Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   function for religion
Monday, June 30 2014
The capture of Oscar the Cat gave Gretchen and me new hope that perhaps the three-legged cat is also hiding out at a neighbor's house. Yesterday, Gretchen had set a live-capture trap behind our downhill neighbors' garage in hopes that perhaps she was hiding out down there (it's the closest house in the direction she ran when she escaped into the forest). Our uphill neighbors ("the Greenhouses") have two live-capture traps, and I'd set the second one behind the shed where we'd caught Oscar (on the off-chance that the two cats had found each other in the wild and were living together in the outbuildings at the Greenhouses' compound). This morning, I checked both traps, but of course they were both empty. Later in the day, I made a flyer to put in the mailboxes of people living at the bottom of Dug Hill Road. I didn't have a good picture of the three-legged cat, and I had to reconstruct a photographically-missing left ear in Photoshop using a mirror image of the right ear.

I'm mostly done with the job I do with Mike, my colleague out in California, so I've turned my attention back to the complex Lightroom-interfacing web app I've been working on since last autumn. This morning I was hurriedly adding a rather complicated new feature in anticipation of a meeting with the client (it would end up being postponed) when the news came in of the pair of truly horrible Supreme Court decisions history will remember as having been filed on this day. One was further progress on the conservative dream of one day interpreting the Constitution as prohibiting labor unions and the other, which was eagerly anticipated, granted corporations the ability to not obey laws that violate whatever they say are the tenets of their religion. That second one was the so-called Hobby Lobby case, named after a privately-held company that sued the Obama administration in hopes of not having to include certain forms of birth control mandate under Obamacare. In reading about the decision, I was struck by how arbitrary and disconnected it was from any sort of consistent, logical underpinning, a feature that had some court watchers comparing it to the similarly-unprincipled Bush vs. Gore decision. Any time the Supreme Court claims that its decision isn't intended to set precedent, you can be sure the ruling was entirely ideological. In the Hobby Lobby case, the court said that corporations can be said to have a religion, but (for now at least) this ability was only extended to "closely-held" corporations. Furthermore, though some religions have objections to medical practices such as blood transfusion, the prescription of antidepressants, the giving of vaccines, and (in some cases) any form of treatment beyond prayer, this decision claimed that it applied only to objections to birth control. But the court also decided that scientific arguments against Hobby Lobby's objections were irrelevant because the objections were religious in nature. We're left concluding that the court now believes:

  1. Corporations can have religious beliefs.
  2. They can ignore laws based on those beliefs.
  3. But only if they are "closely-held" corporations.
  4. And only if the religious beliefs are regarding birth control.
We could be exclused for being left with the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't see a function for religion outside being creepily paternalistic to female employees.

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