Friday, March 30, 2007

Apologies to Joel

I met a man named Joel last weekend. We had a serious conversation about whether Jesus is God, or merely the first created being. I concretely believe the former. The point I used to back up my belief is that Jesus accepts worship - something clearly reserved for God alone. He asked whether that happened while Jesus was a man, and I stumbled to provide a good answer.

It is true that most references that include Jesus and worship are after the resurrection, but it does happen before that. The following transcript does a good job of examining a word often used of worship, and how it is used in the New Testament.

The conversation moved on, and I didn't want to be argumentative. But should you stumble across this page, I wanted you to have a better reference than I was able to provide.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

World Community Grid

Should you choose to register for the World Community Grid, feel free to join my team. It's called Coram Deo, Reno. Cool thing: it lets me link the "Team Web Page" to the Coram Deo website. Because there's lots of Coram Deo churches, but not one has registered for this project.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Saving the World on Idle Computers

This is something I knew about, and that slipped my mind when I built a new computer a year or so ago.

Distributed Computing is when researchers that need lots and lots and lots of calculations done, calculations of such mid-boggling complexity that it takes months or years for the fastest supercomputers to run them, it can send off bits and pieces of those calculations to various individual's computers, which then take the excess capacity of your computer's processor and put it to good use.

There are projects that calculate how protiens fold (medical research), that look for cures to AIDS, cancer, malaria, anthrax, smallpox, muscular dystrophy, and other diseases. They run climate models, look for extraterrestrial life, and more.

I used to participate in the World Community Grid. I think I'll probably rejoin that, but want to take a closer look, just to be sure.

And it's all done in the background, so it doesn't even slow down your computer. It's really a pretty slick deal.

Movie Trailer

I saw 300 and Shooter over the weekend, and enjoyed both of them. Both were rated R, and the theater saw fit to include before each movie a trailer for an upcoming film, The Reaping. Simple plot as far as I can tell is professional sceptic gets involved in strange happenings in a Louisiana town where the plagues that fell on the Egyptians are happening again.

I think I can discuss this without falling into "It's a conspiracy against God!" tirades, but forgive me if I am close to that line.

This is not the first movie that has explored supernatural themes, and it won't be the last. But there is a curious trend in such movies, where the Almighty God is left either impotent or perhaps even cruel. In the trailer, after the final plague is named, you see a woman asking the heroine "Are you going to kill my baby?" When the heroine says no, the lady asks "Why not?" This is followed closely by the tagline: "What hath God wrought?"

In other movies, simple people of faith can be seen clutching at crucifixes and other relics as a ward against the onslaught of evil, only to find that they have no effect.

I realize that an omnipotent, good, God doesn't serve to heighten dramatic tension. And I further realize that it often seems that the work of God is questionable, in light of the atrocities around the world that happen daily. In the world, it often seems that God is silent... and silent gods are a scarce comfort against rampaging zombies.

But I am also reminded that the prince of this world thinks highly of himself, striving even to supplant God. And he is also bent on turning man agains God, too - relying on himself and his own efforts instead of trusting God to work. Such movies are a subtle lie about just who God is.

And remember that just because the evil of the world gets all the press, there is good, too. There are people loving their neighbors, tending the sick, feeding the hungry, freeing slaves, praying for their leaders, raking leaves, handing out batteries and drinks, and clothes, and doing countless other things.

That's the way that God works. Not in bellicose, flashy, attention-demanding ways. But in a thousand ways you'll never see if you don't look for them.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Aren't always bad.

The word I hear is that my old church is putting increased emphasis on serving beyond the walls of the church. There was a brush fire in their neighborhood just a week ago, and they have lined up volunteers to go cleanup and related help, as well as raising some money for the family who lost their home.

I don't herein explicitly claim that my new church's emphasis on service served as a kick in the pants to my old church to get out in the world, as it is something they have done in the past, too.

But now it's explicitly stated in their four points of emphasis on life (or whatever it's called): Worship, Learning, Fellowship, and Service. I was and am glad to hear it, and wish them all sorts of success. The more that Christ-followers are out in the world serving, the more I like it.

We're having our Easter church service in a graveyard. That's pretty cool. I saw a note to that effect on internal tests of the new website design (yet to be unveiled), and thought it was a joke. But it's rather appropriate. We like parks and places with majestic views for such things - but Easter itself centers on some unusual activity in a graveyard.

News Flash

The church is unpopular. Not any particular church, either, but the whole concept.

We went door-to-door yesterday, handing out batteries and home-maintenance checklists to people that live where our church meets, as a way of serving the community. There wasn't anyone in our group that was particularly outgoing, but I felt like as one of the leaders, I should be setting an example (well, I tried. And eventually, I ended up doing at least my share of the talking, as much as I wanted to hide in the background).

It should be noted that we did this on a Sunday, between 10 and noon, so most churchgoing people would not be there.

The first person than answered when I rang the bell (after a couple of people not showing up to the door) was an elderly man. I made the big mistake by leading off with "Hi, we're from a new church in the area..." and I never even got to finish with "and we want to give you this spring home maintenance checklist and fresh battery for your smoke detector." I said church, and a wall went up immediately.

We got better responses as time went on. I was in a group with Tim & Abby, and Miriam and her boys (Dawson was home, "sick," the slacker). We subdivided the group, with Tim & Abby and their monster-stroller going down one side of the street while Miriam, Noah, Luke and I went down the other side. The boys would each hold a battery and a checklist, I'd ring the bell (they did for a while, until one of them rang the bell 4 times or so before I could stop him), and if there was an answer, I'd lead off with "Hi. We're just going arounnd the neighborhood, and we'd like to give you this springtime home maintenance checklist to help get your house ready for the summer (both boys reach up, trying to be the first to give away the battery and/or checklist), and Miriam would chime in with a "We're from a new church in the area, Coram Deo, and we just wanted to serve our neighbors." Sometimes she'd add that her husband was the pastor, or that we meet for dinner at 5:00, or make some small talk.

That went over much better. We established why we were there, and the fact that we were from a church was a side-note. I'd estimate that starting off with the word "church" led to a greater than 90% rejection rate. Starting off with "here, take this home-maintenance list" probably gave us a 25% rejetion rate.

A couple of people were really friendly, and willing to talk more than the initial spiel.

Rejection is something that is to be expected from an association with Jesus - he makes that abundantly clear. "Don't be surprised if the world hates you, because it also hated me." But if we are to be hated, I expect it to be because we are Christ-like... not because we are seen as a bunch of withdrawn snooty judgemental pricks. All "persecution" is not created equal. We should be hated for standing alongside the poor and powerless, and for refusing to play the world's games of politics, quid pro quo, and the like.

When the elderly and infirm hear church and reject it because they expect us to come asking for money, or because they have no time for the shallow promises of health, wealth and blessing so often expounded on TV... we are not doing our job.

How amazing would it be if you could knock on a door, announce that you were from a church, and have the person open up, expecting not "here is what we ask of you," but the offer "what do you ask of us?" How can we serve you? How can we follow the footsteps of our Master who came not to be served, but to serve?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pearls, Explained

In the first step, we draw the following lines:

1) Any white pearls on the edge get a line right through them, with no angle on the ends (because we don't know if one end, or both ends will have the required bend).

2) Any pairs of white pearls, or two white pearls with a single space between them (still on the edge) get a line between them with a bend away from the edge on both ends. This is required. as the line going straight through the adjacent pearls on one end means it HAS to bend on the other end.

3) Any black pearls within one space of the edge get a line coming out of them perpendicular to that edge. This is because a line cannot run straight through the pearl parallel to the edge, and it cannot go into the edge (or go the required 1 straight square before turning).

The next step (which can be iterrated as needed) draws the following lines:

1) And adjacent black pearls (see right-of-center, 2nd row from bottom) get a line coming out of them, away from the other pearl. That is because the line cannot go into the other black pearl, as that would require it to bend instead of going straight).

2) Any line terminating in a white pearl continues straight through it.

3) Any black pearl within 1 space of a line it cannot join (see black pearl, 4th row, just left of center), must get a line going the other way. That line is no more "crossable" than the edge.

4) Any line which has two options, one of which makes a small loop, must go the other way. See the Top left cluster of 3 black pearls. My options are right and left, from the pearl closest to the center of the grid. Going left gives me a small loop, which would be cut off from the larger string. Therefore, I must go right.

Now, we have to connect some of those line segments. This is where HARD puzzles get tricky. Easy puzzles force you almost to the final conclusion. Rules are harder, other than the overall "Make a single closed loop" rule. So let's look at some decisions:

1) The line along the lower edge, connecting the white pearls:
Not too hard - the line has nowhere else to go. But since it comes straight out of the white pearl on the bottom, it forces the other edge to make a turn.

2) Top-right corner:
The black pearl has two options, right or left. Both are legal. But if it goes left, the line segment in the top left corner gets "stranded" with nothing to connect to. Therefore, it must go right. The same is true for the top center group. Once the black goes right, the white pearl must connect to the vertical segment from the black pearl, or it would become stranded.

This leads to cascading effects, if you are lucky. Once the vertical path from the black pearl in the top row goes to the left, the black pearl directly beneath it must have it's path turn south. Which means the black pearl next to that path must now go to the right.

Once you get it all figured out, you get something like this:

The New York Times admits defeat!

Well, not really.

But they do point out that runaway government spending and good intentions are not enough to keep a country on sound footing, which given the general tone of their editorials was like seeing a halogen worklight in the bowels of Carlsbad Caverns.

Hugo Chavez is half celebrity, half demon in the world. He is proudly anti-American, wanting to create a coalition of like-minded South American countries to oppose the "Imperialist" United States. He enjoys calling th ePresident "The Devil," and wears proudly on his sleeve what many government-can-do-so-much-good people secretly believe.

But his country is in trouble. The government doing many things means the government has to spend a lot of money. With government spending growing by 50% a year, inflation is over 20% and rising. Price controls "intended to help the poor" are leading to shortages (which is precisely what any Economist would tell you would happen, as I mentioned often during my rants against price gouging laws). Instead of addressing the problem, Chavez blames the suppliers (sound familiar?) and threatens to nationalize their industries, too.

Seizure of formerly privately-owned oil fields and natural resources means that private investment in the country is dropping (also predictable - why invest billions if the end result is going to be taken by force), and the government - big as it is - simply cannot replace that flow of capital.

Chavez dodges the inflation issue (which really, really harms the poor) by introducing a new currency, worth 1,000 times the standard currency. Imagine how bad things would have to be here if the government addressed price levels by ramping up circulation of the $1,000 bill because $1 bills had become so useless and cumbersome.

I liken it to Halliburton moving its offices to Dubai. If you tell private industries that they are evil, tax them into the ground, and make them out to be the incarnation of evil on the face of the earth, eventually...

They will leave.

And you'll be screwed.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The countries keep coming!

This humble blog has now been viewed in:
North America:

South America:

United Kingdom
The Netherlands


New Zealand

That's 14 countries, if you were keeping count.

Sure, some of those are just bots fishing for e-mail addresses. But... it still counts!

400, Etc

I noticed when I went to post a link to something, that my blog has 400 posts, making this #401. Thought that was interesting.

The point, however, was an article by George Will that I saw linked in the Sacramento Bee. Did you know that it is illegal in the State of Nevada to receive money as an interior designer if you move any piece of furniture that is more than 69 inches tall, unless you are a licensed interior designer? The punishment is a maximum $1,000 fine and a year in prison.

"A Nevada bureaucrat says that 'placement of furniture' is an aspect of "space planning" and therefore is restricted to a 'registered interior designer.'"

Why? What flipping good does it do to have a license for such things? How does that benefit the public? Because I can give you a specific harm it gives the public - it makes the cost of such designers artificially high. It's a government-created cartel, artificially raising prices by restricting competition.

The argument is made in medicine and other professions that having someone who is unlicensed could expose the public to unnecessary danger. But what in the world does licensing interior designers do? Is space-planning so very dangerous?

Reason #1 why I oppose giving the Legislature more time to accomplish its business: I want to restrict their opportunity to "serve the public" by creating such onerous requirements. Deal with the fundamentals, and back off.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


WARNING: brain-consuming game ahead.

The rules:
You have to draw a line through all the "pearls," and it can't overlap.
You have to go straight through a white pearl, but must make a 90-degree turn on at least one side after doing so.
You must make a 90 degree turn in a black pearl, but must go straight for one full square on either side of it.

I think that's it.

Beware the pearls.


Until now, I had held off on getting upset about the US Attorney firing brouhaha. Emotions fly fast and furious without facts, and I'd rather not take part. But I read something that has convinced me that there is something ugly afoot that must be addressed.

Concerning this matter, I think that prosecution based on politics and not the facts or law (such as bringing charges before an election to defame a political opponent) is unethical, and ought to be criminal. I get hot under the collar because of the Libby/Plame/Wilson prosecution, because it appeared to be more of a witch-hunt than a legitimate case (from my limited exposure), and I know that conservative pundits repeatedly said that charges being brought for political reasons is a bad thing.

But personal accounts of a Republican Attorney, nominated by Republican Senators, have left me very troubled. He implies that part of the reason he was fired/forced to resign was that he refused to bring charges against New Mexico Democrats before the November elections because he did not feel there was sufficient evidence.

He did the right thing by this account - don't bring charges if you don't have the evidence - and was soon forced out.

This is ugly, and I won't stand for it. If Republicans want to toss my vote to the wind, this is a perfect strategy to follow. I won't support a party or a person that condones such political pressure being brought to bear on what should be an apolitical process. It is a sure sign of power-before-ethics, and no one with that mindset deserves to hold office in the United States. Many do nevertheless, but I do what I can.

An Excerpt:
As this story has unfolded these last few weeks, much has been made of my decision to not prosecute alleged voter fraud in New Mexico. Without the benefit of reviewing evidence gleaned from F.B.I. investigative reports, party officials in my state have said that I should have begun a prosecution. What the critics, who don’t have any experience as prosecutors, have asserted is reprehensible — namely that I should have proceeded without having proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The public has a right to believe that prosecution decisions are made on legal, not political, grounds.

What’s more, their narrative has largely ignored that I was one of just two United States attorneys in the country to create a voter-fraud task force in 2004. Mine was bipartisan, and it included state and local law enforcement and election officials.

After reviewing more than 100 complaints of voter fraud, I felt there was one possible case that should be prosecuted federally. I worked with the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s public integrity section. As much as I wanted to prosecute the case, I could not overcome evidentiary problems. The Justice Department and the F.B.I. did not disagree with my decision in the end not to prosecute.

My Church

I don't have a link to it on the left, mostly because I'm lazy and rarely update my template. But you can find out the haps in my church at the main website,, or on the bulleblog (blogettin?) just unveiled at

Stating the Obvious

Having heard it from a person that shall remain nameless recently, I figure I'll do everyone a service and let you in on the secret.

When you substitute the personal pronoun "she" for something gender-neutral, like "they" you don't fool anyone. If you use "he" for guys and "they" or "that person" for girls, everyone knows what you are talking about. And because you're hesitant to say "she," they can deduce that there is a reason you don't want to let on that you are talking about a girl - often, because you are very aware that she is a girl, and you're trying to "play it cool."

Another useless way of squirming around "lying" by referring to her as a he, is to avoid pronouns altogether. Consider the following: "I went to meet a friend for lunch, and my friend never showed up. I ended up eating my lunch and going back to work, and was disappointed that my friend never made it. Later, I found out that my friend just forgot, though my friend was very sorry."

Suspicious? Very. And because you fail to use pronouns, you draw more attention to the sentence, and your quasi-deceptive manner makes people wonder what you are hiding. If instead you said "I went to meet a friend for lunch, and she never showed up. I ended up eating lunch and going back to work, and was disappointed that she never made it. Later, I found out that she just forgot, though she was very sorry."

Yes, then everyone knows that you were talking about a girl. But at least you don't draw undue attention to it. The second is altogether less suspicious than the first.

That is all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It ends

The Nevada 2006-2007 basketball season is over. It's actually been over since Sunday, but the gaping emotional scar it has left on my psyche is not yet fully healed, and I can barely blog about it.

Nick Fazekas will never again play college basketball. Denis Ikovlev is off to pursue his Engineering Degree. Opposing guards need no longer fear Kyle Shiloh sticking to them like glue.

Over the past four years, Nevada has reached the NCAA Tournament every year, gone 4-4 in said Tournament, recorded over 25 victories every year, and improved their record every year, culminating in a gaudy 29-5 this year.

Lawlor Events Center was sold out seemingly for half the season, and for the final few games, it was a near-capacity crowd. We were a trendy pick to go to the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, or even Final Four.

But we lost in the second round, to a very good team. Only 1 team gets to leave the Tournament with a win, and we made it farter than half the teams who play and get eliminated in the first round.

It was a fun ride. The future looks good, though uncertain.

But I'm still sad.

But I'll live.

Monday, March 19, 2007

THE Issue

What is the single, most important moral issue in the world today?

I ask you to comment, so I may see a sample of opinions.

After you do so, feel free to read what someone else thinks it is.

I'd vary on my answer depending on my mood, but it is probably one of: extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, Slavery (sexual and otherwise), and Hypocrisy among "Christian" leaders (in sacred and secular positions).

International Aid

Rich countries should help poor countries.

It is easy enough to say it, but how to put it into practice is horribly complicated. Grants of large sums of money sound goo don the surface (who couldn't use more money?), but are they effective? Does giving money always correlate positively with improving conditions?

What if in giving large sums of money we make countries worse, by supporting oppresive regimes, or discouraging necessary awareness of the need for reform? What if in doing so we cause monetary imbalances that hurt the very poor while piling money into the coffers of the ruling class?

This is not an excuse for inaction, but rather a call for effective action. Spending not a cent may be better than spending $5B in a way that harms people. But $5B spent in a beneficial way would be even better.

There are intentions, and there are results. Good intentions don't equal good results. But all too often, discussion focuses on the former and ignores the latter, if only because intentions can be known up front, but results are unclear until after-the-fact, when the passions of the moment have probably already shifted.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Once my heart resumed beating...

I was glad we won. And we even got nominated for one of four "Pontiac Game Changing Performances" by CBS. You can vote for Nevada until Sunday, I think. So get on it, already!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


From Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, people read my blog.

Well, they've had it flash across their computers, at least. To celebrate, I give you a new map. Blue States have had my blog pop up more than once. Green states have a single hit, and white states are as yet unconverted.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Jesus of Suburbia

I hear the tantalizing sound of tickled ears.


Since I have been tracking my web stats, there are three dominant ways people get to my website.

1) Ken and Alicia's Corner. More people get to me through you than any other source. MY cousin is a law-guy with a young child. He's stuck in Winnemucca. But, at least he can save the earth by walking to work.

2) Bookmarks. A large number of people come straight to the site by typing it in or clicking a bookmark.

3) Dawson's blog. A healthy #3.

4) Other. Mike, Steve, Tim & Abby, Jose and others send some occasional traffic. But put all together, they don't yet outweigh the behemoth that is Ken.

Mitt, Rudy, Newt, and John

Truth be told, I haven't looked an awful lot at the field of nominees for either party looking to become the next President. I find politics somewhat interesting, but given the choice of a half hour listening to Sean Hannity in my car at lunch, or 30-minutes repose in the comfortable silence that is a Spring afternoon, Hannity loses - every time.

My cousin really likes Mitt Romney. Given my lack of a serious look at the field, I cannot look into subtle details, just juicy media ones that are hard to ignore.

I have a very, very hard time supporting a man who has been unfaithful to his wife. A philandering single man would get my vote with much less hesitation, because he at least does not violate a trust much more important than even the trust placed in the President - especially if he has done it repeatedly. If I can't trust you in your marriage, how can I trust you with the executive power of the United States of America? I like Newt's ideas by and large, but Trust is very important.

Mitt has pretty solid credentials as a socially conservative guy. He also has demonstrated experience as an executive on an impressive level, in the public and private sectors. But he was also a champion of the Massachusets health care bill that, as I understand it, has failed to meet it's promised "care for all" at the promised rate. He promised a pretty, though substantively weak, answer to a significant issue, and that does not inspire me as to how (or even IF) he will address the Social-Security and Medicare issues. Also, it is well-known that he is a Mormon. I am not. And in the scope of his ability to be President, I really don't care. Unless I had reason to suspect that his faith would lead him to make the faith of potential appointees a prior criteria, which I don't, I don't see how it has any bearing.

I'm not a huge fan of McCain (McCain-Feingold being an atrocious piece of fluff legislation), or Giuliani (see Gingrich and moral-fiber issues).

But of the four at the moment, I'd have to go with Mitt. He gets partial credit for at least trying to address the Massachusets health care issue, though I don't like how he did it, he at least made a real attempt. And the other guys have much larger strikes.

We hate you, We hate you, We hate you

How dare you leave?

Good for Haliburton. This is one reason why "punishing the oil companies" won't do a thing except waste lots of time and money. The US is not the only kid on the block an international company can play with. And if we drive them off...

They'll leave.

Our response? Congressional inquiries. It would be funny if Congressmen didn't get rich pulling this crap.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Field Trip

There is another lunar eclipse on Tuesday, August 28. I believe this one will actually be visible from our area, as opposed to the last one which the West Coast missed out on.

I want to take a picture of it, with something interesting in the foreground, but I don't know what. Can you give me ideas?

*The city of Reno (ie, downtown)
*The planetarium?
* The Black Rock Desert?


Friday, March 09, 2007

San Francisco Rallies

First, read the New York Times article.

Second, realize that the word hate is used so very often in modern circles that it has lost all real meaning.

Third, lead the sort of life that makes usage of that word, when applied to you, laughable.

Fourth, realize that while rallies may have their place, spending a comparable amount of time serving the poor, visiting the sick, or helping your neighbor will do far more for you and the world in both the short run and the long run. How amazing would it be if "BattleCry" went in to serve, instead of to be served?

The words "hate" and "Christian" should be like oil and water in the eyes of the world, but all too often they go together like peanut butter and jelly. And all you can do is make sure that it's not true of you.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Why Lunar Eclipses are Cool

Enough Said.

Fuel Efficiency, Gas Tax, and Externalities

Econbrowser is an economics blog by a couple of people with advanced degrees (one, I believe, is a professor). It addresses a Bush Administration proposal to reduce American gasoline consumption by tinkering with the CAFE standards.

This is a typical political way of addressing the problem, because the taxpayer doesn't directly see the cost - the world is a better place and (as far as I know) it doesn't cost me a dime. But as a guy who has to have a $1,000 repair job done on my car purley because of an issue with the oxygen sensors and catalytic converter (another regulatory mandate), I can tell you that the true cost does in fact hit us in the pockets.

The whole blog is worth reading, but here's an excerpt:
Overall, Jacobsen estimates that a one-mile-per-gallon increase in the required average corporate fuel efficiency would increase the average fuel-efficiency of all new cars sold by 2.5%. However, since most of the older cars would still be on the road, Jacobsen estimates that during the first year, total U.S. gasoline consumption would decline by only 0.8%. He estimates the costs of this 1 mpg tightening of CAFE would be $20 billion in the first year, with these first-year costs shared about equally between U.S. consumers and producers. For comparison, Jacobsen claims that a gasoline tax could accomplish the same first-year effect at an efficiency cost of significantly less than $1 billion.

Over time, the fuel savings from tightening CAFE would of course increase, but even after 10 years, Jacobsen concludes that that a gasoline tax could accomplish the same thing at 1/6 the cost.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Who reads it?

I'm ever-so-close to having a chain of hits on my blog stretching from sea to shining sea. But I'm not there yet.
What's surprising is my Midwest audience. I got a couple hits from Iowa for mentioning Denis Ikovlev, and I have family in a couple states in the Midwest and friends back East, but 22 states and 8 countries (US, Mexico, Netherlands, China, New Zeland, Portugal, Malaysia, and Argentina) is amusing... though my regular readership is decidedly more concentrated.
Map courtesy of Used with permission. Colored personally. Cited accordingly. And green is a happy color.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Astrologers think Saturday was a bad day to get married.

I think it would be kind of cool to get married under a lunar eclipse. It'd be outside at night, but it's a rare event, I think it's really cool to watch, and like the rainbow it would be make it a symbol of something greater.

The Blog-Storm, unleashed

Last up on the random blog storm that has hit my site today:

I was at Best Buy with the guys Friday night. I ended up getting Reign of Fire - an interesting modern/fantasy movie with dragons that thrive on eating ash, and Stranger than Fiction - a heartwarming Will Farrel movie that even my roommate who hates Will with a passion liked.

At checkout, I was the last one to finish, as my Wells Fargo card has a magnetic strip more worn than Dawson's parental analogies. This was the subject of a brief conversation with the cashier, who was able to get the register-based magnetic reader to accept the card where the swipe-it-yourself terminal wouldn't. Turns out she has a WF card, too, and the same problem. The conversation lasted at most 20 seconds past the time the transaction was completed, if that.

On our way out the door, one of the guys said "One of these days, Dave will realize that that's called flirting." I admit I don't know much about such things. I thought I was just being friendly. Honest, non-rhetorical question: Is there a difference? Or did they mean she was flirting with me? I really don't know. Not that it really matters, the moment is passed and life continues.

But it was heartwarming to think that maybe I'm not so hopeless as I tend to imagine myself.

Malaria Sucks

Not least because it can be controlled and treated, and hasnt been. The New York Times has an editorial discussing a pill that a pharmaceutical company has decided to sell at zero profit to public health agencies in the developing world.

I don't often agree with the NYT editorials, and I don't even agree with this whole one. But if a company chooses to do something like this (whether for PR, or just our of the kindness of its non-existent heart - being just a legal construct, after all) it's worth giving them some credit.

The Editorial

An excerpt:
Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis, the world’s fourth-largest drug company, working in collaboration with a nonprofit drug-development organization pioneered by Doctors Without Borders, will soon introduce a cheap and easy-to-use pill to combat malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

The pill combines two drugs that are already in use into a single medication that can be taken once a day for three days by young children and twice a day for three days by adults to cure the infection.

The course of treatment is notably cheap — less than 50 cents for children and less than $1 for adults. Sanofi will make no profit on sales to public health agencies and international institutions that typically serve poor people. But it will also produce a branded version to be sold in the private markets of developing countries at three or four times the public price.

To its additional credit, the company has agreed not to seek a patent on the one-pill formulation so that generic companies, like those in India, can produce the pills cheaply and add to the quantities of medicine needed to treat many millions of malaria victims around the world.

Greeting Guests

You may be here because Dawson mentioned my blog roughly three tiems during his sermon last night. I can say that on Sunday 5 people visited my blog from the link on his website, and that I had a noticeable jump in traffic that evening.

Then again, I only had 1 or 2 new visitors, and one was from Vietnam (or somewhere in that neighborhood), so you may all have been here before.

It's kind of cool being able to watch traffic patterns. But since all the content is right there on the front page, I can't really tell what if anything people are reading. Still, it's fun to watch in an egomaniacally geeky sort of way.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Shadow of Angmar

The Lord of the Rings Online could be the end of me. Such games can cause me to forget to eat, sleep, or do pretty much anything. And I get to play it for free right now. It's a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, or MMORPG. You create characters, and roam the world of Middle-Earth doing good. Or, in my case, you wander the world of Middle Earth taking pictures of cool things. It is a pretty game.

Elvish City

In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.

Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing to sit on or eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Friday, March 02, 2007

With Great Power...

With my global readership extending to the Neatherlands, Portugal, China, New Zeland and Argentina, and spanning the States from Coast to Coast, I decided I should use my vast influence for the good of mankind.

You should visit Some frineds of mine love photography and nature, and do it very well. They sure hope some people would buy their photos. And the photos are good, too. And they'll donate 40% of the profit they get to charity - how cool is that?

At least browse what they have available. And when you're thinking of a unique gift you can give, think of a couple artists who want to make the world a better place.

Thursday, March 01, 2007