Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Whatever happened to WIlliam Tang?

William Tang was the author of a number of successful early computer games including Hungry Horace and Horace Goes Skiing which were popular on the ZX Spectrum.

From his rather mysterious Wikipedia entry:
In 1985 the fourth title in the Horace series, Horace To The Rescue was announced. though this game never appeared. During the development of the game, Tang suffered a collapsed lung. There is no more current evidence of his involvement in any other titles after Asterix and the Magic Cauldron or any other information post 1985.
There are a number of William Tang's in Australia listed on LinkedIn, but none seem old enough to be him.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Complaining works (sometimes) - Phonepay Plus

A few months ago my son was charged for receiving a number of premium rate text messages after installing a mobile phone app that claimed to locate petrol stations. I tracked down the company involved and persevered in pursuing a refund of the £13.50. I also made a complaint to the regulator Phonepay Plus and received an email today telling me the company involved had been fined £40,000 after 200 complaints were received. They are also to issue refunds to anyone who requests one.

This shows that complaining can help other people as well as yourself.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lets do some empirical testing of prophecy.

Its not often we get the chance to really examine prophecy, but a well known Christian prophet called Sharon Stone has issued some predictions for 2013, the full text of which can be found here.

I am going to revisit this post in January 2014 to see how much of it has come true. Fortunately for Sharon, a lot of it is very vague or things that happen every year, but there are a few very specific things listed (my comments are in square brackets):

Significant media personalities and business leaders who are household names will find true radical conversion. They will not be silent but will use their notoriety to proclaim Jesus name boldly.  This will stir many Christians out of fear and apathy, into a boldness that they have lacked.
Solar storms will disrupt electronics on earth and satellites this season. [we should ignore this prophecy as this happens every year]. 
Earthquakes and eruptions will continue [which is rather like saying there will be a hurricane this year] and they will continue to change the axis of the earth. [the earth’s axis wobbles already, lets see if we get a noticeable shift that would make this prophecy worthwhile] 
Grain reserves will hit historic lows because of heat and droughts in US, Russia and Eastern Europe. [should be easy to measure this]

She also says:
The dollar is falling [actually it isn’t, it has been broadly stable for a few years - see this chart]
Given that she can't read the past history of the US exchange rate I doubt if she is going to be able to predict the future accurately, but we will see in 2014.

In a similar vein God TV is predicting a major revival to take place in Plymouth in October/November 2013. They are setting up a new church there from which this will happen and it seems they might try and resurrect Todd Bentley for that purpose. Bentley was recently refused entry to the UK.

The Home Office said:
We can confirm that Mr Bentley has been excluded from the UK. The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they are not conducive to the public good. Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who might seek to undermine our society.
Of course this all depends on how you define revival. if you mean, holding meetings attended by a few thousand people where they are induced into an altered state of consciousness and then persuaded their diseases are healed, confirm that on camera and are then never followed up then its probably easier to achieve than a revival where people repent of their evil ways and go out and serve the poor.

I will believe all of this when i see it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Atheist Church Coming to Edinburgh.

According to the Edinburgh Evening News the atheist church based in London will be having an outreach in Edinburgh.

Run by comedians, as an entertainment show, the atheist church has attracted big audiences in London. As founder Sanderson Jones says:

The idea was to build little communities so in that sense that’s what we’re doing with the assembly. We’re really keen on the community side as well, and have tea and cake afterwards, which is the best part of going to church anyway.

A large part of the appeal of any church is that it fills a community shaped hole in our modern, disconnected lives. The conventional church tries to redefine this as a “God shaped hole” and shoehorn itself into it. This doesn't really work as it produces conditional friendships based on a shared set of beliefs rather than the symbiotic relationships of a real community which relies on service.

This may be where the Atheist church eventually comes unstuck too. Conditional friendships and a conditional community based on a narrow range of shared beliefs and self reliance cannot produce a sustainable community. It will eventually fail - along with most religious movements.

Or it will flourish for a time, form committees and eventually die from atrophy....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How marriage has been redefined over the past 500 years.

Its interesting how marriage has been redefined a number of times in the past, not just in 2013 with our equal marriage legislation:

Prior to 1856 boys could get married at the age of 14 and girls at 12 (in Scotland at least).

Prior to 1907 a man could not marry his deceased wives sister. This was changed by the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act 1907.

Prior to 2006 (in Scotland) it was still possible to form a  marriage by "cohabitation with repute". Some of the rules for defining this in law were odd things like whether your clothes were washed together at the same time, whether you ate together etc.

Prior to 1967 in the USA interracial marriage was illegal in many states.

Prior to 1857 in England divorce was not commonly available. This was changed by the 1857 the Matrimonial Causes Act.

In 1836 the marriage laws in the UK were changed to allow non religious marriages in registry offices.

In any case, prior to 1560 (in Scotland) it was almost unheard of for people to get married formally in church unless they were people of land and title.

Oh and Mary and Joseph were not married at the time of Jesus birth. They were "betrothed". In Scotland we had a similar thing called handfasting which was a trial marriage that lasted for one year:
"It was an ancient custom in the Isles that a man take a maid as his wife and keep her for the space of a year without marrying her; and if she pleased him all the while, he married her at the end of the year and legitimatised her children; but if he did not love her, he returned her to her parents." (MĂ rtainn MacGilleMhĂ rtainn, A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland, 1703)

Oh how the times have changed!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ken Ham changes his position on dinosaurs

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis appears to have changed his position on how humans interacted with dinosaurs. According to this web page (which includes a video of the statement which was during a video conference) Ham  said:

I don’t know where people get the idea that people rode dinosaurs. I mean, there’s no evidence in the Bible that that is so. When Job was looking at Behemoth, the description there… there’s nothing to do with people riding dinosaurs. We don’t know how people interacted with dinosaurs.

This contradicts his previous books which have contain illustrations of dinosaurs with saddles and people riding on their backs.

See the original article for photos of these illustrations.