April 2007

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Jimmy Carter at UCI


Dude, me and Jimmy.

The Center for the study of Democracy and Model United Nations
Present Former U.S. President
Jimmy Carter

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It sort of puzzles me why he still has so much traction. Even the WA Post labeled him as having botched his presidency...

Posted by: Nate at May 1, 2007 3:48 AM

Orphans of God

Flickr Image
Photo courtesy of muzungu

by Mark Heard.

I will rise from my bed with a question again
As I work to inherit the restless wind
The view from my window is cold and obscene
I want to touch what my eyes haven't seen

But they have packaged our virtue in cellulose dreams
And sold us the remnants 'til our pockets are clean
Til our hopes fall 'round our feet
Like the dust and dead leaves
And we end up looking like what we believe

We are soot-covered urchins running wild and unshod
We will always be remembered as the orphans of God
They will dig up these ruins and make flutes of our bones
And blow a hymn to the memory of the orphans of God

Like bees in a bottle we are flying at fate
Beating our wings against the walls of this place
Unaware that the struggle is the blood of the proof
In choosing to believe the unbelievable truth

But they have captured our siblings and rendered them mute
They've disputed our lineage and poisoned our roots
We have bought from the brokers who have broken their oaths
And we're out on the streets with a lump in our throats

We are soot-covered urchins running wild and unshod
We will always be remembered as the orphans of God
They will dig up these ruins
And make flutes of our bones
And blow a hymn to the memory of the orphans of God

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Some tragedies are more equal than others


The attack at Virginia Tech this week was horrible. I feel it more acutely than a random person since I grew up in Virginia. My brother, my sister-in-law, and many of my friends and neighbors are part of the Virginia Tech family. It is a tragedy to be sure. I can't imagine how I would cope with losing a friend or family member this way.

The reason why this is a tragedy is because the men and women who were killed are image-bearers of Christ. They were created to reflect his glory. The killed were not able to do that for as long as they possibly could have. From a human perspective we have a sense that there could have been more for them. We know the pain that their loss will entail. God's glory through his creation could have been more. For the killer we struggle to understand why his life was not redeemed and if we failed in being part of his redemption in Christ. Our failure, personal and corporate, cause us to worry that we have fallen short.

The President and the media have suggested that no one deserved this. This is true in the sense that the victims weren't threatening the killer or doing anything remarkable that day. That message is politically appropriate and in the short run a psychological salve, but as we try and make sense of big-E evil and our place among the tragedy, I believe that it's wrong. We all deserve this. We deserve it because of our failures and because we have fallen short. From the Godly perspective of perfection, we fail and in that failure we affront God. Justice demands that there be compensation. We should daily be living a life of repentance and joy because by God's grace we are not going through pain like this all the time and we have another day to be part of the redemption of our world.

Finally I can't help but comment on the hypocrisy of America. Where is the outpouring of sympathy for the moms and children, dads and professors, athletes, engineers, and soldiers who were killed in Baghdad today? 4 times as many -just today - as if the absolute numbers matter. If people are image bearers of Christ, then being killed is no less tragic when you are Iraqi than when you are an American. Lives, just as valuable, were cut short in Iraq today as well. God's creation in Iraq was destroyed without realizing the potential that other equal lives do. It is appropriate to mourn the tragedy at VA Tech. When will we also lower the flag to half-staff for all the people whose lives are cut short? Especially when, unlike VA Tech, the threat is clear, unlike VA Tech, we have clearly decided it is our problem, and when, unlike VA Tech, it is much less clear whether or not we deserve the burden of shouldering the pain.


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Hamster powered shredder


This is too cool. A hamster powered shredder. Hamster runs. Paper shreds. Hamster uses shredder paper. Link

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It's a beautiful day


Sunrise in my office this morning

All of life is repentence:"Am I doing what I am doing for God's glory and the good of others or am i being driven by fears, need for approval, love of comfort and ease, need for control, hunger for acclaim and power, or the 'fear of man?' Am I looking at anyone with envy? Am I giving in to any of even the first motions of lust or gluttony? Am I spending my time on urgent things rather than important things because of these inordinate desires?"

U2, Beautiful Day:
"What you don't have you don't need it now
What you don't know you can feel it somehow
What you don't have you don't need it now
Don't need it now
Was a beautiful day"

"You are the salt of the earth." - Jesus

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The global warming creates a pretty haze. Having grown up watching the sun set over Lake MI, in all honesty, haze/clouds/global warming or some sort of combination, creates much more spectacular sunsets, than a bare horizon. It's a new one every night though. Very, very nice.

Posted by: Nate at April 16, 2007 4:38 AM

Smog makes beautiful L.A. sunsets also.

Posted by: DJP3 at April 16, 2007 11:21 AM

Global Warming

Flickr Image
Photo courtesy of felice9992000

I am no expert on global warming, but it appears to be clear from the evidence that I've seen that the planet is getting hotter. For a good review of the data watch "An Inconvenient Truth" which I just saw this weekend. Although it is clear that the temperature of the earth is increasing, one thing that I remained unconvinced of is the role of humans in that process. The movie, as far as I noticed, only claimed that population was increasing in a way that seemed to match temperature increases. Correlation, however, is not causation. Anyway I haven't decided on the role of humans in global warming yet. The article below makes the point that at least a part of the warming is being caused by increasing temperatures on the sun. Regardless of the cause however, we have a vital interest in decreasing global warming. How we go about that though may depend a lot of the causes.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high

"A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years.

Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past.

They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer.

This trend is being amplified by gases from fossil fuel burning, they argue."

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March Beer Madness


The Washington Post has produced a March Madness style beer competition between 32 notable brews. The winner is Brooklyn Lager. Who would've guessed? Saranac Pale Ale made a close second. Click on the image on the left to see the full match-up.

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Aww how could Rolling Rock not win. They're delicious!!!

Posted by: Growly-Pants at April 23, 2007 6:18 PM

Spurious Correlations

I think global warming is causing home prices to go up. Here's the proof. On the left the graph of the Earth's surface temperature. On the right the inflation adjusted cost of a home. Coincidence? I think not.

global warming

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Face Transformer

There is a funny program on-line that will transform a head shot of a person into a number of different ethnic, and artistic styles. It is located here if you want to try it yourself.

Original:FirefoxScreenSnapz013.jpg Baby:FirefoxScreenSnapz003.jpg Child:FirefoxScreenSnapz004.jpg Elderly:FirefoxScreenSnapz005.jpg White (I guess whiter in this case):FirefoxScreenSnapz006.jpg East Asian:FirefoxScreenSnapz007.jpg West Asian:FirefoxScreenSnapz008.jpg As if painted by El Greco:FirefoxScreenSnapz010.jpg Planet of the Apes:FirefoxScreenSnapz012.jpg And I think my favorite, Manga:FirefoxScreenSnapz011.jpg

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Posted by: Nate at April 9, 2007 7:39 AM

God in the Genome

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Photo courtesy of ::sarmax::

An encouraging article for us scientist-believers:

Collins: Why this scientist believes in God - CNN.com

"I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God's majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship."

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Home Prices

Three things about housing prices today.

First a video of housing prices since 1890 viewed as a ride on a roller coaster. Watch that here.

Second a review of the book that motivated the roller coaster video here. Here is an excerpt of that article:

"Other than those two periods, real home prices overall have been mostly flat or declining. Moreover, the overall increase, including the booms, is not very impressive -- 0.4 percent a year."

Finally the graphic from the end of the video is here. (click for better resolution)

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I didn't see the predatory lending depicted in this.

It would figure that with all the foreclosures due to people who shouldn't have qualified, or even applied for that matter, this ride will ease down a while.

When does the ride end?

Posted by: Nate at April 5, 2007 4:10 AM