Thursday, December 21, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
So lets put that arrogance aside and assume that alien cultures are using lasers to contact us. These alien cultures don't know that there is life on earth, or they would be trying to contact us much more directly. So, these laser messages are not going to be sent out to the earth constantly. Again assuming the aliens have the same types of technology as us, these beams will be sent out in the direction of different star systems that these aliens think might have life on them, each star system getting a message at a different time. Now, let's assume that they're sending the messages towards earth at all, which is not a trivial assumption, otherwise the whole issue goes away. So, every once in awhile the laser message is pointed towards our star system. What are the odds that at that time we have a clear line of sight to the alien star system? That some other planet or piece of space junk or the moon isn't in the way? Or the sun, even? Then, assuming that the laser actually reaches the earth, what are the odds that it hits a point on the earth were we have a receiver listening? We're talking about light year distances here, so a change of a few fractions of a degree at the sender translates to huge differences in hit location on the earth. Unless we put receivers all over the earth its almost impossible to believe that we will intercept such a message, if you can even believe that a message will hit the earth at all.
But, lets be arrogant again and assume that we do receive a message. Then it will take us years, if not decades, to even recognize that it is a message. But lets assume that some day we receive a message, realize that it is a message, and even pinpoint where in the universe it came from. What now? What was all this about? I guess it proves that there is other intelligent life in the universe -- probably. But to really prove that, or do anything meaningful with it, we have to contact this life and communicate with it.
So, we need to start beaming messages back to them. This is much easier than their task of beaming them to the entire universe because we know exactly where they are. So we can built a laser-message space craft and put it somewhere in space always transmitting right to their planet. Now, this planet will be at least ten light years away. That means that when we received the message it was already ten years old. When we send our message to them it will take 10 years for them to receive it, assuming that they receive it right away. Then, assume that they recognize our message and send one back. That takes another 10 years. So now its been 20 years since we first detected the message, and we get something back.
Now what? What good is this? We have spent billions of dollars and who knows how many hours and we have proved that extra-terrestrial life exists. What does that matter? What can we do with that? We can communicate with this culture, you might say. Not likely any time soon. Assuming they even have the same concept of language as us, its very unlikely their language will be anything we can understand or decipher without a great deal of correspondence. And considering that it takes 20 years for a single round-trip message, its going to be a long while until we can actually have any sort of "meaningful" conversation with such a culture.
Of course, all this assumes that any other intelligent life is benevolent. You can easily imagine some uber-fascist alien race trying to detect intelligent life in the universe in order to subjugate it. So we spend billions of dollars to build a laser-messaging satellite that is really just a homing beacon for some oppressive overlords to find our little planet. Nice move guys. But, a lot of assumptions have been made to this point, so why not continue and assume these guys are nice?
All of this to say that SETI is one of the biggest wastes of time and money I can imagine. Thankfully, the government stopped funding SETI in 1993. It is a project that makes many, many arrogant assumptions to even make itself viable. Then, assuming all of the assumptions are correct all we get out of it, best case, is the knowledge that there is some other intelligent life out there. Worst case, we become enslaved by some much more powerful race. Nice. I say we wait until we have the technology to visit or communicate more quickly with and hopefully stand toe-to-toe militarily with any alien race before we spend the time and money to try to contact them.
Friday, November 10, 2006
The Massachusetts legislators that voted for this recess most likely fall in to two camps: homosexual marriage proponents relying on the tactics I mention above, and politicians without the courage to follow the democratic process if it might hurt their political aspirations. Both positions are reprehensible. It is in the state constitution that the people deserve a vote on this issue since they have met the petition requirements. To deny them that vote for any reason is oppressive and wholly inappropriate for any legislative body.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Lieberman was almost an example of this -- one that would have been unprovable had he respected his party's nomination of Lamont. He is viewed by the general public as moderate -- whether he should be or not is irrelevant, that's how he's viewed. The hard left saw him as too far right, and quite a bit too far at that. And they overwhelmingly rejected him in the primary. Had he accepted this we might never have known whether this was representative of most of Democrats in the state. However, Lieberman spurned his party and set off on his own believing, apparently correctly, that the people of Connecticut would favor him over Lamont, even if his party's primary did not. He was right and won easily. The majority of the Democrats in Connecticut did not vote for Lamont, they voted for Lieberman. I believe this is because the majority of Democrats in Connecticut believe themselves to be moderate, and so chose the candidate branded as moderate rather than the one branded as liberal, correctly or not.
I believe that the same scenario would play out across the United States in both parties if moderate candidates had the luxury of a wealth of money and media attention needed to run as independents. Instead most moderates never see general election after a primary defeat. And the result is that the majority of Americans are not accurately or adequately represented by the government. As far as I can tell there is only one way to change this: more people have to vote in the primaries. I don't know how to generate more interest, but we all should do whatever we can to encourage everyone we can to vote in the primaries to promote better representation by our government. That is my wide sweeping and vague charge to everyone in the country. That's all for now, I'll let you know if there's anything else I need you to do later.
Speaking of the Democrats taking both houses last night, is it just me or were the Republicans of the last six years the worst majority ever? It seems like they still never got anything done, even with a solid majority. Plus the alienated a large chunk of their base, like me, by deciding that they didn't have to appeal to people anymore and sold out to the Evangelical right. Which backfired, since a lot of evangelical groups were talking about not voting to try to teach the Republicans some lesson. I don't know, I feel like they deserved to lose. I didn't vote for any Democrats, but I'm not that upset at their winning. To them I say congratulations, I hope you don't live up to your critics expectations. And please don't make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House. Please.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
This brings up an important ethical question. What is the right thing to do in such a situation? We have women serving in our armed forces, although never as active combatants at this point. But they are members of the military and legal combatants under international law, none the less. At what point do these Palestinian women cease to be civilians and start to be part of the opposing force? When do they become combatants? If "civilian" men were actively seeking to aid opposing troops in this way would they be valid targets? Is it right or good to treat women differently? What is the right way to respond to stop things like this from happening in the future? This is clearly a violation of the Geneva convention, but that doesn't really mean much to unnamed Palestinian guerrilla fighters. I don't think there is an easy answer to this question. It seems to me a moral dilemma, so I'm looking for input. If women, of their own free will, participate in activities to put themselves between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen -- not "suspected terrorists" or something like that, but men who are shooting at Israeli troops -- should they be valid targets for the troops? Is there some middle ground, where in this situation shooting the women should be avoided but if some get hit while aiming for the gunmen its okay? Or should they be treated as true civilians and be allowed to create no fire zones for militants to escape through? If so, why? Why should they be allowed to actively participate in paramilitary action without being seen as combatants? Where do we draw the line and what guidelines do we follow in such a situation? What should be the standards for our ethics in this situation?
However, this version of the story offers some details that I find laughable. In it they report that the pastor "admitted today that he had purchased the illegal drug methamphetamine from a gay escort in Denver, but denied that he ever had sex with the man." They go on, "said he met with Mr. Jones and bought the drug. “I was tempted, I bought it, but I did not use it,” he said today. He said he threw the drug out shortly after buying it. “I never kept it very long because it was wrong,” he said." But in the end of the article is this, "Mr. Haggard said in a lengthy interview with KUSA that he had never used drugs of any kind and that he did not smoke or drink alcohol."
So... who do you know who has never used drugs, doesn't drink, and doesn't even smoke who would be "tempted" by an illegal drug offer enough to buy from some guy he doesn't know? That seems absolutely ridiculous. So, he may or may not have had sex with this man. I wouldn't be surprised either way. But he is clearly lying here. Well, maybe not. Sometimes people commit absolutely uncharacteristic felonies for no reason, I suppose. But it sure seems like there's a lot more to this story. Not that its any of our business or that it really matters to the vast majority of us. I just thought it was completely hilarious that he would admit to buying illegal drugs from a stranger but then try to play it off like it was just some freak accident and he threw them away and never looked back. Seriously, it made me laugh.UPDATE:
Now Haggard, the pastor in question, apparently now is admitting that he paid for a message from a homosexual prostitute from whom he bought meth. Follow the logic from above with drugs, but instead apply it to messages from a prostitute -- who pays a prostitute for a message, anyway? I don't know why I find this whole situation so entertaining... I guess I'm becoming a typical American.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Here I'm going to go off on ideas that I don't have data for. It seems to me, despite Charles's post, that most people know who they are going to vote for well beforehand. So the deciding factor in who gets into office is who's party gets the best turnout. That being said, it seems logical for politicians to spend far more time and money motivating their own party rather than trying to convince undecided voters. I think that recent trends, such as incredibly negative campaign ads designed to show voters what a horrible person a candidate's opponent is, reflect this. The politicians try to prove to people that letting their opponent win will be a horrible thing, rather than trying to convince people that they are the better candidate. Since most people won't be changing their minds, its not worth the effort. You just need to sufficiently scare your party into voting to secure a win. And I think that means that politicians have lost their motivation to present themselves as, and possibly become, the best candidate possible. And I think that this is a horrible thing that is hurting American politics. I'm not sure exactly what the best thing is to do about it... and I'm about to go to bed. So maybe I'll think of something good to do about it later.
Friday, October 27, 2006
One way or the other, I'm not seeing much hard data on why heterosexual marriages deserve recognition by the government and homosexual marriages do not. It seems to me that if those opposed to homosexual marriage are correct and it violates the reason to recognize marriage or its bad for society that it should be a simple matter to prove their point. This is what I require to be convinced: a plain, rational reason why heterosexual marriages deserve recognition by the government and clear evidence that homosexual marriages do not. Saying that heterosexual marriages deserve recognition because they're "right" or because "that's the way its meant to be" are not good reasons. If someone was trying to get me to live with a law that prevented me from getting treatment I felt I deserved those reasons would only incite anger and resentment in me. I believe that our homosexual citizens, as full and equal citizens under the law as well as fellow human beings, deserve better.
All that being said, I will be voting in favor of an amendment in Colorado that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Sound hypocritical? Here is why: I don't believe that the ends justify the means. I am not convinced that I should support government recognition of marriage at all. However, I do not believe that it should ever be right for a judge to change the law by reinterpreting what it means over a technicality when its obvious what the law originally meant. I firmly believe that the marriage laws that are now on the books were made with the idea that marriage would solely belong to one man and one woman. So my vote says this: "The laws we have on the books now are for marriage between a man and a woman. They may not be right, but we need to know exactly where we stand and those are the laws currently. Now that we've established that, we have the freedom and space to have a real conversation about whether these laws are the way they should be or whether they should be further amended, perhaps out of existence."
Opponents of this amendment are trying to take a short-cut to government approved homosexual marriage by exploiting a lack of clarity in the laws. If they are successful then homosexual marriage may become a part of American government without the people ever getting a chance to debate and and discuss why it should or shouldn't be. It will sidestep all the channels that new laws are supposed to go through, and I feel this will be detrimental to society, perhaps homosexuals especially, in the long run. I believe that whenever we clearly know the intent behind a law, that is what should be upheld, not the letter of the law, so to speak. If a law is wrong in intent then the law should be changed through the correct legal process, which is through the legislature. Not by reinterpreting its meaning to something acceptable through the judiciary.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
"It shocks the conscience. Congressional leaders have admitted to covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the internet to molest children."
I realize that I have very little to say that hasn't already been said, but this particular quote seems incredibly horrible to me. My two problems with it: No one has admitted to covering anything up in regards to the Foley scandal, and Foley, as far as the public knows, never molested anyone. I'm not going to go on a tirade like Dean Barnett or others from the fairly far right about how this shows us something about the nature of Democrats or the left. I am not so partisan to believe that politicians on the right wouldn't do the same type of thing, in the right situation. This doesn't show us anything about the left in particular, in my opinion, but it does show us something about politicians. Its not something new, its just a reinforcement of what we already know. Apparently they will say whatever they believe most benefits them, even when it doesn't involve the facts quite correctly. Furthermore, this tells us something about the American public. Again, its not something new. This shows us once again that the American public, in general, is apathetic. It could not be advantageous for a politician to run an ad like this if the average American paid attention at least to the daily news reports. One doesn't need to dig past the headlines to read the Foley story, and even a cursory read over any coverage will show that at this point in time all we know Foley did is have completely inappropriate conversations over IM and email with teenagers. No molestation. And it doesn't take a whole lot of interest to find that no one is claiming to have covered up anything for him. So, maybe its the Senator's opinion that people covered up for Foley, but claiming that they have admitted so is paramount to slander. Perhaps she has her own definition of molestation that diverges from the normally accepted one, but levelling a molestation charge without any clarification is again disingenuous at best, slander at worst. This is an example of politician opportunism at its worst, and it saddens me and hurts my trust in politicians in general.
On a connected note, it further damages his credibility, with me at least, that Markos Moulitsas links this ad without any mention of its inaccurate accusations. It makes me sad when people, politicians or otherwise, put their party above common decency. It doesn't matter to me if Kos believes that Republicans did cover up for Foley, he still should at least make mention of the fact that the ad goes too far in asserting that they have admitted such. Propogating political campaign lies makes the problem even worse, because now people who read Kos's blog and are somewhat interested, although not interested enough to read the news themselves, will assume that everything in the ad is true because Kos linked it without any cautionary note. It is a politician's responsibility not to lie in their campaign ads or any other time, it ought to be the responsibility of each of us not to propogate such lies when we come across them.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
In somewhat related news, the Dow Jones, and all other American stocks, has been making tremendous gains lately and is close to its historic high. I have no idea what this really means for the economy, but it sounds very promising. Is this another 90s? Probably too soon to tell, I'd bet. But I really don't know anything about economics except that Adam Smith wrote "Wealth of the Nations" about it and John Nash's "original idea" changed the way the world looked at economics. Can anyone with more insight give me some clue as to how significant the stocks' gains and (relatively) low gas prices (down to $2.09 in Waco!) really are?
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
HH: A proposition. The reason talk radio exploded, followed by Fox News, followed by the center-right blogosphere, is that because folks like you have been the dominant voice in American media for a long time, and you’re a pretty thoroughgoing, Democratic favoring, agenda journalist for the left, and you’ve been the senior political reporter of the Washington Post for a very long time. And people didn’t trust your news product…not you, personally, but the accumulation of you, throughout the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and they got sick and tired of being spoon fed liberal dross, and they went to the radio when an alternative product came along.
TE: To a certain degree, I agree with that.
HH: And so, why do you think it’s wrong, somehow, for people to want to hear news that they don’t consider as biased? I mean, that’s what it is. It’s just unbiased news is what people wanted. That’s why conservatives like me got platforms, and our blogs get read, and our columns get absorbed.
TE: One, I don’t think it’s unbiased.
HH: It’s transparent at least. Everyone has bias. I agree with that. Everyone’s got bias.
TE: It’s transparent. Okay, that I would agree. And I agree that whatever you want to call it, mainstream media, presents itself as unbiased, when in fact, there are built into it, many biases, and they are overwhelmingly to the left.
HH: ... given that number of reporters out there, is it ten to one Democrat to Republican? Twenty to one Democrat to Republican?
TE: It’s probably in the range of 15-25:1 Democrat.
HH: ...Your newspaper wrote that Evangelicals were ill-educated, and easily led. Remember that one?
TE: That was one of the dumber things that’s been in the paper.
HH: Yeah, but it was in the paper.
TE: It was.
HH: And it got past editors.
TE: The only reason that the reporter who wrote it didn’t get in bigger trouble is that the editor who let it get by was someone of some prominence.
HH: Oh, what was his name?
TE: I’m not going to get into that, but it was someone of some power at the Washington Post, and there was no way they were going to mess with him.
HH: And so, they didn’t really have an early warning system. My guess is, because in the newsroom, and the newsrooms which I have worked, and that’s primarily PBS…
TE: I agree with you on this score, 100%.
HH: It’s very anti-religion, isn’t it?
TE: Well, it…certainly, they would let a quote by that, without, in many cases, without blinking, not recognizing that it was extraordinarily insulting.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Tony Jones, the National Coordinator of Emergent, says "Emergent is an amorphous collection of friends who’ve decided to live life together, regardless of our ecclesial affiliations, regardless of our theological commitments. We want to follow Christ in community with one another. In a very messy way, we’re trying to figure out what that means." Sooo, pretty much nothing? I don't want to argue with the National Coordinator of Emergent about what Emergent is, but that description doesn't really convey much information to me. He goes on to say, "But in general, what binds people in Emergent is an eschatological conviction, which is the most everybody in Emergent would rally under the flag of hope. We have hope for the future. We have hope for the Church. We have hope for the kingdom of God to break into the present and transform the present." That's a lot better, and maybe something to work with. However, part of the problem we run in to is that even if this is the definition of Emergent, its not widely enough known to be consistant among groups who claim to be part of the Emerging Church. Furthermore, Jones states "It’s not a denomination... Statements of faith are about drawing boards, which means you have to load your weapons and place soldiers at those borders. You have to check people’s passports when they pass those borders. It becomes an obsession—guarding the borders. That is simply not the ministry of Jesus... For the short duration of time that I have on this planet to do my best to partner with God and build His kingdom, I don’t want to spend it guarding borders." I really do appreciate his ideals and sentiment here. But the problem is that it takes away any meaning of the term. By his definition what does it take to be Emergent? Allowing discussion about opposing opinions in theology as well as politics and culture? So, has Emergent just become a new word for tolerant?
Here is where I think Jones and I diverge and the reason for my desire for more concrete definitions where he feels no need: "Emergent could be very short lived. This whole thing could blow up over politics or theology or broken friendships or whatever. I don’t hold any grand illusions over how long this thing will be around. But as long as it’s around, we’re going to do our best to maintain a relational equilibrium." My vision is not of a short-lived experiment into loving each other. Emergent as the organization that Jones is a part of may well disappear soon. But the Emerging Church is not going to just disappear. All the people who are members of churches that identify themselves this way will still remain. Even if Emergent goes away the Emerging Church will not -- it cannot unless the people who make up this church all die suddenly. And so we must do something that is hard for us: we have to create a definition of what it means to be part of this movement (and maybe we could get a new, more meaningful name?). And that necessarily means drawing some boundaries. It means that there will be people who are part of it and people who aren't. And that is hard for many of us in the Emerging Church. But we're fooling ourselves because this distinction already exists in all of our minds, we're just not ready to voice it for fear that we will become just like everything we are trying to move away from. However, in the spirit that I believe embodies this movement, the purpose of this definition is not to exculde, but to include. Not so that we can identify who is not a part of the group, but so those of us in the group know who we are and what it means to be part of this group. And the definition should reflect that. I'll be writing more about this as I have more ideas. I may try to get input from Tony Jones and David Crowder if either has the time. My express desire is to create a definition to further give life to this movement. Again in the spirit displayed by the movement, I feel this is a conversation that we need to be having in our churches and with those not in our churches and between our churches, and therefore any and all input is not only welcomed but encouraged. Please, tell me what you think whether you love, hate, or don't care at all about the Emerging Church.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Saturday, August 12, 2006
- Maintain a vast military presence in Iraq so that the civil war that will be fought will look more like individual acts of aggression by rouge forces. When they eventually learn to get along years, maybe decades from now, then we'll be able to leave.
- Maintain current troop levels or decrease them in any amount and watch the country fall into full fledged civil war that either ends in separate countries being made or one or more of the factions being dominated by another.
- Set up three separate countries today, maintain our military presence to enforce the borders for some period of time, and call it a victory for everyone.
Monday, August 07, 2006
But that is not what happens in the US today because we have, as a nation, consistently valued party over people. I'm not sure when it happened, maybe its always been that way. However, this leads to massive misrepresentation, in my opinion. Today if your district is split 49-51% then nearly half of the people in your district are misrepresented because most politicians vote party line on most issues.
Now, the argument for the way a party system like this works is that you vote for the party that most represents your views. Then the party that has the majority of the votes in a district will be the party that most accurately represents the people and therefore maximum representation is achieved. But there are only two parties today, and most people do not fall solidly within a given party on every vote. It is my opinion that most people would vote in a range across the middle of the political spectrum if they could vote on every issue. Instead we mostly get votes polarized on both ends of the spectrum and there is never a middle of the road victory.
The motivation behind electing a candidate and not a party is that a candidate from a given district will know the people of that district and be able to accurately represent them. If a politician is only going to vote party line then there is no reason to have him around at all. We need only to establish the bounds of what a party stands for and the vote for the party that will represent your district. Apparently this was not the intent when our system was created because we do, in fact, vote for candidates.
When a great deal of districts in recent elections have been split by less than 10% but most votes by politicians fall squarely along party lines, accurate representation is not happening. It is my opinion that this was not the intent of those creating the system when it was set up, and it is not the ideal situation. If it were a better system I would be willing to forgo the "founders" intent for one that we have found to be better. However, I do not believe that this misrepresentation is better. Rather I believe that it will be beneficial and right for us to encourage a move within our system so that politicians vote to represent their whole district, not just the small majority who elected them, if that is the case. I'm not sure what practical steps we can take, but I know that one thing that will help is getting more people informed and interested during the primaries, because if more people vote in the primary then a more representative candidate will emerge as a contender in the general election. I'd like to hear any practical ways we can move towards more accurate representation in our government today, or any reasons why we ought not to.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Monday, July 24, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
On a completely separate note, I wish there was an episode of Batman where something about the apocalypse is the theme and Robin, at some point, exclaims: "Holy eschaton, Batman!"
Friday, July 14, 2006
For some other interesting opinions check out Hugh Hewitt's page. He has his opinion as well as links to several others. One particularly interesting (although not eloquent) read is Yoni's blog. Yoni is a veteran of the IDF who is now living in the US. I've heard him on Hugh's radio show several times and he offers an interesting insider view on all things Israeli.
This report records Israeli officials speaking in a way that seems much more reasonable to me. Rather than approaching the situation as if they are at war with the nation/government of Lebanon, they now say that they "'want to force the government of Lebanon to take responsibility and that means that they put someone instead of Hezbollah along the border, someone that represents the sovereign state.'"
That may not all be true, but that seems to be the picture that is painted by the news reports. I don't know enough about everything going on to speculate on how accurate those reports are. However, no matter how you look at it, the current situation is leaning towards further escalation, not towards a quick resolution. The short term impact here: higher gas prices. The long term impact: it depends on how far this "war" (as Israel believes it to be) reaches and how long it goes on.
Meanwhile, the world seems to have forgotten that Israel still has troops deployed in Palestine (at least they did last time any one reported on it). Maybe that is Israel's strategy -- to engage in a potentially much more harmful conflict, in international terms, so that the world stops watching what it is doing in Palestine. Israel was receiving a lot of flak internationally about its recent activity there, and now that pressure is gone. So now they are free to accomplish whatever their real goals in Palestine are without having to hear protests from the world every time they kill a civilian. I'm a typical center-right American in a lot of ways, so usually I support Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, I am also a Christian and a decent human being, so I wholeheartedly oppose the indiscriminate killing of civilians. Israel has not shown restraint towards Palestinian civilians at certain times in the past. They seemed to be this time, but maybe that was because of international pressure. Its possible that they are using the Lebanese conflict as a smoke screen to allow them to move decisively and destructively against the Palestinian population in general, and by the time we hear about it, it will be too late to try to stop it. I hope that is not the case, but it is another fear in the current situation.
Under the pretense of Israel's sovereignty, the White House says that Bush will ask Israel to minimize "collateral damage" but he "is not going to make military decisions for Israel." This seems like a lame excuse because Bush has not seemed to have a problem trying to make military decisions for nations we oppose. I think that the truth is that Bush will not ask Israel to stop because he doesn't think they should, for whatever reason. Maybe they are good reasons, maybe not. I don't know enough about the situation to say either way. I guess this sounds better diplomatically -- if anyone believes it.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I really hope that no matter what happens that Jordan doesn't get involved because in the past several years they have increased their ties with the West and the US in particular, and it would be a shame for all that progress to disappear. Also, it would further turn the conflict into an "all the Arab countries against Israel" type of conflict. And this may lead to what should be our worst fears.
And those fears, of course, are that Iran would get involved. If Iran gets involved the situation may turn into an all out war in the region. This would cause most of the rest of the world to get involved in some way. If things follow the pattern they have in recent years, China and Russia would support Iran while the US, UK, Poland, Canada and Australia support Israel and the rest of Europe talks a lot about the war but doesn't do much. This, hopefully, is an unlikely scenario.
So, by quickly reacting to the instigation of Hezbollah militants with an invasion, Israel has, over night, significantly thinned the ice on which the world is walking in the Middle East. The worst case would involve a significant conflict and change in world politics. The best case... I'm not sure what the best case is. I guess the best case would be Israel getting their soldiers back and leaving Lebanon quickly. No matter what happens, the current escalation is certainly a very bad thing with the possibility of far reaching and long lasting effects.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Well, Firefox is taking up more than the allotted 32MB now, but its less than before (~60MB) and I do have 4 tabs open. So maybe that 32MB allottment is per tab or something. It makes sense that it grows as you add tabs because it has to hold almost as much information per tab as it would if you opened a new instance of the browser for each. So, I don't know exactly how it works but this fix still seems to be saving me some memory.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006
The first begins with miscommunication. My wife needs a job, so we are applying everywhere we can think of. I have a friend who is a manager at the local Barnes and Noble, so I asked him at church on Sunday if he might be able to help us out. He told me we should come by when he was working the next day between 7am and 3pm. I have a class at 9:40am, so in the interest of getting to class on time and looking eager, we decided to go around 7 (my wife can't drive a standard, so she can't drive my car -- yet). Luckily I set the alarm wrong and we didn't get up until after 7, because my friend forgot to mention that, even though he starts work at 7, the store doesn't open until 9. So we got there around 8:30 and waited. While we were waiting I saw a bird swoop down and peck some kind of a beetle. After it had mortally wounded the bug (legs flew off) it grabbed it in its beak and hopped away. While it was hopping I noticed it appeared to be only on one leg, and I wondered if a one-legged dance was some strange victory dance for this species. Then it turned so its back was to me and I realized that it was hopping on one leg because it, in fact, only had one leg. Or rather it had only one foot and a stump leg that ended around the knee. I saw a one-legged bird eating a beetle. That was weird.
The other incident happened while I was walking to work yesterday. As I passed the business school two 30 or 40 something year old men came out and walked right in front of me. The part of their conversation I overheard went something like this:
Man 1: ...and cut the martyr complex right out.
Man 2: Speaking of church problems, did you hear about the PC USA...
Man 1: oh, did they have their convention already?
Man 2: I think that its just about to start, they're getting ready for it. Anyway, I heard that they started, not mandating, but accepting alternative descriptions of the trinity...
Man 1: < groans >
Man 2: the Parent, the Child, and...
Man 1: oh no
Man 2: yeah! And the Womb!
Man 1: What?
Man 2: Yeah, the Womb for the Holy Ghost!
Man 1: < shakes head as they walk away >
I was waiting for Redhurt's Jesus to come talk to them, but he never showed up (before I walked away from them, anyway). Besides the bizarreness of calling the Holy Spirit the Womb, that exchange was really funny to me because they were so... annoyed and condescending about the whole thing. But given the recentness of Redhurt's post I felt like it was rather ironic.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Saturday, June 10, 2006
This is huge news. Zarqawi was probably second only to Bin-Laden on the US most wanted terrorists list. He was in charge of al Qaida in Iraq and hopefully his death will mean a quicker victory against that group. There are probably only a dozen or so people in the world whose death would have the potential to change events so greatly as Zarqawi's.