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12-31-10 Somehow I
was thinking the other day about Lucas' light sabers. I am probably not
the only young American male who has spent considerable time trying to
figure out exactly how a light saber might practically work. How do you
get a very intense laser beam to go out three feet and stop? And if it
were possible to extend it at will, it would very tempting, while
fencing to the death, to design a light saber that could extend another
foot or two. This never happens though. Maybe there is an
unwritten rule of light sabers that they may be 105cm long and no
longer. You would think that at least the bad guys would circumvent
this. It seems that for whatever reason they can be only so
long. Even Darth Maul's double was not longer in the "blade" area.
Also, how do you get a laser beam to be able to parry another laser
beam whilst fencing? My theory is that there must be an
extendable solid core to them, and a mirror at the far end to reflect
the light beam back to the handle. The problem with this theory is that
you could not stab with a light saber, with a mirror at on end, which
it seems they can do. Another idea is that they have something like a
shape memory polymer that can expand and become solid. It
could not be a soft thermoplastic what we have, it would need to be
stronger and more resistant to high temperatures. Another
possibility is some telescoping metal core. Then this core could have
some energy source on its surface which gets very hot. Maybe
some kind of plasma arc. (Which would explain the noise.) But then this
would get too hot to use for more than a few seconds. It is not
impossible that there could be some cooling system at the
handle. The laser works better from this point of
view. It takes pretty high temperatures to slice off a limb
like hot butter. I think maybe 5000-6000F. They do not seem to
have a "cutting edge"; they seem to work equally well in any
direction. Maybe the mirror gets hot enough to use to stab
with. Maybe it uses a laser along the length and some other heat
source, like maybe the arc on the end. Actually the only stabbing use I
can remember in the series was by Darth Maul, and it seemed like almost
a fluke. All other use of the sabers that I can remember was as a
slashing weapon. I wonder if George Lucas ever even thinks about any of
12-5-10 I have been in Texas for a little over a week. My folks house has had a bit of a possum infestation. I trapped one and caught another in the garage with a noose. To me possums look like big overgrown rats. My mom caught a smaller one in a box a couple of days later. I might eat a possum if it lived in the country, but I am not much inclined to eat a city possum that has been eating trash and Lord only know what else in town. I had lunch a couple of times with my paternal grandmother, who is almost 101 years old. She is in a nursing home, which we never thought would happen. Neither she or we are happy about it, but she is very weak and we do not see another option. My mom is looking into seeing if we could get a part time home nurse. If she were as well as half the people there in the nursing home, she would not be there at all, but would still be at home.
I did cyclocross states on Saturday back here in NM, and got 6th, not setting the world on fire but ok considering everything. It has been a busy few weeks and I have not been very focused on training, I have had a cold, I have had a hurt ankle and some tendonitis in my elbow. Ahh well.
There was a line in the liturgy in church today that said: "Fill us with hope that we may share it with the world." As someone who has spent a lot of days feeling hopeless (but not today thankfully) that is a good prayer. The Lutherans, I was thinking, spend more time on Bible readings and less on sermons VS the Evangelicals. We had communion at church today, which is nice. They do it every other week at a lot of Lutheran churches, so someone that makes it to church sporadically like me misses it a lot.
I went to lunch with three of the guys from the church, which was also kind of nice. One of them had been in Korea in the late 60's and we talked quite a bit about the situations there in the last few months. We both agree that it would be a terrible thing if a full scale war would break out. Communist governments are generally liberalizing these days and I think if we can give North Korea a few years it will likely collapse on its own as most communist governments in the world have done.
11-10-10 A couple of things showing that fall is fully here. I pulled out a box labeled "Seasonal Clothes" and took out my corduroys, my sweaters, my lined pants, and put in my shorts, my sleeveless t-shirts, and the like. Then (it seems like overnight) the yellow cottonwoods coming over the bridge on Paseo del Norte have turned brown. I am not a fan of winter in general, but shall try to make the best of it.
11-3-10 Cool pic of me in the zone at MLK Park in Lubbock.
11-2-10 When someone else feeds me, even if it is not my favorite, and even if it is not bread like I buy or naturally raised meat, or whatever, I accept it with gratitude, and eat it up. I am not a very picky eater if someone else cooks for me. I feel a little like that with this election. The party who's values values come generally closer to my own is making considerable gains, exactly how considerable will be in the news tomorrow. I feel though, that I am not super happy about why this has happened. It seems to be an economically driven election, and I am a family values driven voter. Now a lot of the new people coming in, who support fiscal conservatism, are also very family values orientated. That is good, and not at all uncommon in American politics.
It seems like there is this fickle middle group of American voters, who have become convinced that President Obama is THE cause of this present recession, some who likely voted for him, or did not vote at all in 2008. Now I think that Obama could perhaps be held to be responsible for some of the recession. I see (and maybe I am wrong) the causes of the recession to look like this: 35% Obama's socialist policies, 35% two expensive wars started by (our guy) Dubya(1), and 30% a variety of random factors, which are more or less out of the control of politicians.(2) A lot of these people appear to be voting as if Obama is 96% responsible for the recession. I question the durability of elections won by voting for a phantom, something that is not real, or at least not entirely real. Obama's "hope" and "bringing people together" were kind of a phantoms as well, and look how they have withered. Not that I do not agree with the Tea Party on al lot of things, I just do not know if the fiscal conservatism movement can last if the economy stays weak for several more years, even with more Republicans in congress. And it might, in my opinion, as it is not all because of Obama. To be blunt, if the hype fades, my political agenda suffers. We have just watched this happen to my family values opponents. As far as priorities go, I am for family values first and fiscal conservatism/capitalism second, if it is done responsibly. If the American socialists somehow decide to become pro-life and the capitalists become pro-choice, I am voting for the socialists.
I do not see myself as a particularly noisy family values voter, but I seldom miss an election. I am sure I am not the only one out there, who quietly votes a pro family ticket every time an election comes up, event though the Tea Party folks are getting a lot of press.
1. I always had this feeling that Dubya was sincerely sympathetic to the family values causes. I did not feel so much this way about McCain. Maybe it is just me, but when Bush was running against Kerry in 2004, the family values issues seemed to be more on peoples minds. This is maybe silly gut feeling stuff, things I am criticizing voters for in the above paragraphs.
2. I am not an economist, but some of these might be: simply a corrective slowdown from the last boom, weak foreign economies, the trade deficit with China, high petroleum prices, various natural disasters, increased government burdens of supporting immigrants, bad banking, business, and mortgage policies (some of which had origins decades ago).
10-21-10 My, it has been a while since I wrote here. I am going to try to get on a schedule or something. Maybe every two weeks or so. I am doing my Tuesday Night Cross Series, and strangely we have had exactly 14 riders for the first three races. I would like to do better than that. I have been listening to Fantasties by George Macdonald, who has such a nice pretty old fashioned way of writing. I do not think I could write like that if I tried, and if I did it would probably seem silly, like I was trying to be old fashioned. You may have noticed the lack of photos here, that is becasue my dear old Canon S2 finally quit working. It had been glitchy for a while. I am looking for a new one.
I got through the last few chapters of the Confessions. I had read them some time ago, and remembered that they were very complicated and sent the brain thinking around in circles. I think it is almost a right of passage for the educated Christian to at some point in his life trudge through the last few chapters of the Confessions. In any case I think I can say that Augustine comes down on the "God is outside of time" side of the argument. It is strange that it is not difficult at all for me to me to think I disagree with C.S. Lewis about some issue, but I noticed that there was this hesitation to let myself think I disagreed with Augustine. Maybe it is because he is often referred to by the Catholics as Saint Augustine, and of course Lewis is never referred to as Saint Clive. I can't think that Augustine was all that much smarter than Lewis, if at all, though he was definitely quite the intellectual. I still like my "God is inside of time" idea, I will keep mulling it over.
8-24-10 I have been thinking some about the prevailing theory among Christians that God is "outside of time" or "not subject to time." The idea is that past, present and future are all accessible to God at all times. He is not limited by the present as we are. I have heard this in several sermons and discussions among Christians. These sorts of theories are kind of strange, in that they are more, in my opinion, traditional than scriptural. The Catholics (and to be honest we Lutherans too) have a lot of things like this, but this is theory is big among the evangelicals as well. C.S. Lewis talks about this concept in the Screwtape Letters. (Augustine also mentions it in his Confessions, particularly in chapter 11. I am reading that now and I do not know if a have a real grip on his idea of time yet.) This means it is by no means a new idea. Usually things that have been around this long are indeed true, and this likely is, but I think we should make a distinction between theories and dogma. This particular theory kind of caught my attention, in that it is a theory that Christians tend to treat like dogma. There are quite a few of these out there, really if you look for them. Anyways, I am not saying that I am convinced that this theory of "God being outside time" is wrong, I would just like to look at another point of view, which is also a theory.
This would be that God interacts with time exactly as we do, time passes for God just as it passes for us, His reality is only in the present. God, in my opinion, has the ability to control the universe right down to the atomic level, if He so desires. Prescience for God is not necessary for prophecy. He says to Noah that it will rain for forty days, and when the time comes, He simply makes it rain for forty days. This can go for all the prophetic writings in the Bible, they may not be saying necessarily that God knows the future, only that God will make such and such a thing happen at its appointed time.
One might ask, what is the difference between this and God knowing the future? The real problem with the accepted theory is that if God knows the future, how do we really have free will? This is really hard for me to get my brain around. Even harder for me than God knowing the future, is the idea of him designing it beforehand, and still we somehow have a free will. However, if God is in time like we are, our free will is more concrete. Unless He chooses to intervene miraculously, God has no idea what we will do or think or say in the next moment. Perhaps "no idea" is going too far. Even we mortals often know what another mortal human, or for that matter even our dog, will do in the next moment, but this is just knowing their nature, not by knowing the future. I would imagine that God is infinitely better at this than we are, but that is still not the same as knowing the future. We can suppose that God does not forget anything either, so details of the past, though unchangeable, are no more difficult for God to access than the present. Many stories in the Bible, and examples in the present world, show God desiring things to go a certain way, in regard to moral decisions that individuals make, but actually having things go differently. The fall of Adam and the fall of the Devil are examples that come quickly to my mind. It would be possible, if this is true, for God to be surprised on some level, either positively or negatively, at these decisions. I think that God can certainly override free will if he wants, and sometimes he does, but as a general rule he does not do this.
Aside from the free wills of men, angels, and whatever other beings with free wills might be out there, the physical universe would be easier to predict. Maybe for God, it is completely predictable, just by knowing the physics of it all, at least where it is not acted upon by a creature with free will. God made it in the first place and set up how all the physics work. If He can do that, it seems reasonable that he can know what is happening, which stars will collide tomorrow, which volcanos will erupt, and things of that sort, what we refer to as "acts of God."
When you think about it, the conversations in the Screwtape letters need time to make sense, a letter is written, and THEN answered. Even the conversations in Heaven, written in Revelation and Job, require time to make sense: "Who is worthy to open the scroll?" and THEN, "The Lamb is worthy." It is really hard to make sense of anything (for us mortals) without thinking in terms of time. There is a certain sense in prophecy of time, a story, a series of successive events, cause and effect.
I do not think that scripture implicitly requires the "God is out of time and knows the future" viewpoint. "that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2Pet 3:8) I have heard this used to justify the theory, but to me this could mean simply that God has a very long lifespan, perhaps eternal, which has extended back a very long time, perhaps forever. Because of this, he views time very differently than we do, which makes sense, but it does not go beyond that. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8) Jesus (who is God for most Christians) does not change in nature, morals, or opinion as we do.
This is not so important really, just a theory, but I like the idea as it clearifies free will a little without taking God's omnipotence from him. Maybe there is something in the Bible that totally proves this wrong. If you know of it email me.
8-16-10 I went tue dhe Monthly Helpers Mass with dhe Project Defending Life Catholic Pro-lifers. Dhat iz ahlwaze prettee interesting. Won kind uv forgets dhat uborshuns ahr goeing on evree day. Dhae ahr a good grupe I think. I tokt sum with dhem ubout transubstanseeaeshun, and I reeulizde I mor or less ugree with dhe Catholics on dhis. On a similar pro-life note dhere iz a confrence that won uv dhem was taling about kald 2010 New Mexico Biblical World View Conference, which I am hoeping to attend. It is a joint Protestant/Catholic thing. Chuck Colson iz skeduld to speke. I hav red a kupul uv his books, and rillee liked dhem. It wuz suprizinglee hard to find info on it.
7-15-10 I am bak in NM frum a week and a haf in Texas racing and visiting dhe familee. I drove around Austin, San Antonio and Houston, which wuz rillee interesting. I hav bin working on studeeing Actionscript 3.0 for Flash and almost hav a nue .mp3 plaeyer dun. I wil stik it up here when I get dhe bugs out uv it. Dhis first pik iz uv bare trax in dhe Sandias. Uperentlee dhey step in dhe same place going up or doun a trale and make theze littul depressions in dhe forest flor.
5-28-10 I am now famus. I hav my piktur on a genueine spoke kard.
I hav bin lisening tue Ballads of a Bohemian by Robert W. Service. I got it ahf librivox.org which iz won uf the koolest sitse on dhe internet. Endles free ahdeeoebooks, ahl publik doemane, red by volunteers. Onlee old books, dho, wons dhat ahr past thare copeeritse. Here iz a poewem frum dhe book:
The Wonderer, Aug 1, 1914
I wish that I could understand
The moving marvel of my Hand;
I watch my fingers turn and twist,
The supple bending of my wrist,
The dainty touch of finger-tip,
The steel intensity of grip;
A tool of exquisite design,
With pride I think: "It's mine! It's mine!"
Then there's the wonder of my Eyes,
Where hills and houses, seas and skies,
In waves of light converge and pass,
And print themselves as on a glass.
Line, form and color live in me;
I am the Beauty that I see;
Ah! I could write a book of size
About the wonder of my Eyes.
What of the wonder of my Heart,
That plays so faithfully its part?
I hear it running sound and sweet;
It does not seem to miss a beat;
Between the cradle and the grave
It never falters, stanch and brave.
Alas! I wish I had the art
To tell the wonder of my Heart.
Then oh! but how can I explain
The wondrous wonder of my Brain?
That marvelous machine that brings
All consciousness of wonderings;
That lets me from myself leap out
And watch my body walk about;
It's hopeless--all my words are vain
To tell the wonder of my Brain.
But do not think, O patient friend,
Who reads these stanzas to the end,
That I myself would glorify. . . .
You're just as wonderful as I,
And all Creation in our view
Is quite as marvelous as you.
Come, let us on the sea-shore stand
And wonder at a grain of sand;
And then into the meadow pass
And marvel at a blade of grass;
Or cast our vision high and far
And thrill with wonder at a star;
A host of stars--night's holy tent
Huge-glittering with wonderment.
If wonder is in great and small,
Then what of Him who made it all?
In eyes and brain and heart and limb
Let's see the wondrous work of Him.
In house and hill and sward and sea,
In bird and beast and flower and tree,
In everything from sun to sod,
The wonder and the awe of God
5-14-10 It haz bin a cold wet spring in my nek uv dhe woods. Here ahr sum faerlee resent pix. Dhe storm coming in dhe last foto dumpt over an inch uv popcorn snoe on mee in che last 20 min uv my hike.
4-28-10 I vakyumde up under dhe caroeselz last weke. This is part uv wut I found. Dher wuz ahlsoe ubout a cuebik foot uv lint, and maebee $5 in chanje. I like dhe "God Rocks" ball. Onlee in America. :-)
4-13-10 God is in control. I was listening to Michael Savage for a minute last night. He was talking about the fact that the Muslims in Europe have a lot more kids than the native Europeans(four times, he says, but I am not sure about that), and in the US quite a few more than the European Americans, and what this means for the future outlook of the Western World in the next 50-100 years. (He failed to mention that the exception to this statistic is the conservative Christian families, which tend to have more kids.) Anyway I do not listen to him much, as he is often kind of bitter, angry, and depressing. This is not happy information. My dad gave me a book on the same topic, which goes into much more detail. (America Alone, Mark Steyn) What I have written lately about the moral decay of Western Christianity is not very happy news either.
It struck me though, listening to this, that it is not the whole picture. We should do what we can to resist evil in the world, for sure, but the really important thing is that even if the world becomes more evil by the day, God is in control. The true God, who has not changed since the beginning, who since that beginning has loved the same good and hated the same evil, this God is in Control. He loves us and sent his Son Jesus to die for our sins. He will bring us home to heaven.
If I wake up tomorrow and I am the last orthodox* Christian in the world, God is still in control. Not just sort of in control, he will still count every hair and watch every sparrow fall. What happens in the world is important, but it is of secondary importance. It is better to know this and die a martyr tomorrow, than to not know this and have the world tuning out just like you like it.
*That is to say, orthodox in a general sense with a little "o", not Orthodox in the sense of the denomination.
4-12-10 Great shot of Fernando Alonso before practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix last week.
photo Sutton Images, formula1.com
4-7-10 I was thinking about a couple of things related to what I wrote on 3-10 about the future of the Catholic church. If you have not read it you might want to read it first.
First: I read a couple of documents on the Vatican's website,(1,2) and I am encouraged that the official policy of the Catholic Church as it stands now clearly teaches that homosexuality is a sin, even though there are people of the opposite opinion sitting in Catholic pews now. (As I am sure that there are people of this position sitting in Missourri Synod Lutheran (my denomination(3)) pews right now as well.) This excerpt summarizes their position:
"It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally."(1)
So I think that they are "holding the line" on this issue at least as far as the official policy goes. What concerns me is what are the sympathies and long term goals of the upper clergy in the western world. Do they really agree with this? Are some of them wising it would liberalize? I was at a meeting of a Catholic women's group a year or so ago and I remember a lady talking about how disappointed she was that the Vatican had elected such a conservative Pope (speaking of the current Pope Benedict.) I was somewhat shocked by this. I do live in a generally liberal leaning university area, but still among the Catholics, especially those at a meeting that expressed a time investment beyond going to mass, this surprised me. Now, I am not saying that she should not be free to say this, but I remember thinking later: Why, exactly, are you Catholic? Maybe you should be an Episcopalian.
Second: I think in a society such as ours, all people should be treated equally under the law. A balance needs to be found in which those who think homosexuality is normal behavior, and those who think it is a grievous sin are both treated with respect. I do not have any close friends that are openly homosexual. Of the acquaintances I have, I have generally found them to be courteous, rational, nice, and intelligent, though I always feel a certain awkwardness around them, knowing the extreme gulf between our differing world views. I oppose prosecutors turning a blind eye to assaults on homosexuals because they are homosexual. I also oppose hate crime legislation that says that someone should be punished more because the assault was made against a historically oppressed group, such as homosexuals. We should be equal under the law. Also the Episcopalian (4) pastors should be free to say from their pulpits that homosexuality is normal and healthy behavior, and my pastor should from his pulpit shuold be free to say that it is a sin and condemned by God.
I am speaking as to what I think should be permitted under US law, where we have citizens who hold opposing viewpoints, and I think they should both be respected. From viewpoint of God's law, the liberal Episcopipalian pastor is doubly evil. It is bad enough to encourage sin, but to do so and at the same time to present onself as a pastor, God's representative to care for his children, and then to lead them away from His will, is a very serious thing indeed. I am not saying that most of them do this deliberately, but it is still tragic that such a situation can exist. Some of the harshest condemnations of human behavior in the New Teatament are given for this, not so much for the people living in sin, but for religious leaders that say it is ok. (5)
1. On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (Vatican) This article contains an excellent summary of the situation that exists today.
2. Criteria for the Discernment of (Priestly) Vocations
with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies (Vatican)
3. Homosexuality (The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod)
4. Not all the Episopalians, thankfully, but sadly most of them in America. Also several other demoninations, such as the ELCA.
5. II Peter 2 is a good example of this.
4-4 Christ is Risen!
Note: I hav started pooting a subjekt in bold on the longer artikuls to make the blog eezeeyer to skim over.
3-19 Sin at the door. Something brought this verse to mind, I guess the endless struggles in my own mind:
6 So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
Some of the translations say "crouches", like an animal about to pounce. The hebrew dictionary on blueletterbible.org seems to support this.
If one believes the Bible, which I do, out behavior and even thoughts are personally important to God. Furthermore He cares about out needs and feelings. He is simultaneously aware of the thoughts and actions of everyone in the world. This separates religious thought from deism.
The fact that sin is always at the door, always waiting for us, it something to really keep in mind. We do not get a day off. It is interesting that Jesus uses a similar analogy when he says: "Behold I stand at the door and knock." It is as if we are presented with the choice between Jesus and sin at our door every day.
was reading an article
on sexual abuse in
the Catholic Church on the BBC’s site this morning. Once
talking about letting priests marry. Pope Benedict is strongly opposed
says the article, and that is likely true. Generally I like his
2-11-10 Dhis iz dhe oenlee pik I cood find uv dhe nue Lotus F1 cahr. (with dhe huje Autosport ad) I just found out dhat dhey wer feelding a F1 cahr dhis yere. OK I noe dhey ahr now oend lahrjlee by dhe Malaysians, but stil I think it iz prittee cule, and cule cdhat dhe Malysians hav a rele F1 teme.
I thot dhis wuz a cute way uv not getting down ubout yore wrekt cahr. Ahlsoe here ahr a fue mor nue pix. Sum ov dhem ahr frum last summer; I just got dhem ahf Steven's camruh a fue daze uhgo.
1-10-10. I did the little CX race in Cruces today. I got second to Ryan Blickem, who lives down there. I also set up a little CX race in Amarillo on 1-3, where I also got second to my brother Alex. I am planning on setting up another CX race there on 1-23. Misc pix below: Very strange body english in the sand at Polk MS, Two winter pix from Amarillo. Christmas pies by mom, note apple shaped topping on the left pie. Interesting neogothic LDS church in Show Low, AZ. A cool photo of Saturn from NASA's site, with the rings seen edge on, and their shadow visible in the northern hemisphere.
2013 blog (not much there, new baby and all)
2009 blog with Panama pix