Friday, May 30, 2008

They Didn't Get The Memo About The Helicopters

A completely uncontacted Indian tribe has been spotted in the Amazon. In full body paint! They fired arrows at a helicopter! I find this fascinating. If only I could know what would go through their minds when they see a helicopter. Apparently they didn't get the memo about the helicopters.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The 6:7 Project: An Introduction

I'm planning a series of Bible studies in an interesting format. The idea is that I will do blog posts on verse seven of chapter six of every book in the Bible. This is not any sort of weird numerology, but rather "stratified sampling". One way of understanding large amounts of information is by taking small, regular bits of the information and studying them very carefully.

This approach to Bible study was elucidated by famed computer scientist and mathematician Donald Knuth in some Bible studies he directed, and the book he eventually published, "3:16". He also discusses it in-depth in the lectures, "Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Thinks About". Knuth developed studies looking into verse 16 of every chapter 3 in the Bible.

The method has its flaws, but by thoroughly studying around 60 verses spaced throughout the Bible, you get a pretty good idea of what is going on. And you are forced to study context, related verses, and background information! I certainly wouldn't suggest studying this way exclusively, but it is a pretty neat practice and can be actually quite helpful! It forces one to look at some verses that would normally be overlooked.

When Donald Knuth did the 3:16 studies, he admitted that it was sort of rigged. He knew that there is at least one 3:16 passage that is very well known. Well, for my attempt, I've decided to do verse 7 of chapter 6, which is quite random. I can't think of any famous 6:7 verses.

I'm going to try to do one blog post per week which covers a new book of the Bible's 6:7, starting with Genesis 6:7.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

New U.S. Libertarian Party Candidate Announced

This just in, Bob Barr, the former Republican congressmen of Georgia will be the Libertarian Party candidate in the U.S. elections.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Don't Drive a SUV, Fly a Private Jet

Or so the irony goes. On a somewhat related note, this Mr. Fish cartoon vividly portrays the irony in some of the methods used by some environmental activists. I don't want to discount all activism, but this just shows that there ARE blind spots. And sometimes the people that most furiously fight a problem are also part of that problem.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wildlife Identification Help

Over the years, there's been quite a few animals/plants that I've seen, but have subsequently remained unidentified. I have pictures of them, but am puzzled as to their ID. I'm wondering if someone may be able to assist me. I would greatly appreciate it. Some of these are really bugging me.

I'm sure there are some more. And there are a number of un-IDed creatures that I haven't listed here, because I simply haven't even looked into them yet and am thinking they may be easy to identify.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Lots of Wildlife This Weekend

This long weekend was a pretty good one for checking out wildlife!!

Here's a few animals I saw (at Ojibway & Brunet Park):

Agelaius phoeniceus - Red-winged blackbird (many)
Archilochus colubris - Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Branta canadensis - Canada Geese
Carduelis tristis - American Goldfinch
Cardinalis cardinalis - Northern Cardinal
Cyanocitta cristata - Blue Jay
Icterus galbula - Baltimore Oriole (3)
Melanerpes carolinus - Red-bellied Woodpecker
Parus bicolor - Tufted Titmouse
Passerina cyanea - Indigo Bunting
Poecile atricapilla - Black-capped chickadee
Picoides pubescens - Downy Woodpecker
Sitta carolinensis - White-breasted nuthatch
Turdus migratorius - American Robin (many)
Sialia sialis - Eastern Bluebird
Zenaida macroura - Mourning Dove (many)
Quiscalus quiscula - Common Grackle
Elaphe gloydi - Eastern foxsnake (large adult)
Cicindela sexguttata - Six-spotted Tiger Beetle (many)
Nymphalis antiopa antiopa - Mourning Cloak Butterfly


Well-Known People From This Area

  • Paul Martin - Former Prime Minister of Canada
  • Alexander 'Skip' Spence - Rock musician with Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape (born in Windsor)
  • Shania Twain - 5-time Grammy winning singer/songwriter (born in Windsor)
  • Garth Hudson - Keyboardist/Organist for The Band, played at Woodstock (born in Windsor)
  • John Swainson - Former governor of Michigan (born in Windsor)
  • Jeff Burrows and Jeff Martin - Members of The Tea Party (born in Windsor)
  • Mike Lazaridis - Founder of Research In Motion (born in Windsor)
  • Joel Quenneville - Former NHL player and coach (born in Windsor)
  • Bob Probert - Former NHL player (born in Windsor)
  • Ed Jovanovski - Former NHL player (born in Windsor)
  • Hiram Walker - Famous distiller of whiskey (born in Windsor)
  • Thomas LaSorda - Chrysler CEO (born in Windsor)
  • Ron Wilson - Former NHL hockey player & coach (born in Windsor)
  • Marty Gervais - Poet and publisher (born in Windsor)
  • Eddie Mio - Former NHL player (born in Windsor)
  • Sean Burke - Former NHL player (born in Windsor)
  • Steve Bacic - Actor (raised in Windsor)
  • Richard Peddie - CEO of Toronto Maple Leafs and Pilsbury Canada (went to school in Windsor)
  • Alistair MacLeod - Writer (resident of Windsor)
  • Barbara Gowdy - Novelist (born in Windsor)

  • Andy Delmore - Hockey player (born in LaSalle)
  • Marc Reaume - Former NHL hockey player (born in LaSalle)

  • Meghan Agosta - Canadian Women's ice hockey player (born in Ruthven)

Belle River
  • Tie Domi - Former NHL hockey player (born in Windsor, grew up in Belle River)

  • Tim Kerr - Former NHL hockey player who had four 50-goal seasons (born in Windsor, grew up in Tecumseh)

  • Darren McCarty - NHL hockey player (born in Leamington)
  • David Suzuki - Environmental activist (spent some of his childhood in Leamington)

  • Robertson Davies - 20th century novelist & playright, wrote 11 novels (born in Thamesville
  • Doug Melvin - General Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers (born in Chatham)
  • Ferguson Jenkins - Hall of fame Baseball pitcher (born in Chatham)
  • James Couzens -U.S. senator, V.P. of Ford Motor Company, Mayor of Detroit (born in Chatham)
  • Dave Gagner - Former NHL hockey player
  • Michelle Wright - Country singer (born in Chatham)

I'm sure I probably missed quite a few.. There's probably more people on here than one might expect. However, if you removed athletes and musicians, this wouldn't be that large of a list.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Quote About Homeland Security

"Liberty is our best homeland security" (A quote from the governer of South Carolina, Mark Sanford)

It was stated in the context of pressure from the federal government for states to enforce the REAL ID act.

So far Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Maine, and Utah have registered some sort of official opposition to this act.


The Revolution: A Best Seller

A Ron Paul book has made it to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover non-fiction. I'm impressed!

The Wit of Milton Friedman on the Draft

The General William Westmoreland, commander of all U.S. troops in Vietnam was testifying before a commission. In arguing against replacing the compulsory draft with voluntary service, the General argued that he didn't want to command an army of mercenaries.

Milton Friedman then interrupted and said, "General, would you rather command an army of slaves?",

The General replied, "I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves."

Milton Friedman then retorted, "I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

McStatism: The Legacy of John McCain

A few thoughts on John McCain as president.. (with the understanding that the two other resident statists aren't viable options)
  • Can anyone say Machiavelli Junior?
  • He's voted to reauthorize the PATRIOT act and extend its wiretapping provisions. As if it didn't have enough spying provisions already!
  • He voted against having the CIA report to a congressional committee every 3 months regarding its activity (S 3930). And his views on the accountability of his presidency are probably quite similar.
  • In May 2005, he jointly introduced a immigration bill allowing nearly all of the estimated 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants to become permanent U.S. citizens (nothing against immigration on my side here, but it's a curious move for someone who wants to build walls at keep illegals out). Ostensibly, these immigrants will re-elect Mr. McCain.
  • He's said of Hillary Clinton: "I am sure that Senator Clinton would make a good President." By saying that he either demonstrates a lack of sense (for believing such an outrageous thing) or dignity (for saying such a thing even though he doesn't believe it)
  • He's voted against tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, and he's known for touting a spooky "wage insurance" plan (the basic idea being that if you lose your job and get paid less, the government tops up the difference)
  • Does this sound familiar?: “We are fast becoming a nation of alienating individualists, unwilling to put the unifying values of patriotism ahead of our narrow self-interests”. No confusing this man with Ayn Rand, that's for sure!
  • John McCain said of Osama Bin Laden: "I will follow him to the gates of hell". Some of us, however, would rather not follow him there. This quote is characteristic of McCain's tendency toward one-dimensional enthusiasm. Tenacious, but perhaps a bit over-tenacious?
  • In the words of Douglas Wilson: irascibility is not the same thing as conservatism
  • He's supported energy tax bills and "mandatory curbs on greenhouse gas emissions". This is something somewhat new for McCain. Perhaps he needs the "green vote"?
  • He's been touting junk science.
  • His campaign finance bill was found to be an unconstitutional infringement of the First Amendment. The response was akin to "The 1st ammendment ain't that good anyway". He said “I would rather have a clean government than one where quote ‘First Amendment rights’ are being respected that has become corrupt.” Or maybe Mr. McCain has just misidentified the cause of corruption. It certainly isn't political contributions in and of themselves, but perhaps is what comes after the contributions, like what Mr. McCain is quite experienced in! The good ol' boy wink and nod.
  • He advocates a Nanny-State.
  • McCain spoke out against the Sudanese government, but while he did that his wife had $2 worth of mutal funds that had some holdings in Sudan. And of course they promptly sold it once the media got the info. Is this what McCain means when he says he wants to use "stiff diplomatic and economic pressure" on Sudan? Perhaps he should advocate a Sudan embargo? Oh wait.. that's reserved for Cuba.
  • He was involved in the Keating Five Scandal of the 1980's, an association which lined his pockets. Most of McCain's speeches about corrupt corporate money could refer to what he has been involved in
  • He is known to use federal agencies (FCC, etc.) to threaten people who refuse to support his initiatives.
  • He supports Bush's doctrine of pre-emptive war, has no problem with staying in Iraq for 100 years if casualties are low, etc.
  • In the word's of Lew Rockwell, he is "more statist on both domestic and foreign policy than even the typical Republican"

Whether a few of these points are negative or positive is genuinely debatable. But they do add up to a big deal. McCain, Obama, Clinton. Any way you roll the dice, guess who get's to pay the price? Baring a miracle in Ron Paul's favor, I tip my hat to my American friends as they face some more years of statism.

I hate to be so hard on an individual. But when one puts themselves in the public limelight and claims to have special competency towards leading a country (as John McCain so emphatically pronounces), there ought to be a bit of scrutiny.

If I had the choice of the three musketeers (McCain, Obama, or Clinton), I'd chose an emphatic NONE OF THE ABOVE. If it involved a gun to my head, I'd deliberate a bit and probably vote McCain with my fingers crossed behind my back. But really, for all the big noise that is made about this political race, we know at least three things that will happen regardless of whether Obama, Hillary, or McCain get the job: 1. The size of government will grow. 2. The USA (and the Western world with it) will continue to dig themselves into a financial hole and practice bad stewardship. 3. The USA will continue to have an aggressive, interventionist foreign policy. They differ on other issues, but on those 3 issues they are all generally agreed.

My advice to my fellow evangelical brothers and sisters is this: Don't be afraid to abstain from picking any of the musketeers. It is not letting the other side win or shirking your responsibility. Nowhere in the Bible are you instructed to select "the lesser evil" when performing your civic duties. Is "He Ain't Hillary" or "He Ain't Obama" enough of a basis to cast an affirmative vote for an individual? If so, things don't look too bright for the future. It would mean that any buffoon who writes "Republican" beside his name will be elected (or close to elected) just because he isn't a Democrat.

If you can vote for McCain with a clear conscience because he takes the right stand on some of the other issues, more power to you! I hope my fears about him prove to be wrong!!!! Just watch out though, because there is a great incentive for politicians to pose as social conservatives. And many of them do! Possibly even two or more that ran for the Republican nomination this year. The Right has been betrayed by many posers, and so has the Religious Right. The real "payload" comes in a few years when these posers NEITHER give you social conservatism NOR sound policy in other areas. If a politician is very pragmatic and tosses his positions to the wind, he will abandon social conservatism the minute it isn't to his advantage. But at that point it becomes too late, he is voted in and additionally he receives the "moral authority" of your vote!

In my opinion (and I grant it is a fairly controversial one), I'd rather let "the lesser evil" get in without my vote (hence, if done in large numbers, calling into question the validity and moral authority of the candidates election). Perhaps McCain could prove me wrong and turn out to be a good president. From what I've seen so far, I wouldn't put my chips on that one. U.S. politics is so nasty that even a GOOD start is hardly enough (let alone going into office with a long rap sheet to begin with!)

Alas! That's my perspective as a Canadian, libertarian, evangelical Christian, disenfranchised-right-winger-but-not-left-winger-either. If you've made it this far, I take it you must be fairly open minded. Or you're just planning a refutation! I grant other people may have different thoughts and have some good reasons for them! All I ask from you is that you understand that it is INDEED possible to reject McCain without by definition condoning the other musketeers. None of the above is a valid option! Especially when the roster contains the likes of Hillary-Obama-McCain.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Luther on Devaluating Currency

"Today we may apply the Apostle's words [Romans 2:2-3] first to those who without cogent cause inflict exorbitant taxes upon the people, or by changing and devaluating the currency, rob them, while at the same time they accuse their subjects of being greedy and avaricious." - Martin Luther in the Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Neither Here Nor There

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Human Biology Meets Electoral Politics

Mr. Fish once again has crafted a witty cartoon that strikes to the core of what electoral politics is all about.

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These are a few of my favorite things..

Douglas Groothuis listed 20 of his favorite things, so I thought I'd make up a list too, but with 31 items. They are in no particular order

1. My nephews/nieces, my mom, and my siblings!
2. Linux (Ubuntu) and the success of Open Source / Free Software
3. Biking or walking on a nice day
4. Book of the Bible: Psalms
5. Liberty
6. 5 Solas (Reformed Theology)
7. 5 Albums (Music from the Big Pink, American Beauty, Workingman's Dead, Deja Vu, Ballad of Easy Rider)
8. Games: Chess, Scrabble, and Sudoku
9. Wildlife
10. Answered prayer
11. Website:
12. Sports: hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball
13. Mom's cooking & baking
14. Serbian Patriarch: Mateja Nenadovic
15. Beaches
16. Kind women with smiles
17. Books, Bookstores & Libraries
18. The Lord's Day services, particularly at Grace Baptist
19. The London Baptist Confession of Faith
20. Vacation Place: Cuba
21. Restaurant: Bubi's
22. Weekends
23. The Python programming language
24. Author: Francis Schaeffer
25. American politician: Ron Paul
26. Actor: Peter Sellers
27. Wine, Beer, Rum, and Whiskey
28. Spicy food
29. Hot Sauce: Trinidad Style Hot Sauce
30. God's grace
31. Laughter


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Nenadovic Perspective on Russian Wine

"They brought us a mug of wine each and we all drank to the health of our leader and commander of all the Serbs, each from his own mug! (But what wretched wine! It was red, it is true, but fell to the bottom like tartar; and at the bottom of each mug were to or three little hard balls; when he brought it to us our host shook it up to make it red, but of the warmth of real wine, not a trace!)"

Quote from "The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadovic", edited and translated from the Serbian by Lovett F. Edwards. Oxford At The Clarendon press, 1969.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Neither Here Nor There

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Nenadovic Style of Wine Drinking

The Nenadovic Style of Wine Drinking, Or, How To Impress Your Parish With Your Temperance.

"Then my father took a large glass filled with wine and, after drinking two fingers' depth from it, said to me: 'In your first year, when you go about the parish, drink only so much from every glass that is offered to you, and in your second year so much', and he again sipped a little wine. 'In your third year you can drink half the glass. Only in your fourth and fifth years can you drink the glass to the bottom and by that time all your parishioners will remember your first years and will all say: Our priest hardly drinks anything!'"

Quote from "The Memoirs of Prota Matija Nenadovic", edited and translated from the Serbian by Lovett F. Edwards. Oxford At The Clarendon press, 1969.

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