Technology Addiction and how to deal with it… December 11, 2013Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology, Computers and Internet, General Ranting.
Tags: Google, OneNote, Microsoft, Word, organization
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I have just spent the evening, after grading papers for what seemed like hours, connecting every single piece of software I have to every other piece. I can now see google email, calendars, and contacts, school exchange server, email, calendar, and contacts, Hotmail calendar, email, and contacts, as well as my school website share point server in Outlook. I have also connected Microsoft Word to my blog site in order to use it to edit and post blogs entries (if I ever get to write another real one). Having spent a good deal of time and effort tying all these loose ends together I have come to a conclusion. There is NO magic cure for organization. It can’t be done. I use MS OneNote to document my daily activities in class. I faithfully post assignments, notes, and lessons to the school web site. I do everything I can to keep up with myself and I am coming to the sad realization that it is all futile. I will never be organized. I STILL forget things. All my calendars are tied to my phone, Kindle, and iPad as well as my home PC, school, PC and laptop and I STILL let things slip. This is really starting to bug me. Just needed to vent. Also I am going insane from being in the house for 4 days straight. I feel much better now. Good night all.
A Splash of Gratitude December 2, 2013Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
Tags: Central Baptist Church, Christian, Christianity, faith, gratitude, Jesus, peace, Thanks
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A sermon on Gratitude loosely following a chapter from Max Lucado’s book, “You’ll Get Through It”. The sermon was delivered on 12/1/2013 at Central Baptist Church. We need to remember that whatever it is, we don’t own it. We are just borrowing it.
Chromosomes…Now you see ‘em, Now you Don’t November 22, 2013Posted by regan222 in Educational Ranting, General Ranting, Religion, Science and Technology.
Tags: alleles, chromosome, creationism, Darwin, Evolution, genes, mutation, Natural Selection, Spina bifida, Turner's Syndrome
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As a biology teacher I am constantly bombarded by the never-ending conflict between the forces of Creationism and the minions of Evolution. It becomes a new adventure in conflict management each year. Occasionally it becomes difficult as my own personal views enter the conflict and so I have chosen this opportunity and venue to present my own opinions.
As a committed Christian I am disinclined to embrace the scientific view that all life began as a random combination of chemicals in some primordial sea. It is, however, on rational grounds that my strongest objections are based. The theory of Spontaneous Generation is described as “the hypothetical process by which living organisms develop from nonliving matter; also, the archaic theory that utilized this process to explain the origin of life. According to this theory, pieces of cheese and bread wrapped in rags and left in a dark corner, for example, were thus thought to produce mice, because after several weeks there were mice in the rags. Many believed in spontaneous generation because it explained such occurrences as the appearance of maggots on decaying meat.” The theory was refuted completely in the 18th century and yet here we are in the supposedly enlightened 21st century, embracing the same idea. A combination of simple chemicals somehow mixes together with no outside influence beyond lightning or sunlight to form life. The animate springs from the inanimate. We are unable to duplicate or observe this phenomenon of generating life. All efforts have been unsuccessful. (See the Bubble Theory and the Primordial Soup Theory by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey). No matter how many eons of time pass, the chemicals just don’t mix to form the necessary proteins. Contrary to popular opinion, life doesn’t just happen, thus the necessity of a prime mover.
I have no difficulty with the idea of Natural Selection. Selective breeding and its results are an observable and replicable phenomena. We have changed many species to fit our wishes using nothing but selective breeding. It stands to reason that if we can create a breed of horses only a few inches tall by breeding small horses to small horses then in nature, the continued breeding of the strongest, fastest, and smartest organisms would reinforce those traits and the genes responsible for them and by this process a species may be improved and even change its appearance. However, the miniature horses we produce are still horses. They can still breed with normal horses and produce viable offspring. Their chromosomes still match up with any other organism of the species Equus ferus caballus. Chihuahuas and Great Danes are all still genetically compatible. They are all biologically the same animal. Selective breeding, whether natural or otherwise, can improve a species or modify a species but it can not transform one species into another. Selective breeding can change the frequency of alleles that already exist but it can not create new ones or remove old ones. Selective breeding can make a bigger dog or a smaller dog or a faster dog, but it can not make a dog into a cat.
It is said the mutation is the source of drastic genetic change and I agree. However, one of the by-products of Hardy Weinberg is that recessive alleles can never be bred out of a population. The recessives continue no matter how much the dominant genes improve an organism’s chances of survival. Should a dominant positive mutation occur, the original recessive stock should still exist as well. Those gene frequencies can be reduced but can never be completely removed from the population. Should mutation lead to man and monkey, the origin species of the mutation should still exist. Mutation and Natural Selection are not enough to cause extinction. Also, in the end, mutation is a universally destructive process. Genetic mistakes in the form of Huntington’s Chorea, Spina Bifida, Turner’s Syndrome, and the like are all too common in our world. The X-men, on the other hand, have yet to make an appearance. Given the general degradation of the natural environment and the prevalence of harmful chemicals in the air, water, and soil, the occurring of mutants is becoming more and more common and the chances of a positive mutant decline daily.
According to Schleiden, Schwann and Virchow, all living things are composed of, and give rise to offspring composed of cells. Cells are the fundamental functional, as well as structural, units of all organisms, and the ONLY place cells can rise from is another cell. I accept that with only one concern. Given that life on Earth began at some point AFTER the Earth came to be, where did that original cell come from? Cells as a vehicle for DNA and heredity are the only forms of life that we can find any record of, or can even imagine. Absolutely no evidence of any other form of life can be found within the fossil record or in extant species. As with spontaneous generation, cells don’t just happen. The structures are too complex and precise to have just spun up from nothing. Cells are orderly and elegant structures. The idea that they could have somehow come to be spontaneously by trial and error is chaotic and messy.
Well there you have it. This is my justification for my beliefs. Please don’t bother to comment on how backward, misinformed, or deluded I am and I will not remind you of your ultimate destination when you leave this world for the next. In the end, the only thing we can be certain of is that we do not and can not know what really happened. The scientific method requires duplication and repetition to validate a theory. As these things have not been possible and continue to be impossible, so validation or proof remain beyond us. An honest scientist will refer to evolution and its attendant ideas as theories and it is only the sensationalist and pseudo-intellectuals who declare them to be absolute truth. Matters of faith, on the other hand, require no such validation. Faith allows the surrounded and defeated soldiers of the Alamo to turn aside the attack of a much larger army. Faith persuades the martyr to face lions and tigers and bears (oh my) rather than renounce their beliefs. Faith powers revolutions, creates heroes and moves mountains. Only a fool discounts or denies the efficacy of faith.
To You Who Bring Small Children to Church November 19, 2013Posted by regan222 in General Ranting, Religion.
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There you are sitting in worship or Bible study. Your child, or toddler, is restless. Perhaps they're even a little boisterous. You try to silence them, and nothing. You try to pacify them with food or toys, and nothing. Eventually, you resort to the last thing you wanted to do: you pick them up, and before a watching audience, you make the march out of the auditorium.
It’s quiet out there….maybe too quiet. October 22, 2013Posted by regan222 in Uncategorized.
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I promise I have not fallen off the Earth. I have been so insanely busy trying to remodel a rental house and get it back on the market that it is taking all my time and energy. I promise to return soon with something worthwhile. Meanwhile God Bless.
Boggy Creek After Action Review September 28, 2013Posted by regan222 in Books, Film and Television, General Ranting, Movie Madness, News and politics.
Tags: Arkansas, beast, big foot, boggy creek, chicken fried steak, cryptid, cryptozoology, Fouke, legend of boggy creek, loch ness, lyle blackburn, monster, Smokey Crabtree
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As I look back upon today and the amazing opportunities I have been given, one thing comes to mind…Man I am POOPED!! In the last 2 days I have driven almost 700 miles, swam over half a mile, and then walked ALL day in search of cryptid life-forms. Along the way I met new friends, faced heartache, fear, and loss, and also ate a pretty tasty chicken-fried steak at Magel’s in Paris, TX. The only thing that I DIDN’T get to see was a monster.
Our intrepid guide, Lyle Blackburn, could not have BEEN a better person to head out into the Sulfur River Wilderness with. Lyle was knowledgeable, down-to-Earth, and very entertaining. If you get a chance to see him in person, by ALL MEANS take advantage of it. I am QUITE PROUD to say that I was one of 13 lucky people to be the first ever to join Lyle on a tour of the Boggy Creek area at the First Annual Boggy Creek Festival. He showed us the Willie Smith Bean Field made famous by the movie Legend of Boggy Creek. We crossed Boggy Creek twice and even stopped and got off the bus to see what we could find. We also spent an hour with Smokey Crabtree. He is 86 years old and still talking about the monster that changed both his life and the town of Fouke, AR.
Be sure to check out my blog site in the next few days as I get the pictures and the video edited and posted. I think you will be amazed at what we found and what we did. Be sure to check out the links in this post and if you have a chance to visit Fouke, AR, be sure you are in doors before dark. The creature may very well be traveling the creeks again. PS. Lyle Blackburn, if you happen to ever read this and would comment on my blog it would really make my day.
Opposites Attract; – Well, Yeah but not always. September 27, 2013Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
Tags: acetone, alcohol, Chemistry, Christian, faith, God, Hydrogen, hydrogen bonding, Jesus Christ, molecule, Oxygen, physics, polar molecules, salvation, water
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Picture if you will…You’re at the lake, floating on an inflatable raft in the cool azure blue. A light breeze tickles your wet skin as you look up to the spotless blue perfection above. As you look down you notice a tiny invader in your serenity. A small insect purposefully striding across the surface of the water toward you. How can this be? Has the insect messiah come to deliver his people to the promised land? I’m gonna say “pro’lly not”.
The picture to the left is a common Water Strider. This little miracle operates by Physics and Chemistry rather than by supernatural support, however, they all come from the same source and were created by the same designer so it really doesn’t matter. What’s important is how the chemistry works in the natural and how the analogy can apply to the supernatural.
Notice in the picture that the insect’s legs do NOT displace any water at all. If you look closely at the tips of the legs in contact with the surface of the water you will see that the water surface appears to distort where the legs touch, almost as if the insect were walking on a thin film of plastic wrap. A boat, floating on the water, would sit lower and actually displace a portion of the water. That is, after all, the definition of floating.
The object is supported by the amount of water it displaces because the water produces an upward force as the object sinks in. If the mass of the object is less than the mass of the volume of water displaced, the object will float. All of this is not relevant, however, because the object in question, the insect, does NOT float.
Just as on that long ago Sea of Galilee, this little insect is actually walking ON and not floating IN the water. His mass is very small and the long legs spread the weight out over a large enough surface area that he is able to walk on the surface of the water just as on solid ground. He does not sink in or displace any water. He does not depend on buoyancy. He does depend, however, on the unique chemistry and physics of the water molecule.
Water is composed of one Oxygen atom in a covalent bond with two Hydrogen atoms. The Hydrogen atoms are composed of a single proton and a single electron. A covalent bond is one in which the atoms SHARE the electrons. As you may know, electrons orbit the nuclei of atoms. The outer set of electrons, called the valence electrons, are used by the atom to bond with other atoms to form molecules. A covalent bond occurs when the outer electrons orbiting a nucleus begin to spend time orbiting the nucleus of another nearby atom. When that occurs, a new compound is formed and the chemical properties of the original molecules are changed. In our case, two gasses bind together to form a liquid with some pretty amazing properties.
The Oxygen atom has many more electrons orbiting its nucleus than do the Hydrogen atoms. The two electrons from the Hydrogen atoms begin to orbit, sharing time between the Hydrogen atoms and the Oxygen atom. At any given time there are more electrons around the Oxygen end of the molecule than there are at the Hydrogen end. This gives the Oxygen end a tendency towards a negative charge. This results in the Hydrogen end (composed of basically two protons) a tendency towards a positive charge. When a molecule has a partial positive charge at one end and a partial negative charge at the other, we say that the molecule is “polar”. It has poles like a magnet. This condition is the source of all of water’s peculiar properties and it is what gives our little friend the ability to duplicate what only one man has ever accomplished. (Well actually two managed it but only one was really successful. The other…well lets just say that he walked further on water than either you or I are ever likely to.)
The arrangement of water as a polar molecule has exactly the effect that you would suspect. The positive and negative areas are attracted to the corresponding negative and positive regions of the water molecules surrounding it. Water molecules act like tiny magnets. This albeit weak, attraction between polar molecules is called Hydrogen Bonding. It does some very strange things to water. One of the most unusual is the property of cohesion. Water molecules tend to stick to each other.
If you have ever waxed a car and then driven into a rain storm you have seen water “bead up” on the hood. Water forms droplets of considerable size because the molecules are attracted to and hold onto each other with surprising tenacity. An excellent way to see this for yourself is the following experiment…
You will need a penny, an eyedropper, a bottle of water, and a bottle of some organic solvent (acetone – nail polish remover, or alcohol (90% isopropyl, not that cheap Wal-Mart mix) will work. Start with the water and see how many drops you can drop on the penny before the puddle you are creating breaks and runs off. Now try the same with the NON-POLAR solvent. Having done this experiment many times over with my students from year to year I can verify that it is possible to drop over 100 drops of water onto the surface of a penny before it runs off. With alcohol you might get 30 or 40 and with acetone, even less. The non-polar liquids lack cohesion. The molecules are neutral and not attracted to each other. In short, those liquids have no SURFACE TENSION. If you waxed a car and then ran off into an alcohol shower you would find that the liquid would not form beads. Also the miraculous little creature above would sink helplessly beneath the waves of a lake of acetone, never to rise again. The liquid would not support him, not because he was too heavy but because he did not have a surface of molecules holding on to each other, to support him. The boiling point of water, its ability to gather and hold heat, the fact that liquid water is more dense than frozen water, as well as this little guy’s ability to stand on the surface supported only by surface tension; all these unusual behaviors are properties of water’s unique chemical and physical makeup.
“Why”, you ask, “do we REALLY need a lesson in the chemistry of water?” Perhaps not, but we MIGHT be able to draw some insight from an analogy on the way water behaves. It is said that opposites attract and indeed, the positive and negative parts of each water molecule do attract each other, but the result is that every water molecule, and each is identical to the others, is attracted to its neighbor. They have the same nature and so they are attracted to each other; not what you might expect. As Christians, we have indwelling each of us, the same nature.
“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16)
The nature of Jesus Christ is in each and every Christian. Something in all Christians resonates at the same frequency and THIS force or effect is what pulls us together in His service.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts 2:46)
Like the early disciples, we, if we allow Christ to indwell us fully, are held together by His nature. Because of this attraction we can be more than the sum of our parts. Just as water boils at a much higher temperature than it should, the Christian can show incredible patience through the most trying of times. As a thin stream of water will bend away from an oppositely charged object, so the committed Christian can overcome a temptation or obstacle that he or she would, in their own strength, be destroyed by.
Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here. Sometimes, opposites repel and similar things attract. However, in order to experience this power you must partake of the nature of the source. Allow Christ free rein in your life and you will find an incredible source of strength. You might even walk on water.
NOW I remember what it was…. September 19, 2013Posted by regan222 in Books, Religion, Science and Technology.
Tags: Arminianism, believe, Calvin, calvinism, Christ, Christianity, doctrine of predestination, faith, Holy Spirit, Jesus, predestination, st augustine of hippo
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I began a missive the other day concerning relativity and time dilation. I lost the thread about half way through and could NOT pull it together. While talking to our preacher earlier this week it dawned on me what exactly I was trying to say. I would like to first caveat my comments by saying that if you are of the Calvinist persuasion you will not like or agree with what I am about to say but I believe I can support my position with scripture.
There is a debate in Christian circles (hah! yeah like there is only ONE) concerning the doctrine of predestination versus the idea that all men are called to salvation. I can see both sides of the issue but I believe there is more scriptural basis for the idea that God calls all men and each has a right to choose, free of any destiny.
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom
he justified, them he also glorified.
Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good
pleasure of his will,
Most followers of the Hyper-Calvinist doctrine use at least one of the preceding verses as their justification for over applying the idea of predestination. The doctrine of predestination is generally accepted to mean ” the divine foreordaining of all that will happen, esp. with regard to the salvation of some and not others. It has been particularly associated with the teachings of St. Augustine of Hippo and of Calvin.” (Merriam-Webster).
The trouble with that doctrine is that its purveyors mistake intention with foreknowledge. Once again, to define terms, foreknowledge is considered to mean “awareness of something before it happens or exists.” (Merriam-Webster). God is aware of the choices we will make but that does not mean He orchestrates them. The Bible is VERY clear about God’s intentions toward men concerning salvation.
1 Tim. 2:3-4 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”
2 Pet. 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”
Salvation is open to “whosoever will”. We are instructed to believe and be saved. God would that all people should abide with him.
Does God have foreknowledge? Is He aware that some will not accept His gift? Yes but does that mean He ordered things to be that way in infinity past? NO. To say that would imply that all things are destined to be and that God’s will can never be thwarted. This is not the case. Our actions can hinder God’s will. It happens every Sunday in churches across America. Someone in the grip of making a decision looks down the aisle as they are preparing to step out during an invitation only to see some jaded, bored Christian texting or tweeting or playing Angry Birds during the invitation. Immediately the devil begins to whisper into the potential convert’s ear about how all these people are hypocrites and he or she should wait until they find a REAL church to be saved. The will of God is thwarted by simple human indifference. The mighty arm of God stopped dead still by some thoughtless child misbehaving.
Psalm 78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
1.Matthew 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
It is not only possible but fairly easy to balk God’s will. It is, however, a very dangerous and foolish thing to do, and the consequences are nearly always disastrous.
Finally, We return to the very verse most often used as justification for absolute election to, in fact, justify the more Arminian view (even though we are NOT Arminian and categorically renounce the idea of falling from grace).
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren.
According to Romans 8:29 God predestined those whom He foreknew or had foreknowledge of that they might be brothers of His son Jesus Christ. Who, if anyone, did God NOT foreknow. He was aware of all of us from the beginning of time and so all of us are intended to be among the brethren of Christ. He also knew that some would not accept that offer. He still reaches out to those with all the power and sincerity that the conviction of the Holy Spirit can muster if for no other reason than to hope that they will change their minds. Free will is a powerful force in the universe. We may have no other power to call our own but we always have the power to choose. God’s view is not limited to one destiny path for all humanity. There are hundreds of millions of individual threads of possibility each leading inexorably to the same place but each taking a different route through the lives of believers and unbelievers alike. All of these threads are possible. All you have to do is choose. Choose Jesus.
Relativity and Time Dilation September 17, 2013Posted by regan222 in Books, Computer and Technology, Educational Ranting, Religion, Science and Technology.
Tags: Einstein, relativity, space time continuum, special relativity, time dilation, twin paradox
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Some days just seem slower than others. Perhaps there is a reason for this beyond a lack of patience. During a recent physics lecture I was introduced to the idea of Time Dilation with respect to differences in velocity between two objects. Albert Einstein, the distinguished gentleman to our left, initially described the effect in his work on special relativity.
For the better part of human history we have considered time to be invariant. One second is one second no matter who or where you are. In his paper, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies“, Albert Einstein proposed and supported the idea that time was, for the most part, based upon one’s frame of reference. Galileo and others had suggested the idea many years before but Einstein’s work provided the math to support the observation.
An event, any occurrence that can be plotted according to time and position in space, can be observed relative to a frame of reference in Space-Time. Einstein also defined space and time as two sides of the same coin. Both are inextricably connected. Thus an event may be located in reference to it’s location along the X, Y, and Z axis as well as a point along the time line. Within it’s frame of reference, the velocity of a moving object may be accurately measured and known.
However, if the event is viewed from a different frame of reference it is possible for the coordinates to appear different to the observer. In effect, the position, translation, and location in the time line may appear quite different. Time is not a constant. The new positions in space time may be calculated through a modestly complicated series of equations called the Lorentz Transformations. Using these equations it is possible to take the X, Y, and Z coordinates and the time line position of an event in one frame of reference and determine the new position in space and time in another frame of reference. Does anyone else need a Tylenol?
For a practical example, imagine two space vehicles traveling past each other in opposite directions, passing close enough so that both crews have a view of the interior of each other’s craft. As they pass each other and both crews observe, the clock in each of their respective ships would appear to be keeping correct time while the clock in the ship across the way would appear to be going slower as it passed. It turns out that not only do the clocks appear to be going slower but they indeed are moving at different speeds with respect to each other according to the frame of reference of the observer. The difference in time (Δt) for both frames of reference may be calculated using the Lorentz Translations. Time is not a constant.
There are many consequences to this strange behavior of time. One of the most interesting is the idea of “Time Dilation”. As an object moves away from the Earth, for example, and its attendant frame of reference, time for the object remains constant but the time stream on the Earth moves much faster. One popular example is the “Twin Paradox” One identical twin leaves Earth on a space ship and returns, for him, a few years later only to find that his or her identical twin is now very elderly. As the velocity with which the frames of reference separates, the difference in the two time streams increases.
2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
God is not bound by our conventions. We are not able to observe from His frame of reference. In a real sense He is just beginning creation and, at the same time, ending it. He moves through time just as we move through space. In a sense we really are “already over on the other side.” If you are saved you are as sure for heaven as though you were already there. We have to read the book from front to back but God can see both ends at once. There is a lesson here somewhere but I am just not smart enough to bring it out.