|Thu,14 Jul 2011 08:54 AM PDT
Reuters – LONDON (Reuters) – The earliest surviving Jane Austen manuscript, a handwritten draft for a book that was never published, sold for 993,250 pounds ($1.6 million) at Sotheby’s on Thursday. Full Story
‘Bubble Gum’ Stand Props Up Your Phone
July 16, 2011 8:02:02 AM
iStuck Bubble Gum Phone Stand: $5.99
There are plenty of smart phone stands available today, but how many can boast the sticky appeal of a chewed-up piece of gum? The iStuck stand certainly can, and it’s useful for propping up your mobile device as well.
A creation of Fred and Friends, the iStuck Bubble Gum Phone Stand is designed to hold iPhones, Android phones and other personal devices at just the right angle for hands-free viewing of video and other content. It’s not actually gum, of course — rubber and plastic, rather — but it is self-stick and can be applied and removed again with ease. The iStuck stand measures 2.5 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter and is available at ThinkGeek. The best part of all? It’s “sugar-free and recommended by four out of five dentists,” Fred and Friends says.
Credit: Fred and Friends
Coming soon to a TV near you: ‘The Real Housewives of the Bible’
“The Real Housewives of the Bible,” a DVD series produced by web-based evangelist Ty Adams is set to be released later this month.
The two-part series is inspired by the hit Bravo reality TV show, “The Real Housewives,” which features women from different U.S. cities and their adventures in life, love and luxury shopping.
“I was frustrated with what I was seeing,” Adams told CNN. “A lot of society is looking toward programming to educate them on relationships and these shows haven’t effectively done that.”
Adams said she wanted to create something more wholesome that shows Christian teaching in everyday life and helps women in their relationships and marriages.
The six women in Adams’ series exhibit characteristics and are put in situations that will be familiar to audiences as women from the Bible.
If you were casting the show, what biblical characters would you like to see?
VATICAN CITY, 15 JUL 2011 (VIS) – Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. spoke yesterday of the Pope’s sadness and concern at the latest illegitimate episcopal ordination in China which, he said, damages “the unity of the universal Church”.
Yesterday at Shantou in the region of Guandong Fr. Joseph Huang Bingzhang was ordained a bishop without pontifical mandate. A similar episode took place on 29 June when Fr. Paul Lei Shiyin was ordained as bishop of Leshan. A number of bishops who are in communion with the Pope were obliged to attend yesterday’s ceremony.
Following the Leshan ordination, the Holy See released a declaration highlighting how a bishop ordained “without the papal mandate, and hence illegitimately, has no authority to govern the diocesan Catholic community, and the Holy See does not recognise him as the bishop of that diocese”.
OP/ VIS 20110715 (150)
“Humanae Vitae” Seen as Answer to Economic Crisis
Financial Woes Said to Spring From Denial of Human Dignity
ROME, JULY 13, 2011 (Zenit.org) – To stop the economic problems of the world, it’s not the instruments that must change, but the people who use them, says the president of the Vatican’s Institute for the Works of Religion.
Gotti Tedeschi made this claim Wednesday at a conference on “Consequences of the Economic Crisis,” held at the Italian embassy to the Holy See.
“Benedict XVI tells us that we must not blame the instruments when in reality we are the ones who used them badly,” Tedeschi said, commenting on “Caritas in Veritate.” “It is not the instruments that must change, but man. Medicine, the economy, etc. are instruments; what makes them ethical or not is how man uses them.”
At “the origin of this crisis is not having respected wholly the life and dignity of man (‘Humanae Vitae’), and the type of progress that many must follow, an ideal progress (‘Populorum Progressio’),” he proposed.
In other words, the crisis was born from the gradual loss of awareness of the dignity of the human person, which in the end is reduced to one problem: “Is man a child of God or the evolution of a bacteria?” Tedeschi asked. “And if the end justifies the means then, consequently, life has no meaning. The difference lies in the fact that, in the secular vision, life does not have a supernatural” dimension.
He considered how the wager was “on the growth of the GNP in a consumerist way, namely, with the reduction of births.”
This has resulted in the rapid growth of the number of elderly, who thus “cannot be endured from the economic point of view.”
Rules or people
The vice president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Maurizio Lupi, stressed that the crisis is yet to be surmounted; hence, it is appropriate to ask: “What is the judgment on our responsibilities.”
The “Pope states that our weakness is not pausing to judge, when judgment is what enables us not to be removed from reality,” he said.
In “Caritas in Veritate,” the Pope destroyed that concept that for years spread in the West on the ethical neutrality of the economy, because man must be the central figure, Lupi affirmed.
He also suggested that the solution is not in bigger government.
“More rules, more state and less market” is a temptation to resist, Lupi stated, “especially if we understand that it is the person who is able to come out of the crisis. The problem is not to add more rules but to elicit the best from the person.”
To illustrate his point, he offered the example of two businessmen in north Italy who received compensation for a natural calamity that destroyed their businesses. The older one received the funds and closed down, the younger one, instead, reopened. Lupi said that in the second case, the businessman chose to reopen because he was not just thinking of himself, but also of his family and the workers of his small village.
“The underlying challenge, therefore, is to reinforce the fundamental nucleus, the family,” he said. “Economic policies that ignore this divide the ethic of the economy. It is not a Catholic thesis, though we Catholics propose it forcefully.”
The Italian official also considered the educational challenge. It is not just a question of laws and economic aid, he suggested, but of having a proper concept of the person, the family and the business, elements that give life to the very foundation of action.
Happy Birthday Petfinder.com
July 15, 2011 12:50:00 PM
Petfinder.com, which is part of the Discovery family of websites, is celebrating its 15th birthday. I wanted to give a personal shout-out to the site, since I adopted my own dog, Leyla (above) two years ago using Petfinder.
Sifting through the website can be simulataneously pleasurable and heartbreaking. There are so many adorable animals out there, but they all need a home. I remember my own experience finding Leyla. As soon as I decided I wanted a dog, I visited the site frequently to look for dogs available in my area. Oddly enough, Leyla ultimately didn’t come from my region. Instead, I found her through a shelter in my area that works with shelters in the South, where animals are euthanized quickly.
Leyla was a stray and about three years old (we think). I have no idea what her backstory is or why she was lost. She had no tags, no chip and someone found her along a busy roadside, skinny and full of fleas. But when I saw her picture online, I could tell that she was a sweet dog. In the two photos posted, she looked relaxed and happy, her ears flopped forward and her tongue hanging happily out.
I filled out the paperwork and paid for her sight unseen. Volunteers drove her up from Alabama to New Hampshire (along with about 20 or so other dogs) and handed her off to me the day they arrived. Now we are good friends. She’s my companion and my friend and I would adopt again using Petfinder.
To celebrate their birthday, the website is holding an adoption event this weekend involving about 1,500 shelters across the country. And their goal in the next two days is to find homes for 15,000 pets. If you’re unable to rescue an animal, you can always donate $15 to the Petfinder.com Foundation (I just did), supports thousands of animal welfare organizations by providing direct funding, as well as training, education and grants of equipment and supplies.
The warm surf of La Jolla, Calif., isn’t a setting people associate with the Virgin Mary. But on many days, there is a surfer whose passion for the perfect wave is nothing compared to his head-over-heels love for the Holy Mother.
His name is Donald Calloway and he picked up surfing as a military brat bouncing around the United States and Japan.
He also picked up marijuana, heroin, LSD, shoplifting and money laundering for the Japanese mafia. By the age of 20, he had a rap sheet, a drug habit and serious thoughts of suicide.
“After having gone to two rehabs, been in jail, kicked out of a foreign country, I was at my crisis in life. … I picked up a book that my parents had on their bookshelf about the Virgin Mary,” Calloway said.
He devoured it, fascinated particularly by the story of villagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia, who said they saw Mary in all her supernatural beauty. About 200,000 people flooded the tiny town last week to mark the 30th anniversary of Mary’s first reported appearance.
“They claimed to see her, and they actually cried because she was so beautiful. … [When] I got up the next morning, I knew that I had to go talk to a Catholic priest, and I did,” he said.
“That began a radical change of life for me, a transformation. I cut my long hair, cleaned up my act and became what I am today.”
Today he is the Rev. Donald Calloway, the surfer priest.
Watch the full story on “Primetime Nightline: Beyond Belief — Miraculous Mysteries” July 13 at 10 p.m./9c on ABC
“When I paddle out, I say a Hail Mary,” he said. “On some of my boards, I actually have little sayings about her … to keep the sharks away.”
Ten years after he was ordained, he finally made the pilgrimage to Medjugorje, the place in his mother’s book. It is the biggest ongoing apparition site in the world: “Catholic Woodstock,” in Calloway’s words. In the past three decades, nearly 40 million people have come to experience the reported monthly apparitions of Mary to six residents.
The story is that almost 30 years ago, two teenagers named Mirjana and Ivanka — they are now 46 and 45, respectively — were on a rocky hill behind the village when Ivanka noticed a bright light and said, “Look, it’s Our Lady.”
Mirjana laughed. “I said to her, ‘Yes, sure,'” she said in an interview with “Nightline” anchor Bill Weir. “Blessed Mary have nothing else to do, and she comes to two of us.”
But then a boy herding goats joined them, and all three allegedly saw and heard something that would alter their lives, their village and the Catholic world forever.
“I saw in the middle of the hill, one lady in the long dress, with the little baby in the hands. … She present herself, she said, ‘My dear children, don’t be afraid of me, I am Queen of Peace,'” Mirjana said.
Three more kids eventually joined them, and in the following days the six would fall to their knees with eerie synchronicity, claiming to see the same 19-year-old dark-haired, blue-eyed woman. They said she was more beautiful than any human.
“We ask her childish question,” Mirjana recalled. “We ask her, ‘How is possible that you are so beautiful?’ And she smile and she said, ‘Because I love. If you want to be beautiful, love.'”
When the children told people in their village, there were doubters, including the local parish priest. He was upset that most of his congregation was skipping church to hike the hill, where believers had erected a cross.
The police for the Communist regime then governing Yugoslavia threatened to arrest those who climbed the hill. But every time they tore down the humble metal cross, someone would sneak back up in the middle of the night and replace it.
Are the ‘Visionaries’ Real?
The authorities were convinced the “visionaries” were part of some subversive plot, but the more they tried to suppress the story, the further it spread.
As support for the visionaries grew, the authorities tried to scare them into admitting it was all an elaborate lie, beginning a campaign of persecution.
“They were taken to the police, they were taken to the hospital, they were harassed, they were hunted for, they were given every hardship possible and they were willing to endure all that,” said the Rev. Svet, a priest from a nearby village who was studying in New York when he first heard about the apparitions.
Mirjana said, “I was thinking, ‘What they can do to me, kill me? I will go with Blessed Mary, forever.'”
Eventually, Mirjana and her family were forced out of Medjugorje, and she was placed in a school for troubled youth.
“They ask me, ‘What you taking? You have always peace and smile. Cocaine? Heroin?'” Mirjana said, laughing. “I said, ‘Jesus is my peace.'”
When the threat from the government faded with Communism’s collapse, Church politics took over. There were power plays between the local Franciscans and the Vatican’s bishop. Priests were punished for getting too close to the visionaries. The visionaries claimed Mary disagreed with the bishop.
Embarrassed by the turf wars, the Vatican stepped in last year. Pope Benedict XVI launched an unprecedented commission to look into Medjugorje. The process is highly confidential but Dr. Mark Miravalle, a leading Mariologist and Vatican insider who has investigated other apparition sites for the Church, thinks it’s likely it will pass the Vatican’s test.
“After 25 or 30 years … the church can have a pretty good idea about whether this is of God, or whether it’s of Satan. The message is very sound. The spiritual fruits are undeniable,” Miravalle said.
The vast majority of Medjugorje pilgrims report renewed relationships and profound experiences of grace, healing and blessing, he said.
The Vatican has never approved an ongoing apparition for fear that the visionaries might prove themselves frauds or insane.
But the Vatican hasn’t condemned it, either, so the faithful continue to come. Many believe that Mary called them through signs and miracles.
“I asked the Blessed Mother to show me a sign of whether I should come or not,” one woman said. “And my rosary turned gold, so I took that as a sure sign. … Well, it’s gold color anyway.”
Most rise before dawn to make the arduous hike up Apparition Hill. Each bears his or her own needs and burdens. To prove devotion and suffer in Christ’s name, some even go barefoot.
We traveled there with the Trinity Pilgrimages from Arizaon and it was a return trip for many. One pilgrim, Florita Gutierrez, was here 21 years ago.
But this time she needs a miracle; she is battling Stage 4 cancer.
When she and the others reach the top, the spot where the visionaries say Mary first appeared, their praying and weeping fill the morning air.
“I do believe that the only one who can heal really is Jesus,” Gutierrez said. “But there are people … some are visionaries who can pray for you. And there will be results that you cannot imagine that will happen.”
If Medjugorje is the “Catholic Woodstock,” one of the favorite headliners is Vicka, another of the six visionaries who claim to see and talk to the Mother of Jesus. They claim Mary gave each of them a “specialty,” and Vicka is known as “The Healer.”
Vicka amid pilgrims
“Before Our Lady appears, I see a flash three times. That is a sign to me that she’s coming,” Vicka said.
“She wears a gray robe or dress, white veil, crown of stars, blue eyes, black hair, rosy cheeks, and she’s flowing on a great cloud in the air, and she’s never touching the ground.”
Three days a week, the sick, the frail and their loved ones crowd her street, hoping for a glimpse, a word or, best of all, a touch. For three hours Vicka, 46, tirelessly attends to the pilgrims, and her handlers collect piles of prayer requests.
Florita Gutierrez is hoping that here is where her cancer will disappear.
To see if Gutierrez’s prayers for healing were answered by Mary through Vicka, watch the full story on “Primetime Nightline: Beyond Belief — Miraculous Mysteries” July 13 at 10 p.m./9c on ABC
Giant Underwater Volcanoes Discovered
July 13, 2011 3:30:00 AM
In the first ever-survey of its kind, a chain of massive volcanoes that rise up to 1.86 miles were discovered lurking beneath Antarctic waters near the South Sandwich Islands in the remote Atlantic Ocean.
Captain Cook discovered the rugged islands in 1775 and wrote of the number of active volcanic islands peeking and erupting above the sea. “But the seafloor was completely unknown. It’s never been surveyed at all,” said Phil Leats of the British Antarctic Survey who led the new efforts.
“We mapped in great detail the area of the seafloor around these islands,” he said.
The expedition’s shipboard sonar scans reveal twelve new undersea volcanoes, some rising nearly two miles from the seafloor. Several of them have clearly been active in recent times. Others have collapsed, forming huge craters some three miles across.
“These are massive mountains on the seafloor,” Leats said.
Given the presence of known volcanoes nearby, “It’s not surprising, but it’s very interesting,” said Ian Dalziel of the University of Texas at Austin.
The volcanoes are a result of the South American continental plate sliding under the South Sandwich plate to the east, carrying water down into the deep interior of the earth. The water escapes upward, ultimately leading to eruptions of molten rock.
Strings of these volcanoes tend to occur in a line parallel to the plate boundary. They represent new continental crust that will grow, with more emerging from the sea over time, and one day smash into another continent.
“We have GPS data to show that the South Sandwich Islands are moving east very fast indeed with respect to Africa,” Dalziel said. “It’s a very active system.”
The findings are exciting for geologists who hope to learn more about underwater eruptions and how new continental crust forms, but they are also a trove of discovery for biologists, because the vents of hot water spewing from the ocean floor create a novel environment for life.
“We know there’s a whole different ecosystem of new life forms that exist around those hot areas,” Leat said.
The findings also raise awareness of a hazard to humans. Such volcanoes often have unstable slopes, and if the entire side becomes unstable it can slip down in a sudden rush, generating a tsunami.
“This is quite well known,” Leat said “Clearly this has happened in this area. We can see the scars. We can see the quite large slump deposits, which must have caused quite large tsunamis, so clearly it’s an area where this kind of hazard does exist.”
As remote as the South Sandwich Islands may be, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami showed that tsunamis can have devastating consequences great distances away from their origins. The west coast of Africa would be particularly vulnerable to a tsunami triggered by the newly found volcanoes, Dalziel said.