Saturday, December 25, 2010

Replicators replicated?

Dinner is a snap, with your new 3D food “printer.” Load raw food “inks” into the syringes, download a recipe, change the settings to suit your taste, and “print” a 3D meal. According to scientists at the Cornell University Computational Synthesis Lab, their food printers will one day be as common as microwaves and blenders. They currently make decent cookies and turkey domes, but the Star Trek “replicator” (just ask the computer for any meal, and it creates it, on the spot) is one step closer to reality.

Read more, including a sushi chef that already uses a 3D food printer, at So May We Be.

Friday, December 24, 2010

nativity story 2010

“Attention, shoppers! We bring you good tidings of great joy! A baby has just been born, in the bathroom at the front of the store. If you’d like to purchase a gift for this new family, our infant supplies are in aisles 17 and 18. There is a 10% discount on diapers, if you buy a case. Thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart.”

At first, I didn’t believe the announcement. In fact, I thought it a bit crass, and disrespectful. I heard others around me dismissing it, too—“blatant manipulation” one person said, while others just laughed it off.

But I couldn’t let it go. Something inside me told me it was real—and furthermore, that this child was somehow special. Once I was checked out (I did *not* buy a case of diapers), I took a detour past the bathrooms where the birth had supposedly taken place. There was a small pile of diaper boxes, and some toys and clothes and formula, on the bench outside. The store’s security guard was standing watch over the whole process, and he said I could go on in—nobody was inside except the new family. He said he’d watch my cart...

The story continues at So May We Be.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

calling directions, December 2010

A chill wind blasts through us;
we tremble, at its cold and at its power.
Nature has a terrible beauty:
often cruel, yet sublimely, riotously gorgeous…

The December wind blows
and we tremble, in cold and in awe.
We invite the powers of the East, the Spirit of Wind,
to join us, as we gather this morning.

The Yule Log crackles and blazes;
candles dance on menorahs and kinaras;
strings of lights festoon eaves and bushes.
We invite the powers of the South, the Spirit of Fire,
to join us this morning.

Snowflakes melt on our tongues;
icicles drip and fishers cut holes to access the living waters.
We invite the powers of the West, the Spirit of Water,
to join us, to flow with us.

December earth is like iron,
holding us, grounding us, in the still clarity of winter.
We invite the powers of the North, the Spirit of Earth,
to join us, now.

We open ourselves to these spirits and each other;
appropriately, respectfully;
with humility, integrity and real passion
we invite our better selves–
dancing sparkles of the evolving Spirit of Life–
into this sacred space of covenantal community.

So may we be.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

pools of sorrow, waves of joy

In honor of John Lennon's life, ended 30 years ago today, here is a recent worship service based on the life and wisdom of John and his mates, entitled Pools of Sorrow, Waves of Joy

Friday, December 03, 2010

evolving alien life on earth

Arsenic-eating microbes–unlike any other lifeforms on earth–show that Life is even more tenacious and inventive than we thought. When scientists starved the GFAJ-1 microbe of phosphorus, introducing the chemically-similar arsenic, the microbe adapted itself, incorporating arsenate into its cellular structure–including its DNA.

Felisa Wolfe-Simon and fellow researchers began working on the GFAJ-1 microbe (of the Halomonadaceae family) because it thrived in the toxically-salty Mono Lake, in California. All life on earth uses the same six elements–including phosphorus. So this microbe is truly an alien lifeform. The experiment needs to be reproduced and verified, but if it holds, it shows that GFAJ-1 has “solved the challenge of being alive in a different way,” according to Wolfe-Simon, in this Wired article, “It isn’t about arsenic, and it isn’t about Mono Lake…There’s something fundamental about understanding the flexibility of life.”

Liberal religion has a long history of interpreting scientific breakthroughs, sometimes over-emphasizing or misunderstanding the actual implications. So I’ll join that bandwagon, in my post at So May We Be.