Saturday, January 30, 2010

Facebook Friends

Is 150 the Limit?

How did I miss this story in The New Scientist, back in April 2008? This researcher posits that we can only maintain 150 relationships.

Frankly, I think that number may be a bit high. Or maybe I’m distinguishing “friendships” from “relationships.”

At any rate, I am now seeking gently to decline people who want to “friend” me on Facebook, if I don’t actually know them.

Here’s the story from The New Scientist:

Is 150 friends the human limit?

British anthropologist Robin Dunbar calculated in 1992 that the human brain's size should lead to our social groups naturally averaging at around 150. What does that mean in an era of online social networking, ponders one blogger.

One good point he makes is that we have always been capable of remembering many more contacts than that.

The tendency to converge on the 150 number is really a product of our not being able to maintain active relationships with more people than that, rather than a limit to our mental database of all possible contacts.

So do social networking sites and technologies that make it easier to communicate allow us to brush Dunbar's number aside?

According to the founder of Facebook, in this video, his site's users average number of friends is "like around 125 or 130 or so." He says the closeness of that figure and Dunbar's number is evidence Facebook friends are as valid as real-life ones. But you might expect him to say that.

As for the blogger I linked to above, he concludes that the technological future of socialising will in the end only change what we do as far as "Human Hardware" allows.

That seems sensible. Yet given the history of social diversity and upheaval in humanity's short history, those limits are not likely to be very tight.

That makes some sense to me.

On The Road

I've been mostly on the road this month. I've logged some 1,400 miles in all parts of the state. If you've been watching my blog, you know I love driving the open road. And I've had much of that.

I've been teaching workshops on preservation to archives and historical societies all over the state of Missouri. I didn't actually make them answer difficult questions. [But I love this little photo.]

I have enjoyed the road trips and the people I've met. Sorry I've neglected my blog. I hope I can get back to it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti Updates

Lauren Stanley is the Go-To Source

Like many of you, I have been following the news from Haiti over the past week. I care about the whole nation. But I especially care about the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti. As you may know, Haiti is the largest diocese in The Episcopal Church.

Want to hear all the news from the ground, as fast as it can be delivered? Then go to Lauren Stanley’s site. She’s well plugged in. Episcopal News Service is using her reports and perspectives. Mainstream news sources are quoting her. Trust Lauren to get you the news as soon as can be.

It’s probably no coincidence that, before Lauren was an Episcopal priest, she was a journalist. She still has a journalist’s tenacity about getting the news and distributing it as quickly as possible.

You should remember that Lauren is a TEC missioner to Haiti. As fate would have it, she was home in Virginia when the earthquakes struck Haiti. ... Personally, I was glad that she was safe at home, but I know she would rather have been with her brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Go there! Bookmark Lauren’s site for news.

Massachusetts Falls

And Health Care Reform Died Several Months Ago

By now, you will have heard that Massachusetts elected a Republican Senator for the first time since the 1950s. I wrote about this last night, when we saw this coming. I don’t often write about politics, but I can’t resist tonight. I ranted last night about what the pundits were saying. I’ll add this now.

Pundits are saying this is “the end of President Obama’s health care bill.” That is a lie!

President Obama’s bill died several months ago even before it went to the House, then it was skewered in the 2009 Senate, because President Obama never even lobbied hard – so far as I can tell – for his bill in Congress. He never fought for his vision of health care, and that’s when I began doubting my support for him. The skeleton that is now left in the Congress is nothing like Candidate Obama advocated during the election. Obama let the Congress fuck-over his dreams and wishes, as well as mine. What we have left is the viscera – something the turkey vultures might reject. When Obama failed to exercise leadership about health care is when I began doubting him.

Personally, I couldn’t care less about the purported “health care bill” that is now in Congress. It’s not Obama’s bill. It’s not a bill I would support. I couldn’t care less how Congress votes, nor how the new Senator from Massachusetts votes on it. Let him filibuster. Let him kiss-up to Lieberman. Let them butt-fuck the whole legislation. It no longer matters. Obama didn’t care enough to fight for the health care he promised in his candidacy. He let the whole Congress whore this legislation, and now the whole thing is pointless.

So much for “Got Hope.”

The remaining health care bill needs to be put out of its misery. If the new Senator from Massachusetts and the Whore of Connecticut team up to make that happen, so be it.

That’s what I say. Though all my favorite folks on MSNBC are saying the opposite.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Massachusetts & The Myth of 60 Votes

Does It Matter? or The Whore of Connecticut

For several days now, I have been listening to pundits talking about the Massachusetts Senate election. Both sides – Democrat and Republican – seem to be hysterical about the outcome of the Senate election. Both are saying this will be The Deciding Point in the Democrats’ 60-vote “filibuster-proof” majority.

Pshaw! Are all these media pundits asleep or just stupid??

The Democrats haven’t had a 60-vote majority since President Obama took office. Because one of those people counted among the 60 is the Whore of Connecticut, Joe Lieberman. He is not a Democrat, nor is he a progressive. He’s just a whore seeking to build his own influence. In fact, it’s easy to prove that he is the person most responsible for killing the move toward progressive health care. Why isn’t the media saying so?

Don’t be misled. The Dems have only had 59 votes. If Coakley loses, it will drop to 58. We have never had a “filibuster-proof” majority. Because Joe “Tokyo Rose” Lieberman has never been a friend of the progressives.

The result of the Massachusetts Senate race is much ado about nothing.

If they have any courage, the Democrats will kick Lieberman out of the caucus as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Please join me today in saying this prayer from our Book of Common Prayer:
Watch over thy child, O Lord, as her days increase; bless and guide her wherever she may be. Strengthen her when she stands; comfort her when discouraged or sorrowful; raise her up if she fall; and in her heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of her life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And let the people say, "Amen."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Loathe Winter

Today, our temperature managed to soar into the 20s. I've said it before; I confess I am a weather weenie. I would love to live in a place where I would forget what wool is.

This image is from FailBlog, from our friends at I Can Has Cheezburger. It speaks my mind.

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Godly Admonitions

Comedian Lynn Lavner’s observation puts things into proper perspective.

"There are 6 admonishments in the Bible concerning homosexual activity and our enemies are always throwing them up to us usually in a vicious way and very much out of context. What they don't want us to remember is that there are 362 admonishments in the Bible concerning heterosexual activity. I don't mean to imply by this that God doesn't love straight people, only that they seem to require a great deal more supervision."

Thanks to Wikipedia.

The Real, Working Beliefs of Episcopalians

I received this from a friend a while back. He described them as the real, working beliefs of most Episcopalians. I hope that’s not quite true, but they are pretty apt characterizations of the Episcopal Tribe.

This may have made the rounds already, but I think it's worth a chuckle.

  • Episcopalians occasionally believe in miracles and sometimes even expect them, particularly during stewardship canvasses, when electing bishops or rectors, or recruiting church school teachers.
  • Episcopalians believe in ecumenical dialogue because they are certain that after all is said and done, everyone else is bound to become Episcopalian.
  • Episcopalians strongly believe in Scripture, tradition and reason. While they aren't sure what they believe about these three things, there is almost universal agreement that that is hardly the point.
  • Episcopalians believe that everything in their life and faith is improved by the presence of good food and drink, not including lime-carrot Jell-O, tropical punch Kool-Aid, or canned tuna in any form.
  • Episcopalians believe that anything worth doing is especially worth doing if it has an obscure name attached to it (e.g., sexton, suffragan, canon, sacristan, verger, thurifer, etc.). By the bye, MS spell-checker doesn’t even have “thurifer” in its dictionary.
  • Likewise, Episcopalians believe that any place worth visiting is greatly enhanced by a name that only obliquely describes it (e.g., nave, narthex, sacristy, undercroft, chancel, etc.).
  • Episcopalians firmly believe that coffee hour is the eighth sacrament, but only if the coffee is caffeinated.
  • Episcopalians believe that anthems are most efficacious if sung in Latin or German, especially during Lent.
  • Some Episcopalians believe Rite I is the best expression of the liturgy. Some believe Rite II is better. Most Episcopalians haven't noticed the difference; they just hope the whole thing gets over before noon.
This cranky Episcopalian would add one more: Real Episcopalians eschew the “Merry Christmas” greeting during the time from Halloween to Christmas Eve, and will persist in saying “Merry Christmas” from Christmas to Epiphany.

What additions would you offer?

Snow Day

It’s Thursday, and I’ve had a glorious snow-day at home. [Thank you, State of Missouri, for invoking the Hazardous Travel Policy!] Yes, we got some of that snowstorm that’s bedeviling the U.S. east of the Rockies. Most of the cars on my street haven’t moved all day. Every school in the region is closed today, and many have already announced they’re staying closed tomorrow. Because it is utterly, unspeakably cold. We have been well below freezing for more days than I want to count. At the moment, we have a mere 11 degrees. Too cold for man nor beast, as they say . . .

It’s the kind of wintry day that begs for corned beef and all the fixin’s, and I put those in the crock pot this morning. Tonight, during the Texas-'Bama game, there will be corned beef, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage … Yum!

Through most of the day, I’ve been working on a couple of reports for the office. [Darn those dastardly weekly and annual reports! Grrrrrr….] But I’ve also gone through my “blog fodder” folder, and wanted to share a couple of light items I have intended to post.