Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Resurrection and the Life

My question-that which at the age of fifty brought me to the verge of suicide-was the simplest of questions, lying in the soul of every man…a question without an answer to which one cannot live. It was: “What will come of what I am doing today or tomorrow? What will come of my whole life? Why should I live, why wish for anything, or do anything?” It can also be expressed thus; Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?

Leo Tolstoy – A Confession quoted in The Reason for God page 201

I just turned 40 and I think about this already. I’m a Christian. I believe in life after death and the maxim “right now counts for eternity” yet I still feel this nagging sense of nausea that all of the things that I’m stressed about today are the futile sound and fury of a life that ultimately will signify nothing.

This week I could no longer look away from these feelings. I found myself wandering among the small rectangular head stones at St. John’s Cemetery in Orange, CA. My Aunt Helen had died and I was here for her burial. I was struck by how small and numerous were the gravestones. Most had lived more than 60 years. 60 years of love, anger, work, vacation and everything else, boiled down into a small plaque amidst hundreds of other small plaques.

My Brother in Law said what I was thinking: “A whole life and all that’s left is a little sign.”

Adding to the sense of futility was my memories of Aunt Helen. She lived an obscure life by almost any measure. She chose to stay home and enjoy its comforts. She was never famous, not even for 15 minutes. She wrote no books. She traveled little. She taught dozens of school children for decades but remained in contact with none of them. She had few friends. She never married nor had children. I was the closest thing to a son and I did not know her well.

And now I stood with a very small group of family and caregivers to bury her body and commemorate her life.

Would I end up the same way? Even if I have teary hordes at my funeral, will it mean anything in 200 years? I’ve walked by countless statues of men in Boston-men who had far more stature than I will ever achieve-and neither known nor cared who they were. These figures are now monuments to forgotten glory, patronized by the indifference of those who must navigate around them.

What about all the dreams I have? What about all the things I said I would do when I was twenty and had it all in front of me? Even if I could do some of them, would it amount to anything more than self-fulfillment?

What about the things I know I could do if I had the time? I would like to write a screenplay, learn German, learn Latin, and learn as much about Shakespeare as can be known. I’d like to be the front man in a rock and roll band and sing bass in a barbershop quartet. Heck I’d like to play minor league baseball. It’s very unlikely that I will do some or all of these, and even if I did, will it make any difference?

My Aunt Helen was an artist. I recently saw sketches and paintings from her prime. She had talent and a passion for exotic people and places. These are reflected in her works. She studied Polynesian artistic forms in college. I saw one of her papers stored in cedar chest at her house. I imagined all of the effort and anxiety that it took to finish this paper. I imagined the faith of creativity that moved her pen and paintbrushes. What became of it?

It is clear that this early promise of her life was never fully realized. Not even close. Will it ever be?

It was thus in my mind as the Pastor put his hand on her casket to commit her remains to the earth until the resurrection of all flesh.


This I recalled to mind and therefore I had hope.

In a merciful providence, I happened to be finishing one of the best books I’ve ever read on the plane ride to CA for the funeral. At the end of The Reason for God, Tim Keller dwells on the meaning of Resurrection:

…Christianity is not only about getting one’s individual sins forgiven so we can go to heaven. That is an important means of God’s salvation, but not the final end or purpose of it. The purpose of Jesus' coming is to put the whole world right, to renew and restore the creation, not to escape it. It is not just to bring personal forgiveness and peace, but also justice and shalom to the world. God created both body and soul, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both body and soul. The work of the Spirit of God is not only to save souls but also to care and cultivate the face of the earth, the material world.

It is hard to overemphasize the uniqueness of this vision. Outside of the Bible, no other major religious faith holds out any hope or even interest in the restoration of the perfect shalom, justice, and wholeness in this material world.

The Reason For God, page 223

Burials are an obvious time to think about resurrection; I’ve just been to so few funerals that I’ve never had this much time. However, every time is a good time to think about resurrection because the resurrection of Jesus gives hope to everything in this messed up world.

If I understand correctly, Jesus resurrection means that all of my Aunt Helen’s gifts of artistic talent, all of her feelings of adventure and joy, all her hopes and dreams were contained not just in her soul but in her body. Her body never reached its potential in this life, but then I guess no one’s body ever does until resurrection. Someday she will fully realize her artistic gifts, just not yet.

Resurrection also means that even if I can’t learn German or perform Shakespeare in this life, I can do it in the next. These are good things that you do in the body. The resurrection of the body is so central to Christianity that they put it in the creed.

Where else can I go for a resurrection? I can’t find this hope anywhere else but in Christ.

But not just the body is made new in resurrection, but all that is good about the physical world. Trees! I love trees. Chocolate: My wife will be comforted by that. Jesus rose from the dead and then sat under a tree and had a fish breakfast. Probably I could have chocolate for breakfast when I am raised. And I am raised with him, but the time is coming and now is when I will know in whole, not only in part, about this resurrection.

I hope someday to see my daughter and my Aunt Helen together painting the loveliest of trees. I hope to sing and read Shakespeare. I hope. I have faith. I love the God who made the heavens and the earth and promises to make all things new in the one who is the resurrection, and the life.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Organized Religion

WSJ.com: "Laymen may be confused by the notion of a scientific discovery 'that is completely the opposite of what scientists had thought.' After all, we keep reading that all scientists agree about global warming and no one may question it. Is science infallible or isn't it?

The answer is: It depends. Scientific teachings that are part of the 'ordinary magisterium,' such as those involving the interaction between Earth's magnetosphere and solar wind, are not infallible. But global warming is what scientists call an ex cathedra doctrine."

Monday, December 15, 2008

'The end' as a weapon

Opinion - USATODAY.com: "Some environmentalists have their own fixation with the apocalypse — just not the biblical one. This involves the wrath of nature and the ecological end times. But fear is an ineffective tool for any cause.

There is, in progressive circles, a certain fascination with those apocalyptic prophecies that seem to hold so many religious conservatives in thrall. From the sensation over the megaselling Left Behind book series to more recent media flare-ups around figures such as John Hagee (the television pastor of countdown-to-Armageddon fame), the end times seem to be looming at all times.

Turn your attention to a strain of thought ascendant in secular, environmentalist America and you might be surprised to find a similar apocalypse fixation, minus the Book of Revelation and anti-Christ parts. Call it the secular theology of environmental collapse — the fearful conviction that the hopelessly corrupt world as we know it has entered its death throes, with massive destruction stalking ever nearer."


Sit on it!

Ponzi not Fonzi, is the first to do this.

Madoff and Markets - WSJ.com: "Capitalism runs on trust, so inevitably there will be men like Bernard Madoff who attempt to steal from the trusting. His alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme is exceptional mainly for its size, the length of time he was able to run his con, and the affluent and sophisticated circles in which he operated. There is something especially shocking when a man held in high esteem turns out to be a thief."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I'm sitting in the JFK airport rocking out to The Autumn Film.

Potential Super Seminar Speakers?

What do you think of this ROUGH list?

Jim Collins
Tim Muellhoff
Dan Allender - the next step on story
Irwin McManus
Mike Krzyzewski
Mark Driscoll - Gary Breshears?
Dallas Willard
Gary Thomas
John Ortberg
Dinesh D'souza
TED - 18 Minute speeches
Tony Dungy - Suffering
Bob Buford -
Andy Crouch - Engaging Culture
Steve Jobs -
Nancy Pearcey - Christian Worldview
Stephen Um
Cy Rogers

Who would you add?

Average Age of CCC Staff

In the 1990's the average age of CCC staff was 34.5

Today it is 41.7

Monday, December 08, 2008

Mercy Ministry Fodder

10 Things You Can Do to End Online Segregation: Encyclopedia of Urban Ministry | UrbanMinistry.org: Sermons, Podcasts, MP3s, Grants, Jobs, Books on Christian Social Justice: "If you participate in a social networking 'cause', really get involve and get your friends to give to avoid 'slacktivism' which is a new term for when people join online causes but never actually do anything."

Funny. I think the term "online segregation" is a misnomer though.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Uh Oh

Destructive Koobface virus turns up on Facebook | U.S. | Reuters: "Koobface spreads by sending notes to friends of someone whose PC has been infected. The messages, with subject headers like, 'You look just awesome in this new movie,' direct recipients to a website where they are asked to download what it claims is an update of Adobe Systems Inc's Flash player.

If they download the software, users end up with an infected computer, which then takes users to contaminated sites when they try to use search engines from Google, Yahoo, MSN and Live.com, according McAfee."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How does this apply to CSU09?

YouTube Symphony Orchestra: Google sees a future in fancy music of the past: "'Our idea is a collaborative orchestra,' said Sanders from New York. 'Musicians will be auditioning online from all over the world through our new site [youtube.com/symphony]. The winning players will then gather in New York next April to debut a piece for orchestra at Carnegie Hall. This is a new kind of opportunity for musicians.'"

CSU09 Roving Reporter

Who wants to be a roving reporter doing audio interviews for podcast?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Aristotle for Everybody

Aristotle for Everybody by Mortimer J. Adler is a simple introduction to a foundational thinker. I use concepts from this book at least every week.

Domestic horses being abandoned

UPI.com: "Authorities in Nevada say an increasing number of domestic horses are being abandoned by their owners because of the worsening economy.

The horses are being turned loose to fend for themselves, but lack of survival skills and often end up being killed by predators, hit by cars or dying of starvation, said Darrell Peterson, a brand inspector for the Nevada Department of Agriculture."

This is a bummer.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Why I Love Twitter

O'Reilly Radar: "If you care what I think, you know that Twitter is just about the best way to learn what I'm paying attention to. I pass along tidbits of O'Reilly news, interesting reading from mailing lists and blogs I follow, and of course, tidbits from the twitterers I'm following. These are all the things I could never find time to put on my blog, but that I spray via email like a firehose at editors, conference planners, and researchers within O'Reilly. A lot of my job is, as we say, 'redistributing the future' - following interesting people, and passing on what I learn to others. And twitter is an awesome tool for doing just that."


Linked is a seminal book for my thinking. It's where I learned about power laws and my first introduction to the long tail.

First Book: The Bible

I get asked what books I'm reading and I never think to put them on my blog. Dumb.

This will be the first of a series of posts about the books that have changed my life for one reason or another.

The Book is the Bible. My favorite Bible for study is The Reformation Study Bible. The notes are concise and very helpful.

Foggy Morning

Some of my fondest memories are walking foggy streets in San Francisco, Escondido, Boulder and even Rowland Heights. Now it's Boston. Misty cold morning walks from North Station to the office are a perk in my job.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Gratitude is the foundation of happiness. Today could be the happiest day of the year. I'm grateful to God. I'm doing much better than I deserve.

My parents are here in MA for Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for them. They are great parents.

My wife is amazing. I am grateful for her more now than when we married almost 18 years ago. We are building something difficult and substantial.

I am so grateful to God for my kids.

I'm going to get in on a call to my sister in CA. I'm grateful for her and her family.

I'm grateful for the many people who make it possible for Alex and I to serve students.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Winter Warning for Drivers

snopes.com: Cruise Control on Wet Roads Hazard

Meh: Good Word

GOOD » Doh! Meh Makes Its Mark »: "Regardless, a lowly interjection just got its due: meh—The Simpsons-coined, shrug-like expression of apathy—will be included in the 30th anniversary edition of the Brit-focused Collins English Dictionary. The word won a competition in which readers could make a case for their favorite neglected term."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Church in the City Online

Market Watch: Zondervan, a world leader in Christian communications, has acquired The City, a propriety online community-building software program created by Seattle-based Mars Hill Church. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Developed over the past two years by Mars Hill pastor of technology, Zack Hubert, who spent eight years in management at Amazon.com, The City was created in response to the church's need to improve communication, better engage with members, support small groups, build a stronger church community and free up administrative resources. Mars Hill launched The City earlier this year to create a dynamic, engaging interactive online community for its more than 7,000 members. Within two months of launch more than 85% of the church's members had signed up and more than 75% visit the site every single day.
"The City is an essential part of the way our members and our staff communicate every day," said Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill's founding and preaching pastor. "Thanks to Zondervan churches and organizations around the world will have access to this resource to help people meet Jesus and build community."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is creepy

123people.com | Find everyone you (want to) know!

Either way...

The Volokh Conspiracy - -: "The rise and rise of American exceptionalism.

The U.S. was supposed to become a normal country again. The Bush administration’s unsuccessful agenda to extend American supremacy and the repudiation of Bush in this election were supposed to prove that the United States must take its place as just one country among many. Yet the election of Barack Obama has had the reverse effect. Suddenly, the United States has prestige that matches its power and wealth, and this prestige no other country can touch. People around the world beg the United States to “exercise leadership” and solve the world’s problems (but with “humility,” please!). See here and here, among a thousand similar articles.

There are two versions of American exceptionalism. American-American exceptionalism is “we’re richer because we’re better.” European-American exceptionalism is “you’re better because you’re richer.” Both sides agree on exceptionalism, and just see different causes and implications. The Europeans expect us, on account of our wealth, to live up to (their) ideals, while we think that our wealth ought to prove to them that our ideals are better than theirs. No one of any importance seems to think that the United States is a normal country. Oh, what confusion lies ahead!"

Another reason why Twitter is cool...

LAFD's One-Man Geek Squad Brings Web 2.0 to Firefighting: "Humphrey monitors for keywords like 'LA' and 'fire.' During 2007's 800-acre burn in Griffith Park, he got real-time reports on flare-ups and wind directions from Twitterers on the ground, then relayed the information to commanders battling the flames."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tough Regulation

Free Starbucks Coffee On Election Day After Illegal Ad - News Story - KIRO Seattle: "Election officials for the state of Washington told KIRO 7 that rewarding voters with free coffee is illegal.

'No good deed goes unpunished,' said Nick Handy, director of elections.

Handy said there is a federal statute that prohibits any reward for voting.

Starbucks' good deed can be perceived as paying someone to vote, and that’s illegal, Handy said.

'The way it is written, it expressly prohibits giving any kind of gift,' Handy said.

Handy said the intent of the statute is aimed at special interest groups trying to influence who and how people vote.

To fix the situation, Starbucks had agreed to give a tall cup of coffee to anyone who asks on Election Day."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Memo to Campus Crusade for Christ Staff

Subtraction 7.1 Beta: If It’s Too Social, You’re Too Old: "When it comes to a site like Facebook, whose proposition as an integral part of how we will all communicate, commiserate and transact in the near future is almost a sure thing, the time I spend on it seems more like homework than play. For many months, my position has been: email me and instant message me all you want, but please, whatever you do, don’t make me sign into Facebook. It’s just too much of a drag.

I admit that’s a bad attitude. Actually, it’s an irresponsible attitude for someone who purports to be a forward-looking designer. It’s a disservice to my colleagues and my employer, to begin with, as it basically amounts to sleeping on the job. But it’s also a terribly ineffective way to manage my own, long-term career development; ignoring social media in 2008 is not dissimilar to ignoring the emergence of the World Wide Web fifteen years ago. Those people got left behind, and the same thing could easily happen to me."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Future of Students (and the rest of us)

King Solomon's mines

Researchers may have found King Solomon's mines - CNN.com: "Researchers using carbon dating techniques at Khirbat en-Nahas in southern Jordan discovered that copper production took place there around the time King Solomon is said to have ruled the Israelites.

The research findings were reported in this week's issue of the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which came out Monday."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Twitter at Church

Vertizontal: Twitter Church: "In my church, I have seen life-altering small groups formed and forged through Twitter. I have seen teams of people mobilized to do volunteer service like nothing else in the past through Twitter. I have seen needs met financially through Twitter. I have made friends through Twitter. I have witnessed theological discussions, seen prayer answered, seen surprise rendezvous’, connected with leaders better, I've seen friends come to the aid of others health . . .

So we started wondering, what would it be like to bring the Twitter kind of participation into Fusion in the same way we would think through any other worship interactive—something that gets people involved in what is happening—so Fusion isn’t happening “to” them but rather “with and because of and through” them."

Read the whole thing if you want to figure out social networks and ministry.

Man Down

The Apex Fallacy: An Interview with Dr. Helen Smith | MND: Your Daily Dose of Counter-Theory:

BC: In contrast, what are your impressions of the male sex?

Dr. Helen Smith: More men tend to be at the high end or low end in our society and because of this, people mistakenly believe that all men dominate in our culture because they see a few men at the top. Professor Roy F. Baumeister explained this in an invited address to the American Psychological Association:

“When I say I am researching how culture exploits men, the first reaction is usually ‘How can you say culture exploits men, when men are in charge of everything?’ This is a fair objection and needs to be taken seriously. It invokes the feminist critique of society. This critique started when some women systematically looked up at the top of society and saw men everywhere: most world rulers, presidents, prime ministers, most members of Congress and parliaments, most CEOs of major corporations, and so forth — these are mostly men. Seeing all this, the feminists thought, wow, men dominate everything, so society is set up to favor men. It must be great to be a man. The mistake in that way of thinking is to look only at the top. If one were to look downward to the bottom of society instead, one finds mostly men there too. Who’s in prison, all over the world, as criminals or political prisoners? The population on Death Row has never approached 51% female. Who’s homeless? Again, mostly men. Whom does society use for bad or dangerous jobs? US Department of Labor statistics report that 93% of the people killed on the job are men. Likewise, who gets killed in battle? Even in today’s American army, which has made much of integrating the sexes and putting women into combat, the risks aren’t equal. This year we passed the milestone of 3,000 deaths in Iraq, and of those, 2,938 were men, 62 were women.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Music to my ears

LaLa: How Does 10 Cents a Song Strike You? | Listening Post from Wired.com: "Could the price of digital music be simply too high?

LaLa hopes so. On Tuesday, the company launched a new pricing plan that lets music fans buy songs from all four major labels plus 170,000 indie labels for a mere 10 cents a song, delivering on their promise to do just that. The catch? For that 10-cent investment, you only get to stream songs from the LaLa website, or through their online player with an iTunes-like interface and fast response time over a broadband connection.

Oh yeah, and there are no ads anywhere on the entire site.

Aside from the dramatically different price point and striking lack of advertising, LaLa's special sauce is its ability to suck your entire music collection into that online player for free so you can play it 'from the cloud,' as the saying goes. The site says it's the only one in the world with the labels' blessing to do this."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Church 2.0 Notes

I'm in Lexington, MA today for the Church 2.0 conference. I'll be taking notes here and liveblogging throughout the event.

Update: http://church2pointo.unifyer.com/ web site for Church 2.0

Notes from Greg Atkinson

Innovation is not a dirty word

Design: Do you matter?

Listening through technology.

Virtual relationships: can you have a real relationship online? Some that see Greg everyday don't know who he is or what he is doing. Others who have never met him face to face know all about him and what he is doing on day to day basis.

Open Sourceness

Apple, BMW, Ikea, Starbucks; all of these are known for design in a comprehensive way.

Many Apple users keep the box that the product came in.

youversion.com and lifechurch.tv

Churches must consider design comprehensively. Some are hiring mystery worshippers to help them.

Some decide whether to come back to a church before they ever hear the pastor from the pulpit. Some will never enter the door of your church because of what they see online.


From Greg: I shouldn't have to search around for last weeks sermon. When I click on "Meet the Staff" I should see smiling faces.

http://citylifeboston.org/ is not too bad.


Top Web 2.0 from Colin and Greg:
  1. http://www.flickr.com/
  2. itunes.com
Some companies like Apple tightly control some aspects of their company and build loose collaborative communities in other spaces (ITunes).

Comcast and Dell know listen for people talking about them online so they can respond and shape the conversation.

Greg: we are missionaries to a new world. Listening through technology is important for missionaries. People post their heart and life online.


How does ministry change when it goes online?


Break for lunch.


Twitter for small groups. Twitter can fill in the gaps between the times you are together and enhance the relationships for those in small groups: http://www.commoncraft.com/Twitter

Facebook is a place where your life can collide with others who you may interact with.

Web 2.0 rewards integrity. If you have integrity in your walk with Jesus, everyone who knows you can and will see that. If you are a hypocrite, that will be revealed as well.

Email is dying. Facebook is a preferred mode of communication. Kids don't answer their email, they respond to Facebook.

Broadcasting your service increases the audience: RSS, Mogulus, qik, blip TV, vimeo, truthcasting, Godtube.

Also using Skype and Mogulus to broadcast small groups.

Facebook ads used to connect students with www.everystudent.com

Outreach ideas: posting on Craigslist or meetup.




Why web 2.0 innovation is becomes more difficult the older you get....

I've been thinking lately that the hardest thing about innovation with web 2.0 tools these days is not related to age specifically. It is a function of the last finite resource in a world of ambient findability: attention.

College students are often early adopters of innovative technology because they have an excess of time and attention. The older a person gets the more their time is "value added" with job and family commitments. Time does not equal money. Time = value. To the extent that a person values their job, their family, their hobbies, their health, they will spend time on it. Once those habits of time investment are established, investing in a technology that was invented a few days or months ago seems foolish. Often it is foolish. But the power of Web 2.0 technology exceeds the printing press. This is why investing the time to explore and discover new technologies is ultimately worthwhile.

Web 2.0 is really just a new kind of city. It is millions of people who are opening themselves up for real human connection. Investing time in connecting with these people is very important, even if the means of that connection changes so often that it requires a seemingly excessive amount of time to do it.

This will mean a divestment of time in other things for those who have good and healthy habits of investment in other things. I have divested time spent watching TV. I watch very little TV anymore. It is boring, static and feels like a waste of time when compared with finding my friends and new ideas and technologies in a Web 2.0 world. I believe most people have a slice of time that could be reinvested in Web 2.0 that would improve their life far more than what they used to spend that time on.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I need to "go to" this conference...

Pixelated - Your New Business Conference Starts Now Online | Six Pixels of Separation - Marketing and Communications Blog and Podcast - By Mitch Joel at Twist Image: "Pixelated is a free full-day online conference with some of the world's leading speakers on the topic of how business is changing including: Sir Ken Robinson, Seth Godin, Chris Anderson, Avinash Kaushik, Chris Brogan and many more.

It is 100% free and it starts right now."

Global Warming Update: Baby, it's cold outside


Sunday, October 05, 2008

An Operations Saint

Local Woman Devotes Life To Doing God's Busy Work | The Onion - America's Finest News Source: "'At a very young age, I felt the call to do God's busy work,' said Salas, spiritually fulfilled from a long afternoon spent photocopying hymn lyrics for Sunday's mass and changing the bulletin board's decorative seasonal border. 'I am just a vessel through which He cleans the church Tupperware.'"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Forget Red or Blue State: Are You Wireless or Wireline?

Edgelings.com » Forget Red or Blue State: Are You Wireless or Wireline?: "More than 32 million American adults have now ditched landlines for cell phones, up from 10 million in 2004, according to a recent federal study. Problem is: the opinions of these people are not captured by current political polling. That’s right, the pollsters don’t call cell phones. As a result of this structural flaw, a giant swath of American opinion is missed and as a result we have no idea where this race for the White House stands today.

This oversight is another example of how the political process has failed to keep up with our changing culture-a culture being rapidly reshaped by technology. Just as political operatives everywhere were overwhelmed by Senator Obama’s ability to raise a quarter of a billion dollars in $100 increments via the Internet, the polling professionals failed to appreciate that a big and growing block of Americans don’t see the logic in having both mobile and landlines."

Letting Our Fingers Do the Talking - NYTimes.com

Drilling Down - Letting Our Fingers Do the Talking - NYTimes.com: "In the fourth quarter of 2007, American cellphone subscribers for the first time sent text messages more than they phoned, according to Nielsen Mobile. Since then, the average subscriber’s volume of text messages has shot upward by 64 percent, while the average number of calls has dropped slightly."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Man's Man

My Way News - Legendary actor Paul Newman dies at age 83: "He sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood's rare long-term marriages. 'I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?' Newman told Playboy magazine when asked if he was tempted to stray. They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in 'The Long Hot Summer,' and Newman directed her in several films, including 'Rachel, Rachel' and 'The Glass Menagerie.'"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sun Down: You better take care

NASA’s press conference on the state of the sun « Watts Up With That?: "The minimum we are in now is “unique for the space age”, but “within norms for the last 200 years”, but we are also surprised to learn how much the solar wind has diminished on a truly “entire sun” scale."

Talk about The Way Forward

Will Cellphones Save the World? | Popular Science: "If you live in the United States it can be difficult to understand the role mobile phone technology plays across the globe. Here, you may use your phone for calls and messaging, perhaps for some computing lite, but likely little more. In Senegal, however, farmers are using phones to track crop prices, in Japan, writers are SMSing whole novels, and in Sweden, they're texting to apply for instant loans. An app that lets you kill time on the subway, this is not.

Within a year and a half, half the world will use cellphones, predict analysts, and with the bulk of new users emerging from developing nations, the question of what phones can do for their owners has never before had such potentially world-changing answers.

Enter Nokia and Dean Kamen."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Reconsiderations: Betty Friedan's 'The Feminine Mystique' - September 17, 2008 - The New York Sun

Reconsiderations: Betty Friedan's 'The Feminine Mystique' - September 17, 2008 - The New York Sun: "But in building her case, Friedan made a fatal mistake that undermined her book's appeal at the time and permanently weakened the movement it helped create. She not only attacked a postwar culture that aggressively consigned women to the domestic sphere, but she attacked the sphere itself — along with all the women who chose to live there.

Friedan described herself as 'Diogenes with his lamp,' going from suburb to suburb in search of a mentally sound housewife. (None could be found, she concluded.) The job of housewife, in her estimation, was intrinsically unworthy and undignified, an occupation best suited to 'feeble-minded girls.' She called the suburban home a 'comfortable concentration camp' where women suffer a 'slow death of mind and spirit.' Like the inmates of the camps, she said, American suburban housewives had become 'walking corpses.'

That sort of language didn't sound any less ludicrous back then than it does now and, looking back, Friedan's lamp seems less illuminating than incendiary."

Stand up for education!

JS Online: Stand-up desks provide a firm footing for fidgety students: "This year, many of Seekel’s students are using new, adjustable-height stand-up desks produced by a Wisconsin company, as well as a big, tall table that lets students work in groups while standing and shifting their weight, leaning, stretching, wiggling and generally doing everything but sitting still.

As part of a small but growing movement in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota that many teachers say is bound to gain popularity elsewhere, several schools are experimenting with their physical learning environments by incorporating stand-up workstations in the classroom, or, in one school, stability balls instead of traditional school desk chairs.

Anecdotally, teachers have reported positive results after freeing their kids from the confines of “feet flat on the floor” and “no rocking!” — greater attentiveness, fewer behavioral problems, better posture and more enthusiasm. Kids who are habitually fidgety or who suffer from attention disorders appear to show the most improvement, teachers say."

The College Issue - The Tell-All Campus Tour - NYTimes.com

The College Issue - The Tell-All Campus Tour - NYTimes.com: "This month his Web site, called Unigo.com — a free, gigantic, student-generated guide to North American colleges for prospective applicants and their families — went live for the benefit of tens of thousands of trepidatious high-school students as they try to figure out where and how to go to college. Not coincidentally, it also aims to siphon away a few million dollars from the slow-adapting publishers of those elephantine college guidebooks that have been a staple of the high-school experience for decades. A lot of the classic narratives about a young man’s coming of age may seem fatally old-fashioned in the new century, but apparently, Horatio Alger still lives."

An Information Sabbath

The concept of Sabbath is a filter for your life to prioritize what is important.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Friends 2.0

I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You - Clive Thompson - NYTimes.com:

"In essence, Facebook users didn’t think they wanted constant, up-to-the-minute updates on what other people are doing. Yet when they experienced this sort of omnipresent knowledge, they found it intriguing and addictive. Why?Social scientists have a name for this sort of incessant online contact. They call it “ambient awareness.” It is, they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye. Facebook is no longer alone in offering this sort of interaction online. In the last year, there has been a boom in tools for “microblogging”: posting frequent tiny updates on what you’re doing. The phenomenon is quite different from what we normally think of as blogging, because a blog post is usually a written piece, sometimes quite long: a statement of opinion, a story, an analysis. But these new updates are something different. They’re far shorter, far more frequent and less carefully considered. One of the most popular new tools is Twitter, a Web site and messaging service that allows its two-million-plus users to broadcast to their friends haiku-length updates — limited to 140 characters, as brief as a mobile-phone text message — on what they’re doing. "

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Coming to a conference near you...

Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger » Blog Archive Audience of Twittering ***holes «:

"01:00: @markwallace Lacy didn’t do her homework on the audience. This is a geek/designer/creative audience. Not one focused on business.

01:01: They want to hear about APIs and platforms and what Facebook is going to do.

01:01: She is totally getting defensive now, really poor empathy for the audience.

01:02: The audience as getting outright hostile toward Lacy and she basically asked audience to send her a message about why she sucked.

01:04: The audience is asking Zuckerburg better questions than Lacy did. Totally agree with @heiko.

01:06: @techcrunch I know Zuckerberg is no easy interview. But yours was far far far better than Sarah’s.

01:07: @techcrunch she totally lost control of the interview and had no clue how she was coming across. Still doesn’t “I thought it was going well.

And on it went. Onstage it went worse. Audience members had taken over the interview and Lacy made things worse by trying to argue with them about how well the interview was going. The audience had decided that it wasn’t going well. Later Lacy rubbed it in, by Twittering: “seriously screw all you guys. I did my best to ask a range of things.” She also went on YouTube to try to explain what happened"

Monday, September 01, 2008

I want to read this...

Amazon.com: Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become: Peter Morville: Books: "How do you find your way in an age of information overload? How can you filter streams of complex information to pull out only what you want? Why does it matter how information is structured when Google seems to magically bring up the right answer to your questions? What does it mean to be 'findable' in this day and age? This eye-opening new book examines the convergence of information and connectivity. Written by Peter Morville, author of the groundbreaking Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, the book defines our current age as a state of unlimited findability. In other words, anyone can find anything at any time. Complete navigability.

Morville discusses the Internet, GIS, and other network technologies that are coming together to make unlimited findability possible. He explores how the melding of these innovations impacts society, since Web access is now a standard requirement for successful people and businesses. But before he does that, Morville looks back at the history of wayfinding and human evolution, suggesting that our fear of being lost has driven us to create maps, charts, and now, the mobile Internet."

Paying Sprint more for the courtesy of using their cell phones at home!

Sprint AIRAVE review - Engadget Mobile: "If you're currently stuck in a Sprint contract and are beyond perturbed with the awful coverage at your house, we'd certainly recommend giving the AIRAVE a go. Granted, you could just wait it out and switch carriers in a few months, but if you're hoping to stay on that now-defunct SERO plan forever, this is a wonderful alternative to paying (lots) more on another provider.

Additionally, the AIRAVE is becoming more and more relevant with each passing day, as Sprint phases out the handsets in which 'Roaming only' is an option -- like, oh, the Samsung Instinct? We know, we know, it just feels dirty to hand Sprint money in order to make up for its lack of coverage in your area, but if you're utilizing a beautiful corporate discount or have one of the aforesaid SERO plans still in action, it may be worth your while to bite the bullet and take that whole 'improve my service' initiative into your own hands.

Now that you know what a tremendous difference the box makes, is it really worth the cost? Truthfully, that depends on just how horrible Sprint's coverage is in your area, whether or not your phone has a Force Roam option and of course, your annual salary. If you don't mind using the AIRAVE to burn through your plan minutes, you'll only be asked to pay $99.99 up front for the box itself and $4.99 per month for the service. If you're jonesing for unlimited in-home calling, you'll be coughing up another $10 per month (so $14.99 total); if you're looking for unlimited in-home calling for families, that'll be $24.99 per month. Of note, those with unlimited voice plans (i.e. Simply Everything) will only be asked to pay $4.99 per month, as the whole "unlimited" bit is obviously already taken care of.

To be frank, our only real beef with the AIRAVE is the monthly fees. Really, Sprint -- just let us lay down a Benjamin (up from the $49.99 price tag it initially launched with) and be done with it. We're using our broadband connection and our minutes (unless we opt for something else), and the additional $4.99 per month to make up for your lack of coverage is a soft (albeit noticeable) kick in the shin."

Thankfully I'm not stuck in a Sprint contract, so unless they throw this in for free I'm going to bid Sprint a frustrated goodbye very soon. I've had two years of dropped calls at my house with no hope of a new tower anytime soon. And the solution is to pay more for the service I'm already paying for. Perhaps there are some other cell phone companies that can provide coverage way out here 13 miles north of Boston.

I have had horrible service from Sprint over that past 3 weeks as my phone has died. I'll spare you the full excruciating tale but the nadir came when the seemingly all-powerful "cancellation" department promised to ship the phone I have been waiting on two weeks via overnight on Friday to keep my business. Here we are on Monday morning with no phone. She even promised to send me three emails with tracking numbers. I discovered this morning after painful conversation with the latest addled and confused Sprint representative that those email were never sent. The phone apparently was but will see...

It's a very bad sign when you have to threaten to cancel to get what you have already paid for. Sprint, your days are numbered in more ways than one.

As Captain Quint once intoned: Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies...

Process Learning Today

mediatedcultures.net @ kansas state university: "Students are asked to imagine the world in the classroom. We create a map that mimics the geographical, environmental, and biological diversity of our real world. The map is laid onto a map of the classroom, and students are asked to imagine themselves living in the environment that maps onto them. The class is divided into 15-20 groups of about 12-20 students in each group. Each group is challenged to create their own cultures to survive in their own unique environments.

The World Simulation itself only takes 75-100 minutes and moves through 650 metaphorical years, 1450-2100. It all takes place in large room where all of the "cultures" interact with one another with props for currencies, natural resources, and other elements that recreate the world system. I will explain this in more detail in a future post, but essentially we attempt to simulate (not "act out") world history in an attempt to understand the underlying social and cultural processes that interconnect us all. The ultimate goal is to allow students to actually experience how the world system works and explore some of the most important questions now facing humanity such as those of global inequality, globalization, culture loss, environmental degradation, and in the worst case scenario, genocide.

The simulation is recorded on 5 roaming digital video cameras and edited into one final "world history" video using clips from "real world" history to illustrate the correspondences. We watch the video together during the last week of class and have amazing moments together as we contemplate our world."

Friday, August 29, 2008


Pitchfork Nation: Pictures: Dennis Dome is Done: "The dome opened at a cost of $8.4 million in July. Tonight's storm wasted it in the span of about 45 minutes. I was parked by Four Peaks Brewing Company around 9:45 tonight and a gust of wind nearly picked up one side of my car. Power went out from about 8th Street and north at about the same time and in some places has not been restored. The following are my eyewitness pictures from the northeast corners of Arizona State University at around 1:00 AM.

The storm hurled pieces of the Dome across the north campus. We saw pieces of the canvas and of insulation as far away as Sun Angel Stadium and even a sizable chunk lodged in the trees and fence surrounding Packard Stadium."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

For those interested in influence...

Digital Ethnography » Blog Archive » The Little Glass Dot:

"the little glass dot …

it too may not seem of any particular interest …

but consider again that dot …

That’s there.

That’s somewhere else.

That’s everybody.

On the other side of that little glass dot is everyone you love,

everyone you know,

everyone you have ever heard of,

everyone who is living out their lives that has access to the internet,

billions of potential viewers,

and your future self among them.

Some have called it both the biggest and the smallest stage,

the most public space in the world, from the privacy of our own homes.

It has been used for many things …

a political soapbox, a comedian’s stage, a religious pulpit, a teacher’s podium,

or just a way to reach out

to a next door neighbor or across the world

to people we love, people we want to love, or people we don’t even know …

to share something deep, or something trivial,

something serious, or something funny,

to strive for fame, or to simply connect …

it can be many things …

but it cannot be just one thing …

… and it cannot be only what you want it to be …

… it is not just what you make of it … it is what we make of it …

the little glass dot

the eyes of the world"

You Tube Gatherings

Digital Ethnography » Blog Archive » Aesthetic Arrest: "Many YouTubers do create strong and tight relations on YouTube that extend beyond the screen into physical contexts, and there are a growing number of YouTube gatherings worldwide in which Tubers meet one another face-to-face (see Lange, 2007), but the experience of profound and deep connection with relatively (or even totally) anonymous strangers viewed on the screen from a distance remains an important phenomenon with important implications for how we understand ourselves and our relations with others."

Compassion for Needy; Honoring those who Give

Declarations - WSJ.com: "Another problem with the Michelle speech. In order to paint both her professional life and her husband's, and in order to communicate what she feels is his singular compassion, she had to paint an America that is darker, sadder, grimmer, than most Americans experience their country to be. And this of course is an incomplete picture, an incorrectly weighted picture. Sadness and struggle are part of life, but so are guts and verve and achievement and success and hardiness and…triumph. Democrats always get this wrong. Republicans get it wrong too, but in a different way.

Democrats in the end speak most of, and seem to hold the most sympathy for, the beset-upon single mother without medical coverage for her children, and the soldier back from the war who needs more help with post-traumatic stress disorder. They express the most sympathy for the needy, the yearning, the marginalized and unwell. For those, in short, who need more help from the government, meaning from the government's treasury, meaning the money got from taxpayers.

Who happen, also, to be a generally beset-upon group.

Democrats show little expressed sympathy for those who work to make the money the government taxes to help the beset-upon mother and the soldier and the kids. They express little sympathy for the middle-aged woman who owns a small dry cleaner and employs six people and is, actually, day to day, stressed and depressed from the burden of state, local and federal taxes, and regulations, and lawsuits, and meetings with the accountant, and complaints as to insufficient or incorrect efforts to meet guidelines regarding various employee/employer rules and regulations. At Republican conventions they express sympathy for this woman, as they do for those who are entrepreneurial, who start businesses and create jobs and build things. Republicans have, that is, sympathy for taxpayers. But they don't dwell all that much, or show much expressed sympathy for, the sick mother with the uninsured kids, and the soldier with the shot nerves.

Neither party ever gets it quite right, the balance between the taxed and the needy, the suffering of one sort and the suffering of another. You might say that in this both parties are equally cold and equally warm, only to two different classes of citizens."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

'Basic Instinct' author writes book about faith

toledoblade.com -- 'Basic Instinct' author writes book about faith: "The upcoming release from the man who penned dark thrillers such as Basic Instinct and Jagged Edge tells the story of his spiritual conversion and his newfound devotion to God and family.

In Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith, to be published Sept. 2 by St. Martin's Press, Mr. Eszterhas describes how his life got turned around during the summer of 2001."

Christ on Campus Initiative

The Gospel Coalition | Christ on Campus Initiative: "The Christ on Campus Initiative (CCI) is a ministry created for the purpose of preparing and circulating literature for college and university students, addressing an array of important intellectual and practical issues from an evangelical Christian perspective. This initiative is made possible by generous support from the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL) and the MAC foundation (Fort Collins, CO). The editorial team, led by D.A. Carson, commissions top evangelical scholars to oversee the creation and distribution of a variety of resources for university students. The goal of these resources is that they be intellectually rigorous, culturally relevant, persuasive in argument and faithful to historic, evangelical Christianity."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Best U.S. Cities To Earn A Living

Forbes.com: "Right behind Houston are Minneapolis, home to more of the nation's top companies per capita than any other city; Boston, fueled heavily by the biotech industry; and Washington, D.C., where unless the government goes out of business, consulting firms will continue to make a killing."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Campus Crusader for Christ | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Campus Crusader for Christ | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction: "In short, Crusade has grown into an evangelical powerhouse, the point of first contact for many college students who moved away from the churches that reared them. Crusade was overdue for the new critical, scholarly evaluation written by John G. Turner, assistant professor of history at the University of South Alabama. His book, Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America, has already rankled some of the late Bright's family and colleagues. Indeed, Turner admits in the introduction that some Crusade insiders who reviewed the manuscript 'in some cases vehemently disagreed' with his conclusions. But Turner's book succeeds precisely because he recorded the first-hand observations of so many Crusade insiders."


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Now they tell us

This year so far coolest for at least 5 years: WMO - Yahoo! News UK
The first half of 2008 was the coolest for at least five years, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Wednesday.

The whole year will almost certainly be cooler than recent years, although temperatures remain above the historical average.

Global temperatures vary annually according to natural cycles.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ghost Cities Of 2100

Forbes.com: "In the U.S., towns in Kansas and the Dakotas face extinction mainly because of an exodus of young people. Some Kansas towns are fighting back by giving away free land, with mixed results.

But some bigger centers also face the risk of annihilation. Urban planners across Europe and North America are already grappling with what to do with 'shrinking cities.' After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, millions of residents of what had been East Germany moved west. More than a million apartments were simply abandoned.

In response, the German government sponsored the Shrinking Cities Project to study what is now a global phenomenon. The project has an exhibit on tour that examines shrinkage in Russia's Ivanovo, Leipzig in Germany, Manchester and Liverpool in Britain and Detroit in the U.S.

Whether these cities disappear entirely, of course, is an open question. Detroit's population has fallen by around a third since 1950 and now equals about 950,000. It is expected to shrink slowly but steadily until at least 2030; unemployment inside the city is more than 10%. (The suburbs around Detroit, meanwhile, are growing.) If trends hold, Detroit will be altered beyond recognition by 2100."

A Morning Prayer

I've always struggled to pray consistently. This helps.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Where is Georgia on Google Maps?

Official Google Blog: Where is Georgia on Google Maps?: "The recent conflict in Georgia has raised some questions about how Google Maps has handled mapping in that part of the world. The most obvious question is, why doesn't Google Maps show any cities or roads for Georgia, or its neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan? The answer is we never launched coverage in those countries because we simply weren't satisfied with the map data we had available. We're constantly searching for the best map data we can find, and sometimes will delay launching coverage in a country if we think we can get more comprehensive data. Some of our customers have asked if we removed map data from any of these countries in response to the recent hostilities in that region and I can assure you that is not the case. Data for these countries were never on Google Maps in the first place.

But this has generated a lot of feedback that we are listening to and learning from. We're hearing from our users that they would rather see even very basic coverage of a country than see nothing at all. That certainly makes sense, and so we have started preparing data for the handful of countries that are still blank on Google Maps. Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, as well as other significant regions of the world will benefit from this effort."

Empty Seats at China's Sellout Olympics

Empty Seats at China's Sellout Olympics: "Li Ligong had been trying to buy tickets for the Beijing Olympics since last August. In each round, he would camp out with friends three days before sales began hoping to buy seats for gymnastics, basketball, and swimming events, but he had no luck. 'We couldn't get any tickets,' says Li, 37, owner of a building decoration company and member of a Beijing soccer fan club.

All that changed on Aug. 11. Li got a call from the head of soccer fan club asking if he'd be interested in watching an Olympic doubleheader on Aug. 12 for free, including the game between Canada and Sweden."

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A Christian in China

Want More Growth in China? Have Faith - WSJ.com: "One of the most important dissenting voices in China today belongs to Peter Zhao, a Communist Party member and adviser to the Chinese Central Committee. Mr. Zhao is among a group of Chinese intellectuals who look to the West to find the key to economic success. Mr. Zhao in particular believes that Christianity and the ethical system based upon its teachings are the reason that Western countries dominate the global economy. "The strong U.S. economy is just on the surface," he says. "The backbone is the moral foundation."

Without a unifying moral system enforced by common values, Mr. Zhao argues, there can be no real trust between people. Without faith among business partners and between management and shareholders, only the threat of the law can keep people honest. "There are problems of corruption emerging. . . . There is concern about whether China's market economy will ever become a sound market economy."

Mr. Zhao has made his case in both popular and academic publications in the past several years, publishing more than 200 articles -- for instance, "Market Economies With Churches and Market Economies Without Churches" -- explaining how Christianity leads to long-term growth. "From the ancient time till now everybody wants to make more money," Mr. Zhao told me. "But from history we see only Christians have a continuous nonstop creative spirit and the spirit for innovation."

Surprisingly, Mr. Zhao has been allowed to voice his thoughts on the country's need for more religion and religious freedom. And he has a growing audience for his message -- particularly among Christians, of course. One Chinese think tank claimed that Mr. Zhao's articles have produced more hits online than those of any other author in the country.

Mr. Zhao began formulating his ideas during a 2002 trip to the U.S. "In the U.S., the spires of churches are more numerous than China's banks and rice shops. On a street near Harvard Square," Mr. Zhao recalls, "I once stood and looked about me, only to find that in three different directions there were three churches." The trip seems to have made a personal as well as an intellectual impression. Shortly after returning home, Mr. Zhao became a Christian himself.

Mr. Zhao's argument goes beyond the need for common values. He claims that Christianity produces greater wealth than other religions or no religion. His view is partly historical -- the wealthiest societies are those that are traditionally Christian, either Catholic or Protestant. He says that Christianity provides three elements necessary for economic growth: motivation -- those who work for God rather than for pleasure, money or status don't tire of being productive; a moral framework that makes for less exploitation and less corruption; and a mandate to care for the poor and disenfranchised."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

This is where I live...

Urban America: The New Solid South | Newgeography.com: "The shift began in the late 1960s, when urban regions, from financial centers such as New York and Chicago to old industrial cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, began to suffer a massive exodus of predominantly white, middle-class residents.

This left behind an increasingly impoverished, highly minority population with very little proclivity to support conservative or even moderate Republicans. Today in some cities — mostly old industrial centers in the East and Midwest — this population remains dominant and is likely to vote in huge numbers for Obama. Most of these cities suffer poverty rates at least 50 percent higher than the national average.

At the same time, some other cities — such as New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland — have done far better. They have done so by attracting a population of well-educated, white professionals. Pockets of this demographic, to be sure, also exist in some hard-hit industrial cities, but the new urban affluents tend to concentrate in cities with industries, such as financial services and media, that provide excitement and the prospect of high-wage employment in a glamorous setting.

Many new urbanites tend to be students or professionals enjoying city life during their first, highly experimental years of adulthood. At this point, they are most open to liberal ideas and causes; they have yet to worry much about taxes and crime, issues that drive people to the center. As they grow older, marry and raise families, many in this cohort — particularly those who do not ascend into the upper classes — leave the urban core for the suburbs or other more affordable regions."

Memo to Music Industry...

New In Rainbows Numbers Offer Lessons for Music Industry | Listening Post from Wired.com: "The hard lesson to the music business here is that it must license venues for music acquisition that fans prefer to file sharing networks or otherwise make the toleration of file sharing part of their business plans. If even Radiohead's freely available album was torrented 2.3 million times in the first three and a half weeks, how can more traditional offerings successfully clamp-down on file sharing? They can't, pure and simple."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Take That Colon Cancer

I eat these almost every morning:

The Slow Cook: Steel Cut Oats: "Steel-cut oats, on the other hand, start with the whole grain--meaning the unadulterated bran, germ and endosperm, where all the nutrition is--then are cut into small pieces with steel blades and left unrolled so they look like little nubs of brown rice.

A single serving, or 1/4 cup dry, of steel-cut oats contains 150 calories, no sodium, very little fat, and plenty of dietary fiber."

My recipe is easy and take about 3 minutes:

1/2 cup oats (bought in bulk)
1/2 cup water

Microwave one minute.
Microwave one more minute.

Add generous shot of honey.
Add blueberries.

I think with a diet of oats, honey and blueberries, you might live to be 300.

I'm eating them right now. :-)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Go Devils

SI.com: ASU has No. 1 sports program: "Arizona State is ranked as the nation's top athletic program for 2007-08 according to Sports Illustrated.com."

That's nasty...

Forward Habit » Blog Archive » New Search Engine cuil is Not Cool At All: "I tried out the new search engine cuil today by trying a search for my name “Jason Mitchener.” While cuil did indeed show some of the web sites that are often associated with my name, it also did something that will have me never use their search engine again. cuil puts little pictures next to the search listings that supposedly are in context with the web pages listed. So what did cuil put next to the web pages associated with my name? The listing for my main site http://www.JasonMitchener.com features a photo of a flesh wound. Yes, you read that correctly … a flesh wound. The listing for my site’s shop (where I sell my book and music CD) features a photo of a plastic doll. The listing for the Soundclick site with my music features a photo of a clunky wheelchair. Yes, I’m disabled, but give me a break."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Genetic Mysteries

Op-Ed Columnist - The Luxurious Growth - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com: "It wasn’t long ago that headlines were blaring about the discovery of an aggression gene, a happiness gene or a depression gene. The implication was obvious: We’re beginning to understand the wellsprings of human behavior, and it won’t be long before we can begin to intervene to enhance or transform human life.

Few talk that way now. There seems to be a general feeling, as a Hastings Center working group put it, that “behavioral genetics will never explain as much of human behavior as was once promised.”

Studies designed to link specific genes to behavior have failed to find anything larger than very small associations. It’s now clear that one gene almost never leads to one trait. Instead, a specific trait may be the result of the interplay of hundreds of different genes interacting with an infinitude of environmental factors."

Welcome to my world...

I read this in the bulletin at Citylife yesterday and it sounded very familiar, especially lately:
We all automatically gravitate toward the
assumption that we are justified by our level
of sanctification, and when this posture is
adopted, it inevitably focuses our attention
not on Christ but on the adequacy of our
own obedience. We start each day with our
personal security not resting on the accepting
love of God and the sacrifice of Christ but on
our present feelings or recent achievements
in the Christian’s life. Since these arguments
will not quiet the human conscience, we are
inevitably moved either to discouragement
and apathy or to a self-righteousness [some
form of idolatry] which falsifies the record to
achieve a sense of peace...

Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life
The sacrament of communion reminds me that it's not about me. In fact, the whole "organized religion" thing remind me that it's not about me. I'm thankful for Citylife and membership in a community that requires a declaration of failure and need as an entrance exam.

Non-Profit Meetings

Here's a nugget from Dan Allan in our conversation today.

Anytime we're having a meeting here's what we should shoot for:

50% Vision and Shepherding
Vision = organizational vision or even better vision for the kingdom of God
Shepherding = caring for those present.

50% details = critical path steps etc. Details will fill all available time if allowed to.

In a non-profit, volunteer context this is very important because it compresses the tasks into the minimum time necessary and makes time for people and passion.

How do I work on making decisions?

6 powerful "look into" verbs (+ 1 to avoid) | 43 Folders: "You’ll notice I left off the verb you were really casting about for here, which is almost certainly “decide.” This is not an oversight.

This one I can’t help you with, because — unless you own and utilize a jokey “Executive Decision Maker” purchased from the Sky Mall catalog — deciding is most definitely not a physical action."

This post seems helpful to pull stuff out of your brain and into action so you can put it back into your brain and make a decision. The Lovin Spoonful know how hard this is.

What are conferences for in a wired world?

Many have been wondering what the purpose of conferences are if many of the elements of a conference are available without showing up.

This discussion has a nice introduction in this post by Seth Godin.

I've been thinking some of these same things since last year when I helped lead the Campus Ministry Days of Campus Crusade for Christ. Today I'm going to be working with Dan Allan on what this might mean for:
  • Fall Getaway
  • Weekly meetings
  • Servant Teams
  • Staff meetings
  • National Summer Project meetings
  • Christmas Conferences and Winter Conferences
  • National Staff Conferences
Initially I think it means one thing: Do at conferences/events/meetings what you can only do or do best when everyone is physically gathered according to the purpose of the gathering.

For example:

  • Instead of having a speaker give a talk, require attendees to listen to the talk beforehand and spend the time at the conference in Q and A.
  • Crowd Activities: In 1984 I was a growing up in LA and I watched the Summer Olympics religiously since it was in my hometown. I will never forget what happened during the opening ceremonies: the capacity crowd held up individual square placards that created an enormous mural of all the flags of the world. I remember it like it was yesterday. I wish I could have been there. I'm sure everyone that was there was amazed by what they had participated in; they surely saved their placard to this day. This is the kind of once in a lifetime group activity that makes attending an event worthwhile.
  • Allowing attendees to help create the content and conversations of the conference (see podcamp). This makes each conference a unique creation and collaboration and increased the value for each attendee.
What do you think?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm becoming a fan of Ubuntu...

Shuttleworth: Make Desktop Linux Better than Apple: "Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, which makes Ubuntu Linux, called for desktop Linux to improve to the point that its presentation layer is more visually exciting than Apple's."

It's free!

I don't mind Vista but others apparently do...

60 percent skipping Vista, so Ballmer looks to Apple | The Open Road - The Business and Politics of Open Source by Matt Asay - CNET News.com: "A new survey by KACE, a systems management appliance company, suggests that 60 percent of those surveyed have no plans to deploy Microsoft Windows Vista, a 10 percent rise over a similar survey administered by KACE in November 2007. A full 42 percent of these are actively exploring Vista alternatives, with 11 percent having made the leap to alternative platforms like Mac OS X or Linux."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Write your own screenplay with Soularium

What 3 images describe your life right now?

Which 3 images represent what you WISH were a part of your life right now?

Imagine the first three images represent three scenes in the screenplay of your life, and the last three images represent 3 final scenes in the screenplay of your life. Imagine the movie between this beginning and end.

Would you pay to see the movie you just imagined? If not, it might help to begin to wish for something different.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)

I was invited to a sneak preview of Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D Wednesday night and it was fun from start to finish. I took my family and my kids loved it. My 9 year-old couldn't help but exclaim when it was over: "We gotta get that on DVD". Mind you, this isn't The Shawshank Redemption but you wouldn't want to take your kids to see that in the summer anyway. The film delivers on what it promises: kid-friendly adventure.

This is a great summer family movie with enough action and 3D effects to keep any kid interested. In fact 3D is very cool. It adds a new level of thrills to the action and even the adults were oohing and aahhing through the film.

As a parent the movie is helpful in creatively encouraging kids to read Jules Verne. Also, there is nothing inappropriate for children in this film except for a few 3D "gotcha" scare moments that might not go over too well with toddlers.

Perhaps my highest endorsement is this: My 12 year old son might actually read Jules Verne this summer. The fantasy world depicted in the film captured his imagination and he wants more.

My Rating: Big Screen

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Stories from the Hatch Shell

Well, we did it. We did the whole "camp out at the Hatch Shell for the 4th of July Boston Pops Concert and fireworks" thing.

It was awesome and much easier than I expected. I showed up at 7:30 am to get in line with my kids. We sat in chairs until the line started moving approaching 9am when the Oval (the grassy area in front of the shell) opened. We got in easily, set down tarps with a great view of the stage right in the middle of the oval and settled in for a relaxing morning.

When you enter the Oval you get a wristband that allows you to come back anytime. I heard they give out 10,000 wristbands so my kids probably didn't need to come so early with me. Wristbands were still available after 1pm.

Alex came down to pick up the kids and I sat under my umbrella in a cool drizzle catching up on Google Reader on my phone. I learned about this: SimplyNoise How cool is that? And I learned about this. I can't wait.

Then came the moment: a low rumble in the column of speakers upon sub-woofers. Pealing into Also Sprach Zarathustra. My sternum began to shudder and quake. It was epic. It was the start of the program for all of us in the Oval.

I left to get my kids and got back in easily at 6:15. The crowd had swelled and was festive. Tents had come down and lights had gone up. Flags were everywhere. Sound checks, tributes and introductions and then the TV show portion began.

The National Anthem and the F-15 Flyover was a highlight.

The Boston Pops were amazing. They did several pieces by Leonard Bernstein that were pulsating with rhythm and very difficult. Hearing live music of this quality is a rare pleasure. Of course the 1812 Overture was rousing.

Rascal Flatts was/were really good. They can flat play.

The lowlight of the evening was biting into a sandwich that I has set on the ground earlier. I noticed a spicy, sour taste as I was chewing the first big bite. I looked down and saw a platoon of ants deployed on the sandwich all around my bite mark. Apparently some of this merry band were missing in action in my mouth. I took evasive action. Luckily it was during the Fireworks so eyes were drawn elsewhere. My kids now refer to this anecdote as "The Ant Sandwich".

Happy Birthday America.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Waited on the World to Change

Everything was gray: Movement detected but recognition shallow, distinctions blurry. Activity was more important than meaning because meaning was hard to see. Life was boring, more often than not because life had little color, flavor or fragrance.

Then, one day in college, the story of God (which I had heard plenty before) actually touched the facts of my world and the details of my life. I already believed in God, in particular the story of God come to earth in a person: Jesus of Nazareth. But this was almost entirely balm for my tender conscience and grace and truth to my fickle, wicked heart.

Almost overnight, the world became alive, fascinating, and profound. God was in language, logic, melody and harmony. God was in design, ethics and mathematics. God was in sex, justice and intimacy. God was not just in Christ, not just in my heart, but in all things.

I wish I could be awake always, to keep learning about everything, learning about The Word by whom all things were made. I think that would be Heaven.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The New Narrative Printing Press?

'Grand,' but No 'Godfather' - WSJ.com: "The new game took in more than $500 million in world-wide sales in its first week. The critical reaction has been widespread and adulatory and in certain corners beyond over-the-top: GTA IV is better than 'The Godfather,' better than 'The Sopranos,' better than say, a novel!"

Seriously, read this whole article if you want to get a taste of video game culture.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Undocumented" tracks

Piracy: Average Teen Stores 842 Stolen Tracks on Their iPod: "In a recent study by British Music Rights, 14- to 24-year-olds were polled as to how much stolen music they carried around on a daily basis. The finding was that almost half of said music was never purchased. 842 of the 1,770 tracks held on the average digital music player were reported as stolen—that's 48 percent."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What is a Revival?

The Reason for God by Tim Keller: "In an important history of the movement, David L. Chappell demonstrates that it was not a political but primarily a religious and spiritual movement... Chappell argues that black leaders were much more rooted in the Biblical understanding of the sinfulness of the human heart and in the denunciations of injustice that they read in the Hebrew prophets. Chappell also shows how it was the vibrant faith of rank-and-file African-Americans that empowered them to insist on justice despite the violent opposition to their demands. Thus Chappell says there is no way to understand what happened until you see the Civil Rights movement as a religious revival.

When evangelical Christians talk about revival we tend to go back to The Student Volunteer Movement or The Azusa Street Revival as the last revival in the United States.

Was the Civil Rights Movement a revival? Evangelicals tend to stress spiritual salvation over social and economic transformation. What do you think?

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Devil in the Details

Paradise Lost, Again and Again - WSJ.com: "Mr. Jacobs presents an impressive gallery of thinkers convinced of the reality of a hereditary stain in human nature. He starts with St. Augustine, who saw evidence for Original Sin 'everywhere, from the angry cry of a baby to his own tendency to be distracted from prayer.' There are classic Protestants like Luther and John Bunyan, as well as the Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who in the Gulag came to realize that the real fault line ran not between the guards and prisoners but within each human soul.

Of course, they are all Christians. When we turn to modern thinkers who take a dim view of religion – Marx, Freud, the current batch of evolutionary psychologists – Mr. Jacobs sees a pattern: They dismiss the idea of Original Sin but then try to sneak it through the back door and give it another name.

Kant, who had little use for Christian revelation, talked about 'the crooked timber of humanity.' For Marx, human behavior was skewed by immemorial social arrangements. Freud talked about the dark forces of the subconscious. One way or another, these thinkers were wrestling with the question that God directed to Adam and Eve after the Fall: 'Where are you?' In other words: Why are we not where we ought to be?"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How long O Lord?

Others are taking the Google plunge:

Salesforce and Google Apps partnership

Google and Salesforce announced Salesforce for Google
a new product that brings the collaboration and communications features of
Google Apps directly into Salesforce.com. As you might know, Salesforce is a
customer relations management (CRM) program used by hundreds of non-profits
to manage constituent relationships, raise money, organize volunteer
opportunities and more. Read more about the new integration on the Official
Google Blog<http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/posted-by-scott-mcmullan-googl...>

If you're already a Salesforce customer (which is free for eligible
non-profits <http://www.salesforcefoundation.org/product/>), it's easy to
start integrating with your Google Apps account. If you don't have Google
Apps, it's also free for

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Gospel in All its Forms | LeadershipJournal.net

This article helps explain why The Four Spiritual Laws has been so successful and unsuccessful depending on the context. It also explains and recommends how Campus Crusade has grown and will grow in presenting the gospel effectively.

Read the whole thing.

The Gospel in All its Forms | LeadershipJournal.net: "Just as Paul spoke about a gospel for the more religious (the "circumcised") and for the pagan, so I've found that my audience in Manhattan contains both those with moralist, religious backgrounds as well as those with postmodern, pluralistic worldviews.

There are people from other religions (Judaism, Islam), people with strong Catholic backgrounds, as well as those raised in conservative Protestant churches. People with a religious upbringing can grasp the idea of sin as the violation of God's moral law. That law can be explained in such a way that they realize they fall short of it. In that context, Christ and his salvation can be presented as the only hope of pardon for guilt. This, the traditional evangelical gospel of the last generation, is a "gospel for the circumcised."

However, Manhattan is also filled with postmodern listeners who consider all moral statements to be culturally relative and socially constructed. If you try to convict them of guilt for sexual lust, they will simply say, "You have your standards, and I have mine." If you respond with a diatribe on the dangers of relativism, your listeners will simply feel scolded and distanced. Of course, postmodern people must at some point be challenged about their mushy views of truth, but there is a way to make a credible and convicting gospel presentation to them even before you get into such apologetic issues.

I take a page from Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death and define sin as building your identity—your self-worth and happiness—on anything other than God. That is, I use the biblical definition of sin as idolatry. That puts the emphasis not as much on "doing bad things" but on "making good things into ultimate things."

Instead of telling them they are sinning because they are sleeping with their girlfriends or boyfriends, I tell them that they are sinning because they are looking to their romances to give their lives meaning, to justify and save them, to give them what they should be looking for from God. This idolatry leads to anxiety, obsessiveness, envy, and resentment. I have found that when you describe their lives in terms of idolatry, postmodern people do not give much resistance. Then Christ and his salvation can be presented not (at this point) so much as their only hope for forgiveness, but as their only hope for freedom. This is my "gospel for the uncircumcised."


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

6 "laws" to explain the Rebellion

two ways to live :: what is two ways to live?: "At the most basic level, Two Ways to Live is simply a memorable summary of the Christian gospel. Or to put it more accurately, it is the Christian gospel including some of its necessary presuppositions and background."

Monday, June 02, 2008

What is it with Americans and their guns?

Point and Shoot - WSJ.com: "Gatling was the prototypical Yankee tinkerer, a self-educated deviser of farm implements, including a mechanical planter that fed seeds from a hopper. From seeds, creators of life, it was an easy jump to bullets: Death too could be fed from a hopper. Gatling employed six rifle barrels in a tight cluster. A crank positioned each barrel in turn to have a new bullet dropped into its breech.

It was an elegant solution to a problem that had bedeviled armorers for a century – the best of soldiers could fire only two or three rounds a minute."

Interesting Stuff