Category Archives: Uncategorized

Trying out IFTTT

I’m trying out If This Then That, or IFTTT (shouldn’t that be ITTT?). If all goes well, when this post is published, it’ll send a tweet and a facebook status update for me. ¬†Fingers crossed…

 

Banjo

I attended an introduction-to-the-banjo workshop yesterday, just out of curiosity. I learned a few interesting things. First, a bluegrass banjo is amazingly heavy, full of brass and wood. Second, it’s tuned to a G chord – if you strum or pick without touching a fret, you get a G chord; if you bar straight across, you get another major chord. But bluegrass banjo players do not strum, they pick in little patterns with three fingers, which is how they get in so darn many notes.

Religion in the Czech Republic

One of the fascinating things I learned on my trip is why the majority of Czechs are not religious today. And no, it’s not related to the country having been under communist rule for many years; it predates that.

The Czechs were some of the first to take up the Reformation, and so they were mostly Protestant. They were part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, ruled by the Catholic Hapsburgs. When the Hapsburgs realized there was this area of protestantism in the empire, they were worried that it could lead to a threat to their rule, so they ordered all Czechs to convert to Catholicism.

Eventually (1918?), the Austrian-Hungarian Empire came to an end and the Czechs were free to choose their own religions. But by this time, most of them had concluded that religion was just another tool of politics, and so most of them saw no reason to continue with any religion at all.