The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Blogs I Read

I don’t read a large number blogs, but here are the ones that I go to almost daily:

Science:

Christianity:

Here are some blogs that I go to occasionally:

(I’m not endorsing everything in any of these blogs)
This list is pretty short. What are your favorite blogs? I’m open to expanding my reading a bit.

Grace and Peace

August 31, 2007 Posted by | Blogs | 1 Comment

Blogs that link to The Earth is Not Flat!

I’ve recently discovered that the following blogs have links to The Earth is Not Flat!:

This is in addition to some other blogs that have had a link to my blog for quite some time:

Thanks for the links. If anyone sees other sites that link to this blog, let me know.

Grace and Peace

August 31, 2007 Posted by | Blogs | Leave a comment

Bibles in Other Languages — Not Available

The New Testament has been translated into over 1500 languages, but if someone from Bangladesh or Somalia moves in next door to you, good luck trying to get a copy for them. In fact, many of these translations are not even available on the internet. It turns out that cooperation between various Bible societies is limited, and there is no place in North America (not even the internet) where one can order Bibles in most of these 1500 languages.

From Christianity Today:

“I didn’t know it would be such an ordeal,” Richardson said. Her staff spent weeks chasing dead-end leads before finally sleuthing out an online catalog specializing in non-English Scripture. Richardson ordered 10 Somali Bibles, only to find just one Somali New Testament in stock.

“Many of our refugees come from closed countries where they’ve never heard the gospel,” Richardson said. “It shouldn’t be this hard.”

According to a 2006 United Bible Societies report, 1,541 languages now have a printed New Testament. Fewer than 200 of these translations are available for sale in North America, however, and many common languages are difficult to keep in stock.

Biblegateway.com has 81 translations available on the internet in 36 languages (25 of these translations are in English), so that won’t help much with more obscure languages. The International Bible Society has online Bibles in 39 languages. Christianbook.com has a few Spanish and bilingual Bibles, but certainly would not be a resource if you need to find a Bible in Urdu. In this age where one can order from millions of titles on amazon.com, it is unfortunate that for some, it is difficult to find God’s word.

Grace and Peace

August 30, 2007 Posted by | Christianity | Leave a comment

Geology Jobs and Christian Colleges

From geology.com/news:

The number of professional jobs in the oil and gas industry exceeds the number of qualified and available workers. In 1982, enrollment in the geosciences hit an all time high of 35,000 students but today the number has dwindled to about 5,000. Salaries are generous, however the industry does not have a rosy image with the public and that dampens the number of students who declare a geoscience major. Combine the lack of new graduates with a workforce that is mainly over 50 and starting to retire and the shortage of talent becomes critical.

This workforce shortage doesn’t just affect the oil and gas industry; it affects other areas in the geosciences, such as environmental geology.

Here is another statistic that I want to tie in: Of 102 colleges and universities that are members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, only three offer bachelor’s degrees in geology (Wheaton, Calvin, and Olivet Nazarene; all in the Midwest). In some ways this is understandable. Most of these 102 institutions are small, and each can offer only a small number of majors. Many of them do offer degrees in chemistry and biology, and an increasing number are offering degrees in environmental science.

In an age of climate change and resource shortages, an understanding of the Earth is critically important. As Christians enter the debates over global warming, they need to have those in their midst who are well-equipped to speak with wisdom both in terms of their scientific understanding of the complex issues, and their Christian world view. This goes for a number of other issues involving the geosciences as well, such as water resources, wildlife management, mineral and energy resources, and waste management.

Grace and Peace

August 28, 2007 Posted by | Environment, Geology, Science Education | 3 Comments

It’s All a Matter of Perspective

News headline: France’s washout summer fails to deter tourists

PARIS (AFP) – It’s official: France’s rainy, grey and generally cold summer has been the worst for the past 30 years, the weather service said Friday, but tourist arrivals were the highest in five years.

July and August were wet across two-thirds of the country while the Mediterranean region was too dry, said Frederic Nathan, meteorologist at Meteo France.

“Yes we can say that it was a rotten summer,” said Nathan. But the summers of 1954 and 1977 were worse, he added.

Temperatures on the Atlantic coast have been on average two or three degrees Celsius below seasonal averages, said Jean-Marc Le Gallic from Meteo France.

French chat shows have featured experts who are predicting a spike in the number of cases of depression due to a lack of sun exposure.

The gloom and drizzle have been a boon for tanning salons which are reporting brisk business.

“The bad weather has left people feeling low. They want to be beautiful and tanned and are turning to us,” said Dominique Baumier, director of the Point Soleil chain of tanning salons.

We were in France, and we thought the weather was absolutely wonderful. Here in Bucharest, Romania, the highs have been in the 95-105 F range (or even hotter) since the middle of June, so we delighted in having highs in the 60s the entire time we were there.

Which brings up the topic of global warming. When a region has a heatwave, there is a good amount of talk about those high temperatures being a sure sign of catastrophic climate change. And when an area has an unusually cold season, like France this summer, the global warming skeptics come out to mock. But the important thing isn’t whether the weather in a particular place is warmer or colder than normal for a few weeks, but long-term regional and global climate. I’m not going to jump on the global warming bandwagon just because it has been hot in eastern Europe; I’m not going to call it junk science just because I was wearing a jacket in Paris in August.

Grace and Peace

August 25, 2007 Posted by | Climate Change, Environment | Leave a comment

Musee d’Orsay

I did more in France than take pictures of bus stops named after famous scientists. Here are a few of my favorite paintings from the Musee d’Orsay:

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The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection, Eugene Burnand, www.artbible.info


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The Gleaners, Jean-Francois Millet, Wikipedia, Musee d’Orsay

 


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Regatta at Argenteuil, Claude Monet, www.artrenewal.org, Musee d’Orsay. I’ve always wondered why there is a giant penguin hiding behind the bushes to the right of the house.


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Jerusalem: It is Finished, Jean-Leon Gerome, www.artrenewal.org, Musee d’Orsay

 


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Starry Night over the Rhone, Vincent van Gogh, Wikipedia, Musee d’Orsay

 

Grace and Peace

August 24, 2007 Posted by | Art, Misc | Leave a comment

Britain’s Got Talent

The British equivalent of “American Idol” is “Britain’s Got Talent”. Click here for an amazing performance.

Simon Cowell and the other judges can’t believe what they just heard. He is so good the crowd stands and one of the judges almost cries.

Grace and Peace

August 24, 2007 Posted by | Fun | Leave a comment

Life in the Laboratory

From an AP news story on efforts by scientists to create life “from scratch” in the laboratory:

Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they’re getting closer.

Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of “wet artificial life.”

I was contemplating writing about this news article, but Glenn (PhD, biochemistry) at Be Bold, Be Gentle beat me to it, and did a better job than I could have done. Glenn includes a joke which brings home a good point.

Grace and Peace

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Astrobiology, Origin of Life | Leave a comment

Paris Landmarks

We are back from a wonderful conference with our coworkers and leaders with ReachGlobal in Europe. The conference was at a retreat center out in the country, but we had the chance to see a few things in Paris. Here are some highlights:

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The Louvre has rocks. Here is a piece of granite from the Egyptian section of the museum.

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The Musee d’Orsay has lots of paintings, including one of Louis Pasteur.

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The Conciergerie was used as a prison for people awaiting execution during the French Revolution. Antoine Lavoisier was one of the fathers of modern chemistry, but he was also connected to a rather unpopular tax-collecting company, and met his end at the guillotine, so his picture is on the wall not far from Marie Antoinette’s cell.

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Georges Cuvier was a zoologist and naturalist in the 1700s and 1800s. As a founder of comparative anatomy and paleontology, he is honored by having a bus stop named after him.

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Near the Georges Cuvier bus stop is this staircase in the shape of the DNA double helix. It is at the Biology department of a university along the Seine.

Grace and Peace

August 19, 2007 Posted by | Fun | Leave a comment

Gone Fishing

Well, sort of. I’m not much into fishing; when I’m at a mountain lake or stream I’d rather go exploring than just sit on the bank. But I will be on vacation and at a conference for the next ten days, so there will be another break in the blogging. But school starts on August 22nd, and I should be able to get back into good routines then, which will include regular blogging.

Grace and Peace

August 8, 2007 Posted by | Misc | Leave a comment

All the computer I’ll ever need

mac.pngSpeaking of 1980s computer technology, I wrote my thesis for my Master’s degree on the first Macintosh computer, which came out in 1984. It had an internal 3.5 inch floppy drive, and no hard drive. I remember thinking, “I can write a report, edit it, and even draw pictures. What else would I ever want to do?” And I could do it with style; the PC guys in the office were staring at green or amber text on their little screens. I guess I can do more on my present PC laptop or iMac desktop, but that first Mac (it wasn’t mine, it was the Geology department’s) was wonderful.

Grace and Peace

August 8, 2007 Posted by | Technology | Leave a comment

Tried and true

My laptop computer, with a recent repair to its internal power supply, is running well. It does what it needs to do: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, internet browsing, Google Earth, so I am happy. It is coming up on four years old, which is old for a laptop.

I guess NASA might feel the same way about the computers that control the space shuttles, as the computers are vintage 1980s! But they work. Here’s a few quotes from Space Shuttles Bound to Technologies of the Past in the Washington Post:

The shuttle fleet’s IBM computers have been upgraded once — in 1988-89.

The five main computers that run each shuttle have a memory of about 1 megabyte apiece, McDowell said. Today’s most basic home desktop computers come loaded with 20,000 times as much and have Pentium processors.

The testing of processors and computing equipment is extraordinarily rigorous, Carr and others said, and NASA has always placed reliability ahead of speed. A home desktop computer that crashes once a week is merely annoying, but a failed computer aboard a space shuttle could be catastrophic.

Computer chips and other components are subjected to intense bouts of radiation testing, and the software that runs the shuttles may be among the cleanest programs ever written.

Paradoxically, one reason that newer computer chips are superior — they pack more components and circuits into smaller spaces — can make them more vulnerable in space. A single cosmic ray, a stream of high-energy particles in space, might damage a large number of transistors in a densely packed chip, while previously it would have damaged only a few, McDowell said.

I suppose the space agency is caught in a bad position. If they upgrade, and then a shuttle has problems, they’ll say, “We should have stuck with the tried and true 1980s technology.” If they don’t upgrade, and then a shuttle has problems, they’ll say, “We should have upgraded.”

For me, I hope my laptop makes it through another year.

Grace and Peace

August 8, 2007 Posted by | Technology | Leave a comment

USGS topographic maps available as PDF files

The U.S. Geological Survey has put its entire current topographic map collection on the internet as PDF files. The maps are available at scales of 1:24,000 (1 inch = 2000 feet), 1:100,000 (1 cm = 1 km), and 1:250,000 (approx. 1 inch = 4 miles). There are other sites (such as TopoZone) that offer a seamless database of USGS topo maps, but the USGS site has the entire map, including the border information, and the scanning resolution is almost as good as having the actual piece of paper in your hands.

Montana 1:24,000 topographic map, Granite Peak:

Detail from the Montana Black Pyramid Mountain topographic map:

To download these maps, go to the USGS store, and click on the Map Locator & Downloader picture:

Grace and Peace

August 2, 2007 Posted by | Geography, Geology, Maps | Leave a comment

Toilets 2

Continuing the theme of the previous post, here is a toilet I’m glad I didn’t have to use, atop the Transylvanian Alps in Romania:

A view of the “hole”:

At the opposite extreme, I recently saw a high-tech toilet seat at a local hardware store, with all kinds of buttons and knobs. It will give you a warm-water bottom wash (separate settings for men and women) and then a warm air dry. I couldn’t take a picture in the store, but here’s a similar 38-function toilet seat control from Japan:

Grace and Peace

August 1, 2007 Posted by | Fun | Leave a comment

Toilets in the News

Toilets have been in the news:

Think outside the toilet bowl, historian says:

The Western World’s dependence on flush toilets could be its environmental downfall.

Toilets that use less water, such as the “squat toilet” in which one squats over a hole in the ground, are prevalent in parts of Asia, Europe and Africa, but a new historical study suggests that after decades of flushing, it will take radical innovations for the mainstream West to adopt any new system.

Since the 1900s, scientists have known that flushing away human waste comes with environmental consequences , such as using precious, potable water. Each year, a typical person will use almost 4,000 gallons of drinking water to flush away 75 pounds of feces and 130 gallons of urine, according to a 2001 study by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The author discusses alternatives, such as composting toilets and vacuum toilets. I’m all for research, and even changing how we think about dealing with human waste. However, I’ve seen enough hole-in-the-ground squat toilets in the past few years to not want to go with that option.

Fish Tank Toilet: For many goldfish and guppies, a trip to the toilet was their final journey. Instead, how about a fish tank for a toilet tank?

Gene Edward Veith asks, Which is the Crime? (a) Submerging a crucifix in a jar of urine, (b) Burning the American flag, or (c) Flushing a Quran down the toilet.

Grace and Peace

August 1, 2007 Posted by | Environment | Leave a comment

Back into blogging

We had friends over for dinner last night, and I was asked, “Why aren’t you blogging anymore?” I really had no good answer, so here I am, back in front of the keyboard. I pray that my blog entries will help to keep you informed, stimulate your thoughts, sometimes entertain you, and always glorify the Creator of the universe and Redeemer of my soul.

Grace and Peace

August 1, 2007 Posted by | General | Leave a comment