Monday, August 29, 2005

Exciting stuff

All kinds of exciting stuff is happening as of late.

  1. I just finished watch an incredible video on FoxNews.com click on 'The Scary Level' on the left of the main page. It has Harrigan trying to stand up in 135+ mile an hour winds.
  2. Google has announced Google Talk. Its a IM chat program based on the Jabber open source standard protocol, but it also does voice of IP like Skype. So you can talk to any body in the world that that has Google Talk and a Gmail account. It even imports your gmail contacts. I haven't tried it out yet up I'm sure its pretty cool. I'll review it once I get to try it play around with it some.
  3. I almost died on the canoe trip this weekend. I spent the night on the side of the road, and hitch hiked 45 minutes at 4 am. It was crazy. More on this to come as well.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Why does scratching an itch make it stop?

hmmm I've wondered that before. And now there's an anwswer thanks to Ask Yahoo!.
If you haven't ever read any Ask Yahoo!, you should, you'll like it. Somebody (like you) submits a question to Ask Yahoo!, and they answer one every day. They get questions about everything under the sun and they usually seem to know what they're talking about when answering those questions. :)

So, Why does scratching an itch make it stop?
"the general theory is that scratching provides a "counterirritation" that distracts the brain from the original itch" - Ask Yahoo!
Huh, who would have though. Amazing really.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bout that time again

Looks like I've been slacking a little bit with my posts regularity. There must be a pill for that...
school has started back up and between kayaking and badmiton I think I'll have a enjoyable and informative semester. The latter coming mostly from the classes actually in between the two previously mentioned course works.

I don't think I could have written a more complicated sentence if I tried... :)

So anyway, I'm a little hungry right now, and that's mostly what I thinking about. I'm also thinking about the sweet hook up that my workplace is giving me. They're giving me a laptop to work from home with flexible hours, and maybe a promotion. That's pretty awesome!

The only other thing I'm really thinking about right now is that I'm going bowling for free with the BCM tonight. yeah... that will be good. I think we're meeting at 8:30 at the BCM if you're interested in coming then I'll make it worth your while. Mostly just b/c you'll be graced with my presences. ;)

Time to go eat.

P.S. I still need at least one person to sign up to earn a free iPod shuffle for me to get mine.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Can I really win a FREE iPod Shuffle?


Well, I wouldn't exactly call it 'free', you do have to work at it a little bit, but its not hard and it is considerably cheaper than going out and buying one, especially if you have some loyal friends.

Here's what you have to do.
Go to this website. Sign up for just one(1) of the offers and then refer 3 other people to sign up for one of the offers. If you get 3 other people to sign up for one of the offers then they'll send you a "free" iPod Shuffle.

I know, I know, you're saying to yourself that the offers must be ridiculous. Well they're not.
Here's a list of some of the offers:
Columbia House DVD
Blockbuster Online
Comcast Cable
BMG Music
and 15 others...

Well I've completed one of the offers for a friend and figured that I might as well try to get one myself. If you'd help me win an iPod Shuffle I'd appreciate it. :)

Oh yeah and go read the Terms & Conditions just to ease your mind. You can double check everything I said.
You can also watch this video on G4 Video Game TV to see it in action.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Where to blog?

Where would you prefer to read my blog posts?


Free polls from Pollhost.com

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A New Record

welp I think that's a new personal record.

Auto Trackback from IceRocket

I added Trackback from holascan to my site a while ago, but have since taken it off due to complicated pinging and nobody ever referencing me. All it ever did was take up room.
However, IceRocket has released a fantastic service called LinkTracker. It is effectively the link at the bottom of every post that says "# LINKING POSTS". If you would like to see it in action, just look at my IE7 Sucks post. You can see that 2 other blogs have referenced mine. I know (!) isn't that amazing. Oh yeah, I hope you can read Spanish too because apparently the only people that will ever read this post happen to type in Spanish.
Its not perfect, actually the first Spanish blog to reference mine was Minid.net. IceRocket doesn't acknowledge this blog for some reason. Oh well, it can't be perfect if its free, right? I would recommend putting it on your blog if you ever think that maybe, somebody, somewhere, sometime, might reference your blog. Because, then you'll know who they were. :)

oh yeah, IceRocket also has this fun new thing called Trends. It tell you what is more popular in the blogophere between any two terms. Give it a spin if you like: Bush VS Blair.

mobiBLU 1GB mp3 player at Wal-mart

These little things are awesome! Sure, iPods are kind of cool but nothing beat the total cuteness of the mobiBLU 1 GB Cube Digital Audio Player. Ok ok, it doesn't exactly hold 50 GBs or anything but it is super tiny. That's got to count for something doesn't it?
It even comes in six wicked awesome colors.

If only my fingers were small enough to press the buttons...

Coolest T-shirt on Threadless

This has got to be one of the coolest shirts I've ever seen!Threadless.com Product - Loch Ness ImposterI almost bought it as soon as it became available for sale but then I wasn't sure I was ready for making a commitment to actually buy a shirt online. It still makes me a little quezzy. I finally mustered enough courage to ask out this wonderful tshirt, but alas I was rejected. It seems they are "All out of stock" or at least that's the line they're feeding me. The shirt probably just doesn't like my facial hair. This is one of the sadest days of my life...

Theology with Brian

I first meet Brain in my racquet ball class at UTC my freshman year. He's a pretty smart guy and recently started a series of posts about theology on his blog. I would recommend reading what he has to say if you are interested in this kind of stuff. He has laid out this handy-dandy list of topics that he is planning to discus.

1) Authority of Scripture: How reliable is the Bible? Should we use words like inerrant and infallible to describe it? Are there errors?

2) The canonization of the Bible: Is it reliable? Should we have a canon? What about the Apocrypha? Why is it included in some types of Bibles and not others? Is that okay? Is it "scripture?"

3) Core Truths: What are the core truths and principles Brian talks about in his articles? Do they really matter? What about the "little matters?" Are they insignificant or unwaverable?

4) Propositions: Should we make claims about the Bible and/or Jesus and/or theology? Is there an absolute truth? Can we not just love people? Can we love people without propositionalizing the gospel? Is there a such thing as a "depropositionalized love?" "Why can't we all just get along?"

5) Love: How do we define love? How do we reconcile God's love with the concept of wrath? Can God still be a God of love with all the evil in this world? Is there a possibility that God might actually still be in control of all these "destructive" events? Can there be love without hate?

6) Division: Why is there division in the church? Are there beneficial aspects of a "divided" church? Are we really divided, or are we "divided, yet together?" How can we show the love of the church within the church, and see that flow to outside the church?

7) Conformity: Has the church sold out to the world? Have we abdicated to culture in order to be relevant? Should we look different? How? Why? What does it mean to be "in the world, not of the world?" Isn't all this rules stuff just legalism? Can you be sold out to Christ without the "rules?" How did Jesus accomplish the goal? Did he care about the "rules?"

8) Relevance: What does it mean to be relevant? Can you be "set apart" and still relevant? Can you make the gospel relevant without "looking" different? What does this mean: "looking" different? Have we been approaching the culture correctly?

9) Open or Closed Theology: Should we be open to other worldviews to use for the church? Is there danger in mixing ideals? Can it be beneficial?

10) Be or Look: Are we supposed to look like we are holy, or actually be holy?

11) Identity: As Christians, where is our identity? Is it in Christ? Is it in deeds? Is it in both? Is one a part of the other? Can you separate the two? Does the grace emphasis of Romans and deeds emphasis of James contradict?

12) The Emergent Phenomenon: What about Brian McLaren, the "emergent church," "open source theology," the deconstructionist movement, postmodernism, and others of this "emerging" culture? How does the Christian respond effectively without bringing dishonor to Christ's name? Is this phenomenon new, or is this an old hat?

13) History: What were the Councils of Nicea, Trent, Carthage, etc? Why do they matter? Who was Athanasius and why does he matter? Who were the Arians? Why on earth would Brian include this?


And yes Brian is pretty good at racquet ball too. ;)

Time to Update?

Well recently I've had a lot of ideas about what to blog about, but as you've probably noticed I haven't updated all week. This is mainly due to me having problems fleshing out my ideas. To make up for it I'm going on a posting rampage (Rampage, man that was a great game!) . I'm going to see if I can post more posts today then posts I've ever posted before posts in one day posts... posts.... posts... Which I think is four. So expect lots of updates today :)

Friday, August 05, 2005

Homosexuality in the Church and are we Missing the Real Issue

This seems to be a touchy subject among society today. With recent developments in this on going battle for human rights, I figure it was time to give my humble opinion. The recent events I am referring too are mainly, a Methodist Pastor being fired over not allowing a homosexual to become a member of the church and the United Christ church approval of gay marriages (you should really read this article even if you read nothing else. Its from the perspective of a former homosexual from Exodus International).
You should know by know that I usually don't just run my mouth on here without at least doing some research to back it up. The first site that comes up in google, and a fairly informative site when starting my research is www.religioustolerance.org The site gives both "Religious liberals" and "Religious conservatives" points of views on most every verse in the Bible containing controversial topics, as well as an overview of each topic. Even though the site offers both points of view it is painfully obvious which view the other holds. With a name like Religious Tolerance I'm sure you can figure out which side of the fence they lean towards.
Religious Tolerance does however state,
"We have been unable to change the beliefs or actions of any of these hundreds of people on even one point related to homosexuality."
and
"The Bible refers to specific homosexual behaviors in a few passages. All references are negative."
The article tries to argue that the Bible "may be totally silent on consensual homosexual relationships". However, I think they are missing the boat completely.
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Some people would like point the finger specifically at the effeminate and the homosexuals and how they will not inherit the kingdom of God. But I would like to point out that they are listed right in the middle of sins that most everyone can relate to. Is the church being as condemning of all these other sins as much as they are homosexuality? For example, would someone be denied membership to the same Methodist church if they were open fornicators/adulterers? I'm not sure. It has become quite the norm for couples to live together before they get married. Some might dismiss this as 'common-law married', however I can find no support for this in the Bible. They should be treated the same! Right along with anybody that's stolen anything, drunkards and cheaters.
However there is good news! As the second part of the passage states there is hope for those that commit these sins. These sins can be washed away through Jesus' sacrifice for us. I think it is worth pointing out that Sexual orientation is a fairly new idea and that 'homosexuality' in scripture here is relating to acting on homosexual tendencies. Struggling with same sex feelings is not a sin any more then any other temptation. I can't help but think that the church is growing soft on sin as a whole. Nobody likes to be accused of sinning but sometimes we need to be corrected where we have turned from the way God would have us to live.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Look what I made for my girl

Note: This post is very long so if you don't what to read it you can just look at the pretty pictures.

Since my favorite person in the whole world moved to Chattanooga recently, I decided to make a sign as a welcome gift. After going over several ideas about what to get her I decided a sign with her name on it would be appropriate.
I'm still not sure what she'll do with it but that's for her to decide not me. I'm exactly sure where I got the idea for burning wood. I do like to burn things though, so maybe that's part of it.
Anyway, after burning some test wood I decided it was worth the effort to make go for it. I figured that if I used aluminum foil to cover parts of the wood then it would sufficiently block the heat from the flame and leave the wood under the foil (did I mention that I like the word 'foil'?) and I was right.
First I started with a beautiful looking piece of hardwood. After I cut it to the right size I drew an oval where I would put the name, 'Roxie'. If I would have been smart I would have used two small pieces of tape a sting and some simple mathematics to draw the oval, but I thought of this after I had a decent looking freehand oval, so I decided to stick with it.
The main purpose of the oval is provide some boundaries for the rays that would eventually encircle my girlfriends name. Next, I scored the oval and the rays, which radiate approximately perpendicular to the oval, with a chisel. My chiseled rays test on some pinewood was rather disastrous, but I felt confident that hardwood would work better. However, I was not completely convinced that it would not shed my board into chaos. After some searching I finally found a tool that would work better than the standard flat chisel that I had been using. The tool is actually designed to be used with a lathe but with its rounded edge, as opposed to the flat square chisel head, it worked better than I could have ever hoped. It made beautiful rounded grooves.
After this I printed "Roxie" in as big a font size as would fit a piece of paper. After backing with aluminum foil, I cut it to the size of my oval and taped it to the wood. I gently cut out the letters in the paper and aluminum foil with a hobby knife. Before I removed the excess aluminum foil I tacked each letter down to the wood in strategic spots with finishing nails. The result looked a lot like a pin cushion. I then very carefully removed the extra paper and foil, leaving only my aluminum letters tacked to the wood.
In my burn tests I used a candle with decent effects, however I needed something bigger and hotter to burn this much larger piece of wood. So I went to Lowes and bought a butane torch. It did the job without too much complaint. I did have to go back buy some more butane as I ran out before I was finished burning stuff. The torch worked rather well as it was much more focused then a candle and didn't create as much smoke. I was also please how well the foil did at keeping the wood beneath it from burning. After I removed all the nail and foil I stopped to examine how things were going.
I started to have some doubts. It looked very burnt. I couldn't see the rays at all and I started to think that it looked better as a pin cushion than a burnt piece of wood. But I didn't give up. I had tested enough of my theories to know better, there was still hope. I started sanding it by hand. I noticed some black dust begin to come off it, but still it was very black. I started to doubt again. Maybe I should use some power tools I thought. The first thing I tried was the detail sander. That went less then well.
I remembered that we had a vibrating sander somewhere and after a little searching (like all workshops ours is a little bit of a mess) I found it. It worked a lot better. It began to take off the top layer of wood once again showing the beautiful hard wood. The plan all along was to burn the grooves and then sand away an black on the surface leaving mostly just the grooves burned. After a lot of sanding, and I mean a lot, it started to take the form of the idea that was in my head. I then decided that the letters definitely needed to be outlined in copper wire. I had played around with the idea before then but had actually decided to do it up until this point.
I figured that it would be cool to have the wire raised a little bit from the wood to give it a third dimension. This turned out to be a very good idea indeed. I decided that each letter would be anchored to the wood in two opposing corners to increase stability. Half of the wire holes I drilled with the drill press, the other half with a cordless drill. The cordless was actually easier to my surprise. I had previously bought some copper wire which Wildcard and I had stripped at Red Lobster. It took a lot of patients and a couple nights to get all the wires bent into the right shapes but with the help of my Leatherman, some small needle nose pliers, and my nimble fingers, I got them all bent into shapes that at least resemble letters.
After this I put two coats of spray on polyurethane on it. At first I was going to use some old brush on polyurethane that we had, but upon opening the can I found that it had a solidified layer on top of it. I broke though the layer but not before get polyurethane all over my hands. Needless to say, after I made a mess, I went out and bought some in a aerosol can.
As you can see I think it turned out well. Roxie seems to like it, and that's what matters most. I'm sure you probably didn't read this whole post but hopefully you looked at some of the pictures, and if you ever plan on burning some art maybe this post will help.
For more pictures go to my photoblog.
I love you Roxie.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

First cloned dog

Today South Korean researchers have announced that they have successfully cloned a dog. What's the big deal you might say, we've cloned all kinds of animals from mice to horses. Apparently dogs are much harder to clone,
"Dogs have such an unusual reproductive biology, scientists say, that the methods that allowed them to clone sheep, mice, cows, goats, pigs, rabbits, cats, a mule, a horse and three rats, and to create cloned human embryos for stem cells, simply do not work with them." - NY Times
The ramifications of the research supposedly go beyond cloning pets, as the says that they will not. However, they spend $19 million dollars to research dog cloning so what do they plan to do with there latest 'product'?
"Dogs get many of the same diseases as people and have long been used to study human diseases." - NY Times
But one of the companies main goals is the ever so popular stem cell research.
"Eventually, the team hopes to make dog embryonic stem cells and test them as treatments in the animals." - NY Times
What I find most interesting about all of this is how LiveScience manages to spin this story. The article first points out that there are ethical concerns with cloning dogs. I agree, its always kind of scary when they clone an animals that are increasingly harder to clone. Eventually we will be cloning humans, and for what purpose I am not sure I want to know. But then the article takes a hard left.
"Yet given that President Bush is trying to block human stem cell research, the success raises the possibility that dogs will live longer while their owners die of diseases that stem cell research aims to cure, said the Executive Director of the Genetics Policy Institute, Bernard Siegel, who was not involved in the research." - LiveScience
"While the White House would prevent new lines of stem cells being used for research, scientists around the world are aggressively pursuing the work. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who had sided with Bush on the issue, last week jumped ship and backed House-passed legislation to expand federal financing for human embryonic stem cell research." - LiveScience
neither of these claims are true. What do you think about cloning? How far is too far?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I think TBN 'needs' another boat

Sure you get a fancy dancy picture frame for you hundred plus dollar donation, but does it really go to support ministry? Looks like you might have just bought a really expensive picture frame, and helped Mr. & Mrs. Crouch buy a brand new boat.
"• TBN refuses to release consolidated audited financial statements.
• TBN spends shockingly little on its charitable programs. TBN’s 2003 program expenses are extremely low at 43 percent,
when compared to the MinistryWatch.com database average at about 78 percent. Additionally, TBN’s 2003 savings rate is
high at about 39 percent compared to the MinistryWatch.com database average of around zero.
• TBN presently has cash and short term investments of $341 million. This represents money that could be deployed into
ministry work but instead is sitting idle on the ministry’s balance sheet. Meanwhile, the ministry continues to implore donors
to give it even more money.
• TBN executives Paul and Jan Crouch espouse a skewed view of the Gospel, embracing the “health and wealth” or
“prosperity” theology, often portraying an unorthodox accounting of the life and teachings of Jesus.
• Mr. Crouch and his family live a life of luxury, the full extent of which remains unknown. The Crouches refusal to be
transparent raises questions as to whether their exorbitant lifestyle is financed by the sacrificial giving of well-meaning donors.
• Matthew Crouch, son of Paul and Jan Crouch, controls a for-profit company that has received approximately $32 million
from TBN corporations during the past five years to produce movies such as “The Omega Code.” Due to a lack of transparency,
donors are unable to determine if this was a sensible use of their money or what amount of compensation Matthew
Crouch and/or others closely aligned with the Crouch family may have taken from this and possibly other related party
transactions.
• TBN’s board of directors is made up of just three Crouch family members, preventing independent oversight needed to
protect donor interests and in contrast to the best practices utilized by many other excellent ministries.
• A former employee, Kelly Whitmore, said that ministry funds were used to indulge the personal tastes of the Crouch couple.
• At least one television station has dropped TBN from its lineup after viewers complained that their promised blessings
never occurred.
• In 1998, a former TBN employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, was paid $425,000 for agreeing not to publicize Mr. Ford’s allegations
that he and TBN founder Paul Crouch had a homosexual tryst two years earlier.
• TBN vigorously worked to keep the information regarding the settlement with Mr. Ford private and questions remain regarding
the source of those funds." - MWDA_031805_TBN.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Wired News: GOP Wants to Help Fight Disease

I've recently read two very interesting article on ethical concerns and new exciting technology. I would, of course, recommend that you read them both. They aren't very long and they are both informative.

  1. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/tonyblankley/... - birthing babies from machines and how it could kill abortions
  2. Wired News: GOP Wants to Help Fight Disease - stem cell research alternatives to killing babies.
I'd love to hear what you have to say about these two fascinating articles.

Good news and Bad news

Good News: My lovely girlfriend just moved back to Chattanooga.
Bad News: My hands smell like polyurethane.

hmmmm I wonder if these are related....