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2011 in Review

From KHouse
There is no question that 2011 was a historically significant year. The Middle East erupted in revolutionary protests, and several well entrenched governments were overthrown. The Greek debt still hangs like Damocles’ sword over Europe and threatens the financial stability of the world. Earthquakes and tornadoes and fires and tsunamis across the globe once again left their destruction. Yet, in spite of the damage and violence, there was a lot of hope. Antiretroviral drugs were shown to reduce the spread of HIV, and several Mexican drug cartel bosses were captured. Babies were found alive in the wreckage. Good and bad, 2011 was a year for looking to the future. 
Jan 1 - Twenty-three people were killed on New Year’s Day in Alexandria, Egypt when a powerful car bomb detonated in front of a crowded Coptic Christian church as worshipers left the New Year’s Eve Mass. It was the most deadly attack against the Copts in a decade, and thousands of Copts demonstrated after the explosion, demanding the resignation of the Egyptian government. 
Jan 1-2 - A crude oil pipeline went into operation between Siberia and China, with 15 million metric tons of crude per year expected to flow from Russia to energy-hungry China for the next two decades. 
January 11 - An off-duty policeman on a Cairo-bound train shot and killed one Christian and wounded five others not even two weeks after the New Year’s Day bombing in Alexandria. A 71-year-old Coptic man was killed, and his wife and four other Christians were wounded. 
February 11 - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned after 30 years of rule under pressure of protests by demonstrators who demanded reforms again police brutality, government corruption, high unemployment, high food costs, and lack of freedom of speech. As a result, Egypt's new military leadership suspended the constitution, dissolved parliament and promised new elections. The demands for political reform had swept from Tunisia, where protests had started December 18, and moved across the Arab world. Mubarak’s resignation sparked demonstrations in Bahrain, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Iran. 
March 11 - A 9.0 earthquake struck Honshu, Japan, triggering a deadly tsunami that wiped out the east coast of Honshu from Chiba to Aomori. At least 15,703 people were killed, 4,647 missing, 5,314 injured, and 130,927 displaced as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. At least 332,395 buildings, 2,126 roads, 56 bridges and 26 railways were destroyed and damaged by the disasters. 
March 26 – Mobs of masked thugs attacked London police and began smashing into banks, storefronts and hotels after Prime Minister David Cameron announced a $130 billion cut in public spending. Up to half a million protestors led by anti-capitalists had marched from the Thames Embankment past the Houses of Parliament to Hyde Park. Criminals took over, starting fires and causing damage in London’s busiest shopping district. Over 200 people were arrested. 
April 12 - Japan raised the crisis level at its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant from 5 to 7, the highest level on the crisis scale, after the plant was damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The high radiation leaks contaminated the air, tap water, surrounding farmland and seawater, and the Japanese government estimated the amount of contamination to equal approximately one-tenth of the amount released by the Chernobyl disaster. 
May 2 - Osama bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA operatives. After he was positively identified, bin Laden was buried at sea. 
May 22 - An EF-5 tornado hit the city of Joplin, Mo., leaving an estimated 157 people dead in the deadliest single tornado since the 1950s when modern record keeping began. 
May 24 – Tornadoes claimed 10 more lives in Oklahoma, two more in Kansas, and six in Arkansas. 
May 31 - Israel raided a Turkish flotilla in international waters as it headed to the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid and construction materials, with the intention of breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip. A group of 13 Israeli naval commandos boarded one ship to force the flotilla to the Israeli port of Ashdod for inspection. Relations between Israel and Turkey deteriorated as a result of the raid. 
June 20 – Mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Linda Thompson declared that she would fast and pray for three days. Religious leaders called on others to do the same for the good of the city and to encourage the local leaders to work together in solving the city’s financial difficulties. "Things that are above and beyond my control, I need God," Thompson said. "I depend on Him for guidance. Spiritual guidance. That's why it's really no struggle for me to join this fast and prayer." 
June 24 - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation legalizing same-sex marriages in the state. Republicans demanded stronger legal protections for religious groups that feared they would be hit with discrimination lawsuits if they refused to allow their facilities to be used for gay weddings.
Thirteen-year-old Aidan Dwyer was honored to receive the 2011 Young Naturalist Award from the American Museum of Natural History in New York for his work in applying the Fibonacci sequence to solar panel arrays. He found that small solar panels arranged according to the Fibonacci sequence, a pattern found in tree branches, produced 20 percent more energy than flat panel arrays. Dwyer has been awarded a provisional patent for his innovation. Eleven student naturalists were honored with Dwyer for other discoveries. 
July 16-17 - Mexican federal police swept through Ciudad Juarez and arrested more than 1,000 people in an operation aimed at cracking down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The operation was part of Mexico’s AMBER Alert program to locate missing children. 
Aug 5 – Twelve-year-old Dale Ostrander drowned off the Oregon coast after he was dragged under by a rip tide. He was under the water for 25 minutes and was technically dead when brought to shore. Family and church members began praying. After CPR, Dale regained a faint heart beat, and within three days the boy was conscious and talking. 
Aug 6-10 – Rioting, looting and arson spread through several London boroughs and across England after a young black man named Mark Duggan was shot to death by police on August 4. Londoners sought to protect themselves from the looters, and by August 15, 3,100 people had been arrested and 1000 charged. More than 3000 crimes were linked to the lawlessness. 
Aug 21 – Tripoli fell to anti-Gaddafi forces. Revolutionary fighters gained control of one stronghold. 
Aug 23 - A rare magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Mineral, Virginia. Jokes quickly spread across the Internet as the U.S. West Coast teased Washington DC and its surrounding areas for making such a big fuss over a 5.8 quake. 
Sept 17 – Occupy Wall Street began in Zuccotti Park in New York City, started by the Canadian anti-capitalist group Adbusters. The protests sparked similar protests in cities across America, where demonstrators "occupied" against high unemployment and economic inequality. 
Sept 26 - Israel's national museum made some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the book of Isaiah, available online. 
Oct 20 - Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was shot to death during his capture by the Libyan National Liberation Army. He had been the leader of Libya for 41 years. 
Oct 25 – Turkish rescue workers pulled 14-day-old Azra Karaduman from the rubble of an apartment building nearly 48 hours after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake devastated the country on October 23. The baby girl’s mother and grandmother also made it out of the wreckage alive. 
Nov 1 – The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the official motto of the United States. It passed by a vote of 396-9.

What is a logical fallacy?

All arguments have the same basic structure: A therefore B. 

They begin with one or more premises (A), which is a fact or assumption upon which the argument is based. They then apply a logical principle (therefore) to arrive at a conclusion (B). An example of a logical principle is that of equivalence. For example, if you begin with the premises that A=B and B=C, you can apply the logical principle of equivalence to conclude that A=C. A logical fallacy is a false or incorrect logical principle. An argument that is based upon a logical fallacy is therefore not valid. It is important to note that if the logic of an argument is valid then the conclusion must also be valid, which means that if the premises are all true then the conclusion must also be true. Valid logic applied to one or more false premises, however, leads to an invalid argument. Also, if an argument is not valid the conclusion may, by chance, still be true.

Top 20 Logical Fallacies (in alphabetical order)

- Introduction to Argument
Structure of a Logical Argument Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, our arguments all follow a certain basic structure. They begin with one or more premises, which are facts that the argument takes for granted as the starting point. Then a principle of logic is applied in order to come to a conclusion. This structure is often illustrated symbolically with the following example: 

Premise 1: If A = B, Premise 2: and B = C Logical connection: Then (apply principle of equivalence) Conclusion: A = C 

In order for an argument to be considered valid the logical form of the argument must work – must be valid. A valid argument is one in which, if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true also. However, if one or more premise is false then a valid logical argument may still lead to a false conclusion. A sound argument is one in which the logic is valid and the premises are true, in which case the conclusion must be true. 

Also it is important to note that an argument may use wrong information, or faulty logic to reach a conclusion that happens to be true. An invalid or unsound argument does not necessarily prove the conclusion false. Demonstrating that an argument is not valid or not sound, however, removes it as support for the truth of the conclusion – it means that the conclusion is not necessarily true. 

Breaking down an argument into its components is a very useful exercise, for it enables us to examine both our own arguments and those of others and critically analyze them for validity. This is an excellent way of sharpening one’s thinking, avoiding biases, and making effective arguments. 

Examine your Premises 

As stated above, in order for an argument to be sound all of its premises must be true. Often, different people come to different conclusions because they are starting with different premises. So examining all the premises of each argument is a good place to start. 

There are three types of potential problems with premises. The first, and most obvious, is that a premise can be wrong. 

Another type of premise error occurs when one or more premises is an unwarranted assumption. The premise may or may not be true, but it has not been established sufficiently to serve as a premise for an argument. Identifying all the assumptions upon which an argument is dependent is often the most critical step in analyzing an argument. Frequently, different conclusions are arrived at because of differing assumptions. 

Often people will choose the assumptions that best fit the conclusion they prefer. In fact, psychological experiments show that most people start with conclusions they desire, then reverse engineer arguments to support them – a process called rationalization. 

One way to resolve the problem of using assumptions as premises is to carefully identify and disclose those assumptions up front. Such arguments are often called “hypothetical,” or prefaced with the statement “Let’s assume for the sake of argument.” Also, if two people examine their arguments and realize they are using different assumptions as premises, then at least they can “agree to disagree.” They will realize that their disagreement cannot be resolved until more information is available to clarify which assumptions are more likely to be correct. 

The third type of premise difficulty is the most insidious: the hidden premise. I have seen this listed as a logical fallacy – the unstated major premise, but it is more accurate to consider it here. Obviously, if a disagreement is based upon a hidden premise, then the disagreement will be irresolvable. So when coming to an impasse in resolving differences, it is a good idea to go back and see if there are any implied premises that have not been addressed. 

IBM effort to build a BRAIN

from Kononia House
International Business Machines (aka IBM) has set out to tackle an impossible task – creating a super computer that can act like the human brain. The company has succeeded in producing a multitude of artificial neurons and synapses, and the researchers claim to have conquered more processes than are found in a cat's brain. The 4.5 percent of the human brain they have simulated does do amazing things for a computer, but of course there is no way that it can truly compare to the astoundingly efficient, powerful and ever-changing folds of gray matter inside each of our heads. 
The human cerebral cortex consists of about 20 billion neurons in an über complex network connected by about 200 trillion synapses. IBM has succeeded in simulating a fraction of that processing power in a supercomputer that has 147,456 parallel processors, each with about 1GB of working memory. It's 1.6 billion computer neurons and 8.87 trillion synapses work together to simulate the thalamocortical loops found between the thalamus and cerebral cortex in the human brain. The simulations exceed the scale of processes found in the cortex of the house cat brain, and about 4.5 percent of those in the human brain. IBM hopes to add the 732,544 more processes to make up the power of one entire human brain by 2019. 
The computer has a great deal of processing power, but what exactly can these simulations accomplish? 
Specifically, the computational neuroscientists at IBM are working in reproducing the thalamocortical loops that are proportionally so much larger in humans than in other mammals and might be a key to why humans (generally speaking) have higher reasoning abilities than, say, dogs. 
The thalamus acts like a sensory relay station sending signals about spatial sense and motor signals to the cerebral cortex. It also regulates consciousness, sleep, and alertness. The cerebral cortex is the "gray matter" of our brains. It is vital for our ability to perceive the world - sight, sound, taste, smell, touch - for memory, for consciousness and thought, and for language. Descartes was able to say, "I think, therefore I am," because he had a cerebral cortex. 
The IBM researchers have therefore attempted to reproduce sight, memory, and computational ability through their supercomputer, given the rather cold name "C2."  C2 has no eyes, but it does have a "brain-cam", the data from which gets converted into an MPEG movie that can be replayed. It has artificial neurons that fire across synapses and C2's makers claim it has simulated the brains of a mouse, a rat, and a cat. 
The IBM researchers report that the simulations "incorporate phenomenological spiking neurons, individual learning synapses, axonal delays, and dynamic synaptic channels, exceed the scale of the cat cortex, marking the dawn of a new era in the scale of cortical simulations." 
Biological v. Computer Brains: 
As far as computer science goes, this stuff is fantastic. The processing power and memory required to simulate even a mouse brain goes far beyond what can be accomplished with the common laptop. Consider the computational power in 147,456 CPUs and 144 terabytes (144,000 gigabytes) of memory. That's what these guys are working with. 
Biologists flippantly say that the brain is the result of adaptive evolution over millions of years. It works because the creatures whose brains didn't work died. Yet, brilliant scientists modeling their supercomputer on existing biology have struggled to produce anything close to the full power of a living brain. The researchers are pleased to have surpassed the computational power of a cat. Yet, the computer still has no hope of pouncing on rodents in the grass, of computing the exact distance to leap and sending signals to a system of muscles within a fraction of a second. The computer cannot use the vast acres of data taken in by one sweep of a cat's head or prick of its ears or whiff of the air in the exceptionally efficient and effective way that a cat does to know that a vole is hiding in the grass two feet away. The computer doesn't enjoy eating that vole. It has no emotion. It cannot care, and it cannot add more neurons to itself to simulate caring. In fact, it is questionable whether the IBM researchers, with all their biological brain power can figure out how to simulate "caring" in a computer at all. Ever.

These great minds have worked day and night to attempt to recreate merely the processes of the cat and mouse and rat brains with little true reflection of those brains' abilities, and they have given themselves eight more years to get close to simulating a full human brain. Even then, we suspect it will fall dismally short of the reality. 
It is easy to say that the brains of "higher" organisms evolved over millions of years. However, biologists are hard pressed to demonstrate that any such thing is even possible. Neuroscientists don't fully understand how the brain works, let alone how it came to be.  Unfeeling, unthinking, computers may be able to solve complex mathematical problems or pull up items from their memories faster than we can, but they use far more power to do so, and they miss the nuances.  As Mark Fischetti writes in Scientific American, "The incredibly efficient brain consumes less juice than a dim lightbulb and fits nicely inside our head. Biology does a lot with a little: the human genome, which grows our body and directs us through years of complex life, requires less data than a laptop operating system. Even a cat's brain smokes the newest iPad - 1,000 times more data storage and a million times quicker to act on it."
Related Links:

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

By MARK BITTMAN from the New York Times

THE “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli ...” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”

This is just plain wrong. In fact it isn’t cheaper to eat highly processed food: a typical order for a family of four — for example, two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two small sodas — costs, at the McDonald’s a hundred steps from where I write, about $28. (Judicious ordering of “Happy Meals” can reduce that to about $23 — and you get a few apple slices in addition to the fries!)

In general, despite extensive government subsidies, hyperprocessed food remains more expensive than food cooked at home. You can serve a roasted chicken with vegetables along with a simple salad and milk for about $14, and feed four or even six people. If that’s too much money, substitute a meal of rice and canned beans with bacon, green peppers and onions; it’s easily enough for four people and costs about $9. (Omitting the bacon, using dried beans, which are also lower in sodium, or substituting carrots for the peppers reduces the price further, of course.)

Another argument runs that junk food is cheaper when measured by the calorie, and that this makes fast food essential for the poor because they need cheap calories. But given that half of the people in this country (and a higher percentage of poor people) consume too many calories rather than too few, measuring food’s value by the calorie makes as much sense as measuring a drink’s value by its alcohol content. (Why not drink 95 percent neutral grain spirit, the cheapest way to get drunk?)

Besides, that argument, even if we all needed to gain weight, is not always true. A meal of real food cooked at home can easily contain more calories, most of them of the “healthy” variety. (Olive oil accounts for many of the calories in the roast chicken meal, for example.)In comparing prices of real food and junk food, I used supermarket ingredients, not the pricier organic or local food that many people would consider ideal. But food choices are not black and white; the alternative to fast food is not necessarily organic food, any more than the alternative to soda is Bordeaux.

The alternative to soda is water, and the alternative to junk food is not grass-fed beef and greens from a farmers’ market, but anything other than junk food: rice, grains, pasta, beans, fresh vegetables, canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, bread, peanut butter, a thousand other things cooked at home — in almost every case a far superior alternative.



- Socialist is not Social Democrat

- Nazi stands for National Socialism

- Liberal in Canada are centrist

- Progressive Conservatism in Canada is right wing

- New Democratic Party in Canada is left wing

- Libertarian are not Liberal

- Socialist International is different from International Socialist

- Coffee Party and Tea Party are very different

- Radical in France is center-left

- Fascism and Communism are 2 extremes that are indeed very close.

No Missing Link! Peoples Is Peoples... And Apes Is Apes

from  Koinonia House
There were once a much wider variety of human beings on this planet than there are now, according to new genetic analyses of Neanderthals in Europe and Denisovans in East Asia. Modern humans once interbred with these other groups, apparently sharing genetic material that includes the ability to fight off certain diseases. Yet, not all creatures designated as "hominids" are related to humans. 
In 2008, a piece of bone and a tooth of what is believed to be a young girl were found in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia, along with stone blades and body ornaments. Twenty years ago the small bone and a tooth would not have been much to go on. These days, however, 40 mg of real bone from a fossil can tell researchers a great deal of information - if the bone contains enough genetic material for researchers to sequence the DNA. 
Researchers were able to compare DNA all around, and it turns out that the Denisovan girl and Neanderthals are related, but not directly. According to comparisons of genetic code, the Denisovan shared a common ancestor with Neanderthals and modern humans. 
"It amazed me that we found this other extinct group of humans," evolutionary geneticist Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology at Leipzig, Germany, told LiveScience. "When we got this little finger bone from Siberia, I was totally expecting it to be either Neanderthal or modern human. When it was something else, that was totally surprising and shocking to me." 
Ancient humans might bear some superficial physical differences from modern homo sapiens, but they were all still humans and able to breed with one another. In fact, interbreeding between modern-form humans and Neanderthals may have given us modern humans certain genes that helped boost our immune systems.
At the least, Neanderthals share key immunity genes with us, namely the HLA (human leucocyte antigen) class 1 gene. HLA proteins are important in helping the body defend itself against new infections. A variant called HLA-B*73 is found both in modern humans and Denisovans. 
There's quite a bit of Neanderthal DNA floating around out there in the population. According to researchers, up to four percent of Neanderthal DNA and up to six percent of Denisovan DNA have survived in modern humans. It's been known for some time now that Neanderthals bred with the people whose descendants are now found in Europe and western Asia. Denisovan genes can also be found in the population of Europe and especially in the people of Asia and the oceanic islands. 


From Koinonia House - June 15, 2011

The Grand Canyon is a geological wonder, a vast chasm stretching 277 miles west to east through northern Arizona. The canyon offers one of the best geological cross sections in the world, with nearly 30 distinct layers found from the bottom to the top; its mesas, buttes, colorful slopes and spires illustrate the geological story of the great American southwest. School children are fed a simple tale about how the canyon was formed, but as any honest geologist will admit, nobody knows exactly how it got there. 

The true cause of the Grand Canyon is still hotly debated among geologists, and all recognize there's no solid answer. There are too many missing pieces. The basic park ranger explanation is that the Colorado Plateau - 130,000 square miles covering northern Arizona, southern and eastern Utah, western Colorado and northwestern New Mexico - began to rise up 50-70 million years ago, causing the existing Colorado River to downcut. After millions of years of steady uplift, the Colorado River carved out the Grand Canyon. The higher the plateau rose, pushed upward by magma from deep in the earth, the more powerful the erosional forces of the river proved to be. 

The Colorado River was tamed a great deal when the Glen Canyon Dam was finished in 1966. The dam controls the flow of the river now. The Colorado's flashfloods once carried boulders the size of VW Buses, and it transported an estimated 160 million tons of sediment every year, scouring the canyon bottom. Still, many people consider the vast expanse of the Grand Canyon and despise the Colorado as an underfit river, one that could not have possibly hauled out all the necessary sediment. 

A Few Puzzles:
The simple explanation does have serious geological issues. The Colorado River flows into the Gulf of California – the Sea of Cortez - which contains sediments from geologically young Pliocene layers - not older layers.  It appears that the eastern part of the Grand Canyon is much older than the western part of the Grand Canyon, but nobody knows exactly what happened. 

The western end of the canyon is fairly young. Local sediments come from the Basin and Range area to the west of the Canyon and are from Miocene layers. No river could have carved through there until after the Miocene. There's also no evidence that an older Colorado River ran through the Grand Wash Cliffs at the western end of the canyon. There is therefore an upper Colorado River system to the east that did not originally continue west of the Colorado Plateau. 

Alternate Theories:
The first thought, of course, is that the deposits were carried away by a different route. Perhaps the canyon was carved by a river that flowed down through Marble Canyon through what is now the Little Colorado River, draining into the Rio Grande. According to the theory, another small but steep and vigorous river rushed westward across the Basin and Range. It moved eastward by headward erosion until it ran into the upper Colorado. It "captured" the Colorado , caveman style, and the two married and carved the Grand Canyon in 4-6 million years, dumping into the Sea of Cortez like today. 

There's a problem there, though. The Continental Divide would have prevented the Little Colorado River from reaching the Rio Grande, and the sediment evidence is not there. 

Some argue that the old river flowed south at Peach Springs Canyon, until the river burst through whatever blocked the way to the western part of the Grand Canyon. Some argue that the Colorado Plateau tipped one way and then the other as it rose so that the Colorado River flowed in the opposite direction. Some argue the river flowed underground, or flowed northwest, draining into lakes in Nevada and Utah. 

The deposits to prove these drainage systems haven't been found.  That's part of the problem; there is a lot of data that is just plain missing.

The Most Important Food for Healthy Eyes (No, it's Not Carrots)

Article from Doctor Mercola
Do you have any idea what causes wild Pacific salmon to have its color?  It is one of the hottest new nutrient discoveries from a marine algae called astaxanthin, which is a far more powerful cousin of beta-carotene.
If farm raised salmon don't eat this or are not given artificial colors, they are a dark grey fish. Also, you might not know that baby flamingos are born white and they don't become pink until they start eating food with astaxanthin in it.
Astaxanthin belong to a class of naturally occurring pigments called carotenoids which have powerful antioxidant properties that are crucial for your health. Carotenoids are the compounds in your foods that give them that vibrant cornucopia of color,from green grasses to red beets, to the spectacular yellows and oranges of your bell peppers..
There are more than 700 naturally occurring carotenoids, but most people are familiar with only a few. Right now, you probably have about 10 different carotenoids circulating through your bloodstream.  Other carotenoids are easily obtainable through a good diet rich in fresh organic produce. However, astaxanthin is harder to come by.

Astaxanthin is produced only by the microalgae Haematoccous pluvialis when its water supply dries up, forcing it to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation. It's the algae's survival mechanism—Astaxanthin serves as a "force field" to protect the algae from lack of nutrition and/or intense sunlight.
There are only two main sources of astaxanthin: the microalgae that produce it, and the sea creatures that consume the algae (such as salmon, shellfish, and krill).
Astaxanthin is now thought to be the most powerful antioxidant found in nature.

Numeronym (number-based word)

A numeronym is a word where a number is used to form an abbreviation (albeit not an acronym or an initialism). 

Pronouncing the letters and numbers may sound similar to the full word: "K9" for "canine" (phonetically: "kay" + "nine"). A similar example in French is "K7" for "cassette" (phonetically: "ka" + "sept").

Alternatively, the letters between the first and last are replaced by a number representing the number of letters omitted, such as "i18n" for "internationalization". Sometimes the last letter is also counted and omitted.

  • 101 - for basic introduction to a subject
  • 212 - for New Yorker
  • 411 - for information
  • 911 - for help
  • a11y - Accessibility
  • C10k problem - limitation that most web servers currently have
  • c11y - Consumability
  • c14n - Canonicalisation / Canonicalization
  • d11n - Documentation
  • E10S - Electrolysis
  • E15 - The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland[4]
  • G8 - Group of Eight
  • G20 - G-20 major economies
  • g11n - Globalisation / Globalization[5]
  • i14y - Interoperability[6]
  • i18n - Internationalisation / Internationalization
  • L10n - Localisation / Localization
  • m10n - Mavenization
  • m12n - Modularisation / Modularization[7]
  • m17n - Multilingualization
  • n11n - Normalisation/Normalization
  • P13n - Personalisation / Personalization
  • P23R - Prozess-Daten-Beschleuniger[8]
  • P45 - Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
  • s10n - Subscription
  • tr8n – Translation[9]
  • W3 - World Wide Web
  • W3C - World Wide Web Consortium
  • WWI - World War I
  • WWII - World War II
  • v11n - Versification[10]
  • v12n - Virtualization
  • Y2K - the Year 2000 problem

Facebook and Twitter are NOT Evil

Note: Earlier today I read a comment posted on a blog where they were discussing the issue of how married couples should use Facebook, if at all.  One commenter stated (paraphrasing) that basically the concept of social networking was to access soft porn.  Singles could use it all they want but married people really have no business being out there.  He said that if they were they should have a joint account. So single people can use them for soft porn and attracting those of like mind.  He basically blamed Facebook for causing people to cheat on their spouses.  I was amazed and frankly appalled that anyone in this day and age could be so short-sighted about technology.  The rest of this post is my response to such ignorance. 

Social networks cannot be blamed for the problems that couples have. If a person wants to cheat they will cheat. Cheating has been taking place long before the Internet was made available to the general public.  If people are looking for porn they will find it under a rock if it is there. The question is the motivation. I agree that if a couple is having marriage trouble they may need to be restrictive about their exposure to others without the other party knowing what's up. Why would a healthy couple want to do that anyway????? Again the issue is the motivation, NOT the social network. That is like making the liquor producers responsible for a consumer driving drunk and killing someone. No one makes a person drink alcohol until they are drunk.

My husband and I had profiles on Facebook before we married. To us it made no sense to combine them. Our pages are linked together stating that we are married to each other. We share everything in our marriage. I mean EVERYTHING. We have each other's passwords for things that we had separate before we married. We use separate aliases for email addresses. They all go into the same email account.

We use Facebook and Twitter mainly to post notices about sermons that we post on our websites. Separate accounts allow us to reach more people. We comment at times on status updates or links that our friends post. We use Facebook Places when we attend church services. People at times, even across the waters, will send us prayer requests asking us to go forward during an altar call to have the minister pray about situations. We post a verse of the day on Facebook. We rarely get friend requests from questionable people. We immediately block them after showing the other party. If you know how to set your security settings on there you can prevent a lot of the madness out there.

One of our good friends (married, wife not on Facebook) was able to connect with a Christian album label using Facebook. This happened almost by accident. To have a fan page you have to have a personal profile. We will probably post things on our Facebook pages when one of his songs becomes a hit.  She has no interest in joining Facebook.  She trusts her husband after having a history of 39+ years of marriage.

At the writing on this blog post Facebook is being used by almost 600,000,000 people sometime during the week. Facebook and I believe Twitter helped facilitate the revolts in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, where people are fighting and dying to have the freedoms we are taking for granted in the US. Social networks can be used as a tool that Christians can use for the gospel. If you want to reach the young people or those 50 and older Facebook is a good place to start. Those are the largest groups on Facebook. 50 and older is the fastest growing group.

Bottom line: Each couple needs to decide on how to use social networks. It is prudent not to use them if you do not trust each other. However to make a blanket statement that married people should not use social networks I find a bit extreme.

Sidebar: My lovely husband is a man of real class and has no guile. He is not perfect (no one is). He gets completely disgusted and sad thinking about how bad people can treat others in general. He does NOT do the guy's night out. He just does not understand couples doing things separately by choice. The only place I go alone is either to the hairdresser or manicurist because he cannot stand the smells of the chemicals used:) I obviously have no qualms about him having a separate Facebook account.


Who Should We Submit To?

I'm sure you are very aware of the events taking place recently in several Middle Eastern countries where the people have protested against horrific totalitarian governments. The people decided they were tired of living in a way where they do not feel human. Many have died as those in government in some cases have turned on their own people to keep their power over them.

As a Christian I truly believe that humans were created to be free to live life with a purpose and plan. There is a place for structure and law in groups of people or nations to keep order and peace and prevent anarchy and violence. However when those authorities use that power to enslave their people for their own benefits, that causes many problems for those that are under that leadership.

Other countries over the centuries revolted against their government in similar situations regarding race, tribes and classes of people. It is in the nature of all people to be free and have the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The recent events in the Middle East have touched me deeply as I'm sure it has all people regardless of political or religious traditions. The value of being free is precious to every living soul on earth. To think that some would feel that the actions of these people would be considered wrong on religious terms is appalling to me. Unfortunately there are some that feel that God is against these people.

Quote of the Day

How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life

The slow insidious displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties. In 1900, 2 percent of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50 percent were eaten away from home and one in five breakfasts is from McDonald's. Most family meals happen about three times a week, last less than 20 minutes and are spent watching television or texting while each family member eats a different microwaved "food." More meals are eaten in the minivan than the kitchen.

Research shows that children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana. Regular family dinners protect girls from bulimia, anorexia, and diet pills. Family dinners also reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. In a study on household routines and obesity in U.S. preschool-aged children, it was shown that kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don't watch TV on weekdays.

We complain of not having enough time to cook, but Americans spend more time watching cooking on the Food Network than actually preparing their own meals. In his series, "Food Revolution," Jamie Oliver showed us how we have raised a generation of Americans who can't recognize a single vegetable or fruit, and don't know how to cook.

The family dinner has been hijacked by the food industry. The transformations of the American home and meal outlined above did not happen by accident. Broccoli, peaches, almonds, kidney beans and other whole foods don't need a food ingredient label or bar code, but for some reason these foods -- the foods we co-evolved with over millennia -- had to be "improved" by Food Science. As a result, the processed-food industry and industrial agriculture has changed our diet, decade by decade, not by accident but by intention.

That we need nutritionists and doctors to teach us how to eat is a sad reflection of the state of society. These are things our grandparents knew without thinking twice about them. What foods to eat, how to prepare them, and an understanding of why you should share them in family and community have been embedded in cultural traditions since the dawn of human society.

A Peek Into Our Relationship...

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my lovely husband about how I evaluated men when I was single.  I had been reading some relationship blogs for fun.  One of them talked about how each person should vet the person they are dating and determine if they are a suitable person to marry.  At first I did not think much about this because I did not really have a hardcore checklist as such.  The older I got I came to the conclusion that 'I will know him when I meet him'.  That is pretty much how I ended up dating and marrying my husband on December 18, 2009.

One day a Facebook friend of ours posted a relationship question similar to this:  What thing(s) would you consider a show-stopper when considering someone to marry?  Again I did not think much about it since I did not have a list as such.  However my husband read the question and asked it to me.  It was funny but at that time I had an answer.  I told him that if a guy came to me talking about getting married and started a discussion about the role of the husband and the role of the wife I would have run for the hills.  He laughed at that one.

I realize that every person is different and approaches romance and marriage differently.  I just felt that the idea of the husband playing a role and the wife playing a role was way too complicated to my liking, probably from the many sermons I heard in church about the matter over decades.  It just seemed like the list was getting longer by the day and would become something impossible to live by with any peace.  Long before we started dating I concluded that my 'role' would be to love my husband the best I know how.  How that would be defined in my mind was depending on who I married.  It was apparent early in our dating relationship that my husband felt the same way.  This has continued on up until this very moment.

I must state for the record that I married late in life (only marriage).  I did not date after graduating from grad school because somehow I knew I would be older when I married.  I had a very long time to think and reflect about how I would approach dating and marriage.  Of course I had a lot of time to observe other couples and see how their approaches would work for me.  They were way too rigid for my liking and from what I saw many were not all that happy.  I enjoyed my decades as a single gal and I was not going to voluntarily go to prison LOL.  I can truly say that being married to my lovely husband has enhanced my life in ways I could never have imagined.  It is one of the best decisions I have made.  I believe he would say the same.

What do you think about the traditional roles as have been defined over time for husbands and wives?  Are they workable?  Is this really dependent on each couple as I believe?  Do the roles identify who the person really is in a relationship or are the roles purely functional?

Let's discuss this.