Monday, December 31, 2007

ENERCON's Really Big Wind Turbine

What you see to the right is ENERCON’s new (ish) E-126 wind turbine. Its capacity is rated at 6 MW, and 20 million kilowatt hours per year, that’s enough to power about 5,000 households of four in Europe. Lets to a quick US calculation. 938 kwh per home per month, 12 months, that’s 11,256 kwh per year per house. That’s 1776 American homes on one wind turbine.

I like these.

This one, like the rest of the E’s is direct drive, like most small home power style wind turbines. That means there is no gearbox attaching the turbine blades to the generator, in fact, the generator is housed just at the widest part of the nose cone, it takes up the entire width of the nacelle to generate power more efficiently, and provide longer service life with less wear.

Also like small turbines, these have inverters instead of synchronous generators, that is to say, a separate controller that converts the wild AC generated into something the grid can use. This means the rotor can run at more optimum and varied speeds.

Again like small turbines, this one does not shut right off at a predetermined speed due to gusts or just very high wind speeds. It simply throttles down by turning the blades slightly away from the wind so as to continue to generate power though at a lower production rate. Then the instant the wind is more favorable, it starts back up again. Many smaller wind turbines do something similar except have no blade pitch control, they use a technique called something like “side furling” where the whole machine, excepting the tail, turns “sideways” to catch less wind but continue operating.

The 126 in E-126 stands for the width of the rotor blades. That’s a bit over 413 feet for those non metric humans out there. The RePower 5M is about the same size, but produces 5 MW and is more of the standard hardware configuration.

Why such huge wind turbines?

Money, why else? Big things are cheaper per unit production. If you have 3 2 MW generators, you have to have three (at least) cranes to put them up, build three foundations, have to maintain three machines, and have three times the parts to fail. If you have one, it is larger and more expensive in itself to move, but not as expensive as having to move three smaller ones.


I don’t understand how people can be so concerned about birds becoming mush with modern wind turbines, especially ones this big. It only turns at 12 rpms. That means it takes five seconds to complete one revolution. That is slow but this is much bigger and easy to see compared to the whirring blades of old. The Altamont Pass turbines gave wind turbines such a bad name because they were built in the middle of the natural habitat of rare birds, the turbines were the small fast spinning type, and they were built using lattice towers, the kind birds love to nest in. These are slowly being replaced and all of the new ones are of the slower rotating kind. In the end, it comes down to this. Stationary buildings and moving cars kill literally millions of times more birds than wind turbines. And things like the Exxon Valdez spill kill millions of everything. So let’s go with the best option.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

We Don't Clean our Toilet

My in laws are staying with us for a few days because the baby was just born, and my mother in law, always helpful as she is was searching the house for the toilet scrubber. After we explained that we didn't know exactly where it was, she asked "Then how do you clean your toilet?" to which I replied:

"We don't clean our toilet."

We just don't use it enough for it to be a problem. The sawdust toilet is great. Even the guests are starting to use it.

Live what you believe.

None of the Below

I could hardly agree more.


What's the most accurate bible translation, who is Dr. Jason BeDuhn, and why Alex Trebek?

Good day,

Well, the old blog gets more hits than this one still, and it is simply because of Alex Trebek and Jason BeDuhn.

Let me explain.

A half of a year back I had posted on the Jeopardy question involving which bible translation was the best, why the supposed best translation is not the best, and what Jason BeDuhn said in his book "Truth in Translation." So, I've decided to rehash this subject for those of you out there still trying to find answers to these questions. The reason being is this, I believe that if the truth is found in more places, more people will find it.

Did Alex Trebek really ask “What is the most accurate bible translation?” on Jeopardy?

No, he did not. I can find no evidence anywhere that this ever happened, and anyone who stops to think about it for a few minutes would conclude that long before seeking any evidence. There is no YouTube evidence, there is little anecdotal aside from Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I cannot be sure about this, but I have found hints of some sort of message from the people at Jeopardy that this question never was asked. The assertion is simply ridiculous. Why would a secular game show tackle such a hotly debated religious issue? Simply mind boggling how anyone could come up with such a ludicrous idea.

Did Dr. Jason BeDuhn really write that the New World Translation was the best translation?

There is some truth to this one. However, as is usual in Jehovah’s Witnesses publications, selective quoting and misquoting are employed here (I have read the magazine this was published in) to make the NWT receive a more glowing review than it actually received. You see, it turns out that BeDuhn actually liked two versions of the Bible, one being the Jehovah’s Witness version, much debated, and the other being a Catholic version, which is also somewhat debated. So did he do this to sell books? Perhaps, but I will not make that accusation at this time. If you know Jehovah’s Witnesses, they don’t like Catholics a lot, so they conveniently leave that detail out of the magazine. What they also leave out is that BeDuhn has some pretty harsh criticism toward their use of the name “Jehovah” in the New Testament, something they are particularly proud of.

This is from Wikipedia:

“Dr. BeDuhn (Truth in Translation pg. 170) wrote of the mainstream practice of making the Old Testament conform to the New in its use of "Lord" and of the NWT practice of making the New Testament conform to the Old in it use of "Jehovah": "Both practices violate accuracy in favor of denominationally preferred expressions for God."”

The big question to me is why anyone would listen to Jason BeDuhn anyway. His Masters degree requires only an intermediate level of competence in Greek. His PhD from the University of Indiana is in Comparative Religious Studies, not in any Biblical languages. He is not recognized in the scholarly community as an expert in Biblical Greek. His other book is an analysis of religions as goal-oriented systems of practice rationalized within particular models of reality. I stress here GOAL ORIENTATED systems. Is your faith a “goal orientated system”? This guy has no business commenting on religious issues whatsoever, much less bible translations.

Finally, is the New World Translation the best translation? Or, for those search engines out there: What is the best bible translation?

Absofreakinglutely not. The guys who wrote the book are the following: Frederick William Franz, George Gangas, Karl Klein, Nathan Knorr, Albert Schroeder, and Milton Henschel. Each and every one of these guys was a Jehovah’s Witness, and all high up Witnesses as well. How is it possible that a group of human beings, who all substantially agree on a particular position not publish a book agreeing with that position and not be biased as the Witnesses claim they were not. I would expect a group of hippies to be in favor of legalizing marijuana and a group of oil tycoons to be in favor of refinery subsidies, wouldn’t you? Therefore, I expect a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses to be for their own translation no matter what kind of bias there was or wasn’t, because they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

From Wikipedia.

“It has been argued that the NWT translators were insufficiently qualified to translate the Bible, with only Franz having formal education in Biblical languages. It has also been argued that the size of the translation committee was very small compared to the number of translators involved in producing most other English translations. These criticisms are disputed by Witnesses, who state that the translation should be examined on its own merits, not on the speculated credentials of its translators.”

Let me ask you this. If I hired Ed and his buddies, all teenage McDonalds employees to build me a house, should I be happy with the end result because it is the right color, or should I take a closer look to make sure they actually did all the framing, electrical, and plumbing to code? Chances are, people who have little experience or education in what they are doing will do a poor job, regardless of what the end result *looks like*. So it is no surprise that when one examines the NWT on its own merits, we find that the hot water valve is on the right side of the sink and when you flip the light switch in the living room, the dish washer comes on.

The NIV I hear, was written by a group of several dozens of people, all whose credentials we know. It contained men and women, from a variety of backgrounds, and I’ve even heard there were one or two atheists and homosexuals among them. It was revised over a period of years by many people of similarly varying backgrounds. It would seem to me that people who disagree would, in the end, come to a more unbiased conclusion than people who agree. Don’t you agree?

Thinking people would agree ;-)


Thursday, December 20, 2007

The North American Union

My friend sent me a link to a YouTube video that was talking about the supposed North American Union.

I replied and said that it was a simple conspiracy theory, she sent me a few replies that she had recieved from other people and told me that she was trusting Jesus, here was my reply.

I understand your fear regarding issues such as this, and that person whose reply you sent me was right, but not about what she was talking about. American's aren't told the real truth regarding world events.

The following are established facts, not conspiracy theories like the North American Union. There is documentation. There are books, and not those of conspiracy theorists. There are names, dates, and times. These things happen.
FYI, here are some truths you likely do not know.
The US has overthrown the governments of in the range of twenty countries since Hawaii in the 1890's. The vast majority of them were democratically elected governments who simply wanted control of their own country's resources. An economic giant like the US cannot allow other countries to control their own resources.

Because of said regime changes, the US has caused untold damage and destruction in the way of civil wars in foreign countries. Perhaps the greatest of these is the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 which has resulted in what we now call "Islamic Extremism" and "The War on Terror." All because the US overthrew a democratically elected Prime Minister.

Every time there is a world economic summit, the US comes out billions of dollars ahead. Those billions of dollars come from somewhere. Where? From poor nations who cannot afford to lose business from the US, and must accept less and less money and control of thier country as the cost of doing business. And their cost of doing business many times can't even put food on the tables.

Year after year, the United States is at the top of every list of consumption statistics. Food, fuel, energy, medicine, products, raw materials. The thing is, we are not the biggest country in the world, and virtually every one of us is in the top 95% of the most wealthy people in the world. We spend enough money on ice cream every year to end world hunger, its that simple.

And we all know the United States systematically exterminated the American Indians. Those they did not kill were force marched to the worst land in the country and interned there on what they called "reservations". They might as well have been Auschwitz or Dachau.

There are so many more of these things. Conspiracy theorists think that it will be bad if we become like other countries, but the thing is, we aren't always that great to begin with. Conservative Americans think that becoming like Europe for instance is akin to giving up everything American. But there are several European countries I am quite fond of. Iceland has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world. Denmark has the greatest percent of total energy production that comes from wind. Germany has the most wind power of any country in the world. Spain has a new energy technology in testing that uses a big vertical pipe to generate power from rising air. Germany also has on of the best standards in the world for home building, called passivhaus, the houses are so well built, they only need the heat generated by kitchen appliances to stay warm all winter. Sweden is phasing out fossil fuels. Iceland plans to be energy independent from the rest of the world in just a few decades.

Truth be told, our government is inherently corrupt, but you know, so is every other government that has ever existed. They have risen and fallen for thousands of years, and we are still here. Christians have survived the fall of Rome, the fall of Israel, the fall of Hitler, the slow descent of the English monarchy, and many countless persecutions. It has been estimated that over 65,000,000 Christians have been martyred over the past two millenniums. And you know what, there are still 2,000,000,000 of them. It used to be that Christians were typically white people. But that is changing, worldwide, the average Christian is now a poor brown person.

Despite what Christians are told by the religious (and non religious) right, the United States is not nor has ever been a Christian nation. It was not founded as such, in fact, Thomas Jefferson looked forward to the day when people didn't believe in Jesus. They were deists, who wanted freedom of religion, which is a noble cause, but they were not Christians, and I would never have most of them speak at my church. Most of them wouldn't come to my church.

As a Christian, you can never ever trust any human government. But unless they want to force you to disobey God's law, then you must obey them. If that means we end up communist, then so be it. If we end up socialist, then so be it.

The US is $9,147,367,793,650.88 in debt. The estimated population of the United States is 303,859,060 so each citizen's share of this debt is $30,103.98. How much fun would it be if you had that much debt hanging over your household? If you have a household of four, then your debt is over $120,000. That's on top of your mortgage and other bills. What am I saying here? Debt is not a Christian value. Check the US national debt clock. It went up $300,000,000 whilst I was writing this.

Jesus said "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more." Luke 12:4 Who has the right to reign? Who shall we fear? Don't fear mortal governments and temporal inconveniences. You are not only right by putting your trust in Jesus, but you need fear nothing. So who cares if the NAU is a reality or not. It really doesn't matter. George W. Bush is not in charge, Vincente Fox is not in charge, Queen Elizabeth II (the technical ruler of Canada) is definitely not in charge. Jesus is in charge.

Just the facts ma'am.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Urban Green Vs. Rural Green

I was talking to a friend of mine last Tuesday, and I was telling her how I was cutting down some trees on my property. She seemed disapproving, and was kind of having the opinion that I shouldn’t cut down trees at all. Now I don’t know if she was joking or what, but she is quite environmentally conscious so for a bit, I’d like to explore what I like to think of as the differences in philosophy of Urban Green and Rural Green.

Of course, as a human, I am not free from bias, and anyone who thinks they are is deluding themselves, so I’ll just step right up and say that I am Rural Green, and am likely never to be Urban Green unless God decides I should be. I do not think that Rural Green is better than Urban Green, I don’t really take sides, all I am doing here is just saying that there are differences in philosophies and practices. Certainly both urbanites and ruraliens must be green, but by necessity, they need to be green in different ways, and different personalities and ways of life are involved.

First some definitions:

Urban Greenies are those environmentally conscious people who live in or close to cities. They typically have very little acreage to work with, likely drive small or even electric cars, are focused on minimizing consumption and increasing efficiency.

Rural Greenies are those environmentally conscious folk who live out in the country, or have some land closer to the city. They have some land, at least big enough for a substantial garden, may own a larger vehicle for farm work, but like the Urbans, try to minimize consumption and increase efficiency. They often own a number of outdoor power tools like lawnmowers, rototillers, weed eaters, chainsaws, and the like.

I am of the latter persuasion, though my pickup is of the compact variety.

The Philosophies:

Urbans are very much recyclers. They shop at organic food places, and will tend to be trendy in their groups of like minded people. They were the first to use CFLs and are the first using LEDs. They may live in apartments, sharing walls with others and saving energy by keeping everything small and together. They are the greatest share of environmental activists, those who show up at protests and rallies. They believe trees are inherently good. They often are politically active, and some dream of becoming Rural Greenies.

Rurals do not always have recycling available to them. They may grow their own organic food or get some from neighbors. They tend to be ok with being alone and enjoy working on their “farms.” They often own farm type animals such as chickens and the like depending on land availability. They tend to be very practical, often building their own systems for sustainability. They make less money. They believe the land should be used sustainably, and believe in using renewable resources like wood for heat. They are not always politically active, but write the best articles and books about what they do.

Alright so what about the question of trees that my buddy had?

Well, it goes like this. Trees are good for removing pollution, they hold the soil, they provide shelter for animals, they hold hammocks. But they also make heat. And that is one reason why I am cutting SOME of mine down. That and I need grass to make compost, and space for a future orchard and garden expansion. Trees are a resource. Like coal, only trees grow back. Environmentally speaking, in Arkansas, most energy comes from coal, and if I can heat my house without using coal, then all the better for me and the rest of the world. I grew up in a house with no central heating, only wood stoves. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that my dad installed a big swamp cooler (evaporative cooler) on the roof that we had any kind of central cooling. Consequently, even though my dad has a big shop and runs all sorts of large electrical equipment all the time, and a well pump, his power bills are always lower than mine, and my house is about two thirds the size of his and I don’t have any big electrical equipment.

Conclusion. I don’t know, I don’t really have one. I guess we all need to understand that there are different strokes for different folks. I have hundreds of trees, I have a big garden, I am planting more trees this spring, I have a bunch of grass, I think overall my carbon footprint (right) is fine. My stuff absorbs more pollution than I make, I’m not worried about it. I don’t wanna get negative, but urban greenies don’t really understand that they only consume, and that we not only consume but also produce. Without the Rurals, the Urbans wouldn’t really make a difference because they only use, if they only use less, they still use, it takes production to support consumption.

The trees produce, I consume, then I make sure that the trees can produce again. It’s called sustainability. It’s what God put us here for.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Starve the World to Feed Your SUV

If you've not read it already, read the article in the post below this one.

Done? Ok, lets do this.

The argument that biofuels can cause starvation in third world countries and even in our own is a valid one. So what do we do about it? Find new fuel sources. If you look to the left, you will see a Tesla Roadster. It's an electric car, not a biodiesel car, not an ethanol car, not even a hydrogen car. And Electricity we can get from other places than crops and fossil fuels, but it will take a lot of work. In order to operate this or any other country on electricity, we must have either vast amounts of generation, or we must curb our current usage.

I for one am trying to do both. Curbing usage is the quickest way. Obtaining efficient appliances and extra insulation and better windows is quite a bit cheaper than buying solar panels or wind turbines to make more electricity.

Our next big fixes are two main things, a new refrigerator, and much more insulation in the attic. Our fridge is old, real old, it collects water on the door seals and runs all the time. I don't know how much power exactly it is using, but I would submit that it is a significant amount. A more efficient one would pay for itself in a reasonably short time. As for the insulation, that would pay for itself in a reasonably short time as well. There is only about 6 inches of rock wool insulation in the attic. What I need is according to my calculations, about 14 inches of blown cellulose. That should more than double my current R value in the ceiling, enhancing comfort, allowing temperatures to dwindle slower when the programmable thermostat turns the temperature down ten degrees at night, and most importantly, allowing us to expend smaller amounts of energy.

So what about the real problem of biofuels? As a Jesus Freak, I must be concerned about people first, always people first, and people are gonna die of starvation before they die of most other things. In America, we can stand to eat less food in general, we have plenty of unused land, and we can stand to eat less corn fed chicken and beef, because farming meat wastes resources anyway. But in other countries where an ear of corn can keep you alive another day, I cannot see how it helps anyone to let people die, whether for the cause of energy independence or for simple profit.

People come first, always people first.

Biofuels Could Kill More People Than the Iraq War

My brother sent me this article, it is a great read, and raises a very important question. You should also check out a message by Matt Krick and Rob Bell entitled "The New Seatbelt" from the eponymous "God is Green" series earlier this year.

If you take some time, you'll notice that I spend more time touting renewable electricity generating technologies a bit more than biofuels, and partially for this reason.

Well talk some more later, enjoy.

Biofuels Could Kill More People Than the Iraq War
By George Monbiot, Posted November 10, 2007.

It doesn't get madder than this. Swaziland is in the grip of a famine and receiving emergency food aid. Forty per cent of its people are facing acute food shortages. So what has the government decided to export? Biofuel made from one of its staple crops, cassava. The government has allocated several thousand hectares of farmland to ethanol production in the county of Lavumisa, which happens to be the place worst hit by drought. It would surely be quicker and more humane to refine the Swazi people and put them in our tanks. Doubtless a team of development consultants is already doing the sums.

This is one of many examples of a trade described last month by Jean Ziegler, the UN's special rapporteur, as "a crime against humanity." Ziegler took up the call first made by this column for a five-year moratorium on all government targets and incentives for biofuel: the trade should be frozen until second-generation fuels -- made from wood or straw or waste -- become commercially available. Otherwise the superior purchasing power of drivers in the rich world means that they will snatch food from people's mouths. Run your car on virgin biofuel and other people will starve.

Even the International Monetary Fund, always ready to immolate the poor on the altar of business, now warns that using food to produce biofuels "might further strain already tight supplies of arable land and water all over the world, thereby pushing food prices up even further." This week the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation will announce the lowest global food reserves in 25 years, threatening what it calls "a very serious crisis." Even when the price of food was low, 850 million people went hungry because they could not afford to buy it. With every increment in the price of flour or grain, several million more are pushed below the breadline.

The cost of rice has risen by 20% over the past year, maize by 50%, wheat by 100%. Biofuels aren't entirely to blame -- by taking land out of food production they exacerbate the effects of bad harvests and rising demand -- but almost all the major agencies are now warning against expansion. And almost all the major governments are ignoring them.

They turn away because biofuels offer a means of avoiding hard political choices. They create the impression that governments can cut carbon emissions and -- as Ruth Kelly, the British transport secretary, announced last week -- keep expanding the transport networks. New figures show that British drivers puttered past the 500 billion kilometer mark for the first time last year. But it doesn't matter: we just have to change the fuel we use. No one has to be confronted. The demands of the motoring lobby and the business groups clamouring for new infrastructure can be met. The people being pushed off their land remain unheard.

In principle, burning biofuels merely releases the carbon they accumulated when they were growing. Even when you take into account the energy costs of harvesting, refining and transporting the fuel, they produce less net carbon than petroleum products. The law the British government passed a fortnight ago -- by 2010, 5% of our road transport fuel must come from crops -- will, it claims, save between 700,000 and 800,000 tonnes of carbon a year. It derives this figure by framing the question carefully. If you count only the immediate carbon costs of planting and processing biofuels, they appear to reduce greenhouse gases. When you look at the total impacts, you find that they cause more warming than petroleum.

A recent study by the Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen shows that the official estimates have ignored the contribution of nitrogen fertilisers. They generate a greenhouse gas -- nitrous oxide -- which is 296 times as powerful as CO2. These emissions alone ensure that ethanol from maize causes between 0.9 and 1.5 times as much warming as petrol, while rapeseed oil (the source of over 80% of the world's biodiesel) generates 1-1.7 times the impact of diesel. This is before you account for the changes in land use.

A paper published in Science three months ago suggests that protecting uncultivated land saves, over 30 years, between two and nine times the carbon emissions you might avoid by ploughing it and planting biofuels(13). Last year the research group LMC International estimated that if the British and European target of a 5% contribution from biofuels were to be adopted by the rest of the world, the global acreage of cultivated land would expand by 15%. That means the end of most tropical forests. It might also cause runaway climate change.

The British government says it will strive to ensure that "only the most sustainable biofuels" will be used in the UK. It has no means of enforcing this aim -- it admits that if it tried to impose a binding standard it would break world trade rules. But even if "sustainability" could be enforced, what exactly does it mean? You could, for example, ban palm oil from new plantations. This is the most destructive kind of biofuel, driving deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia. But the ban would change nothing. As Carl Bek-Nielsen, vice chairman of Malaysia's United Plantations Bhd, remarked, "even if it is another oil that goes into biodiesel, that other oil then needs to be replaced. Either way, there's going to be a vacuum and palm oil can fill that vacuum." The knock-on effects cause the destruction you are trying to avoid. The only sustainable biofuel is recycled waste oil, but the available volumes are tiny.

At this point the biofuels industry starts shouting "jatropha!" It is not yet a swear word, but it soon will be. Jatropha is a tough weed with oily seeds that grows in the tropics. This summer Bob Geldof, who never misses an opportunity to promote simplistic solutions to complex problems, arrived in Swaziland in the role of "special adviser" to a biofuels firm. Because it can grow on marginal land, jatropha, he claimed, is a "life-changing" plant, which will offer jobs, cash crops and economic power to African smallholders.

Yes, it can grow on poor land and be cultivated by smallholders. But it can also grow on fertile land and be cultivated by largeholders. If there is one blindingly obvious fact about biofuel it's that it is not a smallholder crop. It is an internationally-traded commodity which travels well and can be stored indefinitely, with no premium for local or organic produce. Already the Indian government is planning 14m hectares of jatropha plantations. In August the first riots took place among the peasant farmers being driven off the land to make way for them.

If the governments promoting biofuels do not reverse their policies, the humanitarian impact will be greater than that of the Iraq war. Millions will be displaced, hundreds of millions more could go hungry. This crime against humanity is a complex one, but that neither lessens nor excuses it. If people starve because of biofuels, Ruth Kelly and her peers will have killed them. Like all such crimes it is perpetrated by cowards, attacking the weak to avoid confronting the strong.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Future Fuels and Personal Standards.

Now in true virtue of combining blogs, the corresponding sustainable living discussions.

I know there are millions of statistics running around about all the stuff we have to do and the dangers of not, and the results, and costs.

I'm not going there today. I wanna talk about practices and philosophies and attitudes, not statistics and costs.

I was wandering through Lowe's the other day with my friend. We happened upon one of his friends (or acquaintances, not sure) while we were perusing through the CFLs and she was looking for light bulbs as well, and my friend suggested a CFL. She went on to explain that she was such a conservative that she just wanted to drive the biggest vehicle she could find, go home string up a million Christmas lights, turn the heat all the way up, and open all the doors and windows and watch her 8 foot wide plasma tv. Of course I'm exaggerating a bit, and I hope she was kidding because she really was looking at the CFLs, but it was the attitude that she had that really made me think. And thinking is what will solve the problem, not global warming, but of limited energy supplies. I've said it before, Arkansas has one wind turbine but is 27th in the nation for wind resources. We're surrounded by coal and natural gas power plants, and there's a nuke just down the highway. We do have a number of hydroelectric dams, but they are of limited elevation drop and therefore limited power. Their primary function is as sources for various water needs. The only solar panels I have seen lately are the ones that power the emergency roadside signs. The thing is, you can't burn coal or NG again, but the rain will bring us water again, and the winds will come again, and the sun will shine again.

So, how do we change things so that we can sustainably support ourselves as a culture? Some have said that we cannot support our current standard of living. That may be so. So, we change our standard of living. Standards are made to become more strict, a standard is a minimum requirement, and as time goes on, standards become more stringent. Examples: gas mileage, home insulation, safety belts, child car seats, wiring, plumbing, internet speeds, video quality (HDTV), bullet proof vests, helmets, airbags, buildings and structures, pollution restrictions, lead based paint, asbestos, fire retardants, CFCs, water quality, flammable Halloween costumes, fire suits for race car drivers, computer speeds, fuel quality, and bridge construction, need I go on? Our standard of living must not drop, because standards do not drop, our standards must be raised, but not in a way that we live more opulently, and more wastefully. Our standards must include those that are more efficient, they must include changing or altering our sources of energy, food, and leisure, and most of all, we must change our rate of consumption.

Consumption, what did Jesus think? Jesus was, more than most else, interested in how the poor were cared for. He railed against the wealthy religious leaders, said things like "It is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven," and picked his disciples from among the working class. There is so much I could say, but I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

So, what did I say here? (Pauses to actually read what he wrote.)

Well let me say what I meant in the above paragraph. I am not saying that you cannot be rich. I say do it at your own risk, but the wealthy are in a position to do more than many of us can, both to make their lives more efficient, but also to help the rest of us by for instance helping the car companies decide to make more efficient cars, because though I'd like to, I cannot afford to build my own car right now.

Ok, the real conclusion. Raise your standard of living. Grow your own organic food. Insulate your house so it stays really warm in the winter and really cool in the summer without using any outside power. Raise your standards, don't go the cheap (actually more expensive {costly} in the long run) way, don't do what everyone else is doing (some of you reading this will not be in Arkansas and will be in a more environmentally conscious area, and for you, do some of what everyone else is doing)

Live the way you were meant to.

*Would I say God is on my side?
I might think it, but I won't say it, hopefully I'm on God's side.


Ok, I'm gonna rail on conservatives for a while.

Well, it goes like this. I listen to Rush Limbaugh from time to time, usually just to remind myself why I am not a republican. You see, to me it is weak to do and agree with anything someone tells you. And that's how it seems that Rush does things. If the Republicans are doing something, then it must be good and right and God's will. The thing is, Rush is not a Christian. He only invokes the name of God to further his own ends. He is a conservative Republican, not a Christian. I am a Christian, and he doesn't represent me.

I would submit that the Christian Right, long ago (I am young) has convinced many Christians that you have to be a republican to be a Christian, as if that is what God wants you to do. The problem is that those people, the politicians especially and to a lesser degree the televangelists do this sort of thing not because it is what God wants us to do, because biblically it is not, but to gain power and money because often they go hand in hand.

How is waterboarding not torture? How can torture be ok? What happened to the golden rule. Paul said we do not wage war like the world wages war, our battle not with people but with spiritual strongholds and powers. How can our politicians not get that? Knowing the way of things, how can a Christian become a soldier for this country? And yet, so many do, because they have been told that Christians are conservatives, and conservatives go to war.

Well, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to be a Conservative to be a Christian. You'll notice I rail more on Republicans than Democrats because most democrats dont pretend to be something their not, that is to say, they don't say they are Christians but give God a bad name, and that's really what I am disgusted with. Because our goal is not political power, it is to become Christlike. And Jesus never waterboarded anyone.

How about diving boards?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's Hard to Follow your Convictions.

As those of you who know us personally will soon find out, we are opting for a home birth because of a falling out with a doctor.

It happened yesterday at Willow Creek women's hospital. Well, more accurately, it happened at Park Hill Women's Clinic.

We had made out our birth plan, mentioning a few things such as we did not want to use Pitocin, or Cytotec, and a few other things. Dr. James Gorman M. D. decided not only not to work with us, but also not to allow us to dissent in any way from his staid medical opinion. It came to the point of him marking up our birth plan, and requiring that we initial each of the changes and sign it by tomorrow saying that we would allow the doctors to do what ever they pleased. Oh, and Dr. Bailey (the boss) backed him up.

Now I understand doctor's wish to keep everything under control and safe and what not, but stiffly not allowing a person to have a baby the way they want to? Patients have the right to refuse blood, refuse chemotherapy, refuse resuscitation, refuse anything we want to, but now we do not have the right to refuse to use a drug that on the label says not to be used with pregnant women?

Well F*** you and here's the finger.

So, home births right?

At least we'll get to use our video camera.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Important Question

Is it stealing? Is it a sin?

Lately, I have been swiping Jehovah's Witnesses printed materials from benches and bus stops and whatnot. Now, if I was actually interested in the material, this would be ok, but I'm not, well a little, but not for any eternal reasons.

The only reason I'm swiping all these Watchtowers and Awake!s is that I don't want anyone to read them, not just to hog them to myself, but i really dont want ANYONE to read them.'

Is it wrong to do this? I've asked several people, and have not gotten a straight answer. Here's my logic. It's not stealing because no one owns them, and they were left in the open for the specific purpose of being picked up by someone, however, not for the reasons I pick them up.

Anyway, I've decided that it is part of my covert plan to make sure there are fewer JW's in the future. Not that I want to kill them or anything, I just believe that their particular brand of religion is the same brand that Jesus decried when he said that the pharasees weighed the people down and didn't lift a finger to help them, and in the end, they were twice the sons of hell that the pharasees were. That's my perspective on the thing.

Have a great day, and throw some errant literature away today, it might save someone's soul.