Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Random Thoughts on 6 Degrees.

Okay, when pressed for blog material, I have used random association at times.  My favorite form of this is to find "order" to the randomness in the game of Six Degrees of Separation.

I started with a living celebrity that I recognized whose birthday is today, January 4, 2017.  I chose Dyan Cannon, an actress who turned 80 today.  Looking at her filmography, I chose "Heaven Can Wait (1978)," in which she stared as Julia Farnsworth, murderous wife of millionaire Leo Farnsworth.  Mr. Farnsworth had been drugged and drowned, but the mistaken death of "Joe Pendleton" is rectified by angelic agents by resuscitating the victim.

As Mr. Farnsworth, Joe buys the Los Angeles Rams, and as just after Farnsworth is killed for good, Joe enters the quarterback who had just been accidently killed on the field.  Anyway, I looked for an LA Rams team from around the time I was born, finding the 1951 NFL champs but choosing the 1955 season in which they failed to reclaim that title.  I wanted a connection closer to my birth (for some reason).

Though loosing badly, the quarterback for the Rams was the legendary Norm Van Brocklin.  Van Brocklin was a distant cousin of my wife. Another "link" to Van Brocklin: he died in my "home state" of Georgia.  This information is trivial, and doesn't exactly link me to the famous quarterback and coach.  However, it does show the verity of the "Six Degrees" theory.

Monday, January 02, 2017

500 year old Protest

Well, one thing I forgot about this year: October 31 marks the 500th anniversary of the begging of the Protestant Reformation.  Martin Luther had had enough of the nonsense of one fund raiser working for the Pope.

Among other things, Mr. Luther thought it odd that money could shorten one's stay in a place called Prugatory. Being a college professor, Martin had studied the Bible quite a bit. He could not find a lot of support for the doctrine of this "halfway house."

The whole idea about getting to heaven by one's on works didn't seem right to him.  He had been teaching through the book of Romans and had embraced the idea of faith worked out in one's life was the way to get to heaven. Further studies lead him to the book of Ephesians.

It turned out that a key passage in that book removed all doubt: Ephesians 2:8-10. In those verses we find the truth that it is what and had who you BELIEVE rather than what you DO that gets you into heaven.  After that, God works things out THROUGH you.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year!!

Well, here we are in another year on the planet earth!  It started at 1200 (noon) GMT yesterday (Dec. 31) at the international timezone.  South Pacific islanders were the first to see the teenaged century pass from "sweet sixteen" to 17 years in.

Right now, it is about 9 PM GMT, so the new year is over 32 hours old, but still quite a fragile young thing.  Where I live, we face another day of holidays with the long weekend (since government workers "need" to celebrate with an official day off!).

Where were you when the new year began?  It would have been pondering getting up at 7 on a Saturday.  I decided that it was not worth the "early" celebration and slept in -- thank you very much!

There are three dates of significance that are coming this year.  The first is on January 20th when a man with no political background becomes president of the United States.  This last happened the year I was born, in 1953, when General Eisenhower was sworn in.  He was easily re-elected for a second term.  Time will tell if President-elect Trump will fare as well.

The second two dates fall in late summer.  On August 13th, my wife and I will observe our fortieth wedding anniversary!  It is hard to believe it's been that long, but we do have two grandsons, so, yep, it's the truth.

And then, just six days later, on August 21st, the "Great American Eclipse" cuts a strip of darkness across the continental United States.  I was in high school the last time I was close enough to travel to a total eclipse of the sun (it came up the east coast).  This one, like the annular eclipse in the 1980's, "comes right over" my house!  We made pin-hole viewers out of disposable diaper boxes back then!  This time we have access to a reflector telescope, though I doubt if we will use it!

Of the three days, I only have control over one of them.  I have just seven and a half months to get ready to make it special.  And so, I will post this and try to make 2017 a blog-filled year parallel to my first attempt ranting and pontificating over a decade ago.

Until next time, then.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Perpetual Twilight

So, we have almost survived eight years of Barack Obama.  Back during the 2008 campaign I was willing to give him a chance.  I know, he was not my choice, but as a the first bi-racial man to make it to the White House, I had hopes that he would help bring the country together.

He did not do anything close.  If anything, the nation is more divided than it was when he began.  I think the reason is clear: he abandoned the very racial harmony reflected in his parents for the cultural values of his black mentors and liberal white grandparents.  It appears he was "used" by those who had an agenda.

Will our new president, almost a polar opposite of the last one, do any better.  So very "white" that even his liberal history probably will not help, Donald Trump enters the stage of world history as a business man trying to save a bankrupt business.  Unfortunately, our country cannot declare bankruptcy to rebuild.  Deals will be made, and as conservatives my friends and I will belatedly enter the 21st century -- a "brave new world" in which darkness and light mingle into a perpetual twilight.

We can only hope that the twilight lasts for generations -- or until the Lord returns -- for after the twilight comes the night. This is the natural cycle of nations, so we should not be surprised.  Our responsibility to God and to ourselves is to always do the right thing.

This "right thing" is not political, but moral and spiritual.  It is not based upon the changing mores of this world, but firmly upon ten simple, but profound, commandments from God Himself.  We must show honor where honor is due: to God, family and community.  We must eskew behavior that brings harm to our neighbors in any way.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Philosophy meets Math

This came across on Facebook, and someone said he needed a formula or something to help him solve this kind of puzzle.  Matthew Eastland, the son of an old friend of mine pointed out that there are apparently two, or maybe 3 solutions that are possible.  I composed an answer to a friend of a friend that had picked one of the "incorrect" answers but messed up one step.  Here are my thoughts.

#1 Take it at face value that only the first equation is correct. That is, we know that 1+4=5. The others are nonsense statements, so 8+11=19.

#2 Taking the four equations as separate and equal, you look for a formula that will make each correct. In such, you look at each number and check the relationship with the others. In the second case, what do you add to 2 to get 12? What does that number have in common with the 5? You might ask the question like this:

If 1+4=5 and 2+5=12 and 3+7=21, then what does 8+11 equal? You apply the same rules to each separate equation, rather than to the string as connected problem. The answer this way is 96. The formula is x+xy=z.

You might notice that the first three equations form a progression with a twist. x goes from 1 to 3; and y goes from 4 to 7. THEN, x increases to one more than y in the previous equation in equation #4. This leads in a way to choice #3.

#3 The answer of 40 comes by reading the problem, looking for a relative position of each of the integers rather than looking for a formula in the strictest sense. By what is probably not coincidental (I have not done the math behind it), a relationship is found between all the integers shown.

Assuming the four lines as parts of the whole, and for convenience, make each number a signed integer.

+1+4= +5 +2+5 = +12 +3+6= +21 +8+11=?

In this way, each part builds on the other one. The last equation becomes 21+8+11= 40.

A closer look at equations 1, 2 and 3 show a progression of the "answers" by the odd numbers of 7, 9 and 11. This is a clue that there is an algebraic progression, pointing to #2 being the correct answer. However, if we don't treat each line uniquely, then #3 moves us to look for a linear progression instead. That is why I lined the equations up the way I did (sort of like taking away the "wordwrap."

It seems like the analysis depends on the approach to the "truth." #1 takes it at its face value, leading one to reject obvious falsehood. Let's face it, 2+5 =/= 12. Open and shut case! Everyone knows that 8+11 = 19!

But assuming that there is more to the equations than meets the eye, the integers take on different meanings in solution #2. Each is taken to represent the same principle. Some formula has to be found to make each statement true. And then that principle is applied to make the last statement true as well. This is like comparing different testimonies in a court of law.

Solution #3 makes correlations between the separate integers and signs. Each step is taken based on the symbol (assumed or present) to its left. Like #1, everything is taken at face value. All the known facts are laid out and the observer builds a story out of them.  I call this "linear" thinking. When the equations in the middle seemed like nonsense, their context was used to arrive at a conclusion.

Different approaches, in the real world outside of numbers, can lead to solutions to big problems. Assuming facts to be false will leave many a mystery unsolved. Likewise, using known facts out of context will lead to wrong conclusions. It is only by fully analyzing the evidence can we come to the solution of the problems we face.

Next week, I may be chosen to sit on a jury.  In a court of law, it is necessary for a jury, or a judge, to apply logic that goes deeper than the "face value" of the facts.  Bias cannot be allowed whereby evidence is cast aside due to it's seeming nonsense.  Some things we "know" might not be true.  Just like in solution #2, all is not as it seems.  Likewise, as in solution #3, facts out of context can lead to jumping to conclusions.

It is only through analytical thinking that progress towards truth can come.  Let us not "jump to conclusions" or make "snap judgments.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

First Words Spoken by God

This blog is a work in progress.  I will have to figure out how to embed a player.  Anyway, I am studying the "mechanics" of the sound made over (or into) the waters when God brought light into existence.  Here is a link.  Hopefully your browser will open it in another window).

"Let There Be Light" (in Hebrew)

Phonetically, this is three consonants and three vowels (Ye-Hee-OR).  Two of the vowel sounds (lower case) are added with vowel points much later, but by scholars long committed to vocalizing the text.  The actual letters are Yoth-He-Yoth-Aleph-Wau-Resh.  Vowel points vocalize Yoth and the He-Yoth, while the Aleph is "silent" lending its vowel point to the Wau (= 'o').  At the end is the letter transliterated as "R."

The words begin with the Vowel/consonant pronounced Y' ("yuh") followed by the Vowel/consonants HY  ("hiy").  The second word is transliterated " AOR, but pronounced "Ohr."  As can be seen, the only "full" consonant ("stop") is the "R" at the end.  Though the Y and H are vocalized, the sound is made in the vocal cords rather than in the mouth.  However, the tongue forms the "uh," and "ee" sounds.  Then, the mouth forms the "oh" sound before the "R" vocalization "rolls" off the tongue and on to the lips.

The "R" sound is in a way the weakest of the full consonants, and is almost a semi-vowel on its own.  In making the sound, though, the vibration begins in the vocal cords and travels all the way to the lips.  Both the Yoth and the He also began in the vocal cords but had very little reverberation in the mouth itself.  All in all, the whole phrase pronounced with only breath and vocal cords.  It is truly the breath of God made "audible" via vibrations of that air.

In essence, "Ye HiY 'OR" is six sounds that get the "waters" to move.  The Spirit of God "stirs" the waters, and subsequently LIGHT appears.  The sound waves are converted to electromagnetic waves and creation has its first day completed.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Virtual Tour - US 1: Key Largo

Key Largo -- The Large Key -- is the largest of the many islands extending from the "mainland" of Florida.  In an attempt to avoid any law suits for invasion of privacy, I borrowed this shot from Google Earth.  It may include some private land, but I don't think it is identifiable.  I call it a "sneak peek" of the Gulf.  It is a peek over a fence at the end of a cul de sac.  This view of houses, docks and boats is typical on Key Largo. The photo is a composite, copyrighted by Google and the US Department of State.

This is a "far cry" from my one visit to the keys many years ago!  Our visit was in a station wagon pulling a borrowed (or rented) popup camper.  We stayed in a campground on a smaller key along US 1 where the ground water tasted strongly of sulfur.  It may have looked something like this, Calusa Campground in Key Largo.  Again, over the fence, courtesy of Google Earth.

Between Key Largo and the mainland are scores, if not hundreds, of be tiny islands, most of which are uninhabited. Each island is a "key" contributing to probably over half of the more famous string that are connected by US 1.  Other islands along the west coast of Florida are also designated as "keys."  According to Meriam Webster Dictionary this homograph is derived from the a native language spoken by the Taino, a Caribbean people.  They Spanish spelled in "cayo," which the English co-opted.  It may have once been pronounced as if rhyming with "they" or "grey."  In fact, the alternate spelling of "cay" is also pronounced "kee"!  The English language cannot be "trusted."

Since 1947 all the Keys of Florida south of the Everglades (the vast majority of the islands called "keys") have been part of the Everglades National Park.  As such, only the largest of the islands are populated.  Some of the islands are "privately owned," but I strongly suspect that they are also quite regulated.  It's a shame that, for the sake of a subspecies here or there the "last frontier" of South Florida is practically 'off limits.'