Saturday, August 27, 2005

The History of Algebra

From the 1911 Encyclopedia
, courtesy of
Various derivations of the word "algebra," which is of Arabian origin, have been given by different writers. The first mention of the word is to be found in the title of a work by Mahommed ben Musa al-Khwarizmi (Hovarezmi), who flourished about the beginning of the 9th century. The full title is "ilm al-jebr wa'l-muqabala", which contains the ideas of restitution and comparison, or opposition and comparison, or resolution and equation, "jebr" being derived from the verb "jabara", to reunite, and "muqabala", from "gabala", to make equal. (The root "jabara" is also met with in the word "algebrista", which means a "bone-setter," and is still in common use in Spain.)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Christian Witness Inspires Youth

I wish I would have been able to attend World Youth Day in Cologne this year!

Cardinal Mahony offers some reflections about his experience at WYD2005:
For everyone, the centrality of the Eucharist was so evident. Throughout their pilgrimages to Cologne the youth shared in the celebration of Mass each day - their lives nourished through this remarkable participation in the great gift of Jesus to us in the sacrifice of the Mass. Each of the three Catechetical Days concluded with a special Mass with a particular emphasis: the Holy Spirit, the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation was made available to our youth every day, and they readily took advantage of those graces. Several commented to me that going to confession while on their pilgrimage was an additional grace through which God's love and mercy were poured out upon them.
Pray for Paul

Just found out that another friend from high school has died. I guess he got mixed up in drugs a few years ago, and last night, an overdose took his life. It had been a number of years since I last corresponded with him.

Grant him eternal rest, O Lord. May your perpetual light shine upon him.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Famous Last Words...

Software developers will know what I mean. This was shown to me at work.

An article from the Washington Post written 10 years ago about the "upcoming release" of Windows 95. My favorite quotation:
"The extraordinarily extensive testing they did makes a show-stopping bug a pretty unlikely occurrence," said Chuck Stegman, a vice president at Dataquest Inc., a high-tech market research firm in California. "Someone would have stumbled on it already."
Sorry for the evil, ghoulish laugh, but... Muhahaha!

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Book Meme

I was tagged for this Book Meme by Brian at In Pectore, and I apologize if I missed anyone else who may have also tagged me!

1.) Total Number of Books I Own
I think I have collected around 200 books, either by purchasing them myself or by donation. Many pertain to Computer Science related topics (my profession and area of study at the university), others for French, Latin, Theology, Liturgy, and Church History -- (including a half-dozen bibles (from my pre- and post- Catholic days) as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church). A lot of my French and Latin books were given to me as gifts (most notably the Nova Vulgata [editio minor] in beautiful condition).

But don't let such a collection fool you. I am far from being one of the literati, and I struggle to discipline myself to read half the books I have collected over the last few years. My fiancée has an extensive collection of her own (but, unlike me, she's read all of her books!)
2.) The Last Book I Bought
Actually, I purchased two books during my last trip to Houston, both works by our present Holy Father, when he was still better known as Cardinal Ratzinger:

Many Religions, One Covenant

The Spirit of the Liturgy
3.) The Last Book I Read
"The Cloud of Unknowing" (Penguin Edition in Modern English), Author Unknown. I spotted this at a used book store in downtown Santa Barbara. Knowing that it is considered to be one of the foundational works of medieval mysticism, I decided that I would check it out. I'll post my thoughts eventually!
4.) Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me (in no particular order, not counting Scripture or official Church documents)
Well, before I do that, I will mention that the books that mean the most to me that are official Church documents are the Catechism of the Catholic Church, my bible (RSV - Catholic Edition), and Christian Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours).

Not counting official church documents? Okay...

- "To Kill a Mockingbird", by Harper Lee.
Would that I might never forget my Southern roots, both good and bad.

- "Candide", by Voltaire.
This book, along with Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", helped introduce me to the world of political and religious satire and the modern dilemma of relevance. I very strongly object to many of Voltaire's characterizations, but I am intrigued by his wit. I wonder if he would object to sitting down with me for a beer or two.

- "Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin", by John F. Collins.
I have been teaching myself ecclesiastical latin from this book, in addition to using supplemental material. I know that not everyone who studies latin prefers Collins, but thus far, I have been fine with it. Over the last two years, it has enabled me to drink centuries of knowledge the Church has passed down and developed -- directly from the source. (I'm still working on digesting it, though!)

- "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", by Victor Hugo.
This was the first book to spark my interest in medieval history about a year before I had any interest in learning more about the Catholic Church. I also thought this book best portrayed the dueling themes of the grotesque vs. the sublime. What is true beauty, and do humans have the capacity to recognize it by themselves?

- "The C Programming Language", by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie.
I'm a Computer Scientist. Where would I be without this book? Digging graves somewhere, perhaps. Maybe not.
5.) Tag five people, and have them do this on their blog.
If you haven't yet been tagged, consider yourself tagged now.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Salvation in the way God intends...
We comply with God's declared will whenever we accept what God shows us to be his plans -- when we believe what he teaches, trust in his promises, fear his threats, love his commands and counsels, and live by them... We must intend our own salvation in the way God intends it. God desires that we should be saved; we, too, need constantly to desire what God desires. God not only means us to be saved, but he actually gives us all we need to achieve salvation; so we are not to stop at merely desiring salvation, but go a step further and accept all the graces God has prepared for us, the graces he offers us. It is all very well to say, "I want to be saved." It is not much use merely saying, "I want to take the necessary steps." For that, we need to make the definite resolution to take and use the graces God holds out to us; our wills must be in tune with his. Since God wants us to be saved, we should want to be saved; we should also welcome the means to salvation that God intends for us to take.
St. Francis de Sales, from Finding God Wherever You Are.


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