In the News

I’m adding this here as a reminder to myself. If you want to convert a dictionary in simple JSON format to a dictionary in .NET 4.0, you can’t use the DataContractJsonSerializerSettings that is available in .NET 4.5, so if you don’t want to use a 3rd party source (like JSON.NET), you need to be able to serialize/deserialize it yourself. Fortunately, this is fairly simple for a dictionary as follows:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Runtime.Serialization;

namespace x
    public class JSONDictionary<T> : Dictionary<string, T>, ISerializable
        protected JSONDictionary(SerializationInfo info, 
                                 StreamingContext context)
            foreach (SerializationEntry value in info)
                Add(value.Name, (T)info.GetValue(value.Name, typeof(T)));

        public override void GetObjectData(SerializationInfo info, 
                                           StreamingContext context)
            foreach (KeyValuePair<string, T> value in this)
                info.AddValue(value.Key, value.Value);

Then just use this in place of the dictionary in your serializable object.

public class Response
    [DataMember(Name = "my_dictionary", IsRequired = true)]
    public JSONDictionary<double> MyDictionary { get; set; }

And you’re all set. (Note that I haven’t dealt with dictionary keys of types other than string.)

I know it’s been a month now, but it seems I hadn’t posted the preview trailer yet:

Also note that the official website has been up for a while as well. It includes a flash map game that they are adding to as time goes on.

The digitization of 80,000 manuscripts of the Vatican Library, it should be realized, is not a light-hearted project. Even with only a rough calculation one can foresee the need to reproduce 40 million pages with a mountain of computer data, to the order of 45 petabytes (that is, 45 million billion bytes). This obviously means pages variously written and illustrated or annotated, to be photographed with the highest definition, to include the greatest amount of data and avoid having to repeat the immense undertaking in the future.

And these are delicate manuscripts, to be treated with care, without causing them damage of any kind. A great undertaking for the benefit of culture and in particular for the preservation and conservation of the patrimony entrusted to the Apostolic Library, in the tradition of a cultural service that the Holy See continues to express and develop through the centuries, adapting its commitment and energy to the possibilities offered by new technologies.

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ChristianityToday has posted an article about the “Narnia Summit” that was held last week, where Walden Media showed footage and walked through the entire script with Christian leaders, Lewis experts, and fan sites like NarniaWeb and NarniaFans… here are some highlights that will get everyone talking:

The Ending:

Kathy Keller: “I’m glad the final interaction between Aslan and Lucy was there in its unadulterated entirety, because I consider that the pinnacle of the entire seven books.”

I have spoken with Tirian, and he confirmed that the line “there I have another name” is in the film! This is something NarniaWebbers have been concerned about for some time. Rejoice!

The Undragoning:

Keller says she learned that writers originally wanted Eustace, still in dragon form, to fight a sea monster and “earn” his return to human form. But she says Flaherty, a committed Christian, “put them straight that you don’t earn grace, you receive it once you are humbled and aware of your need.”

Tirian also confirmed that, in the film, we will see Aslan ripping the dragon skin off of Eustace!…

More… (s0urce)

A breakthrough in the research of the Hebrew scriptures has shed new light on the period in which the Bible was written. Prof. Gershon Galil of the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa has deciphered an inscription dating from the 10th century BCE (the period of King David’s reign), and has shown that this is a Hebrew inscription. The discovery makes this the earliest known Hebrew writing. The significance of this breakthrough relates to the fact that at least some of the biblical scriptures were composed hundreds of years before the dates presented today in research and that the Kingdom of Israel already existed at that time…

He adds that once this deciphering is received, the inscription will become the earliest Hebrew inscription to be found, testifying to Hebrew writing abilities as early as the 10th century BCE. This stands opposed to the dating of the composition of the Bible in current research, which would not have recognized the possibility that the Bible or parts of it could have been written during this ancient period.

Prof. Galil also notes that the inscription was discovered in a provincial town in Judea. He explains that if there were scribes in the periphery, it can be assumed that those inhabiting the central region and Jerusalem were even more proficient writers. “It can now be maintained that it was highly reasonable that during the 10th century BCE, during the reign of King David, there were scribes in Israel who were able to write literary texts and complex historiographies such as the books of Judges and Samuel.” He adds that the complexity of the text discovered in Khirbet Qeiyafa, along with the impressive fortifications revealed at the site, refute the claims denying the existence of the Kingdom of Israel at that time…

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On the morning of 2 October 2009, one of us (Joan) joined an audience of mostly health professionals and listened as Dr. Diane Harper, the leading international developer of the HPV vaccines, gave a sales pitch for Gardasil.  Gardasil, as you may know, is the new vaccine that is supposed to confer protection against four strains of the sexually transmitted Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Dr. Harper came to the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination to prove to us the real benefits of Gardasil. Sadly, her own presentation left me (Joan) and others filled with doubts.  By her own admission, Gardasil has the doctors surrounding me glaring at a poor promise of efficacy as a vaccine married to a high risk of life-threatening side effects…

It is hard to imagine a less compelling case for Gardasil.  First of all, it is highly unlikely that 70% or more of the female population will continue to get routine Gardasil shots and boosters, along with annual PAP smears.  And even if it did, according to Dr. Harper, “after 60 years, the vaccination will [only] have prevented 70% of incidences” of cervical cancer.

But rates of death from cervical cancer are already declining. Let’s do the math. If the 4% annual decline in cervical cancer death continues, in 60 years there will have been a 91.4% decline in cervical cancer death just from current cancer monitoring and treatment. Comparing this rate of decline to Gardasil’s projected “very minimal” reduction in the rate of cervical cancer of only 70 % of incidences in 60 years, it is hard to resist the conclusion that Gardasil does almost nothing for the health of American women…

I left Dr. Harper’s lecture convinced that Gardasil did little to stop cervical cancer, and determined to answer another question that she had largely ducked:  Is this vaccine safe?…

In the clinical studies alone, 23 girls died after receiving either Gardasil or the Aluminum control injection. 15 of the 13,686 girls who received Gardasil died, while 8 died among the 11,004 who received the Aluminum shot. There was only one death among the group that had a saline placebo. What this means is that 1 out of every 912 girls in the Gardasil clinical studies died. The cervical cancer death rate is 1 out of every 40,000 women per year…

Should millions of girls in the United States, many as young as 9, be put at risk, so that sexually active adults can have less “relationship tension” about false positive Hepatitis results? Is the current rate of death, sterility and serious immune dysfunction from Gardasil worth the potential that in 60 years a minimal amount of a cervical disease (that is already decreasing on its own) may perhaps be reduced?…

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You can view them here.

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