Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Amen and Amen

10 Reasons To Hate Cellphone Carriers | Gadget Lab from
A turd by any other name is still a turd, but there's no harm in counting the ways.

One of these days, it's all going to come crashing down. Much like the Roman Empire.

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The Greatest Play in the History of Football

ESPN - Forde: Dash of the Holy Trinity - Columnist
It has to be the longest play in college football history, timing out at 1 minute and 2 seconds. It's more than twice as long as the legendary five-lateral kickoff return (9) by California against Stanford in 1982, which took roughly 27 seconds to transpire. This evolved slower than a Ken Burns documentary. Down two points with two seconds left and 61 yards from the end zone, the historic play began simply enough. Coach Steve Mohr (10) made it up on the sidelines: four guys run deep and Thompson curls underneath in the middle. "That was all of the plan," Curry said. In the huddle, offensive lineman Hooten looked at Barmore and cracked, "Make it happen." Barmore winked back, broke the huddle, called the signals and delivered the ball. After Thompson made the catch, the freelancing commenced. And almost never ended. The initial flurry of flips didn't get Trinity very far. Millsaps defenders still swarmed the middle of the field and prohibited any Tigers from doing much other than playing keep away. "At one point I just sort of stopped and started laughing to myself," Curry said. Best lateral of all was the blind-over-the-head toss by Hooten almost as soon as he got the ball. It fortuitously fell into the hands of wide receiver Tomlin, who possesses more maneuverability than the 6-foot, 250-pound Hooten. "On these lateral plays, a lot of times there's some fat guy trying to score and he gets tackled at the 10-yard line," Hooten said. "I didn't want to be that guy. I just hot-potatoed it and looked for someone to block.

That guy deserves Lineman of the Year, maybe of the Century.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Religious Fascism

If Christians did this, someone would gain fame, prestige and wealth by making a documentary, shown in fashionable art house theaters with patrons who shake their heads and wring their hands at the impending theocracy.

Indoctrination At Delaware (Forum)
Many universities try to indoctrinate students, but the all-time champion in this category is surely the University of Delaware. With no guile at all the university has laid out a brutally specific program for "treatment" of incorrect attitudes of the 7,000 students in its residence halls. The program is close enough to North Korean brainwashing that students and professors have been making "made in North Korea" jokes about the plan. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has called for the program to be dismantled. Residential assistants charged with imposing the "treatments" have undergone intensive training from the university. The training makes clear that white people are to be considered racists - at least those who have not yet undergone training and confessed their racism. The RAs have been taught that a "racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture, or sexuality."

FIRE reports that the university's views "are forced on students through a comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment, from mandatory training sessions to 'sustainability' door decorations." Residents are pressured to promise at least a 20 percent reduction in their ecological footprint and to promise to work for a "oppressed" group. Students are required to attend training sessions, floor meetings and one-on-one sessions where RAs ask personal questions such as "When did you discover your sexual identity?". Students are pressured or required to accept an array of the university's approved views. In one training session, students had to announce their opinions on gay marriage. Those who did not approve of gay marriage were isolated and heavily pressured to change their opinion.

The indoctrination program pushes students to accept the university's ideas on politics, race, sex, sociology, moral philosophy and environmentalism. The training is run by Kathleen Kerr, director of residential life, who reportedly considers it a "cutting-edge" program that can be exported to other universities around the country. Residential assistants usually provide services to residents and have light duties, such as settling squabbles among students. Kerr and her program are more ambitious. She has been quoted as saying that the job of RAs is to educate the whole human being with a "curricular approach to residential education." In this curricular approach, students are required to report their thoughts and opinions. One professor says: "You have to confess what you believe to the RA." The RAs write reports to their superiors on student progress in cooperating with the "treatment."

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An Apparently Broken Compass

A good friend sent me an email about The Golden Compass which has apparent anti-God and anti-religious themes.

Here are a couple of observations:

Opposition to “God” is different from opposition to the triune God of the Old and New Testament. Some years ago I learned that when people say they don’t believe in God, I should ask, “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in”. You can imagine that when people describe their idea of God it is very different from how God reveals himself in scripture. This is an opportunity to help someone reevaluate their thoughts and feelings about “God” in general and consider YHWH, who is slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness, proven Christ.

I see this movie as perhaps a similar opportunity. With college students, any opportunity to talk about God is a good thing. Pointing out the differences between the “God” and “religion” of The Golden Compass and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could be fruitful.

I think this is possible because that which is good, true and beautiful can’t be made otherwise. The God of the Bible is good, true and beautiful and the only way to say otherwise is to describe him falsely. Just because this author criticizes God and religion, doesn’t make him anti-Christian, it makes him anti-false God and anti-false religion.

Let me illustrate with this paragraph from the Snopes article:

“His fundamental objection is to ideological tyranny and the rejection of this world in favor of an idealized afterlife, regardless of creed.” As one of the novel’s pagan characters puts it, “Every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.”

This sounds serious and it is but mostly because it is such a narrow minded view of religion. Let me play with the quote to show why:

“His fundamental objection is to ideological tyranny “

Really, does he think father’s exercise ideological tyranny over their children when they instruct them that it’s wrong to hit other kids in class or to refrain from touching a hot iron? The God of Scripture is a loving father who acts for the good of his children like many fathers. I guess from one perspective this is ideological tyranny but one that almost all humans recognize is necessary to protect and provide for the weakest and most vulnerable of the human race.

“His fundamental objection is to… the rejection of this world in favor of an idealized afterlife”

What a relief that the God of the Bible is so interested in this world that he sent his only son to live right in the middle of it to redeem not just creation but even humans, who most people recognize are responsible for destroying this world. Perhaps other beliefs require rejection of this world through lifestyles of cloistered meditation or vows of silence but not the Bible. And about the afterlife: will Adolf Hitler experience justice in the afterlife? What would Pullman tell a cancer victim about the afterlife? Many recent atheist authors are quick to write about how God (and the afterlife) does not exist. I would take their views more seriously if they wrote books for those facing death that actually provided hope and comfort. Also, a rejection of the afterlife is a rejection of justice, because every adult knows there is no justice in this life.

As one of the novel’s pagan characters puts it, “Every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.”

How about this, “Every family is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.” This kind of statement is clearly bigoted and reflects the limited experience of an individual. It is probably born out of painful experience. It certainly doesn’t reflect on my family or undermine my belief that families are a good idea. In the same way, any statement that starts with “every church” should be met with the derision as statements like “every Jew” or “every Asian” or “every government”. Moreover, when someone says something so extreme, it’s a great opportunity to respond with hope of relief from such an extreme. I would encourage Pullman to come to my church and get involved with our mercy ministry, and join a community group. I’m pretty sure he will at least experience good feelings. Or he could read The Rise of Christianity to learn how churches renewed the Roman Empire by refusing to murder infant girls and feeding plague victims at the cost of their own lives. All of this came as a result of their belief in a King who mandates that the world be reconciled and redeemed and promises an idealized afterlife.

I don’t know whether The Golden Compass is a well crafted book or movie. But I know that I’d rather be talking about God with students than sports or fashion. This movie might be such an opportunity.

By the way, this will be a tremendous resource for helping people know the difference between the God of the Bible and other, less true and good gods: The Reason for God

Friday, October 26, 2007

What news from Mordor?

Human race will 'split into two different species' | the Daily Mail
The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist.

100,000 years into the future, sexual selection could mean that two distinct breeds of human will have developed.

The alarming prediction comes from evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry from the London School of Economics, who says that the human race will have reached its physical peak by the year 3000.

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Call Me

Friday, October 19, 2007

Al Gore, stand down.

Cape Cod Commission denies Cape Wind application | Environment | Reuters
The Cape Cod Commission in Massachusetts Thursday denied Cape Wind's application to bury electric cables needed to connect its proposed 420-megawatt offshore wind farm in the Nantucket Sound to the state power grid.

Cape Wind said in a release that it would challenge the Commission decision. The Cape Cod Commission is a local organization created by the state in 1990 to manage growth and protect Cape Cod's natural resources.

Sen. Ted Kennedy and many residents who own coastal property from where they could see the wind turbines on a clear day oppose the project along with some environmental groups concerned about disrupting the patterns of migratory birds and the potential effect on local sea life.

The project's supporters, who include other environmental groups, meanwhile claim it would provide renewable energy, improve air quality, lower electricity costs and increase the reliability of the power grid.

I'm so relieved. The Global Warming crisis must be over.

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An unlikely treasure-trove of donors for Clinton - Los Angeles Times
All three locations, along with scores of others scattered throughout some of the poorest Chinese neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, have been swept by an extraordinary impulse to shower money on one particular presidential candidate -- Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. Dishwashers, waiters and others whose jobs and dilapidated home addresses seem to make them unpromising targets for political fundraisers are pouring $1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton's campaign treasury. In April, a single fundraiser in an area long known for its gritty urban poverty yielded a whopping $380,000. When Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) ran for president in 2004, he received $24,000 from Chinatown.

To make a tired and ironic point: I'm sure glad John McCain got the money out of politics.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

They can't bear the bias Worldwide
Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest shareholder in New York Times Co., sold its entire 7.3 percent stake today, according to a person briefed on the transaction, sending the stock to its lowest in more than 10 years.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Broken Trust

» What’s really broken with Windows Update - Trust | Hardware 2.0 |
nitial investigations of PCs at the PC Doc HQ What’s really broken with Windows Update - Trusthave turned up no leads but I have discovered something else that broken about Microsoft Windows Update mechanism - trust. See, here’s the problem. To feel comfortable with having an open channel that allows your OS to be updated at the whim of a third party (even/especially* Microsoft … * delete as applicable) requires that the user trusts the third party not to screw around with the system in question.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Toast -

A recent report (seen on Science Daily--yes, we’re interested in science as well as food) from researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia points to a discovery made that shows that red wine, beyond the numerous current known health benefits, probably can work to protect humans from a number of common food-borne diseases. The researchers have found that, “red wines--Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot in particular--have anti-microbial properties that defend against food-borne pathogens and don’t harm naturally useful bacteria like probiotic bacteria.”

You can't be too careful.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Power in the University

Power Line: God and man at Dartmouth
When William F. Buckley founded National Review in 1955 at the age of 29, he lit the fire that sparked the modern conservative movement. Buckley had already achieved notoriety -- if not celebrity -- with the publication of God and Man at Yale in 1951. He attacked the undergraduate education on offer at Yale for its hostility to Christianity and its adulation of collectivism. He sought to dispel the indifference of Yale alumni to their supervisory responsibility, calling on them to grasp the nettle of university governance. Yale was, of course, only the example that laid closest to Buckley's hand. The necessary changes having been made, Buckley could undoubtedly have written the same book about any of America's most prestigious universities. In the ensuing decades the conservative movement as a whole has experienced successes that must exceed even Buckley's visionary imagination. Yet the university remains untouched by Buckley's call to action. In fact, it understates matters considerably to say that circumstances on campus have not improved since 1951. That is why the Lone Pine revolution underway at Dartmouth was of such interest. At Dartmouth, alumni have been answering the call Buckley delivered more than 50 years ago. Given the role allocated to elected alumni trustees on the Dartmouth board, the opportunity existed at Dartmouth for alumni to participate substantially in the governance of the institution. With the election of alumni petition candidates T.J. Rodgers, Peter Robinson, Todd Zywicki and Stephen Smith over the past three years, Dartmouth alumni were undertaking precisely the kind of supervision of the institution that Buckley had called for -- the independent supervision that as a general matter is alien to elite nonprofit institutions. In today's Daily Dartmouth, Professor of Economics Meir Kohn eloquently describes the miscarriage that the Dartmouth board of trustees has effected by resorting to its highanded decree remaking Dartmouth's governance structure...

Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

We decide, we report

The Corner on National Review Online
Today, on the front page of The Washington Post, we see the third in a three-part series on roadside bombs in Iraq. The stories in this series have been centered on the top half of the page and highlighted in red (a device I don’t recall seeing before). Next to that is a huge headline about allegations of killings In Iraq by Blackwater. Below that is a headline that reads "Most in Poll Want War Funding Cut." Meanwhile deep inside the paper, on page A14, we find the following article: "U.S. and Civilian Deaths Decrease Sharply in Iraq: American Military Credits Troop Influx." True, nestled between the other screaming headlines on page one, there is a brief minuscule teaser for this far more positive story about Iraq. Yet the bias here is clear.

If the top story is Iraq, then I don’t see how you can put those three stories on the front page, while burying the other one on page 14. Arguably, an actual report of substantial positive progress in Iraq is more important, and more dramatic, than any of those other stories. By rights it ought to have been headlined on page one. The Post seems more interested in fighting our political battle over the Iraq than in reporting on it. So if the poll data the Post is pushing reflects less support for the war than it might, that clearly has a great deal to do with the way biased coverage by the Post is skewing public perceptions of the war. I’m not saying all is well or that success is inevitable–far from it. Yet the relative placement of these stories by the Post is profoundly biased and misleading.

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