Monday, November 30, 2009

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109AD): Reason, Truth and Good.

"It is a certainty, therefore, that rational nature was created to the end that it should love and choose, above all, the highest good, and that it should do this, not because of something else, but because of the highest good itself." - Why God Became Man, Part 2, chapter 1.

Reading this seems to be consistent with the classical Stoic notion that reason is purely good. I wish I could give a quote to support this from a classical Stoic, but don't have a good one at the moment. I do have a quote from the Stoic/Jewish hybrid, Philo of Alexandria, which is here. Picking only this quote from Anselm, however, would leave us a bit skewed in our view of his opinions, so I will add this:

"If this has given a full account of original sin, or even if it has come short of one, I do not think that it is to any extent possible to assert that original sin exists in an infant before he has a rational soul, any more than there was justice in Adam before he became a rational man." - Virgin Conception and Original Sin, chapter 3.

My view is that our rational nature, like most other bodily functions, is something that is good as it was intentionally created, but mankind through an act of the will corrupts things and uses them for evil so that reason itself becomes a tool for furthering evil. Anselm's second quote implies some sort of connection between reason and evil, but I may have taken things much farther than Anselm would have.

To this I will add a quote from Cicero as he puts an argument into the mouth of a fictitious member of the classical Academic School, Cotta, who is arguing against Balbus of the Stoic school regarding the belief that reason is a virtue:

"This villainy which he employed was clearly buttressed by the utmost use of reason. It is not merely the stage that abounds in such crimes; even more, our daily life is studded with examples almost as outrageous. The households of each of us, the law-courts, the senate, the voting-booths, allied communities, the provinces - all have experience of how reason lies behind right conduct, but also behind evil-doing. Right conduct is practiced rarely and by the few, whereas the second is constantly performed by a host of people. It would therefore have been better if the immortal gods had granted us no use of reason whatever, rather than to have it bestowed with such a baleful outcome." - On The Nature Of The Gods, Book 3.69

No doubt many of us today could agree with such an assessment, although Christians believe that there is a greater good to be accomplished than the "baleful outcome" which Cotta describes. The Academic School was quite a shock to the neat earlier philosophies with its skeptical outlook. It seems to me that my Christian world view derives first from the Bible, but there are elements which match the Stoics and other elements, like the view of reason as something that is often used for evil, where I am more like the Academic School.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Berry Falls continued ...

This is the start yesterday morning. It was a bit cool as I had to get a thick layer of frost off of my car before starting.

This is the first of the series of falls on Berry Creek about 4 miles from the start.

The tree tops are far above leaving things cold and dark as the morning progresses.

A friendly banana slug.
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109AD): Inventing Science Fiction?

"A: What if there were several universes, full of created beings, just like this one?
B: If there were an infinite multiplicity of universes, and they were similarly laid out before me, this is the answer which I would give." - Why God Became Man, part 1, chapter 21.

Science fiction certainly wouldn't be complete without a multiple universe concept, and here we find Anselm inventing(?) this right in the middle of the "Dark Ages". I have been skeptical of the notion of a Dark Ages, but perhaps the modern world misunderstood what was happening. Were the Dark Ages simply the result of Earth being in the shadow of an alien space ship, while later commentators confused this with a darkness of learning or dismissed them as dumb? Hopefully some others can shed some, err, Light, onto this subject.

Here is another little peculiarity from Anselm:

"For there are more evil angels than there would have been humans alive on that day, and it is from the human race that the full number of replacements for them has to be found." - Why God Became Man, Part 2, chapter 16.

This theme is mentioned a few times and seems to be one that was widely affirmed at this time. The clear Biblical teaching is that a certain number of angels rebelled against God and became demons. The idea that is new to me is that the number of fallen angels was to be balanced by a a separate number of mankind who receive forgiveness and salvation. Anselm admits that this number of saved men could eventually exceed the number of fallen angels. He did not spend much time defending this notion.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

34 Questions. This is in response to a special request from Rummuser.

1. What Do You Do For A Living?
2. Who Do You Love?
God, Jesus, wife, family, relatives, church, friends, blogging acquaintances, business associates ...
3. Do You Have Enough Money?
Too much.
4. Are You Healthy?
Yes, if somewhat overweight.
5. Do You Think You Are a Good Person?
6. How Old Are You?
7. Who is Your Best Friend?
8. What’s Was Your Childhood Dream?
To become a mad scientist.
9. How Often Do You Laugh?
Several times a day.
10. What Makes You Smile?
11. Who’s Your Most Dangerous Enemy?
12. Where Do You Live?
13. Do You Think You’re Strong?
Only after a long workout on a hot day, and before I get a shower.
14. What Was The Most Important Thing You’ve Done So Far?
Teaching youth in church.
15. What Was The Most Stupid Thing You’ve Done So Far?
Blogger doesn't have sufficient room for me to answer this.
16. Do You Love Yourself?
This one doesn't compute.
17. What Do You Fear The Most?
Not accomplishing what others are counting on me to do.
18. What Is Your Favorite Word?
19. When Was The Last Time You Cried?
A few days ago when a cold wind was blowing hard in my face.
20. What Is The Best Thing That Could Happen To You Right Now?
Some sort of job change that would let me spend more time helping others.
21. What Is The Worst Thing That Could Happen To You Right Now?
There are no bad things that can happen to me. Only to the people I love.
22. Picture Yourself In 5 Years From Now
Can't run anymore and weigh 200kg.
23. Do You Regret Anything?
Things that I have said.
24. What’s The First Thing You Do In The Morning?
25. What Are You Thinking Just Before Going To Bed?
Depends on which day it is.
26. What Was The Highest Point You’ve Ever Been To?
26.1 I put the needle into my arm, but didn't push the plunger, thus, I didn't get high. 26.2 The Pacific Ocean. (36,000 feet about the water in an airplane.) 26.3 Last mountain pass before the summit of Mount Whitney (see picture).
27. If There’s One Thing In Your Life You Want To Change Right Now, What Is It?
The one thing is to reduce my appetite, and improve my mental focus, and eliminate the need to sleep, and fully heal my knee.
28. What Are You Proud Of?
My former students.
29. Sum Up Your Life In One Sentence
30. Name The Thing That Annoys You The Most
Certain Ivory Tower intellectuals.
31. What Is Your No 1 Question To God?
I just want to be in awe. I will leave the questioning to someone else.
32. Do You Have Secrets?
Of course not!
33. What Makes You Laugh?
Questions like this.
34. Are You Happy?
Berry Falls and the Indians.

This morning's trail run was to Berry Falls. This is a popular destination, but few were on the trail early this morning. The first group I met up with were three Indians who were hiking towards the falls. Note that these were not American Indians, but those Indians who come from the area south of Asia known as India. On the way back, I met up with a second group of hikers who were also three Indians. Eventually some other scattered groups showed up on the trail, but as I neared the end, there was another group of six Indians making Indians the most represented ethnic group on the trail today. Perhaps Ramana has an explanation for this?

I will post more of these pictures later.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Action Ducks.

These two shots are from a long way off and cropped down, making the resolution a bit poor. It does look like there is some hope to get a clear, high resolution photograph of these birds in motion.

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109AD): Christ as the sacrifice for our sins.

This post repeats info that was in a discussion with James. The topic is that Jesus Christ's death on the cross was so that he could be a substitute/sacrifice for mankind so that we would not need to be punished in Hell for our sins. The formal name for this view is Penal Substitution, which for orthodox Christians is symbolized by the notion of sacrifice throughout the Bible and explained in various ways throughout the New Testament, not to mention Isaiah 53. Anselm dedicates the book, Why God Became Man, to an explanation of this aspect of Christian theology:

"B. ... What man would not be judged worthy of condemnation, if he were to condemn someone innocent and release the guilty party? For the argument seems to be moving towards the same unsatisfactory position which was referred to earlier. If God could not save sinners except by condemning a just man, where is his omnipotence? If, on the other hand, he was capable of doing so, but did not will it, how shall we defend his wisdom and justice?

A: God the Father did not treat that man as you apparently understand him to have done; nor did he hand over an innocent man to be killed in place of the guilty party. For the Father did not coerce Christ to face death against his will, or give permission for him to be killed, but Christ himself of his own volition underwent death in order to save mankind." - Why God Became Man, part 1, chapter 8

"A. What if someone were to follow this up by saying, 'Either you will kill him or all the sins of the world will come upon you'?
B. I would answer that I would rather take upon myself all other sins, not just all the sins of this universe - both those committed in the past and those to be committed in the future - but whatever sins can be conceived of as existing in addition to these. And I think I ought to make this answer not only with regard to the act of killing him, but with respect to any small injury whatsoever which would harm him." - Why God Became Man, part 2, chapter 14

Sadly Penal Substitution is a point of theological dispute among those who profess themselves to be Christian theologians. James said that one of his teachers claimed that Anselm taught Penal Substitution - as is clearly seen above - yet he claimed that Anselm was speaking alone of his own opinion. To this, I will add a sentence from Anselm's preface to this work:

"For this reason, my father and lord, Pope Urban, ... I present for the inspection of your Holiness, since there is no one to whom I can more rightly present it, the enclosed little work, with the aim that those items in it which are acceptable may receive approval on the authority of your Holiness, and those which are in need of correction may be put right."

The popery should be considered with respect to the era which is before the great apostasy of the catholic bureaucracy of the Renaissance. Anselm's works are entirely dedicated to a defense of orthodoxy, and it is to the judgment of orthodoxy by his peers that he willingly submits. What is novel about Anselm is the sequence of argument and the methods, not the result, so that it is entirely implausible to believe that Anselm was not using a universally approved result already. To address the challenges of the non-Penal Substitution believing theologians, I suppose this is still inadequate unless all the early church fathers' texts are scoured, so I will keep this in mind as I read further.


I will add one more quote to support the above:

"No member of the human race except Christ ever gave to God, by dying, anything which that person was not at some time going to lose as a matter of necessity. Nor did anyone ever pay a debt to God which he did not owe. But Christ of his own accord gave to his Father what he was never going to lose as a matter of necessity, and he paid, on behalf of sinners, a debt which he did not owe." - Why God Became Man, Part 2, chapter 18.

Anselm does not make any comments in this book regarding the words, atonement, redeemed, or ransomed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Coyote Hills Regional Park on Thanksgiving.

Yes, it is a Thanksgiving Turkey Vulture.

The Final Result.

I don't cook too often, so this kind of stuff is a bit risky. The breasts and legs of the 13 pound turkey went into the wild rice casserole, while the remainder was used to make a turkey-mushroom-wild rice soup. My daughter chopped up a salad and my wife stir fried the squash. Some church friends unexpectedly dropped by earlier in the day and left us with a pumpkin pie, so we ended up with a fairly complete meal. The only thing missing was some cranberry.

Normally we invite some friends over, but today was just four of us. We had a family hike earlier in the day at Coyote Hills Regional Park. Eating the meal together is something that we always like to do. We start with a prayer, and finished up reading Psalm 65 together. The Lord has been extremely kind to us.
The Thanksgiving Turkey.

For those who don't live in the United States, today is our Thanksgiving Holiday where we as a nation stop to give thanks to the Creator and God of the universe. Eventually the ACLU will get this fowl celebration onto their plate, but not quite yet.

The picture is of the turkey I bought. When I first married my lovely Chinese wife, she informed me that Confucius had written something forbidding Chinese women to cook turkeys. I should really challenge her on this, but it is hard to find original texts to the writings of Confucius, harder still for me to debate regarding archaic Chinese characters, and given the habit of Chinese emperors to periodically edit the writings of the ancients, this kind of debate will inevitably produce all kinds of arguments about textual variants. Anyway, I really don't want to eat Kung Pao Turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

Thus, it has become my duty to find some way to cook a bird and preserve the traditions, along with some readings from William Bradford. Usually I do a roast turkey, but this time will be different. I got some wild rice and plan to go straight to a casserole and soup. My wife will do some stir fried squash and zucchini.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Knee feeling strange ...

It has been a year now since I had the operation for the torn media meniscus, or whatever it was. I have wanted to get back to the usual mix of a long training hike/run on Saturday with some mid-week workouts, but this doesn't seem to be possible. This limits me to about 20 miles on Saturday if I don't do much through the week. Before it would be some shorter 6 to 8 milers on Monday/Tuesday, with a 12 miler on Wednesday. Two days of rest and I would be ready for 30 miles to 50k on Saturday. Now I don't even feel right just walking mid-week. Probably I should take it easy for a bit, ideally with some bicycling, and pray that it gets feeling better.
California Cap & Trade.

For reference, the inventory of California "Greenhouse Gas" emissions is here. The largest portion by far is transportation, which is primarily passenger cars. Another big chunk is refineries which produce the fuel for the transportation. Then there is residential natural gas use, and electric power production for which California's rates are some of the nation's highest, but much of this is for residential use also.

A big challenge for the leftists designing California's cap & trade system is how to do this in a way that doesn't impact the people, but only impacts corporations. This is clearly impossible from the emissions table. The European governments have handled this cleverly by not really capping things, but using the threat as means of political control over corporations. It seems to me that California's environmentalists are more pure-green, so they will not be so easily be placated.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Zoom Zoom Zoom.

I bought a new flash today and decided to test out some new lenses while I was at it. The picture shows three full width photos from the same point in the camera shop looking at another store across the intersection. I wanted to use the label to get an idea of how well the zoom lenses zoomed, so I took pictures with the different lenses and brought them home for comparison.

The top lenses is the standard zoom that came with my Canon Xsi camera at the 250mm focal length. This is the one I currently use for all of my long distance wildlife shots. The second is the Canon EF 100-400 lens which is the next major upgrade from the Canon line, but costs around $1,300. Ouch. It is also rather heavy and bulky.

The third lens is a Tamron 200-500mm lens which is a bit lighter and more compact than the Canon. It also costs considerably less at around $900 while providing considerably more zoom than the Canon. Given the uses that I have for the lens - trail running plus catching glimpses of jumpy critters - the Tamron looks to be an easy choice. This should help me with planning as I save up the pennies.
College Applications and the Singapore Smile Campaign.

It is that time of year again when families huddle together to write essays for college applications. My family has been extended a bit as some relatives from Singapore were placed under my care to complete their high school education. The topic he chose was the Singapore Smile Campaign which the Singapore government ruthlessly imposed on their citizenry a few years back as part of the International Monetary Fund's conference in Singapore in 2006. Formerly, he never smiled, but with the beginning of the campaign, this began to change. First there was the reluctant smile, then the cynical smile, followed by the bitter smile. Thankfully he left out the evil smile, but no doubt there were some malicious smiles. Then he told of an incident where he bumped into someone while walking on a crowded street knocking things onto the ground. He was prepared to continue walking while maintaining an ambivalent smile, but quickly repented and decided to reach down and help. This event finished up with the discovery of the big, sincere smile, which may or may not have been the point of the original campaign. Now if only I could find a way to smile as I ponder the world economic situation and the future for my kids.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lawyers, Politicians, Scientists ...

This article should make it clear why the three should be lumped together. I have always objected to the use of the word "scientist" because it lumps together all intellectuals and equates them to Isaac Newton as far as genius goes. On the other hand, the label "politician" includes all of America's political class, but no one seems to confuse them with Solomon.

UPDATE: Looks like the above linked article is generating a few waves.
How warm is your house?

This being winter time in the northern hemisphere, and green being the latest fad, we let our house temperature go down a bit. There are several thermometers scattered around and the lowest reading I have seen is 55 Fahrenheit (13 Centigrade). Some people turn the heat off at night and put it on in the morning, but we mostly just leave it off. The last day or two we did actually use the heater a bit, but for the most part it is just a matter of acclimating and dressing warmer. There isn't any frost on the inner walls, so it is warm enough? On the California coast, it won't get much colder than this unless I put the airconditioner on.

This does provide a complication when we have visitors over and observe them shivering. Should we warm the house up? Or simply give them a blanket to wrap themselves in?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Spooked Duck.

There are a few ponds up here where ducks hang out. Unlike park ducks, these panic when they see me near the lake and immediately take off at full throttle with wings flapping as fast as possible. This particular pond I have been to many times and anticipated the ducks going into a frenzy, so I spent some time to adjust the settings just before arriving. I cranked the timing down to 1/400 of a second, but as you can see, the water droplets dripping from the duck make elongated streaks which the sun is illuminating against the shadowed background. Based on this picture, it seems that I really should have the timing down to the limit of 1/4000.

My other problem is that there is no time to focus on this fast moving bird, so I have to set the aperture to something high (F20) in order to get enough depth of field to pull the shot off. Then we adjust the ISO until we have the lighting right, which seems to be the one aspect of this shot that wasn't too bad. There always seems to be a new challenge in photography.
Caution: Photographer at work.

Rose Peak Weather Station.

I pass this place most times when I head to Rose Peak, but it is beside one of the cow paths and not near the main trail. For some reason I never bothered to look at what this was, but simply assumed it was a beacon for air traffic control or some other antenna. Looking at it today I saw the spinning cups and immediately understood what it is.

My altimeter says that this is at the 3,300 foot elevation level which is fairly high up. On the way back my cell phone beeped from low power and I pulled it out to turn it off, but noticed it had 5 bars of reception. Wilderness isn't what it used to be. My guessing was that the cell phone tower is somewhere nearby to pick up the weather station data, and the weather station is probably feeding data to some online reporting service, so ... after arriving home and a quick check, we have the East Bay Regional Parks website for automated weather stations here. The Rose Peak weather stations has tabulated data here and graphical data here.

The weather report said there would be snow down to 3,000 feet elevation, and I was hoping to see some, but it doesn't seem to have gotten quite cold enough last night.
Brownian Motion.

Next years California governors race is looking to be another competition of big names, while the 12.5% unemployment rate and huge deficits heading off into the future mean that the stakes are high. The Republican party has gotten all the news with Meg Whitman as president of eBay against Tom Campbell and Steve Poizner. I don't know much about Poizner, while Campbell has reputation for being a hardcore leftist, which leaves Meg Whitman as the obvious Republican choice. She is running ahead in the polls as evidenced by all the media folk trying to dig up garbage from her past.

On the Democrat side, Gavin Newson, mayor of San Francisco, was expected to run, but dropped out. This leaves a lot of people cheering since Newson's most memorable political achievement was getting his friend's wife pregnant. That leaves the always entertaining Jerry Brown as the likely Democrat candidate for governor. As California's Attorney General, he has managed to go both ways on the Proposition 8 / gay marriage fight which has annoyed everyone. Then there was the recent incident where thieves made off with the tires of California top law enforcement official.

Years ago, Brown was governor of California and was noted for dating the pop-singer Linda Ronstadt. He was also nicknamed "Governor Moonbeam" which I thought was related to new-age religion, but according to the infallible wiki, was actually due to a proposal to launch a Satellite into orbit to provide emergency services for the state of California. With taxes exploding, Proposition 13 was passed while he was governor limiting the ability of the state government to increase property taxes. Leftists are still determined to eliminate this which would almost certainly have a catastrophic effect on the California economy. Brown's latest complications are associated with ACORN, the "community organizer" group. I generally consider them to be a new-age anarchist movement committed to everything from voter fraud to extortion. They are quite active in California and the left expects Brown to ruthlessly pursue the conservatives who "illegally" exposed their community organizing (something to do with sex slave trafficking?). The complication is that Brown's aides were also recently reported to be illegally recording conversations, which opens them up to charges of hypocrisy. For the left, this would simply be a badge of honor, but there are some reasonable independents in this state who could play a pivotal role in an election.

Who to vote for? Per the law of total media corruption, the best candidate is the one that the media is trying to dig all the dirt on, which is Meg Whitman. The contrarian in me says that the far left controls almost everything in California, while a Republican governor putting the brakes on the madness will catch all of the blame. Why not just let the ultra-extreme left have that office too so we can achieve full economic and civilization collapse? I might not be happy if I find myself on the wrong side of the barbed wire fence that goes up to stop people from fleeing the state, but it would be an interesting experiment and a good example for the rest of the world. The only problem here is Jerry Brown: He is simply too unpredictable to be counted on to do the wrong thing all the time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

This has a different take on some themes that I blog about now and then.

Winter Storm Warning!

A foot of snow is supposed to come down at the higher elevations. I am itching to get out snowshoeing, but would like to see two or three feet more snow accumulation. I added one of those poll thing widgets to see what the opinions are.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Scientists: Global Warming Climate Change causes prostitution.

To boldly go where surreal has never gone before ...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Moving the terrorist trial to New York.

"After eight years of delay, those allegedly responsible for the attacks of September the 11th will finally face justice." - Attorney general Holder.

As usual, all is not what it seems. The behind the scenes murmuring is that the Bush administration moved immediately to try these foreign combatants in military courts where secret intelligence could remain secret and those familiar with war could weigh the situation. Simultaneously, the US federal courts were flooded with lawsuits by leftist lawyers, while corrupt judges played their part by ruling against military commissions in favor of their own jurisdiction. Some intellectuals and media types helpfully contributed to this by misreporting the Geneva Conventions in order to make them applicable to non-uniformed terrorists who weren't acting on the behalf of any nation that was part of the treaty. The people who deliberately sett out to cause the "eight years of delay" then blamed Bush for the result of their actions. The article at the top also claims that Holder was a major player in this mockery.

The big question in all this is why? A simple answer is that by throwing captured foreign terrorists into America's dysfunctional civil justice system, lawyers stand to earn countless billions of dollars from taxpayers. Then there is a more cynical answer that many lawyers really do want to use legal proceedings to transfer secrets (like how the US gathers intelligence) to al Qaeda so that al Qaeda can be more effective at terrorism. When you are a lawyer, chaos pays! Another answer is that America's intellectual elites are simply insane. I don't really know, but I trust God will work something good out of the madness.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Going Green ...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A cloudy morning of light rain ends with blue skies. This was from yesterday's trip starting from Del Valle Regional Park heading into the Ohlone Wilderness.

Rape News Fatigue ...

The San Francisco Bay area has been provided a bunch of news due to a public gang rape in the nearby city of Richmond. About two days ago there was an article about a man (yes, the victim was a man) who was robbed and raped in Palo Alto. The San Francisco Chronicle has a good article today about the psychological damage rape does to women along with some statistics. There is a statement that the women eventually can recover mentally, but this seems to be more about necessary positive thinking so they can face life, rather than anything genuine. The article says there are 100,000 rapes per year in the US, with 11% of those being gang rapes - 11,000. There was a time that the Biblical story of the attempted gang rape in Sodom and Gomorrah, along with a successful gang rape in the book of Judges, outraged the reader but this is long gone. The BBC has this telling headline for an article from the UK: "Police concern at gang rape rise".

Another appalling case (actually more than one) took place in Saudi Arabia. The examples involve raping and killing children. The article linked is from Amnesty International which was protesting the execution of the rapist. Apparently they want the rapist to live many years in prison enjoying a decent life at public expense. According to the San Francisco Chronicle article, the victims of rape are needing assurance for the rest of their life that they didn't do anything wrong, hence their title: "Gang rape survivors: It's not your fault". I guess there is a sense that something wrong was done, but in the west, where rapists get off easy, perhaps this is a consequence?

Part of me wants to be outraged, but the other part is just numb. If the public does become outraged, this will just result in a big legal spectacle around the prosecution where public funds employ expensive lawyers for years. The rapist will head off to our over crowded prisons where we will spend upwards of $50,000 per year to keep them well fed and healthy. Certainly we will always have depravity and rape, but the current statistics are wildly beyond reason. The cultural dynamics of our society are fueling the increase, but dare I speak out against this? As soon as we start talking about a proper moral education for the youth, we immediately run into all the forces of secularism, unions, lawyers, anti-Christian Christian theologians, and everyone else who has a vested interest in tearing down society. It seems that there is nothing that can be done except to shed a tear, shrug the shoulders, and try to get on with life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ohlone Wilderness from the Del Valle side.

This morning I had an early appointment in Livermore, so I decided to park in the Del Valle Regional Park and head into the Ohlone Wilderness from the east. It was quite a nice, quiet trip.
How do you say, "Go ahead, make my day." in French?

Perhaps "Allez. Faire mon jour." It has been a long time since I studied French, so correct away! Anyway, Clint Eastwood - who lives in nearby Carmel - has just received an award in France related to the Legion of Honour. I suppose Dirty Harry will now be a role model for French police training?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bicyclists: Beware of Hybrid Vehicles. (Hybrid automobiles, not hybrid bicycles!)

According to the article, NHTSA statistics show them as being 50% more likely to run into a bicyclist or pedestrian at intersections. The only technical reason I can think of is that hybrids run quieter so that they are harder to hear making it less likely that the pedestrian/bicyclist will be able to take evasive action.

Then there are the sociological factors. Hybrid owners drive their cars more and get more tickets according to other studies. There is a lot more to this story, but I will need to delay my research until later.

Yesterday was Veterans Day which resulted in the Mission Peak parking lot overflowing with cars and people parked on the lower streets. No matter how many were on Mission Peak, I was still able to find a quiet place.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It is hard to get a rattlesnake to smile for the camera.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How to keep a mountain lion away: Play country music?

A sheep farmer has implemented this on nearby Morrison Canyon. This does leave me wondering if this is the result of any kind of scientific study showing that mammals are repelled by country music. What usually makes music repellent is a poor choice of lyrics, or perhaps the attire and manner of the performer, but I doubt that the mountain lion will consider such things. Animal rights activists will probably have something to say about this, given that the farmer acknowledges that country music is a repellent, but then plays it continually in the presence of his sheep. As for me, well, there are some times when I am strangely attracted to country music.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

For those of you who are out-of-date, the guy holding the sign is a nurse in uniform. The story is here. Page 1,406, paragraph 3 of the new health care plan just approved by the House of Representatives authorizes the government to cover the cost of the prescriptions.