05/02/14 Anti-terrorism, links, novel progress #48
05/02/06 The Holy blood, holy grail thing; links; tarot progress #4
Passed the final exam for the post-doctoral IT auditing course, so the thesis thing is finally over.
This is one of the weirder stories to come around lately. A man without real credentials in journalism gets access to White House press conferences, is being used to ask questions that make the powers-that-be look good, and is given access to highly confidential information. And then it turns out that this same man has been selling his services as an escort over the Internet for years, something that should have come up in any competently performed security check. Not that there's anything wrong with being an escort - as long as you're of legal age and doing it out of your own free will - but, hell, the White House isn't known for its broadmindedness when this kind of thing is concerned.
The Guardian: A hireling, a fraud and a prostitute
Americablog: A man called Jeff
Rigorous intuition: Stirring the White House honey pot
One of the leading lights of the Renaissance.
Progetto Pico / Pico project
It's all about the links.
The Register: Interview with a link spammer
From the blog backlog. Minimalistic but nice.
And another one. Longer, introspective pieces.
Some public debate about the government's newest anti-terrorism measures. There doesn't seem to be any significant resistance in Parliament, but some senior members of the legal profession are less than happy.
The most important measures are:
The above is based on an article in NRC Handelsblad. (Any mistakes are my own.) More information (in Dutch) can be found on NRC's website:
A couple of things worry me about this:
More Dutch politics and current events:
Dutch politics in 2005
Information wants to be free
Public Library of Science
Forget about passwords.
Robert Hensing: Why you shouldn't be using passwords of any kind on your Windows networks...
Activism, Swedish style.
Johan Norberg: GlobLog
Stuff they didn't teach you in school.
Alpheus: Esoteric history
She's an original.
Natalie Dee: Drawings to huff by
One new episode in the past week, 640 new words, 65,064 words total.
Introduction and start of part 3
After the war (96)
Modern myth is an interest of mine. Feel free to scroll down to the links if the subject isn't your cup of tea (probably not the best choice of words, considering the subject).
One of the claims made about "prince Michael of Albany" (see last week's Unrelated linkage) is that he's a descendant of Christ. In its modern form, this idea seems to originate with the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, who claimed that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children whose descendants included the Merovingian rulers of France. In a more general sense, myths about mortal rulers being descended from, married to or chosen by divine beings can be found all through history in cultures all over the world.
I'm puzzled how anyone can take this bit of kingship myth literally. I mean, let's suppose that, yes, Jesus existed as a historical person and, yes, he did leave offspring. In that case the most plausible scenario would seem to be that, in the 70-odd generations that separate us from him, his genes would have nicely mixed into the general gene pool, leaving him with a very large number of current-day descendants indeed.
Another thing that bothers me is that, although in the Gospels Jesus' descent from several great figures in Jewish history is mentioned, there is little to no indication that Jesus himself thought that his bloodline was in any way significant. From what we read in the scriptures, canonical and apocryphal, it appears that he considered his relationship with the Father to be a one-off event, not a genetic mutation that would somehow be inherited by his children. Then again, in kingship myth it's far from unusual to see pre-existing beliefs and myths twisted to fit the purpose of legitimising some ruler's, or would-be ruler's, claim to power.
All in all, the whole Holy Blood, Holy Grail thing seems to be an interesting bit of modern myth, but nothing more.
The inside story.
HRC: The Woodward and Bernstein Watergate papers
A Renaissance gem.
The Masons can't be blamed for everything.
Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon: Anti-masonry FAQ
They don't make them the way they used to.
K5: Useful dead technologies
Good writer, though.
First attempt at IV The Emperor.
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