December 2007 - Posts
It's a light week here at the Napalm Compound. The tenured workforce is on holiday leave. So, before I kick off the New Year, I'm doing some light reading. And by "light reading," I mean some of the deepest and most thought-provoking stuff you've ever sunk your teeth into.
Today, I ran across what must be the most telling article about Kwanzaa ever published. Written in 1999 by Tony Snow -- yes, the Tony Snow that had to quit as White House Press Secretary because the $183k salary was bankrupting him -- this is the paramount definition of the phony celebration that was created in 1966 to "unite people of African ancestry and connect them with African culture and values." In reality it is veiled Marxism ... oh, and a bunch of hooey.
You can read the wonderful article here: [link].
My favorite line in the article is a quote by Keith Richburg who worked as the African bureau chief for The Washington Post:
Talk to me about Africa and my black roots and my kinship with my African brothers and I'll throw it back in your face, and then I'll rub your nose in the images of rotting flesh.
I have been here, and I have seen -- and frankly, I want no part of it. .... By an accident of birth, I am a black man born in America, and everything I am today -- my culture and my attitudes, my sensibilities, loves and desires -- derives from that one simple and irrefutable fact.
With the wacko Ron Paul completely written off after discovering support from crazies like neo-Nazis [link], twoofers [link] and brothel owners [link], the decision is now narrowed to two. And, no, Giuliani never really had a chance. On one side, we have Gov. Mike Huckabee; on the other, Sen. Fred Thompson.
While some of my family are leaning toward Gov. Huckabee, I have to admit some concerns about the Baptist minister's record as Arkansas's governor. Under scrutiny, he yucks it up and doesn't answer the tough questions. Yet, Sen. Thompson answers all of the questions regardless of any poll backlashes. Right now, the Joe Poll has Fred Thompson ahead by a substantial margin - 80% to 20% (no margin of error).
Update: Here is the current breakdown of the Joe Poll with the candidates in order of favorite to least favorite.
Unfortunately, Rick Santorum, George Allen and Alan Keyes didn't run.
To everyone at Steeple Media, I wish you a very joyous day of celebration. Merry Christmas!
On my way to work today, I pondered my favorite Christmas tunes and songs. I like a lot of them, but every year two stand out.
I love "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel". It doesn't matter if we sing it in church, if I hear it sung by a choir or if it's Third Day's version, I love it -- love it.
And the second Christmas song that I love can't be found in a traditional church hymn book -- which is an annual point of contention for me. I absolutely love "The Little Drummer Boy". My favorite part of Sevier Height's annual Living Christmas Tree [link] is the entrance of the wise men during the Nativity scene. The choir sings an awesome version of the song as the three kings and their entourage enter on camels with a chest of gold and containers of frankincense and myrhh. I tear up every time.
So, what are your favorite songs?
I received the following by email. The subject was "FW: Happy Holidays note from the Diversity Council". I can confirm the authenticity of it, but will withhold names and places to protect me from litigation.
The Diversity Council for Corporate and Government Markets and I would like to take this opportunity to wish each of you and your families a wonderful holiday season. Through each of your efforts and focus, [Company name] made great progress towards achieving our five strategic imperatives. They include; leading globally, accelerating the solutions transformation, delivering a world-class customer experience, transforming our global network, and improving profitability while driving a performance-based culture.
We understand that our employees observe a multitude of religious and cultural traditions. The holiday time is a great opportunity for each of us to celebrate our diversity and [Company name]'s culture of inclusiveness. Many of you have or will celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Ramadan, Bodhi Day, Yalda, the Winter Solstice, and New Years. It is our hope that you will all enjoy celebrating these special times with your peers, family, and friends.
I know what you're thinking. What about Pongal, right? Well, it appears that Mr. VP of Diversity hates the Indian people.
Seriously, though. What's has happened?
Last night, while at the computer desk, I was inspired. Do you ever have one of those moments when you connect some dots and then it's as if the problem you are working on becomes unworldly simple? I ran into some material while chasing some research and was quite impressed and have been on a high all day. The material resides in my Bible, on the Internet and in hard-copy in my personal library. I chased this around the past two or three days, made copious notes and linked like crazy -- making synapses connections at an unbelievable rate for a 32-year old man. A portion of my resultant research was posted in the forums last night. The balance will be posted soon.
Here is what I was able to punch out on the keyboard before going to bed:
OK, I see a theme and need to address it. That theme is the statement "time-limited". You've jumped to that statement without any explanation. In fact, I'd almost accuse you of quoting R. C. Sproul without any Scriptural exegesis. So, I'll help.
What are these "time-limited" statements? Matthew 10:23, Matthew 16:28 and Matthew 24:34. Right? [Joe's note: Since last night, I've discovered that Dr. Sproul summarized 18 "time-limited" statements in his book; so there may be a necessary follow-up.]
First, Matthew 10:23: "When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes" (NKJV). In context (vv. 16-23), Jesus looks beyond the disciples' immediate ministry. And also notice that the same words show up in Matthew 24:13 when Jesus is certainly talking about the future, all the way to the "end" (compare Mark 13:3-13). So, in context, Jesus is talking about the near-end of the present age.
With this exegetical interpretation, see how well "gone through the cities of Israel" ties so nicely with Paul's writing in Romans 11:1-2, 25-32. God will not forget Israel until the end of the age. Also, interpreting "coming" in Matt. 10:23 as a future event does not require calling the "non-coming" in A.D. 70 a "coming".
Second, we come to Matthew 16:28: "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." Read it in context. Unfortunately, in Matthew there is a chapter break immediately after this verse, but the parallel passages in Mark 9 and Luke 9 have no chapter division. "Some" is fullfilled when three saw Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Both John and Peter later wrote about this kingdom preview.
And, finally (if I haven't overlooked one), we have Matthew 24:34: "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place." This one is crazy difficult to understand. As I said earlier, C.S. Lewis said that this is "the most embarrassing verse in the Bible." Theologians debate it. So, it certainly isn't a good verse to hang your hat on to defend a theological position.
But, if we look at it contextually (I learned a new word!), group it with Chapter 25. Therefore, Jesus' coming in Matthew 24:30-31 is the same coming of 25:31-32: "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats." This -- along with everything from verse four to forty-four -- wasn't fulfilled in A.D. 70, or we would at least expect John to have written something about it.
And, I beg your pardon, but I checked out some references. Look at Didache 16 [link]. Written from A.D. 80-100 -- after the destruction of the Temple -- it is forward-looking. Also, see the futurist writing of Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho 110 (ca. A.D. 140-150) [link - remember "CX" is 110]. Neither author is convinced of a parousia around A.D. 70.
It seems to me from reading your posts and reading about the subject that the theology of preterism rests on two pillars (Forgive me if I over-simplify.): (1) the early writing date of Revelation; and (2) three verses in Matthew [see note above]. We won't consider the writing date of Revelation because it isn't clear-cut. But, I will mention that I find it interesting that the introductory notes in the New Geneva Study Bible states "Most scholars favor a date about A.D. 95." Dr. R. C. Sproul was the General Editor.
And, if the "time-limited" statements in Matthew are so convincing, why is there so much debate to their interpretations? And why are preterists so demanding that the statements are fulfilled in A.D. 70?
I know. And I will post that tomorrow.
I'm not a big fan of Santa Claus. Sure, call me a fuddydud, but he just hasn't been that key in my upbringing or at Christmastime in our household. Yet, I do love to talk about physics. So, when this hit my email inbox today, I knew I had to post it on my blog. I like to cite sources, but Snopes.com says that the beginnings of this netlore is vague. Enjoy anyway.
There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the population reference bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming there is at least one good child in each. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get onto the next house.
Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second -- 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.
The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousands tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer can pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them---Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).
600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.
Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,000 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now. (Unknown source)
... we are autonomous robotic organisms from the planet Cybertron. Autobots, roll out!
OK, not really. But, I saw "Transformers" last night and loved it! It was the biz-omb. In fact, I may watch it again this evening.
Today, I have resolved to imagine the angel Gabriel's voice to be that of Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime. Seriously, I'll do it. In my mind, Gabriel will be nine feet tall and have the powerful, knowing voice of the big rig leader of the Autobots.
How about this? In Daniel 8:17, Gabriel, speaking with the voice of Optimus Prime, says to Daniel, "Son of man, understand that the vision concerns the time of the end ..." Great isn't it?
Or how about speaking to Zechariah in the Temple? "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news."
No wonder Daniel, Zechariah and Mary were terrified!
So, what does our family do for fun on a Thursday night? Well, let me allow you a peak inside a family night.
Last night, we gathered at my parents for dinner. The men were gathered in the living room and my father passed around a shrimp cocktail plate. The women were in the kitchen with my mother discussing ... well, whatever women discuss. At the appropriate time, we gathered around the dinner table. There were twelve of us seated around the table in the dimly-lit dining room with a spread of spaghetti, salad and bread, all with a four-wick candle centerpiece. The conversation topics ranged from my little niece's prayer to Leonardo da Vinci, and from the six simple machines to watered-down sweet tea.
After dinner, we cleaned the table and then gathered around the kitchen table with paper, pens and our Bibles. As the kids played in the other room, and as the mothers occasionally drifted in and out, BJ shared with us a Bible study method taught by Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz. He walked us through the steps of developing a lesson or sermon by extracting the facts from a portion of Scripture. It certainly was a unique way of diving into Scripture and will be added to my studying repertoire.
So, what about tonight? Pizza and a movie? Hotdogs and boardgames? Who knows?
According to a new theory being reported in November 24's New Scientist, astronomers may have hastened the end of the universe by simply looking at it. From News.com.au:
The novel idea is being aired by two US physicists, who attack the notion that the universe, believed to have been created in the "Big Bang" 13.7 billion years ago, will go on, well, forever.
They say the poor old cosmos is in a rather delicate state.
They believe, a strange, yet-to-be-detected form of energy called dark energy pervades the universe.
If so, the universe is not in a nice, stable zero-vacuum state but simply another "false vacuum" state that may abruptly decay again - with cataclysmic consequences.
The energy shift from the decay would destroy everything in the universe, wiping the slate clean.
The good news is: the longer the universe survives, the better the chance that it will mature into a stable state.
The bad news is: the quantum effect, a truly weird aspect of physics that says whenever we observe or measure something, we reset its clock, thereby priming a possible catastrophe.
Holy frijoles! We're destoying the universe by looking at it? That means that on a scale of bunnies to Armageddon, global warming is a game of Chutes and Ladders. I mean we're potentially destroying the entire universe! Schrödinger can have his stupid cat [link]. We're not talking about a life or death situation for Sylvester. We're talking about the end of the existence of the Milky Way and it's cousins! Aggghhhh!! *
* Please note that my hysteria and alarmism should firmly enthrone me as a 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner. That there was truly a Academy Award moment.
So, what do you buy for the nuclear engineer in the family this holiday season? How about his very own radioactive sample of uranium ore [link]? No worries, though, as Amazon.com states, "We are always in compliance with Section 13 from part 40 of the NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules and regulations and Postal Service regulations specified in 49 CFR 173.421 for activity limits of low level radioactive materials."
However crazy this idea sounds, you should read the customer reviews. Some were disappointed with their purchase. Jimbo Jones writes, "I bought a can of this about 4.5 billion years ago, give or take a few million years, but when I went to use it today I noticed only half of it was still in the can. I swear I put the lid on tight. I'd give it more stars if it came in a better package."
And Philosopher gave it three out of five stars because "I bought this to power my Uranium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator and it didn't even destroy an entire asteroid, much less any small planets. Well, back to the drawing board..."
And at two stars out of five, B. Woodward had this to say: "This product was not properly labeled as unsafe for children! I had bought this to power an invention I had picked up at Professor Manglebot's garage sale, but the twins got into the can and now I have two fused three year old boys who keep burning holes into the carpet with their eyes."
You can read all of the reviews here: [link].
I also noticed that you can save money when bundling it with the hardcover, Uranium Ore Processing [link].