Monday, March 24, 2008

Dinosaur lured mates with giant horn

Scientists recently discovered a plant eater that attracted it's mate with his giant horn.

It's easy to miss something you are not looking for

Communication Overload

If you are like me you have three email addresses, you have multiple phone numbers--- your home phone that you figure you should eliminate but haven’t cut the cord yet, a cell phone, a work phone, a fax machine, etc…
You have work related email, you have personal email that goes to your work email, you have personal email that goes to your personal email and you have that one email address that you setup for registering to stupid websites that require an email address but you haven’t checked it in months…
On any given day you have what feels like hundreds of conversations, email trails that dead end, and voicemails that you don’t want to return, or can’t return…
Don’t feel bad that you can’t keep up, it turns out that if you actually were able to keep up, it would be evidence of a mental illness and an addiction problem.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

party loyalty asks too much

I liked Obama's speech last week. I just read Peggy Noonan's response, I liked it as well.

Redbox is awesome

I love Redbox---it's cheap, it's easy, it's convenient.

Next time you are at Hy-Vee, step up to the Redbox, grab a movie, and relish the whole experience. No 4 dollar plus tax confusing rental policies with 2 or 5 day return dates. No "late fees" or "restocking" fees.

After a couple of rentals, they sent me an email with a free rental. They just got an enthusiastic advocate. What a great idea!

burying my talent

From the wiki page for the story:

The parable tells of a master who was leaving his home to travel, and before going gave his three servants different amounts of money. On returning from his travels, the master asked his servants for an account of the money given to them. The first servant reported that he was given five talents, and he had made five talents more. The master praised the servant as being good and faithful, gave him more responsibility because of his faithfulness, and invited the servant to be joyful together with him.
The second servant said that he had received two talents, and he had made two talents more. The master praised this servant in the same way as being good and faithful, giving him more responsibility and inviting the servant to be joyful together with him.
The last servant who had received one talent reported that knowing his master was a hard man, he buried his talent in the ground for safekeeping, and therefore returned the original amount to his master. The master called him a wicked and lazy servant, saying that he should have placed the money in the bank to generate interest. The master commanded that the one talent be taken away from that servant, and given to the servant with ten talents, because everyone that has much will be given more, and whoever that has a little, even the little that he has will be taken away. And the master ordered the servant to be thrown outside into the darkness where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth."

I am confronted with the not too reassuring possiblity that if I really carefully examine my own life, I have been a lazy servant, fearful of my master's disapproval. I have been blessed and given many opportunities, it is time to work towards doubling my talents.

Twittering this week

After reading SMays for 3-4 years, I have come to trust his judgment on almost all things technology, and if he says twitter is fun and easy to use, then he is probably right.
So I will try it out. here is my twitter page.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stuff White People Like

I stumbled onto this blog, and it is hilarious.


Monday, March 17, 2008

This hole is getting too deep, dig faster.

There are moments in time where it seems like there is a perfect storm of financial bad news. We are surrounded by panic and miscalculations, job worries, budget concerns, stories about corporate malfeasance, government malfeasance, malfeasant malfeasance…

The conventional wisdom says that we’re in for a tough time: layoffs, recession, dollar worries, declining home values, etc…and the fed seems to think that lowering the costs of borrowing money, “the fed funds rate” will somehow help…even though the borrowing rate is at historical lows and has been for years now…and that extremely low rate is partially what encouraged people to collectively borrow more than they can afford.

Until individuals and banks wake up to the harsh reality that we have all been borrowing from our futures to pay for our presents, the “crisis” is unlikely to stop.

If you make more than you spend, consistently, you will be OK. If you make a LOT more than you spend, now might be a significant opportunity to find a bargain, in stocks, housing, and other stuff.
With any luck, the coming credit crisis will quickly cause people to feel the pain of their financial folly and take steps to fix it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I am not a Buddhist, nor do I aspire to be one.

I am not a Buddhist, nor do I aspire to be one. I like the simplicity of zen koans. I think that every time I read one, I approach the day with that idea in mind.

I think that much of the wisdom that is contained in the Bible could be very easily rephrased and found in a book about Buddhism.

On a Biblical note: I am going to challenge myself to read Proverbs. My sister gave me a book and it mentioned that Proverbs has 31 chapters and a typical month has 31 days---so each day you just read the chapter that corresponds with the day. Simple enough right? Today’s the 16th…

I started reading the Bible cover to cover a couple years ago, and I have stutter started at least three times, there are only 66 books and yet I can’t remember ever reading every one. So…in an effort to get caught up, I will go ahead and read the first 16 Chapters now, and then for the 17-31 I will read according to the plan.

If there is a historical inaccuracy, or technical error that is revealed in the Bible, and you believe that the Bible is the word of God, does it shake the foundations of Biblical belief? Should we be able to reconcile an inconsistency?

I recently heard some historian say that the census ordered by Herod would not have required Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem, in fact, the Roman regulations for a census required that people suspend traveling, to stay home and be counted.

If the historian is right what does that mean?

Koan of the week


The master Bankei's talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras not indulged in scholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners.
His large audience angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the adherents had left to hear about Zen. The self-centered Nichiren priest came to the temple, determined to have a debate with Bankei.
"Hey, Zen teacher!" he called out. "Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey you?"
"Come up beside me and I will show you," said Bankei.
Proudly the priest pushed his way through the crowd to the teacher.
Bankei smiled. "Come over to my left side."
The priest obeyed.
"No," said Bankei, "we may talk better if you are on the right side. Step over here."
The priest proudly stepped over to the right.
"You see," observed Bankei, "you are obeying me and I think you are a very gentle person. Now sit down and listen."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I blame global warming

NOAA reports “The average temperature across both the contiguous U.S. and the globe during climatological winter (December 2007-February 2008) was the coolest since 2001, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. In terms of winter precipitation, Pacific storms, bringing heavy precipitation to large parts of the West, produced high snowpack that will provide welcome runoff this spring.”

“In the contiguous United States, the average winter temperature was 33.2°F (0.6°C), which was 0.2°F (0.1°C) above the 20th century average – yet still ranks as the coolest since 2001. It was the 54th coolest winter since national records began in 1895.”

Statistics can be one of those things that brings out the “con” in “confusion” but it sure seems like if records have been kept since 1895 and this is 2008 then that is 113 years of data. If 2007-08 ranks as the “54th coolest winter” then that is roughly right smack dab in the middle or as Goldilocks might say, “this winter is just right.” Something tells me our measurements might be a wee bit more accurate in 2008 than they were in say, 1908. Something tells me that the guy in charge of reading the thermometer may not have been able to perfectly identify to within one hundredth of one degree the actual temp at any given moment in time.

Of course, “just right” is a figment of our own imagination, because there is no ideal climate---a 0.2 degree swing up or down is just a variance from the mean and not necessarily a net negative or net positive event. And when you consider that throughout one day in mid-Mo the temperature can swing 40 plus degrees, in a 24 hour period….an identification that the “global mean” temp may have varied by as much as less than 1 degree in 100 plus years of watching it seems like the very definition of the “gnat’s ass.” If "global warming" is a product of anthropogenic (man made) release of carbon dioxide, and our release of carbon dioxide has increased every year that it has been measured, then we would expect the temp to go up every year that it has been measured...but obviously there are other forces at work in our climate, like maybe the giant ball of superfusion 93 million miles away responsible for all light and energy on the planet.

Let’s put our resources towards providing all people with access to clean and safe drinking water, and the eradication of preventable parasitic diseases like malaria which is currently killing over 1 million people a year. Let's put our energies towards promoting democratic self government everywhere and free and fair capitalist economic expansion. Let's put our energies towards empowering the poorest on the planet to pursue life, liberty and property so that they might also be able to live with ultra high standards of living that we in the US have come to enjoy.
And if you believe that limiting your release of carbon dioxide will somehow have an impact on the global temperature, and that pursuing a constant global mean temperature is a goal worth pursuing---I recommend holding your breath. Indefinitely.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

a quick prayer for Bodie

My wife adopted this loveable little fuzz ball for me 10 years ago, he has been at my side ever since. I could probably make a case that he was an integral part of how we managed to stay together through our senior year of college, graduate, get married, start a family and build our lives together. But I don’t want to give him too much credit.
He got sick last week, our vet is wonderful but she was unable to figure out exactly what’s wrong.
He seems better now. There are millions of things to pray for but I save one for Bodie, that he continues to be a happy blessing in our family for a long time.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The makers of this sign are not kidding

We spent an afternoon hiking at "Painted Rock State Park" near Westphalia, Missouri. Some highlight photos:

MacGuyver's Coffee Maker

Our water is so hard that sometimes, as it comes out of the faucet it threatens me while brandishing a weapon. I catch our water listening to old school rap and giving itself prison tattoos on it's knuckles that say, "L-I-M-E." This is not the kind of water that you should trifle with.

So I find myself purchasing a new coffee maker every few months, it turns out that running our hard water through a coffee maker really pisses it off...and it takes out it's frustrations by completely clogging up the works and making it impossible to brew a decent cup.

So I thought to myself after ruining another coffee maker, "how would MacGuyver brew a cup of joe?"

I came up with this: boil some water, stick a filter in a styrofoam cup with some holes poked in the bottom, and pour it through. I didn't need a swiss army knife, but I suppose I could have used one.