Friday, August 31, 2007

What makes teens happy?

Family and friends:

So you're between the ages of 13 and 24. What makes you happy? A worried parent might imagine the answer is something like this: Sex, drugs, a little rock 'n' roll. Maybe some cash, or at least the car keys.

Turns out the real answer is quite different. Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey -- more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 -- conducted by the Associated Press and MTV.

When asked what one thing makes them most happy, 20 percent mentioned spending time with family.

Surprisingly, no one said money made them happy.

And a majority of the kids believe in a "higher power:"
Close to half say religion and spirituality are very important. More than half say they believe there is a higher power that has an influence over things that make them happy.

New Testament Social Network

Video of someone paying with the map of the New Testament social networks and noting that it's hard to find someone in the NT who isn't connected to Jesus somehow.


John Warner will not be seeking re-election

Good! Now the base doesn't have to fight party officials (think Toomey Vs. Specter) over the seat.

"I will conclude my service to Virginia as a senator when I complete this, my fifth term, on January 6, 2009," Warner said. The former Navy Secretary and past chairman of the Armed Services Committee said he wrestled with the decision, which he came to "in the last day or two."

In the end, he said, it was the rigors of Senate service as he enters his 80s and the importance of letting the next generation of Senate leaders step up that drove his choice.

Ted Haggard's overseers disapprove of fundraising letter

It appears that Haggard wasn't exactly truthful in his fundraising letter:

Ted Haggard's recent request for money to keep his family afloat while he attends school was "inappropriate" and "unacceptable," according to a statement Wednesday by the group that oversees the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Haggard had e-mailed a Colorado Springs television station a letter requesting financial help while he studies for his master's degree. He also said he was planning to move to the Phoenix Dream Center, a half-way house for the homeless, those coming out of prison recovering alcoholics, drug addicts and prostitutes. "I can identify," he said in the letter.

The letter implied that he would be doing ministry there, but the overseer's statement said Haggard will not be moving in or working with the Dream Center.


In the recent letter soliciting money, Haggard said that if supporters want a tax deduction for their gift, they could mail it to Families with a Mission.

But the organization's head, Paul Huberty, told The Gazette in Colorado Springs that the organization was not aware of Haggard's appeal for money and is not soliciting donation for the family.
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks that it's time for Haggard to support his family on his own. and not look to share the burden with others. Many people have put themselves through school while working full-time.

Robot arm writes "hello"

Video of a robot arm -- writing "hello" and lifting a dumbell (via). Not as scary as this one though.

360-degree 3D holographic image

Here are the details and here's a video of the process. Pretty cool!


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Artist morphs Osama bin Laden into Jesus

It's too bad that art has been reduced to this type of simplicity. It's a shame that artists strive to move people to shock instead of awe over their work. There is nothing awe-inspiring about this insipid work.

THE artist behind a controversial work depicting terrorism mastermind Osama bin Laden morphing into Jesus today invited those considering her work to look a little more deeply than the obvious comparison of good and evil.

Queensland artist Priscilla Bracks denied she had deliberately set out to be offensive.

"Absolutely not, no, no. I am not interested in being offensive. I am interested in having a discussion and asking questions about how we think about our world and what we accept and what we don't accept," she said.

Bracks' work and a statue of the Virgin Mary wearing an Islamic burqa by Sydney artist Luke Sullivan have been entered into Australia's top religious art competition, the Blake Prize.


Bracks told The Daily Telegraph her double portrait was not meant to compare Jesus with bin Laden, but was a commentary on the way the terror leader was treated in the media.

She was concerned bin Laden would be unintentionally glorified in years to come.


Sydney artist Luke Sullivan, who created the Virgin Mary piece entitled The Fourth Secret of Fatima, said his work was not meant to be controversial but provocative.

"It poses the question of what's the future of religion," Sullivan said.

"They (religions) are hegemonic in their nature.

"They can be all-encompassing and powerful."
No one who knows Christianity and Islam could say they are "hegemonic in their nature."


I was going through my old emails today and came across this and thought you might be interested:

Wonkosphere is for all political bloggers, writers and political enthusiasts who need to stay on top of the 2008 Presidential race but can't spend all day searching for the hottest and most relevant material. Wonkosphere tracks over 1,000 political blogs and web sites per day-including yours--and provides analysis of the political buzz that is timely and unbiased.

For each candidate, our unique analysis shows you their share of buzz in conservative and liberal blogs, highlights the most representative posts, and tells you whether the tone of discussion about the candidate is trending up or down. And the daily feature "One Step Ahead" gives prominence to those bloggers whose content was one day ahead of everyone else.

Wonkoblog, the official blog of Wonkosphere, posts timely comments about what's going on in Wonkosphere, and serves as a discussion community for our users.

Politico: Thomspon to announce Sept. 6

Even though I'm a Thompson supporter I have to say that I'm getting bored with this:

Fred Thompson's campaign-in-waiting will hold a 4 p.m. conference call today with supporters to brief them on plans for the former Tennessee senator's presidential announcement next week, according to an e-mail obtained by
Either get in or not. Let's just get on with it.

Toys "R" Us recalls crayon and paint sets made in China

More recalls due to lead:

Toys "R" Us has recalled 27,000 crayon and paint sets made in China because the packaging of the wooden box contains lead, as does some of the watercolor paint within, company and government officials said Thursday.

No injuries have been reported from the use of the Imaginarium Wooden Coloring Cases, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Maybe it's time to buy toys made in the USA. Here's a list of toys that are still made in the USA and links to sites that only sell US manufactured toys.

Amazing Testimony to God's Sovereignty

For those of you who are not Christians, this is a great example of trusting in the Sovereignty of God, in all things. Is it easy? By no means, but trusting in the character of God under girds all that He allows to come our way.

(H/T: Between Two Worlds)

Vista users, help is on the way

Microsoft will be sending out the beta version of their service pack in September to 10,000-15,000 users and will launched world wide in the first quarter of 2008.

Nokia iPhone knock off

It appears that Nokia has copied the interface of the iPhone:

Expect the Nokia iPhone to have HSDPA, a least a 5 megapixel camera (like the N95) and the launch date should be in 2008.
If it's cheaper, works the same, and allows you to use Verizon, I'd buy it.

Check out the video:

Fox and NBC launch Hulu

To take on YouTube. I'd be surprised if they impacted YouTube usage at all:

A video-sharing website intended to challenge the dominance of YouTube is to be named "Hulu" and will have the commercial weight of News Corporation and NBC behind it.

The two global media organisations announced the name today, saying they wanted something which sounds "inherently fun".

Supported by advertising, the free-of-charge site will allow users to watch complete episodes of popular television shows from NBC and News Corp's Fox network such as 24, The Simpsons and House.


Initially planned to launch over the summer, the site's debut has gradually been pushed back. In a statement, Mr Kilar said operations would begin in October for invitation-only trials.

In addition to television shows, a selection of movie content will be available on Hulu including hits from News Corporation's 20th Century Fox studio such, as The Devil Wears Prada and Borat.

Knock offs are funding terrorism

You might want to pass up that fake Coach bag the next time you go to the flea market, you wouldn't want to fund our enemies' next attack:

According to consumer surveys conducted by Coach, the average American woman was buying two new handbags a year in 2000; by 2004, it was more than four. And the average luxury bag retails for 10 to 12 times its production cost.

“There is a kind of an obsession with bags,” the designer Miuccia Prada told me. “It’s so easy to make money.”

Counterfeiters agree. As soon as a handbag hits big, counterfeiters around the globe churn out fake versions by the thousands. And they have no trouble selling them. Shoppers descend on Canal Street in New York, Santee Alley in Los Angeles and flea markets and purse parties around the country to pick up knockoffs for one-tenth the legitimate bag’s retail cost, then pass them off as real.


At least 11 percent of the world’s clothing is fake, according to 2000 figures from the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group in Paris. Fashion is easy to copy: counterfeiters buy the real items, take them apart, scan the pieces to make patterns and produce almost-perfect fakes.

Most people think that buying an imitation handbag or wallet is harmless, a victimless crime. But the counterfeiting rackets are run by crime syndicates that also deal in narcotics, weapons, child prostitution, human trafficking and terrorism. Ronald K. Noble, the secretary general of Interpol, told the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations that profits from the sale of counterfeit goods have gone to groups associated with Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist group, paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland and FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Sales of counterfeit T-shirts may have helped finance the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, according to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. “Profits from counterfeiting are one of the three main sources of income supporting international terrorism,” said Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The blog should load faster now

I removed more of the scripts so the blog should load much faster now. If you are still having a problem let me know, the next thing I can do is remove the embedded videos. That's the only other thing that's slowing the load as far as I can tell. The scripts I have now I need and can't get rid of them (I need at least one stat counter to motivate me :-)

Disgusting News of the Day: A man loses the top of his head in brain operation


A German court has awarded 3,000 euros ($4,100) in damages to a man who had to have the top of his skull replaced with plastic because of a faulty hospital fridge.

Doctors removed the top of the man's head and put it in cold storage while they operated on his brain, the court in the western city of Koblenz said Tuesday.

Because the refrigerator was defective, the section of skull was not kept cool enough and could not be reattached. Doctors replaced the bone with a plastic prosthesis.
It's bad enough that they cut the top of your head off but then to have it damaged, that's just wrong.

12 of the South Korean Hostages have been released!

Thank you, Lord!

Taliban militants on Wednesday released 12 of 19 South Korean captives they promised to free under a deal struck with the South Korean government to resolve a hostage crisis that began almost six weeks ago.

The hostages were released into the care of officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross at three separate locations in central Afghanistan close to the city of Ghazni, an Associated Press reporter who witnessed the hand-overs said.

The first group of three women were released in the village of Qala-e-Kazi. Several hours later, four women and one man were released in a desert close to Shah Baz. As dusk approached, four more hostages were freed on a main road around 31 miles from Ghazni, the reporter said.
Praise God,from whom all blessings flow!


Jay Leno has to leave "The Tonight Show" to make room for Conan?

I just found out! Man! I've got to read the gossip blogs, I'm missing all the interesting news. Why in the world would NBC replace a host that's #1 in his time slot?

Princeton sophomore writing from Iraq

Here's a blog you might be interested in. It's written by a Princeton sophomore who is reporting from Iraq:

The author, Wesley Morgan, is a sophomore at Princeton University, where he writes for The Daily Princetonian. He is blogging from Iraq, where he will spend the month on the invitation of the commander of U.S. forces there, Gen. David Petraeus. Wesley is a member of Princeton's Army ROTC and lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Edwards: Americans give up your SUV

I think politicians should give up their private jets first:

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards told a labor group he would ask Americans to make a big sacrifice: their sport utility vehicles.
Though, I do agree with him on this:
Edwards got a standing ovation when he said weapons and equipment used by America's military needs to be made in the United States.
Unless the equipment is not able to be made in America.


Baptism by Fire Hose

Here's an interesting way to baptize large crowds?

Accompanied by brass bands and thundering preachers, several hundred people squeezed onto a narrow street in the District's Shaw neighborhood yesterday to be baptized in the drenching shower of a fire hose.

Weeping and singing, they raised their hands as the water shot up and then poured down on them in a glistening cascade. Ministers from the United House of Prayer for All People, which held the service, exhorted them to repent their sins and embrace the Holy Spirit.


The tradition of the baptism by fire hose started in the late 1920s, said Apostle H. Whitner, pastor of God's White House. "We used to use the Potomac River," he said, but the church's founder, Charles "Sweet Daddy" Grace, decided to use a fire hose instead, "because a baptism involves sprinkling," Whitner noted.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a mass conversion:
Although many Christian denominations view baptism as a one-time ritual for entry into the faith, the House of Prayer permits multiple baptisms as a way for members to periodically wash away their sins and heal physical ailments. For many in the church, yesterday's baptism is an annual practice.

"If you have sinned since last year, you need to get into the water and be baptized," boomed Apostle H. Thompson, next to Madison. "If you have a sickness and need to be healed, you need to get into the water and be baptized."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thank You!!!!

Livingsword gave us one of these today:

Thank you so much! It was appreciated :-)

I guess I'm supposed to pass it on, so I will to two blogs that I really like:

Dr. Jim West (one of my favorite blogs)

Conservative Reformed Mafia (a new favorite)

Video: Quick Drying Cement Manufactured by Ceratech

The cement is used by the military in Iraq. It dries in an hour which makes it impossible for the terrorists to plant bombs. Pretty cool!


It's a good thing that God is more gracious than this


I was laughing so hard while I watched that my daughters were saying, "What the heck are you watching? Mommy stop laughing so hard, it's annoying." I told them that I would post it to my blog and Sarah's been bugging me all morning to post it.

Updated: I updated this post because I've offended an atheist agnostic with my comment. Evidently, atheists don't think it's a problem that that God doesn't strike them dead for their blasphemy. The atheist of today is too hip and logical to use the theatrics of atheists of the past. I thought about editing it but decided it would be easier to take it out.

The Good and Bad of the NFL

This whole Michael Vick controversy can be construed to say that there is much in the NFL that is wrong.

We've all heard of the players who have been arrested for drunk driving, battery, rape, gun violence, murder and the like.
I just googled NFL crime and got these results. Sad and troubling to say the least.

I know that our culture tends to focus on the bad, so it comes as no surprise that the NFL's image has been damaged by the conduct of some of it's players. But should we just highlight the bad players and ignore the players and coaches who are great role models? I realize that the good always flies under the radar of the bad, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Which brings me to Tony Dungy. He has a new book out, a bestseller by the way, titled Quiet Strength. Tim Challies reviews the book, here is an excerpt:

Those who know the National Football League will know of Tony Dungy, the coach of the Indianapolis Colts. One of the league’s premier and most respected coaches, Dungy is a Christian and one who is outspoken about his faith. Two events in the past two years have put him in the spotlight: the death of his son in 2006 and the Colts’ Superbowl victory in 2007. Anyone who has read about Dungy or observed him on the sidelines will affirm that Quiet Strength is a perfect title for his memoir—a book that has reached as high as the top spot on the New York Times list of bestsellers, becoming the first NFL-related book to hold that honor.
I don't just bring him up because he is a Christian, but because he is a good role model of a man who has lived his life with integrity and humility, within the NFL. I just hate it now that when I watch a game, all the commentators keep talking about is Michael Vick.

Related: Justin Taylor weighs in on some recent NFL news here. You be the judge as to whether or not there seems to be a moral equivalence problem in the NFL.

8 Random Facts

Anna Venger tagged me many weeks ago and I've finally come up with 8 random facts about me that I haven't blogged about yet (it took me a really long time to think of something of interest, I live a very boring life):

1. I met my husband in a bar (in my defense I went there to dance).
2 I became a Christian soon after the birth of my first daughter because I knew that she was a gift from God and he wanted me to raise her in the church.
3. I have a bachelors in Computer Science.
4. I worked in the defense field until I left work to be a full time stay-at-home mom.
5. I have no memory of most of my childhood (just vague memories of random events).
6. I hate music from the 50's and country music (my father tortured me as a child by making us listen to country music).
7. I sometimes like to listen to rap music.
8. I hate to cook and so I jumped on the chance to let Sarah (my 15 year-old) cook two days a week.

Taliban to release Korean Hostages

The South Koreans agreed to remove troops and missionaries by the end of the year. Though, it looks like South Korea really didn't give them anything they weren't already planning to do:

The Taliban agreed Tuesday to free 19 South Korean church volunteers held hostage since July after the government in Seoul pledged to end all missionary work and keep a promise to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.


Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said South Korean and Taliban delegates at face-to-face talks Tuesday in the central town of Ghazni had "reached an agreement" to free the captives.

South Korean presidential spokesman Cheon Ho-sun said the deal had been reached "on the condition that South Korea withdraws troops by the end of year and South Korea suspends missionary work in Afghanistan," he said.

In reaching the deal, South Korea did not appear to commit to anything it did not already plan to do. Seoul has already said it would withdraw its 200 non-combat troops by the end of the year and has also sought to prevent missionaries from causing trouble in countries where they were not wanted.

Ted Haggard soliciting funds

Would it be too harsh to say that it's time he started cleaning up his own messes and not expect others to support him? Shouldn't he learn to support his family without looking for handouts? (I'm thinking of 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.)

Disgraced minister Ted Haggard is asking that donations to support him and his family be sent to a Monument group run by a twice-convicted sex offender.

Haggard, who has moved with his family to Phoenix, could not be reached for comment Monday.


Haggard's new troubles surfaced after he e-mailed KRDO- TV in Colorado Springs last week seeking support while he and his family live in the Phoenix Dream Center, a halfway house for the homeless, recovering addicts, prostitutes, ex-cons and other "broken people."Haggard told KRDO "we are looking for people who will help us monthly for two years" while he and his wife seek counseling degrees at the University of Phoenix.

Haggard wrote that supporters could mail checks to him in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"If any supporters need a tax deduction for their gift, they can mail it to Families With a Mission at P.O. Box 63125, Colorado Springs, CO 80962," Haggard added.

Haggard didn't note in the solicitation that he was paid one year's salary of $138,000 in a severance package by New Life's board and still owns a Colorado Springs home valued at $715,000, according to the El Paso County assessor's office.

Haggard's 2006 salary was reported as $115,000 plus an $85,000 bonus. He also collects royalties on his book titles, although it was unknown how much he receives from that. His books have been pulled from the New Life Church's bookstore.

Dunkin' Donuts is removing trans fats from menu

Oh. my. heck!! What are they thinking?? Why wreck a good thing? According to the article, Krispy Kreme is next. All hope is lost :-(

Dunkin' planned to announce Monday that it has developed an alternative cooking oil and reformulated more than 50 menu items—doughnuts included. The Canton, Mass.-based chain says its menu will be "zero grams trans fat" by Oct. 15 across its 5,400 U.S. restaurants in 34 states.

About 400 locations nationwide that took part in a four-month test already have made the switch to a new blend of palm, soybean and cottonseed oils. That includes all restaurants in New York City and Philadelphia, which are forcing restaurants to phase out their use of artery-clogging trans fat.

The ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins, another unit of Dunkin' Brands Inc., plans to be zero grams trans fat by Jan. 1.

Dunkin' isn't claiming it will become "trans fat free," but does say any trans fat in foods including doughnuts, croissants, muffins and cookies will fall below half a gram per serving. Federal regulations allow food labels to say they've got zero grams of trans fat, provided levels fall below the half-gram threshold.


But Cronin cautioned that when it comes to Dunkin's doughnuts, "we're still talking about a food that's mostly white flour, sugar, and fat."

Dunkin' isn't positioning its namesake product as health food—a shift that would involve more disbelief suspension than might be possible for a treat synonymous with portly, doughnut-gobbling Homer from television's "The Simpsons."

"The goal was not to make a healthy doughnut, it was really to create a doughnut that was better," said Joe Scafido, Dunkin's chief creative and innovation officer. "Certainly, we did not create a healthy doughnut."


Dunkin' is ahead of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., which has yet to roll out a zero gram trans fat doughnut but hopes to do so. Brian Little, a spokesman for the North Carolina-based chain, said, "We continue to work aggressively with outside supply partners, and our goal is to get to zero trans fatty acids while maintaining great Krispy Kreme taste."


"We got no negative consumer feedback, and we sold 50 million doughnuts in that time," Scafido said.
Sorry, I'm not buying that!

Related Post:
Burger King is bowing to pressure

Monday, August 27, 2007

Scott Ott notes the connection between poppies and the Koran

He notes that the Taliban produce 93% of the world's opium supply:

An unnamed U.N. source said, “It’s hard to tell whether people are inspired to plant poppies after reading the Koran, or whether contact with all that opium draws them naturally to the wisdom of the Koran. Either way, the money goes to fund Islamic jihad.”

However, a Taliban source said that according to the Muslim holy book, “it is permissible to sell illicit drugs to buy illegal weapons to slaughter infidel civilians.”

Ron Paul is a Christian!

Sorry, atheists!

I have never been one who is comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena. In fact, the pandering that typically occurs in the election season I find to be distasteful. But for those who have asked, I freely confess that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that I seek His guidance in all that I do.

I have worked tirelessly to defend and restore those rights for all Americans, born and unborn alike. The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideal of liberty. My professional and legislative record demonstrates my strong commitment to this pro-life principle.

George Hotz traded his unlocked IPhone

For three iPhones and a car!

Terry Daidone, the founder of Certicell contacted me this morning, and offered to make a trade for the iPhone. I traded it for a sweet Nissan 350Z and 3 8GB iPhones.

Dutch Bible Museum to add a "House of Koran"

To demonstrate that they are "intercultural:"

The former Open Air Bible Museum near Nijmegen has received 500,000 euro in subsidy from oil state Oman. With this, the museum will expand to include a House of Koran.


Oman and the museum management wish to demonstrate that The Netherlands holds "ample opportunities for intercultural cooperation". According to a statement, they believe in "a society where cohesion and trust is stronger than mistrust and sometimes even hate".
Islamists don't see this as "cooperation" but capitulation. Speaking of Christians calling God, "Allah" this former Muslim makes a similar point:
The other thing this tactic misses is that Islam sees itself and desires to steadily advance its cause and rule globally. Everywhere people and countries and cultures make concessions in the name of tolerance and plurality, we do so to an illiberal expansionist ideology. It's a tragic and dangerous mistake.
Related Post:
Dutch Bishop urges Christians to call God "Allah"

Was the church partially responsible for Rwanda?

The church may have played a part in the Rwanda massacre by remaining silent.

Prior to 1994, Rwanda was described as the most Christianized country in Africa. Ninety percent of its citizens professed to be Christians. But that didn't stop tribal violence from breaking out that resulted in the wanton murder of 800,000 people in 100 days.


"The Rwandan genocide took place in a hidden way, without any eyewitnesses from the international community," Rusesabagina said. "When it comes to churches, all the churches kept quiet."

"Silence, as we all know, is complicity," he said.

Dwight Jackson, a former Southern Baptist missionary to Burundi before the same strife between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups that plagued neighboring Rwanda forced him to leave in the mid-1980s, said all missionaries knew of individuals who were put out of the country for writing less-than-complimentary items on ethnic or political issues.
Priests, nuns and pastors stood by as the Hutu and Tutsi slaughtered each other and a Baptist pastor may have lead the massacre of nearly 5,000:
Instead of opposing the violence, Rusesabagina said, churches were often complicit. People fled to churches for sanctuary, as they had in earlier conflicts. This time those same churches turned into death traps, as ministers either stood by or assisted in ethnic cleansing.

A Belgian court convicted two Benedictine nuns in 2001 of participating in the massacre of more than 7,600 people at the Sovu convent in Butare.

An Anglican bishop was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for the crime of genocide, specifically "for killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the Tutsi population with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a racial or ethnic group."

Accusations were also documented against clergy of the Free Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Seventh-Day Adventist churches.

Finnish police recently took into protective custody Francois Bazaramba, a Baptist pastor suspected of having led the massacre of nearly 5,000 Tutsis. The head of a Baptist youth training camp in Nyakizu, Butare, Bazaramba is accused of helping to organize one genocide and participating in a large massacre. He has lived in Finland since 2003.
Did no one do a sermon on this passage:
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave [1] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Or this one:
1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot [1] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Is someone creating a huge robot?

Why else would they need this huge, bone-crushing fist? EEP!

Alberto Gonzales will resign today

There you go Democrats, you got your pound of flesh. Bush in absentia. I bet the left side of the blogosphere is celebrating:

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, embroiled in the row over the sacking of US attorneys, has resigned, reports quoting senior officials say.

Mr Gonzales, who has been in the job for two-and-a-half years, is expected to formally announce the decision in Washington later on Monday.

He is said to have submitted his resignation to the president on Friday.
Solicitor General Paul Clement will be acting attorney general
The acting attorney general with be Solicitor General Paul Clement. He "can stay in that position for quite a while," a senior administration official said.

That would avoid a bruising confirmation fight. Some Democratic senators have vowed now to confirm a Gonzales successor.

One Laptop Per Child Project Video

Pretty neat for $100 (or maybe $170)!

The engineers have thought of a number of ways to address the power issue:
A team of US-based researchers, backed by a billionaire, have re-invented the computer in an attempt to revolutionise education in the developing world.

The engineers who designed the energy efficient laptop have thrown out a whole host of conventional ideas in order to produce a computer that will be useful in nations where electricity is in short supply.

This is throttled back so it stays cool on its own without the need for a power guzzling fan. It is the first of many tricks that ensure the battery can power the laptop for 13 hours.

More energy is saved by removing the need for a backlight on the display. It uses natural light so it can be read in brilliant sunshine.

The coup de grace is that when the computer goes to sleep and the CPU is hibernating the screen is still readable.
I wish they would do that for regular computers.

The engineers designed it without a hard drive, using chips instead to cut down on power consumption:
"One of the things in laptops that take up a lot of power is actually the hard drive. It is actually spinning around as a motor. It just uses up a lot of power," said OLPC designer Chris Blizzard.

"...there are no moving parts that require motors. It also has to do with reliability but it is mostly to do with power at this point.

"And there is a storage chip that is on the motherboard where you put your files instead of a hard drive."
Even the operating system was designed to use less power:
The XO operating system for the OLPC is custom built and adapted from Linux to slash the amount of power the chip requires. It uses applications which make far fewer demands on the processor than in a conventional computer.
It uses an antenna to cut down on the power used by WIFI cards and it's even kid powered :-)
The OLPC is fitted with a ripcord that owners can crank to power up the device.

"What we are hoping is you will be able to get a 10 to one ratio - that is for each minute you pull and crank on the laptop you can get 10 minutes use out of it."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dr. D. James Kennedy retires

I feel very sad for my brothers and sisters at Coral Ridge that they will have to start the search to replace their pastor. D. James Kennedy has left some really big shoes to fill:

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., today announced the retirement of Dr. D. James Kennedy, senior pastor, assuring the congregation and
international broadcast audience that the church and related ministries
will continue moving forward in the direction set by this visionary leader
after founding the church more than 48 years ago in 1959.


Dr. Kennedy, 76, preached his last sermon from the pulpit of Coral
Ridge Presbyterian Church on Christmas Eve 2006. He suffered a cardiac
arrest four days later and has since been unable to return to the pulpit. A
tribute worship service honoring the extensive ministry of Dr. Kennedy will
be held in the main sanctuary of the church at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday,
Sept. 23.


The announcement of Dr. Kennedy's retirement begins a process by the
church of choosing a successor to fill the pulpit and office of senior
minister. This procedure is well-defined in the constitution of the
Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the denomination to which Coral Ridge
belongs. The officers of the church will assess the church's needs and
supervise the election, by the congregation, of a pulpit search committee
comprised of a cross section of members. This committee will evaluate,
interview and listen to numerous candidates before making its
recommendation to the congregation for a vote.

As outlined in PCA bylaws, the congregation will have the final voice
in determining the new senior minister to succeed Dr. Kennedy. The entire
process of succession is expected to take between one and two years.
Currently CRPC continues under the governance of the elders, elected by the
congregation and serving as a session. Rev. Ronald L. Siegenthaler,
executive minister of the church, will implement the policies of the
governing body as he supervises the day-to-day events of the various
ministry departments.

Naomi Wolf looks at the Porn Myth

The effects of porn.

For the first time in human history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn.

Go read it, it's an interesting piece. Makes me glad that I didn't come of age during the ascendancy of porn. I certainly would not have lived up to the new standard.

The fires in Greece were arson?

It looks like the fires might have been the product of arson. The damage is extensive. The fire spread rapidly, at one point "a mile every few minutes."

Forest fires have burned the hillside overlooking ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, but stopped short of entering the site, officials say.

The museum, home to one of the greatest archaeological collections in Greece, was evacuated as the fires reached the nearby modern village of Olympia.

Fires have ravaged large parts of Greece, affecting the Peloponnese, areas around Athens and Evia island.

On Sunday five bodies were found on Evia, bringing the death toll to 56.

"The flames did not enter the site of Ancient Olympia, where all the anti-fire systems functioned," the secretary general of the culture ministry, Christos Zahopoulos, told AFP.

A new fire protection system was installed at the Unesco World Heritage site for the 2004 Athens Olympics.


The Greek PM has implied that many fires were started deliberately.

In a nationally televised address, Costas Karamanlis said: "So many fires breaking out simultaneously in so many parts of the country cannot be a coincidence.

"The state will do everything it can to find those responsible and punish them."

A 65-year-old man has been charged with arson and murder relating to a fire which killed six people in Areopolis, in the far south of Greece.

Two youths were also detained on suspicion of arson in the northern city of Kavala.
The death toll is currently at 56. What a terrible disaster for the people of Greece. I can't imagine this mother's horror as she watched the fire approach:
Dozens of charred bodies were found across fields, homes, along roads and in cars, including the remains of a mother hugging her four children.

Church bells rang out in the village of Kolyri near Ancient Olympia as panicked residents tried to gather their belongings and flee through the night, said one man who called the television station.


The worst affected region was around the town of Zaharo, where thick smoke blocked out the intense summer sun and could be seen from more than 60 miles away. The blaze broke out Friday afternoon and quickly engulfed villages, trapping dozens of people and killing at least 39. Scores of people were treated in hospitals for burns and breathing problems.

Digg users largely atheist

According to this survey. I certainly wasn't surprised given the generally nasty comments when religion is mentioned.


Recent Christian converts forced to convert back to Islam

Please join me in praying for the recent converts in Bangladesh who have been threatened by their Muslim neighbors.

Local Muslims in Nilphamari district and Islamist missionaries from abroad are hauling recently converted Christians to mosques and forcing them to return to Islam, area sources said.

Evangelist and pastor Sanjoy Roy said the Muslims have forced 27 recently baptized Christians to return to Islam. Another 14 recently converts are still facing incessant pressure to return to Islam from villagers and from Muslim missionaries called Tabligh Jamat.

“The Muslims are still threatening us and saying that they will change our faith," Roy told Compass. "We wanted secrutiy and police protection, but the district commissioner did not accept our application."

Police provided eight officers to protect area Christians on July 28 but left on August 5. Muslims in Durbachari village then began capturing and hauling all male converts to a mosque to return to Islam, forcing them to sign or provide fingerprint signatures on written or blank papers. As nearly all the converts cannot read, area sources said, they did not understand they were signing or giving fingerprint signatures to return to Islam.

Earlier, on July 26, a local source said, local Muslims and Tabligh Jamat missionaries gathered in a schoolyard near the homes of some of the Christians who had been baptized in a river on June 12. Using a microphone, the Muslims threatened violence if the converts did not come out.

Fearing for their lives, the Christians emerged and gathered. The source said the Muslims asked them why they had become Christians and, furious, told them that Bangladesh was a Muslim country “where you cannot change your faith by your own will.”


Abul Hossen, 38, a fruit seller, told Compass that Muslims in the mosque threatened to hang him in a tree upside down and lacerate his body with a blade.

“Then he will understand what are the consequences of being a Christian,” the Muslims told him, Hossen said, adding that they always use “filthy language whenever they see the Christians.”

Hossen said the Muslims “do not allow us to net fish in the river” and offered him 5,000 taka (US$75) and a mobile phone handset if he returned to Islam.

“But I did not give up my faith, because I found Christ in my heart,” Hossen told Compass. “They threatened me with severe consequences if I do not go back to Islam. I said I am ready to offer up my life to Christ, but I won’t renounce my faith in Him.”
Read the rest. There are more stories of forced conversion and harassment.

Afghans insulted by soccer balls

I think it would be a good idea if we could actually understand the culture that we are dealing with in this war on terror. Why needlessly anger the people that we have to get on our side:

A demonstration has been held in south- east Afghanistan accusing US troops of insulting Islam after they distributed footballs bearing the name of Allah.

The balls showed the Saudi Arabian flag which features the Koranic declaration of faith.

The US military said the idea had been to give something for Afghan children to enjoy and they did not realise it would cause offence.

The footballs [soccer balls]were dropped from a helicopter in Khost province.

Some displayed flags from countries all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, which features the shahada, one of the five pillars of Islam - the declaration of faith.


Saudi Arabia has complained to the World Cup's ruling body in the past about the use of its flag on footballs.


Afghan MP Mirwais Yasini said: "To have a verse of the Koran on something you kick with your foot would be an insult in any Muslim country around the world."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Big Brother Spying on Taxi Drivers in NYC

If I were a taxi driver I wouldn't want the city spying on where I went. It's none of the business of the city:

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance -- which accounts for more than 8,000 city drivers -- is threatening to curb their cabs on Sept. 5 if the Taxi and Limousine Commission does not get rid of their GPS system, which the union says invades a driver's privacy.


The New York Taxi Workers Alliance -- which accounts for more than 8,000 city drivers -- is threatening to curb their cabs on Sept. 5 if the Taxi and Limousine Commission does not get rid of their GPS system, which the union says invades a driver's privacy.

DNC Strips Florida Of 2008 Delegates

What about counting every vote and every vote counting?

The Democratic National Committee sought to seize control of its unraveling nominating process yesterday, rejecting pleas from state party leaders and cracking down on Florida for scheduling a Jan. 29 presidential primary.

The DNC's rules and bylaws committee, which enforces party rules, voted yesterday morning to strip Florida of all its delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver -- the harshest penalty at its disposal.
Wouldn't it be funny if the delegates from Florida were need to determine the race? I suspect the winner would be heading to court pretty darn quickly :-)

Brzezinski disses Clinton and supports Obama

I can't believe I'm about to defend Clinton but I just can't see anyone, even Jimmy Carter's national security adviser thinking that Clinton has less knowledge of foreign affairs than Obama especially given his missteps of the last month:

Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the most influential foreign-policy experts in the Democratic Party, threw his support behind Barack Obama's presidential candidacy, saying the Illinois senator has a better global grasp than his chief rival, Hillary Clinton.

Obama ``recognizes that the challenge is a new face, a new sense of direction, a new definition of America's role in the world,'' Brzezinski said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital with Al Hunt.''

``Obama is clearly more effective and has the upper hand,'' Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, said. ``He has a sense of what is historically relevant, and what is needed from the United States in relationship to the world.''

Brzezinski, 79, dismissed the notion that Clinton, 59, a New York senator and the wife of former President Bill Clinton, is more seasoned than Obama, 46. ``Being a former first lady doesn't prepare you to be president,'' Brzezinski said.
As a two time Senator she has a lot more experience than Obama.! I just noticed Obama is only 46! I hope he doesn't win, this will be the first time I'm older than the president :-( Not really happy about that!


Lt. Col. John Nagl on the Daily Show

He is one of the authors of the Counterinsurgency Field Manual. It's an excellent interview.


Though, I wonder why we are publishing our strategy and making it available on Wouldn't our enemy be able to counter our counter?

Updated: a very nice person emailed me and let me know that my video was messed up. It's fixed now so you can watch it.

Man's Heart Stops After Excessive Red Bull Consumption

He drank 8 Red Bulls while competing in a motocross event and he's surprised he almost died:

A MAN whose heart stopped after he consumed eight Red Bull energy drinks in five hours has called for an overhaul of the product's warning labels.

Matthew Penbross, 28, collapsed after downing the popular drinks, each containing 80 milligrams of caffeine, last Sunday.

He drank the Red Bull while competing in a motocross event on the state's Mid North Coast.

His heart stopped and he needed defibrillation from ambulance officers.

Now facing six weeks off work, he said warning labels on the products should be revamped to alert people that excessive consumption could lead to death. Labels currently warn against consuming more than two cans, or 1.5 bottles a day, without describing the consequences.


NSW Health has urged people to be extremely cautious of overdosing on stimulant products. Department spokesman Dr Robert Batey said consuming high levels of stimulants had the potential to cause heart attacks.

Um, isn't common sense enough?

But a cardiologist takes issue with the story and believes that Red Bull might not be the cause (if I were this guy, I wouldn't take the chance and would lay off the Red Bull).


How to neutralize al-Qaeda

Somehow I don't see al-Qaeda being stupid enough to follow the example of the American church, do you?


Image Resizing

I want it! When are they going to market it? It would make my life so much easier.


Friday, August 24, 2007

George Hotz Unlocks the iPhone

For use with another network (he's using T-Mobile). Instructions on how to do it are here (it's a ten step process, just scroll down -- I linked to the archives) or you can buy his on ebay.

Doesn't this violate the terms of use with the iPhone and can Apple stop you from using another carrier?

Update: Engadget reports that iPhone has been unlocked using software only:

The team called us up to prove their claim that they cracked Apple's iPhone SIM lock system, and prove it they did. (No, we don't have a copy of the unlock software, so don't even ask us, ok?) The six-man team has been working non-stop since launch day, and they're officially the first to break Apple's SIM locks on the iPhone with software. It's done. Seriously. They wouldn't tell us when and how they would release it to the public, but you can certainly bet that they'll try to make a buck on their solution (and rightly so). We can hardly believe the iPhone's finally been cracked. No, scratch that -- we just can't believe it took this long.
Go read the details (they have video!).

Fidel Castro Dead?

Perez Hilton reports that Castro is dead and that it would be announced at 4:00 and is sticking by the story even though it's long past that time.

I think it's cruel to get the hopes of the Miami Cubans up again if this is just a hoax!

The Democrats can be so helpful

Isn't it nice of the Democrats to inform the Protestants that Jindal, who is running for Governor of Louisiana wrote nasty things about them before he entered politics?

A political ad from the Louisiana governor's race is drawing a storm of criticism for accusing Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal of calling Protestants "scandalous, depraved, selfish and heretical."

Democrats say the state party's 30-second TV spot - running in heavily Protestant central and north Louisiana - simply explains Jindal's beliefs with his own words, using portions of the Catholic congressman's religious writings through the 1990s, before he was an elected official.


A spokeswoman for the Democratic Party said the ad is slated to run for about a week. It features an actress saying Jindal doesn't respect other people's religions and directs viewers to a Web site with links to several articles Jindal wrote on Catholicism.

"He wrote articles that insulted thousands of Louisiana Protestants," the narrator says.

A review of Jindal's writings on Catholicism, however, show his positions on faith to be more nuanced than the ad suggests.

In a 1996 article for New Oxford Review, a Roman Catholic magazine, Jindal talks of the Catholic religion as the true Christian faith and refers to a "scandalous series of divisions and new denominations" of religions since the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century.

But he also wrote of the binding ties of Christianity and says the Catholic Church must incorporate the "spirit-led movements" of other Christian faiths.
A Catholic saying that the Catholic religion is the true Christian faith? Shocking! I think that the Protestants may be able to handle the shock since we believe something similar about Protestantism and kind of knew that Roman Catholics felt that way about Catholicism :-)

You wanted it, you got it

I have been taunted to respond to this Op-Ed piece in the NY Times. I don't usually respond to taunts but I've made an exception in this case :-) Here you go (via).

The Fox News Democrat debate has been canceled

Looks like the netroots have won. They truly are the power behind the throne.

Fox News and a black political group say they will not hold a Sept. 23 Democratic presidential debate in Detroit, which the leading candidates already were planning to skip.

A new date had not yet been set, Fox News spokesman Michael Murphy said Thursday.

The campaigns of U.S. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards had said they would not participate in the debate. Opponents have criticized Fox as biased against Democrats.

Can't say that I'm unhappy that the Democrats will be missing the exposure they would have gotten on Fox :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Anchorwoman" canceled after only one show

I decided against watching Anchorwoman last night but was having second thoughts about it today until I read this news:

Here's news that Fox's series "Anchorwoman" wouldn't want to deliver: It's been canceled after one low-rated airing.

The debut of the reality show about Lauren Jones' attempt to turn herself into a news anchor for a Texas TV station drew an estimated 2.7 million viewers Wednesday, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen Media Research.
Guess it's good I didn't get attached to it.

You can watch the remaining episodes here.

Left Behind Prank?

I am so not believing that this is a real practical joke (the reaction to the prank seems fake):


I guess it keeps the youth group out of trouble (at least they aren't walking around with a Jesus cutout).

The Newbusters Presidential Poll

NB asks who will win in 2008: a Republican or Democrat. The results (as of this publican) are surprising if you believe the current meme that the right is depressed and disheartened by our chances in 2008:

83% (1935 votes)
17% (390 votes)
I voted Republican because I just can't see America vote for a candidate who is ready to lose yet another war (warning: I'm notoriously bad at predicating the outcome of races and have blown it many times in the past).

The Nine Inch Nails Song I Like

I was going through my old emails (I now have over 400 unread emails) and I noticed that a commenter had problems accessing the video I linked to and wanted to know what was the Nine Inch Nails song I liked and guessed "Hurt" (that would be surprising). No, that's not it. It's "Only" (warning: unedited version). You think that's weird? Here's another song I like (warning: language).

Club for Growth report on Thompson

A googler came here looking for information on "Thompson" and "Club for Growth." I thought I would be helpful and provide the following information:

Lopez: Have you paid any attention to Fred Thompson yet?

Toomey: We have done extensive research on Fred Thompson’s economic record. Our white paper on Fred Thompson’s economic record will be released with the forthcoming declaration of his candidacy.
Hopefully that will mean it will be released in September :-)

Couple name their baby "@"

Why do parents do this to their children?

A Chinese couple tried to name their baby "@," claiming the character used in e-mail addresses echoed their love for the child, an official trying to whip the national language into line said on Thursday.

The unusual name stands out especially in Chinese, which has no alphabet and instead uses tens of thousands of multi-stroke characters to represent words.

"The whole world uses it to write e-mail, and translated into Chinese it means 'love him'," the father explained, according to the deputy chief of the State Language Commission Li Yuming.

While the "@" symbol is familiar to Chinese e-mail users, they often use the English word "at" to sound it out -- which with a drawn out "T" sounds something like "ai ta," or "love him," to Mandarin speakers.
The last time I commented on a child's name I got grief but I still think it's cruel to give your kid a name that's going to get them beat up.

Pigeon Droppings May Have Contributed to the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

This would be strange if it turns out to be true:

Pounded and strained by heavy traffic and weakened by missing bolts and cracking steel, the failed Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River also faced a less obvious enemy: Birds, specifically pigeons.

Inspectors began documenting the buildup of pigeon dung on the span near downtown Minneapolis two decades ago.

Experts say the corrosive guano deposited all over the span's framework helped the steel beams rust faster.

Although investigators have yet to identify the cause of the bridge's Aug. 1 collapse, which killed at least 13 people and injured about 100, the pigeon problem is one of many factors that dogged the structure.


Pigeon droppings contain ammonia and acids, said chemist Neal Langerman, an officer with the health and safety division of the American Chemical Society. If the dung isn't washed away, it dries out and turns into a concentrated salt. When water gets in and combines with the salt and ammonia, it creates small electrochemical reactions that rust the steel underneath.

Cocaine Sub

The drug smugglers are going hi-tech:

A submarine-like vessel filled with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cocaine was seized off the Guatemalan coast, U.S. officials said.

Four suspected smugglers were operating the self-propelled, semi- submersible vessel when it was located and seized on Sunday evening by officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, the Border Patrol said in a news release Wednesday.

When the suspects realized they had been spotted by drug-surveillance aircraft patrolling the eastern Pacific, they scuttled the vessel but were unable to escape.

Coast Guard officials, guided by the reconnaissance plane, intercepted the vessel and detained the reputed smugglers, who were transporting approximately 5.5 tons of cocaine worth $352 million, the Border Patrol said.

Juanita Bynum was attacked by her husband

I guess this will impact the sale of their book on marriage:

Police said Juanita Bynum, a televangelist who has won a national following with sermons about women's empowerment, was assaulted by her preacher husband in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel early Wednesday.

Bynum and her estranged husband, Thomas W. Weeks III, the founder of Global Destiny churches, met at Renaissance Concourse Hotel near Atlanta's airport to try to reconcile, police said.

About 4 a.m., they fought in the parking lot until a hotel bellman pulled Weeks off, Officer Ronald Campbell said.

"She was bruised up and battered," Campbell said. "She had purple bruising around her neck and upper torso."

No charges had been filed by Wednesday night against Weeks, who left the scene accordign to police.

It doesn't seem like he followed his own advice:

This may be the end of their marriage conferences as well.

Sunni village leader attacked by al-Qaeda

It looks like al-Qaeda is targeting the Sunni tribesmen who were helping us:

Suspected al-Qaida fighters attacked a Sunni village east of Baqouba on Thursday and killed a village leader who had led the community in an uprising against the terrorist organization, witnesses and police said.

At the same time Timim, a nearby Shiite village, came under attack, again by suspected al-Qaida fighters. A total of 15 people, including seven women, were killed and 22 wounded in the two assaults, said Baqouba police Brig. Ali Dlaiyan.

Ten attackers were killed as villagers fought back, he said. A joint U.S.-Iraqi force had blocked the region.

The attack by about 25 gunmen on the Ibrahim al-Yahya village began at 6:30 a.m. when the fighters exploded a bomb at the house of Sheik Younis al-Shimari, destroying his home and killing him and one member of his family. Ten people were wounded, including four other members of the family and passers-by. Some of the wounded were hit by gunfire.

"They were shouting Allah Akbar and Curse be upon the Renegades," said Umm Ahmed, who was among the three women wounded in the attack. She refused to give her full name fearing retribution. "This attack will cause the uprising against them to spread to other villages."

Related Posts:
While the Democrats try to end the war, Iraqis fight al-Qaeda
Sunni tribesmen help fight Sunni insurgents

Is there a whisper campaign against Thompson?

Someone is going around to conservative blogs and leaving similar comments about Fred Thompson's health. Here's the one that was left here:

Anonymous said...

When are you going to wake up and face reality that Fred Thompson looks very old and very ill. What is wrong with some of you? This man should be home with his family. One campaign appearance in well over a week and then can only walk 20 minutes with Sen Grassley before having to rest, ignores people calling his name, and rides around in a golf cart not eating? That man is is ill and the sooner some of you realize it maybe he will decide to stay home with his young children and not be putting stress on himself.

Quit deluding yourselves as the man would have been in the race in the spring if he was completely well.

He had 100 supporters and if that is a mob, then you do Romney math for how many are at his events.

You do remember Paul Tsongas, don't you? Looks at Fred's arms and his neck/face and tell me that people are going to vote for someone that looks that unhealthy.

Go support Duncan Hunter or Sam Brownback because they are 'real' conservatives and don't pander to conservatives like Fred.

Some of you have the actor and the former Senator/lobbyist mixed up.
Influence Peddler has others.

Pretty slimy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We are not a nation of readers

If I didn't read over the summer and during my winter break I might have fallen in the "haven't completed many books this year" category since many of my classes at seminary only require us to read sections of books and not whole books (especially the theology classes). I do love to read, I just don't take the time to do it. I wonder how many people like me are represented in this poll:

One in four U.S. adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who had not read any, the usual number read was seven.
With the lure of the Internet and TV, I find it very hard to tear myself away and spend time reading. It really can be a time-consuming activity and the type of books that I like to read (thrillers -- I'm reading The Judas Strain now) are over 300 pages. I usually stay up to all hours of the night reading or take weeks to finish a book.

My daughter, Sarah is an avid reader. She read 153 books last year in a competition with my mom. She won by one book :-) Her sister Samantha is not a reader, she loves to watch movies and Disney shows on the Internet. I let her do it way too much but I do force her to read (I just sent her to her room to read for an hour). I'm hopeful that she will eventually develop a love for books if she's around them enough.

Another interesting aspect of the study is the type of books we are reading:
The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. Popular fiction, histories, biographies and mysteries were all cited by about half, while one in five read romance novels. Every other genre — including politics, poetry and classical literature — were named by fewer than five percent of readers.
Good to see that the Bible is still being read by the majority. Though I'm sad to see that so few are reading classical literature. And I would be happier about those who were reading "religious works" if I didn't know that probably means Joel Olsteen and Joyce Meyers.

Hackers obtained user data

If you've used, you might not want to download any software that they recommend in an email:

Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly in the U.S., have been exposed to the risk of file ransom after the Web site of the world's largest online recruiter was hacked.

Personal details stored on, a Web site that lists job seekers and job opportunities, were taken after a raid by hackers who posed as employers to gain access to the site.

Having stolen the information, hackers e-mailed the victims claiming to have infected their computers with a virus and threatening to delete files unless demands for payment were met.

In all, more than 1.6 million entries in Monster's system — belonging to "several hundred thousand" members — were taken after the hackers logged in using the details of employers who routinely scour the site for prospective workers, according to the Silicon Valley security firm Symantec.

The information, which included first and last names, e-mail and home addresses and phone numbers, was then used to send "phishing" e-mails to members, apparently from, encouraging them to download a tool known as "Monster Job Seeker."

The tool was in fact a malicious program known as a "Trojan," as in Trojan horse, which encrypted files on the victims' machines, making them inaccessible to the computer owner.

A message was left requesting that money be paid to the attackers before the files — which could include photos and other personal documents — would be decrypted.

Russian bomber intercepted over the north Atlantic

This is a rather weird article. It states that a Russian bomber was intercepted but it doesn't mention why or what the bomber was doing there. No reference to a Russian spokesman. It just goes on to talk about the RAF jets. Wouldn't the author think that the reader would be more interested in the Russian bomber?

Two RAF jets have intercepted a Russian bomber over the north Atlantic.

Typhoon interceptors shadowed a Russian Tupolev-95 "Bear" reconnaissance aircraft last Friday.

It is the first time the £60m Eurofighter has been scrambled on a genuine alert since it took over defence of Britain's airspace in June.
Here's more:
The Russian Air Force said Wednesday that its recent resumption of long-range bomber missions is not a sign of aggression and that authorities are informing other countries of the flights in advance, the RIA-Novosti news agency said.

President Vladimir Putin announced last week that Russian bombers had started flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The announcement, and earlier reports that British and Norwegian warplanes had scrambled to keep watch on Russian bombers that were approaching their airspace, raised concern that Russia was stepping up efforts to intimidate the West.

"There's no saber-rattling," Air Force spokesman Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky was quoted as saying. "Our pilots are not invading someone else's space and there is nothing aggressive about these actions in relation to other countries."

Disgusting News of the Day: Used Chopsticks Sold as New

Ewwww! They're making it very hard for me to eat in Chinese restaurants:

A Beijing factory recycled used chopsticks and sold up to 100,000 pairs a day without any form of disinfection, a newspaper said on Wednesday, the latest is a string of food and product safety scares.


China, on track to overtake the United States this year as the world's second-largest exporter, lacks a basic food safety law and the manpower to enforce food and drug safety regulations at home or for export. Imports are generally carefully scrutinized.

A lack of business ethics and a spiritual vacuum after China embraced economic reforms in the late 1970s have been blamed for unscrupulous business practices and corruption.

Yeah! We're back!

Apparently, Blogger had technical difficulties. Blogging will resume momentarily :-)

Germany Fears Military Being Targeted in Afghanistan

Their military may be a target in the north so what do they do? Debate pulling their troops. Unbelievable. Is anyone prepared to fight the enemy without growing squishy?

Germany fears its peacekeepers and aid workers in Afghanistan have become targets of the Taliban and other insurgents who want to force Berlin to pull its soldiers and citizens out of the country.

A senior Taliban leader told the German weekly Der Spiegel in March that German peacekeepers deployed in the relatively quiet north of Afghanistan would no longer be spared the deadly attacks which were then commonplace in the southern regions.

German police, soldiers and aid workers have been killed and civilians kidnapped, intensifying debate in Germany on whether it is time for Germany to call it quits in Afghanistan where a resurgent Taliban is making strong gains.

German government officials have expressed concern that the Taliban may have targeted Germany to influence debate on the renewal of Berlin's peacekeeping mandate this fall.

"Those behind the attacks and kidnappings want to sabotage our long-term engagement," German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul told weekly newspaper Die Zeit. "That's why we can't give in to them."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Great Internet Baptism Debate

Justin Taylor does a "Baptizoblogodebate Roundup" and breaks some news at the same time.

This is not an issue at our church since we admit both credo (confessional) and paedo (infant) into membership. We believe that there shouldn't be any unbiblical requirements to membership. I would hate to exclude from fellowship those for whom Christ died, I feel sorry for churches who don't have a problem with it.

Rollerman Video

Another video I saw on i-CAUGHT that's pretty interesting:

When Lizards Attack

I just saw this on i-CAUGHT and thought it was pretty funny:

MP4 Video Watch

It also plays MP3 and WMA music files. It's pretty cheap, only $150.

For those of you who doubt the liberal bias of the news

There's this.

Help! Help! I need help!

Could some kind soul go here and tell me why the title of my blog is missing when I use IE? Please, please, please!!! I was thinking about switching templates but nothing is working and I don't feel like messing with it.

Janeane Garofalo will be joining the cast of "24"

Yech! Couldn't they find a real actress for the part?

The political left and the political right are going to meet on Fox's "24" this coming season.

Actress-comedian Janeane Garofalo, an outspoken liberal, is set to co-star on the conservative-leaning real-time drama, whose co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow jokingly describes himself as a "right-wing nut job."

On the Imagine TV/20th Century Fox TV series, Garofalo will play a government agent who is part of the team investigating the crisis befalling Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and company in the upcoming season.

Garofalo is the second major cast addition to the action drama, which is going through a major revamping coming off a lackluster sixth season. Cherry Jones was tapped last month to play the new president (HR 7/21).

Switching back to XP

Anyone have Vista? I've been praying that my laptop doesn't die so that I don't have to get a new one with the Vista OS. I've been around PC's long enough to know that you never purchase the first release of anything Microsoft puts out since that is it's beta testing phase. It lets them save on testing by making you their testers :-)

This just confirms my fear:

I've concluded that this initial release of Vista is not worth it. I'm digging out an install disk for Windows XP and putting that back on my machines.

What's the problem with Vista? In exact programming detail, I'm not sure. But despite a number of things it does nicely -- snazzy screen display, very rare blue-screen crashes, and some other things I'm sure I'm forgetting -- I find myself working against it more than with it. (Definition of the ideal computer program: one you never have to think about.) Of course there is its rampant gobbling of my 105-gigabyte hard disk, as complained-about here, here, here, here, and here. There is the clumsiness of the built-in indexer -- OK in theory, not that great in practice -- and of something called "user account control," which if you've tried Vista you know about and probably don't like. ComputerWorld was a little blunter about it: user account control, it said, was Vista's "most universally reviled feature."

Vista takes forever to start up or shut down and in general feels overweight and slow. I was finally pushed off the fence and toward that XP install disk by this article in TechWorld, saying that IT officials around the world were doing what they could to avoid Vista.

And this:
I've been using Vista on my home laptop since it shipped, and can say with some conviction that nobody should be using it as their primary operating system -- it simply has no redeeming merits to overcome the compatibility headaches it causes. Whenever anyone asks, my advice is to stay with Windows XP (and to purchase new systems with XP preinstalled).


My hope is that by the time I need a new computer Toshiba will be shipping their computers with XP pre-installed.

And Mac people, if I wanted one I would have bought it years ago. I have no interest. You can't get a good Mac for under $600.

Lawset to get Mattel to test kids for lead

Mattel should be offering to test these kids themselves, it shouldn't take a lawsuit to do it:

A family sued Mattel on Monday, claiming the world's largest toy maker should pay for testing to determine if children have been exposed to lead from millions of recalled toys.
I have no sympathy for a company that decides to cut expenses by doing business with communists. They are getting what they deserve. Maybe this will stop other businesses from doing it and we can stop funding China's future attacks against us.

Japan hopes to replace the Internet by 2020

I wonder how they expect to get us to switch? Why would we want to get up control of the Internet:

Japanese communications minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that Japan will start research and development on technology for a new generation of network that would replace the Internet, eyeing bringing the technology into commercial use in 2020. Speaking to reporters in Brazil, where he is visiting, Suga said an organization will be set up as early as this fall with cooperation from businesses, academia and government offices for promoting the technology when the Internet is seen to be faced with increasing constraints in achieving higher throughputs of data as well as ensuring data security. The envisaged network is expected to ensure faster and more reliable data transmission, and have more resilience against computer virus attacks and breakdowns.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Democrat says that the military needs to stay longer in Iraq

Wow! This guy was originally against the war (doesn't sound like your typical neo-con):

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird said Thursday that his recent trip to Iraq convinced him the military needs more time in the region, and that a hasty pullout would cause chaos that helps Iran and harms U.S. security.

"I believe that the decision to invade Iraq and the post-invasion management of that country were among the largest foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation. I voted against them, and I still think they were the right votes," Baird said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

"But we're on the ground now. We have a responsibility to the Iraqi people and a strategic interest in making this work."

Baird, a five-term Democrat, voted against President Bush ordering the Iraq invasion — at a time when he was in a minority in Congress and at risk of alienating voters. He returned late Tuesday from a trip that included stops in Israel, Jordan and Iraq, where he met troops, U.S. advisers and Iraqis, whose stories have convinced him that U.S. troops must stay longer.

With Congress poised next month to look at U.S. progress in Iraq and a vote looming on U.S. funding for the war, Baird said he's inclined to seek a continued U.S. presence in Iraq beyond what many impatient Americans want. He also expects Gen. David Petraeus, who oversees U.S. troops in Iraq, to seek a redeployment of forces. "People may be upset. I wish I didn't have to say this," Baird said. He added that the United States needs to continue with its military troops surge "at least into early next year, then engage in a gradual redeployment. … I know it's going to cost hundreds of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars."


Clinton says the surge is working

I wonder how the left will spin this:

New military tactics in Iraq are working but the best way to honor U.S. soldiers is "by beginning to bring them home," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told war veterans Monday.


Clinton said new tactics have brought some success against insurgents, particularly in Iraq's Anbar province.

"It's working. We're just years too late in changing our tactics," she said. "We can't ever let that happen again. We can't be fighting the last war. We have to keep preparing to fight the new war."

I think it might be time for a traffic light


So, I was curious how much those Gucci loafers are worth

Since there was such a fuss I figured they must cost a lot but I was surprised to find out that you can get Gucci loafers for under $500 (and if you shop around you can get them for under $400). This doesn't seem like a lot for a politician to pay for shoes especially when some in the race are paying so much more for hair cuts. At least with shoes you can keep them for years. I've had the same pair of pumps for at least 10 years. I never mind paying more if something is well made, that means it will last longer.