Extreme Pumpkins And Other Halloween Oddities

Halloween is upon us once again.

Three random links for your viewing pleasure:

* Extreme Pumpkins shows us the pumpkins that deep-down inside we’ve always wanted to carve…

* In a true story, a tough sailor saves his crew by killing a 600 pound shark in 1-1 combat.

* The Home Star Runner Halloween series:
   2000: The HomeStarLoween Party
   2001: The House That Gave Sucky Treats
   2002: A Pumpakin Carve-nival
   2003: 3 Times Halloween Fun-job!

Time on “The Religious Superiority Complex”

Time magazine has an interesting article on the idea that one’s religion is better than another’s. The author paints a more nuanced picture than you might guess based on the title.

As a devout believer, Boykin may also wonder why it is impermissible to say that the God you believe in is superior to the God you don’t believe in. I wonder this same thing as a nonbeliever: Doesn’t one religion’s gospel logically preclude the others’? (Except, of course, where they overlap with universal precepts, such as not murdering people, that even we nonbelievers can wrap our heads around.) Although Boykin’s version of Christianity seems less like monotheism than the star of a high school polytheism tournament, his basic point is that Christianity is right and Islam is wrong. Doesn’t the one imply the other? Pretending that my religion is no better than your religion may make for fewer religious wars, but it seems contrary to the very idea of religion. For this, you take a leap of faith?

Read The Religious Superiority Complex (check out Christianity Today’s weblog for related info).

Shaowei’s Talk on Science and Religion

Shaowei’s talk on the relationship between science and religion went really well last night.

Around 55 people showed up in the Okada Tea Room and listened intently as Shaowei laid out his thoughts for them.

Shaowei did a great job, and I saw several people engaged in very serious discussion afterwards (Shaowei got them thinking in a major way).

Woohoo!

Shaowei’s talk was inspired by a paper he wrote for one of his classes and has put on his website: Is There Room For God in Science?

He even has a section of his website devoted to Chi Alpha. Aww…

Searching the Net More Efficiently

I just ran across a cool site: KwMap. In their own words KwMap.com is a complex keyword refining tool, aiming to help you discover new keywords. It is a fact that search engines can only help you in finding something if you know the right keywords.

The results look pretty neat. Here’s a search on Stanford and here’s one on Chi Alpha.

If you prefer a more timely search, here’s one on Iraq.

Textbooks Too Expensive?

The New York Times just ran an interesting article about how the same textbooks you’re using at Stanford sell for half as much overseas. As a result, some students have started ordering their textbooks from England (or even Singapore) and having them shipped here.

Many students, individually, have begun to compare the textbook prices posted on American sites like Amazon.com, with the lower prices for the same books on foreign sites like Amazon.co.uk.

The differences are often significant: “Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, Third Edition,” for example, lists for $146.15 on the American Amazon site, but can be had for $63.48, plus $8.05 shipping, from the British one. And “Linear System Theory and Design, Third Edition” is $110 in the United States, but $41.76, or $49.81 with shipping, in Britain.

Read the whole story.