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.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tuesday

Sometimes these posts are scheduled ahead of time. Others are written the same day. Today was a day I had left open thinking I would have a bit more free time than normal to work on writing.

Today was also a day on which I had piled everything else for the last several days, too. And then some things that normally happen in a week also landed on this afternoon.

I'm excited about several writing ideas to come, and given that we're back to standard time and closer to solar time, I'm ready for today to be done.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Match the Nature of Problems to their Solution

“Don't spiritualize management problems, and don't manage spiritual problems. Management problems have to be hit on the head with organization and excellence. Spiritual problems must be dealt with by prayer, God's word and faith.”

Ken Whitten, Idlewild Baptist Church

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


This sounds like really wise advice and perspective.

Not every problem is a “heart problem.”

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Generosity Evangelism

Pastor Roesel is speaking at my church this week. He is a big advocate of ministry evangelism, that is, meeting people's needs to help them see and come to know Jesus.

This man embodies a generosity mindset. When he retired, his church was giving away 65 percent of its budget and meeting the rest of its operating expenses with the remaining 35 percent.

He wrote a book called It's a God Thing: The Powerful Results of Ministry Evangelism. The Kindle version is free. I read it a week or two ago leading up to his coming.

Friday, November 2, 2018

News of Interest

'Colossal collapse' in gas prices expected heading into midterm elections

Millennial Men Leave Perplexing Hole in Hot U.S. Job Market
Ten years after the Great Recession, 25- to 34-year-old men are lagging in the workforce more than any other age and gender demographic. About 500,000 more would be punching the clock today had their employment rate returned to pre-downturn levels. Many, like Butcher, say they’re in training. Others report disability. All are missing out on a hot labor market and crucial years on the job, ones traditionally filled with the promotions and raises that build the foundation for a career.

5 countries—Russia, Canada, Australia, the U.S., and Brazil—contain 70% of the world's wilderness (excluding Antarctica).

Global Warming Damage
For many of the entities driving the global warming debate, the goal has never been about climate. Their long-term goal is to unite the world under a single socialistic government in which there is no capitalism, no democracy, and, ultimately, no freedom. United Nations’ treaties such as the Paris Agreement on climate change are the flagships of the global governance agenda. By controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, they are in fact controlling the world’s energy since over 80% of our energy comes from CO2-emitting fossil fuels. And controlling the world’s energy effectively controls the world.

World's longest DNA sequence decoded
The advance is a technological one - this is about reading the DNA rather than the discovery of a particularly large genome. The DNA used for the long read came from a human. But the scientists hope the work will make it quicker and easier to sequence genetic information because, currently, DNA has to be chopped up into smaller pieces and then reassembled during the process of sequencing.

Roscosmos: An assembly error doomed our Soyuz, but we promise it won't happen again

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Bedbugs

In his chapter on Interrogations, Alexsandr I. Solzhenitsyn described dozens of simple methods the communists would use in the Gulag to break a person. Some were psychological, some physical. Some would leave no mark on a person's body. And then there is number 23, the bedbug-infested box.
In the dark closet made of wooden planks, there were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of bedbugs, which had been allowed to multiply. The guards removed the prisoner's jacket or field shirt, and immediately the hungry bedbugs assaulted him, crawling onto him from the walls or falling off the ceiling. At first he waged war with them strenuously, crushing them on his body and on the walls, suffocated by their stink. But after several hours he weakened and let them drink his blood without a murmur.
Solzhenitsyn, Alexsandr. The Gulag Archipelago. Harper and Row, 1973. Page 113.

This reminds me of Jesus' description of hell: “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48). He used that phrase three times in a row which is a method of extreme reinforcement in the Scriptures.

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You don't launch a popular blog,
you build one.
Seth Godin