Archives for the month of: December, 2014

Perhaps a crossword.

Age of Rocks

For all of you puzzle lovers out there, and in the spirit of holiday giving, I’ve designed a full-sized crossword puzzle using geology themes. It’s the least I can do for those of you frequently visiting and linking to this site in your discussions on the age of rocks! Therefore, this crossword is free to download, share, and distribute, and I encourage you to do so. To complete the puzzle, click here for a PDF version or download the image below. The only downside (I hope!) is that you’ll need to print the puzzle to complete it, as I’m not able to digitize fields with my copy of Acrobat.

Using any one of the main theme clues (26-Across, 34-Across, or 43-Across), you may request an answer key by sending me an e-mail at Feel free to let me know if there are any blunders (or problematic clues), and I encourage you to evaluate the puzzle’s difficulty…

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The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I’m not sure yet if I like George H. Smith, but he has written some good stuff. I’ll comment a bit on this reference.

I find it remarkable that Plato and Aristotle preferred the Spartan system of education, and its obvious failures, to the Athenian laissez-faire education system (or lack there of, perhaps attitude is the better word), which had such obvious success, evident even in themselves.  Read the rest of this entry »

Be ready.

Watts Up With That?

A blast of cold Arctic air is likely to be plunging all the way to Mexico by New Years Day

32f-probability-NOAAArctic air will move back into the central Plains, Great Lake States and Western U.S. this week. Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories and Wind Chill Advisories are in effect in many areas and more are expected.

From WeatherBell Meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue

add to that, freezing rain for Texas, snow in Arizona and New Mexico:

Here is the temperature forecast:


Snow is also expected in many areas:


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I don’t trust treemometers, but this paper sure seems to put the lie to the hockey stick.

Watts Up With That?

In a paper published in the Journal of Quaternary Science, Esper et al. (2014) write that tree-ring chronologies of maximum latewood density (MXD) “are most suitable to reconstruct annually resolved summer temperature variations of the late Holocene.” And working with what they call “the world’s two longest MXD-based climate reconstructions” – those of Melvin et al. (2013) and Esper et al. (2012) – they combined portions of each to produce a new-and-improved summer temperature history for northern Europe that stretches all the way “from 17 BC to the present.” And what did they thereby learn?

As the international team of researchers from the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Sweden and Switzerland describes it, this history depicts “a long-term cooling trend of -0.30°C per 1,000 years over the Common Era in northern Europe” (see figure below). Most important of all, however, they note that their temperature reconstruction…

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I posted this on my Facebook then decided I needed to record it here.

(And )


The preacher said:
“Humans and animals have the same destiny. One dies just like the other. All of them have the same breath [of life]. Humans have no advantage over animals. All [of life] is pointless.”
See several translations (especially Young’s) of this one verse here: And, note the commentary, and note the, shall we say, backpedaling.

Click a translation you like to read the whole chapter.

I’ll say at minimum this establishes that death is simply part of the definition of living.

Go a little deeper with the tools. Such as:

It is not wise to ignore the hard things.

I will vote, and I will not vote for Jeb Bush.

This isn’t the last word, but well worth consideration. Most of all, the science is NOT settled. Climate studies are infants in science. We know nothing more than saying everything happening now in climate and weather has happened many times before.

Watts Up With That?

climate-past Global temperature reconstruction over the past 420,000 years derived from δ18O anomalies in air trapped in ice strata at Vostok station, Antarctica. To render the anomalies global, the values of the reconstructed anomalies (y axis) have been divided by the customary factor 2 to allow for polar amplification. Diagram based on Petit et al. (1999). Note that all four previous interglacial warm periods, at intervals of 80,000-125,000 years, were at least as warm as the current warm period. Data source: Petit et al. (1999). (not part of the Utah press release, provided for reference)

From the University of Utah

Size, duration were like modern climate shift, but in two pulses

Sediment cores that were drilled from Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin and then sectioned for study are shown at a repository at the University of Bremen, Germany.

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 15, 2014 – The rate at which carbon emissions warmed Earth’s…

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Greenpeace is disgusting.

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Desecrating cultural and religious monuments is normal Greenpeace behaviour.

Nasca_lines_greenpeace screengrab from the BBC website (click)

Activism is about persuasion. It’s about using moral arguments to change people’s minds which, in turn, changes the world.

For moral arguments to be successful, we need to already inhabit the same approximate moral universe. Some things are sacred. The ends don’t justify the means. This isn’t rocket science, but apparently it’s news to Greenpeace.

In Peru, where a UN climate summit is currently taking place, the Ministry of Culture says Greenpeace activists have desecrated an important cultural monument.

The NazcaLines are a collection of approximately 300 figures etched into the Peruvian desert more than 1,500 years ago. In the words of vice-minister Luis Jaime Castillo, an archeologist by training, the figures

are absolutely fragile. They are black rocks on a white background. You walk there and the footprint is going to…

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The problem with education reform is we’ve been doing the same thing over and over for several decades now. It doesn’t work. We need to stop trying the progressivist notions. Progressivism, especially in education, is against the human soul. It is cancer for our very essence. CCSS is just the latest variant.

Our objective toward children is to help them mature to adults, not make them into something. We must not try to fit them into our ideal mold. We know this in sports, the arts, and all things having to do with beauty, but we think we should force our young partners into some mold that we suppose will help society. No! What helps society is free, independent, mature individuals. Education is a necessary ingredient, but a standardize education does not help. It cannot, especially when it is founded on progressivist ideas.

LENORE EALY writes this for the Freeman,

“Economic policy is not educational policy. American education has suffered from being made the maidservant of economic growth. Education policy cannot suffice for good economic policy, which should instead be focused on issues such as providing for sound and stable money, constraining government spending and public debt, ending crony capitalism, and repudiating the kind of regulatory and confiscatory despotism that crushes real entrepreneurship and job creation.
Can education promote a prospering economy? Yes, but only when it recognizes the limits of State action on personal moral development and allows schooling to pursue its true end: to help the child grow into a man or woman capable of directing his or her own life with responsibility.”

Our only objective as parents must be to raise our children to be mature and self responsible. Education is important to that, but the rest is between each child and God alone.

We will abandon the windmills.


vestas_turbine_chabanet_burns Vestas: setting the world on fire.

As the Australian countryside turns to the golden hues of summer, the attentions of its farming and rural communities also turn: hundreds of eager eyes become fixed on the horizon for tell-tale signs of the smoke that heralds the bushfires that cast fear amongst those that live and work in the bush.

Rules are set to avoid bushfires on high fire danger days – when a Total Fire Ban is called:

You cannot light, maintain or use a fire in the open, or to carry out any activity in the open that causes, or is likely to cause, a fire. No general purpose hot works such as using tractors, slashers and/or welding, grinding or gas cutting can be done in the open either, and this includes incinerators and barbecues which burn solid fuel, eg. wood or charcoal.

Farmers engaged in crop harvesting operations think…

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Peter J. Leithart, writing for First Things, here, gives us something to read, reread, and ponder deeply. A small excerpt:

A coming in “flesh” is not simply an advent “as man.” In Scripture, “flesh” has a more specific connotation. It’s the biblical name for “the weakness of the human. . . . It is the way we are vulnerable, exposed.” We are flesh because “our life is subject to touch, that is, to what gives pleasure and pain, gives joy, and makes wounding possible” (Theodore Jennings, Jr.). The Word makes himself weak and exposes himself to pain. If you prick him, he bleeds; if you tickle him, he laughs; if you crucify him, he dies. To say the Word becomes flesh is to say the Word becomes woundable and dwells among us.

Death is part of life. God made it that way. (The adversary did not.)

Jesus, the Word, the Logos, knew. He knew what it was intimately for He created it.

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life,a and the life was the light of men.5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

I don’t suppose that Jesus knew as he breathed as you and me as he had known before His advent in flesh. He felt everything we feel. Insecurity. Awkwardness. I’m sure he found that one girl down the street particularly cute, and felt shy, same as I did all those years ago. He was a man. I’m certain he figured it all out as he grew. He knew His Father. He knew the indwelling Spirit. He knew.

He knew as only God can know before he took on our flesh, our weakness. He came anyway.

By the garden, He knew, limited as His realization may have been, He knew. Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine. He knew. He had to have realized the infinite breadth of the sacrifice he was about to make–how utterly it would darken his soul, but that was surely secondary to being familiar with Roman crucifixion. He was going to die in the utmost of pain, in frustration and fatigue, struggling even for every breath, as the weight of not only his own body, but the weight of the sins of us all, even the weight and vastness of the entire universe compressing upon Him. He knew. The creator knew it was required for the ultimate reality he created.

We don’t understand it. We can try. We should try, but we do not understand it.

Most of all, while He did it for all, all of everything, he would have done it just for me.

My sin drove the nails.


Musings on Science and Theology

Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Cain_slaying_Abel,_1608-1609We’ve been slowly working through Iain Provan’s new book Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters. The next chapter addresses the Old Testament’s answer to the question of how we are to relate to our fellow humans. Provan takes two major approaches to addressing this question. The first continues his general approach of starting with Genesis. The second looks at the sweep of the rest of scripture. Both are interesting and will be outlined here.

The fall of Cain. Provan takes Genesis 4 as the starting point for this discussion. There is meaning in the names of Cain and Abel and in the statement of Eve that created Cain with God. This is a literary masterpiece with a message for the ancient Near Eastern audience (and for us). Eve claims to have become a cocreator with God producing Cain whose very name…

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People believe whatever they want for whatever reasons they deem appropriate. However, it seems our social context accounts for most of how we judge what is appropriate.

Musings on Science and Theology

creation of Adam dsJonathan Hill, an assistant professor of sociology at Calvin College, recently released the results of a National Study of Religion & Human Origins. This study was funded by the Evolution and Christian Faith grants program at BioLogos and you can find a link to the full report with a summary of the major findings in Jonathan’s post The Recipe For Creationism on the BioLogos Forum.

Most surveys that probe questions of science and faith, including beliefs about creation and human origins, use a small set of frustratingly limited questions. Well, frustrating for those of us who want to nuance all of the possibilities, finding none of them useful without qualification. A recent Gallup poll on views of the bible illustrates the impact that limiting choices can have on the results. The limitation is frustrating for sociologists as well. Jonathan Hill’s study aims to better understand the beliefs of Americans…

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