Sunday, April 11, 2021

Give me the sheep

After being superintendent of a Sunday school in Chicago for a number of years—a school of over a thousand members, children that came from godless homes, having mothers and fathers working against me, taking the children off on excursions on Sunday, and doing all they could to break up the work I was trying to do—I used to think that if I should ever stand before an audience, I would speak only to parents. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Planted

Plantados tells what communism is like. The contrast to freedom is stark.

Twice the film made an important point that those standing for freedom from communism were standing for freedom in Christ the King. That was mentioned during the first firing squad scene and in the credits. The freedom to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been enemy #1 for communism, sometimes unusually so. Communism is a threat to the soul of man.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Worth more than 10,000 worlds

Twenty-four hours before the rain began to fall, Noah’s ark wasn’t worth much more than firewood. 

But twenty-four hours after the rain began to fall, Noah’s ark was worth more than all the world. 

There wasn’t a man still living who wouldn’t have given everything for a seat in the ark. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Man + Machine

In 1997, Watson’s precursor, IBM’s Deep Blue, beat the reigning chess grand master Garry Kasparov in a famous man-versus-machine match. After machines repeated their victories in a few more matches, humans largely lost interest in such contests. 

You might think that was the end of the story (if not the end of human history), but Kasparov realized that he could have performed better against Deep Blue if he’d had the same instant access to a massive database of all previous chess moves that Deep Blue had. If this database tool was fair for an AI, why not for a human? 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A symbol of freedom

In 1948 the postwar euphoria that had attended the founding of the United Nations had evaporated, and the Soviet Union directly challenged the United States by blockading West Berlin, a tiny western toehold on the Soviet side of a now-divided Europe. 

The Western powers responded by airlifting supplies into West Berlin around the clock for over a year until the Soviets lifted the blockade. With the establishment in 1949 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance between the United States and its European allies, and the setting up of the rival Warsaw Treaty Organization by the Soviet Union, the stage was set for the decades-long military deadlock of the cold war. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The ice cream country

The United States became the ice cream country. By 1919 it was making 100 million gallons annually. 

Steamer ships started installing freezer compartments so that ice cream could be shipped to India, Japan, and China, despite the often-cited erroneous claim that Asians didn’t eat dairy products. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Transparency’s Dark Side

There is a dark side of transparency. Today, it’s a tool used as much by the corrupt and dishonest as it is by those who are actually honest. It’s used as an illusion to give the appearance of honesty without the intent of being honest. You can simply claim to be transparent, and create a halo of honesty about you, without actually being honest. 

Two factors empower this dark side of transparency. We’ve discussed them a lot in this book. 

The first is our deluge of information and facts disguised as entertainment. Even the most open and transparent systems must compete with buckets of information that are more interesting. 

The second is our poor information diets—that we choose information we want to hear over information that reveals the truth makes the competition all the more difficult. 

Whether it is the press, the government, or businesses, without conscious and deliberate consumption, transparency does more harm than good. While it can be used as a means of disinfecting a system, transparency can also be used by the corrupt to create a false association with integrity and honesty. 

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