Monday, August 31, 2020

Higher Education Updates

AFP: The University of Alabama, seen as a test case for returning to in-person learning amid the pandemic, has reported close to a thousand positive coronavirus cases since reopening https://t.co/SVZX3kRER1[…]

@WESH: Online school means online tests, along with computerized surveillance https://t.co/TKs7m6L1gE[…]

AFP: Australia's parliament is set to probe alleged foreign interference at public universities, as concerns grow about Chinese influence https://t.co/6BYlkDgyhb[…]

Friday, August 28, 2020

Nature and Resources Updates

@HowardSlutsken: Next week, Transport Canada will be the first non-US regulator to flight test the 737 Max. Via @Reuters https://t.co/6K4q4nLdG2[…]

@AgitatedCu: Classic polygonal eyewall (wavenumber-5 pattern superimposed on a wavenumber-1 asymmetry) seen in both radar and visible satellite imagery of Category-4 Laura at the moment. Theory behind the wavenumber-5 phenomenon here: https://t.co/zpjS35PRB4 https://t.co/uyJp8nNHZ8[…]

@breakingweather: #BREAKING: #Laura has made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph: https://t.co/5olhgvDqg2 https://t.co/0Y53fiMcXm[…]

@ABC: LATEST on #HurricaneLaura: https://t.co/pDCLiMFYwE - 306,499 without power in Louisiana - 75,571 without power in Texas — […]

@MikeTFox5: Anatomy of a weakening storm...Dry air on the western flank of #HurricaneLaura is being pulled into the storm, disrupting it's structure. Eastern side of #Laura continuing to pull moisture off the Gulf though, and this is where the tornado threat will be. Winds down to 100mph. https://t.co/NWa9LBK47q[…]

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The broader ends of the Green New Deal

Much of this seems suspiciously unrelated to climate change. Something else seems to be going on, and something else is.

A conversation recently surfaced between Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti—who has since resigned—and the environmental policy advisers of Governor Jay Inslee of the state of Washington.

In the meeting, Chakrabarti frankly admitted that from the beginning the Green New Deal was conceived with broader ends.

“Do you think of it as a climate thing?” he chuckled. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

In short, climate change is the ruse to get the public to go for full socialism.
Source: United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It. by Dinesh D'Souza

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

When innovation was outcast

When the word entrepreneur first puttered across the Atlantic by steamship in the late nineteenth century, it described a special type of person: a risk taker who reshaped an industry through innovation.

Joseph Schumpeter, the economist who popularized its use, described entrepreneurs as revolutionaries and “wild spirits.”

They were outcasts living on the edge of civilization, doing things that hadn’t been done.
Source: The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time by Jim McKelvey

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Waiting upon an uncommon Man

Caiaphas! I have seen him,” Simonides replied, adding, after a pause during which he thoughtfully watched the haughty pontiff, “And now am I convinced.

“With such assurance as proceeds from clear enlightenment of the spirit—with absolute assurance—now know I that he who first goes yonder with the inscription about his neck is what the inscription proclaims him—KING OF THE JEWS.

“A common man, an impostor, a felon, was never thus waited upon. For look! Here are the nations—Jerusalem, Israel. Here is the ephod, here the blue robe with its fringe, and purple pomegranates, and golden bells, not seen in the street since the day Jaddua went out to meet the Macedonian—proofs all that this Nazarene is King.

“Would I could rise and go after him!”
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Presidential Updates

The independent HHS Ethics Advisory Board released a report on its thorough review of 14 external research proposals involving the use of fetal tissue. https://t.co/sFQLj9EOE8 @HHSGov continues its efforts to end federal research using fetal tissue from abortions. — […]

@StateDept released a report on the “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy,” which ensures taxpayers do not fund abortions. https://t.co/EIE2Uo14oo @POTUS expanded the Mexico City Policy to protect the unborn while promoting women’s health around the world. — […]

Monday, August 24, 2020

A prime and unoccupied location

Ancient Jericho is not very picturesque as a ruin.

When Joshua marched around it seven times, some three thousand years ago, and blew it down with his trumpet, he did the work so well and so completely that he hardly left enough of the city to cast a shadow.

The curse pronounced against the rebuilding of it, has never been removed.

Higher Education Updates

Reuters: University of Southern California in Los Angeles is now welcoming students online https://t.co/YxdIqa040L[…]

Reuters: The University of Notre Dame suspended in-person classes and moved them online for at least two weeks after seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, the latest university to roll back campus reopenings https://t.co/UAFnm6zN8w[…]

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Guarding our nation

This morning, I listened to Reston Bible Church which I attended for five years when I moved to the Northern Virginia. Mike Meyers gave the message about guarding your heart.

Having previously worked in the technology industry, he talked about how getting saved is like downloading a new operating system for our lives. Guarding our heart is like running anti-virus software that can remove and keep out viruses, malware, and guard against corrupted files (sin, provision for the flesh, etc.).

I got to thinking about it, and God gives nations operating systems, too. Nations, too, can become corrupt, and they need an anti-virus mechanism to guard against corruption. Nations can become corrupted, not just through bribery and abuse of power, but also if its founding principles are undermined and eroded away.

God has provided nations with an anti-virus mechanism: it is the Church. He has provided people to proclaim from His Word the purpose of government and rights to be protected including freedom to speak and build our lives on the Word of God.

Friday, August 21, 2020

The First Amendment and the Gospel

A headline out of the Democratic National Convention caught my attention:
Democrats push to revamp political money system…
‘Dark money’ is funding half of spending on House, Senate ads
This is a free speech issue. Democrats say, “Money isn't speech.” Judges disagree. When money is controlled by the law, speech can always be assigned a monetary value, and as soon as it is (such as in court), it's controlled by any law that controls money. The Supreme Court defended free speech against such unconstitutional infringement in Citizens United v. FEC.

Truth is not determined by money or by vote. The answer to 10 people saying something false is 1 person speaking the truth. That is why free speech is more powerful than money. This is also why liars pretend to control money.

Nature and Resources Updates

@WTOP: Watchstanders had received an alert from a personal locator beacon. A helicopter crew found four people on the hull of an overturned, 24-foot fishing boat. https://t.co/3VZrQuh865[…]

@markknoller: In Iowa, @IAGovernor Kim Reynolds tells Pres Trump that the derecho that hit Iowa last week was "basically a 40-mile wide tornado," that "took out" entire counties and half the state's crops. Pres pledged "we'll help you recover from the storm." https://t.co/aFb7seTB6d[…]

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Signature institutions of democratic socialism

I have my own lived experience to draw on to compare socialism and capitalism, both of which have been tried in my lifetime in my native country of India.

The Indian leaders, some of whom studied Fabian socialism in England, adopted socialism complete with Soviet-style five-year plans when India became independent in 1947.

I grew up under Indian socialism—which I remind you was democratic socialism—and experienced its signature institutions.

One was everyday corruption; literally nothing could be done without paying some petty bureaucrat under the table.

Another was the ration card, which specified the paltry amount of sugar or cooking oil that a family was permitted to purchase each month.

A third was a seven-year waiting period to get a phone.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Building blocks of purpose, happiness, success

To be successful in life, I have learned that you have to put first things first, but today’s popular culture has it backwards.

You can’t find your passion until you develop your work ethic.

You can’t find your purpose until you discover who you are.

You can’t find your happiness until you find your talent and help others.

And you can’t find success until you earn it.
Source: Solid Ground: A Foundation for Winning in Work and in Life by T.W. Lewis

Federal, International Updates

@IndependentInst: As in 1945, millions of workers were suddenly released from their jobs. Yet the economy prospered. The postwar recovery showed that the corrective powers of markets (freedom) worked to sustain America’s economic advance. @WSJ #VJDay https://t.co/dfYLnSkfDh[…]

With mutual debt between countries, it seems it would be easier to have a mutual cancellation than mutual payment. https://t.co/bt2F91wI3O[…]

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The master over death surrendered to death

Ben-Hur's confidence rested most certainly upon the miraculous power of the Christ.

Pondering the subject in the purely human view, that the master of such authority over life and death, used so frequently for the good of others, would not exert it in care of himself was simply as much past belief as it was past understanding.
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Presidential Updates

“I would move quickly… The Democrats would if they were in this position.” President Trump said he would fill a vacancy on the #SupremeCourt should the opportunity present itself before the #2020Election. https://t.co/uTOTBQMLRv[…]

@ChadPergram: Mnuchin: The Admin is willing to move forward with legislation that allows for substantial funds for schools, child care, food, vaccines, hospitals, PPP for small businesses, rental assistance, broadband, airports, state and local government assistance and liability protection — […]

“A truly historic moment. Not since the Israel-Jordan peace treaty…has so much progress been made towards peace in the Middle East.” #Israel and the #UnitedArabEmirates agreed to the full normalization of relations in a deal brokered by President Trump. https://t.co/0q7Wl7uJeq[…]

Monday, August 17, 2020

No larger than an American village

At last, away in the middle of the day, ancient bite of wall and crumbling arches began to line the way--we toiled up one more hill, and every pilgrim and every sinner swung his hat on high! Jerusalem!

Perched on its eternal hills, white and domed and solid, massed together and hooped with high gray walls, the venerable city gleamed in the sun.

So small! Why, it was no larger than an American village of four thousand inhabitants, and no larger than an ordinary Syrian city of thirty thousand. Jerusalem numbers only fourteen thousand people.

Higher Education Updates

Reuters: Many U.S. universities are revamping campuses to resume in-person classes despite COVID-19, requiring students to be tested, wear masks and socially distance https://t.co/VI4vcXPLDU[…]

AP: The iconic summer job for high school and college students has been on the wane for nearly 20 years. But the pandemic is squeezing even more young people out of the workforce. https://t.co/MczjZJI1Zg[…]

AP: That most American of pursuits - college football - has either shut down or is trying desperately to hang on in the age of COVID-19. Story by @pnewberry1963 https://t.co/OelHPSaoN3[…]

Friday, August 14, 2020

Defining Identity Socialism

To understand identity socialism, we must begin with socialism itself, socialism in its original or classic sense. Here the most helpful definition does not come from Marx but from economist Joseph Schumpeter.

In his classic work Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Schumpeter defined socialism as a system in which, “as a matter of principle, the economic affairs of society belong to the public and not to the private sphere.”

This strikes me as an excellent definition because it creates a spectrum.

At one end is the free market society, which generates wealth and earnings in the private sphere, requiring little more to function than laws protecting property rights and enforcing contracts.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Blogger vs. WordPress

A moment of decision is arriving. I neither requested nor anticipated this would come.

Blogger is launching a new editor. A few months ago using it was voluntary. In July it became the default with an option to revert to the previous editor. Now Blogger is saying the previous editor goes away in September.

The new editor is inferior. It's focus is not on text editing which is significantly worse in the new editor.

It's hard to convince myself Google is listening to its users. The only good sign of such is their threat to remove the old editor by August 24 appears to have been delayed to September.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Federal, International Updates

Remarks by @VP @Mike_Pence on the Importance of Life https://t.co/4awei1PvxP via @WhiteHouse #ProLife — […]

• India hits 2 million virus cases, deaths pass 41,000.
• Grief turns to fury, protests in wake of Beirut blast.
• Trump bans dealings with owners of TikTok, WeChat.
https://t.co/op6uOnAAPK https://t.co/4dNr9xXAF9[…]

— Rescuers in Lebanon recover more bodies days after blast;
— Russia’s race for virus vaccine raises concerns in the West.
https://t.co/izIGgW4fh1[…]

EpochTimes: “Under the direction of President Donald J. Trump, the United States is delivering critical emergency aid to Lebanon” The US is sending food, water, and #MedicalSupplies to #Beirut after a massive blast at a port killed 154 people and injured 5,000.
https://t.co/H9xwvwb24L[…]

Amazon's 14 leadership principles

Bezos drives Amazon’s inventive culture through fourteen leadership principles, adhered to by most Amazonians more closely than their own religions, which can sometimes make Amazon feel like a cult. These principles guide decision making within the company, they’re hammered home during its interview process, and they come up casually in conversation between Amazonians when they’re off the clock.

When you work at Amazon, the leadership principles become part of your being. They make it difficult to work at any other company, which is why so many ex-Amazonians “boomerang,” or come back after they’ve left. One ex-employee told me he’s teaching these principles to his kids.

The more you study Bezos’s leadership principles, the more it becomes clear that they’re a manual for invention. Taken together, they inspire new ideas, strip out the corporate muck that so often holds the best ideas back, and ensure anything with a chance to succeed gets out the door.

Think Big, for instance, encourages Amazonians to dream up the company’s next great product, process, or service. And critically, it gives them permission to do it too, a departure from stay-in-your-lane management. “Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” the leadership principle says. “Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.”

Invent and Simplify, another example, makes invention core to people’s jobs at Amazon, not peripheral. “Leaders expect and require innovation and invention,” it instructs. “They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by ‘not invented here.’” (A more honest reading of this principle would be: Your entire purpose at Amazon is to invent. If you’re not inventing, your job will get simplified and then automated. At Amazon, you invent or hit the road.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Measuring the Christ

He persisted as men do yet every day in measuring the Christ by himself. How much better if we measured ourselves by the Christ!
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

The good news is we don't have to do either. We would never measure up to Christ. Yet, when God the Father looks at those in Christ, all He sees is Christ measuring up to his perfect standard.

Presidential Updates

President Trump announced he had fired 2 members of the the federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority, saying that its chief executive Jeff Lyash is “ridiculously overpaid” and that the corporation is seeking to outsource US #Jobs to foreign workers. https://t.co/wLSJrfrufZ[…]

“Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth… The President was stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus.” #Facebook and #Twitter removed posts from President Trump, citing misinformation about the #CCPVirus. https://t.co/Yzu0bQbvbx[…]

Monday, August 10, 2020

An exceedingly small portion of the earth

One of the most astonishing things that have yet fallen under our observation is the exceedingly small portion of the earth from which sprang the now flourishing plant of Christianity.

Higher Education Updates

@Medgadget: Oakland University in Michigan to require residents to wear ‘BioButton,’ to track health; students launch petition https://t.co/UInZQwogJl[…]

AP: Mid-American Conference becomes 1st major college football conference to cancel fall season. https://t.co/xwowzKup46[…]

Friday, August 7, 2020

Who the crowd forgets

Players who’ve won a championship trophy or ring often declare, “No one can ever take that away from me.”

Splashdown: The end of the beginning

@NASA: Space dads @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug woke up aboard @SpaceX’s Dragon Endeavour to hear a message from their sons, awaiting the #LaunchAmerica crew’s arrival back on planet Earth. https://t.co/ZhtZzpLYhu[…]

@JimBridenstine: We have SPLASHDOWN! Welcome home @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug! #LaunchAmerica — […]

@NASA: "Thanks for flying @SpaceX." Current Location: Planet Earth A 2:48pm ET, @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug splashed down, marking the first splashdown of an American crew spacecraft in 45 years. #LaunchAmerica https://t.co/zO3KlNwxU3[…]

@flightradar24: NASA’s WB-57 high-altitude research aircraft continuing to circle following the successful splash down of Crew Dragon in the Gulf of Mexico. https://t.co/W7NKEsv13m Among other things, the WB-57 was used to chase the total solar eclipse in August 2017: https://t.co/6trWnnWYYS https://t.co/91bg8hK4Na[…]

Flag capturing sequence commenced, completed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

What AI enables

Advances in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and collaboration technology have made it feasible to support existing businesses with much less execution work, helping companies turn new, inventive ideas into reality—and sustain them.

These tools are the next evolution of a workplace software explosion that’s made companies more efficient, and AI is putting it into overdrive.

Experts say AI will free people up to do more “creative” or more “human” work.

But more precisely, AI enables them to do more inventive work.
Source: Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever by Alex Kantrowitz

Federal, International Updates

@NASAKennedy: Successful splashdown of Crew Dragon at 2:48 p.m. ET. Welcome home @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug: https://t.co/A9sbAYbCl3 https://t.co/fushrFAIWp[…]

@SenateNews: #SenateHearing: Hearings to examine Venezuela, focusing on security and humanitarian situation. https://t.co/NnPyLV7Ve2[…]

@WSJopinion: Elections are cancelled, protesters are arrested, and a professor is fired. Day by day, China’s Communist Party is squeezing the free breath out of Hong Kong https://t.co/Rrc7gswiMv[…]

@volqx__: The Beirut explosion was equivalent to about 240 tons of TNT, roughly 10 times as great as the US military's (MOAB) is capable of unleashing.The blast produced seismic wave equal to a magnitude 3.3 earthquake. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Beirut, Lebanon https://t.co/58gySrm8QP[…]

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Knowledge beyond understanding

The knowledge we gain from much sympathy with others passing through trials is but vaguely understood; strangely enough, it enables us, among other things, to merge our identity into theirs often so completely that their sorrows and their delights become our own.
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Presidential Updates

President Donald Trump welcomed 69-year-old #TerrySharpe, a @USMC #Veteran, to the @WhiteHouse as he completed his 300-mile walk to the nation’s capital to raise awareness about the problem of #VeteranSuicide. https://t.co/eSzBdyrusQ[…]

“No American should fear for their personal safety because of where they live or their political affiliation.” #Wisconsin's Republican Party has called for a federal probe into the daylight #Shooting of a known #Trump supporter. https://t.co/5Nt2t7RiCF[…]

“May cut off funding if not open!” Trump said. #Schools that don’t plan to physically reopen, or at least offer some in-person #Learning in the fall, would lose relief money set aside for K-12 #Education under Senate GOP’s #Relief bill. https://t.co/c0zy8zDFEf[…]

President Trump announced his administration is set to finalize a deal with @Kodak to transform it into a #Pharmaceutical company to produce generic active pharmaceutical ingredients, helping to reduce the reliance on other countries for critical drugs. https://t.co/nsV3Kec0hk[…]

“Many doctors think it is extremely successful” President Trump defended a video, banned by #Twitter and other platforms, featuring #Doctors making positive statements about the efficacy of #Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the #CCPVirus. https://t.co/tDcuiIoq4l[…]

Monday, August 3, 2020

Making the narrative tell itself

It is hard to make a choice of the most beautiful passage in a book which is so gemmed with beautiful passages as the Bible; but it is certain that not many things within its lids may take rank above the exquisite story of Joseph.

Higher Education Updates

AP: The University of Notre Dame has become the second university to withdraw as the host of one of this fall’s three scheduled presidential debates amid the pandemic. https://t.co/Hol2nMcFvn[…]

Reuters: The number of Hong Kong citizens applying to study at Australian universities has hit a three-year high midway through 2020, according to government data, amid fears a new security law is ushering in a more authoritarian era https://t.co/pt3V7eAgso[…]

AFP: #UPDATE The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, which runs its own settlements, universities and media in the region geared at China's Han majority, will have any US-based assets frozen, the Treasury Department said https://t.co/3nT0USSG7N[…]

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