Monday, November 1, 2021

New Jobs, New Writing


    Hello everyone. Frequent readers probably noticed my posting pattern. I try to do at least one post towards the beginning of every month. Things were different last month for a few reasons. I started several new jobs. I had two free lance positions. One of them was very much an, ug I need this to pay the rent job. The other is with the Epoch Times. The latter sounds like a great free-lance position from a financial standpoint but from a career standpoint as well. Despite the mainstream media trying to claim they are not credible; they are one of the most popular news sites in the world. Please make sure to check it out. (It may be behind a pay wall, but I’m doing my part to make sure it’s worth the price of admission.) 

    The final piece allowed me to quit that first free lance job. I’m working for a tech start up called Banq. I know they spelled bank wrong, but it is a nice and steady historian position. I’m developing new hire training and that means I’m studying all sorts of things like block chain, non-fungible tokens, and today I studied initial coin offerings. It seemed very intimidating but as I study it is new terms, but old concepts. For example, when you were a child at Chuck E Cheese you understood tokens. Non-fungible simply means that instead of interchangeable currency it is unique and not interchangeable. Blockchain sounds mysterious, or like some bling a rapper would wear, but it is the code that makes a digital ledger and tracks changes. Each block is unique, has a digital fingerprint, and every change in the ledger creates a new block in the chain. If you try to change a past block it changes future blocks and thus is easily detectable and makes the block chain an immutable record.

    This has all sorts of applications ranging from concert tickets that can be digital tickets. Digital tickets are nothing new, but it can also be a unique piece of art or (non-fungible) token that includes album art, song playlist, a code that gives you unique access to physical items like merch or concerts, and its code can give artists royalties every time it is sold, or access to an online vault of bonus material. There are secure private keys matched with public keys (the security features to verify your access to currency or NFT in the blockchain) that prevents this from becoming another Napster. The immutable part of block chains will be appealing to real estate deeds among other items. You can even include code that lets investors sell, buy, and trade, their portion of ownership in the deed far more quickly than today’s technology.  I’m dropping tons of terms, but they are simply digital uses of technology we are familiar with like ledgers, tokens, banking records, and online purchases. There is a great deal to discuss, and my job is to organize it into easy training for new employees. It is supposedly the wave of the future, so you heard it here folks. 

    I’ve also done some writing on the Book of Mormon. I received an advanced copy of, Proclaim Peace, from the Maxwell Institute. I thought their timing was good since my research on just warfare in the Book of Mormon makes this book right up my alley. My review ended up being about 6,000 words. There are four sections that outline methodological problems I found. The first was the narrative spin they had to put on scriptures to make it fit a peace narrative. They ignore stronger readings plainly described in the text for far more speculative reading that fits their narrative and politics. I already noticed this problem in discussing Mason’s previous work. The second problem was sadly common to pacifists in that they that obliterate the tension in Christian ethics between pacifism and just war. The scriptures must be carefully reconciled, but pacifists militantly focus on Christ’s mortal ministry, and ignore the rest. Third problem was that they did not address any just war arguments. They had a perfunctory summary, dismissed it as neither broad nor comprehensive, denigrated military service as a resigned acknowledgement of telestial duties and generally ignored a rich body of robust just war literature. Collectively these writers influenced Western ideas regarding humanitarian intervention, human rights, international law, natural rights that influenced the American constitution, peace keeping and international bodies. Needless to say, I was incredibly disappointed with their dismissal of such a rich body of work. The final part consists of some personal notes. I can’t wait for the reaction to my piece because the people who talk about the power of assertive love don’t even seem to like their opponents in relatively low stakes academic discussions. But I’m supposed to believe that their love will transcend ethnic strife, political tension, and centuries of conflict.  

    I think it is a good rebuttal that is representative of the importance of understanding just warfare in general, and how it interacts with the Book of Mormon. I hope to bring you the review and the book on just war in the Book of Mormon soon.

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