieval Canonization Processes
By Jenni Kuuliala
Introduction: For the past decades, canonization processes and miracle collections have provided a treasure trove for the historians of everyday life. Using them as source material, topics such as family life, childhood, and gender roles have been covered by many scholars, in addition to the study of the veneration of saints and the canonization process itself. Healing miracles, with their basis in the Bible, were the fundamental type of miracle performed by saints.
For medieval people, the miracles performed by Christ provided the models for subsequent miracles, which continued to be conducted after his life on earth. A high proportion of recorded miracles cured blindness, deafness, speech disorders, and various conditions impairing a person’s mobility. Therefore, they also provide a very unique source type for the study of medieval illness and health, as well as dis/ability.
Although many of the healing miracles included in later medieval canonization records, as well as in other types of miracle collections, are sudden, often even showy cures, a large proportion of the recoveries of particularly physical impairments and long-term illnesses were gradual.
Additionally, hagiographic sources include a group of miracles that were somehow partial. By ‘partial cure’, I mean healing miracles, after which some milder symptoms of the previous illness or impairment remained. The term is a modern one; although the sources record the possible ‘incompleteness’ of the cure, there is variation in the labelling and phrasing of them. Cures that can be defined as partial were, in any case, scrutinized relatively rarely in the canonization hearings.
Those scholars who have paid attention to their existence have explained this lack of coverage by interpreting them as failed miracles, or uninteresting to the commissioners. For example, Maria Wittmer-Butsch and Constanze Rendtel write that partial cures were most often rejected because they were considered rather as healings, not miracles, and thus no longer interesting for the process, and Stanko Andrić places partial cures in the category of failed, or ‘not-quite-successful’ miracles.Click here to read this article from Academia.edu
« on: September 12, 2016, 02:55:12 pm »
Lightweight, wearable tech efficiently converts body heat to electricity
September 12, 2016 by Matt Shipman NC State University researchers have developed a new design for harvesting body heat and converting it into electricity for use in wearable electronics. The experimental prototypes are lightweight, conform to the shape of the body, and can generate far more electricity than previous lightweight heat harvesting technologies. This image shows the technology embedded in a T-shirt (left) and armband (right). Credit: Daryoosh Vashaee
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new design for harvesting body heat and converting it into electricity for use in wearable electronics. The experimental prototypes are lightweight, conform to the shape of the body, and can generate far more electricity than previous lightweight heat harvesting technologies.
The researchers also identified the optimal site on the body for heat harvesting.
"Wearable thermoelectric generators (TEGs) generate electricity by making use of the temperature differential between your body and the ambient air," says Daryoosh Vashaee, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and corresponding author of a paper on the work. "Previous approaches either made use of heat sinks—which are heavy, stiff and bulky—or were able to generate only one microwatt or less of power per centimeter squared (μW/cm2). Our technology generates up to 20 μW/cm2 and doesn't use a heat sink, making it lighter and much more comfortable."
The new design begins with a layer of thermally conductive material that rests on the skin and spreads out the heat. The conductive material is topped with a polymer layer that prevents the heat from dissipating through to the outside air. This forces the body heat to pass through a centrally-located TEG that is one cm2. Heat that is not converted into electricity passes through the TEG into an outer layer of thermally conductive material, which rapidly dissipates the heat. The entire system is thin—only 2 millimeters—and flexible.
"In this prototype, the TEG is only one centimeter squared, but we can easily make it larger, depending on a device's power needs," says Vashaee, who worked on the project as part of the National Science Foundation's Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) at NC State. Study co-lead Haywood Hunter, shows off the TEG-embedded T-shirt at work. Credit: Daryoosh Vashaee
The researchers also found that the upper arm was the optimal location for heat harvesting. While the skin temperature is higher around the wrist, the irregular contour of the wrist limited the surface area of contact between the TEG band and the skin. Meanwhile, wearing the band on the chest limited air flow—limiting heat dissipation—since the chest is normally covered by a shirt.
In addition, the researchers incorporated the TEG into T-shirts. The researchers found that the T-shirt TEGs were still capable of generating 6 μW/cm2 - or as much as 16 μW/cm2 if a person is running.
"T-shirt TEGs are certainly viable for powering wearable technologies, but they're just not as efficient as the upper arm bands," Vashaee says.
"The goal of ASSIST is to make wearable technologies that can be used for long-term health monitoring, such as devices that track heart health or monitor physical and environmental variables to predict and prevent asthma attacks," he says.
"To do that, we want to make devices that don't rely on batteries. And we think this design and prototype moves us much closer to making that a reality."The paper, "Wearable thermoelectric generators for human body heat harvesting," is published in the journal Applied Energy.
Explore further: Electricity from body heat
More information: Melissa Hyland et al, Wearable thermoelectric generators for human body heat harvesting, Applied Energy (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.08.150
Provided by North Carolina State University https://techxplore.com/news/2016-09-lightweight-wearable-tech-efficiently-body.html
« on: July 28, 2016, 07:08:20 pm »
Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:52am BST
EU clears French state-aid for tidal energy plant
The European Commission has cleared French state support for an experimental tidal power plant off the northwestern coast of the country, saying the aid given was in line with European rules.
France will support the construction of four turbines, which will each produce 1.4 megawatts of electricity, through a direct grant and repayable advances, the Commission said, without stating the amount of money pledged.
The NEPTHYD (Normandie Energie PiloTe HYDrolien) pilot farm will be located at Raz Blanchard, west of the Cotentin peninsular. A subsidiary of Engie will build and operate the plant for 20 years.
The Commission said the project supported market entry of a novel renewable energy technology, including turbines with several innovative features, with aid limited to the cost of producing electricity from the plant.
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-france-eu-subsidies-idUKKCN10713F
« on: June 17, 2016, 07:03:59 pm »
5 Stand Out Ocean Dads
Posted On June 16, 2016 by Erin Spencer
An Emperor Penguin in the ocean is a very different story
from one on land.
It’s the time of the year when we celebrate all the fantastic father figures around the world. Although most of the animal kingdom isn’t known for its exceptional parenting, (male grizzly bears will attack their own cubs? Ouch) there are a few notable exceptions. This Father’s Day, we’re celebrating some of the stand out dads throughout the ocean.
It’s difficult to argue that seahorses aren’t some of the best fathers in the ocean, since they are the only animals where the males become pregnant. Potential mates will court for many days, performing “dancing rituals” like mirroring the other’s movements and swimming side-by-side in unison. Once they mate, females will place up to 1,500 eggs in a small, specially-adapted pouch on the male’s body. They will stay secure with the male for weeks before emerging, with the females checking on her mate and the eggs daily. Leading male seahorses to be nominated for “Dads of the Year,” every year, forever.
Lumpsuckers take parental dedication to an entirely new level. When it’s time to breed, males will migrate to shallow waters to prep a nest. The female will then arrive, deposit her eggs and take off for the open ocean. Then the male’s watch begins: He will use a suction pad formed from his pelvic fins to attach to a nearby rock and stand guard over the eggs for up to eight weeks.
Eumicrotremus phrynoides and Eumicrotremus orbis demonstrating adhesive pelvic discs.
He will use his fins to fan oxygen-rich water over the eggs and fiercely defend the nest against potential predators. Once the eggs hatch, the male will return to deeper waters, until called again to his parental duties.
In the case of the sea catfish, eating your young is actually a good thing. Once a female sea catfish lays her eggs, her mate will gobble them up and hold them in his mouth. There the marble-sized eggs will stay, safe and sound, for months at a time. The male may even hold on to his young until they hatch and grow to nearly five centimeters long! As having a mouth full of squirming offspring makes it difficult to eat, the male has to live off his own body fat until the young are old enough to take off on their own.
The threespined stickleback is all about real estate. This small fish painstakingly builds his nest by gluing sand, algae and other small debris together with a sticky protein secreted from his kidneys. Once his home is good to go, he will court potential mates until one finds the nest satisfactory. After the female lays her eggs, the male will chase her away so he can fertilize the eggs and guard them until they hatch (remember, this is about good fathers, not necessarily good mates). He will even remove fungus-infected eggs and fan the eggs to keep them properly oxygenated—talk about attention to detail!
Emperor penguin tending an egg
After traveling over 60 miles inland on Antarctica to lay her egg, the female emperor penguin will make the long journey back to the ocean to hunt. This leaves the male penguin to care for the egg for two months. The male will carefully keep his egg covered by his feathered skin, called a brood pouch, to protect it from the extreme Antarctic cold. While caring for the egg, the penguin dad will forgo eating to ensure his baby’s safety, meaning by the time mom comes back two months later, the male may have lost nearly half of his body weight. Since fat is the main way that emperor penguins stay warm, it’s a testament to these dads’ devotion to their young that they’re able to endure the Antarctic cold on half their body weight. Once reunited, penguin parents share the responsibility of taking care of their chick by taking turns feeding it and keeping it warm.
Regardless of how they show their affection, let’s hear it for all the human and animal dads alike! Happy Father’s Day!
Posted in Ocean Life | Tagged Emperor Penguin, Erin Spencer, Father's Day, Lumpsucker, Sea catfish, Seahorse, Threespined sticklebackAbout Erin Spencer: Erin is a Digital Outreach Coordinator at Ocean Conservancy, based in Washington, D.C. Erin’s passion is using photography, writing and social media to inspire people to participate in conservation projects, particularly those relating to the spread of invasive species. Much of her work has focused on local responses to invasive lionfish in the Florida Keys and Caribbean. Follow Erin on Twitter @etspencer and on her website, www.invasivespeciesinitiative.com.http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/06/16/5-stand-out-ocean-dads/#comment-197002
« on: June 17, 2016, 03:08:14 pm »
Scientists using sunlight, water to produce renewable hydrogen power
June 16, 2016
UI researchers have developed a small solar-powered electrochemical device that can help make energy using sunlight and water. Credit: Syed Mubeen.
University of Iowa researchers are working with a California-based startup company to make clean energy from sunlight and any source of water.
The university recently renewed a one-year research agreement to further develop the technology with HyperSolar, a company that aims to commercialize low-cost renewable hydrogen.Hydrogen power is arguably one of the cleanest and greenest energy sources because when it produces energy, the final byproduct is water instead of carbon emissions.
Hydrogen power also can be stored in a fuel cell, making it more reliable than traditional solar cells or solar panels, which need regular sunlight to remain "on."
HyperSolar's lead scientist, Syed Mubeen, a chemical engineering professor at the UI, says although hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, the amount of pure hydrogen in the Earth's atmosphere is very low (about 0.00005 percent), so it must be produced artificially
Currently, most hydrogen power is made from fossil fuels in a chemical process called steam reforming, which emits carbon dioxide.
Even though the end product is hydrogen, its inputs make it much less environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Hydrogen also can be made using electrolysis, which requires electricity and highly purified water to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Although this is a sustainable process (assuming the electricity is produced from a renewable energy source), the cost of materials associated with the system are expensive—a major barrier to the affordable production of renewable hydrogen.
"Developing clean energy systems is a goal worldwide," Mubeen says. "Currently, we understand how clean energy systems such as solar cells, wind turbines, et cetera, work at a high level of sophistication. The real challenge going forward is to develop inexpensive clean energy systems that can be cost competitive to fossil fuel systems and be adopted globally and not just in the developed countries."
With HyperSolar, Mubeen and his team at the UI's Optical Science and Technology Center are developing a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to manufacture hydrogen by drawing inspiration from plants. So far, the researchers have created a small solar-powered electrochemical device that can be placed in any type of water, including seawater and wastewater. When sunlight shines through the water and hits the solar device, the photon energy in sunlight takes the water (a lower energy state) and converts it to hydrogen (a higher energy state), where it can be stored like a battery. The energy is harvested when the hydrogen is converted back into its lower energy state: water. This is similar to what plants do using photosynthesis, during which plants use photons from the sun to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates—some of which are stored in fruits and roots for later use.
Mubeen says his team is currently working to lower costs even further and to make their process more robust so it can be produced on a mass scale. That way, it eventually could be used as renewable electricity or to power hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
"Although H2 can be used in many forms, the immediate possibility of this renewable H2 would be for use in fuel cells to generate electricity or react with CO2 to form liquid fuels like methanol for the transportation sector," he says. "If one could develop these systems at costs competitive to fossil fuel systems
, then it would be a home run." Explore further: Research sets new record for generation of fuels from sunlight
Provided by: University of Iowa search and more info website http://phys.org/news/2016-06-scientists-sunlight-renewable-hydrogen-power.html#jCpAgelbert NOTE:
Did you read that bit about how most hydrogen is made from fossil fuels with steam forming? Here is something you should know about steam forming, from an ERoEi standpoint:
Hydrogen can also be extracted from hydrocarbons by reforming. This chemical process is, in principle, an energy transfer process. The HHV energy contained in the original substance can be transferred to the HHV energy of hydrogen.http://www.afdc.energy.gov/pdfs/hyd_economy_bossel_eliasson.pdf
Theoretically , no external energy is needed to convert a hydrogen-rich energy carrier like methane (CH4) or methanol (CH3OH) into hydrogen by autothermal steam reforming.
But in reality , thermal losses cannot be avoided and the HHV energy content of the original hydrocarbon fuel always exceeds the HHV energy contained in the generated hydrogen.
The efficiency of hydrogen production by reforming is about 90%. Consequently, more CO2 is released by this "detour" process than by direct use of the hydrocarbon precursors. But no obvious advantages can be derived with respect to well-to-wheel efficiency and overall CO2 emissions.
The only reason electrolysis, a truly clean way to generate Hydrogen, is more expensive than steam forming, is because of fossil fuel subsidies, NOT because of Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) thermodynamics.
If the fossil fuel direct and indirect subsidies were eliminated (even excluding the pollution costs
), fossil fuel systems would not be cost competitive with ANY Renewable Energy system.
Hydrogen power just needs the subsidy push that the fossil fuel industry has always used to make its products be artificially cost competitive with Renewable Energy technologies and products, such as Ethanol from biomass.
In addition to Hydrogen production, the fossil fuel industry also produces about 5% of the world's ethanol. This ethanol takes far more energy to produce than biomass ethanol. But once again, the unwarranted subsidies of the fossil fuel industry enable it to produce a "cost competitive" ethanol, unjustified from a thermodynamiics standpoint.
Biomass ethanol, unlike fossil fuel industry ethanol, is justified from a thermodynamics standpoint. Producing hydrogen or ethanol using fossil fuels is totally unjustified.
Subsidies for clean hydrogen production, like the photon mediated production portrayed in the above article or electrolysis and biomass based ethanol production are justified when all the energy and pollution costs are considered.
Between 1968 and 2000, oil companies received subsidies of $149.6 billion, compared to ethanol’s paltry $116.6 million. The subsidies alcohol did receive have worked extremely well in bringing maturity to the industry. Farmer-owned cooperatives now produce the majority of alcohol fuel in the U.S. Farmer-owners pay themselves premium prices for their corn and then pay themselves a dividend on the alcohol profit.http://www.permaculture.com/node/490
The increased economic activity derived from alcohol fuel production has turned out to be crucial to the survival of noncorporate farmers, and the amounts of money they spend in their communities on goods and services and taxes for schools have been much higher in areas with an ethanol plant. Plus, between $3 and $6 in tax receipts are generated for every dollar of ethanol subsidy. The rate of return can be much higher in rural communities, where re-spending within the community produces a multiplier factor of up to 22 times for each alcohol fuel subsidy dollar.
We need fossil fuels like a hole in our wallet.
« on: June 10, 2016, 03:14:14 pm »
Summer Lightning bug Beauty Agelbert NOTE:
Did you know that Lightning bugs, also called fireflies, are 100% efficient at transforming energy into light?
And did you know that not all lightning bugs light up
12 Fascinating Facts About Fireflies
Katie Pohlman | June 10, 2016 12:38 pm
The flying, twinkling lights of fireflies are a mystical summer attraction. While lightning bugs are common in nature, there’s a few things you might not know about them.
Here are 12 fun and interesting facts about nature’s glowing wonder:1. They are beetles
The name “firefly” is a little misleading. Fireflies are nocturnal members of Lampyridae
(which in Greek means “to shine”
) a family of winged beetles. But “firebeetles” doesn’t have the same ring to it. There are more than 2,000 species of fireflies. And only some of those species have the ability to light up (see No. 3).
2. Fireflies are just one type of bioluminescent species
Fireflies are probably one of the more popular of these species, but they’re definitely not alone in their ability to light up. Most of their bioluminescent peers live in the ocean so people don’t have as much contact with them. Their light is created by a chemical reaction during which oxygen combines with calcium, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and luciferin with the help of the enzyme luciferase. When they are larvae, fireflies use their bioluminescence to scare off predators.
3. Not all fireflies have the “fire”
Fireflies aren’t just abundant in the eastern states, the west has them as well, they just don’t light up over there. Those who don’t produce light are usually most active during the day. Non-bioluminescent fireflies use pheromones to attract mates.4. Scientists discovered luciferase because of fireflies
When it was first discovered, the only way to obtain the chemical was to extract it from fireflies themselves. Eventually, scientists figured out how to create synthetic luciferase. Some people still collect the enzyme from the flying lanterns. Luciferase is used in scientific research for food safety testing and some forensic tests.5. Fireflies are energy efficient
Fireflies’ lights are the most efficient lights in the world. One-hundred percent of the energy created is emitted through the light. In comparison, an incandescent bulb emits 10 percent of its energy as light and a fluorescent bulb emits 90 percent of its energy through light. Fireflies’ efficiency is partly do to luciferin’s heat resistant properties.
6. Their light shows are mating acts
Most of the fireflies flying around are males looking for a mate. Each species has a specific light pattern that they use to communicate with each other. Once a female spots a male she likes, she will respond with the same light pattern. Usually females are perched on plants, waiting for a mate.7. Some species synchronize their flashing
Scientists aren’t sure why fireflies do this, but some theories include competition or to make them more noticeable. If a bunch of male fireflies are flashing the pattern at the same time, they are more likely to attract females. The only species of fireflies in America that do this are the Photinus carolinus
. They live in the Great Smoky Mountains and the U.S. National Park Service organizes watch parties for the shows.8. Not all firefly light looks the same
Each species has their own specific color of light they produce. Some glow blue or green while others glow orange or yellow.9. They taste disgusting
Unlike cicadas, these summer bugs should not be cooked, baked or grilled. If you do try to eat a firefly, it will probably taste bitter. The beetles can even be poisonous to some animals. When fireflies are attacked, they shed drops of blood. The blood contains chemicals that create the bitter taste and poison. Most animals have learned this and avoid munching on fireflies.10. Fireflies sometimes practice cannibalism
When fireflies are still in the larvae stage, they snack on snails. Usually as they mature, they move away from meat. Scientists believe adult fireflies live off of nectar and pollen or they don’t eat at all. But others, especially the Photuris fireflies enjoy their own kind. Photuris females often eat males of other genera. They attract the unsuspecting males by mimicking their light pattern.11. Their numbers are declining
There are several reasons why firefly populations are declining, including climate change and the harvesting of luciferase from them (see No. 4), light pollution and habitat destruction. When firefly habitats are destroyed for roads or other construction, they don’t migrate to a new spot, they simply disappear
.12. Enjoying the light show in your yard can help scientists
Your observations can help scientists learn more about fireflies and why they’re disappearing. Enjoy the show and help save the insect at the same time. http://ecowatch.com/2016/06/10/facts-about-fire-flies/
« on: April 27, 2016, 06:39:01 pm »
The Mammal With The Best Sense Of Smell Is The?
We have long valued the domestic canine for its keen sense of smell–from hunting dogs to bomb-detecting dogs, their ability to sniff out even the faintest whiff of their target has proven invaluable. But despite how revered the canine sense of smell is (and how strong it is compared to our own sense of smell), it has absolutely nothing on the African elephant’s incredible olfactory abilities.
While we have long known that African elephants had a very good sense of smell, it was only recently that researchers actually mapped it out. The African elephant has an astounding 2,000 genes related directly to the olfactory system, which is more than twice as many as domestic dogs have and five times as many as humans have.
How sensitive is their nose? Behavioral studies revealed that the elephants’ sense of smell was so fine-tuned that they could distinguish between members of African tribal (ethnic) groups at a distance based just on smell. The elephants would avoid men from the Maasai tribe (who hunt elephants) and they show little fear of men from the Kamba tribe (an agriculturally oriented tribe that doesn’t hunt the elephants).
Although we still don’t fully understand why African elephants have such hyper-sensitive noses, it’s a safe bet to assume it has something to do with their rather poor eye sight. When your nose is so sensitive that you can smell predators up to half a mile away, it’s easy to move out of harm’s way.http://www.howtogeek.com/trivia/the-mammal-with-the-best-sense-of-smell-is-the/
We can smell out the best grass from MILES away.
« on: March 13, 2016, 06:55:47 pm »
This Tiny Attachment Could Save Shipowners Millions
May 7, 2015 by Mike Schuler
After a year of testing, Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, says its new fuel saving propeller attachment is now ready to hit the market.
The attachment, which HHI calls Hi-FIN (Hyundai End-plated Cap Fin), is an energy-saving device attached at the hub of the propeller that generates countering swirls to offset the swirls generated by the propeller, leading to improved propulsion efficiency.
After a year-long trial of the device installed on a 162,000 m3 LNG carrier ordered from Maran Gas, HHI found that Hi-FIN can save up to 2.5 % of fuel in comparison with the same type of vessels without Hi-FIN. If the fuel saving ratio is calculated on the basis of an 8,600 TEU containership, the owners or operators of the containership can save about $750,000 per year or $19 million over a ships 25 years estimated lifespan, according to HHI.
HHI says the Hi-FIN attachment is already drawing attention from ship owners across the globe, having won orders for over 30 ships today. The company says it expects more orders now that it can install the device on broader types of ships from LNG carriers to almost all types of ships including VLCC, LPG carriers and containerships.http://gcaptain.com/this-tiny-attachment-could-save-shipowners-millions/#at_pco=smlwn-1.0&at_si=56e4dffb9c99eb9c&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=0&at_tot=1
« on: January 25, 2016, 10:40:40 pm »
The Suicide of the Liberal Church
Posted on Jan 24, 2016By Chris Hedges The chapel of The General Theological Seminary in New York City. The seminary, founded in 1817, sold much of its property to developers in recent years. (Julie Jacobson / AP) (graphic at article link)
Paul Tillich wrote that all institutions, including the church, are inherently demonic. Reinhold Niebuhr asserted that no institution could ever achieve the morality of the individual. Institutions, he warned, to extend their lives when confronted with collapse, will swiftly betray the stances that ostensibly define them. Only individual men and women have the strength to hold fast to virtue when faced with the threat of death.
And decaying institutions, including the church, when consumed by fear, swiftly push those endowed with this moral courage and radicalism from their ranks, rendering themselves obsolete.
The wisdom of Tillich and Niebuhr has been borne out in the precipitous decline of the liberal church and the seminaries and divinity schools that train religious scholars and clergy. Faced with shrinking or nonexistent endowments, mounting debts, dwindling memberships, a lack of employment for their graduates and growing irrelevancy in a society that has little use for tepid church piety and the smug arrogance that comes with it, these institutions have fallen into physical and moral decay.
The number of adults in the mainline Protestant churches—Presbyterian, Unitarian-Universalist, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, Congregationalist—decreased from about 41 million in 2007 to 36 million in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. And the average age of the congregant is 52. The Catholic Church also is being decimated; its decline has been exacerbated by its decades-long protection of sexual predators within the priesthood and the Vatican’s relentless campaign, especially under John Paul II, to force out of the church priests, nuns and lay leaders who focused their ministries on the poor and the oppressed. The Catholic Church, which has lost 3 million members over the last decade, has seen its hold on the U.S. population fall to 21 percent from 24.
Mainline seminaries and divinity schools have been merging or closing, and enrollment at such schools has declined by 24 percent in the last decade. Andover-Newton, founded in 1807, recently shut down. Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pa., and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia plan to merge. Union Theological Seminary, where black liberation, feminist, womanist and queer theologies have their roots, appears to be on the verge of selling “air space” to a developer to construct a luxury 35-to-40-story condominium building on its campus. General Theological Seminary in New York City, a school founded in 1817, has sold much of its property to developers, and it ended tenure for its faculty after the professors went out on strike to demand the removal of Dean and President Kurt Dunkle. Dunkle, who epitomizes the infusion of corporatism into the church, worked for many years as a lawyer doing commercial litigation before being ordained.
“What doomed General Seminary was not just financial mismanagement, but unethical leadership,”
Rob Stephens, a third-year student for the ministry at Union and part of a student movement fighting Union’s building project, said when I spoke with him by phone. “That is what made the faculty walk out. The Union administration, board of trustees and all of us need to learn this lesson and put a halt to the project.
The Union administration has said that Union, by building this luxury condominium, was being as bold as the original founders. This is one thing I can agree on. The original founders envisioned a place for privileged, white men. The original founders called abolitionism ‘fanaticism.’ The founders’ values won’t get us through this storm. Union is bigger than the administration and board. Union should be for all God’s people. If built, this luxury condominium would be a middle finger to Harlem. It would be a middle finger to faith-based social movements.
“This seminary has turned Black Lives Matter into a commodity,” he went on. “They sell this campus as being allied with Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements. But if we are readers of the Bible, we know that saying one thing and doing another leads to internal combustion. Inconsistency of values and actions can only lead to failure. As a seminary community, how can we have more faith in an unstable housing market than in the Gospel? You can’t reconcile luxury condominiums built by an anti-union contractor and no affordable housing with the Gospel of Jesus. This is another example of mainline Christianity casting their lot with capitalism instead of community. When will we learn?”The self-identified religious institutions that thrive preach the perverted “prosperity gospel,”
the message that magic Jesus will make you rich, respected and powerful if you believe in him. Jesus, they claim, is an American capitalist, bigot and ardent imperialist.
These sects selectively lift passages from the Bible to justify the unjustifiable, including homophobia, war, racism against Muslims, and the death penalty. Yet there are more students—2,067—at the evangelical Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary alone than at the divinity schools and seminaries of Yale, Harvard, Union, Vanderbilt and Chicago, whose combined enrollment is 1,537.
The doctrine these sects preach is Christian heresy. The Christian faith—as in the 1930s under Germany’s pro-Nazi Christian church—is being distorted to sanctify nationalism, unregulated capitalism and militarism.
The mainstream church, which refuses to denounce these heretics as heretics, a decision made in the name of tolerance, tacitly gives these sects credibility and squanders the prophetic voice of the church.
Kevin Kruse in his book “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America”
details how industrialists in the 1930s and 1940s poured money and resources into an effort to silence the social witness of the mainstream church, which was home to many radicals, socialists and proponents of the New Deal. These corporatists promoted and funded a brand of Christianity—which is today dominant—that conflates faith with free enterprise and American exceptionalism.
The rich are rich, this creed goes, not because they are greedy or privileged, not because they use their power to their own advantage, not because they oppress the poor and the vulnerable, but because they are blessed.
And if we have enough faith, this heretical form of Christianity claims, God will bless the rest of us too. It is an inversion of the central message of the Gospel
You don’t need to spend three years at Harvard Divinity School as I did to figure that out.Page two (of three pages) of this excellent article: http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/the_suicide_of_the_liberal_church_20160124Agelbert NOTE:
"The mainline churches, by which we mean white denominations, are responsible for many of our greatest social ills, ..."
And they, like the "greed is good" bastards that corrupted this country, began their descent into irrelevancy and chaos when they forgot that respect for all life, not just human life, is a sine qua non
REQUIREMENT for the perpetuation of a tool making, self aware species.
Although It certainly was part of the Christian Gospel before the corporate fascists corrupted it, you don't need to read it in the Holy Scripture to know it is true.
« on: October 11, 2015, 01:36:17 am »
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