Monthly Archives: August 2008

Christian homes being torched in India

A popular Hindi leader was killed with a hand grenade and the radical Hindis are blaming the minority Christian population, even though it was probably done by Maoists. They are using the traditional 2 week mourning period as an excuse to have an open-season on burning Christian homes and killing as many Christians as possible. 500 homes have been torched so far. The Christians have fled to relief camps like this one:

This is happening in the state of Orissa in India, and deserves much more media (and prayer) attention than it is currently getting. Orissa is located on the eastern side of India.


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The First Annual Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off at Longwood Gardens

On October 11th at noon, the heaviest pumpkin will be crowned the Great Pumpkin and win $2000. Second place is $1000. Third place is $500. Tenth place is $100.

This event will be at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.

Check here for details:

Could the Great Pumpkin be growing in your pumpkin patch?

Yes, Linus, there is a Great Pumpkin!

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Sarah Heath Palin

McCain made an interesting VP choice in Sarah Heath Palin, governor of Alaska:

44 years old (born Feb 11, 1964) – the daughter of a science teacher and a school secretary

In 1984 – runner-up in Miss Alaska pageant

Grew up in Alaska hunting moose with her father at 3AM in the morning

Point Guard and captain for the Wasilla High School Warriors. She was nicknamed “Sara Baracuda” because of the intensity of her play.

She played the championship game with a broken ankle and won it on a critical freethrow.

Head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in HS, and lead the team in prayer.

She finished second in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant.

She married her high school sweetheart – a commercial fisherman.

She was elected to the Wasilla City Council and then became mayor. She reduced property taxes by 60% by reducing spending, including giving herself a paycut.

She has excellent anti-abortion credentials including being a member of feminists for life (Gretchen was involved with this group at one point too!)

She has been a major whistle-blower in the Republican party – which has gotten a lot of corrupt politicians pissed off at her at one time or another.

As governor of Alaska she pushed for an ethics bill, and has shelved pork-barrel projects insisting that Alaska be self-sufficient and not reliant on federal dollars.

She has approval ratings in Alaska in the 80s and 90s.

She supports the 26 billion dollar pipeline to send gas from the North Slope to the US, but apparently this is a very popular program in Alaska. (What about the moose?)

On social issues: creationism should be taught in schools, alongside evolution. Strongly opposes abortion. Supports capital punishment.

She inherited a jet from the previous Alaskan governor administration. She thought it was an extravagance, so she had Alaska sell it on ebay and got $2.1million dollars for it.

She has five children, the oldest one, Track is 18, and joined the army. He has been deployed and is now in Iraq. Her second son, Trig,  has Downs Syndrome, and then she has three daughters – Bristol, Willow and Piper.

She is a lifetime member of the NRA.

Her eats Moose Hamburger and Ice fishes and her husband is part Yup’ik. She tried marijuana when it was legal in Alaska but didn’t like it.


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Arctic weather news

Here is a good site on Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis. It is updated daily with an image of how much of the Arctic Ocean is melting.

Last year was a record melt for all years they have kept track (1979 onward) and the Northwest passage was opened up! This year we are on pace for beating that record. We will find out at the end of September, when the ice starts refreezing again as temperatures cool down for Fall. Scientists predict that the North Pole will be ice free as soon as the Summer of 2013. This has not happened for 150,000 years and it is happening because of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a result of humans burning fossil fuels.  This may inconvenience a few polar bears, but the real problem for people is all the ice melting off of Greenland, which increases the ocean level. The ice melting in the arctic simply displaces itself from ice to water and then to ice again depending on the season.

The reason we know that we have a problem is that scientists have taken daily pictures and measured temperature and ice, and all of this is on the internet, where you can:

monitor it daily

compare the ice extent to averages

Check out photos

and it has an excellent faq that answers questions such as:

  • What is the difference between the “North Pole” and the “Arctic”? Will the ice at the North Pole melt?
  • Has the Arctic always had ice in summer?
  • Is Arctic sea ice really declining?
  • If Arctic sea ice is declining, why does your data show that this year has more ice than previous years?
  • Do scientists study Antarctic sea ice? Why don’t I hear much about Antarctic sea ice—including the recent record maximum—from scientists or the media?
  • What about wintertime Antarctic sea ice—is it increasing or decreasing?
  • How do we know that human activities have caused global climate change?
  • Are undersea volcanoes responsible for the decline in the Arctic sea ice?
  • Do sunspots cause climate change?
  • Do icebreakers contribute to climate change?
  • Do hurricanes in the Atlantic break up Arctic sea ice?
  • Once Arctic sea ice is broken up, does it melt faster?

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Malayasia’s Anwar Ibrahim Wins a parliament seat

This is a major victory for freedom and truth and minority rights in the world! Truth has triumphed over a very corrupt Malaysian regime who did everything they could to block this election.

“This vote means Malaysians want the truth,” Anwar, 61, said after voting. “It is Anwar versus the entire government.”

Ibrahim won overwhelmingly – 31,195 of 47,000 votes, even though the government has falsely accused him of sodomy. He is out on bail.

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Sudan police are killing civilians in IDP camps in South Darfur

Humanitarian international law says that people in an IDP zone (a camp for internally displaced persons) are protected. However, the Sudanese police raided such a camp on Monday. Kalma is the home of 90,000 people who have been forced from their homes in west Sudan.

On Monday, Sudan police raided this camp and killed 46 people and injured 118. They are also blocking food coming into the camp.

The UN is upset.

“Such actions severely threaten the safety and security of civilians, who have a right to protection under international humanitarian law,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters today in New York as she urged restraint.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan has called for the immediate establishment of a humanitarian corridor at the Kalma camp, which is home to about 80,000 IDPs, so that the injured may be evacuated.

So far, 200,000 people have been killed, and 2.5 million have been relocated in Darfur which the Bush administration has called a genocide.

The world is watching. Pray that this genocide would end.

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7 days of Grace


Give food to the hungry,

O Lord, and

hunger for you

to those who have food.


God to enfold me, God to surround me

God in my speaking, God in my thinking

God in my sleeping, God in my waking

God in my watching, God in my hoping

God in my life, God in my lips,

God in my soul, God in my heart

God in my sufficing, God in my slumber

God in mine ever-lasting soul, God in mine serenity.

– a Celtic Prayer


Everyone at the table join hands for a silent moment.


All who are at the table raise their plates for a quiet moment.

A Quaker Grace


The Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make his face to shine upon you,

and be generous unto you.

The Lord lift his countenance upon you,

and give you peace

(Numbers 6:24-6)

A blessing given by the High Priest.


Lord make me an instrument of your peace,

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, fatih;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master; grant that I may not

so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love

For it in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

St Francis of Assisi ( 1182?-1226 )

Friday (TGIF)

Come, let us welcome the Sabbath.

May its radiance illuminate our hearts

as we kindle these tapers (candles)

May the Lord bless us with Sabbath joy,

May the Lord bless us with Sabbath holiness.

May the Lord bless us with Sabbath peace.

Traditional Jewish prayer said on Friday evening (the beginning of the Sabbath)


O Lord, bless this food and

protect Muslims from the doom of fire

In the name of God we begin our meal.

Islamic invocation by Mohammad (peace be upon him) – slightly modified


O Lord, bless this food and

end the genocide in Darfur

In the name of God we begin our meal.


Let there be peace on earth

and let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth

and let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth

and let it begin with me.

Peace in our – food.

Peace in our – bodies

Peace in our – home

Peace in our world,

Thanks, God. Amen.

Rev Barbara King

Atlanta Ga.

source: One Hundred Graces Selected by Macia and Jack Kelly 1992

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The speed of CPUs

The CPU is the brains of the computer and it has recently become a lot more complicated to figure out what you are getting as far as performance. It used to be that processors had simple names and there were a few choices. Now there are hundreds of processors with names like Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2220, or AMD Phenom X4 9950.

It used to be that a Windows computer with 3 Ghz processor was faster than a 2.5 Ghz processor. This is no longer the case. You have to look at all the variables and figure out the funny names mean.

Very few single core processors are still being made. Almost all computers come with at least dual processors because of the nosedive in price. This means that one core of the processor can handle your background tasks, and the other core can handle your active task with no performance slow down (unlike a single core). Apps need to be muliply threaded to take full advantage of quad processing.

Another big consideration is the processor’s L2 cache. This caches recent memory data from the disk into memory so that the data will be instantly available to the processor without hitting the disk. Intel uses one cache for all cores, while AMD gives a cache to each processor. The bigger the cache (in megabytes), the better the performance, because the computer will not have to do as much disc access.

Furthermore, there is the front-side bus (FSB) speed, which determines how fast the CPU can transfer memory bits to the motherboard memory controller. The motherboard must be capable of receiving all the bits that the CPU is sending it, or there will be a performance bottleneck. AMD processors don’t have a FSB however. They transport the memory on the HyperTransport bus link!

You can also increase computer speed just by changing some muliplier settings in the bios – for free. But you do this at your own risk. Your computer might blow up. It is called overclocking, and you should only do it if you know what you are doing!

The cost of processors continue to shoot downward.

How much do you think you can get a 2.4 GHz Pentium Dual-Core E2220, with 1 MB L2 cache, and an 800 Mhz FSB speed?

a. $84

b. $200

c. $400

d. $1000

The correct answer is ‘a’. It only costs $84.

So in 2008, a 3Ghz processor could be faster than a 4Ghz processor.

So how can you figure out how fast your processor is? One way is to download Passmark’s PerformanceTest 6.1, which is free for 30 days and is available here – and run all tests. I got a 415 on all tests for my computer at work, and a 265 for all tests on my laptop at home.

Main reference for this post: Computer Shopper, Sept 2008 – Processor Oriented by Matthew Murray, p. 57-61

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“The British Prison-Ship” by Philip Freneau

The British Prison Ship (1780) is a famous poem about how the British treated American prisoners of war (the British did not consider them prisoners of war, but terrorists, until 1781). The death rate on these ships were 70% (much greater than in Andersonville which was about 35%), because of overcrowding and terrible food, so they were really death ships.

The terrible treatment that prisoners of war experienced backfired on the British and set forth a precedent that prisoners of war should be treated with decency and humanity- which we believed in until recently.

Here are some excerpts from this influential poem:

THE various horrors of these hulks to tell,
These Prison Ships where pain and penance dwell,
Where death in tenfold vengeance holds his reign,
And injur’d ghosts, yet unaveng’d, complain;
This be my task —ungenerous Britons, you
Conspire to murder whom you can’t subdue. —

Four hundred wretches here, denied all light,
In crowded mansions pass the infernal night,
Some for a bed their tatter’d vestments join,
And some on chests, and some on floors recline;
Shut from the blessings of the evening air
Pensive we lay with mingled corpses there,
Meagre and wan, and scorch’d with heat, below,
We look’d like ghosts, ere death had made us so —
How could we else, where heat and hunger join’d,
Thus to debase the body and the mind,——
Where cruel thirst the parching throat invades,
Dries up the man, and fits him for the shades.

…and the 1780 poem ends calling the British traitors to the human race:
Ah! traitors, lost to every sense of shame,
Unjust supporters of a tyrant’s claim;
Foes to the rights of freedom and of men,
Flush’d with the blood of thousands you have slain,
To the just doom the righteous heavens decree
We leave you toiling still in cruelty,
Or on dark plans in future herds to meet,
Plans form’d in hell, and projects half complete:
The years approach that shall to ruin bring
Your lords, your chiefs, your desolating* king,
Whose murderous acts shall stamp his name accurs’d,
And his last efforts more than damn the first.

the full poem can be found here:


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Hannah leaves for Memphis

Gretchen, Miss Ruth (our next door neighbor), and Hannah are driving to Memphis Tennessee today. They stayed in Mannassas VA last night at Katie’s parents house. They will get to Memphis tonight, spending tomorrow enrolling Hannah in the Memphis College of Art and making sure her living situation works out, and then Gretchen and Ruthie will drive back without Hannah.

Hannah had a yard sale on Sunday afternoon. After the sale she gave away many of her possessions to her treasured friends who came to the yard sale/party.

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