Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Neighbor in the Celestial Neighborhood

New 'super-Earth' found in space

Everyone is excited about this find, for different reasons. I admit an unusual excitement which I actually had to stop and analyze; I was delighted to discover that perhaps a little of the adventurous blood of the Pilgrims, pioneers, colonists and explorers was running in my veins.

To think of an entire uninhabited new world! An untapped planetary paradise, similar to our home planet, yet different. We humans, especially in America, haven't seen something so welcoming yet untouched by human hands in so long that we've never had the chance to know what that feeling must be like for our ancestors.

But excitement should be tempered with reality. The planet is 20 lightyears away, or 3.1039 x 1015 miles away, which is 31.039 x 100,000,000,000,000. Like it or not, we have no equipment capable of traveling that far.

The temperatures sound agreeable to our own, yes, but to what extremes do they reach? This new neighbor might have a fever of its own!

Scientists also aren't sure liquid water exists on the planet; only the temperatures suggest that liquid water might be available.

And what about the atmosphere? What's the gravity on this big fella?

From the spiritual angle, we know that God will pour out his judgment on mankind as described in the book of Revelation. This would make me suspect that human beings will not engage in interplanetary travel before the Lord's Return, because it seems reasonable that men might escape the judgments by hiding on other planets. The Bible speaks of increase in knowledge, transportation and communication, but nothing about extra-planetary travels.

On the other hand, God created the earth at just the right position in relation to the sun, to be hospitable for life. To find another such planet so "close" might suggest it was designed for habitation. (It is closer to its sun than our planet, but the sun is smaller and colder.) Perhaps this will be an option when the Earth is made new and sin and death are destroyed. Perhaps planetary travel was in God's original design for humankind, before we sinned.

Many are jumping on this find and thinking it will be the salvation of us all; global warming and pollution and war and disease are killing this planet. If ONLY they could make the leap to another planet, and escape the corruption and sin and greed! (T'would be a futile task; they would only bring their own sin with them, to the ruin of their utopian dreams, just like all the other pipe dreams of communes vowing to separate from the "evils" of the world outside.)

Others suggest that this planet's seemingly agreeable climate might be the contact with other life that we've been looking for. I don't believe we'll ever find life outside of this planet, but truth be told, I don't care if these people are motivated by global warming, oil (which wouldn't be present on another planet anyway, but that's another story) or by aliens. Just so long as something stimulates the free market towards developing the means to travel more efficiently through space.

Oh, and Dave has a suggestion for naming this new planet. Let's call it: Terra.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Prince Caspian kicks Vin Diesel out


According to IF Magazine, the "xXx" and "Pacifier" star's movie project was booted out of the Prague sound stages to make room for the Narnia sequel.

I think this boy will make a fine king after all.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jurassic Overhaul

The following is an article I authored that was published by Creation-Evolution Headlines on April 17, 2007.

Jurassic Park Gets Overhaul   04/17/2007   

How much do we understand the dinosaurs?  ABC News reported on some big-time updates and revisions being made to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History dinosaur exhibits.  The title of the article is, “Getting Their Dinosaur Facts Right, at Least for Now.”
The problem is that even though the newest of the dinosaurs are 65 million years old, scientists’ understanding of them has been racing along, changing with each new find.  So the Carnegie staff has decided to dismantle – and rethink – its entire collection.
   Our image of dinosaurs comes mostly from what one finds in old sci-fi films – big, lumbering creatures, dragging their tails on the ground.  In recent years, scientists have decided they were probably much more energetic and agile – and the way most fossils were displayed was wrong.

   “Unfortunately, they don’t come with instruction manuals,” Matt Lamanna, a paleontologist at the museum, said with a smile.

The project requires “a small army of painters, sculptors, welders and former museum staffers” to fix the newly-found errors and set the dinosaurs to rights.
The scientists back then certainly had the best of intentions but not the best information.  Very few of the fossil skeletons they dug up were complete, so they made educated guesses, sometimes based on their knowledge of other species.

This may satisfy the purists for now.  But the article speculated that
“years from now, as the scientists learn more, they say they’ll probably have to change the exhibits all over again.
Evolutionists insist that some of their theory’s greatest strengths are the very driving forces of the theory itself; change and adaptation.  However, when an idea that you defend constantly changes, very few would consider that a strength. Indeed, Charles Darwin himself would scarcely recognize his own theory today.
   This is illustrated in scientific interpretations of dinosaurs.  When putting the bones together, they had to place the backs out of joint merely to fit with their beliefs of dinosaur skeletal structures – literally, forcing the evidence to match their theories.
   Notably, the Carnegie collection itself has not changed.  Those old bones remain the same, and it is only evolutionists’ understanding that has changed.  And as ABC aptly pointed out, it will probably all need to be changed again mere generations from now – which means that even this updated display is probably wrong in ways we cannot recognize.  So what is racing along?  Understanding?  Scientific progress?  Human imagination?  The bones aren’t saying.

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Answers Museum Already Making A Difference

Creation Museum touches lives - Workers sharing faith even before building opens

Jeremy Huff is sawing, measuring and shaping the planks that will make up part of Noah's Ark.

He is a carpenter. He is also a Christian. And he never thought this would happen to him.

He never thought that one day, he would find the church again. Or that one day, he would read the Bible to his children, and together, they would discuss its meaning.

He most certainly did not expect that he would be "saved" on the job.

But there is a feeling here, in this place. Amid the construction and painting, workers at the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum in Petersburg say they are completing something special.

They say God's work is being carried out on a daily basis.

Of course, the article misrepresents creationist views when it says "[Creationists believe] that dozens of dinosaurs were passengers on Noah's Ark." There was actually only need for one pair of dinosaurs, because of rapid speciation and the fact that they didn't have to bring one of every species (IE, finch, robin, cardinal, sparrow, etc.) but only one kind of bird.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Is There Anything Evolution Can't Do?

Television dinners linked to evolution

This Cambridge professor suggests that eating in front of the television is akin to our ancestors eating around the fire. (Of course, our "ancestors" ate around the fire as far back as a couple hundred years.)

But wait! Doesn't sitting around the television lead to obesity? Won't feeding younger children and keep them sitting still so they can be entertained make them hyperactive? Nonsense.

Evolution makes us fat and evolution makes kids hyperactive. It's all very simple.

And just for good measure, if your golf swing stinks, that's evolution's fault too.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wanted: Snappy Darwinist Decal Comeback

Your Chance to Be an Intelligent Designer - "Bequeath unto us the next species of Darwin fish, and it could wind up inhabiting bumpers across the nation"

Evolutionists are smacking their foreheads, having suddenly come to a startling conclusion; they haven't hit back at the Truth Fish Eats Darwin Fish decal! They've actually let all these years go by without firing off a snappy wordless comeback to be plastered across the bumpers of evangelical agnostics nationwide.

Here's an idea for a comebacked comeback to their comeback at our comeback; skewer the Darwin fish with a cross.

When Celtic Comes to Town

Remember that group I pasted a raving review about, Celtic Woman? They were in a nearby town recently, and I attended the concert with my brother and sister. Frankly, this was one of the first music concerts I'd ever attended. (Sure, I like country music and such, but there is rarely an artist that doesn't, among his or her repertoire, have a song I hate. Plus, ticket prices are so inflated, and most artists that come through don't have anything to offer that I would pay such money to see.

We finally managed to squeeze into a roof space of a public parking garage, and then beat the elevator five floors down by taking the stairs two and four at a time.

One of the first things I noticed (besides my figurative nosebleed; we were in the second-worst seats of the house) was the haze hovering above us. It occurred to me that theaters like this must intentionally emit some sort of particulates to give the spotlights body. In other words, you can see the whole of the path the light takes as it beams all the way down to the stage below.

The concert began around 8:05, with the standard KET "support your public television" introduction. I was just a leetle disappointed to find that most of the strings and other exotic instruments were recorded. There was a guy on the recorder/bagpips and two other fellows on guitars or other such instruments, and a guy on the piano. And of course, on the violin.

Most of the music was from the second CD, with a few from their first CD. I couldn't for the life of me recall the specific order that the songs were in, but they songs are roughly listed in order, or at least in which half they were, with a few thoughts on certain performances.

Máiréad intro'd the concert just like in A New Journey, as the group (minus Hayley; she and Méav alternate, it appears) burst forth in their new introductery song "The Dawn and the Sky and the Sun." The drums made a lot bigger impact in person than on CD or DVD. And I was happy to see they'd added a new verse on that allowed them to jump into the chorus again before ending, although I didn't quite catch the words.

Lisa Kelly was up next with "Caledonia".

Following Lisa, Méav sang Danny Boy, a song which everyone seems to think is the greatest think since sliced bread, but which I've never thought too highly of.

Chloe hit the stage after that for The Prayer.

Since all four had solos, I'm pretty sure that Órla came and sang Siúil A Rúin.

Máiréad darted back on stage (the stage was small enough that she seemed to be bouncing off the walls) to play The Butterfly.

The Blessing

Granuaile's Dance

Last Rose of Summer - Méav and Chloe sang this, since Hayley wasn't there.

Scarborough Fair - Méav and Chloe

Vivaldi's Rain - Came with rain sound effects in the beginning.

Mo Ghile Mear - When they started playing this, I thought "aw, they should have saved that for the end." Then I glanced at my cell phone clock and realized it was on the hour, I thought it was a rip-off; just an hour of music? Fortunately, it was just an intermission for us to take a bathroom break, and to shell out money hand over fist for the CD's, DVD's and assorted other merchandise at vastly inflated prices.

Second half:

They started out the second half with a big song performance, but I'm not sure what it was. It might have been The Soft Goodbye.

Lisa Kelly sang one of the best cuts of A New Journey, "The Voice". However, for about the first half of the song, her voice was a little too quiet. Not sure if it was operator problems or artist problems.

Sing Out

Nella Fantasia

The Butterfly

At the Céili


You Raise Me Up - The only song with any audience interaction; Chloe stops and says "Thank you, you've been a wonderful audience." This brought the crowd to their feet, certain that this was the closing act. It wasn't; Máiréad kind of did a musical recap of several of the night's pieces, and then the group came back out to sing Spanish Lady. Then they joined in with the chorus of Mo Ghile Mear. It's not like we want you to leave, but quit telling us you're leaving and then come back.

Either way, it was an excellent performance. I definitely intend to go again next year, this time with far better seating purchased in advance. Until then, I highly recommend the CD, DVD and even checking to see if there's a concert coming to a venue near you.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"What Would I Have Done if I Hadn't Had That Gun?"

After ABC's 20/20 announced that they were looking for stories of self defense involving firearms, I was floored. For years now, I've been posting civilian gun defense stories to Free Republic. After sending stories to the Civilian Gun Defense Blog for more than a year, I was invited to join the staff of the blog and help find and post stories. So this was right up my alley.

One problem; ABC is looking for personal stories. I don't have any personal stories. They are all stories of someone else. Solution? Call the someone elses and tell them 20/20 is looking for them.

So it was that I searched for stories of local interest, and used the online White Pages to locate phone numbers of people mentioned in news articles.

That's how I wound up talking with Holton Smith, age 86, a WWII veteran. (His story is here.) It's a little awkward when you're a stranger calling someone up to tell them 20/20 may want to use your story. I think it took a few minutes for him to decide I was on his side; he was more inclined to relate some war experiences. But he described the day when he awoke to find two thugs breaking into his house. At first, he thought it was some rude person, banging the door and ringing the bell at the same time. Then he thought it could be a medical emergancy.

When the invaders broke in, Smith grabbed a .38 special out of a drawer. The weapon was still in its holster, but he leveled it at the intruder, who rapidly turned and ran. At first, Smith thought the gun was not visible, so he pulled it out and fired two warning shots. He later examined the gun in the holster and found the barrel stuck out enough to be visible.

Smith doesn't want to be cast as a hero. Initially, he declined my offer to send his story to 20/20. I explained that his story may help correct some misperceptions about firearms. He agreed that there was too much of an effort to take gun rights away. “People that is anti-gun, I’d like to ask them, what would I have done if I hadn’t had that gun?” Smith asked. "What would have happened to me if there was no help nearby, no neighbors nearby, what would he have done if I hadn’t had the gun? The answer is, maybe he wouldn’t have run away, maybe he would. Maybe he was the type not to leave witnesses."

“I strictly believe that people should have the right to protect themselves,” Smith explained. At age 86, he added a concealed carry permit to his pilot's license.

“The police told me that day that it would change me, and it did.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New Prince Caspian video blog

Adamson Offers Tease to Video Production Diary

We'd Hate to Give the Public the Wrong Idea or Anything

Hero's tale is 'too positive' for the BBC
Private Johnson Beharry's courage in rescuing an ambushed foot patrol then, in a second act, saving his vehicle's crew despite his own terrible injuries earned him a Victoria Cross.

For the BBC, however, his story is "too positive" about the conflict.

The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain's youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.

Schools don't teach about Holocaust so as not to offend

In England, a new government-backed study has found that British schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons. Teachers are afraid to teach about the Nazi atrocity because Muslim students might take offense.

The study also discovered resistance by teachers to cover the 11th-century Crusades, when Christians fought Muslims for control of Jerusalem, because the lessons contradict what Muslim students are taught in mosques.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He Is Risen

I just returned from visiting my little brother in the hospital. It is so very hard to walk past the doors of those who are suffering. And I am not even among their numbers, unless you count the stress of statistics and calculus tests as suffering. And we read just today that a favorite cartoonist has gone to his reward.

Nothing in mortal life is certain. For today, we have only the promise of salvation for eternity.

But we also have the promise that He will return and put suffering itself to death. (Revelation 20:14)

"This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

'BC', 'Wizard of Id' cartoonist Johnny Hart dies

'B.C.' creator Johnny Hart dies

His comics often held a very Christian message. He will be missed.

Finding an Easter Image

I've been browsing the web, trying to find an iconic inspirational painting or photograph to symbolize Easter. I thought surely there was more available than I've been able to find, but not really.

It's a little difficult this morning; my little brother Caleb is in the hospital with severe dehydration because of vomiting and diarrhea. Apparently, despite being given IV fluids and everything, he's still throwing up again this morning. So we aren't able to attend church this Easter Sunday.

Despite not attending, and despite the troubles we're facing, the ultimate blessing of Christ's glorious resurrection rises above all this. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Since when is a nonevent newsworthy?

Arctic sea ice narrowly missed record low in winter 2007, says University of Colorado team

By the by, as I write it's 37 degrees outside, with a low tonight in the low-20's. Spring seems to have taken a spring break.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Fool Jokes

Trying to pull an April Fool joke online is a lot harder, and also cliche. First, there are few readers, especially readers who know what to expect, and who would notice a deviation from the general course of entries.

So here are a few of my suggestions for real-time April Fools Jokes.

Actually Pulled:
- Put a piece of tape on the switch that triggers your refrigerator light. When someone opens the door, they will think the fridge power gave out.

- Take a coat, a pair of pants and some shoes and rig them up to appear like a person is standing in a room or hallway. It worked for me to use a closet door as a support, and to suspend a mask looking like a face (in this case, a Superman face mask that came with a costume) to look like a face. If you aim for detail, take some white tape and cover the open eye holes over, putting marbles inside the eye holes. The effect is quite convincing, and although I set it up, I still did double-takes when entering the hallway, thinking someone was standing there.

- Leave a voice mail message for a friend, co-worker, relation or neighbor when you know they aren't there, disguising your voice (and if necessary, your caller ID) and explain that you are Mr. Lyon (spell it), would you please return my call as soon as possible. Use the number of a zoo. You can try your local zoo, but the zoo in Louisville, Kentucky is confirmed to be able to pull through on this joke. (Their number is (502) 459-2181.) I pulled this prank on my mother, and discovered that the zoo actually had a recording to inform the hapless soul that they'd been had.

- Put Kool-Aid powder (red food coloring, jello mix, etc.) in the hose or faucet of a shower. When the water comes out, it will be red.

- When a computer is not occupied, hit PrintScreen on a computer's desktop. Then take save the print-screened picture, and set the desktop background as the image. For best results, remove all the icons to a folder so that when someone clicks on the icons, they won't work. Also, click the taskbar on the desktop and drag it down so that it is hidden. Alternatlely, right-click on your task bar and put a check mark beside "auto-hide taskbar." This will cause the entire screen to appear like normal, except that no icons will work, and the start menu won't either.

These jokes have been personally tested by me, are relatively harmless, and are lots of fun. It may be too late now, but then again, who would be expecting a prank tomorrow, hm?

An Essay on Elevation

"So, how tall are you anyway?"

That's the question I am asked the most. The latest example occurred this morning at church. It's a question that I'm asked a lot, and to be honest, I rarely mind. To me, I don't feel tall, but I tend to forget that my height is the first thing most people notice about me.

Some people have made the point that questions like that would be rude if put in reverse.

"So, how short are you? Anyway?" or "Soo! How's the weather down there, haw haw?"

People in Wal-Mart have asked me to help with items on the top shelf. And this was before a brief summer employment with Wal-Mart! Before that, I scoffed at the signs encouraging customers to ask for help with items on top shelf.

But it's that "anyway?" that gets me. What do you mean, ANYWAY? As if I was running around, leaping to and fro and hollering "I'm tall! I'm six feet, six inches tall! WAY taller than you all! Ha ha!" and finally, the irritated dwarf next to me snaps "How tall are you anyway?"

Someone sharing a similar scalp solstice (say that with a mouthful of crackers) once remarked (and I concurred) that the two most frequently-asked questions asked are "How tall are you?" and "Do you play basketball?" He remarked that perhaps he should have a T-shirt made with the words "Six-foot six and No" on the front, thus dispensing with the need to respond when next questioned.

My answers would have been the same, until just recently. I joined a church basketball league, so now my answer will be different from the one I've been giving for the last several years. (I think I was picked for my height alone, since I am still a good head or two above the other players on the team, even though these guys are far more skilled. But I'm grateful for the chance to develop some otherwise raw talent.)

And it may be handy to be tall, but it has its disadvantages, so don't be envious.

Finding shirts, for example. Have you ever been inside a "Big and Tall" shop? Guess what that means? Threads for Fatso. A lot of the shirts I try on billow about my abdomen, having been manufactored for gentlemen with significant padding in that region.

Shoes are another challenge. My shoe size can be either 15 or 17, depending on which brand. ("Do they come with oars?" quipped a fellow at a skeet range once.) But you can just forget about walking into a standard shoe store and asking to see a pair of men's hiking boots in a size 16. Big-footed males are discriminated against in this country.

So the next time someone towers over you, if you have to know how tall he is, leave off the "anyway." Or else he might kick you with his size 17's.