Monday, October 15, 2007

Church of England Newspaper September 2007

I write a regular column in the Church of England newspaper about web-sites that may be of interest to their readers. Each month they allow me to archive the previous month's article. So here it is:

It’s a new term and maybe a new start for you or a member of your family at university. Who can help? Fusion are ‘passionate about student mission.’ UCCF work through Christian Unions to make disciples of Jesus Christ. In the unique atmosphere of faith encountering problems of medical ethics the Christian Medical Fellowship pages for students might provide specific help. There is a tidy little article, with links, on how to plan your finances, at the BBC web-site.

The internet is changing the way news stories become popular. Sites such as Digg, a news accumulation service, collect stories or clips and prioritise them based on how often they are viewed or read.

Flickrvision enables you to sample the world. All over our globe people are sharing photos. This site displays a selection, randomly, as they are uploaded. I saw instant images from Chinese cyclists, USA waiters, Dutch tennis players and from 30,000 feet over London, all in the space of one minute and within two minutes of their being posted. It’s a weird and wonderful world out there.

There is an opposite. When organisations leak it is usually a bad thing. Trust has been breached. But there are occasions when oppression stops people breaking news to the wider world that it really ought to know. Wikileaks will help, a place ‘...where you can safely and anonymously upload documents for analysis and dissemination. We accept any previously unpublished documents that reveal corruption or injustice in governments, corporations or other institutions.’

A further view of the world is provided by artist/photographer Chris Jordan. His exhibition Portrait of American Mass Consumption is beautiful but worrying.

Bat trouble? Try baptising and confirming them; you’ll never see them again. (I know that’s an old one.) Failing that the Bat Conservation Trust have an admirable site to help the uninitiated deal with what we can’t call infestation. Other pests? Waverley Borough Council have excellent guidance about removing feral pigeons (shooting’s too good for them would be my take, get a hawk) but for thorough advice you can’t beat Doyourownpestcontrol. They’ll help you shift every nuisance thing from bed bugs to wasps, apart from children.

Ever wondered how safe it was to eat out? Scoresonthedoors ‘ a national public information service where you can find the official local authority hygiene ratings for food businesses. Find out how hygienic and well-managed the food preparation at any of the 51,805 businesses listed here are, such as your favourite take-aways, clubs, pubs and restaurants.’ Be afraid.

Now some blogs which have entertained me this last month. Curious Girl is a ‘...liberal Christian Agnostic Universalist.’ She explains, ‘...meaning that I don't think I believe in God but if I do, he's nice. And it certainly explains why Jesus is so great.’ Go and listen and see how you would respond. Madpriest blogs at Of course, I could be wrong... trying to help us make sense of what he calls a ‘mixed up, muddled up, shook up world.’ Madpriest is from Newcastle which is a great place for many things but one of them isn’t getting an accurate perspective on craziness, I found. Raspberry Rabbit is a Scottish Episcopal Priest with a wonderful jumble of links and ideas. I particulary enjoyed some great bass playing and bad obituary poetry. Verse three of a four verse limerick goes:

‘Did anyone know Alvin Fetter,
the inveterate drunkard and debtor.
His family's bereft
but a few things are left.
If he owed you please send us a letter.’

Cosmo, a Salvationist, blogs at Views from a Coffeehouse on, ‘Encounters with people, places, books, life and faith over a regular latte.’ Steve Humphreys, a self-depicted work-in-progress from Southampton has a blog called This is Steve. You’ll find thoughtful stuff there about friendship, enemies and work/life balance. Brother I want your URL. By the way lots of people ask me and it stands for Uniform Resource Locator – a world wide web unique address. You can find out other web related definitions at Webopedia.

All getting a bit nerdy this month? The antidote is possibly Emma’s Spraff. In a recent seminar I said that ‘car’ on a shopping list was a category error. Not for Emma it isn’t. You’ll have to visit to find out what ‘spraff’ means though.

Last month’s column is on my blog Mustard Seed Shavings together with a load of links, thoughts and rants to entertain and keep the traffic flowing.

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