religion

Papal Infallibility

15 years ago, the church apologised for the trial of Galileo. This in itself should have given the hint that Papal infallibility isn't what it was.

The current Pope has just gone back on that, saying the trial was 'reasonable and just'.

It's a Papal showdown!

Both Popes can't be right (you can't apologise if you've done nothing wrong, and you can't have done something wrong if your action was reasonable and just)... yet, both are infallible.

Does not compute.... warning... error.... *BAA-boooom!*

The Pope is Dead

So, the Pope is dead. After what seemed a distasteful age of the media saying, 'no, not dead yet'. There will be certain rituals to follow.

The Pope was the first non-Italian pope in some 450 years, and 15 days from now the cardinals can sit to elect a new pope.

I have it in my head that it would be nice to see an African Cardinal elected, though I doubt this will happen. I do hope that the new Pope is not Italian again.

The rules for electing a new Pope vary slightly each time, each Pope makes modifications to the rules.

As I understand it (I'm not catholic, or religious in any way), the cardinals must sit between 15 and 19 days time. There is an upper age limit on the cardinals that have a vote, and a maximum of 120 can sit.

They sit behind closed doors and write the name of their nominee on a slip of paper. When each cardinal does this the votes are counted, should the number of votes differ from the number of cardinals the votes are immediately destroyed and the ballot is redone at once.

Four ballots are done a day until a Pope is elected with a two thirds majority. When the ballot is counted, the papers are burned and a chemical added to make the smoke black or white.

If the smoke is white, the new Pope is elected, and the Cardinals put aside their differences (on paper!)

After a certain time has elapsed, the Cardinals will be able to change to simple majority voting should they not be able to come to a 2/3rd decision.

Correction: Ballots are twice a day

Second Correction: Ballots are four times a day, but the papers are burned twice a day.

The End of Enlightenment

Antipixel has a nice little post about why the world is concerned about the USA. Some of the comments are worth a read.

Whilst I'm posting, my apologies for the short posts. As of the middle of last week my main machine has gone ker-pluie. It won't be back in action for at least 24 hrs.

I'm currently posting on my old ibook. I've lost familiarity with it so things are a little bit of a hassle. As a result I'm trying to have a fairly computer free weekend and have managed pretty well. Yesterday was spent at work in the morning, doing paperwork in the afternoon, and at a fireworks display in the evening. Today was paperwork with a bit of a stargate-fest in the background.

Fairly well....? Aaarrghhh! Withdrawal symptoms are setting in! I want my main computer back!

The Calendar

At the moment I am reading The Calendar by David Ewing Duncan. This is a nice little book which covers the history of the calendar. Its brief takes us from carving notches on bones to count the days between full moons to trying to establish a true length for the year (and prevent the calendar drifting compared to the seasons).

The book encompasses science (astronomical measures), maths (being able to specify fractions of a day), religion (the date of easter) and history. It seamlessly takes us on a chronological journey through the ages.

I like cross-curricular books, my favourite books tend to be those which span subjects, as there is something familiar to take us on into the unknown. Also one can spot how one discipline feeds off another, other books of this ilk include Dava Sobel's "Longitude" and William Poundstone's "The Prisoner's Dilemma".

The closest I can find for Amazon.com users is a similar book by the same author. "Longitude" and "The Prisoner's Dilemma" are available in the US.