A prophecy from Jonah’s Ark?

Growing up, people would often ask me why I listened to metal—wasn’t it filled with evil lyrics and violence? No, not all of it.

Listening to metal exposed me at an influential age to a wide range of views and opinions, many of which touched me. Megadeth sang about the pain of losing someone close to you (“In My Darkest Hour”), Testament sang about the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre (“Seven Days in May”). But consistently Martin Walkyier-era Skyclad sang about the urgent need to look after the earth.

I know that it was easy for some of my Christian friends to dismiss Skyclad out of hand because they marketed themselves as a pagan folk metal band. But I always felt that they spoke about the earth and nature with such love and respect that it influenced how I thought and treated this remarkable rock on which we live, spinning around our nearest star. Perhaps not enough, though.

During one of the hottest weeks I’ve ever known in Scotland, I was in the car the other day – I know! but the supermarket is too far away to walk to, especially with my poor health – listening to Skyclad’s 1993 album, Jonah’s Ark when the song “Tunnel visionaries” started.

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Hope in bad times

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

I loved this quotation from American historian Howard Zinn that I read in James Clear‘s latest email newsletter, “3-2-1”.

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

Howard Zinn—You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History (2018)

Chrome, Firefox and Edge extensions for the SEC digital calendar

Chrome extension to display the current Scottish Episcopal Church feast day information in a popup window

This weekend’s coding challenege was to create a simple Chrome browser extension that would enable me to click a button to display the SEC Digital Calendar website in a popup window on the toolbar.

Update: the browser extension / add-on is now available for Google Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

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How to check for inclusivity biases in Microsoft Word

Did you know that Microsoft Word in Microsoft 365 can check for the following inclusivity biases?

  • Age bias
  • Cultural bias
  • Ethnic slurs
  • Gender bias
  • Gender-neutral pronouns
  • Gender-specific language
  • Racial bias
  • Sexual orientation bias
  • Socioeconomic bias

Here is how to activate these settings.

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