Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lost A Finger? No Problem

Any Questions?

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-So, would you sprinkle dried up pig bladder on your open wound in hopes that whatever is lacking will return?
-Would your regrowth be less-than-human?
-Are there any moral hurdles to this "treatment"?

Hypermiling: The New American Fad

Known as 'hypermiling,' the method can double gas mileage, even in gas-guzzling vehicles that would normally get less than 20 mpg.

Promoted on a growing number of Web sites, hypermiling includes pumping up tires to the maximum rating on their sidewalls, which may be higher than levels recommended in car manuals; using engine oil of a low viscosity, and the controversial practice of drafting behind other vehicles on the highway to reduce aerodynamic drag -- a practice begun a few years ago by truck drivers.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Will you give hypermiling a try?
-Do you see more "homegrown" practices like this springing up the higher gas prices go?
-What do you think will actually fix the problem of higher costs of living?
-Do you see anything that could bring the cost of oil down?
-Do we need to be actively seeking out alternative forms of energy?

Father of LSD Has Last Bad Trip

Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered the hallucinogenic drug LSD, has died aged 102.

Born on January 11 1906, Hofmann discovered LSD - lysergic acid diethylamide, which later became the favoured drug of the 1960s counterculture - when a tiny quantity leaked on to his hand during a laboratory experiment in 1943.
He noted a "remarkable restlessness, combined with slight dizziness" that made him stop his work. "At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxication-like condition, characterised by an extremely stimulated imagination," Hofmann wrote in his book LSD: My Problem Child.

"In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight too unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours. After some two hours this condition faded away."

A few days later, Hofmann intentionally took a dose of LSD and experienced the world's first "bad trip".

"On the way home, my condition began to assume threatening forms. Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror," he said.

"My surroundings had now transformed themselves in more terrifying ways. A demon had invaded me, had taken possession of my body, mind, and soul. I jumped up and screamed, trying to free myself from him, but then sank down again and lay helpless on the sofa. The substance, with which I had wanted to experiment, had vanquished me."

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts concerning his recounting of his first bad trip as noted above?
-Do you think the 60's would have been what they were if it had not been for LSD?
-Do you think this drug should be made legal? If so, why?
-Do you think LSD could serve a legitimate medical purpose? If so, what?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ron Paul A Trouble Maker?

Early in the day, state delegates supporting Paul's continued pursuit of the Republican nomination voted through a rules change that forced the state party to abandon its preset ballot of potential national convention delegates and open up the race to the rest of the state delegates.

The vote followed a rousing speech by Paul of Texas, who said his presidential campaign will continue as long as he has support.

But as the convention continued into the evening, chairman Bob Beers said the party's contract for the hall at the Peppermill Resort Casino had expired and the event would be rescheduled.

"Due to a rules change that left us on an overtime basis, we will recess the convention until a date that we are going to announce next week," Beers told a shocked crowd, which stood silent for a few seconds before erupting in boos.

You can read more here.
You can read Bob Beer's response here.

Some questions:
-Do you think it good what Beers did?
-Do you think it good what Paul is doing?
-Do you think situations like this are good for Democracy?
-What do you think of this statement: "We need to strike a compromise between perfect democracy and getting things done."? What do you think the founding fathers would think of this statement?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mandles: For Manly Men Swimming In A Sea Of Girly Girls

HT: Riley

So, what "flavor" would you lay down some dough for?

You Don't Have To Look Far To See That Evil Abounds

Police in Austria have entered a cellar where a man allegedly held his daughter captive for 24 years, during which time he may have fathered seven children by her.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What do you think the punishment should be for Josef Fritzl?
-After 24 years of being locked in a basement, fathering your father's children, how do you think Elisabeth Fritzl will cope with society? With what took place? With life?
-What is society's responsibility in helping her?
-How should the Church respond?

Economic Stimulus Package: What Are You Doing With Yours?

For a moment, forget the political puzzle of getting money back when the country is nine trillion dollars in debt. The more immediate question is: How will you make much of Christ with your "economic stimulus payment"? The president says it will be in the mail in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Clue: Nobody in the world will see you spend your money on yourself and conclude that Christ is your treasure. They will assume you are just like them, no matter how loudly you thank God for this boon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend it on yourself (the way we do with most of what we earn). Not everything we do can look different from the world—eat, pay utilities, fill up the car, wear clothes (even thrift-store clothes). And yes, we hope (somehow) that spending on ourselves in some way contributes to our being more Christ-exalting people.

But do we really need this money?

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Will you heed John Piper's advice as given in the "you can read more here" section?
-What do you intend to do with the money you will recieve? Is it what God would have you to do? If so, how do you know?
-Did this article help to influence what you are going to do with that money?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Religion: A Figment Of Our Imagination

Humans alone practice religion because they're the only creatures to have evolved imagination.

That's the argument of anthropologist
Maurice Bloch of the London School of Economics. Bloch challenges the popular notion that religion evolved and spread because it promoted social bonding, as has been argued by some anthropologists.

Instead, he argues that first, we had to evolve the necessary brain architecture to imagine things and beings that don't physically exist, and the possibility that people somehow
live on after they've died.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-So, is religion just a figment of our imagination?
-Do you agree Bloch? Why?
-Do you agree with the other theory: Religion evolved and spread for social bonding purposes? Why?
-Or, do you agree with the vast majority of the human population that believe religion (at least 1) is true? Why?
-Why are those in academia so inclined to focus time, money and effort into "explaining away" religion?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Easy & Fun Way To Feed The Poor is a legitimate site founded by John Breen with the aim to reduce hunger around the world. He has also started other sites that tackle other large problems that result from the curse of the fall. The advertisers pay for the food that is donated to those who need it (based on the United Nations World Food Program. All you have to do is guess the right definition for each word shown and you will build up rice in 20 grain increments. So, not only are you feeding the poor, but you are also building your vocabulary and having fun while doing it. It almost feels wrong to be able to help the poor in such a way as this. It seems like you should have to sacrifice something yeah?

HT: Lili Tankersley

You can feed the poor here.

Some questions:
-Do you think this is a good idea?
-What was your vocab. level?
-How much rice did you procure for the hungry?
-Do you think this is as rewarding as sacrificing to provide for those less fortunate? Please explain your answer.

Sorcery & Witchcraft Contribute To Male Organ Snatching

Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.

Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure.

"You just have to be accused of that, and people come after you. We've had a number of attempted lynchings. ... You see them covered in marks after being beaten," Kinshasa's police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Police arrested the accused sorcerers and their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs. The 27 men have since been released.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-If you were a missionary to these people how would you go about combatting such things as this (and the motives behind them), or is that even what you should be spending time on?
-Why do you think human body parts are used in witchcraft?
-Why do you think what sounds foolish to us, is taken very seriously by them?
-Do you think their are things that we hold dear that would be considered foolish by others in the world? Is there a difference?

Nalgene Sued For Selling Toxic Sports Bottles

A California mother sued Nalge Nunc International Corp, claiming the company knew, but downplayed risks, that a toxic substance in its popular Nalgene plastic sports bottles could leach into the bottles' contents and sicken consumers.
The case, filed on Tuesday, is believed to be the first consumer class action over the use of Bisphenol A, or BPA, in plastic sports bottles since Canada moved to ban baby bottles containing the substance and the U.S. government expressed concern over its safety last week.

Nalge Nunc, a unit of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc, said on Friday it will phase out production of its Outdoor line of polycarbonate containers that include BPA over the next several months.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc also said on Friday it will pull baby bottles and other products made with BPA from its Canada stores immediately and phase the items out of its U.S. stores next year.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you use the Nalgene bottles? Will you keep using them?
-Why do you think they are pulling them immediately from Canadian shelves but phasing them out from US shelves next year? Either their are harmful or they are not yes?
-Should testing be longer and more extensive before it is released for consumers to buy? How long is long enough? A lifetime?
-Why just baby bottles? If it is harmful, why not ban it in all items that contain it that we use for drinking/eating?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bruce Ware On Isaiah 6 & Two Portraits Of God

Just to give a little background on why I am posting this: Bruce Ware has a daughter who attends our church as an associate member while she is at university. Dr. Ware teaches for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and flies to Jackson, TN once a week to teach an extension course at Union University in addition to his full load at Southern Seminary. So, since he is in Jackson regularly and his daughter is a member of our church and most importantly, we are like-minded, it is a good fit for him to come and share our pulpit to teach and proclaim the truth of scripture to us.

Beholding the God of Merciful Holiness is the title for his first of two messages (as he will be at our church for another week to develop the theme of "Two Portraits of God". It is an excellent message that handles the text well and opens your eyes to the "magnifitude" of what took place in Isaiah 6, a familiar passage to most of us.

If you have a bit of time you can listen to the sermon here. (I submit it is well worth your time)

I would also recommend that you pick up the book Still Sovereign, co-edited with Thomas Schreiner.

Lights In The Night Sky

In both Arizona and Florida, strange lights have appeared in the night sky performing aerobatics not common (or even known) to man made planes. It has some residents spooked.

Witnesses reported that the lights formed a vertical line, then formed a diamond-shape, followed by a u-shape.The lights reportedly moved from side to side and upward before disappearing one by one.

Toporek said the last light vanished and then briefly reappeared before disappearing again.

ABC15 contacted several agencies Monday night, including the FAA, Sky Harbor, Luke Air Force Base, and the Phoenix Police Department. No one could explain what the lights are.

To read more click here.
To see the video filmed by Tony Toporek , click here.

***Update: An unidentified man claims he made the lights appear by releasing road flares tied to helium baloons into the Phoenix night sky. *** You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts concerning the probability of life on other planets?
-If life was to be found on another planet, would that cause you to question your faith? If so, why?
-Do you think the government is hiding alien life from us?
-Do I sound like a conspiracy theorist?
-Could this simply be a case of the US Air Force having some fun with us?
-Why does the supernatural always come to mind when we can't explain something? (Does "God" fall in that category as well or is there a difference?)

Diabetes? Put That Needle Away

"It has been a Holy Grail, not only to deliver insulin orally, but also other drugs that can [only] be taken by injection," Peppas says. With colleagues he has now developed a pill they hope will make that possible.

The team created a new water-based gel using nanoparticles of two polymers. When formed into particles around 100 nanometres across and combined with water, the polymers form a flexible hydrogel that can soak up insulin.

In lab tests, insulin-loaded gel was subjected to conditions simulating the passage through the stomach and into the gut. It was able to cope with acidic stomach-like conditions for an hour, barely leaking any insulin.

When put into less acidic conditions like those found in the intestines, the the polymer chains changed shape to make the hydrogel swell and release its payload.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-If you're diabetic type I, do you look forward to the day when you will no longer have to jab yourself?
-Does it suprise you that India and China surpass the US in the number of diabetes cases?
-Why do you think that diabetes carries a "less-than-urgent warning", if you will, than say some of the other diseases that affect human life spans?
-Does diabetes run in your family? If so, what are you doing to ensure you do not fall victim to it (given that we are talking about type II)?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Abortion As Art & A Thing Of Beauty

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself "as often as possible" while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

***UPDATE: Yale claims this to be a "creative fiction" while Aliza Shvarts holds that her claims are true.***

You can read more here.

A different spin on this can be found here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What Then Should We Entertain In Prayer?

"This, then, is the prayer of faith: to ask God to accomplish what He has promised in His Word. That promise is the only ground for our confidence in asking. Such confidence is not "worked up" from within our emotional life; rather, it is given and supported by what God has said in Scripture.

"Some Christians find this disappointing. It seems to remove the mystique from the prayer of faith. Are we not tying down our faith to ask only for what God already has promised? But such disappointment reveals a spiritual malaise: would we rather devise our own spirituality (preferably spectacular) than God's (frequently modest)?

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Does this strike you as odd or do you agree?
-Why do you think some (most?) Christians think faith in prayer is wrapped up in the emotionalism (you have to feel something) instead of trust?
-What is your theology concerning prayer?

Crayola Renames Colors: A Flash Back To The Sixties

Crayola's Old color names/ Crayola's New color names:
  • Laser Lemon/ Super Happy
  • Wild Tangerine/ Fun in the Sun
  • Screamin' Green/ Giving Tree
  • Beaver/ Bear Hug
  • Turquoise Blue/ Happy Ever After
  • Hot Magenta/ Famous
  • Orchid/ Best Friends
  • Wild Watermelon/ Awesome
You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What do you think of the new names?
-Do you find these names fit the colors (or what takes place directly after tripping on LSD)?
-Should there be rules in place to ensure proper naming occurs for children's sake (just imagine a child asking for a certain crayon in class: "Mrs. Teacher, can I have the Bear Hug?" or "Can you hook me up with a "Happy Ever After"?)?
-What was your favorite Crayon color? Mine was the silver metallic one.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Does The Heart Contain The Soul?

Yesterday, the Mail told the extraordinary story of how a heart transplant recipient in America committed suicide - just like the man whose heart he had received 12 years previously. In another extraordinary twist, it emerged that the recipient had also married the donor's former wife.

So can elements of a person's character - or even their soul - be transplanted along with a heart?
One woman who believes this to be the case is CLAIRE SYLVIA, a divorced mother of one.

She was 47 and dying from a disease called primary pulmonary hypertension when, in 1988, she had a pioneering heartlung transplant in America.

She was given the organs of an 18-year-old boy who had been killed in a motorcycle accident near his home in Maine.

Claire, a former professional dancer, then made an astonishing discovery: she seemed to be acquiring the characteristics, and cravings, of the donor.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you think this is just coincidence?
-Are there other cases of the same?
-Is there such a thing as a soul (if yes, can it be taken from one and given to another)?
-What is your position on accepting (or donating) organs?
-Should a Christian donate organs? Is it Biblically acceptable?

A Public School Allegedly Promotes Islam

TIZA's [Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy]operation as a public, taxpayer-funded school is troubling on several fronts. TIZA is skirting the law by operating what is essentially an Islamic school at taxpayer expense. The Department of Education has failed to provide the oversight necessary to catch these illegalities, and appears to lack the tools to do so. In addition, there's a double standard at work here -- if TIZA were a Christian school, it would likely be gone in a heartbeat.

You can read more here.

Some questions
-Do you think this to be a double standard?
-Should tax payers have the option of funding a religously based school?
-If this school is found to be promoting religion at the tax payer's expense, what should be the penalty for such an act? (would your conclusion be different if it was Christian?)
-What, if any, burdern does the Department of Education bear?

Monday, April 7, 2008

NCAA National Championship Game

Did your team make it? Did they win? I picked Gonzaga and Memphis to be in the final game with Gonzaga taking it. I have participated this year (for the first time) in an online bracket with some guys from church. Currently I am leading the pack with 41 correct picks and if Kansas wins tonight, I will lose my first place seat, but if Memphis wins I keep it and obtain a digital, non tangible trophy of gold worth nothing more than the price of my internet bill to look at it in all its splendor in its digital trophy case on yahoo's website.

Just to add to the mix, I could care less who wins and I have not watched a single game this year (and in my life time I could probably count on my fingers how many games I have sat and watched). What I am saying is, I know nothing about the teams, the stats or the probability of a certain team taking it this year or the next. I would much rather be out playing the sport than watching it. Funny thing is, how did I manage to wind up with a guaranteed number 2 spot and a likely number 1?

Isn't it funny the things that take us captive? Sport fans are of a strange breed.

So, how did you do with your bracket if you kept one?
What are your feelings about sport fans? (you know the ones I am talking about)
What do you think is the driving lure of becoming a sport's fan? Is it healthy?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pictures From Holiday In Africa & Europe

Well, I am at a place where I have decent internet and thought I would upload some pictures and make a post.

And, while I am on here, I wanted to thank Randy and Timm for keeping up the blog while I am away. It is much appreciated. Enjoy the pictures (if you click the slideshow it will take you to the pictures where you can fiew them individually).

***Also, if you look to the right, you will see a section with a Lulu logo and the title "A Kenyan Holiday 2008". If you like the pictures (and are willing to fork out the dough) you can buy the coffee table book of the pictures. It is a bit expensive due to the printing costs, but hey, you never sell anything unless you first make it available yeah?***

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Question for the Weekend....

What are your top 5 favorite games from the original Nintendo Entertainment System?