Monday, October 25, 2010

If Only . . . (science post)

It has been discovered that fulvalene diruthium (Ruthium is element #44 - and quite rare). Umm, let me start again.

It has been discovered that this rare molecule has a wondrous property - it can store heat! What does that mean? Everything can store heat! True, but this is different. This molecule can store heat and lock it away - the heat doesn't "bleed away". The heat is locked away chemically and stored in the chemical bonds as the heat changes those bonds. Then, to unleash that heat, a simple nudge is required and the heat is released.

So when winter comes to MN - and it will very soon - I could call my parents and ask them to send some of that Florida heat up to Minneapolis. If they had some of this stuff, they could just set it out in the sun for awhile, bottle it up, and send it to me. Oh joy.

Regretably, the Ruthium is quite rare. It is found along with Platinum. (Smart people would take the platinum and leave the Ruthium.) It is also a byproduct of the nuclear fission of Uranium. So it could be 'mined' from spent fuel rods.

Even so, it is exciting to have such a 'game-changing' technology possibly close at hand.

Poverty in America

for a larger look (sorry its so small), look here.

interactive image from

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Parody can be lots of fun

This one makes fun of Senator Boxer from CA.

Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shocking Video

A video, well done I might add, has been made to promote the "Yes" vote in Colorado on the ballot Amendment 62. The vote is coming up in less than 2 weeks.

Did I say that the video was shocking?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm sorry ... I didn't know.

In my mid-week Bible study, we were studying the passage in 1Pet where Peter mentions that one, having suffered in their body, were done with sin.

We thought that the suffering in the body would focus the attention so as to put the desires for sin to the side - the pain has a way of focusing the mind. But where is it in the world where Christians are suffering for Christ?

I cannot suffer for them. That is their curse and blessing. Yet, I can think of them, remember them, be inspired by them, . . . and pray for them. Maybe, in some way, their suffering can make a difference for good in me. And in turn, that difference may be good for others. May it help to focus me than I also might be done with sin.

In Afghanistan, and why we are there

My wife has been talking recently about stories she's read about the improvement in society when girls get an education - even a minimal amount of formal training. This is all well and good and very important.

But, when we encounter cultures that intentionally oppress ladies, and keep females from their natural positions of power (shared with the males), not only do we get a lack of education for the women, we get a cultures worthy of extinction.

Church Joke

Last Sunday, we had a guest preacher. He was from Focus On The Family, and he spoke about having "Perfect Peace". Of course there were 3 points. But the part most memorable was the joke he told.

Ole and Leena loved to go to the State Fair. So every year, they would get their picnic basket, pile into their car, and drive to St. Paul for the fair. And every year, Ole would look longingly at the Helicopter Ride. He would bring it up with Leena, saying "I've wanted to go on that Helicopter Ride for many years now. Maybe this is the year." To which Leena replied, "Yes. It appears to be a fine ride. However, it costs $50. And $50 is $50." And Ole inevitable responded with, "Oh you're probably right."

This went on year after year, until one year when Ole was feeling particularly elderly. He said, "Leena, I may not get another chance to go on this Helicopter Ride. I'd really like to go on this ride before I cross over Jordon." Leena replied sympatherically, "Yes, Ole. We're getting older. But $50 is $50, don't you know."

Now the pilot of the Helicopter Ride overheard the conversation, and wanting to gain another fair offered them a deal. "You will get to take the Helicopter Ride for free - you keep the $50. But, if during the ride you make any kind of sound, you pay me $50." Ole looked at Leena. Leena looked at Ole. They both thought, "Just think how much we could save! $50! And $50 is $50." They agreed.

Up in the sky, the pilot tried every dip, turn bend, roll, daredevil maneuver he could to get the couple in the back to cry out. But they did not. As the pilot was returning to the ground for a landing, he said, "I'm really surprised! I thought I could get you to say something. I tried every trick that I know to scare you, but you kept your peace. You don't have to pay me the money for the ride." To which Ole replied, "You know, when Leena fell out, I thought of saying something. But, you know, $50 is $50."

The rest of the sermon had something to do about "Remember, Rest, and R______". But I had already heard the funnest part.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NIKE would hate this!

A prof. at Liberty University (brings to mind Jerry Falwell) is trying to start a small movement in barefoot lifestyle. His message: Shoes are bad.

He teaches Biology at LU, so he has a good knowledge basis to ground is radical ideas. But he goes further than talking about this "ped"-demic (ha ha, I made that up myself), he goes barefoot everywhere he can. He used to teach barefoot, though that lasted only a semester. He goes to restaurants barefoot. He practices shoeless shopping. He has run 10-mile races with nary a sock.

I'm not sure this is for me as I have flat feet and cannot stand hard surfaces in bare feet for very long. Maybe its not for everyone.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"It is a gift to be able to shock..."

This quote comes at the end of a sad reflection on some aspects of our culture. The author, David Mills, watched a few minutes of the MTV spin-off, VH1.

What really caught my attention was the suggestion of being back in Jr. High - and reliving that kind of trauma. Yet so much of what I saw on TV (back when I had a TV) had a sense of "abuse" to it - just like Jr. High. It reminds of a story by Ray Bradbury called "The Playground".

One of the ways that the media have attracted audiences is using "shock". "You won't believe the shocking new revelation about _______." But Mills suggests that the ability to shock is a gift. Maybe the shock comes in the form of a Compassion International video showing starving people in terrible need. Maybe the shock comes in the picture of a rotting body found on a field of war. But these have a point - a challenge to better ourselves and the lives of those around us. Using (overusing!) shocking behavior and abusive language for a laugh or for ratings is not a positive direction for us.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Intelligent Sounding Words that substitute for something ... inglorious

(My apologies ahead of time for the British humor).

There are plenty of aspects of life that are uncomfortable - so we give these things a name shield us from the raw encounter with what it is about.

"modernist" is code name for _______.
"choice" is code name for ________.
"passed on" is code name for _______.
"very droll" is code name for _______.
"tax" is code name for _______.
"undocumented worker" is code name for ______.

Can you think of more?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Moving to Post-Season

So now that the regular season has come to a close, here's how my predictions have come true (and not).

My Predictions:
American League Division Winners
East: NY Yankees 95-67
Central: Minnesota 91-71
West: Texas 88-74
Wild Card: Tampa Bay: 88-74

National League Division Winners
East: Philadelphia 94-68
Central: St. Louis 98-64
West: LA Dodgers 90-72
Wild Card: Houston: 92-70

What actually happened:
American League Division Winners
East: Tampa Bay: 96-66
Central: Minnesota 94-68
West: Texas 90-72
Wild Card: NY Yankees 95-67

National League Division Winners
East: Philadelphia 97-65
Central: Cincinnati 91-71
West: San Fransisco 92-70
Wild Card: Atlanta 91-71

I called 3 of the 6 division winners and 4 of the 6 playoff teams. Not bad. The Yankees were the only team that I correctly picked the record.
Let the playoffs begin. And may the Twins win.