Archive for February, 2005


February 28, 2005 4 comments

The new design: good or bad? Well, actually it’s really just the logo text up there, since otherwise it’s just Kubrick. There’s one vote in the bad column so far.

Categories: Blogging

For God's sake people!

February 28, 2005 Leave a comment


It’s also very odd that SciFi has a promo where Greg Palast is unraveling himself.

Categories: Silliness

Air Jesus!

February 27, 2005 1 comment

A very strange article on Media about the National Religious Broadcaster’s convention. Some of the highlights:

Nowhere during the NRB conference were the contradictions more severe — or better suppressed — than at the Israeli Tourism Ministry breakfast. Since the Intifada began four years ago, damaging Israel’s international prestige and scaring off Jewish tourists, Israel ramped up its campaign for evangelical support by marketing itself as the place “where Jesus walked” and enlisting Christian broadcasters as surrogate propagandists. With the Intifada now at a dead end and Israel expecting upwards of 700,000 Christian tourists this year, tourism officials deployed to the convention exuded a blithe, celebratory mood, feting their Christian guests with abundant helpings of scrambled eggs, creamed spinach and sweet rolls, all courtesy of grateful Israeli taxpayers.

In recent years, one of the most outspoken evangelical supporters of Israel has been popular radio host Janet Parshall. As the breakfast’s keynote speaker, she described her decision to tour Israel by recounting a conversation with God.

“God, the Holy Land has terrorists, I said. But, God said, ‘Janet, you’re from Washington DC,'” Parshall recalled to uproarious laughter. But whom was Parshall’s God referring to? To DC’s political class? Or to DC’s sizable population of young Black males who are so often demonized in the conservative media as a criminal plague? The crowd seemed to know.

Just then a small, aging man ambled towards us and identified himself as Itzhak, the founder of Kibbutz Ginosar (website), also located on the Gallilee. “But these people supported us for four years,” he reminded Marina in a scolding tone, referring to conservative evangelicals. I asked him if he agreed with their politics.

Itzhak paused, staring at the ground for a moment, then asked me, “Did you see the bus?”

I replied that I had not.

“The Americans brought that bus,” he said. His voice dripped with disdain.

I followed Itzhak’s directions to the back of the convention hall and there it was: Bus #19, a Jerusalem city bus attacked by a Palestinian suicide bomber in January 2004. A scorched, hollow hulk of twisted steel beams, the bus was hoisted up on a display platform like a concept car at some macabre auto convention. A giant piece of posterboard leaning against the platform featured headshots of hundreds of “Victims of Islamic Terrorism.”

Bus #19 is owned by a Christian Zionist group called “The Jerusalem Connection” (website), which, according to its president, retired US Brigadier General James Hutchens, “looks at the conflict in Israel within a biblical context.” The bus had toured the world, from The Hague, where it served as a prop for protesters against the World Court’s condemnation of the Israeli separation wall, to the US for various evangelical “Remember Israel” rallies. At each stop, it was being offered up by The Jerusalem Connection like a moonbounce for a kid’s birthday party.

At a table near the bus, a Jerusalem Connection employee was handing out pamphlets titled, “Bring Bus #19 To Your Community!” One reason the pamphlet offered for sponsoring it: “For Christians, you will increase in stature, appreciation and acceptance by Jews.”

The whole thing is pretty interesting, so go read it.

Categories: Religion

Bronze Medal for Valor

February 25, 2005 Leave a comment

The collection grew this month when Cpl. Raleigh Smith was honored posthumously with the Bronze Medal for Valor. It was issued by the government Feb. 9 and arrived in Troy last week. Smith, a 2002 Troy High School graduate, had just turned 21 when he was shot and killed during an insurgent ambush of his platoon Dec. 23, 2004, in Fallujia. Richard Natonski, major general of the U.S. Marine Corps, said in a commendation that Smith and other Marines were searching for enemy weapons and ammunition caches when gunfire broke out. “He steadfastly engaged multiple targets as they emerged from closets all around the room,” Natonski wrote. “Corporal Smith’s deadly accuracy with his service rifle and his courageous disregard for his own safety enabled the remainder of his team to escape the kill zone as enemy grenades exploded in and amongst them. “His brave actions preserved their lives as he sacrificed his own. Corporal Smith’s initiative, perseverance and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”


Categories: Personal

Still trickling in…

February 25, 2005 1 comment

I realize it’s kind of dull to debunk letters to the editor, but here’s another one on evolution:

Some questions posed to advocates of evolution

I am writing in response to two letters. First, Scott Graber (letter, Feb. 20) seemed to be saying that in the same way the Catholic Church finally admitted that Galileo was correct so too will Christians (creationists) admit that evolution is responsible for the world we have today. God and evolution can co-exist, everybody is happy. However, to do so would be calling God a liar! The Bible says, God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them, and He did it in six days (Genesis chapter one). It also says that it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18). If you start with God as the Creator “the fruit of our God-given scientific curiosity” will not be proving evolution. It will be more of a testimony to God’s power and majesty.

Shouldn’t he be able to grasp the point that if you believe in evolution, you don’t really believe the Bible is strictly the word of God? That God lying thing seems sketchy to me (2 Thessalonians 2):

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The guy’s last sentence in that quote doesn’t really make any sense.

I also have a couple of questions for Stephen Durbin (letter, Feb. 21). I was wondering about the example in the last issue of Nature. Did it say that those involved in the further findings on Ardipithecus ramidus actually observed this fossil walking like a human with the appearance of a chimp, or did they reach this conclusion based on the presupposition that evolution is true?

I wasn’t aware fossils could walk. You learn something new every day. In any case:

In this week’s issue of Nature, an international team of researchers led by archaeologist Sileshi Semaw of the CRAFT Stone Age Institute at the University of Indiana reports the discovery of nine new fossils of A. ramidus from Gona, Ethiopia. The team shows that a bit of toe bone recovered at the site curves in a manner that is diagnostic of upright walking.

It’s really not hard to find an issue of Nature. We have two libraries in town, I’m sure one of them has the issue. Maybe it’s just me, but I would do that before spouting off in a newspaper.

Also, you seem to be familiar with the inner workings of a clock, since you described the gears pushing on each other. Upon examining the clock did you think that it was a well-designed device, or did you wonder how long it took all those parts to develop and come together as a functioning timepiece?

Paley lives on.

Categories: Science

What I learned today

February 24, 2005 Leave a comment

The Biblical prophet Elijah is back and he has an official website! You have 4 years to prepare for the rapture or culling or whatever.

Women are pawns of the Illuminati! Technically I learned this yesterday, but it takes a while to sink in.

The Illuminati also control the Republican party. And the Democratic party, but they don’t have a website for them.

The equation


can be used to “calculate happiness in society, profit in economy and knowledge in research.”

You didn’t know it was so simple, did you?

Categories: Silliness

You know…

February 24, 2005 1 comment

Not having recursion is very inconsiderate of Fortran 77. Very inconsiderate.

Categories: Tech