Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How much electricity did you use?

As the whole world knows now, Al Gore used 221,000 kWh for 2006. I didn't fully check my bill, but it came in at around 30kWh per day which gives 10,950 per year - just a tad higher than the national average of 10,656 kWh. Not bad for a computer geek who works from home!

For those with short and/or selective memories, this seems to fall into a pattern that included charitable giving per some earlier reports. Given that his children were sent to private schools, it isn't hard to further extend the pattern.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. - Psalms 119:105

I was pondering this verse this morning as I was stumbling around the paths in the dark. The dawn is starting to lighten things up in this photo, but the camera is having trouble in the low light.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Solar Energy prices are going up, according to solarbuzz.com. A year ago I priced a system for my house from BP Solar. A few months later, they called to say that all their prices were increasing by 10%. Given the costs (>$25,000 after rebates and incentives), I decided that helping the environment was a bit too costly. The prices seem to be hitting a plateau, but it is clear that demand is outstripping supply. My wild guess is that this is primarily due to subsidies in Europe.

One of the nice things about filthy capitalist wealth is that you have the luxury to consider investing in improving the environment.
Hmmm, 86% Reformed evangelical, 68% Fundamentalist. The exam, as always, is full of ambiguities that are difficult to grasp. For example, social aspects of the gospel are quite different when measured by Conservative and Liberal standards. Thanks to Jim West for this link.
"As long as you remember whites are evil and blacks are victims you get an A".

This said by a student taking African-American studies at a top ranked secular university. Fundamentalist are always being badgered to raise their standards and lambasted for being stupid. The truth, however, is that there is no shallowness like the shallowness of academia.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Want to know how to torment a fundamentalist? Make a movie about Xerxes that is rated R.
"Rainy days and Mondays always get me down ..." - The Carpenters

For me, of course, there is nothing more exhilerating than a cold, rainy Monday with strong winds near the summit to drive the rain.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

"The Earth is 4.5 billion years old."
"Intel pulls 45 nanometre chips into 1H 07"

What do these two things have to do with each other? The second is a factual engineering event as Intel expends billions and billions of dollars to scale a process in nanosteps from 65nm to 45nm to make the next generation of computer chips. For those of us who use science, this is what we consider the normal progression. Unanticipated problems are expected by the dozens and will each result in millions of dollars and schedule slippage. Intelligent Design by thousands of people will be required. This is the real science.

The first statement was based on wild-eyed extrapolations from dubious assumptions and selectivity in numerous areas. The types of people who do this kind of work have nothing to do with the kind that bring real products into the real world. Real scientists never do multi-billion year extrapolations in order to make a functioning real world product. The scientific mindsets that produced the two statements are mutually exclusive. Most scientists develop a bipolar disordered view of science so that these two incompatible viewpoints can both be embraced as "science" and each invoked in turn as needed for earning a living and avoiding persecution from intellectuals.

We can, of course, take this further. What does it imply when we teach the next generation of economists, social engineers and those responsible for the safety of our infrastructure that multi-billion year extrapalations are not only valid, but indusputably scientifically critical for understanding? There is also the gnostic world view that says the extrapolation process is guaranteed provided a proper collection of the right intellectuals has determined its truth. If this is so, then we must uncritically accept it or face the consequences of being labelled imbiciles and possibly banned from certain degrees or jobs. I believe that the history of thought provides us with no greater example of irresponsibility on the part of educators.
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. - Psalms 63:1

Mission Peak won't be dry and weary for a few more months, but my favorite spring always brings Bible verses to mind.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Time to flee to the mountains again.
"The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" - Acts 11:26

I memorized this as child. It is important to all Christians, but there is something missing from the story. The site of Antioch is believed to have been first celebrated by Alexander the Great who sacrificed a bull to Zeus on the spot. Alexander believed himself to be descended from the God's. On of his generals, Seleucid I set up the first city there.

The last portion of the city was built by Antiochus IV, also known as Antiochus Theos Epiphanes. - Antiochus was the one who sacrificed a pig in the temple of Jerusalem and made it a temple to Zeus while unleashing a time of terror against all the faithful Jews. At the beginning of his reign of terror would have been a great time to flee to the mountains. His position as the anti-Christ and having performed the abomination that causes desolation was prophecied in the Book of Daniel. It is appropriate that the followers of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch.

But there is something more. Jesus says "When you see 'he abomination that causes desolation' standing where it does not belong - let the reader understand - then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains'. So why would Jesus use a prophecy that had already been completed in Him to refer to something in the future? Could there be more than one correct hermeneutic for interpreting prophecy?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Inventing the Flat Earth, by Jeffrey Burton Russell.

This is a wonderful little book going over the history of the modern invention of the flat earth theory. The story is much more complex than I had imagined at first. During the 15 centuries prior to the voyages of Columbus, there were a total of 5 writers who left some documentation regarding a flat earth. Two are cited, but were unknown in the middle ages. If anyone in the 15th century believed in a flat earth, there is exactly zero documentation due to the fact that a spherical earth with a circumfirence of 250,000 stadia (~23,000 miles) was the accepted dogma. Columbus needed to shrink te earth to prove that his voyage to America was possible.

What Russell documents is how the Flat Earth Theory was first concocted by Washington Irving. With the Darwin debates of the 19th century going badly, a tactic emerged of treating opponents of evolution as superstitious imbiciles. The Flat Earth Theory was the perfect tool. Of course the ancient Greeks believed that the earth was a sphere, so to fix the problem a "Dark Ages" needed to be concocted where learning was suppressed and lost. Then we have the problem of how the learning was "rediscovered". The solution was to transfer the learning and progress to the Islamic world who then "taught" the ignorant Christian world (e.g. Columbus et. al.) while this learning is resisted by the Church via the Inquisition. In every case, a willful and systematic disregard of history by the West's top historians was employed for their personal goals. One continuing result of this is that there is a Dark Ages among the intellectuals of the West who have a romantic, multi-cultural notion that embraces Islam and is completely at odds with the facts.

One thing that is a bit problematic in the book is the "why". Intellectuals have publicly taken the posture that all of this was part of a natural progression from the primitive superstitious beliefs to modern scientific viewpoints. Russell goes along with this line, although the internal data of his book is much more suited to a different pattern: A passionate hostility to Christianity. For those who want to teach apologetics at church, I recommend this as the starting point. The intellectuals believed that there was a "war". Yes, there is a war, but it isn't between science and religion. It is between intellectuals and Christ.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

One more school thing that I have been pondering:

When I was a school child, along with the rest of the baby boomers, the ratio of children to adults was probably double what it is today. In spite of this, there was no complaining about lack of school funding. That isn't to say that there weren't problems with the school system. The Tennessee schools I (mostly) went to were fully committed to a "no child left behind" policy which meant that if you were in the top 75% of the class, you were probably ignored. The good news, however, is that all this was before grade inflation and the watering down of the SAT occurred.

It is a mystery how funding difficulties are inversely related to the student/adult ratios.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Obama visits San Francisco ...

and claims that America may fall behind because our education system is short on money.

Translation: The world's most expensive education system is delivering pathetic results because it is short on cash. Who needs Forest Gump when you can have Obama?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

This is a view of San Francisco from Mission Peak.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It is a bit blurry in the camera picture, but today was a very rare day: We can see the snow capped peaks of the northern Sierras from the SF Bay Area. I took 52 pictures today on the 25 km run which almost all came out nicely. God's creation is beautiful.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Blessed are the lawless ...

According to this judge who is banning New York police from recording public gatherings. The gatherings are organized by political activists and could potentially lead to violence that requires police action. These days, any police action is going to result in pin heads howling about facist police states, so it is only reasonable that the police record events to prepare for the inevitable litigation. Of course, he said - she said type disputes are much more fun (and profitable for lawyers) in the court room when there aren't any videos to prove what actually happened.
Blessed are the peacemakers.

This verse stands in contrast to a recent attempt at murder by an astronaut. Most of the violence in the world is actually in dysfunctional families. As David and Bathsheba demonstrate, violence is a natural outcome of sexual licentiousness and this transcends time, race and culture. The recent revisionism that tries to separate violence from sexual immorality deserves nothing but contempt.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another fundamentalist idiot who can't move beyond her preconceptions.

U2 Embraces Outsourcing.
Judge rules following data inadmissable: That Libby “worked long hours, received daily intelligence briefings and attended many meetings concerning important matters of national security.”

Translation: The judge is requiring the jury to determine whether Libby is guilty of perjury or not by while visualizing that Valarie Plame was the only thing on Libby's mind for 6 months.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Vouchers reconsidered.

I have for the most part been a school voucher fan. At a minimum, the current public school system does what governments always do: providing used Chevy quality at new BMW pricing. The other issue is the left-wing indoctrination that subtly creeps through the curriculum. The recent Utah ruling is encouraging because it will give some choice back to the parents, although the vouchers are only for half of the public school amount per student. Predictably, the unions are howling that this steals money from the public schools. The fact that it "steals" twice as much expenses as income is lost on them.

Another article suggests that vouchers can be counter-productive in the school choice battle based on experience from the Netherlands which has been using such a system since 1917. The problem is that with school vouchers comes government regulation which forces quality and standards to the lowest common denominator in the name of improving things, while uniform curriculum requirements will bring in the usual propaganda and indoctrination considerations of the elite.
Couch Potato Theology

"Jesus couldn't have been born in December because the shepherds wouldn't have been out watching their sheep at night".

Obviously, they were at home watching football on TV.

The cows out here on Mission Peak feed all year round regardless of the weather. At the top of the mountain, the winter weather is almost identical to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Predators are active also. I have been out here watching the cattle at night in the middle of a winter storm. They will move slightly off the peak to shelter from the wind if there is a hurricane blowing over the summit. OK, cows aren't sheep, but some data is preferable to nothing.

When it comes to standing around in bad weather, the Bedouin are much tougher than I am. Given that the nights are longer in the winter, it is also more likely that the shepherds would have encountered the angels in the winter - during the month of December being the highest probability!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Global Warming and Glaciers.

Common sense being in very short supply at the moment, I thought it would be good to review a basic: A glacier grows when snowfall exceeds melt and shrinks when melt exceeds snowfall. The global warming debate currently is focused exclusively on melt and ignores the precipitation factor in its entirety. Common sense says that they are equally important.

The other factor is this thing called "lag". The snow that falls on a glacier may melt years, or centuries later. So the shrinkage of a Greenland glacier today could be the result of warming now, but it could also be the result of a dry spell a thousand years ago.
It was good to be back on the mountain yesterday. The Lord has allowed my body to heal enough. There was a bit of rain and wind, but the grass is turning green again. This is my favorite time of year.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy Bipolar Day!

It seems that Feb. 12 is Darwin's birthday. This is a good point to commemorate the bipolarization of science and ethics. Although Intelligent Design is the foundation of ALL science and engineering, not to mention something that is required for every dissertation written. (OK, sometimes the ID is done by a ghost writer, but ...) Darwin, however, proved that ID is impossible and intelligently designed his Origin of Species to outline the thesis.

Moving on from here, although God would have created all men equal, it is inconceivable that they should have evolved equally, so eugenics was a direct and predictable outcome or Darwin's ideas. The horrors of this precluded retaining the ethical consequences of Darwinism, so ethics has been forced to bipolarize also by claiming that all men are equal, but they all evolved.
Is Wikipedia terminally ill? Check it out here.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Yeh, more PowerPoint sermons!!!

Our new senior pastor candidate for the Chinese speaking half of the church gave a sermon today using PowerPoint. This was given to the younger, English speaking group. They were quite impressed. What I really liked was his setting up a mirror on a music stand so that he could see what was on the screen behind him while he was preaching without turning around. Cool!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Environmentalists are the problem, not the solution.

Fremont is near the end of the line for the BART system - the subway system that shuttles people into San Francisco and around the bay. I also lived in Japan a few years, so the contrasts stick out much more.

In Japan, the most built up areas are right at, above or under the train stations. This maximizes the utilization of the mass transit system, minimizes driving, and minimizes those curse green house gases. In my case, I lived in a 10 story apartment building within 5 minutes walking of 3 train stations.

Here in Fremont, we have 1 small and 1 medium size 3-story apartment complex near the station and 1 small 3-story office building. Everything else is 1 story or 2 story, low density construction. The parking lot is simply paved over land that fills up quickly and discourages people from using the BART system if you don't live nearby. The result is a joke: The expensive BART system can't compare with the traffic of a typical subway line in Japan. Thus, people continue burning fossil fuels on the jammed freeway because of the dysfunctional mass transit.

Why would people even think about low density construction next to a mass transit station? Answer: The Environment. Enviromentalists ban multi-story construction and vote out any politician who tries to make a city look like a city. Environmentalists are the ones who expect poor people to live in Stockton and commute 2 hours 1-way to work burning fossil fuels the whole way. Environmentalists are also the ones throwing up half of the obstacles to the expansion of the BART system through Fremont so that we could get more people out of their cars. Yes, environmentalists are the problem, not the solution.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Harvard's new curriculum to overcome US "parochialism"???

The best cure for US parochialism is to deal with the ultra-Left wing mono-culture that pervades our university faculties.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

If you don't agree that weather changes are man-made, then you are a morally depraved idiot on a fossil fuels company payroll. This according to Al Gore. We probably shouldn't mention that most of the global warming "scientists" are on the government payroll with the usual gnostic agenda of intellectual elites micromanaging bureaucreats who then micromanage America's corporations and population according to the greater good. Perhaps the global warming debate is just a pawn in the relentless lust for power by intellectuals.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

NaN

NaN stands for not-a-number and is something I see too much of. In a computer program, if you take the square root of a negative number, the result is a special representation called NaN. If you add, subtract, multiply or divide using an NaN, then the result is also an NaN. In a scientiic simulation program involving a few hundred thousand lines of code and running for hours, this gets interesting. Somewhere in the middle of the simulation, an NaN turns up. The simulation then continues to run generating vast quantaties of NaNs which are absolutely worthless. What we really want to see is just the normal tiny accumulation of energy through round-off error - otherwise known as global warming.

Back in the ancient history of computing, things were different. If a program divided by zero, it crashed and the developer immediately knew where, which was a key part of answering the why, which generally led to a fix. Then the field of Computer *Science* was born. The *Science* theorized that a divide by zero should produce an Inf which would then convert to a NaN with further operations. Not only this, but because it is theoretically possible to check for the existence of Inf's and NaN's, it would be much more elegant to code special checks and eliminate any automatic checks. In the 80's and 90's, compilers were released that did just this with predictably catastrophic results on the development of software. Once NaN's began to be generated, the simulation would slow by 10x. It would now be necessary to insert and remove countless checks in order to locate the exact point where the NaN started. Thus, rather than seeing where the problem was within 5 minutes of starting a job, a week of hunt-and-peck computing and coding was required.

For those who don't directly deal with *Science*, it is important to note that *Science* explains how the real world works, not the other way around. Thus, the catastrophe would have been unsolvable, except that computer vendors wrote the compilers and they quietly stepped in and added options to allow for automatic trapping. This allowed *Science* and reality to remain in their separate domains with minimal acrimony.

My developments over the last few years have been in Java. Although I have disdain for everything that boasts itself as *Science*, it does seem that Computer *Science* has had a few good ideas over the past few decades. Most of these are incorporated into Java and I have been very happy programming with it. Unfortunately, the *Science* demands that there be no automatic trapping of NaNs and Infs. The result is that half of the benefits are lost.

Once I made a mistake of inquiring on a Java support forum how to trap these automatically. The howling was almost as bad as saying "Darwin was an idiot" at a mainline theologians conference. What an imbicile I must be! Only a fool wouldn't have put in the 200,000 lines of assertions when the software was written in the first place! So I trudge on, inserting and removing statements to trace where the NaNs occur.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

And if you thought American's are too obsessed with their football, check out the Italians.
Interesting stuff in Venezuela.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

For those of you who think I am a dilittante:

You know the Bible 100%!
 

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes



Heh! And I can't even read Hebrew! You can test yourself here.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Lord has blessed me with influenza ...

Always give thanks. A simple cold usually smacks me down quite hard compared to everyone else I know. It has allowed me to re-organize some of what I needed to do and will undoubtedly be for the best as the Lord accomplishes His plans.
Hillary vs. Giuliani?

This is my dream election. Pinhead liberalism vs. New York no-nonsense.
More news on HIV prevention.

This is another one of those mixed feelers issues. Do I want the technology succeed? Yes. Do I want to see the ideology of the Nicolaitans justified because there are no real world consequences? No.