daf bit: Sanhedrin 2

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:55 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

We begin a new tractate, Sanhedrin, which discusses court cases. Unlike in many secular court systems, the judges are active participants (they're the ones who question witnesses) and the ultimate decisors; there are no lawyers or juries.

A court is made up of some number of judges, depending on the type of case (at least 3, sometimes 23 or 71 or occasionally other numbers). Here are some of the cases listed in the first mishna of the tractate (this is not a complete list):

  • Various types of monetary damages are judged by three.

  • Rape, seduction, and libel require three according to R' Meir, but the sages say libel requires 23 because it could involve a capital charge. (A note suggests this comes up with adultery but doesn't connect the dots. Also, rape and seduction can involve capital charges too, so I don't know why they only call out libel. Perhaps it's addressed later in the g'mara.)

  • Capital cases, as implied in the previous bullet, require 23.

  • Cases for which the punishment is flogging require three, but according to R' Yishmael, 23.

  • Calendar decisions (witnessing the new moon, adding a leap month) are judged by three, though R' Shimon b. Gamaliel describes a more complicated scheme.

  • A tribe charged with idolatry, a false prophet, and a high priest can be tried only by a court of 71.

  • The following require 71: authorizing wars of free choice, adding to the temple courtyards, establishing small sanhedrins (of 23) for the tribes, condemning a city, condemning frontier towns.

Why is a great sanhedrin 71? Because Moshe was commanded to gather 70 (other) men. And why is a small sanhedrin 23? It's complicated. (I don't completely follow their math, sorry.)

This is all from 2a. The mishna continues onto 2b before the g'mara starts there.

(Today's daf is 4.)

almost helpful

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:52 pm
cellio: (house)
[personal profile] cellio

My (Android) phone alerts me when traffic is bad near me. This can be handy at the end of the day because I work downtown. Except... it's telling me about traffic on roads I don't use to get home. Sure, there's spillover so it's not unhelpful, but it'd be great if I could tell it -- maybe by gesturing on a map -- what paths I care about, so it could tell me about those ones.

Does anybody reading this know of an app that does that, or a way to get Google Maps to do it? It needs to be fire and forget; I don't want to have to open the map app to look for red lines on it.

It feels like all the information is already there, if only my phone were making use of it.

(This would also let me know before I leave in the morning if traffic is still bad at the other end. At that time I don't really need extra information about traffic near my house; I need it 3-5 miles away.)

annual pre-pennsic thoughts

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:00 pm
baronessekat: (Default)
[personal profile] baronessekat
War is just shy of 2 weeks away.

I have done NO sewing, thought I want to make a couple new tunics.

The only prep I've done really is pull out and inspect the pavilion and that's only because we used it at Pax for J's vigil. I did order a new tarp for under my tent and some new chests of drawers as last year my drawer unit failed spectacularly.

But I don't have a scroll that has to be done (though I have a backlog that would be nice to get done but at this point it won't). I have a kingdom gift exchange gift I have to finish because the first attempt was a fail and I promised the replacement would be delivered at war.

But frankly, I'm not feeling it this year. No real excitement or anticipation. I'm not even feeling much of a panic that I've not done as much (if any) real prep yet. In fact, I was talking with Un-Minion this weekend and confessed that if I were not Watch 2 this year, I'd give serious thought about not going for the full two weeks if at all.

I have determined that as long as I am not in the upper command staff of the Watch next year, I may take the two weeks off of work but only go down for a week (like Wednesday to Wednesday) and use the other days as prep/recuperation/me time. The following year is still up in the air as we wait to find out if Dagmar got the bid to be Mayor. If she does, I am going to have to be down for 2.5-3 weeks as I'll be the War Admin/XO.

I admit that I miss feeling the excitement. Heck, I'm not really feeling the excitement for the SCA in general. (in fact I've been feeling a whole lot of "why bother anymore" since war practice) And I miss that. I miss just feeling excited about anything, it is just more obvious to me in regards to the SCA.

embedded geek

Jul. 13th, 2017 09:58 pm
cellio: (B5)
[personal profile] cellio

A friend shared this with me earlier today and I literally laughed out loud:


The second-last column is about a famous Zulu leader. The last one is about walled cities under fire.

"Shaka, when the walls fell" is a key phrase in a rather unusual episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, named "Darmok". The famous universal translator doesn't work when the Enterprise encounters these particular aliens, because their language doesn't work at the word level. They speak in what the crew calls metaphor. I've seen discussions of this over the years ("could that really work?" "improbable, because..."). The post about the Jeopardy episode links to this Atlantic article about the episode that argues that we're looking at it all wrong. I found it an interesting read.

Also, Atlantic does in-depth articles about episodes of SF shows? Who knew?

(I don't have a Trek icon. Here, have one from one of my favorite shows instead.)

daf bit: Bava Batra 172

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:56 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

The mishna teaches: if there are two men in the same town and both are named Yosef ben Shimon, neither may produce a bond of indebtedness against the other. Further, nobody else may produce a bond of indebtedness against either of them. And if a man finds among his possessions a quittance showing that the bond of Yosef ben Shimon was discharged, it applies to both of them. So how should they proceed, since we want Yosef to be able to borrow money? When writing the documents (both bond and quittance) they should write the names to the third generation (e.g. Yosef ben Shimon ben Reuven). If their names are the same to the third generation, then they should add a description (e.g. Yosef ben Shimon ben Reuven, the tall one). And if those are like too but one is a kohein or levi and the other not, they should indicate that. (I can't tell if they keep the description in this last case.) (172a)

Neither the mishna nor the g'mara here addresses the case where Yosef ben Shimon was unique and then another one moved into town.

I assume we're talking about small towns here, where it's not implausible for names to be unique and for people to know that. I'm a little surprised that a description (which could be subjective or mutable) has higher precedence than kohein/levi status (which is neither).

When I shared this at minyan this morning, somebody told me that one of her family members has a last name that means "limp" (as in "has a", not as in "floppy"), which seemed peculiar to her. She said she was going to go teach him this mishna.

baronessekat: (book)
[personal profile] baronessekat
The Girl with Ghost Eyes (Xian Li-lin, #1)The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

if Goodreads let us do 1/2 stars, I would give this a 3.5.

Xian Li-lin is a 22 year old widow, living with her father in Chinatown in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century. She studies Daoist traditions and strives to not bring shame on to her father. The thing that makes her unusual is that she has Yin or Ghost Eyes which means that she can see and interact with the Spirits.

She's approached by the son of one of the most important men in Chinatown, who asks her to help his friend who has a friend who died but needs help crossing over to the next realm. She agrees. From there things go sideways.

The blending of the Supernatual with traditional Chinese beliefs and attitudes at the end of the 19th century was something I had not seen before and enjoyed greatly. I do think that I would have liked this book more had a read it rather than listened to it. Not being familiar with Chinese names, it was hard at times to keep them all straight. Add to that, is that I first encountered the narrator through another series of books (also in the first person) and I had a hard time separating that series' main character from Li-lin. Had either book been in third person I do not think I would have had that trouble.

Overall, it was a fun book.

View all my reviews
keastree: (Default)
[personal profile] keastree

It's hard watching people decline and begin to self-destruct after years of abusing themselves.  I mean, very hard.

I've undertaken my personal quest to recover my health from the dumper, and while it is quite its own kettle of fish, being able to say that, for the moment, I have done what is needed drop my supplementation needs to 1/12 what they were 6 months ago is quite the thing.  I feel pretty upbeat and happy about that--and I should.  Nothing about the trip has been certain or especially easy.  Sure took enough time(22 years), money, and patience with endless gains and setbacks.  But I'm here, and I sure am glad that I am not -there-.

But several people I have know for decades, who have made some lifestyle choices that I have and would not, are surely struggling with the inevitable infirmity that comes from those choices.  Only a very few people alive can escape the ravages of heavy smoking, alcohol consumption, or drug use and -not- end up like that.  (And frankly being hugely overweight is not so great either, though less a product of choice than most people think.)  The 50's are very hard on those folks--and I am watching four or five examples of people that I have known well enough to be at their home, whose decline marks the path to an unhappy cautionary tale.

And then there is the tale of my mom, and how I do not, in any way, want to emulate that.

And then there is my dad, who I am glad to be rid of, but am possibly more like than I want to be.

Doctor visits in my world revolve around cleaning up the mess now.  I think my genes are good enough to help me avoid the cancer and the heart disease.  To date, the diabetes is nowhere near me.  I do the basic, sensible, non-stressful things to make those things less likely.  At least the thing with an osteopath is that the goal is to get the body to homeostasis and keep it there, which is why I'm totally rocking the interaction with a physician who is capable of sending me the right direction.  Steady as it goes, but it is actually quite steady in the now of things.

But I look over at these other people who I have known for a very long time, and I am reminded that it really is a constant sort of thing.  Aging knees need neoprene and the support of strong quads and ankles, so this is where the gym time goes.  Being able to get off a plane at higher altitude and carry on with life requires cardio.  Of course, if you want to crack the heads of guys half your age in armor, you need cardio too.  And my abs...well, I had 4 kids...see you in six months.

Hardly a paragon of any particular virtue here.  However, all that lecturing about smoking and drinking from my grandparents does, now that I am of a certain age, ring more true than it did when I heard it.


I am still troubled and worried for my old friends.

(no subject)

Jul. 10th, 2017 12:15 pm
keastree: (Default)
[personal profile] keastree

Climate Change Panic Disorder is alive and well.

Sadly, the horse is out of the barn and the boat has sailed on this issue.  It is time for people stuck in the wrongheaded nostalgia about climate and weather patterns to wake up and understand the the problems we face are of adaptation to what is to come, not stopping it.  Period.

Sorry guys, but I am not climbing on the bandwagon.  I am especially not buying into the hype about going to Mars with Elon Musk.  What we face, as a species, is nothing short of basic Darwinian reality.  Most of humanity will be dealing with the loss of human habitat, how that will affect human migration patterns, how all those migrating people of arguably limited knowledge and means will be coping, and...I suspect a LOT of violence between individuals and nations.

Meanwhile, most carbon emissions are created by power generation, which most people take for granted--along with clean water from the tap and flush toilets--so unless you can find a way to make a LOT of people more aware and willing to do something about power consumption on the grand and worldwide scale, you're going nowhere with the problem.  Blame coal fired plants and fossil fuels ALL you want, but the real problem is power consumption and demand that makes those options necessary.

Me?  I am looking at adaptation.  I am teaching the importance of knowing how to adapt to my children.  It probably isn't enough to save us, or anyone reading this from whatever global climate catastrophe in the making, but it *is* what I can do to make it so that I can sleep at night.


I've also read The Change books, and had my incredibly sober moments about the realities of survival in the region I am in, when the hordes pour out of cities and localities that are addicted to grocery stores and cheap food. 

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