My new Apple Watch Sport 38mm

This my new Apple Watch Sport (38mm). It will come into its own when I’m out cycling, or on other occasions when whipping out the iPhone is inconvenient.

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I agree that the watch is a little bit overpriced, but this is Apple, and they know supply-and-demand!

Referral spam in Google Analytics

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Google Analytics suffers from referral spam. And Google have been aware of this for at least a couple of years:

I cannot believe that Google have allowed this situation to continue for so long, and exposing web-masters to potential cyber attack. Google, get your finger out!

My new Silva Expedition 15TDCL compass

I recently treated myself to a Silva Expedition 15TDCL compass (this is from the genuine Swedish Silva company and not a cheap version from the American Silva company).

My new Silva Expedition 15TD-CL compass.
My new Silva Expedition 15TD-CL compass.

The 15TDCL is a quality mirror spotting compass with magnetic declination adjustment and, as a bonus, incorporates a clinomoter (which I probably won’t use).

OK, I have plenty of electronic gadgets such as GPS units, smart phones and expedition watches which can show me location and/or direction. But I do sometimes miss the feel of paper maps and a traditional magnetic compass. This compass isn’t something I needed, but it was something I wanted. It makes a nice backup too in case the electronics stop working :)

Charlie Hebdo

These are great reads:

and

Shame on these PEN members. Freedom and reason rejected.

Jeff Coyne’s blog post cuts through the BS of certain PEN members. Roll of shame indeed.

Peter Carey
Michael Ondaatje
Francine Prose
Teju Cole
Rachel Kushner
Taiye Selasi

I have said, and will continue to state, that religion deserves no special privilege, and that it is a right for everyone to criticise religion, to mock it. Those who deny others this right deserve no respect.

Don’t forget the Hebdo victims. Don’t forget the monsters that carried out the massacre. Don’t forget those support the massacre. Don’t forget those that refuse to condemn the massacre.

At New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/27/nyregion/six-pen-members-decline-gala-after-award-for-charlie-hebdo.html

But Salman Rushdie, a former PEN president who lived in hiding for years after a fatwa in response to his novel “The Satanic Verses,” said the issues were perfectly clear. Mr. Ondaatje and Mr. Carey were old friends of his, he said, but they are “horribly wrong.”

“If PEN as a free speech organization can’t defend and celebrate people who have been murdered for drawing pictures, then frankly the organization is not worth the name,” Mr. Rushdie said. “What I would say to both Peter and Michael and the others is, I hope nobody ever comes after them.”

The origin and development of the Old Testament

I love how certain universities make available a number of free resources such as lectures. One resource, in particular, that I’ve really enjoyed has been Yale University’s “Introduction to the Old Testament” by Christine Hayes. There are many hours of video material from this introductory course, and I would recommend that these are augmented through further personal research.

The course description:

This course examines the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) as an expression of the religious life and thought of ancient Israel, and a foundational document of Western civilization. A wide range of methodologies, including source criticism and the historical-critical school, tradition criticism, redaction criticism, and literary and canonical approaches are applied to the study and interpretation of the Bible. Special emphasis is placed on the Bible against the backdrop of its historical and cultural setting in the Ancient Near East.

Fascinating stuff!

According to Wikipedia:

Christine Hayes is the Robert F. and Patricia Ross Weis Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and one of the foremost American academics focusing on talmudic-midrashic studies and Classical Judaica. She is also a specialist in the History and Literature of Judaism in Late Antiquity. Before her appointment at Yale, she served as the Assistant Professor of Hebrew Studies, Department of Near Eastern Studies, at Princeton University from 1993 to 1996. She has published several books and numerous articles in American and international academic journals, and has received academic accolades. Her class on the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) was selected for the pilot program of “Yale University Open Courses,”  and has subsequently been one of the most watched online courses about Classical Judaica.

Monks in Myanmar

Novice monks in Pindaya, Shan State, Myanmar (Burma). This place also had the biggest mosquitoes that I’ve ever seen; so big that I didn’t recognise the little blighters until they started biting and, by then, it was far too late to apply any insect repellent! Photo taken in December 2014.

Monks and smoke