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Tagged: wyd2008

Pope Benedict XVI Defends World Youth Day

Pope Benedict XVI defends World Youth Day, head on:

Benedict laid out the traditional critique of World Youth Day – one that he knows well a few of his own lieutenants are, at times, inclined to share.

“What, therefore, is the nature of what happens at World Youth Day?” the pope asked rhetorically. “What are the forces which run through it? Fashionable analyses tend to consider these days as a variant of modern youth culture, as a kind of rock festival with the pope as the star. With or without faith, these festivals would be more or less the same thing, and in this way the question of God can be taken off the table. There are also Catholic voices that cut in this direction, seeing the whole thing as a big show, perhaps attractive, but ultimately of little significance for the question of faith and the presence of the Gospel in our time. By that account, these would be moments of joyful ecstasy, but at the end of the day they leave everything as it was before, without influencing one’s life in a deep way.”

Benedict then proceeded to take the critique apart.

He also defends the Christian concern for the environment. [original article]

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Australia: From Toronto to Sydney

We’ve arrived.

After parting with family in Toronto, we barely made it past airport security. That is, as Heather picked up her bags to walk away after being cleared and she dropped her boarding pass and stepped on it. She was ready to keep walking too, if I hadn’t spotted it. Close call!

On the flight to Vancouver, Air Canada gave me a whole can of ginger ale rather than just filling the tiny plastic cup. You come to appreciate these things very much when it’s $10 for a freaking sandwich on a 5 hour flight. (They were much more generous on the 15 hour flight to Sydney, but I don’t suppose that was by choice.)

I still don’t understand many airplane rules around electronics. I did a bluetooth sync between my Palm Pilot and my laptop over the Pacific and the plane didn’t crash. Why can I read a book on descent, but not read from the screen on my laptop or Palm?

Being without an Internet connection for so long has got me thinking about better ways to work offline. In Vancouver, I found some WiFi to quickly download new items from Google Reader using Google Gears. That got me thinking about where else could I use Gears (which is released under a free software license, by the way). Could my company use Google Gears for NateOffice for offline access to the CRM, calendar, etc as opposed to developing tools to sync with specific desktop clients? Could Gears being used in WordPress (plug-in possibly?) to make it easier to write offline? I don’t know much about Google Gears, but now I’ve got some motivation to start doing some research and play around with it.

Also, reading offline has been a welcome experience, but it’s also got me wondering why it has to be that way (offline, that is). More to come on that soon, after I do a bit more reading…

Upon arrival in Sydney, we spent the day running a few errands and scoping out the city for our return in a few weeks. I tried to sign up with 3 mobile, but it turns out they only have a 3G network (go figure). I ended up going with Optus across the street and getting a decent deal, which works out to ~10 cents per international text (as opposed to Rogers’ 60+) with a $30 AUD prepaid plan (which included the SIM card). I don’t plan to make any calls, though it’ll be nice to have the option in case we need to make last minute reservations or cancellations on the go. For phoning home, I’ve got WengoPhone working in Ubuntu. It’s less than 2 euro cents a minute for a call to a phone in Canada from my computer, which crushes anything Optus (nevermind Rogers) can offer, even considering the cost of WiFi around here (~$2-3/hour —> ~3-5 cents/minute).

We had a chance to visit Darling Harbour briefly and scope out the hotel we’re staying at during World Youth Day. We swung by the World Youth Day office to ask a few questions and pick up some information too. The excitement was contagious!

We still have no idea what we’re doing after check out in about 12 hours, but I guess that’s half the fun! Canberra is next on the itinerary… after we get some rest.

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Australia: Keeping tabs on us

I’m posting this quickly from the Vancouver airport. I’ve thrown together a page at http://blaise.ca/australia as a home base for updates from my trip to Australia over the next month. There’s nothing really there yet, but there will be soon.

I’ll be blogging intermittently and updating Twitter throughout the trip and uploading photos to my Flickr australia photo stream. I’ll probably upload some photos to Facebook too, and a lot of the other activity will show up on my mini-feed or FriendFeed Facebook profile box. I’m not using Rogers for the month, so I won’t be checking voicemail or SMS messages until the end of July.

Anyways, blaise.ca/australia will have links most of that content, so if you’re actually curious about what we’re doing (hi mom), that’s the best place to start!

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World Youth Day 2008 Youth Festival Locations

I’m in the process of booking a hotel for World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney. I was having a bit of difficulty confirming which neighbourhood (if any) will be hosting the majority of the Youth Festival events. In Cologne (2005), activities were spread out between three cities, but in Toronto (2002) most events were centred at Exhibition Place.

I found this World Youth Day Festival Guide Map [Google Maps] created by Julien Hunt. It’s got a list of all the main venues, which confirmed that Darling Harbour and Sydney’s CBD will be the centre of events. Plus, since we’re using a Google Map to plan the trip, I can just overlap Julien’s map to get a sense for how close the various hotels we’re marking are to Youth Festival venues.

Thanks Julien!

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