Saturday, December 29, 2012

Random Thoughts 12/29/12

  • Whew, the year is almost gone… again.
  • Some of us were thinking about the fiscal cliff back in early November (and before then also).  Welcome to the conversation, everybody; it's good to get informed.
  • I really appreciate simple iPhone apps that do their job well.  One you may have overlooked, that has some new features and works really well is myLite, a basic flashlight app.  One of the first apps I downloaded for my first iPhone, it's still one that I use on a daily nightly basis.
  • Here's an interesting article (if you like history or architecture) showing great New York buildings that no longer exist.  Just scanning down the list, the 1960's was a bad time for famous buildings in the Big Apple.
  • This video is kinda long (23 minutes) but it's an excellent look into what makes a computing experience good or bad.  Now that computers are everywhere in our world, I hope lots of designers watch this amusing rant against Windows 8.  It helps that I've never been a fan of MicroSoft Windows.
  • This was my first losing season of fantasy football… in almost 20 years (though I have been .500 a few times in that period).  For most of the season I was in the top three scoring but I was in the top two teams for points allowed all year.  Basically, a lot of teams had their best weeks the week they were playing me.  Yay.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Where Only the Irony is Delicious…

Our local dirty-spoon in Bonner Springs.

Random Thoughts 12/20/12

  • My sweet Tanner had a birthday this week (Tuesday) and turned 11!  All he wanted for his birthday was a metal detector.  Of course.  That's not homeschool at all.
  • I took Shannon, Brennan, and Tanner to see The Hobbit Tuesday.   Part 1 (of 3) is everything a Tolkien fan could hope for.  We saw it in traditional 2D at 24 frames-per-second and it was perfect.  It seems like too dark a movie for 3D and I'm not a fan of wearing those plastic glasses and getting a headache anyway.
  • The Christmas shopping for the kids is basically done now with just a few more presents to wrap.  Spreading out the shopping (and spending) over several months is a good thing and I'm already tracking ideas and online prices for next year.
  • Our Google Fiberhood has expanded by a few miles (good for our neighbors) and been delayed a little bit (bad for us).  We supposedly will be hooked up by February.
  • Yes, more gun laws will make a difference.  Just like laws against alcohol and drugs fixed those problems.
  • Global warming failed us again.  We had our first serious snow today.  Blizzard conditions this morning and cold and icy all day.  But it's Kansas so it'll melt tomorrow… maybe.  In Russia they're having the worst winter in 70 years.  So it could be worse.
  • I think some people are going to profit off of the panic and foolishness about doomsday in the next 24 hours.  I'll have a video go up on my blog after midnight Friday night about why the world didn't end yesterday.
  • See Union Station's Christmas decorations here.
  • The bodies of the "In Cold Blood" killers were exhumed in Lansing, KS, to collect DNA for a murder case in Florida 50 years ago.  Kansas hasn't executed anybody since these two were hung in Lansing in 1965.
  • That video you've seen with the giant eagle snatching and almost carrying away an infant… is a fake.  It was created by a 3D animation workshop.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No Apocalypse This Friday

Stop worrying about the Mayan prophecy of doom that supposedly is due this week.  They didn't predict any such thing. 
The Mayan calendar runs out this Friday, on the 21st.  My calendar on my office wall runs out the 31st.  Both are intended to roll over and begin again.

It is mildly interesting, in a trivial kind of way, that the Mayan calendar does roll over, like an odometer, to all zeroes on Friday.  But the assumption that this foretells cataclysm, disaster, and the end of the world is something that other people (not the Mayans) started importing into the conversation in the mid-1970's.  The Mayans actually expected events to take to place on future calendars beyond this one, many thousands of years into the future. 

Furthermore, when we say that the Mayans predicted the end of the world, we assume that they believed in such a thing.  Many cultures have no concept of an apocalypse, judgment day, or end of the world.  Many non-Western cultures (specifically without influence from Judeo-Christian sources) believe in a cyclical world of reincarnation or rebirth that continues, in one form or another, forever.

Either way, there is nothing to fear from the Mayans this week.

  • Here's some background info from NASA.
  • More from NASA here.
  • And a number of resources here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

There are Answers…

This Sunday's sermon, already planned weeks ago, is about King Herod, an evil man who murdered innocent children.  We will discuss evil in the world, why bad things happen, and God's answer to tragedy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Random Thoughts 12/11/12

  • Yes tomorrow is 12/12/12 .  Bloggers (and other nerds) love that.
  • US 71, from Joplin to KC, becomes Interstate 49 on Wednesday.  I drove from Joplin to near-St. Joseph, Missouri and back every weekend for over four years.  It's going to be really, really hard to call that highway anything other than "seventy-one."
  • It looks like I'm going to wait until next Tuesday to see The Hobbit.  Normally, I'd be lining up on Thursday night for the midnight showing, but I want my older two boys and my wife to go with me, so seeing a noon-showing on a Tuesday makes more sense.
  • Highland Christian Church's mission team gave a sizable gift to our church camp.  God bless them!
  • Google Fiber is coming… and I can't wait.
  • Michigan is now right-to-work.  Hmmm…
  • Oh, good.  An Angry Birds movie is coming in 2016.  Just what we need.  Will this be coming to theaters or directly to the little bitty screen on your phone?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Random Thoughts 12/6/12

  • Javon Belcher's murder-suicide is such a terrible tragedy, leaving so many affected people.  The orphaned child, the family, those poor coaches and staff that witnessed the tragedy.  I think I passed the point of disbelief when the NFL made the Chiefs play the next day.  Why couldn't that game have been postponed or canceled out of respect for the lost?
  • Here's the writer's guild list of award nominees.  As someone who appreciates good writing, this list is sometimes a bit better than the typical Golden Globe, Emmy, or Oscar lists.
  • Google Fiber seems to be making progress in our neighborhood, er… fiberhood.  In recent weeks the crews have been running the fiber optic cable under ground to each house.  Personally, I can't wait to get rid of Knology (formerly Sunflower), which has been the most unreliable internet service I've ever used, going all the way back to dial-up.  But our neighborhood had very few internet options… until now.
  • Apple is now officially rich enough to lose money make computers in the U.S.  Supposedly, an entire line of computers (the Mac Pro?) will be made in the United States… at least for awhile.  Right now Apple products are designed in California, components are made around the world, and the machines are assembled in China, where skilled workers can be had for a few dollars an hour.  The same type of skilled worker (which may or may not exist in this country) is going to cost significantly more, meaning Apple can only afford to produce the product with the largest profit margin (the high-end $2500 Mac Pro), minus the profit margin
  • There's concern amongst early reviewers that the 48-frames per second speed of the new Hobbit film is distracting and unattractive.  I plan to see the film in plain-old 2D and traditional 24-frames per second, so hopefully I won't even notice what they're complaining about.
  • So the NFL is considering getting rid of the kickoff in football, to avoid the violent collisions (and frequent boredom) associated with the play.  What would replace it?  The team that scores, instead of kicking off, would go back to their own 30 with the ball on 4th and 15.  They can go for it or punt.  Hmmm…