Archives June 2003

A visionary community

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

[Based on a d’var Torah given by Jennifer Gordon at Kadimah-Toras Moshe Synagogue, at seudah slishit, on June 28, 2003.]

In Parshat Shelach, which we read on Saturday, there’s the story of the arrest and execution of the man who gathered sticks on Shabbat (Numbers 15:32–36). Immediately after that story, there’s the commandment of ...

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Manna for something and the fish for free

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

In this week’s Torah reading, the Israelites complain about not having meat. Then they go on to reminisce about fish, cucumbers, leeks, onions, and garlic (Numbers 11:4–5). What do they really want here? The passage continues with a description of how the manna was gathered, prepared, and eaten (11:7–8). Why is that description ...

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A tough cell

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

One of the dirty secrets of the computer-science world is that spreadsheet programs, from Visicalc to Excel, are actually programming languages, even though the program code, input, and output are intermingled and smeared out over two dimensions. And where you have programs, you have bugs:

There is a substantial body of research showing that spreadsheets ...

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A note regarding the nazirite

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Last week’s Torah reading had the laws regarding the “nazirite”, one who swears off wine and haircuts (Numbers 6:1–21), and the Haftorah was about Samson, the most famous nazirite in the Bible (Judges 13). However, the Torah reading and the Haftorah reading are not really talking about the same kind of person. In the ...

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Free markets for me, but not for thee

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Teachers are not overpaid. Meghan Keane, Michael Podgursky, and Richard Vedder say so. How do they know this? Because if you divide teachers’ annual salary by the number of hours they are contractually obliged to work in a year, assuming they spend none of their own time grading papers and none of their own money ...

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Brothers under the septum

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Erin Aubry Kaplan, a black essayist in Salon, reports with trepidation on a new study: “Rhinoplasty in the African-American Patient”.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Rod Rohrich, chief of plastic surgery at the University of Texas in Dallas … sees plastic surgery not as a tool of black assimilation—that’s old school—but as a ...

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A cynic’s guide to the peace process

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

The much-vaunted “roadmap” to peace in the Middle East is less than a month old, and judging from recent news,, it’s already headed down the same road as the Tenet work plan and the Mitchell Report.

It’s easy to get depressed by all this, but only if you start from the assumption that the “peace ...

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Testing, ping, ping, ping

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Yet another test to see if I have autotrack set up correctly on this blog.

Write once, debug everywhere

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

If you’re installing Java on a system running some variety of Linux other than Red Hat, make sure you have installed whatever package includes the libstdc++-libc6.1-1.so.2 shared object file; this is a library that allows C++ code that was compiled with an earlier version of the GNU C++ compiler run on ...

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