“They're not taking instructions.

Don't you understand? You're on every street - you're in their homes. You've got their children. Of course they're gonna fight."

The Doctor explaining to a Cyberman why humans are not acquiescing to their presence. From the Doctor Who Series 2 episode Doomsday.

Image recycled from a previous post.




Generic eschatological humour

A woman died and went to heaven.

As she stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, she saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.

She asked, "What are all those clocks?"

St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will advance one minute."

"Oh," she said, "whose clock is that?"

"That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Incredible," she said. "And whose clock is that one?"

St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life."

"Where's [insert favourite politician's name] clock?" she asked.

"Oh [insert favourite politician's name]'s clock is in Jesus' office. He's using it as a ceiling fan."

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Capitalizing on the Season

Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall.

Normal grammar rules state these words are not to be capitalized (unless used at the beginning of a sentence, naturally).

I think that is wrong. I love to capitalize the names of the seasons. So, I often, deliberately, break the rule when writing.

Yesterday was a very warm Spring day. It got up to 25C (77F).

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The 8 year old princess

Today is Tania's birthday and she is 8 years old.

I still remember when she was born, when I held her in my arms.

She is my princess and always will be, no matter how old we get.

Picture is of Tania and two of her cousins.

Photo credit: Richard of Forbidden Planet.

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Action, outcome, reaction.

I can control my action.

I cannot control the outcome.

I can control my reaction.




When will Grandma be Alive Again?

Jason asked me this about a month after my mom died. I told him that it wouldn't be until the resurrection and Second Coming (my eschatological beliefs include Jesus coming again to judge the living and the dead, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting - it should be a pretty standard, non-controversial Christian belief).

Jason then started praying, "... and I pray daddy won't die."

I had to explain to him that everyone will die and that if he prays for me not to die, then he will be disappointed, because I will. We all will.

Now he has changed his prayer to, "... and I pray daddy will not be too old."

I guess that is better.

Image nabbed from here.

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noun the raising of hairs on the skin as a result of cold, fear, etc; GOOSEFLESH. [late Latin horrilation-, horripilatio, from Latin horripilare to bristle, be shaggy, from horrēre to bristle, tremble + pilusa hair]

Definition taken from the Penguin English Dictionary.

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Hey, Buddy! Can you spare an hour?

How much is your time worth? How do you choose to spend the time you have?

For the average man living until 74, he has about 650,000 hours available to him. For the average woman, living until 80, she has about 700,000 hours available to her.

We each have 8760 hours in a year (8784 in a leap year), do we make best use of our time? I know I don't.

Image nabbed from here.




Google Maps Security Threat?

From time to time, I will read in the media how some organization or other claims Google Maps as a security threat because it claims that the high resolution photos permit monitoring of troop movements and so forth.

I think this is untrue because when I look at the maps of areas I know, they are out of date - it appears by years, not days or weeks - since I fail to see more modern structures.

Here is a photo taken today from Google Maps which shows a park on the western tip of Montreal Island. As you can see, the trees are in full foliage. At the moment, the trees are bare and there is still some snow on the ground. In fact, this map has not changed in the year I have been monitoring it.

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Houston, we have a problem

While most cosmologists agree that the big bang is the most reasonable explanation for the origin of the universe, it is not without its problems.

One principle problem is that the universe is too big by several orders of magnitude. The age of the universe is estimated at 13.7 billion years (I am using billion in the American sense of thousand-million, not the British sense of million-million). It is assumed to have a naïve radius of 13.7 billion light years or a diameter of 27.4 billion light years. However, based on current understanding of how energy, particles and fundamental forces interact, this is too big - 300 million light years would be much more reasonable.

To resolve this, it has been proposed that shortly after coming into existence, the universe underwent a period of extreme inflation where it expanded exponentially rapidly.

Introducing the concept of hyperinflation also resolves a number of other issues such at the universe having too uniform a horizon. If the universe had expanded normally, scientists would expect a much greater temperature variation at the horizon as local effects took place cooling and heating various regions. If the universe inflated, then there would have been no time for these effects to take place and consequently the fairly uniform shell of the universe would have stretched into place.

Another issue it resolves is the apparent lack of magnetic monopoles, which, according quantum physics, should have been created during the early universe. A lack of magnetic monopoles would occur if the universe rapidly inflated thus not permitting their formation.

Some scientists believe the universe may be larger than we observe, since we cannot observe beyond the horizon. Alternatively, some scientists believe the visible universe may be as large as 156 billion light years in diameter if one factors in space-time expansion.

The 5 Second Origins of the Cosmos Lesson

While there are numerous propositions for the origins of the universe, the current rage is that it arose from a perturbation in the quantum field. Quantum physics allows for the spontaneous creation of energy out of the quantum field. This does not violate conservation of energy, since the sum of the energy created is zero and typically collapses quickly back on itself. In the case of our universe, for some reasons, the energy did not collapse back in on itself, but continued to expand, eventually coalescing out as the matter in our universe - however, the net energy in our universe is zero (i.e. it does not exist). IT is theorizd that the universe cam into existence with a radius 10-35 metres (this is the size of the Planck Length - the theorized smallest dimension).

Why the Universe may be Bigger than it is Old

Given that Einstein fixed the speed of light as a constant in the universe, some might complain that it is impossible for the universe to be 156 billion light years, since it implies faster than light travel. This is not the case. Light is limited to travelling a 3x108 m/s in time-space (what is colloquially known as space). However, there is no current limit on the expansion rate of time-space (the medium through which light travels). So, you not only have light travelling through space, but you also have space (the medium) expanding stretching.

One misconception is that the universe (the matter and energy) is expanding and filling space. This is wrong. Prior to the big bang, there was no space. Space, energy and matter are a consequence of the big bang. Matter and energy are embedded in space. It is the expansion of space that fundamentally drives the expansion of matter and energy. There are local gravitational effects which cause matter to gather and coalesce, but it is all done within the space-time fabric.

Universe as a Balloon Analogy

A two dimensional view of the universe can be had by imagining an uninflated balloon. Draw a bunch of spots on the balloon. This represents the early universe where everything was together. As you blow up the balloon, it is not the spots that are moving apart, but rather the expansion of the surface of the balloon is moving the spots apart. Our universe is the same way, except in three dimensions and the spots (matter and energy) are free to interact with one another.

Just as there is no centre of the balloon surface, there is no centre of the universe - it is a closed continuous surface. In fact, if traveled in a straight line through the universe, you would eventually get back to where you had begun (imagine tracing a straight line on the surface of the balloon, eventually, you would return to where you had started from). This leads to the interesting effect, that with a powerful enough telescope, you could see the back of your head.

For the Curious

It is theorized that particles called inflatons were responsible for the inflation of the early universe.

For the Really Curious

While I am no expert on quantum physics, it seems to be getting increasingly complex with too many fudge factors being added in. I believe that quantum physics is getting ripe for an overhaul and there will likely be a new revolution in physics (as there was about a century ago). So, I think physics is a good place to go now (notwithstanding Stephen Hawkins belief that physics is a dead end since most everything has been worked out and all that is left is tidying up a few odds and ends).

Again, I note that I am no expert in this area, but things looks similar to the way they did a century ago (including the pronouncements that physics is just about all wrapped up).

For those who were not so curious

Some people don't really care for so much detail. When asking, "How does it work?", all they really want to know is, "Where is the on / off switch?". And that is fine too. After all, not everyone wants to know how a television works deep down inside, or its manufacturing origins.

For many people knowing that you can pick up the TV at Joe's TV Emporium and where the power switch is, is all they want to know.

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"We will take the enticing lie over the obvious truth every time.

Why? Because we really, really want to. The truth does not sell very well. It is an ugly, sweaty thing requiring work and discipline. We want to believe there is an electrical device that, when strapped onto our love handles, will give us a meaty abdominal six-pack while sitting on our fat asses eating Milk Duds. We do not like the truth because it is simple, we do not want the truth because it is hard, and we do not trust the truth because it is free." - Pat Walsh, 78 reasons why your book may never be published and 14 reasons why it just might, excerpted from Reason #38: You Fell for Self-Publishing Hype

I highly recommend this book and The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman as must reads for anyone who wants to write and get published (or, like me, who dreams of writing and getting published one day). They give a lot of food for thought.

Now, all I need is some electronic device I can strap to the back of my head to short out my inhibitory reflexes and get me to just do it (actually, it would probably need to be strapped to the front of my head, since neuroscience indicates that the frontal gray matter is responsible for inhibition - or maybe an iron bar would do the trick as well).

Pat Walsh begins his reasons you (I) will never be published with this obvious gem: The Number One Reason Your Book Will Never Be Published Is Because You have Not Written It.

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Forbidden Planet is now a rambunctious 2 year old toddler (it happened 2 days ago).

I think it has been more of the same this past year - perhaps a little less self indulgent whining and more arrogant assertiveness.

Work circumstances made blogging a little trickier the past year – and it just keeps gets harder to grab some surreptitious time at work.

I continue to enjoy the wonderful diversity of thoughts and experiences I encounter through out the blog-o-sphere – expanding my horizons always appeals to me. I love the thoughtful comments. I love the interesting interaction.

I suppose the next year will just continue to be more of the same. So, maybe some of you will begin to tire of my questions and oddball perspectives.

I have no idea were the picture came from, but if you do, then let me know and I can credit the source.

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The empty tomb

Image grabbed from here.

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The Harrowing of Hell

ADAM: Me thou madest, Lord, of clay,
And gave me Paradise in to play;
But after my sin, sooth to say,
Deprived I was therefro,
And from that weal put away;
And here have lenged sithen ay
In thesterness, both night and day,
And all my kind also.

DAVID: Ah, high God and king of bliss,
Worshipped be thy name, iwis!
I hope that time now comen is
To deliver us of danger.
Come, Lord. Come to hell anon,
And take out thy folk, everyone,
For those years are fully gone
Since mankind first came here.

From The Harrowing of Hell, from the Chester Pageant of the Cooks and Inkeepers.

Image nabbed from here.



Were you there?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh . . .
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh . . .
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they pierced Him in the side?
Were you there when they pierced Him in the side?
Oh . . .
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they pierced Him in the side?

Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Oh . . .
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh . . .
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Traditional Spiritual

The image is Salvador Dali's Christ of St. John of the Cross

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“One of you will betray me.”

He took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many." Mark 14:22-24

Image obtained from here.

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On the chopping block

I have not and will not sign any document authorizing donation of my organs. Why? Because I want to be good and dead not just brain dead. You cannot harvest organs from a corpse. Organs must be harvested from a body with a still beating heart and still functioning lungs.

Once the heart stops, the body's tissues begin to suffer from oxygen deprivation, which deteriorates them (not to mention that lack of flowing blood also mean waste products can't be removed – further deterioration) and makes them less than useful.

The way organs are taken from bodies with beating hearts, is by declaring the person brain-dead with no chance for recovery. It is preferable that the decision be made quickly, since you don't want to harvest organs from someone who has been in a coma for months or years on end (again, because organs deteriorate). The best organs come from healthy young person involved in a car accident: "We're sorry, but your child is brain dead and will never recover. Please sign this authorization form allowing us to harvest the organs." (A few years ago, there seemed to be a rash of young people who died and their parents signed over the organs within 24 to 72 hours).

It was not surprising that the first human heart transplant occurred in South Africa. It was the heart of a black man (not truly a man in the eyes of Apartheid ruling elite), taken from his body after doctors declared him dead - though his heart and lungs were functioning (prior to that, the only acceptable definition of death was heart-lung failure). Yes, the notion of brain-death is something very recent in history - only about 40 years old.

I often wonder why we have the classification brain-dead, but not body-dead. Body-dead would be someone who has full mental faculties, but an injury renders their body incapable of functioning. An example would be Christopher Reeve, who, after his accident, could not even breathe without a ventilator.

Would it be ethical to harvest the organs of someone who is aware, but cannot breath without assistance?

Cutting the beating heart out of someone is no more humane today than it was when the Aztecs did it.

Image nabbed from here.

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