Friday, November 16, 2018

The Essence of Economics

In his forward to Wealth and Poverty, Steve Forbes wrote, "Economists ill-serve themselves by describing economics as being about the allocation of scarce resources. It is about the creation of resources."

He then gave an example: "Oil, for instance, is described as a natural resource. It isn't. In and of itself it is simply sticky glop. It was human ingenuity that turned this goo into something the world can't live without."

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Salt in a Wound

It seems in time of abundance, understanding of the healing power of salt has been lost.

These days, most references to “salt in a wound” are meant something is taken as an insult. It's the sting at contact and nothing more.

After reading Salt: A World History several years ago, there's a reference to soldiers dying during the Civil War because they did not have salt for their wounds. They had nothing to arrest and stop the spread of infection.

It was a fascinating read about when salt was a rarity instead of a commodity for most of world history.

Jesus told his followers, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). I've often heard this preached describing salt as a seasoning—make things taste better—or as a preservative—make sure things don't rot. I've not heard it really taught as a healing agent.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Asbestos

Having worked on managing a couple buildings now, I've learned how established a threat asbestos is to the cost of renovation projects, and its largely due to its health risks. It's still a high-revenue search term for Google.

In Mark Twain's essay on “The Turning-Point of My Life” he made reference to “Martin Luther and Joan of Arc” as having “temperaments not made of butter, but of asbestos.” Having been written more than a few decades before many of the buildings I knew with asbestos, that led me to look up the word. In the definition I discovered why asbestos was used so commonly before its health risks were known: Asbestos is a fire retardant.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Economic Foundation of an Empire

In Life After Google, George Gilder makes the argument that Isaac Newton laid the economic foundation of the British Empire by establishing that gold was an irreversible element. Newton's was an accomplishment in information theory, specifically “the information theory of money.”

Having previously been one to dabble in alchemy, trying to make gold from lead and mercury, “The failure of his alchemy gave him—and the world—precious knowledge that no rival state or private bank, wielding whatever philosopher's stone, would succeed in making a better money.”

The result was, “The little island of Britain governed an empire larger and incomparably richer than Rome's.” Newton was appointed to the Royal Mint in 1696, and the value of the British pound was pegged to the value of gold. The gold standard came into effect.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Decision-Making

I tend to be an iterative decision-maker. On matters of high consequence and high visibility, I like to take my time and make sure I get the decision right, including on all matters of detail.

During the Apollo 11 mission, I read that Neil Armstrong took his time on deciding where to land on the moon, and that process went on much longer than anyone expected. It helped that lunar gravity wasn't pulling them down as fast as it would have on earth. Not having bodies of water or liquid also may have helped in the process.

While iterative processes hopefully lead to a better final product, they are also not for the faint of heart. It can be an exhausting process, especially when it includes navigating lots of opinions, variables, sources of input, and options. Hopefully in the end it will lead to a satisfactory outcome.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans Day

I had occasion to thank several veterans for their service today, this Veterans Day. I had two grandfathers who were veterans of World War II.

Several of our Awana Club directors are veterans, and we had a chance to thank them for their service, both to our country and to the Lord.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Handwriting Analysis

The first time I encountered someone who knew about handwriting analysis, I was very dismissive. One of my professional coworkers had some kind of experience or training with the subject and after only a few examples of the specifics one can infer from a person's handwriting, I found its claims to be overly detailed in the extreme, and she made no further attempts to be informative on the subject. I still owe her an apology, though I don't remember her name.

The second time I encountered expertise on the subject was from someone who I knew to be highly credentialed, intelligent, and thoroughly knowledgeable on a whole range of subjects including many beyond his specific area of advanced education. I was very receptive to what he had to say. Learning about the range of knowledge one can glean from a person's handwriting far exceeded my expectations.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Language Learning

Spanish was my first language. My parents were missionaries in Venezuela, and as part of their practice and learning, they spoke only Spanish in our home. Some of my first words as a one-year-old were about things like turning the light on, turning the light off, etc.

Just before I turned two, my father died of an aortic aneurysm. This cut short our time on the field, so we came back to the States. Later my mother told me how at two years old I could tell we weren't talking like the people around us anymore, and I told her “Talk like they talk”; (“Habla como ellos”). I don't recall speaking any Spanish in our home until I formally studied Spanish.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Reverse Conversation Origins

85% of all believers ages 18-29 agree that they have a responsibility to share the gospel with unbelievers

25% look for ways to share the gospel

Source: On Mission, special issue 2017, volume 20, number 4, citing Christianity Today

At first it's tempting to point out that in nearly any conversation, there is some kind of topic that comes up which can be used to turn the conversation toward God and the Gospel.

And then I remind myself this is the same generation that struggles with conversations in general.

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you build one.
Seth Godin