Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
In an inflation driven market based on free-market principles , the demand for supplies is never really flat. It cannot be. If there is a sustained reduction in demand, that is a sign of uncertainty and/or lack of necessity. If the demand flattens out, it is really already in decline. A stable market is one that has sustained modest growth. Well, the housing market never flattened. Prices had risen so high that the only direction to go for most areas is down. Exsurbs and isolated cities here in California have seen massive declines. Centers of activity have stabilized and are so far holding their own. These areas, however, are in the minority, and who knows how long that will last.
There's going to have to be a bail-out of the mess. I find it interesting just how Republican leadership is willing to bail-out industries in the past with wades of cash (e.g., Savings and Loan), yet now that the average American is going to be adversely effected directly, Republicans are too timid to respond to help. President Bush Jr.'s action so far is so limited in scope that it is only going to help an extremely small portion of those affected. And where are the Democrats? They are too timid to confront the Republican Party for its timidity.
This brings me to the point where I have to criticize a perception of our economy. Corporations are treated as though they are the most important element in our country, at times to the exclusion of the citizens' rights and welfare. A Corporation is an imaginary entity that only exists because a bunch of people agree the common fantasy. A Corporation doesn't really exist. If all of the employees and ownership walked away, it would cease to function and have no purpose. I question why a Corporation is viewed as more important than the individual humans that are apart of it, or even the citizenry at at large. Far too often, the Corporations are given massive privileges and leeway that are denied to actual voting citizens of our country. Human beings are treated as second class citizens when pitted against a Corporation. This is unconscionable and unconstitutional. Giving Corporations an elevated status is a flawed mindset that many neo-cons seem to believe in as though a religion of its own. Unfortunately, the mindset is quietly supported by many politicians, regardless of affiliation.
We have to stop putting imaginary entities ahead of our citizens. In fact, we have to stop victimization of our citizens by these Corporations. Victimization of the type that has lead to the current housing crisis at hand. It was also the cause of the Western U.S. power grid crisis during the Enron Embarassment.
So, I (and many others) ended up being right about this housing crisis. Unfortunately, I personally have no way of benefiting from it directly. As far as I know, there's no way to short-sell property with options as housing prices drop. I'm so invested in my current property, I can't really afford to buy into new property when the house prices hit bottom.
I'm not expert about anything I've mentioned here. Just one person that's seen all this before. I expected the housing crisis to hit much sooner and not so intensely. My mistake was not understanding how the sub-prime situation was allowing the housing bubble to grow much bigger than it would've had sub-primes been regulated much better. Hopefully the weakened economy will have enough support to keep it chugging along, even if at a slower right. I'm just kinda wish I had a way to get more benefit during this period.
Christmas itself was fun. We spent time with Allie's family and with an Aunt of mine and then more time with Allie's family. I'm a little bummed that my friend Miriam had to cancel her get together today due to illnesses. Hopefully I'll get a chance to meet up with her soon, after she heals herself up. At least we got a chance to chat for awhile.
We did get a change to talk to my friend Dave this week. He's up in the Seattle area. Ya'no, I've had so many friends move out of the area. It's like, am I scaring everyone away? :) Or am I the grim ripper of California inhabitants; if I come into your life, you will be moving far away at some point? Well, that wouldn't be so true of Ronie and Miriam, and Allie too, but heck, it applied to Jenn, Jennifer, my parents, Dave and Little Miriam, my Ex, my Ex's mother, and her brother and new wife, and...that list is already too long and it doesn't include many I've lost contact with. (I miss you.) Its funny, I don't keep in touch with anyone I knew before 1997, but now its getting hard to keep in touch with many I've got to know since. I've been pretty up beat about this, but now that I'm writing it, it's a bummer.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
The fact of the matter is that barring actual (and expensive) medical intervention, and for all practical purposes, the selection of a baby's sex is completely random. Neither the mother nor the father can make the selection through conscientious efforts. There are many different and often bizarre myths surrounding conception, as an article at babycenter.com covers.
Many different actions can be tried with to improve the chance of getting pregnant, but sex selection is still not directly in the hands of either parent. Granted, Y (male) sperm have been deemed weaker and can be more affected by a woman's pH balance more so than X (female) sperm, but more boys are born than girls on a world wide basis. Nature has already figured all this out for us, and if decision making has happened, it is a result of our species' evolution, and not preferences we conjure up in our own minds.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Many times, they quote from reputable publications, but don't make it clear that these quotes are of quotes by the source to argue against creationism. In other words, it is creationists quoting creationists. They try to make the creationist seem as though they are scientists that is lamenting evolution.
Another trick is they quote scientists of unrelated fields. I am amazed how often an oft-handed comment by Einstein or Steven Hawkins is quoted as proof that scientists question the Theory of Evolution.
They also grab quotes from newsletters or other unvetted periodicals and present them as though they were creditably published.
So, in the end, they are just quoting a bunch of random comments in a way the becomes original research of their own, finding a conclusion that in no way is reasonable if the whole of their sources are read.
In fact, my own experience suggests that it is important to execise my eyes. Both my parents and my sister require glasses, having less than ideal vision. I've always tried to keep my eyes exercised. Until a few years ago, I never noticed any issues with my eye sight. Recently, I started noticing some imperfection in my sight, so I went into the eye doctor. Come to find out, vision in one of my eyes is 20/15, and it's 20/20 in the other. Apparently, my vision used to be in the 20/12 to 20/16 range. I was getting fussy about having lowly 20/20 vision. At times in the past, I doubted what I was doing. Now though, I at least have some sense of control regarding the health of my eyes.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The fact is, as I’ve heard from many difference sources by now, the body’s skin dries out sometime after a person dies. As it does so, it shrinks. The nails and hair remain in place, so it can appear as though they grow because they protrude farther out from the skin. That said, I would still guess it is possible the nails and hair do grow a tiny bit right after death, though they certainly do not continue to grow once all body functions stop.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The movie is based on a book by the same name. Also, several low budget or independent movies have been made based on this book. This version deviated from the book and the other versions in some ways that seemed necessary, but in other ways, made this movie weaker than other versions. I will say I feel that if the movie would've followed the book, the movie would've been boring. Granted, the book does make excellent social commentary. With that said, it is not one of the better books written in the realm of fiction. I am of the sort that thinks if a movie can be made better than the work upon which it is based, then it should be. In this case, I will say that the movie was well paced. Choices in differences in the plot from the book through much of the movie were good.
However, not enough effort was given to the ending. Where the movie deviates from the book the most (the ending) is perhaps where it should've stuck to the original story more. The whole reason for the title "I am Legend" is that main character becomes as scary to the new vampire civilization in the new world as vampires are scary to us in our world now; deep social commentary. Instead, with this movie, there's a simple ending that doesn't do the rest of the movie any justice and ended up making this movie seem like a prequel to 28 Days Later (which, in my opinion, is a better film). At the end, I was like, "It's over already? That sucks." The voice-over by the heroine at the ended made an attempt to explain the movie title with the movie ended, though this was a very weak attempt at that.
One other point, the CGI was very weak and dated. It felt cartoony.
Some of the scenes lost importance because the acting wasn't up to par. This one scene where the father is trying to have a conversation about life with his son didn't work at all because Kal Penn was trying so hard to be the teenage with angst that it actually distracted from the moment instead of making the moment what it was meant to be (and needed to be) for the film. I would say it was a case of overacting, but I think a better word for it is wrong-acting. Also, other scenes suffered from a lack of acting effort.
Editing was not well conceived or executed. The flashbacks of Gogol's character (Ken Penn) came off as just cheesy. Some scenes were awkwardly cut in order to hold off on that portion of the story until later in the movie. This, unfortunately, made the movie seem like it dragged on, with random spatterings of story telling. Overall, the story felt disjointed, without much reason for why it was edited this way.
The story itself meandered from point to point. There was no real main character, though it was supposed to be Gogol. Most of the movie seemed aimless. Character motivation was poorly executed. Again, Gogol's character kinda just took action that didn't really have a solid explanation. It made the character seem extremely superficial, even as he faced up to his heritage (which I am sure was an unintentional impression by the film maker). Well, either way the story wasn't well written.
The movie appeared to be a jumbled mess. I can't understand what many of the critics saw in this movie. It was a lackluster attempt to show something didn't really end up being all the important to the story (why the main character was named Gogol). This movie seemed to be an independent film for which the big studios wisely did not waste their money. I'm sure I would've cared about this movie more were I of Indian background, but even then I would have to admit it was not an example of good film making.
"Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker."
My own experience on this is that it is partially true. It’s not a complete myth. Studies have shown that shaving doesn’t affect hair in that way. Nor do I think the act of trimming hair causes it to grow back thicker and coarser. I do think that how the skin surrounding the hair is treated does have significant impact. I did my own quasi-scientific study on myself when I was an adolescent. In an attempt to grow more hair body hair (being an adolescent trying to speed up the maturity process), I rubbed the skin on my chest aggressively over a period of a few months or so. In the oft chance to see if what I was doing would work, I rubbed one side of my chest more often then the other side. Having seen no immediate hair growth, I stopped this practice. It was about a year later I noticed the results. As hair did start to grow in, it only grew in where I had rubbed my skin months before. Yes, the hair on my chest grew in with the pattern I used to rub my skin. Even today, the thickest portion of my chest hair still vaguely matches the initial pattern I establish during my adolescence.
Another example of the effect of skin treatment is more recent. Although I’m not rapidly balding, I’ve always had a high and somewhat asymmetric hair line at the corners on my forehead. A few years ago, I learned that DHT levels in the skin and body can influence hair growth. It can cause hair to grow in some parts of the body. It can also cause a receding hairline on a man’s forehead too. I started a passive search for products that could affect DHT levels in the skin. In that search, I discovered Nioxin. The brand makes a claim that its shampoo can wash away DHT from the scalp. I tried it. I didn’t see any immediate results. Eventually, I decided to just to use it up. After about six months or so, I kinda started noticing what appeared to be new tiny baby hairs at the edge of my hairline. I decided to try Nioxin out for another few months. I bought more and kept using it. Over the next year, I noticed the hair growing back even more. Now, we aren’t talking about thick new grass on the field. I did perceive the start of a recovery of what I have lost over the past decade.
After awhile, I mentioned to Allie that I noticed a difference. She didn’t believe me. Then one day, she’s looking at me while we are snuggling and all of a sudden she was all like, “Is this all new?” with an amazed look on her face as she ran her fingers along my hairline. At first, I thought she was just she was trying to stroke my ego, so I challenged the comment. But I know her. She’s not the girly type that does that sort of thing. She was being genuine. Since then, my hairline has evened out a bit, and continues to recover at a slow pace.
So, from my own person experiences I can say cutting hair doesn’t change it, but how you treat the skin surrounding the hair does definitely impact it, though it takes a long time.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
So, in a poor effort to debunk this myth, it can be argued that the statement should be instead of water, we should be drinking eight glasses of fluid. Again, this is semantics since by fluid, one means water mixed other substances. Technically, mercury is a fluid, but I’d never want anything to drink that. This does mean we don’t need to actually drink all that fluid. We can get our required water in the foods we eat and other types of drinks, such as tea or orange juice. However, I still contend the requirement for eight glasses of fluid or just water is still a bit ridiculous. I’ve never seen a factually supported statement anywhere that says eight glass of anything is required for our health. I consider both the eight glass of water myth to be just crazy. I also consider the attempts to debunk the myth to be its own myth.
Friday, December 21, 2007
As a child, I remember learning that humans only use 10 percent of our brains. This was stated as fact to me by my parents and from many other sources. I now know this is false, in a manner of speaking. I often find the explanation for why it is false to be a little dubious. Often the sited evidence as to why it is false is based on MRI or PET scans that show no dormant areas within our brains. Why is this suspect to me? Well, even though the myth states we only use 10% of our brains, it doesn’t say anything about dormitivity.
Sure, we do use most of our brains over the course of our many experiences in our live. However, at no moment is our entire brain ever fully engaged. In fact, many areas of the brain do have reduced activity. We still have access to these areas when we need them, but when we don’t need them they are not functioning to full capacity. For example, a recent study suggests the reason people think time slows down during extremely frightening experiences is because an area of the brain called the amygdale becomes more active at that time, laying down more memories during those kinds of events in our lives. The presumption from comparing this information with the debunking comments is that we don’t use all of our brain capacity all the time and that their explanation for debunking the 10 percent brain myth is not complete.
Monday, December 17, 2007
As morbid as it is, there are people who seek posthumous fame. Sometimes this happens by copycats in certain social circles (such as schools) after the suicide of one person gets a lot of attention. Other times there is an act to get back at society for some perceived wrong. These people see herostratic fame (fame by doing something horror).
The first great example recorded in history was committed by Herostratus the Ephesian in B.C. 356 when he burned down the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. His name is where the term herostratic fame comes from. When tortured, he confessed he did the deed to immortalize himself. The Ephesians then passed a decree condemning his name to oblivion in order to discourage further such fame seeking attempts. We only know of Herostratus because an ancient historian did mention his name.
Of course in modern times, we have what are called mass murders. These are individuals or groups that typically kill a lot of people in a suicidal attack. There is usually some sort of fame being sought by such people in one fashion or another. In the case of the recent attack by a shooter in Omaha, the killer wrote a suicide letter that specifically expressed his expectation to be famous after committing his heinous deed.
With this incident, mass media is finally questioning the action of publishing the names of these mass murders. A recent AP article sited a media analyst who stated that the media enabled the mass murderer to get his fame posthumously. Additionally, recent articles also have talked about the fact that the new generation growing up right now places much more importance on fame than any previous generation in America.
I personally think it is time for the media to show restraint. It is important to report horrendous events. However, I don’t know the killer. Knowing his name doesn’t change what the killer did, nor does it help me to come to terms with the event. So, why give that person the attention they crave? Why encourage further acts by other persons who are borderline. Right now, someone contemplating a similar act is emboldened by the reporting by the press about the Omaha killer.
Don’t get immortality to individuals who think it can be achieved by committing horrible deeds. One more advantage is that denying immortality to such individuals actual shows respect for the victims and their families. Giving fame to the killer is a bit like dancing on the grave of their victims.
Now, there a disadvantages to keep the name from the public. We live in the Information Age. Speculation would run rampant if names were withheld from the general public. Also, this wouldn’t discourage killers who are more interested in the act of killing rather than fame from it. So, I’m not suggesting mass murders should be completely nameless in the public forum. I suggest that the mass media itself should not name them. I think it is foolish to try to completely expunge a person’s name from the record. If someone wishes, they could look at public records for the name. If a blogger wishes, they can publish the name themself. Either way, only someone who is interested need find the information. There is no sense in feeding the information to everyone, to which knowing the name is pretty pointless. I think this would be enough to discourage people from seeking herostratic fame by the committing of suicidal mass murders or other gruesome deeds.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sorry to disappoint, a person who believes against scientific fact does not get protection under the Constitution and modern Civil Liberties as a protected class when it comes to a job that needs acknowledgement of scientific fact in order to perform required tasks, nor is someone that conspires against reality. A person can be fired for what they choose to say Not to mention the fact that believing against scientific fact precluded him from being able to perform his job at a scientific institution!
In good conscience, I don't know how he could call himself a biologist. I would go so far as to note that his biologist degree doesn't have validity if he decries the basis upon which it was based. If he really does believe against scientific fact, he should return his degree to the institution which issued it to him and obtain a new degree in Religious Studies or something.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
this one intersection, the light changed green for us, so she went. She
started off a bit slower than normal. As we crossed the center of the
intersection, I noticed a car travelling a full speed in the perpendicular
direction on our right. My instinct was to just exclaim "Shit shit shit"
and feel around for the best way to prepare for the impending collision.
Thankfully, Allie picked up on my queues. At the last second she was able
to slow down enough to honk and let the guy zoom by us. She wanted to turn
around and go after the guy, but I was like, "There's nufin we can do; no
point since we didn't actually hit 'em. We can't report him cuz the cops
can't do anything since there was no accident. Just got to let it go as
just one of those things."
She didn't like that, but we continued on. The idiot who ran the light did
slow down to look back without stopping. I don't think he even realized he
was at fault.
Sent with SnapperMail
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Shocking statistics, the horror! Doctors handwriting are not killing 7000 people annually [updated 2016]
What is an accurate statement? Metro News reported that according to the Institute of Medicine (article), there was a 1998 study that found 7000 deaths occurred each year from all medication-related errors from all sources.
"Moreover, while errors may be more easily detected in hospitals, they afflict every health care setting: day-surgery and outpatient clinics, retail pharmacies, nursing homes, as well as home care. Deaths from medication errors that take place both in and out of hospitals – more than 7,000 annually – exceed those from workplace injuries."It appears that the IOM report actually didn't discuss handwriting as serious issue at all. Of more concern was the problem of inaccurate prescriptions and incorrect doses by caregivers (hospitals, nursing homes, etc). FDA stated the following in their report Strategies to Reduce Medication Errors: Working to Improve Medication Safety:
"In response to the IOM's report, all parts of the U.S. health system put error reduction strategies into high gear by re-evaluating and strengthening checks and balances to prevent errors."So, the US health system had already started to take the appropriate actions to address the real problems. All the while, the real problems are completely ignored by the TIME article. The issue of inaccurate reporting on this topic is especially egregious in light of the recent news regarding Dennis Quaid's twins who were accidentally seriously overdosed with a medication at their hospital.
I've found inaccuracies, such as those found in the TIME article, so common that I seek out the source material before accepting claims of news articles that purportedly reference scientific studies. Overall, I look at the mass media with an open yet critical eye.
Since this article was originally written in 2007, we've seen the end of handwritten prescriptions. It's not even necessary to have any slip of paper at all. Everything is handled in cyberspace (or on the cloud, as it is often termed these days). Some places are enacting laws that require electronic prescriptions. Personally, I've not carried a prescription as slip of paper in years. Even in 2007, the idea of a device to resolve the issue of doctor handwriting seemed shortsighted, and hindsight seems to have confirmed those doubts.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Overall, Atlantis turned out to not be worth the money. It was fun and all. It's just not as valuable as it costs. Plus, spending 8 days there is just too long. 4 days would've been better. But from California, travelling a whole day to go somewhere and a whole day back, 4 days isn't long enough. Given that, it's not worth going to Atlantis if coming all the way from California.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I started seeing this type of replica in the art stores a few years ago. I'm not sure how long they've been available, but the fact that are available does amaze me a bit.
Now that I’m well into the second quarter of my life, I am comfortable with who and where I am. Maybe I am too comfortable. I like who I am. I know a lot of people wouldn’t though. I tend to ignore the little things, not taking others seriously when they trip up over them. Little mistakes amount to nothing in my mind, yet for some reason some others hold them over my head. On the other hand, I’m more concerned by the big picture, where others don’t seem to notice or care. I feel limited by my lack of resources to affect the big picture to improve things for everyone. Now that I’ve come this far, it seems I know I have so much farther to go, but can’t seem to find the path. Am I trying? It’s hard when the day-to-day distracts. How does one start something big when the space of time left between the little things is barely enough to recover from having to take care of the little things? Hell, what would I set out to do if I had the resources? I know enough to know I don’t know enough. I do know I’m not into fighting for causes. Too often, those are too focused on too little.
I want to make the world just a little better than how it was when I entered it. Some sort of legacy. Maybe for the time being this is why I write this blog with its articles about so many different topics, from astrophysics to specific details of my own life, from the politically incorrect to religious foolishness, from dreams had to hopes yet to be realized. And yet, there is so much I don’t write about. My words in this site are the tip of the iceberg. There are memories of loss that I dare not pen down. There are experiences that most would not understand that I don’t bother to explain. And there’s mundane details of my daily life that wouldn’t be worth talking about, even on my most bored of days. (I also don’t write about details of my work.)
I’m not asking “is this all there is?”, but I am wondering how I can make more of what I have. It’s almost as though the great adventure is behind me so many years go. I am a better person now, but does that buy me a more difficult task, or a period of reprieve? I don’t ask about the meaning of life. Knowing that doesn’t make life any more meaningful. (What is the meaning of life? To live.) There’s the feeling that perhaps there’s an unfulfilled promise or perhaps some task left undone. Or perhaps I’m impatient. I do have what I want at this point. What is there for me to complain about? Perhaps the choices before me from this point on preclude each other once I take the steps towards one? I want all aspirations to be fulfilled, but feel only one can be pursued at a time.
Here's the amazing part. I wanted to get burned to some degree. I kinda like getting the freckles, especially across the back of my shoulders. It's kinda like a cheetah pattern. ::Growl:: hehehe
Allie, with her darker skin, went through the itchy stage of her burns on the previous day sooner, and I took care of her. So on this day, she took care of me.
Our plan for the evening was to rent a hotel movie that was recently in the theaters, and have a room service dinner. Well, room service fell through and blow the plan for the evening away. I was not happy. We ended up going to one of the rest'rants in the Marina (which is part of the resort). Having the evening plans blown, I later complained to the front desk. We ended up getting the Marina meal comp'd.
Did I mention that Atlantis kinda turned out to be a disappointment? It's a good place, but not nearly worth the money. I'm perfectly willing to pay for high end items and experiences, but when I do so, I will want to get my money's worth. I don't really feel Atlantis lives up to the hype or is worth the costs. The grounds of the resort are great, but do not come up to the level that even comes close to making the expense seem earned.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
We then hopped back on the speed boat for a quick and thrilling ride to the main island where we'd be staying for the day. I had the impression that the island would be a bit bigger. Part of the trip was to provide snorkelling opportunities, but this turned out to be a 1/4 mile guided water tour that required everyone to walk back up to the beach to get back to the main area. I settled for some close to the beach snorkelling instead. The main problem is that the they operators tried to cram too much adventure into one location. See, they organized a stingray feeding (more feeding of wild animals. OK, stingrays aren't terribly dangerous. But they capped off the fun with a shark feeding. So, that was a thrill to watch too, but here's the rub. They where feeding the sharks on the same beach where we were relaxing and swimming. Hmmm. Well, Allie wasn't much up for snorkelling under those conditions. I spent some time in the water, but spent most of my time on the beach relaxing in the sun. I'll say it was great to be somewhere away from the crowds. It was not a relaxing as I had hoped for though.
The ride back was met with more aggressive driving of the speed boat by the staff. They took 1 hour to get to the private island, but shoot for 45 minutes on the return. The ride was wet and bumpy. It was fun for a little bit, but then got old quick. The speed boat adventure trip was fun, but didn't live up to expectations, as I was finding true for the Bahamas in general.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Once in Nassau's downtown we headed for a Starbucks to get some iced tea because it was hot. The Starbucks is right next to the ferry docking area. (I'd dare not actually call the point a dock. It is simply a spot where it looks like a good place for the boats to stop.) After Starbucks, we headed to Bay Street. Bay Street is the main tourist shopping spot in Nassau. As such, it was crammed with traffic, had very poor air quality, and felt as safe as a bad side of town in any large American city. After about an hour of this and some very minimal shopping, we decided to just head back to Atlantis.
On the ferry ride back, there was another supposed tour guide. The tour guides were entertaining. They worked for tips only. They were also completely unnecessary. Once back at Atlantis, we tried to spend the rest of the day at the pools, but the outdoor services all closed at 6pm (just as we got out there), so we decided finish exploring the Resort grounds, including having a rather expensive buffet dinner.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
In the evening, we explored the Marina and had dinner at one of its rest'rants that supposedly offered local flavors. I know we didn't have much in the way of authentic local food, but what we did have didn't inspire. I believe I can safely say neither Allie or myself are going to go crazy over Bahamian cooking.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
OK, so this card has a message. On one side, there's a directive to "Join us this Sunday!" for "Helpful Bible Teaching", "Christian Friendships", and "Exciting Gospel Singing". There's a picture of a life preserver with a sailboat in the background. The life preserver says "Lifeline Bible Class". There's also a lovely photo of what I guess to be the pastor and his family. Another photo below that shows what I guess to be the congregation that meets in "Room 214" at church. The only critical comments I'm going to say about this side of the card is that it is specifically geared to someone who is already Christian, yet most of the people in my neighborhood are more likely Buddhist, Hindu, other or nothing at all. The church isn't doing a good job at targeted marketing. It's the back side of the card that really drives this point home though.
On the back, there's 4 points that I guess are meant to cause someone to pray. At the end of the last point is a sample prayer. So, here's the review:
Point 1: "Recognize your condition". It quotes Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Then it makes an assumptive insult, "No one is good enough to go to Heaven on his own merit. No matter how much good we do, we still fall short." To someone that doesn't recognize Christian mythology (namely Buddhists, Hindus and other), this first point is both pointless and insulting. First, it assumes everyone has detailed knowledge of the Christian Heaven. It then says "Hey, you suck!" to anyone that wants to get into this Heaven. But, it assumes that anyone would want that. Without knowing much about it, I'm sure most readers of this card could care less. The card itself offers no reason to care, and in fact would put off some people from wanting anything to do with the Christian Heaven.
Point 2: "Realize the penalty for sin". It quotes Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death..." It then makes a barely comprehensible statement, "Just as there are wages for good, there is punishment for wrong." Who gets paid for being good? Is this some one's job? If so, I want in on the deal! Wow, can you imagine getting a nice big, fat paycheck each week just for helping old ladies to cross the street? Of course, this is a nonsensical statement to try to draw some sort of contrast out of the bible quote. It continues, "The penalty for our sin is eternal death in a place called Hell." That's funny. Whoever wrote this card previously assumed a universal familiarity with the Christian Heaven, but now presumes a complete universal ignorance of the Christian Hell! It does all this by skewing the words of Romans 6:23 way beyond their intended meaning too! Romans Chapter 6 is speaking of one's life and death in a spiritual metaphoric sense (that is, you are called alive if you believe in Jesus, and you are called death if you don't). It's not talking about a literal life or death condition. If one finishes reading verse 23 one will find, "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." This is obviously a metaphor since almost all Christian religions believe that one must die (in one way or another) in order to get to Heaven, so one's life cannot be literally eternal. It's funny how they didn't quote that part of the verse at this point, instead opting for dot dot dot (...) to leave the reader with the wrong impression.
Point 3: "Believe Christ died for you". It again quotes the book of Romans at 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Commendeth again? hehehe Again, they aren't doing a good job of knowing their audience. Most people in this neighborhood are not impressed by the gratuitous use of older English since they know English as a second language. Now about their comment, "Christ's great love for us was shown when He died on the cross to pay our sin debt." Huh? OK, here's the deal, when a Christian capitalizes a pronoun like "He", it means they think they are talking about God. So, Christ is God? God died? Why would God need to kill Himself (or allow Himself to be killed), effectively committing suicide? Wouldn't He just use his power to make things right without killing anyone? Why is suicide the solution to having a "sin debt" paid. Should I handle my credit card debt this way? What is sin anyway? This isn't explained by the card at all. It makes it seem like everyone sins and that sinning is bad. However, there is no qualification for what sin is. Even less explained is "sin debt".
Point 4: "Trust Christ alone as your Savior" It quotes the rest of Romans 6:23 (notice how it does this out of order to try to make the bible seem like it is saying something which is really isn't) "...But the gift of god is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." It then immediately quotes Romans 10:13 (again, out of order) "For whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." The comment on the card is, "Everlasting life is a gift purchased by the blood of Jesus and offered freely to those who call upon Him by faith." I'm not so sure I'd put my faith in anyone that thinks suicide is a solution for anything. Besides that, everlasting life is not desired by the Buddhist or the Hindu who are more focused on living each life in succession to be free from this world once and for all (including both its associated "heaven" and "hell" attributes).
I guess the writer of the card thought they moved the holy spirit (a Christian reference that isn't important if you aren't/weren't a Christian) into the person reading the card because they had the audacity to put a prayer at the end. "Let us help you word a prayer (Realize it's not mere words that save, but your faith in Jesus Christ)". Here's my prayer "Dear Lord!" That sentence has so much arrogance and assumption piled in it, it's hard to pin down a single point to criticize effectively. I'll just say that the card is too poorly written to do what its writer thinks it is supposed to do. The prayer only compounds this, so I'm not going to bother quoting it.
This card is a classic example of what most Christians think. 1. Everyone wants what they want. 2. Their path is the only way to get what they think everyone wants. 3. Other belief systems have so little merit, people caught up in those systems are looking for a way out of them. 4. Simply talking about their faith (no matter how poorly or incoherently) is enough to convince others that their particular version of Christianity is the right (and only) way to live. 5. The bible has all the answers to describe this life path even though they don't research (instead of just reading) it themselves.
So sad. The truth is that this card only remotely has a chance at catching a positive response from someone who already identifies themself as Christian. This is a sort of cannibalism among the Christian faiths. They don't know how to talk to non-Christians in order to attract them to join because they are so caught up in their image of this world and have so little understanding of others within it.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
We where approached by two other waiters. All three waiters said the same thing when they came over, "I'm sorry that you've waited so long. May I get you a drink?" Well, we didn't really ever wait long at that point yet. :)
Anyway, Allie hear me misspeak, and we where both a bit puzzled, so it soon it me that he thought we ordered wine, instead of sparkling water. Fortunately, we got that fixed. Though it is ironic that I did end up ordering a glass of the pinot for myself with the meal.
Fathoms has a nice atmosphere. Two of the main walls are windows to The Dig Aquarium. They've got the most massive Sting Rays I've ever seen in the Aquarium.
The main courses where great, but the appetizer was surprisingly not so good. Lobster, crab, mussel and other critters where prepared local style. It really wasn't to our taste.
At the end, I was almost, but not quite hit with sticker shock with a nearly $300 bill. About 1/3 of these was the apetizer that we didn't enjoy much. Otherwise, the rest was worth it. We tried to take pictures of us within the dining area, but it was too dark. We ended up taking the above pic in the bar.
We had a nice, restful night in our new room.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
He just ate ear wax!!! Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww ...EEWWWWWWWWW!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Back at the Dolphin Cay, we checked in and walked into the private area. The Cay is man made, of course. I'm not even really sure if cay if the right word for it. Either way, there's a large salt water pool where many dolphins reside. These dolphins where rescued in the ocean after being sweep out to sea by Hurricane Katrina a couple years ago. They were originally part of a water park in the New Orleans area, which was destroyed.
The experience was fun. We got to get up close and personal with the dolphins. The trainers did use some of the usual tricks to make it seem as though the dolphins where interacting with the people more than what is really possible. It was all just trained tricks, of course, like the rest of the interaction. Sometimes the dolphins would go off and do tricks, and a couple times they did a trick or two without being asked. I like the spontaneous behavior prolly more than the instructed tricks just cuz it was the dolphins being themselves. We got to briefly handle the creatures, and feed them. Allie and I enjoyed our time there. We got a few photos to take back with us too. The photos where taken by the Dolphin Cay staff, and the cost to purchase printouts was a bit extreme, but supposedly a large portion of the proceeds go to wild dolphin and nature conservation, so I guess it was worth it.
In 1954, a young Princeton University doctoral candidate named Hugh Everett III came up with a radical idea: That there exist parallel universes, exactly like our universe. These universes are all related to ours; indeed, they branch off from ours, and our universe is branched off of others. Within these parallel universes, our wars have had different outcomes than the ones we know. Species that are extinct in our universe have evolved and adapted in others. In other universes, we humans may have become extinct.
A parallel Universe is supposedly a Universe like our own. It would develop along a parallel path to our Universe and would therefore be very similar to our Universe. People in our Universe (you, me and almost everyone else) would likely have a counterpart doppelganger in this other Universe.
Modern scientific theories suggest that other Universes do exist. However, only hypothesis and notions exist that suggest these Universes are parallel (similar) to our own. One notion about parallel Universes is that every decision and every possibility for every action in the Universe immediately creates branches of similar Universes. For example, if I flip a coin and it comes up heads, an alternate Universe instantly branches off where my coin comes up tales. This means that all possibilities of an action do actually occur in their own Universe. This notion is fuel for Science Fiction, but I cannot see how such a system could exist.
For a Universe to be similar to our own, it would require some common branch point with our Universe. In other words, our Universe and a parallel Universe would split off from one another. So, here's the problem with parallel Universes magically branching off from one another: Where is all the energy coming from to produce all these infinite parallel Universes? If such a system did occur, there would have to be some infinite energy source to drive it, and some magical mechanism in place to funnel that energy into each Universe. When Universes like our own are created, they consist of a certain amount of energy. For a Universe to split, energy would need to be split between the new split Universes. Of course, one could then argue that perhaps parallel Universes are really just versions of the same Universe, but existing in different states. The problem here is that an infinite amount of energy would still be needed to drive the structure of that system as well since it would still have to create an infinite number of possibilities.
Given current theories and arguments, I don't doubt that other Universes could exist. However, I sincerely doubt that parallel Universes constantly branch off from one another.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I had the flight planned through Delta. Wow, that was a mistake. After spending over 5 hours on board the flight from San Jose, CA to Atlanta, GA, would have nearly a 5 hour lay over. We planned on this, so no big deal. It was planned this way because the flights to the Bahamas from Atlanta where so limited. So, when we go it to Atlanta's airport, we didn't even think twice about just going to get lunch in the terminal. After lunch, I noticed something that started to worry me. The afternoon flight to the Bahamas which was scheduled to leave at 2:50pm had not yet even arrived at 4:00pm. The flight should've been taking off just as our inbound flight was arriving. So that fact that it was over an hour late was a bad sign. I played with the idea of trying to get on to that flight via standby, but I thought better of it just in case there was a mix-up with our checked-in luggage. We waited for our flight. Waited. Waited. It was scheduled four about 7:30. Of course, 7:30pm came and went. Our flight's gate was moved. This was bad. Our flight finally got in but was held at the gate behind another plane that was stuck for another hour. We finally boarded around 9:00pm.
The next leg of the flight wasn't as long. We arrived on New Providence around 11:00pm and checked in to the hotel at almost 12:00am. The room was very disappointing. It was also a smoking room. However, we were too tired that night to deal with it, so we settled in and slept. We would change the room in the morning. The they put us in the first night left me with a some concern.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
There's over twenty videos there. Here's the one that started it all seven months ago, as a parody of the Mac Vs. PC commercials.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
First is the report that a society representing blind persons was conducting a protest today against hybrid cars because they are so quiet. Unfortunately, I can say that I think this is one of the most ridiculous protests I've seen in a long time. This is one group that is kinda missing the point. We all hafta adapt to the ever changing world. Things change. Paradigms of the past become out moded. This protest strikes me as a bit underthoughtout. Instead of protesting the quietness of a new car (which is preferred since it reduces noise pollution, among other reasons), they need to start working with cities about better city management of crosswalks and driveway entrances onto public streets. Also, discuss this matter with technology groups to get people to start investing in portable motion or metal detectors, or some other proximately alert system. Protesting the advancement of technology? Can anyone say "Amish"? It would be much worse to implement some arcane artificial function that would create stigma against the blind.
Another story that seemed a bit odd was recent industry comments regarding the Northwest Passage which will likely be opening up during summers within the next 20 years. It is the much fabled passage through the Northwest Territories of Canada that would shorten trips between Europe and Asia by several thousand miles. The route is currently frozen over most of the time. I'm commenting on an article that was highly critical of the idea of using the Northwest Passage once it opens up yearly during the summer months. The article made several points about its danger and unpredictability. The conclusion of this "news" article was that any use of the NW Passage would be unlikely. To this I say, what complete nonsense! The nature of industry is to take risk in the effort to make money! The more risk, the more money to be made. The challenge of the NW Passage isn't going to scare everyone away. It's going to be a magnet for profiteers looking for a new way to make big money in the shipping industry. Some of these dissers quoted in the article would likely be the first in line to take advantage of the NW Passage if it were to open up today.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I blame President Bush Jr. for fostering the incorrect notion that we are at war in Iraq. There, our forces are an occupational force as part of a much larger effort to restructure Iraq in a way that makes its existence favorable to U.S. policies. The Iraqi War itself is long over. It was over when the government controlled by the Bathe Party collapsed and Iraqi forces scattered, soon after the invasion. We’ve only been in Iraq four years. Compare that with Japan after WWII. That was a relatively peaceful occupation that lasted seven years. The occupation in Iraq is not peaceful. How much more is expected as a result? Yes, the occupation is a drain on U.S. resources. But honestly, this occupation is being funded with our economic surplus. Our economy is so efficient and vast that we can maintain a full scale occupation without adversely impacting our economy. We never had to switch our economy over from a peacetime focus to a wartime focus. We are currently in a peacetime economy. We can’t afford to wage “another” war? If the Iranian leadership truly believes this, they are kidding themselves in the worst possible way. If necessary, the U.S. could switch over to a wartime economy to wipe Iran off of the map (without the use of nukes). With that said, I don’t feel it is in the U.S. best interests to do so. In general, I am against the idea of war. I also think that anytime someone thinks it is necessary to kill another person, then that person needs to re-exam their thought processes. (Self-defense is one thing, but war is about control over resources, not normally self-defense.) So here, I’m just pointing out the obvious flaw in recent Iranian official comments.
Ok, we are also in another on-going conflict. It is arguable that the limited U.S. operations in Afghanistan constitute a war, but those operations are barely a blip on the radar. Those operations in no way limit our ability to wage a full fledge war.
With the trap set, I called her up on the evening of her birthday from Irvine. I directed to the location of the gifts. I can say she was really surprized and enjoyed my thoughtfulness. It gave her something to brag to her mom and friends about for the remainder of the week (though I'm sure she wouldn't characterize it as bragging). It was a lot of fun to pull this on her.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The rooms themselves were very clean and tidy. The bathroom was a little dated in layout. The whole hotel (rooms and open areas) all had this floral scent that was just annoying. I couldn’t get away from it. It was supposed to make everything smell fresh, I think. But it just made me feel like I was supposed to be having a hay fever attack. Fellow seminar attendees also complained about service when they had issues with their rooms.
I’ll be looking at other hotels in the area for any other seminars held at a Hyatt in the future.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I'm glad we moved in together last year. The stress of living together for the first time coupled with the marriage would've been a lot of deal with at once. This allowed us to take it a little easier for the wedding, though it was still pretty stressful.
Married life isn't treating us any different than before because of this, though. I mean, we've been practicing for about a year now. It's just good to have the ceremony behind us. A few people have asked about then we will start popping kids out, but for the most part we just hear "How is married life treating you?"