Sunday, January 31, 2010

"And this is a lighthouse keeper being beheaded by a laser beam."

Except for the inexplicable pipe in the window, this could be every evening news story you've ever seen.  And that includes the light house keeper. 

Wheaton College vs. The Wiggly Hominids

There's an interesting write up on Wheaton College over at the Society of Mutual AutopsyWhen I was a kid I lived in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, in a house that was painted by Jim Belushi (and his house painting company) before he became "famous".  My back yard fence was the border between Glen Ellyn and neighboring WheatonYears later, whenever I described where I lived to a Chicagoland native, they all said something along the lines of, "Can't buy liquor there because of the fundie school."  Which is funny, because I had to bike over to Wheaton to score my drug of choice at the time (candy, and lot's of it) at the nearby pharmacy.

After 17 years the current president of Wheaton College, Duane Litfin, is on the way out.  By the sounds of it, he was a heck of an administrator (grew the endowment, added two doctoral degrees, kept tuition low, added to the physical footprint of the college etc.) and liberalized the college in many ways.  

During his tenure, the student body has moved towards a more apolitical stance (to the point of discouraging voting), but with a strong emphasis on social and environmental justice.  But oddly enough, it seems the trustees of Wheaton hired Litfin as a doctrinaire reactionary:

One of his first moves was to declare that Wheaton’s longstanding “Statement of Faith” allowed too much interpretive wiggle-room on the question of Adam and Eve. Scientists were thus required to specify whether they (1) “reject the idea that Adam and Eve were created from pre-existing human-like creatures, or hominids”; (2) are neutral or “unsure” on the hominid theory; (3) affirm that “God gave a human spirit to a pair of pre-existing human-like creatures, or hominids”; or (4) deny the historicity of Adam and Eve and think of Genesis as a wholly “theological document.” Options (3) and (4) were deemed inconsistent with ongoing employment. Those who affirmed (2) were given one year to change their view to (1), or else they too would be asked to seek employment elsewhere.
Wow.  You'll fire tenured faculty because they don't believe in a literal translation of chapters 2 & 3 of Genesis?  Even if they believe that God was somehow involved in the process?  That's going to cull the cream of the Academy, I'm sure.  Too bad he didn't throw himself into the middle of the Young Earth Genesis literalists, who think a day is a day is a day, versus the Day-Age Creationists, who think the word "day" in Genesis is representative of longer time periods.  That could have been fun.

Anyway, he's on the way out.  It will be interesting to see what type of president they choose to replace him.

 h/t The Edge of the American West

Saturday, January 30, 2010

You can now wipe in triplicate

In the arena of office efficiency, green design, and the ability to wipe your ass on your month end reports, I present to you the "White Goat".  A rather ingenious device designed by the Oriental Co, Ltd that directly recycles office paper into toilet paper.  Just add water.

I shit you not.

I suppose this a more environmentally friendly way of dealing with office stress than punching a fax machine to death in a field.

h/t Popular Science

No Regrets

I had a great realization today on the commute home. I live a life without regret.

Almost all of my great regrets involve not having seen particular musicians live before they died or broke up. Everything else was just the choices I've made and the experiences I've had. I like where life has brought me, and wouldn't change a damn thing.

But Johnny, John Lee, Joe, Dee Dee, and Kurt you all change my life every time I hit *PLAY*.  I wish I'd had a chance to see you all once before you left.

So for the rest of y'all, here's a little Friday night listening.