A Random Pattern

Archive for May, 2007

5 Reasons God Exists, or Philosophy of Religion

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

You can intelligently disagree with the points made in the following YouTube video (or even intelligently agree). If so, we can have a great discussion. But if you don’t understand the arguments tendered, or aren’t familiar with the quoted sources, then you have no room to snub “christians” as ignorant.

Which point do you disagree with most, or find the least compelling? Why?

Programming Joke

Friday, May 25th, 2007

A friend and I were standing around the grill, watching the burgers cook. You know, if you don’t watch them they don’t get done. ;)

Another friend walks up and comes up with this immensely clever line:

“How many programmers does it take to grill hamburgers?”. (I should mention said friend is a salesman. :P )

My first reaction is to offer a mocking half-laugh at this ‘joke’ (though admittedly, most of my jokes are worse). However, the programmer in me can’t resist the challenge of providing a technically correct answer.

“1”… Even though there are clearly two of us standing there.

From the salesman I receive a confused look and a “Huh?”. Moments later, my programmer friend starts laughing.

The salesman asks “What, is that some inside joke or something?”

The griller explains. “Let’s say you have an array of 10 numbers. You would expect them to be numbered 1 through 10. But the computer will number them 0 through 9 instead.”

I’m not sure if the next look from my salesman friend was more confusion, disgust, or some potent mixture of both. ;)

White Shadows

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Tessa woke us up this morning.  As she was talking with us, trying to get us to wake up and get moving, she noticed something on the covers.

“White shadows” she said excitedly!  (Never mind that she says everything excitedly.)
She was pointing at the bright spots of light where the sun was making its way through and around the shades.  My still sleep-numbed brain tossed about for another word or phrase to describe the sun-dappled scene that had entranced our daughter.  No, it seemed to me that “white shadows” was quite good enough, and a remarkably adroit phrase for a 4 year old.

footnote:  It says something about the world that our children learn first about the dark, scary shadows at night in their rooms, before ever being given a word for the kisses of sunlight in the morning.  Perhaps the latter is so much bigger, so much better, that it is hard to wrap up in a simple word.

Golf with bow and arrows

Friday, May 18th, 2007

This online game is quite fun, though not long term addictive (I don’t think … yet … ).  I’ve gotten a -8, though my first effort yielded a startling +108!   Not so good…

So how do you play?  Use your mouse, click and hold on the cat (heh, no pun intended), then move your mouse away to “draw” the cat’s bow.  He’ll automatically restock with an arrow whenever you click on him.  The further you pull back, the more power he’ll shoot with.  He’ll then follow along on a rubbery “string” behind his arrow.

Your goal?  Hit the target.  Doesn’t matter where, just get your arrow somewhere on it, preferably under par.  Good luck.

Oh, want an additional tip?  Go play first, then come back.

Back already?  Tip: You can reshoot arrows while still in the air.  You can also prepare to shoot while in air, which will release the cat from following his previous shot.  Happy hunting!  And post your best (lowest) scores below.

Do you question authority?

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Do you question authority at every turn? On what authority?

From an (old) article on conspiracy theorists, I found this gem:

At some level, everyone knows this, even if some people pretend to think otherwise. The secularist who chides religious believers for having faith in what the Church teaches will also tell them, in the very next breath and with no sense of irony, to shut up and trust the experts where scientific matters are concerned. That there are philosophers and theologians who can present powerful and sophisticated justifications of religious belief is taken to be no defense of the average believer – he ought to “think for himself,” says the secularist. And yet while the average secularist couldn’t give you an interesting explanation or defense of quantum mechanics, relativity theory, or evolution if his life depended on it, the fact that there are experts who can do so is taken by him to justify his own faith in their findings. As the philosopher Christopher Martin has noted, the real difference between medieval and modern people is not that the former believe in the need for authority and the latter don’t – in fact both medievals and moderns believe in it and act accordingly – but rather that the former admitted that they believed in it, while the latter pretend they don’t.

Those of you, gentle readers, who are quite anti-religious, may not be able to read much of that article without your eyeballs going up in smoke. I encourage you to attempt to understand the writer’s point of view, and find that which you can agree with instead of being distracted by a few comments that raise your blood pressure (and are hardly critical to the core premise).

How to throw a temper tantrum

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Step 1: make sure you have an audience. Learn from the master – watch this:

I suppose now is a good time to note: that’s not my kid, just a hilarious video Sara found online.

Kids and volumes: would you like earplugs with that?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Selah only has 2 volumes:

SCREAMING!   and    let’s talk ever so gently.

Unfortunately for us, her normal volume is the first one.   We only recently discovered the second one, and it only appears in the rarest of instances: when she is full enough to stop eating long enough to talk, but hungry enough that her attention is still mainly on her food.  Unfortunately, this coveted period of ear-healing only occurs for a few minutes each night at the dinner table.

Any suggestions (besides ear plugs, I’ve already got those ;) )?

Actually, what I really want to know is if this is normal, or if there’s something we’ve somehow done drastically wrong?  I keep hoping this is a phase, and one day soon Selah will wake up and talk in a normal voice.  Someone out there give me some hope …  :D

A “thinking” video

Monday, May 14th, 2007

This is the kind of entertainment I like.

Not mindless, perplexing.  Not straightforward, obtuse.  Not dashed off, flawlessly executed.  Not boring, entrancing.  Not entertainment, Art.

I probably found this piece all the more fascinating because of my growing obsession with technology, and my simultaneous (and deepening) study of humanity and societal interactions.

Greenpeace: Those darn facts…

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

First, you should know that I am an environmental advocate, but not a “fringe nutcase”.  I actively look for ways to use less water and energy, recycle more, and otherwise run a responsible household.  At the same time, I don’t cover my cars or house with solar panels, pour vegetable oil into my vehicles, or expect others to go far beyond reasonable efforts in trying to avoid energy waste.

Now, despite my interest in many of the organization’s goals, I have never held a particularly high opinion of Greenpeace – but I will stress that this was an untested opinion, not a strenous evaluation of the organization and its principles.  That has changed recently, as I have stumbled upon factual and detailed articles that show Greenpeace as an incompetent organization out to increase donations and political influence, rather than attempting to effect real change in areas that really matter.

I still think Greenpeace could have a good mission, and possibly good intentions.  But they have destroyed or damaged much of their credibility through their demonstration of their belief that “the ends justifies the means”.  Rather than being a trusted, relatively unbiased source, they are acting like an extremely biased organization in pursuit of their short-term goals at the expense of anything, facts and even their stated long-term purpose.

I particularly don’t understand why they aren’t being smarter in applauding companies that are taking steps to meet Greenpeace’s stated goals – this seems like an obviously good strategic weapon, yet Greenpeace doesn’t seem to use anything other than negative hype.

What I really wonder is whether Greenpeace is, in the end, helping or hurting the quest for a more eco-friendly world?  In fact, are they helping or hurting every one of their stated goals?  I’m not even going to get started on their position toward nuclear energy….

How to make a mother’s day present

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Hint: start now for next year, this could take a while.  I love you, Mom, but you know I don’t think that far ahead.  ;)
If you’re wondering: yes, the above is another link to one of my favorite webcomics.  My wife actually bought me one of the shirts for Christmas, which totally blew me away!  :D  I wore it the other night, and prompted some fun exchanges among my friends and even random restaurant staff.   (If you don’t get it, don’t worry.  Neither did anyone else – hence the fun!)