Was our Democracy Hacked?

The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 ElectionThe Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election by Malcolm Nance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very engaging book. The authors, Malcolm Nance has 35 + years of experience in the US Intelligence Community. He is a respected source and this book is a must read no matter whether you’re a Democrat, Republican or independent.

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Only an illusion

Eleven years ago I began blogging. I was afraid at first because I’d never really put myself and ideas out there. It’s risky to blog and yet over the years I’ve really come to enjoy it. I’ve had times where the content flowed and times when it has dried up. It’s fun to look back over the years and see what I was thinking then. I’m 64 now and I have more of an appreciation of my impermanence. Everything is impermanent. We either grow or go. That’s the way of all life and yet somethings seem permanent but it’s only an illusion.  What appears solid and permanent is just a collection of electrons, molecules and objects we cannot see. The computer I’m writing on, the internet, the server where the content resides are impermanent and just a mass of whirring electrons, protons and similar waves and particles. I recently read a book, “Making All Things New: Catholicity, Cosmology, Consciousness.” It has invited me to think anew about many things I have wondered about for much of my life. Yet despite this impermanent nature we are all interconnected and interdependent. There is nothing that occurs without affecting everything else in some way. There is no isolation for that too is an illusion.

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Building a more just and fraternal world

This talk by Rabbi Sharon Brous really resonated for me. I hope it does for you too.

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Every Wall is a Door

I first read the quote, “Every wall is a door” by Ralph Waldo Emerson on the wall of a Facebook friend. It continues to be one of my favorites. Just yesterday we got some unhappy news. When bad news comes it invites a response and more often that not I’m prone to think of the misfortune.  There is a lot wisdom concerning news like this. Romans 8:28 says. “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Another favorite expression is: “never put a question mark where God puts a period.” Life is full of paradox. In fact I’ve come to regard these paradoxes as a sign of blessing. As I was getting my tea made this morning I reflected on the many blessings in my life.

A little over three years ago I had become depressed at the thought of retiring. I thought my life was over. But in the three years hence I have become a frequent contributor and community moderator at Opensource.com. I have re-entered the classroom teaching and learning about Lego Mindstorms and robotics in general. I’ve taught programming and digital citizenship classes to children and adults. I have become active in the EdCamp movement and look forward regular communication on social media with those friends.  I’ve become a successful grant-writer and that has allowed me to give back to the community in ways I could never have imagined. I’ve learned about nutrition and wellness through involvement at The Warming House , Genesis House and the Catholic Charities Food Pantry in Franklinville. Through the interest and work providing sustenance for those less fortunate has led to deeper involvement and learning about organic farming, open source agriculture and other life giving initiatives. I recently agreed to be an animator for justice, peace and the integrity of creation for the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Region of the Secular Franciscan Order and created a website to aid in that process. 

What once seemed like the end of the road has become a gateway to new life and new purpose. I am grateful for these opportunities to live, love and grow.

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Compassion is the decisive Christian attitude

Racial Justice and the Catholic ChurchRacial Justice and the Catholic Church by Bryan N. Massingale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a must read for all Americans, especially those who identify as Catholic. This is an eye-opening book which is chocked full of interesting facts and anecdotes of a life working in the minority. Interesting too is the author’s prescription for change and a solution centered on the principles of the Gospel.

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Stories that go untold but ought to be shared

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped HistoryRad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an easy yet provocative book that tells stories usually left out of typical history books. This book and it’s contents need to be celebrated and given to girls around the world. I had never heard of most of these women and that’s probably because most of our history books are written by or edited by men. You owe it to yourself to read the book.

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Great EV3 programming resource

The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 ProgrammingThe Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Programming by Terry Griffin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book. I’m teaching a EV3 robotics and programming class and this is my main text. It’s a fantastic resource for teachers and students. Great diagrams too.

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