Saturday, May 28, 2005

Who Was That Vermilion Monkey?

Just a followup to my Scopes trial post from May 25:

Today the Boston Globe ran an editorial on stemming the evolution of intelligent design. Like killer bees, the anti-evolutionists are coming closer. The Globe writes that "The theory is itself spreading like an evolving virus" and urge informed voters to run the bums out of town.

At the same time, in India, a monkey appeared at a Hindu temple, and completely followed protocol by praying with folded hands then putting vermilion on its forehead.

I reported earlier that zoo attendance went up 50% after the Scopes trial, and I wondered if church attendance would go up similarly after a new trial by the anti-evolutionists. However, now I realize that temple attendance is rising, driven by potential zoo inhabitants.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

This Day in History: Scopes Indicted

From the "Eighty Years Later, The Debate Goes On" file:

On May 25, 1925, John T. Scopes was indicted in Tennessee for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.

Let's Light a Fire Under Someone
Early in 1925, Tennessee had passed legislation forbidding the teaching of evolution.

In his book Summer For The Gods, Edward Larsen recounts that the local head of the Cumberland Coal and Iron Co., George Rappalyea, didn't like a new Tennesee law . Rappalyea instigated the search for a teacher who would agree to go to court. Scopes, a substitute biology teacher, was their man.

According to the New York Times, the indictment stated that Scopes taught "certain theory and theories that deny the story of Divine creation of man as taught in the Bible and did teach thereof that man descended from a lower order of animals."

Honey, Do I Look Like That?
Jeffery Moran, in his book The Scopes Trial: A Brief History With Documents, notes that after the indictment, zoos in the south saw a 50% increase in attendence.

Trial of the Century
William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow were the lawyers at this "trial of the century." Bryan, as prosecuting attorney poked fun at the theory of evolution, noting that the theory had man descending,

"not even from American monkeys, but from old world monkeys. (Laughter.)"(From the trial transcript)

On the 7th Day...
...the trial ended with a guilty verdict; Bryan had lost. Six days after that, Bryan died "not of a broken heart, but of a busted belly," according to Darrow.

Now what?
When the intelligent designers, in their infinite wisdom, bring this issue to trial again, will churches see a 50% rise in attendance?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Automatic Documentation of XML Schemas

For those who are using XML, using schemas instead of DTDs with the XML, and need to document the schemas for humans, xsddoc might be just the thing. Got this from a Core Dump entry. Keith got it from the Software Documentation Weblog.

xsddoc is an open source project and the authors describe the output as "JavaDoc like."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Rock the Torah!

A story in the Boston Globe today caught my eye: "My big fat American bar mitzvah," written by Mark Oppenheimer, who has a book just published about bar and bat mitzvahs in America.

The Jewish celebration was on my mind. Yesterday I had a conversation with some friends about a bar mitzvah celebration they will be attending. The day will start seriously enough: the Torah recitation, "Today I am a man," speech, and tasteful reception. But the day will end with a dinner and dance cruise around the harbor, hosted by the parents.

So when I read Oppenheimer's piece, stating that bar and bat mitzvah celebrations are getting bigger and more expensive, I nodded knowingly, something I do often when reading the Sunday paper over coffee. However, I did manage to restrain myself from exclaiming "Oy!"

Other gentiles are not showing such restraint. With all the Mitzvah Envy going around (not surprising in our country's continuing theme of lavish spending), it appears that some gentiles are feeling the need to keep up with the Cohens. Non-Jewish teenagers are feeling left out of party and are getting their parents to host faux-mitzvahs.

Oppenheimer concludes that bigger is not necessarily better, but it is also not necessarily bad. Religious commitment is not inversely proportional to the cost of the party (I gather this does hold true for the faux-mitzvahs). Better to spend money on celebrations of youth and accomplishment than flat-screen TVs.

According to the Globe, Mark Oppenheimer edits the New Haven Advocate and wrote ''Thirteen and a Day: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Across America," published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Also see "Bar Mitzvah Madness" in Slate magazine