February 25, 2012

Saturday in the wild: February 25, 2012

Time once again for this week's roundup of the interesting parts of the blogosphere. So, without further ado . . .

dancingpastthedark listed 15 things about distressing near-death experiences (NDEs). Of particular interest to me was point 5:

NDEs do not play favorites: they appear across demographic bases including age, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual preference, education, occupation, socioeconomic status, religious background and beliefs, level of religious activity, expectations of afterlife. Despite limited demographic data about distressing NDEs, they appear to have the same universality.

[Read 15 Things We Know About Distressing NDEs]

In other words: Christians are just as likely to experience a hellish vision as anyone else, which suggests to me what I've suspected all along: NDEs aren't actually religious experiences as I would understand it. Psychological, perhaps, but I rather doubt they have any correspondence to a real afterlife.

Epicurious posted a video on making the perfect martini. Personally, I prefer more classic proportions of 2 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin to 3/4 ounces dry Noilly Prat vermouth, instead of the mixologist's proportions. But I share the mixer's lament that the martini has somehow morphed into a vodka drink. (For another, more interesting variation, substitute sake for the vermouth.)

Presumably in honour of the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's first spaceflight earlier this week, Cracked listed 5 famous space missions that almost ended in disaster. Good stuff, though as a fan of the early years of spaceflight, I knew about all but the STS-27 one. Glenn's own flight was hair-raising, as Friendship 7 lost its automatic control system during the first orbit, and then it was thought that the heat shield might be lost during re-entry. Fortunately a sensor was at fault, and Glenn finished the mission without incident.

John Bloom at Desiring God Blog writes about abolitionist William Wilberforce, one of my favourite historical Brits:

But if you had known him at age 20, you wouldn’t have predicted his end. William entered adulthood as a dilettante and socialite. He was naturally warm, gregarious, eloquent, and a great singer—the life of any party. He was an unmotivated student at Cambridge, not helped by the fact that through inheritance he was independently wealthy.

On a lark he ran for a seat in Parliament at age 21. He spent the equivalent of $500,000 of his own money on the campaign and won. Years later, his own assessment was, "the first years I was in Parliament I did nothing—nothing to any purpose. My own distinction was my darling object."

But in 1785, that all changed when William was powerfully converted to Jesus. It was nothing short of a revolution. Life and time and talent, and influence and wealth were to be stewarded and wielded for the cause of Jesus' kingdom. Everything took on a new weight and urgency. Jesus Christ transformed this dissolute aristocratic party boy into a resolute force against evil and for truth in the moral wilderness of his day.

[Read The Darling Object of William Wilberforce]

Finally, the O-Dot is a local satirical blog I recently discovered. It's not the comedic powerhouse that the Onion is, to be sure, but every so often it provides a chuckle. Thursday's story was particularly good:

Little Italy—The vibrant Italian neighbourhood that stretches along Preston Street from Carling to Somerset recently had new "Pay & Pasta" parking meters installed to help draw visitors to the area. A well known location for Italian cuisine, the City Of Ottawa in association with the Preston Street BIA, developed the concept of dispensing pasta last spring as a way to help boost enjoyment for paid parking.

[Read Little Italy Launches New "Pay & Pasta" Parking Meters]