Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Interesting Posts and Articles #319

  1. At the Seforim blog, Dr. Moshe Koppel talks about his recent paper which made news as 'proving' the authorship of the Bible.
    In what follows, I’ll briefly provide some background about authorship attribution research, sketch the method used in the paper, outline the main results and say a few words about what they mean. My main purpose is to explain what has actually been proved and, more crucially in this case, what has not been proved.
  2. Mystical Paths asks about the segulah of the burnt stones. It is fairly obviously superstition. But in the comment section, a commenter tells us more about it. An excerpt:
    From what I've found on the web, there are claims that this 7 herb mixture was used in ancient times by the High Priests to stop Mageifa. It is used in practical Kaballah these days specifically for clearing homes.

    Anyone wishing to delve further - the search to use in Hebrew is Taarovet Bachor, Lisrof, Tihur
    Read more there. I am reminded of Ibn Ezra on the healing ketores of parashas Korach, and whether it was the same as regular ketores. Perhaps more detailed analysis later.
  3. Rabbi Slifkin's summer lecture schedule. He is coming to Jamaica Estates, in Queens, and is running a Torah tour of the Bronx Zoo. The rest is still up in the air, so perhaps someone can get him for their shul?
  4. At the Jerusalem Post, the discovery of a Shabbat techum rock.
  5. Hirhurim on haskamas.
  6. Bad 4 Shidduchim comes up with the idea of a power stroller. The patent is already out there.
  7. Rabbi Salomon on 9/11 conspiracy theories.

  8. Little Green Footballs does not like that Republicans are trying to repeal the incandescent lightbulb (that is, regular lightbulb) ban. I am against the ban myself. I have seen CFL lightbulbs not work with dimmer switches; and people with specific medical conditions, such as minor brain damage, get headaches from these fluorescent lightbulbs. And I have had a bulb break on me, and what you are supposed to do to clean up is not trivial, and I can imagine many people will be harmed as a result. Forget price concerns, since even though they cost more up front, they cost less over the life of the product. (Though see what this reviewer wrote:
  9. We had replaced most of our bulbs around the house with fluorescent believing they were saving us money. As another reviewer said, they really don't in the long run because the "long life" they advertise is only if they were left on full time, not shut off daily like most household lights are! As these bulbs age, they become very dim, and we were tired of not being able to see as well in our house! We decided to go back to incandescent bulbs in some of the most important light fixtures so we can actually read the newspaper at night, so I ordered this case from Amazon. 
    But I don't think a ban is appropriate, or a good idea. I stocked up on drop-side cribs (for gifts, or if mine broke) when they banned the sale of new or used cribs. (Ones which are not properly assembled can harm. But meanwhile, short people will get back strain and their babies will wake up on being lowered over the side.) It might be a good idea to stock up on regular lightbulbs as well.
    See also the discussion at Fink or Swim.
  10. At Cracked, why psychics need to stop pretending they can solve crimes. Besides the article, they include this video about Sylvia Brown:

  11. Here on parshablog, Yocheved's mother, whose name was Otah.

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