Sunday, September 30, 2007

What if...

Baseball outfielders had baseball bats?

Infield hit is an out (or a base hit?), foul is a double, outfield hit is a triple, and a strike is a home run.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Open Invitation to provide ACS/Parent Pager/Church Assistance

Our church uses ACS as its church management software. This week, we had the pleasure of having one of ACS Technologies' authorized third party consultants come to our church to provide onsite training for our users.

The trainer presented clear information to our users and provided some insight into enabling us to better manage our data.

As we talked, I was heartened to know that the trainer had recommended me to other churches for assistance in networking and general get-it-togetherness. Heartened, tempered with the realization that the churches haven't contacted me.

While I'm busy on one front, I'm also interested on providing my findings and some thoughts for churches who may seem to be in a rut -- stuck and not moving.

God is alive. He cares about you. Don't freak out about being stuck with "the way we have always done things around here." One of the best things about the place I work is that I am able to work with such wonderful people who really want to get this church thing right. That includes being receptive to kind direction toward optimizing our database. If you have access to the services offered by your application provider, let them help you. They do know their own product.

Fisher-Price Little Mommy

Fisher-Price Little Mommy
Taking a step out of ... my usual things for a bit. This robotdoll is the next big thing from Fisher Price.
Girls can choose and record a name for their very own Real Loving Baby and the doll will actually recognize and respond to her name

I was chatting with a friend, and we have agreed that this is ripe for misuse. Well, we'll see.

There's a saying regarding hosting a session -- Don't ever ask a question you don't already know the answer to [sic]. Any ability to record free form information is an opportunity to fill that vacancy with any nonsense at all. In some cases, that even includes buffer overflow vulnerabilities for your favorite Operating System and Office Suite.

In the case of this robotdoll, I'd consider the ramifications of populating the name variable with any value.

Nonetheless, the concept of this robotdoll gives me the creeps. At $60 MSRP, it's a slight discount from the $99 MSRP of Microsoft's ActiMates, but it uses the same concepts of social dynamics; almost as if it came from a textbook. In fact, if you really want to see the truth of art imitating art, check out this article from 1999:
"When I hear Barney say, 'You're my special friend' -- that's a disingenuous statement," said Allen Cypher, a founder of Stagecast Software, which designs children's programs. "It's a fraudulent claim. It deceives kids into believing that Barney has some emotional attachment to them, and that's not true." Other panelists worried about Barney's "authoritarian tone," or that he discouraged imaginative play. And some said that, while Barney himself was basically harmless, he may be a harbinger of worse to come: an interactive Cartman from "South Park," perhaps, spewing expletives and insulting his owner.

And one member of the audience asked if a child could take Barney apart and "reprogram him to say, 'Please slap me.' "

"These products are designed to prevent that," Strommen said.

When will "These products" no longer be designed to prevent that? It may be sooner than you think. It probably is on your local toy shelf today.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Human Nature Makes People [Jerks]; Not the Internet · Violent Acres

Human Nature Makes People [Jerks]; Not the Internet · Violent Acres
"The people that buy into this theory are the same simple-minded retards that also buy into the theory that human beings are innately good people. They are not. They are whiny, manipulative, greedy, stupid, jealous, vengeful, selfish cows. Very few people in the history of the world were genuinely kind people."

While I may disagree with the method in which it is expressed (warning: NSFC language), I whole-heartedly agree with the premise.

Thank you. I just can't seem to get past that, sometimes. It also brings me back to my other musings about why be good? It's not in human nature to be good.

I think I'll digest this, and my dinner some more, while I go tend to my son, who wants to play games with his father.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fear? Is it worship or being scared?

Why be good? Is it because of the consequences of being bad? Is it in utter mortal terror of God's wrath? Is it because being good is the right thing to do?

Doing the right thing is often the hardest thing in the world to do. For the truest of reasons, knowing God means that one wants to be closer to Him because one loves God. To get closer to God means to do the things that are right. It is fear, but not of the abject terror or anxiety that is associated with "Do this or else." It is the fear of reverential awe.

Being good is a general choice one makes. It certainly isn't that Christians have a lock on being good. It is just that it appears to be incomprehensible to choose to be good merely for goodness' sake. However, there's almost always some entity that will call someone on her choice. Many times, that decision is possibly arbitrary according to differing points of view.

The idea that Christians, for instance, have a mortal dread that what they do is going to send them to hell is an interesting concept. If people are actually understanding the point of being saved, the Christian and the mortal are facing the same choices daily. The mortal's choices don't matter to him for his eternal situation, and the Christian's choices shouldn't generally preclude him from heaven. (Jesus is able to save completely those who are lost.) The truly saved Christian isn't in fear of damnation. He's in awe of God and wants to do the right thing because of the idea and gratitude of the gift. The mortal is free to do as he wills under the constructs of society.

In short, the doing good things is because of a desire to achieve good results. In mortals, this is potentially arbitrary. In Christians, it is because they are thankful for salvation and the desire to be near God that they [should] do the right thing and make the right choices. If anything, everyone, mortals and Christians should be encouraging Christians to make the right choices -- mortals, because even if they don't believe in God, know that Christians do, and should follow the right path; and Christians should encourage each other to continue in the race until the finish, running as if to win the race.

Earthly Father, Heavenly Father

I don't have a basis for this question. Indeed, to ask it would probably suggest that I am prejudiced in some way. If one has a poor relationship with one's earthly father, would one be more inclined to disbelieve the idea of a loving heavenly father?

The Atheist Who Was Found by God

The Atheist Who Was Found by God
"I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.’ 'So I began with the hardest one: my Dad."

Wow. Please consider reading the link above.

Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God, and everyone the loves is born of God and knows God. He that doesn't love, doesn't know God, for God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:7-12

I try not to always thump the Bible to prove a point, because I recognize that some people have a mindset to reject the Bible in its entirety because they disagree with points made here or there. However, sometimes there aren't any better ways to say it, than what the Bible says itself.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Braggarts, Bloggers, Blabbers, and Balderdash

It pains me to see the comments on pages that are confrontational while being misspelled and with no white space, punctuation, or capitals.

Maybe I'm just being picky. If I read a comment and the comment has no capital letters -- People, the word I is capitalized! -- nor allows my brain to relax between thoughts presented in one's stream of consciousness posts, -- please, use paragraphs -- I tend to discount much of what that post is saying.

True, I can't expect the world to be civil in speech or tone, especially in the land of anonymous people who feel that because they have the ability to speak or type -- debatable as that may be -- that it is in the interest of the world that their tripe is heard. Yes, one has a right to her opinion. I have a right to request that it, at least, has been spelled properly.

There is a difference between the people who make money with their words and the people whose words are ineffective because of their presentation. The logic one might attempt to present is lost when the presentation is mired in a mess that detracts from the message.

While I'm at it, people who write the words that appear under people's heads on TV better know how to spell as well. This is especially true when such as CNBC -- a financial TV channel -- cannot find the proper way to spell dividend (divended? Please). I know, I'm talking about an isolated incident. I'm sure it's been handled since then. That doesn't negate the fact that it looked awful.

If anything gives me solace regarding spelling and grammar online, it'd be the fact that when I'm going to places where content is critical to people who have money and are making fiscal decisions based upon said content, the content is provided clearly and concisely without distracting its readers with headache inducing misspellings.

It is no fun having to translate a document twice -- once into "English" and a second time into content/meaning. However, I fear I may have done the same thing in this post, because of its length and because of its use of language.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Love, Faith, and Rationality

From the movie, The Devil's Advocate:

Kevin Lomax: What about love?
John Milton: Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate.

The question I have is how can anyone prove that love exists? This is a critical point. One can't measure love. But I can pretty much guarantee that even atheists believe in love. Must take a lot of faith to believe in something that you can't prove exists.

Sexual attraction isn't love. As well, sexual attraction isn't measurable or definable in itself. That is, one can see chemical changes, sweat response, genital response, etc. These are responses to stimuli -- responses to so-called sexual attraction, arousal, what have you. While one can measure response, and say "I've seen the responses and they match what happens when people say they're in love.", I can point to the quote above and ask the obvious question -- the same question/argument atheists have about faith.

If the tests of religious faith were applied to love, one would have a lot of angry people, apologetics, and so on. "Prove you are in love" "Prove I'm not" Love is, by some accounts, irrational, unexplainable, unmeasurable. It is, however, quite the controversial statement to make to even the most rational of people that love is only for the mentally deficient. Nearly every argument against religious faith can be applied against love (or practically any other emotion). I think about the wars caused by love (or hate). I think about the murders committed by or because of love. Yet, I have yet to see the self-important signoff on message board posts "I wouldn't want to be in love, because of what lovers do to others who aren't in love with them."

My question goes to the very heart of the arguments against "Faith" -- that faith is irrational; that faith is illogical; that faith is "stupid" because it can't be measured.

What makes love different than religious faith?

The question becomes even more important in light of the viewpoint that "God is Love". Believe in God? Believe in Love?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11. I remember.

I am one of millions who were not directly affected by the impaling of the Twin Towers by airplanes. Yet, I remember. I offer this post as a simple reminder to myself and those who visit that it was a tragedy that should not be forgotten.

Now, let's let good come from the ashes.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe

This reminds me of something. "I seem to have forgotten my name. Can I have yours?"

OB Note: You will probably (could, possibly?) be offended by some of the language used if you browse other images -- they aren't mine, neither this one. Baby, bathwater, etc.

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