Friday, January 22, 2016

In the Dark About this Luminaria

Last night, I noticed something out of the ordinary while at work... there was a luminaria on the road adjacent to the property:

Each of those lights is a paper bag, weighted with sand, and illuminated from within by a small candle:

Luminaria commonly decorate Roman Catholic churches serving Italian or Latino congregations on Christmas Eve, but this particular luminaria isn't near a Roman Catholic church, and a quick check of the liturgical calendar indicated that yesterday was the Feast of St Agnes, which is associated with the blessing of lambs (agnelli), rather than a luminaria.

Poking around the t00bz, I found a possible reason for this display of lights- luminaria are now associated with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Discovering this probable connection made me a bit melancholy- to think that this unexpected, beautiful display most likely represents someone's loss to scourge of cancer is sobering. Let's hope that President Obama's call for a more aggressive fight against cancer leads to something more positive.


mikey said...

At the risk of one-note redundancy, technology has us on the brink of incredible breakthroughs, including genetic modification cancer treatments. With unlimited compute resources available without capital investment or delay (you can switch on fifty thousand cores on AWS today with a credit card), incredibly advanced distributed databases and breakthrough analytics and machine learning in ascendancy, these terribly complex problems are coming within reach.

I know I'm not usually much of an optimist, but I'm sitting at ground zero, watching the culmination of fifty years of microprocessor and software development come to fruition.

The next ten years will be unlike anything you can imagine..

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

The next ten years will be unlike anything you can imagine..

A lot of it depends on public will and the power of the purse. The fight against cancer and the fight for clean, renewable energy should both take on the urgency of the Apollo Project. I had a conversation with the son of a friend of mine, a molecular biology and biochemistry major, about the potential of biotech. The factory of the future could very well be composed of bacterial cultures rather than machinery.

Then again, how many millions of taxpayer dollars go to Creation Museums and Ark Adventure theme parks? I'd love to be optimistic, but there have been monkey trials in this century.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Billions* go to wars and "interventions" overseas, too.

Which is why I'm supporting Bernie.

* Make that trillions.

Rev. paleotectonics said...


My, you are the optimist, ain'cha...

Rev. paleotectonics said...

I've done Relay, and it is always special. But I am sometimes confuzzled on what to do - depending on the site, every organization is either criminal or associated with our oncoming future beetle overlords (perhaps I should never look at Yahoo comments or David Ickes).

I want to help as much as I reasonably can but it can be frusterating.