# My Subscriptions

## December 08, 2013

### sacha chua :: living an awesome life

#### Weekly review: Week ending December 6, 2013

Between jet lag and family, I haven’t had much time to draw or write these days. Things will settle down eventually. =)

Blog posts

Focus areas and time review

• Earn (2.3h – 10% of Business)
• Build (11.1h – 58% of Business)
• Quantified Awesome (0.0h)
• Drawing (5.2h)
• Paperwork (0.7h)
• Connect (6.8h – 31% of Business)
• Relationships (29.9h – 17%)
• `[X]` Drop cats off
• Discretionary – Productive (2.0h – 1%)
• Writing (2.0h)
• Discretionary – Play (0.5h – 0%)
• Discretionary – Travel (38.6h – 22%)
• Personal routines (10.5h)
• Unpaid work (12.7h – 7%)
• Sleep (49.1h – 29% – average of 7.0 per day)

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### John C. Wright's Journal

#### Saving Science Fiction from Strong Female Characters – Part Six

I have written five essays under the provocative topic of saving science fiction from strong female characters, and proposed a rather unprovocative idea: namely, that woman can be both strong and feminine, and that one does not need to make them overtly masculine to make them admirable and edifying characters.

Indeed, I proposed the idea that confusing strength with masculinity is in truth not a feminist ideal, but a misogynistic idea. He is no friend of woman who says women must act masculine to be equal to men, because that merely makes the word ‘feminine’ equal ‘inferior’. Masculine and feminine are a complimentary relationship, not a master-slave relationship. Is Ginger Rogers inferior to Fred Astair when they waltz, even if he leads? She does all the same steps he does, and she does them backward, and, most impressive of all, Ginger can make goofy Fred look like a dashing figure of elegant romance.

I proposed further that a brief, utterly unscientific survey of pre-1950 science fiction showed a healthy number of perfectly strong female characters even in the most boyish of boy’s literature, for example Jirel of Joiry or the Red Lensman Clarissa MacDougal or Deja Thoris (who, in the text, is both a scientist and a maiden who talks and acts like a Spartan “were his wounds in his back?” -style matron).

The same unscientific survey showed a rise of weaker female characters in the form of Playboy-bunny-styled bits of fluff in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I believe I was the only respondent to this survey, so the answers showed one hundred percent of respondents quizzed being in agreement.

I suggest it to be no coincidence that this was when Feminism was at its height, for it was a time when, thanks (in part) to modern labor saving appliances, housewives were no longer mistresses of a separate but equal sphere, a domestic realm where they were queen; but neither were they welcome in the workforce, which was mostly a man’s world. It was a time when the returning servicemen, having survived the Four Horsemen of War and the Great Depression, the Dustbowl and the Polio Epidemic, asked their women to be more feminine and domestic, and the women granted the prayer. It was also a time when the erosion of standards of decency made open immodesty in dress and behavior acceptable to the mainstream. It was the time of June Cleaver and Marylyn Munroe. It was the time of the dumb blonde, utterly unlike the sharp-witted and sharp-tongue blondes from the decade prior, Mae West or Jean Harlow. It was a time when feminism most nearly being justified in its claims.

Nonetheless it was a time when, in Science Fiction, even the writers who thought they were rebelling against the mainstream—Bob Heinlein springs to mind as an example—went along with the 1960’s ideas of domestic women or Bunny women.

I would have no problem whatever with the feminist demand for more strong female characters in Science Fiction, and only a technical problem concerning the demand for strong female characters in Fantasy, if the demand were honest. If the goalposts move, the demand is not honest, and the motive for the demand is not what it seems.

Speaking of which, I did receive a number of pingbacks and comments which I, for courtesy’s sake, did not pass along to my readers, for these were from ill-wishers and prevaricators. I mention this not to complain, but only to make note of the fury combined with the alarmingly casual attitude toward truth which characterized any opposing discussion on this topic. I encountered no polite disagreement, no non-hysterical disagreement, no dignified disagreement, no non-fanatic disagreement, no one who made a disagreeing comment about something I actually said. It was all witch-hunting. It was all barking at the moon like Nebuchadnezzar.

I suspect this is a minor example of a large and commonplace spirit of the age animating such nonsense. This leads me to suspect that much, if not most, of the calls for strong female characters are not actually calls for strong female characters at all, but something else.

What would a strong female actually be like?

Here is an example from the pen of Robert E Howard:

The woman on the horse reined in her weary steed. It stood with its legs wide-braced, its head drooping, as if it found even the weight of the gold-tasseled, red-leather bridle too heavy. The woman drew a booted foot out of the silver stirrup and swung down from the gilt-worked saddle. She made the reins fast to the fork of a sapling, and turned about, hands on her hips, to survey her surroundings.

They were not inviting. Giant trees hemmed in the small pool where her horse had just drunk. Clumps of undergrowth limited the vision that quested under the somber twilight of the lofty arches formed by intertwining branches. The woman shivered with a twitch of her magnificent shoulders, and then cursed.

She was tall, full-bosomed and large-limbed, with compact shoulders. Her whole figure reflected an unusual strength, without detracting from the femininity of her appearance. She was all woman, in spite of her bearing and her garments. The latter were incongruous, in view of her present environs. Instead of a skirt she wore short, wide-legged silk breeches, which ceased a hand’s breadth short of her knees, and were upheld by a wide silken sash worn as a girdle. Flaring-topped boots of soft leather came almost to her knees, and a low-necked, wide-collared, wide-sleeved silk shirt completed her costume. On one shapely hip she wore a straight double-edged sword, and on the other a long dirk. Her unruly golden hair, cut square at her shoulders, was confined by a band of crimson satin.

… this was Valeria of the Red Brotherhood, whose deeds are celebrated in song and ballad wherever seafarers gather.

Now, from my admittedly plebian and pulpish taste in fiction, this is seems more like a fantasy meant for boys with a pirate-girl fetish than a description of the historical Anne Bonnie.

Be that as it may, Valeria is, by the express testimony of the text, both unusually strong yet feminine, and all woman, in spite of wearing breeches. Did I mention her hips were shapely, and her shoulders were magnificent? I suggest such characters were found periodically among the SFF of the pulp era.

In other words, Valeria is the kind of strong women that boys like. Not actually strong, but a girl in revealing clothing with a sword in her hand, who requires a rough and manly man to tame her wild heart.

In other words, this allegedly strong character is still open to the accusation of being a weak character on the grounds that she still plays a feminine role in the story.

I submit that any female character can be accused of being a weak character, precisely because the goalposts move, that is, precisely because the demand for ‘strength’ in female characters is dishonest.

Nausicaa from Miyazaki’s VALLEY OF THE WIND is a perfectly strong character who is brave, active, the center of the plot, the main driver of the plot, nobody’s fool, considerably higher in stature than a mere prize or reward for the hero win. She is my examplar of a strong female character who is not a artificially masculine. She is a princess, and she issues commands and is obeyed in a perfectly queenly fashion, she owns a rocket powered skating-wing called a cloud climber or a maeve (dpending on your translation) and fires rocket-powered bullets, and is active, intelligent, athletic, and so on. But this is not the true genius of the character. The genius of the character is shown in a short scene in the beginning where when her finger is bitten by a tiny wild animal no bigger than a kitten, instead of reacting with fear or annoyance, she radiates a serenity that calms the creature, who, in remorse, begins to lick the finger where it just drew blood with its little pink tongue. This compassion and spiritual kinship with all living things, including the titanic and insect-poisonous monsters of the all-destroying Toxic Jungle which grows and grows in power as the story rolls toward what seems a tragic climax. In the final scene, it is not weapons, not even an ultimate weapon of destruction, that saves the day and changes the destiny of empires and kingdoms, but her self-sacrificing compassion on what to us at first would seem a hideous larva. But only at first. By the story’s end, we see through her eyes.

I myself have never heard Nausicaa being accused of being a weak character, but please note that the very thing which makes Buffy the Vampire Slayer allegedly a strong character, her physical strength and snarky attitude, are precisely the strength and the attitude missing from Nausicaa.

I once heard Mr Joss Whedan in an interview discussing the origin of the character idea. He was weary of seeing scenes in monster movies where the blonde cheerleader Valley Girl wanders into a dark alley, is confronted by a vampire, and can do nothing. For reasons I cannot speculate, Mr Whedan did not think of making a Valley Girl carry a pistol whereby to defend herself (even an undead monster can be chopped off at the knees if your handgun has sufficient stopping power), but instead thought it would be a cute reversal of traditional roles if the cheerleader could take out a stake and drive it through the vampire’s heart. That way she is not the helpless victim. That way she does not need a man.

Then Mr Whedan writes a simply excellent show, truly one of my favorites—let no man dare to say I am not a fanboy of that show— but I notice with the slightest lift of an eyebrow that the main dramatic tension in the show was the romance, the girl’s love interest, Angel and Riley Finn and Spike. The traditional role is not reversed after all, is it?

Buffy must be saluted. She is the inspiration for an entire genre of fiction, the urban fantasy. Few characters can make that claim: Sherlock Holmes for detective stories, Juan Rico the starship trooper for Military SF, Harry Potter for the magical schoolkid genre, Frodo and his Fellowship of the Ring for the epic quest genre. A few others. But considering that Buffy is the very epitome, or so I assume, of strength in a strong female character, a feminist icon akin to Xena the Warrior Princess, why is her main dramatic point her love story? Could it be because she is a female character, and that there is something in the female genius which naturally inclines itself to love?

By way of contrast, I would list Katniss Everdine from the movie HUNGER GAMES as a relatively weak character. – and here I am only talking about the movie, which I saw, and not the book, which I did not read. Aside from her extraordinary act of self sacrifice at the beginning of the film, for the rest of the film he is basically helpless, and shows very little initiative. Whether the character develops in the sequels, that I do not know, and make no comment about. She is, however, physically and morally brave, which is not a trait to be scoffed at for anyone living in a nation of physical and moral cowards.

Something unclear in the movie is how any girl survives the first ten minutes of combat with relatively athletic young men of roughly the same age: the difference in aggression and fighting strength in an average sixteen year old boy and an average sixteen year old girl is immense. That is why the Romans did not stage gladiator fights between male and female slaves, or, if they did, we have no record of it. That is why boxing is not a unisex sport.

Katniss Everdine is what I would call weak because she cannot articulate the cause for which she fights. She is not fighting for truth, justice, and the American Way, nor is leading (yet) the rebellion; she is trying to stay alive. Oddly, had she been the only girl in a roster of boys, volunteering to take the place of her younger brother, the plot would have made more sense, because then it would have been a jack-and-the-giant story, with Katniss as Jack.

Weaker still is the character of Valeria mentioned above. She is the stuff of boyish daydreams, not a fully developed character at all. While established to be a ruthless, rough and hardy pirate queen, the equal of any man when it comes to climbing rigging, storming a city wall, or cutting down sea dogs in a sea fight, her role in the story is entirely feminine. Her main role in the story is for romantic interest and sex appeal. She is there to be menaced by the lusts of men, including Conan, to make dumb suggestions Conan wryly shoots down, and be afraid of things that don’t scare Conan, because, as a barbarian, he is such a badass. For all that, she is not a weak character, not a milksop or lily-livered, and is strong and hearty and bold as any soldier. It is just than next to Conan, any soldier would seem like a girl.

Podkayne of Mars from PODKAYNE OF MARS is a spunky and lovable teenager who dreams of being a space pilot. As the plot goes on, however, she takes no steps at all, not one, toward achieving this dream. Instead she gets abducted, saved by her brother, and then blown up by a bomb when going back into the villain’s lair for the cat or some other annoying fluffy critter. In the first draft, she died the death, and in the second, at the editor’s insisting, she was merely mostly dead. This teaches her psychotic supergenius younger brother to learn to love and be loved, or somesuch nonsense. And the moral of the story, placed in the mouth of the Uncle, tacked awkwardly onto the end of the book is that Podkayne’s Mom should have stayed home and raised her correctly.

Podkayne is a perfectly fine science fiction character. She does as much, or as little, as the Time Traveler from THE TIME MACHINE by Wells, or Professor Aronnax from TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. More to the point, she does as much, or as little, as Matt Dodson in SPACE CADET or Bill Lermer from FARMER IN THE SKY who are mostly observers rather that initiators of the action. But the fact that the space girl is blown up and never becomes either a space cadet like Matt nor a farmer owning his own land like Lermer should leave any feminist cold. Is the purpose in life of girls to be blowed up by bombs as an object lesson to psychotic younger brothers so they can learn to love and be loved? Hmmm.

Jill Boardman in STRANGER IN A STRANGE BED, buxom space nurse, becomes the lover and disciple of Michael Valentine Smith, the studly Man from Mars, and happily joins his harem of several lovers … and becomes a stripper. Yes, she takes off her clothing to excite the lusts of men for modest pay. They can stare at her boobs, which she bounces and gyrates for their enjoyment. Such is the 1960’s version of women’s liberation. You’ve come a long way, baby.

The novel portrays this gross degradation as a dignified profession, whereas preaching the Gospel is portrayed as charlatanry less honest than selling used cars. Yet, had you asked, I am certain Mr Heinlein would have described himself as an ardent supporter of women’s liberation.

Compared to this junk, Valeria the Pirate Queen with the shapely hips is practically a nuanced and three dimensional character as Lady Macbeth. But could someone claim, with perfect justice, that Jill is a strong character? She is certainly witty, brave as a marine, and kidnaps the Man from Mars out from the clutches of the tyrannous world-state. Could someone else claim she was a weak character? Yes, and with equal justice, if not more so. She is lonely schoolboy’s idea of a strong and independent woman, that is, a woman with all the virtues but chastity and modesty, independent enough to use contraception, and strong enough to violate the rules of chastity, presumably, in his daydreams, with the lonely schoolboy.

I should add the third example of Friday from her eponymous book, but there is too much about that book and that character I find personally distasteful. Let me just say that she combines the worst characteristics of physical strength—she can beat up a marine guard—Playboy bunny looks, and an odd desire both to marry and have a family, and to sleep around like a minx in heat.

If you have not read FRIDAY, you can always watch DARK ANGEL by James Cameron. The main character, Max, is a personal favorite of mine. Let no one believe I dismiss or dislike the show. But I do note that she is a Friday style woman: sexy and adorable, and she goes into heat, so that she can both beat up Marine guards with her biogenetically enhanced superhuman strength, and sleep around. You’ve come a long way, baby. The writers there perform the opposite trick as Robert E Howard. To make the girl Max the manly character, James Cameron puts the male lead in a wheelchair, so that he has no possibility of being either the main romantic interest nor being the Riley Finn or Steve Rogers character.

By a Riley Finn, I mean simply that a writer who makes his alleged strong female character physically strong, strong in masculine ways, the writer has no use for a male romantic lead, unless he is superhuman, such as Conan or Angel. Riley Finn was despised by the fans for much the same reason that Steve Rogers is forgotten.

No writer can write a man who swoons over the strength of a superheroine or vampire-huntress, admires her knowledge of French wines and Japanese karate, and find himself swept off his feet by her carried back to her magnificent castle, married in a splendid but secret ceremony, ravished to within an inch of his life, and make it seem other than a satire. No writer has this power because that is not the way human nature works.

How does nature work? Women like men who are virile, vigorous and potent. They like men who are confident, decisive, courageous, and assertive. They want a man who fights. They like strong men. Look at the cover of a trashy romance novel if you don’t believe me.

And they like guys with no shirts.

Or with no pants. More truth is held in the pages of trashy romance novels than in all the worthless books penned by college professors.

Men like women who are nubile, fertile and fecund. They want a girl worth fighting for. They want beauty in body but loyalty in spirit. They want a woman who has faith in him and who keeps faith with him.

Let us look at a he-man magazine to confirm this.

Hmmm. Obviously, I am wrong about men. What we really like is beating mad weasels to death with our bare hands while naked in a pool.

Apparently what we men also like is fighting sharks, women in bathing suits, lost treasure, fighting undersea robots, women not in bathing suits, headhunters, and fighting alligators. Obviously getting wet is a big part of our lives.

Why does nature saddle us with these (to a feminist) uncouth and inconvenient urges where different things attract the different sexes to each other?

It is one of the dubious joys of the modern age that otherwise sober men must take the time to explain the obvious, over and over again, to those ideologically committed to denying the obvious.

It is obvious that men and women are different both in fine and in gross.

(I read with some skeptical bitterness that when neurologists first started publicly admitting that there were neurochemical differences in brain structure between males and females, Gloria Steinem said that social conditioning could overcome this innate genetic predilections.  I understand that the Left also says that homosexual attraction is caused by innate genetic predilections, but that to use any form of social conditioning to overcome such predilections is illegal in California. Consistency is not the strong suit of the Left.)

Because of these differences between the sexes, the characteristics of sexual attraction in men and women must be opposite and complimentary in order for it to be sexual attraction.

Do I need to repeat that in shorter words for the intellectuals to grasp it?

Girls want strong men because strength in men, but muscle power and leadership ability, is a primary sexual distinguishing characteristic that related to the sexual process. Boys want faithful women because fidelity in women is a primary sexual distinguishing characteristic related to domestic life and the demands of domestic life.

But a writer writing an adventure story or a drama that wants to challenge or ignore the basic difference between what men and women find attractive in each other faces a paradox. How is he to make it dramatic?

Now, keep in mind that men and women can admire each other for non-sexual reasons. I am a great admirer of Margaret Thatcher, for example, or Mother Theresa, who are both world-magnitude leaders, one of political and the other of spiritual authority. Any tinge of sexual attraction toward these women from me would be grotesque.

But in a story, especially in an adventure story, the needs of drama want to introduce an element of romance even if the writers at first do not want one there. Romance is as dramatic as death, or more so. It is nearly impossible to keep out of story telling, despite brave efforts by H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Brave but futile. Note that every later retelling or movie version of any of their tales always introduces a love interest. The movie version of FIRST MEN IN THE MOON introduced a female stowaway.

The movie version of JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, has the Junoesque Arlene Dahl, likewise.

The movie version of CLIPPER OF THE CLOUDS, which was named for its sequel, MASTER OF THE WORD, likewise.

Examples could be multiplied endlessly. I think only TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES by Disney did not intrude an apocryphal female love interest. If there is no love interest at first, the pressure of the needs of drama always urges one be introduced later.

If I may use an example from a cartoon, just to dispel anyone’s idea that I have refined tastes in the matter: I am a great fan of Disney’s KIM POSSIBLE. I love that show. Every element is perfect. Teen superheroine Kim Possible is the daughter of a rocket scientists and a brain surgeon. On her website she boasts that she can do anything, and so instead of getting the babysitting or yard working jobs she supposed, foreign governments and major corporations hire her to solve crimes, stop revolutions, and track down supervillains. The show’s supervisors told the writers that, as a Disney show, they needs must put in a cute pet sidekick like the raccoon of Pocahontas or the flounder of Ariel, and the writers subverted the paradigm by introducing a naked mole rat. Who is also a supergenius. Kim Possible’s comedy relief sidekick and Sancho Panza is named Ron Stoppable.

Unfortunately, the needs of drama interfered with this perfect balance of elements in the last season, when some nitwit decided that Kim Possible should fall in love, not with the handsome and competent Will Du, agent of Global Justice, nor with Josh Mankey, the boy on whom she has a legitimate crush, but with Ron, her sidekick. (Who, by the way, was in love with and loved by the alluring and exotic highschool ninja girl and exchange student, Yori).

It is unsettling and stupid, as stupid as deciding that alluring and snarktastic supervillainess Shego would go for her freaky blue supervillain boss Dr Drakken rather than for the rich and handsome and stump-stupid but devotedly romantic Sr Senior, Jr.

It nearly ruined the show to pair the heroine with the comedy relief, because the needs of drama require that the romantic male lead save the girl to win the girl. Otherwise no one can tell why the girl likes the guy. He must appear virile and vigorous and potent, remember? But the fans complained, not without some justice, in the last episode of the last season when Ron saves the day and saves a suddenly helpless Kim Possible when in every previous episode he was the ineffectual sidekick who comedic antics involved running in circles with his pants on fire, screaming.

But the writers almost had no choice. Romance is innately dramatic because the whole life and future happiness of the characters hangs in the balance, and it is something everyone in the audience over the age of seven can understand and sympathize with. The romantic lead has to be a superior guy. If he is of lower social rank than the girl, or less wealthy, he has to be higher in some other quality that she needs more (cf. Jasmine falling for Aladdin).

This means that superheroes can fall in love with normal muggle women, as when Kal-El of Krypton falls for Lois Lane, but that Supergirl cannot fall in love with  Dick Malverine but needs a superhero, like Querl Dox or Dick Grayson. And Wonder Woman should definitely dump Steve Rogers for Bruce Wayne.

(If you asked who  Dick Malverine is, he is the utterly forgettable male equivalent of Lois Lane or Lana Lang who was always trying to prove that Linda Lee was Supergirl. The dynamic of the plot tension there should have been the same, but since the sexes were switches, it did not work. In real life, there is some drama to a woman trying to find out a man’s secret, especially if she has marital designs on him. It does not work the other way around, the drama is lost, and the guy looks weak and foolish.)

Does that seem unfair? The story logic requires that if a superheroine falls for a guy, he has to be virile and potent in relation to her, in some way her superior, so that she has something she thinks is sexy to admire and adore; and likewise she, even if she is physically stronger and shows directness and leadership and cooks outdoors and has great clumps of underarm hair and in every way is masculine and manly, she has to be shown as devoted, because fidelity is what sexually attracts men to women.

The old cliché of rescuing a damsel in distress is based on the idea that a woman rescued from danger by a man will be devoted to him, because ingratitude in such life or death situations was unthinkable, particularly for an admirable female lead.

Again, the logic of Political Correctness requires that men and women not be complimentary because the concept of complementary strengths and weakness is not a concept that Political Correctness can admit, lest it be destroyed. The concept of complimentary virtues undermines the concept of envy, and Political Correctness is nothing but politicized fury based on politicized envy. We can define Political Correctness as the attempt to express fury and envy via radical changes to legal and social institutions.

Hence, the Politically Correct writer attempting to make the female ‘strong’ cannot make her strong in the particular feminine way of, for example, Nausicaa, because that would be the same as admitting that there is a particular nature of male and female, which are different and complimentary, which, as I said above, undermines the envy-fury on which Political Correctness is based.

So the logic of Political Correctness directly defies the logic of drama. The more you have of one, the less you have of the other.

The Political Correctness you have, the less Science Fiction you have, because Politically Correct science is Junk Science.

Political Correctness requires the women not to be of complimentary strength to men, that is, not strong in a feminine way, because that would legitimize femininity. Remember, feminism is the foe of femininity, hence of love and romance.

Instead, Political Correctness requires the female to be as strong as a man, as good as a man, in the very areas men are good at and want to be good at. It is a deliberately unnatural pose. The women character have to be portrayed as the types of character female readers, by and large, do not want to be like or read about, and the female character have to do things women by and large do not create a big thrill or many bragging rights about doing, and the male characters are basically extraneous.

Can it be done? Sure. Writers are endlessly inventive, and we get to set the situation and the plot and, in science fiction, we get to set the laws of nature, too. So the basic physical limitations of the female physique in real life need not hinder us in science fiction situations, because your heroine can be from Krypton, or armed with a phaser weapon, or have cat-girl genes spliced into her DNA, or be an Amazon. Second, the writer gets to set the period and the genre. No one can claim that Hermione Grangier is in any way a second class citizen of Hogwarts, because, like a detective in a detective novel, physical strength and fighting prowess are not the main point of a magical school-chums novel.

Third, if your superheroine is stronger than any normal man, and does not need Prince Charming to settle the hash of the evil dragon, but can wield the sword herself, you can either leave out your male love interest, or you can, Anita Blake style, make him superhuman also. This, of course, is a sly cheat, because it put the girl back in the position of being allured to a dangerous male figure who is more powerful than she, so your vampire huntress falling for a fallen angel (or whatever) is in the same dainty shoes as the spitfire Irish lass kidnapped by the ruthless but devilishly handsome pirate Black Jamie (or whatever) which we all see in the Bodice Ripper racks at the paperback bookstore.

Paranormal Romance, in other words, is an example of the logic of drama subverting (or perhaps superverting) the logic of Political Correctness. It allows the writer to eat her cake and have it too: she can make her warrior-princess or vampire huntress as tough and strong in any way she likes, as tough as Scarlet O’Hara vowing as God is her witness never to go hungry again, and then also bring in a supernatural version of Rhett Butler, and she can retell the story of Beauty and the Beast while retelling GONE WITH THE WIND, and make her man a human being. (Since young men are often ill-reared these days, this is not as far from real life as it once was.)

Another solution is to make the warrior woman into a sex babe, so that if she is not feminine and attractive in demeanor and words, her luscious body betrays her, especially if she is weathering a halter top and spray-on leather pants. This approach turns the strong female character into a figure of sexual fetish, and it titillates the boy audience while apparently satisfying the female audience looking for an action heroine who does not need a man to kill her vampires for her.

The problem with such characters is that the logic of Political Correctness has been subverted by the needs of drama at the expense of all realism. You end up with scenes like I mentioned in a previous essay, with a hulking huge Hawkeye of the Avenger kicking wispy little sexdoll Black Widow in the face, and both boys and girls get used to the idea of boys kicking girls in the face like it was normal, and, just as bad, both boys and girls get used to the idea that the only way for a girl to be attractive is to dress like the Catwoman. That is fine if you have a perfect figure like a 1950 cheesecake model, but otherwise it basically robs women of an entire arsenal of feminine wiles to use on the menfolk, and silences an entire social vocabulary unspoken signs of feminine dignity.

You also end up with warrior women who should be armed and armored like Joan of Arc dressed in microbikinis that would embarrass a stripper.

And any feminist worth her salt should be able to accuse, with much justice, the fetishistic ninja-babe superheroine archetype as being a weak female character. Such characters are nothing more than action models, eye candy, male fantasy figures.

And yet all of these characters can be accused of being weak, for the reasons I said at considerable length above. And if the character has no weaknesses, she can be accused of being a Mary Sue.

Why is this? Because, at first, the cry for strong female characters is perfectly reasonable and perfectly welcome.

To use another example which betrays my low taste, in the second season or so of NARUTO our feisty girl-ninja Sakura is left with nothing to do. She simply cannot fight as well as the boys, and the writers had her not do anything, despite that she was the third member of Team Love Triangle, along with Naruto the brash main character in love with her, Sasuke with whom she is in love. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why she is crushing on Sasuke. He is merely dark and handsome with a troubled past, tormented by inner demons, a dashing rebel who plays by his own rules. Go figure.

But the girl ninja was useless until the writers wised up and powered her up in the next season, giving her not only magic healing powers, but magic super strength, which make a nice outward sign of her inner exasperation, so she could create an earthquake with her magic ninja punch. It gave her something to do in the plot, unlike (if you look above) the characters added to MASTER OF THE WORLD and JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, which intruded a romantic subplot where none was needed nor wanted, and the female characters there had nothing to do. They initiated no action and solved no problems.

If that is what the cry for stronger female characters want, more power to them, and I add my voice to theirs.

Penelope of Ithaca and Clytemnestra of Mycenae and Helen of Troy are not insignificant characters with nothing to do, nor is Deborah in the Book of Judges. Nor is Ximena from El Cid. Neither is Guinevere of Camelot, even if she never fights a joust while disguised as a boy. Neither is Olivia from TWELFTH NIGHT, even if she does fight a duel while disguised as a boy. Neither is Bradamante of ORLANDO FURIOSO or Britomart of FAERIE QUEENE even if she fights jousts and duels while not disguised at all. There are plenty of examples from ancient and classical sources to follow. I cheer on such efforts.

But look again. If I am cheering on such effort, why am I getting hate mail from Political Correctors, along with anyone else who says what I say?

Because Penelope and Clytemnestra and Helen and Deborah and Guinevere are all romantic figures. Ximena is perhaps the most romantic of all, a woman of noble birth who loves and loses all because she loves the Cid, but loves honor more.

The Martial Maids, while many a feminist still admires them, I have heard dismissed because they are depicted as outliers, that is, extraordinary because a woman is performing feats of arms which would be ordinary if done by a man. I do not know is this is a mainstream criticism or not, but it strikes me as telling.

The calls for strong female characters is like the call for more environmental purity and cleanliness. In the 1950′s (ironically, the same period when women were being treated is a less dignified way than their mothers) there was pollution in the air and in the streams that form a danger to public health. Some reasonable laws were made to curb the problem, and the problem was solved except in areas of the country administered by Democrats, and then unreasonable laws were made, and then slightly insane laws, and now we live under totally nutastic barking-mad at the moon bat-guano crazy laws, which have declared human exhalation and cow farts to be pollutants.

It was reasonable at first. The demand was satisfied. There are no plenty of female characters in books and films these days, many of them quite well written.

And then the demand became unreasonable, then became slightly insane, and are rapidly becoming barking mad. Why is this?

Because the demands are not honestly made. They are made for the sake of making a demand, not made for the sake of satisfying a demand.

Any female character can be accused of being weak. ANY ONE. The trick is to have your female characters be good characters, having central roles in the plot, and reasonable character arcs, and as many vices and virtues as the logic of drama and your inner burning vision demand.

Ignore whether she is strong or weak. It is like worrying about whether your male character is winsome, devoted and loves babies. He needs a reasonable amount of devotion to be a hero, but it cannot be his main point, because in real life girls look for strength in men first, leadership, trustworthiness, that sort of thing. Even shallow women look for outward signs of competence and strength, like fancy cars and smoothness of wit.

Likewise, strength in female characters is not what makes them dramatic and memorable, but fidelity and compassion do.

What makes Scarlet O’Hara one of the most easily recognized heroines of all time, despite the obvious selfishness and shallowness of the character? It is her fidelity, no, not to a man (she weds idly and yearns for Ashley) but to Tara, the land. Her faith in the land allows her to survive the War and the Reconstruction.

Scarlett, despite being selfish and shallow, shines with these other virtues. Commitment. Fidelity. Faithfulness. Maintaining hope when hope is gone. Having the strength to carry on.

That is something women do better than men. We males tend to break when our brittle pride is shattered. Women handle disappointment and defeat better. (Consider what a disappointment most men are, I am sure there is a logic to that, too.)

So ignore the demands for strong female characters. You cannot satisfy them.

Make your heroine as fascinating as Miyasaki’s Nausicaa, or Homer’s; or Dante’s Beatrice, or like Deborah, Clytemnestra, Helen, Penelope, Camilla, Britomart, Bradamante, and you will have readers centuries to come, or millennia, still discussing her; or make her as interesting as Katniss or Hermione or Scarlet O’Hara, and you will be a best seller and have your books made into movies.

A closing note on hate mail. I said I would return to this point.

Why in the world would anyone in his right mind pen a poisonous letter on this topic? I am not trying to save Science Fiction from Strong Female Characters. The idea is ridiculous, so ridiculous that I honestly thought nobody, not even a humorless Political Correction Officer would take it seriously. The title is meant as an obvious joke.

It is as if I were to say we should stop having Basque Characters, or Albigensian, or Left-handed Wesleyians. No matter what I or anyone said about the type of characters I or anyone preferred, if the demand were honest,  no one would give a tinker’s damn about it one way or another.

No one would give a tinker’s damn because readers who wanted character of a certain type would seek out writers who wrote characters of that type, and readers who wanted something else would seek out writers writing something else.

But the demand is not honest. It is not even close. The demand is that female characters of which some tone-deaf artistically and spiritually dead sexual neurotics disapprove  be swept off the shelves. The demand is political, that is, it is a call for a uniform change in the power relations of the society. The demand is that society change its tastes, change its values, and do so collectively, as a unit, permitting no dissent.

The demand is not on we writers, my dear readers, but on you readers.

The demand made by these subhuman genetically defective control freaks is that YOU the readers, stop liking the books and stories you like, books with females realistic or unrealistic as you prefer, and start liking the books and stories which these genetically defective control freaks demand you should like, in the name of the glorious cause of whatever the glorious cause is this week.

The demand is that you be ashamed of liking popular books and stories, that you be ashamed of nature, ashamed of romance, ashamed of love stories, ashamed of superhero stories, and so on, ad nauseam.

You see, you and I and every sane human is willing to live and let live, and if you want to read trashy bodice rippers and I was to read about space princesses while our neighbor wants to read stories about he-men wrestling ponds of flesh eating weasels, to each his own. If I write the story I want to write, and even put the odd space princess in it, either the story on its own artistic merits or entertainment value, if any, finds a fit audience or not, as the sovereign will of the readership demands, without imposing on or being imposed upon by others who write and read stories of another kind.

You must understand that you, O my masters, are the sovereigns here. What the readers read is what the writers write and the booksellers sell.

The rebels and the subversives of the Glorious Cause of Political Correctness are not about overthrowing the sovereign power of the state, or not just about that. It is also about overthrowing the sovereign power of the culture, O my masters.

They want to overthrow YOU.

They have only one weapon, which is the unearned moral superiority they pretend to have, and the unearned guilt which they throw onto you.

The serpent cannot force the apple down Eve’s fair throat. All he can do is make her fell ashamed for being so foolish as to obey the commands of right reason. He tells her she is stupid for thinking that right reason was right.

Likewise, here, the harpies shriek that you are stupid for wanting to read a story where Rhett carries Scarlett up to the nuptial bedroom, rather than Scarlett carrying Rhett.

Unearned moral superiority for them. Unearned guilt for you. That is their only weapon. Merely pointing it out, naming it by its right name, is enough to disarm it.

Science fiction does not need to be saved from strong female characters. It needs to be saved from Political Correctness, which makes a demand that all stories be uniform, and all serve the Glorious Cause, and become propaganda told for the purpose of social engineering, not stories told to glorify the beauties and horrors of life.

It is, in fact, a demand that stories not be stories at all.

It is a demand that we wreck our culture, ruin our lives, and damn our souls. Stories are just the smallest part of it, and science fiction stories are smaller than that. Stories save souls, and give strength to sanity, for tales, even the simplest, even the shallowest, can refresh our faith in truth, in beauty, and in virtue. In stories, the muses bring us wine from heaven.

Political Correctness serves politics, that is, the power struggle between factions seeking to govern our laws and customs. Art serves truth. Do you wonder at the venom of the struggle? Political Correctness attempt to mock and destroy even the concept of truth. It is the foe of all truth, all beauty, all virtue. Their ambition is immense, nay, awe-inspiring: They want to drown the universe in excrement.

The sole weapon of the Political Correction Officers is to make the innocent feel guilty by making a reasonable demand followed by an unreasonable demand, a demand you can never satisfy.

We must save the world, and, more importantly, science fiction from that.

From the Pen of Tom Simon:

The whole point of Political Correctness is that it’s impossible to be politically correct: someone always has a free pass to attack you for something. Just as the whole point of Sustainability is that nothing is ever really sustainable, so someone can always attack you for insufficient dedication to Mother Gaia. Modern Leftism is not about doing what is right; it is about believing that everybody else is wrong, and always having a stick handy to beat anyone you want to beat.

### Cool Tools

#### RetailMeNot

This discount code source really works. Whenever you are about to make a purchase online, you should go to RetailMeNot to check to see if it has discount coupons for your merchant. There’s a good chance you’ll find current codes, and you’ll also see the likelihood that they’ll work based on previous user’s experience. It’s a clean interface telling you what the discount is, when it expires and what percent chance it will work. In my experience, the probabilty is good if the codes are rated high. They also seem to have codes for pretty obscure and specialized stores I would not have expected. I’ve saved a lot of money this way and wish I knew about it long ago.

There are a lot of discount coupon sources on the web but most of these are subscription types: you are bombarded with sales offers on an ongoing basis. RetailMeNot is different: You solicit the exact discounts you need only when you need them. Instead of bombardment, you get discounts on demand. My kind of shopping.

And if you really want to browse for hot deals, they have current bargain discounts on their front page. But their real asset is discount codes on demand.

-- KK

RetailMeNot

### assertTrue( )

#### The True Cost of Minimum Wage

Burger-flipping as a career option is the topic of a lot of jokes in America, but it's no joke to those who actually work in the fast food industry.

The following stats, from a recent report by the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center, highlight the true costs to society of keeping wages low in the fast-food sector:

• More than half (52 percent) of the families of front-line fast-food workers are enrolled in one or more public programs, compared to 25 percent of the workforce as a whole. (See graphic.) This is true even when the workers in question are working 40 hours a week.
• The cost of public assistance to families of workers in the fast-food industry is nearly \$7 billion per year.
• At an average of \$3.9 billion per year, spending on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) accounts for more than half of these costs.
• Due to low earnings, fast-food workers' families also receive an annual average of \$1.04 billion in food stamp benefits and \$1.91 billion in Earned Income Tax Credit payments.
• People working in fast-food jobs are more likely to live in or near poverty. One in five families with a member holding a fast-food job has an income below the poverty line, and 43 percent have an income two times the federal poverty level or less.
For more stats, see this Mother Jones piece.

Of course, low wages are a problem throughout the restaurant industry, not just the fast-food piece. The problem extends to retail as well. A Walmart in Ohio recently made news when it held a food drive—for its own employees.

Industry apologists will argue, of course, that if Walmart or McDonalds had to pay \$12/hr starting pay, they would go out of business. That's complete nonsense. U.C. Berkeley's Labor Center researchers have already done the arithmetic for Walmart: If Walmart were to set a pay floor of \$12/hr, the average net cost increase to shoppers would be 46 cents per store visit. A similar calculation for McDonalds comes to much the same answer. (McDonalds serves 69 million orders a day through 34,000 restaurants. Figure 300 minimum-wage-hours worked per restaurant per day. Every extra dollar an hour in wages comes to 15 cents extra per customer order.)

### CrossFit Naptown

#### mobility, make up, skill day

Great read if you have a few minutes today.

http://www.catalystathletics.com/articles/article.php?articleID=126

### ASCII by Jason Scott

#### The JSMESS Endgame

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about an “end” to JSMESS.

Oh goodness – far from it. Of the two versions of JSMESS we’re currently working with (the “in-process” jsmess.textfiles.com version and the “dressed for dinner” archive.org version), we’re going to be adding a third version for general distribution out to anyone who wants to run JSMESS on their own site. We have gotten sound running (somewhat, and best in Firefox), joypad support (in Chrome and Firefox, but you have to enable it in Firefox), and full screen. We also got the pipeline from “New version of MESS is made, new version of JSMESS is generated from it” down to a near (time-consuming) science, so it’ll be possible to keep up with the many-per-day changes to MESS that are going on. Things are vibrant, intense, and amazing.

In fact, I just wanted to touch a little on where I think this whole thing is going, and what my vision is for JSMESS’s future. I figure we’ve been making such amazing strides, that some folks might start to wonder if there’s any plan at all beyond “it works”.

There is.

JSMESS is as much an idea as a pile of JavaScript. The idea is to use the currently-most-critical networked window into the Internet, the browser, and the currently-most-portable-and-not-controlled-by-maniacs runtime language, JavaScript, to present an easy link to the currently-most-portable and currently-most-flexible emulator, MESS. Putting all those together, we came up with “Use ‘JavaScript’ on ‘Browsers’ to execute ‘MESS’”.

I am hugely skeptical we will see the browser paradigm disappear anytime soon, certainly not within the next five to ten years.

I’m also very skeptical something is going to sneak up on MESS and take away the portability/flexibility crown. (Individual emulators can smoke MESS on chip-performance accuracy, but then they only do one platform, not 1600.) Maybe someone will cook up some amazing emulator out of the bushes that will blow past MESS – that’s not out of the realm of possibility. I don’t know of one, but that’s how obsessive projects work – someone burns brain on it in darkness and then drops it on the world.

JavaScript, however, could easily be horked past by someone or someones with a true open-source addition that all the browsers cook in after a few months of testing. It’ll have some stupid name, and will maybe use some trickery to get improved speed, as well as offering all sorts of programmatic advantages that someone would expect. (Right now, there are backwards-bending tricks to make Javascript do the proper thing, and that’s not always very good for anyone involved.)

The important thing here is that the IDEA of JSMESS transcends the individual parts – the emulator, the browser, the scripting language of choice. All of these can be swapped out and the idea lives on – you turn on this thing in your computer and within seconds you are interacting with vintage software. That’s what we shot for and that’s what we have.

So, expect probably some upheaval in JSMESS and how it runs in the future, near or distant, depending on what’s best for the core values of speed, accuracy and access. That might happen in six months (unlikely) or six years (likely).

The goal with JSMESS has always been to think of it as a “software player” in the same way that we think of “video players” and “audio players” – discreet programs that will put us in touch with the digital item. To that end, we have a whole range of plans for adding features to the JSMESS “player” that you interact with. I don’t want to list them out here, as some will inevitably be dead ends and others will be subsumed or decided against, but the point is that once the JSMESS player deals with one system, it will more often than not deal with all the systems. For example, once we have sound running smoothly, all platforms have sound running smoothly, both in terms of browser platform and emulated platform.

So as more features enabling you to interact with these emulated platforms are added, the experience becomes richer, more reproducible, more flexible. Some features might only be of interest to a few people, while others will have been called for by anyone who uses JSMESS for a few minutes. Whatever they are, we’ll add them and they’ll just be part of the landscape going forward.

Let me tell you – the Joypad changes the experience completely. You can definitely use keyboard controls, but going back to joysticks to interact with some programs brings up a pretty visceral reaction. It made the program just work better for a bunch of reasons – and it’s optional going forward. That’s the plan generally, regarding that.

Finally, there’s the secret weapon – something I call The Feedback Loop.

Emulation development is a strange art, and one that can be really non-rewarding. You spend a lot of time trying to ramp up a program that plays other programs, and then you realize the official documentation is wrong, there are missing pieces and unexpected confluence with the machine the emulator is running on, and so on. Adding to this frustration is the fact that if you’re collaborating on an emulation project, some of the developers are by the nature of the process hard-edged, critical of radical change, and generally abrasive about the process in the pursuit of perfection… and then you find being The New Coder is a crapshoot of ease and difficulty. Maybe you suggest a change and everyone hoists you on their shoulders, while other times you get a stream of profanity. Emulation is very hard work, coding wise, and it can be an uphill battle to keep track of all the moving parts and contribute positively to the project. And in the case of emulators, the audience is (relatively) small and often hypercritical of what they get on the outside, so your skin has to be a certain level of tough. The result, then, is the pool of developers can be relatively small, especially for platforms that lack the passionate adherents dedicated to that platform’s accuracy and immortality.

What we have here, with the ability to run the emulator directly in the browser, is proof positive that the work you put into it has near-instantaneous effect. Make the emulator better, and the ability of people all over the world to run this platform in their browsers is better. That may be a critical push for a specific set of development-oriented folks, and allow additional focus on more obscure platforms. The dream is someone who goes around doing incremental improvements to platforms that are not all-stars, but just as critical to preserve, maybe more so.

Improvement will beget improvement. The MESS team already does amazing work, so more people focused in on working various parts will make the project stronger. It’ll encourage more documentation as more people want to learn how to ramp up.

That’s the hope, anyway. We’ll see how it pans out.

### Blog & Mablog

#### What Joseph Knew

Introduction
Before discussing what Joseph knew, we should perhaps begin by considering what we know about Joseph. Despite the fact that we tend to assume we know very little, we may be surprised to discover how much in fact we do know. This is even more surprising when we consider that in the entire scriptural narrative, Joseph never says a word.

The Text:
“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (Matt. 1:16).

Summary of the Text:
Matthew gives us an account of the genealogy of Joseph, descended from David, meaning that Christ’s covenantal lineage was Davidic, as well as His physical lineage (through Mary) being also, as is likely, Davidic. The fact that genealogies are given the place they have in Scripture should indicate to us that they are important, and not given to us so that we might have occasion to roll our eyes at all the begats.

What We Know:
We know that Joseph’s father was a man named Jacob (Matt. 1:16). We know that Joseph was of the royal Davidic line (Matt. 1:6). Luke makes a point of telling us this (Luke 1:27), just as the angel had called Joseph a son of the house of David. We know that Joseph was a good man, both righteous and merciful (Matt. 1:19). We know that he was a prophet—an angel appeared to him in a dream and gave him a word from God (Matt. 1:20). We know that Joseph was an obedient man—when he woke from sleep, he did just what the angel had commanded him in that dream (Matt. 1:24). When the Lord’s life was in danger, God entrusted the protection of the Messiah to Joseph, sending an angelic warning in a second dream (Matt. 2:13). God led that family through the head of the family. After Herod died, God gave Joseph a third dream (Matt. 2:19). We know that the legal and covenantal lineage of Jesus was reckoned through Joseph, because that is how Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4), and the prophet had insisted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

When the shepherds came, they found Joseph together with Mary and Jesus (Luke 2:16). We know that Joseph was diligent to keep the law (Luke 2:27). When Simeon blessed Jesus, Mary and Joseph together marveled at what was said (Luke 2:33). Given what they heard from Simeon and Anna (and from Elizabeth, and from Mary herself), they knew a great deal. And don’t forget the shepherds and the wise men. They knew something huge was up. Remember that Joseph was the second person on earth to believe in the virgin birth, Mary being the first and she almost doesn’t count.

We think we know that Joseph was a carpenter, which he might have been (Matt. 13:55). In the parallel account in Mark (Mark 6:3), Jesus Himself is called a carpenter. The word in both occasions is tekton. The word can refer to a swinger of hammers, but it could also mean builder (as in, contractor), or even architect. In fact, our word architect comes from this word—archon + tekton. We know that whatever business he had, it wasn’t off the ground yet when Jesus was born. The offering they presented at the Temple for Jesus was two turtledoves, the offering available for poor people (Luke 2:24). This also may have had something to do with the “newlywed” adventure they had in Bethlehem, when they couldn’t get a room in an inn.

Joseph lived long enough to be present when Jesus was twelve (Luke 2:43), and we know that he is absent from the narrative after that. At the same time, we may infer from the number of Christ’s siblings that Joseph lived well past the Lord’s twelfth birthday. Jesus was the eldest of at least seven, which normally wouldn’t fit within twelve years (Mark 6:13).

The Namesake:
The name Joseph means God will increase, like the Puritan name Increase Mather. It is a name that denotes blessing and abundance. Joseph of the Old Testament sheds some light on Joseph, the husband of Mary. For example, both men shared a name, and both of their fathers shared the name of Jacob (Gen. 30:23-24; Matt. 1:16). Rachel named Joseph Increase because that is what she was looking for—and received in the birth of Benjamin. The one through whom all God’s promises would come to fruition and increase, Mary, was protected and cared for by a man named Increase. Both Josephs had prophetic dreams. Both Josephs were righteous men. Both were connected in some way to a sexual scandal involving false accusation. Both of them were a wonderful combination of integrity and compassion. Both went down into Egypt and were thereby means of saving their respective families. Both were used by God to provide for a starving world.

Just and Merciful:
In the Scriptures, justice and mercy are not at odds with each other. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Ps. 85:10).

In Deuteronomy 22:23-24, we are given the death penalty for a betrothed woman who committed adultery. Such commandments were never meant to be applied woodenly, but rather with a firm grasp of the principles involved. For example, consider what the law says about the city limits. Now, under the rule of the Romans, it would not be possible for the Jews to apply such a law. One of the things we see in the New Testament is the use of the ultimate penalty from another government in lieu of the one excluded by an unbelieving government. And thus it is we see Paul requiring excommunication at Corinth, while citing this and four other places that required execution. In the same way, a family could apply disinheritance or divorce. This is something that Joseph is resolved to do.

But we are told something else. We are told that Joseph had a tender heart (Matt. 1:19), and that this was an example of his commitment to justice. Joseph, we are told was a just and righteous man, and because of this, he was resolved to do the right thing, but without humiliating Mary publicly. We know that Jesus grew up in a home that could not have seen Joseph as one of the men with stones in the famous incident of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:7).

What Joseph Knew:
We may presume that what Joseph marveled at was part of what he knew. At a bare minimum, Joseph knew that the salvation of Jews and Gentiles both was growing up in his home. “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

And here we find our gospel conclusion.

### If You Want to Read More . . .

#### When Your Nerves Are Yelling at You

This is a meal that feeds us spiritually, and we should make a point of understanding how this relates to something we call stress. At this time of year, almost all of us have additional responsibilities, and some of us have quite a few additional responsibilities. This might be a function of Christmas preparations, or finals, or both. This means that all of us have quite a bit of additional stress. That can be good or bad, depending.

This is spiritual food and food feeds you so that you can work. The expenditure of energy, spiritual or otherwise, is not possible apart from stress. Muscles that are totally relaxed cannot do anything. This same thing is true of your spiritual muscles—you are fed so that you alternate between stress and relaxation in a rhythmical way, which is what work is. But this kind of stress is what enables you to sleep well, to sit down at a meal with gratitude. Godly stress makes you tired and hungry, which is a good thing to be. It is a great condition to be in, and it is all because of stress.

But the other kind of stress is just another name for worry or anxiety—as when we say someone is stressed out. That’s not so good, being a sin. Muscles can’t work when they are tight all the time, and when you are stressed in this way, you are approaching paralysis. Feeding spiritually, or trying to give yourself over to sabbath rest, or trying to sleep, won’t work because your body, and your emotions, and your nerves, are all yelling at you. The only thing that can be done about this kind of stress is repentance.

Confess it like you would any other sin. Resist the temptation to get spun tight the same way you would resist any other temptation. After all, it is no fun and does absolutely no good. Not only does it not do any good, it usually makes things worse and gives you more to get stressed about. And having confessed the sin, sit down to feed spiritually here so that God can give you the right kind of stress.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

### If You Want to Read More . . .

#### Grace Tastes Like Something

When the Bible calls us to holiness, which it does, it is not calling us to a fastidious primness that pretends to be holiness. Neither does it call us to a raw effort that refuses to touch the unclean thing externally, even though the heart does nothing but paw and fondle the unclean thing. And the Word does not call us to the kind of license that indulges in vice at levels less outrageous than what the pagans do, and calls it Christian liberty.

The kind of holiness we are called to is the kind that wants to be righteous, that wants to be like Jesus, that wants to be free from sin. Apart from Jesus, no man has even enjoyed this kind of holiness completely, but because of Jesus, many have enjoyed a genuine experience of this liberty.

This is something the grace of God actually does. Grace is much more than an idea. Grace is not a theological construct that we are allowed to keep in a safety deposit box in the heavenly places. No, grace is something we can see, hear, smell, and taste. Grace is not an abstraction.

When grace and peace are multiplied to a congregation, they grow in that grace. When grace is poured out, the people of God get wet. When grace comes, the glory of grace also comes. The people of God who have truly experienced this don’t need to be told that something happened. They know something happened—the role of teaching is to explain from the Bible what that was exactly.

It is not intended to persuade anybody that something happened. Teaching does not bring about the effect. It gives an account of something that needs an accounting. Teaching does not steer or direct the Spirit. Rather, teaching informs us that the Spirit cannot be steered, and points out that what has been happening was not engineered by any of us. And one of the things that gets explained after the fact is how it that a pack of sinners like us started to wanting holiness.

### The ryg blog

#### Symmetry

As a general rule, when trying to understand or prove something, symmetry is a big help. If something has obvious symmetries, or can be brought into a symmetric form, doing so is usually worth trying. One example of this is my old post on index determination for DXT5/BC3 alpha blocks. But a while ago I ran into something that makes for a really nice example: consider the expression

$|a + b| + |a - b|$

If these were regular parentheses, this would simply evaluate to $2a$, but we’re taking absolute values here, so it’s a bit more complicated than that. However, the expression does look pretty symmetric, so let’s see if we can do something with that. Name and conquer, so let’s define:

$f(a,b) := |a + b| + |a - b|$

This expression looks fairly symmetric in a and b, so what happens if we switch the two?

$f(b,a) = |b + a| + |b - a| = |a + b| + |-(a - b)| = \\ |a + b| + |a - b| = f(a,b)$

So it’s indeed symmetric in the two arguments. Another candidate to check is sign flips – we’re taking absolute values here, so we might find something interesting there as well:

$f(a,-b) = |a + (-b)| + |a - (-b)| = |a - b| + |a + b| = f(a,b)$

And because we already know that f is symmetric in its arguments, this gives us $f(-a,b) = f(a,b)$ for free – bonus! Putting all these together, we now know that

$f(a,b) = f(b,a) = f(|a|,|b|) = | |a| + |b| | + | |a| - |b| |$

which isn’t earth-shattering but not obvious either. You could prove this directly from the original expression, but I like doing it this way (defining a function f and poking at it) because it’s much easier to see what’s going on.

But we’re not quite done yet: One final thing you can do with absolute values is figure out what needs to happen for the expression to be non-negative and see if you can simplify it further. Now, both $|a|$ and $|b|$ are always non-negative, so in fact we have

$f(a,b) = |a| + |b| + | |a| - |b| |$.

Now suppose that $|a| \ge |b|$. In that case, we know the sign of the expression on the right and can simplify further:

$f(a,b) = |a| + |b| + (|a| - |b|) = 2 |a|$

and similarly, when $|b| \ge |a|$, we get $f(a,b) = 2 |b|$. Putting the two together, we arrive at the conclusion

$|a + b| + |a - b| = f(a,b) = 2 \max(|a|,|b|)$

which I think is fairly cute. (This expression comes up in SATD computations and can be used to save some work in the final step.)

## December 07, 2013

### ASCII by Jason Scott

#### The Frightening Cornucopia

I am an extremely lucky person.

I’m lucky for a host of reasons, but in this particular case, I’ve been matched up with the Perfect Job very early in my life – my 40s. Some people get earlier, of course, but many more get it later, if at all. Life at the Internet Archive is just what I wanted it to be. Conflicts are barely anthills. Achieved dreams loom in every direction. Triumphs have been many, failures often more hilarious than troublesome.

When I joined in 2011, I was given several overarching aspects to think about, and I added a few of my own. One of them was software and another was the emulation in a browser thing, both of them going quite swimmingly. Another was to spiff up the donation page, and at this exact second the design’s a little cramped for the holiday matching fund drive, the flexibility of the new design and the addition of subscriptions turned out to be well worth my attention.

So, 2014 looms. What’s got my attention and why did I use a word like frightening in the title of this entry?

First of all, I’m not “done” with the JSMESS project and I’m certainly not done adding software items to the archive – those will continue and may even dwarf the rest of what I’m doing for some time to come. They’re both big, important things and I’m working on them nearly daily, as are many others.

We needed easier money donation, and we needed software emulation in the browser, and now we have that, and it will get better as time goes on.

In 2014, I want to go after two other weaknesses in the Internet Archive arsenal: Metadata and Discovery. (And maybe Accessibility if we can swing it).

When I interact with professional librarians and archivists, or even folks who are really, really into the subjects that I’m focusing on (vintage software, crazy old crap), the conversation quickly turns to how in fact these items are being described and given metadata. And then the question of how it can possibly be found at all.

So, in the very specific realm of software, bear in mind we’re making up for decades of institutional neglect. Oh, hobbyists and intense amateurs were getting shit done, let’s not diminish that work at all. But it was all being done under this cloud of “are we in trouble” that meant that the hosting and interaction of the materials meant that a few random brave souls would make good collections (Home of the Underdogs for binaries, MobyGames for metadata, mame.dk for ROMs) and then things would go south for a variety of reasons and the information and data would disappear again, sometimes for good. No institution stepped in. Not really. And so here we are, with the Internet Archive now stepping in. Become the largest historical collection in the world? Check.

To do this, we absorbed many terabytes of data, from a wide range of software. Some people were very specific about high-quality descriptions and naming. Others…. were not. But again, to make up for lost time, in it went.

Same with old documents related to computers, old videos, old audio. My philosophy has been, and continues to be, get it online first. GET IT ONLINE FIRST. Deal with EVERYTHING ELSE LATER.

If it’s online, it’s not in a box in a basement or attic. If it’s online, it can be commented on. If it’s online, it can be shifted around effortlessly and included in greater and greater things. And if it’s online, it isn’t rotting on some piece of magnetic plastic or dimpled plastic or broken plastic. Granted, we’re buying a whole other range of long-term problems putting it on spinning disks and what have you, but the long-term preservation of the item is now a whole lot easier, should we be responsible. Being online is a great thing.

Once stuff is online, and as I just implied, an awful lot of stuff is now online, then we can talk about metadata, organization, discoverability.

And that time is now.

I unintentionally got quoted all over the archiving and library scenes when, in a talk I was giving at the New York Public Library, I said “Metadata is a Love Note to the Future“. This rang true with a lot of people, and it speaks to the oddness of what metadata is and who and how it serves.

Intense, machine-searchable information about artifacts and collections, be they digital or physical or whatever, has a value that is primarily based on faith. You can enjoy the object right now in your hands, but turning it into a photograph or a .wav file and then tacking on a whole range of information you might not have even had at the moment, is preparing for a future that you have no idea about.

I assure you, there are hundreds of books contemplating the nature of objects in past, present and future, and how we as human beings interact and interface with these objects. I’m not going there. But I’m going to say that the effort put into generating contextual data about an item provides all sorts of benefits, but almost completely in theory unless you know you have an audience waiting for it. That makes it a very tough sell for people to ‘just do’, like they might bookmark or do a retweet or notation in a weblog. It’s involved. you usually have to pay people. And if you pay people, it gets expensive quickly.

So my efforts will be to make metadata generation for items on the Internet Archive as painless, as collaborative, as rewarding as possible. I’ll likely utilize custom scripts, wikis, let’s-raise-the-barn events and shout-outs for folks to get involved however they want to. I also will work on automation of same, where a person is signing off on the efforts of machines, instead of typing in the year when the stupid thing is telling you the year right there and in a billion obvious locations.

It’s a tough problem with a lot of moving parts! Hence it’s a goal, to be implemented over time and with endless refinements as I progress. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Even more fundamental is the issue of Discovery and Exploration.

There are people who have no idea the Internet Archive exists, Wayback or digital media or anything. There are people who only know it for Wayback. And then there’s people who know it “pretty well”, knowing we have a whole bunch of audio and video and books and software. You are likely among this last group.

And you still have no idea, no idea, how much stuff is at the Internet Archive and its collections.

I just checked The Thing That Tells Me Stuff and it tells me that in my time at the Archive I have personally uploaded 229,000 individual “items” (some of which are grouped files) for a total of 262 terabytes of data.

I’m throwing a lot in, but I’m hardly the only one throwing a lot in. Some of my co-workers in the “collections” group I work at have shoved in millions of individual items, ranging from documents and journals through to the video, audio, and so on. Let’s not even touch the wayback, which has over 368 billion (with a b) URL captures.

When I send you somewhere, say, deep into a collection of magazines or over to some Apple II documentation or up into a massive audio record… well, forget the surface, we’re not even scratching the surface of the surface.

It is a terrifying, frightening cornucopia. It is a horn of plenty so pitch-dark with content that I am not 100% convinced the problem is solvable, unless the nature of humanity changes overnight and even then we’re talking a couple years of hard work.

But there you go. In conjunction with other efforts by other folks at the Archive, the plan is to make strides in discoverability, usefulness and access to the vast and ever-growing stacks of the Internet Archive, which, again, I promise you, are massive.

Every site that has a forward-facing website and then terabytes of goodness down the line has this exact problem, by the way. Every museum and archive with warehouses and storage units extending into the darkness has the problem as well. It’s not a new problem, but it’s one I’m willing to tackle.

Hey, if they weren’t called ratholes, everyone would want to go down them.

Onward!

### The Search

#### Oh Gracious Light

Advent is a season of light and dark. As much as the media and the prevailing spirit of the season tries to frame Christmastime as an endless array of cheer and merriment, there’s no getting around the reality of our dark, treacherous, weary world. But it’s better that way. The light shines brighter in the dark.

Advent celebrates the moment when true light entered into our dark world. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light“ (Is. 9:2).

The baby in Bethlehem was hope, redemption, God with us. Present in the midst of our suffering; familiar with our struggle. Emmanuel.

The baby was a flicker of light that became a flame that swept across the world, illuminating the dark in all corners of creation.

But the darkness persists. The weary world rejoices at Christ our hope. But the world is still weary. The beauty of Advent is that it accepts weariness, even embraces it. It is joy in the midst of weariness. Joy mixed with stress, struggle, pain, lament.

Last Thursday’s Advent devotional from the Biola Advent Project illustrates it well. The reflection, “The True Light,” was written by art professor Loren Baker, who wrote, “As we journey towards Bethlehem, our joyful anticipation of Christmas is best described by the words of the Reverend Phillip Brooks (1835-1903). May all of our ‘hopes and fears’ be met in Him tonight.” Maja Lisa Engelhardt’s painting, “I Am the Light of the World” accompanied Loren’s reflection, as did the song “O Gracious Light” by The Brilliance:

O Gracious Light, so pure and bright
Dispel the darkness of our hearts
That by Your brightness we may know the light

Less than two weeks before his devotional published on the Advent Project website, Loren Baker took his own life.

The Biola community is still in mourning. It’s hard to fathom what led such a beloved professor to such a dark place, especially as we read his words about the “joyful anticipation of Christmas” and the “True Light.” As president Barry H. Corey wrote in an e-mail to Biola students, staff and faculty following Loren’s passing, “While we may never know what prompted [Loren] to make this decision, we know he loved the Lord and are confident of the mercy and grace of God.”

Kira and I have been listening to the song “Oh Gracious Light” regularly this week, struggling to reconcile the light and darkness of Loren’s final weeks, as we listen to the The Brilliance sing so passionately in petition for the Gracious Light to “dispel the darkness of our hearts.” The song is healing; it’s more a prayer than a carol, and a prayer that is simultaneously mournful and hopeful, a lament and a thanksgiving.

Such is the nature of Advent. Such is the nature of our “now and not yet” existence. Darkness is all around us, even in our hearts. Sometimes the darkness gets the best of us. Sometimes the light fills our hearts so fully that we feel like we may burst.

Entering into Advent is accepting both realities and posturing ourselves in an expectant mode: waiting for the dark night to give way to dawn’s light; for shootings and sickness and suicide to give way to Shalom; for the restless groaning of our hearts to finally find rest.

Advent is about longing, tension, the meantime of life. We light candles, we look at Christmas lights, we carry on… Looking with hope to the Bethlehem star, begging the Gracious Light to rid this world of darkness, once and for all.

### The Outlaw Way

#### 131208

Rest Day.

“Pray as though everything depended on God and act as if everything depended on you.”
— St. Augustine (354-430)

The post 131208 appeared first on The Outlaw Way.

### Greg Mankiw's Blog

#### The Progressivity of the Current Tax Code

Source: CBO.  Click on graphic to enlarge.

### Front Porch Republic

#### McClaughry Memoir: Ford and Carter

The following is the third installment of John McClaughry’s memoir, Promoting Civil Society Among the Heathen.  See the previous chapters here and here. 5. Ford and the Ethnics  Gerald Ford became vice president and then president after 25 years in Congress.…

The post McClaughry Memoir: Ford and Carter appeared first on Front Porch Republic.

### Inconsolation

#### Bonus: More links, of varying importance

I’ve collected quite a few unrelated links in the last few months, and as a way of getting them out of my bookmarks but still preserving them, I shall share them here.

No order of importance is implied, of course. This is just how they were sorted by Firefox.

• explainshell.com was forwarded by e-mail to me a few days ago, and that’s a keeper. I work at less than 1024×768, so its not as useful because some of the information gets spilled off screen, but I can visit that on an alternate machine and still enjoy it.
• For what it’s worth, most of the screenshots I share are done in the framebuffer specifically to show a console-only environment. These days inside X, I’m enthralled by Musca again, mostly because it has sane defaults, is easy to configure and manages screen space with razorlike precision. Again, important at 1024×768.
• Before you trundle off to the nearest Linux forum du jour and ask the tired old chestnut about which hardware works perfectly with kernel 7.103.21, stop off at h-node.org and see if the answer is available already. You’ll be doing yourself, and all of us, a favor. Me? I don’t need that. I just buy stuff and random and then hammer it into working condition.
• Also in the graphical desktop department, it’s true I am responsible for cold sweats and recurring nightmares by concocting a dead-ringer XP Classic desktop a few years ago. For a Luna-esque version, you could start with XFCE and a few small adjustments, seeing as the RedmondXP theme is readily available. Start here for hours of torture — I mean, visual enjoyment on your Linbox. Hey, while you’re at it, why not go all the way. …
• I’m also responsible for some degree of proselytizing for the Church of Rtorrent, and not but a day ago someone clever pointed out that through a few minor configuration changes, it is in fact possible to hotwire rtorrent to send specific files to specific folders, and watch others for similarly organized torrents. Now whether you love rtorrent or hate it, that’s worth a little applause even just for effort.
• Oddly enough, even at this late date I still get notes (particularly from Astute Reader Number One) saying they enjoyed the vitriolic rants against the general state of the world that occasionally populated the old blog. I have no reply to that, but prefer to detour fans of that ilk to X11 Must Die, which is a good read on an almost-daily basis. Plus one point for DebianJoe for being an sc fan.
• I kick myself sometimes for relying too much on unetbootin, particularly because recent versions have resulted in a lot of non-bootin’ flash drives. I am particularly stumped as to whether the problem is with me, with syslinux or with the unetbootin project on the whole, but either way I should really be stepping through the process and building them myself. It’s not hard, as this Crunchbang thread explains. “I will work harder,” Boxer said. …
• Debian is so fat. So overweight. So much a burden on my system. So incredibly bloated and obese. It’s a porker. It’s a blob. It’s cruft on the megalithic scale. Why else would there be a wiki page entitled “Reduce Debian“?
• My last stabs at Twitter/identi.ca clients fell flat, but according to some, it’s possible to update a Twitter account with just curl. No need for an intermediary program. You can tell me if it’s possible or not; personally I view Twitter as a detriment to a personality. If I meet you in person and you tell me your Twitter account (it has happened), I’ll likely regard you as an inferior creature for the rest of our mutual acquaintance. That, or just assume you suffered a brain injury as a child.
• If you’re trapped in Windows and there is no possibility of escape, but you love your Tux as much as the next geek, you might want to look into unxutils, which supposedly builds some core Unix tools to run in a Windows environment. I can’t vouch for them and it may be that the project is way out of date, but it’s worth a try. If nothing else, you could avoid that error that crops up when you type `ls` in a Windows CMD box. For the hard-core late-model DOS-fanatic crew only, take a spin past this catalogue.
• Finally, just for the record, it is apparently possible to update Windows through almost every version from DOS5.5 through Windows 7, without losing most basic function. Or at least in a virtual machine. I realize that’s an odd link for a Linux software blog, but I like to think that maybe, just maybe, there’s an old computer out there somewhere with the potential to be used, and if it takes a jump from 5.5 to Win3.1 to do it, I’m a fan.

I think that’s it for now. That’s a very random collection of stuff, but at least now I can trim down my bookmarks.

#### ispell: With this, yes you can

Spellcheckers are in no short supply at that console, and we’ve already seen aspell in action. ispell is similar, even if the interface is a little different.

By comparison, ispell seems a bit meticulous. One of the reasons I liked aspell was because it showed a list of alternatives by default.

As best I can tell, if you want to look up a word, not only will you need another package like words, you’ll have to ask ispell specifically to poke around for it.

ispell does show you what it thinks is the right word, and it may be that there are several that are similar.

As I understand it, ispell has better support for European languages, but I can’t attest to that. Check and see what you think.

Aside from that there’s not much that will surprise you about ispell. It behaves much as you might expect, and depending on your personal preferences, it might be more useful than the competition.

Tagged: checker, spell

### Justin Taylor

#### Why the New Book by David Wells Is Different and How It Relates to His Earlier Works

In a new interview with Crossway, David Wells talks about his new book, God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-Love of God Reorients Our World. I recommend reading it to get a good feel for his book and what he’s seeking to accomplish.

It may help to put the book in context of his previous works.

Kevin Vanhoozer refers to David Wells’ magnum opus as “Courage Quintet.” By this he is referring to his four-volume work, plus a summary and update volume) published by Eerdmans from 1993-2008.

Although it is not widely recognized as such, Wells conceived of this series of volumes as an unconventional setting forth of theology:

1. Prolegomena to culture, so that our theology isn’t swallowed up by it: No Place for Truth, or, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? (1993)

2. The doctrine of God: God in the Wasteland: Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams (1994)

3. The human being as created and fallen: Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision (1998)

4. The person and work of Christ: Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World (2006)

This was summed up, then, in his last published book, The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-Lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Post-Modern World (2008).

These books were widely read, by both fans and critics. No Place for Truth was named Book of the Year in Christianity Today‘s Theology and Biblical Studies category when it was published.

WORLD Magazine included it in their top 100 books of the Millennium.

Albert Mohler has described the book as “the bomb that exploded on the evangelical playground.”

Cornelius Plantinga Jr. says that “Like that of Solzhenitsyn, David Wells’s cultural criticism will be read a century from now.” What strikes Plantinga most about Wells’s books, he writes, “is their desperately deep sense of loss. David Wells’s books are a prophet’s keys of the heart.” This is why Vanhoozer calls him “the weeping prophet of contemporary evangelicalism.”

In this new book, Wells explains that “some critics have complained that [these earlier five books] contain no answers to the church’s current parlous state. The criticism has some merit. In my mind, I assumed an answer to the dilemmas unearthed and was not always as explicit in setting this out as I should have been.”

This book is his answer—not merely a lament of where we have gone wrong but his positive vision of how we should go forward.

Wells argued that the church must recover an understanding of and encounter with the holy-love of God: his holiness bound to his love. And yet we often struggle to hold the paradox together.

Some of us tend to emphasize his holiness attributes (justice, righteousness, wrath) and others his love attributes (patience, goodness, kindness).

Historically the Church has tended to emphasize holiness at the expense of love (leading to moralism, Pharisaism) or love at the expense of holiness (liberalism, universalism). But Wells argues:

The deepest truths about God’s character are not simply about his holiness, or his love, but about his holiness in its bond to his love, the one expressing the other, each deepening the paradox of their belonging to each other, of belonging together. Each in relation to the other leads us into the glory of who God is in his character.

May the Lord would use this book to encourage and edify God’s people as they seek to live before our holy and loving Lord.

#### 5 Theological Errors of the Prosperity “Gospel”

David Jones of Southeastern Seminary (who co-authored with Russell Woodbridge Health, Wealth, and Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? has a helpful summary on five doctrines the prosperity gospel teachers erroneously advance.

Here’s an outline:

1. The Abrahamic covenant is a means to material entitlement.

2. Jesus’ atonement extends to the “sin” of material poverty.

3. Christians give in order to gain material compensation from God.

4. Faith is a self-generated spiritual force that leads to prosperity.

5. Prayer is a tool to force God to grant prosperity.

Read the whole thing here for a brief analysis of each doctrine with quotations from the advocates.

### DarwinCatholic

#### Universal Destination of Goods

My mother-in-law was taking the bus up from Cincinnati to come help with the bed-resting MrsDarwin for the next week. With the Columbus area getting 4-6 inches of snow, both the bus and I had arrived late, but within minutes of each other. MegaBus doesn't stop at a terminal, however, they pull off at the side of the street in Downtown Columbus and discharge their passengers on the sidewalk. So for ten minutes my mother-in-law and I were wandering up and down the sidewalks in the wind driven snow trying to find each other in the vicinity of the Nationwide building.

We found each other and shivered out way back to the car. She'd had a long wait for the bus in the cold and wind on the Cincinnati side too. I turned up the heater as we drove home, and, finding out that she hadn't had any lunch, pulled off at the first Panera we could find to get her some hot soup.

It was an unfamiliar part of town and I turned into the wrong parking lot and had to circle the block. On the corner, as I waited for the light, a forlorn figure in a big old blue parka was standing on the corner and approached the window -- a woman who looked around fifty who asked if I had any change, claiming she needed seven dollars to get into a homeless shelter. I'm a cynic about these things: I didn't believe that the homeless shelter charged or her claim that she hadn't eaten in three days. But I'd been out in the driving snow a while before and I was willing to hand someone money to get them out of the cold for a bit. A ten dollar bill was what I had in my wallet, so I gave her that, thinking that if that were a lot for a panhandler maybe it made up for all the similar people I'd refused to make eye contact with in less inhospitable weather.

She hurried off down the street, and by the time we'd parked behind the Panera and gone in ourselves, she was seated inside with a big guy in a nice track suit who had a large duffle bag on the floor next to him. She smiled nervously and waved to us as we ordered. The guy was talking to her and gesturing towards the outside. We'd been scammed, I figured. A team effort with the more sympathetic one out in the snow, or some guy with a hold over this lady was making her collect money for them to split. Who knows. But I'd given her the money in good faith, and I figured at least she was in from the cold for a while, enjoying a coffee. After a while they left together.

We finished our soup and coffee and left as well. I let my mother-in-law into the car, went around to my side, and saw the smashed window, back driver side. Her bags gone and my work backpack too.

We looked at the tracks in the snow. There were very few. Probably someone pulled another car up next to it for shelter, threw the bags quickly in their car, and drove off. I talked to an owner of a nearby shop. "That homeless woman was out here again," he said. "This stuff always happens when she's here." Who knows. And in a sense it doesn't matter. Someone did it, and in the end whether it's someone I handed money to or someone completely unrelated doesn't matter much since either way it's someone I don't know and who sees me as a source of a few items of disappointing value.

I called the Columbus police department and was informed that unless someone had been injured or I knew the name and address of the person who had broken into the car, I need to use an automated system to file the report. So we drove home, with the wind and snow thrumbing through the back seat as we reached highway speeds.

It took a few hours of phone calls to deal with the various issues relating to being robbed. My mother-in-law got her cards stopped -- though not before whoever stole our bags had used her debit card to buy \$25 of gas at a UDF. I reported my work laptop stollen via the IT helpdesk at work. The dispatcher took it stoically.

"Happens a lot," he said. "Though usually in airports. We'll get you a replacement by Monday, or at least a loaner. At least they didn't get your iphone or someone they could actually get money for. Those corporate laptops don't even sell for a hundred bucks at a pawn shop."

This morning I called around a found a place that can replace the window today.

The things that have me feeling low aren't the cost of the window or the few slightly valuable things (work laptop, my own portable hard drive) which were taken. Money got them and money will replace them. A few hours of my wages will go for paying for the loss, and the people who took them are surely a lot worse off than I am -- though what they took did them little enough good.

What has me feeling low is the different values assigned to things taken by us and by those who took them. My mother-in-law's prayer book, with little notes and pictures of many years tucked away in it. The two slim notebooks full of four months worth of research notes for the novel which were in my backpack. The rosary that a friend had given me years ago, which I kept in my backpack but used less often than I should.

These are things that meant a lot to us -- not in money but in thoughts and memories and history -- which have no value to those who took them. I doubt they got a second glance before being thrown away.

In the wake of the pope's recent exhortation, various fellow Catholic geeks have been arguing about topics like the universal destination of goods and the non-absolute nature of private property. It's one of these things that people like to argue about in the abstract: For the starving man taking the loaf of bread is not theft, because it's owed to him.

I'm not hear to say that's false, but I do think that when people get too caught up in thinking about the theoretical deserving poor and the injustices of society and the situations in which something we'd normally think of as wrong might be okay, it's easy to forget the real social disruption that's caused when one person decides to take what is another person's. Our loss was much greater than the thieves' gain. So much of what was taken had value to us but none to them, or even if it had value to them had much less than it did to us. That dead loss is the result of one person taking from another -- a deliberate rent in the social order that involves more than the transfer of value from one person to another. Value is lost. Trust is lost.

"We should pray for whoever did it," my mother-in-law said last night. It was surprisingly easy to do. They gained so little. They are so lost.

### Inconsolation

#### ised: Compact power for calculating

I suppose I should not be surprised that every console calculator I encounter is quite powerful and perhaps even complex.

After all, what use would a dull, punch-button calculator be, beyond balancing your checkbook?

ised is no exception, although it seems to take a different approach from some others seen thus far.

Borrowing from the man page, ised works with arrays and returns arrays as output. ised follows calculations in the order they appear, and without any array, ised just works as a command-line calculator.

Superficially, ised seems to stick to one-line of calculation like concalc, whereas some other calculators might trap the console to run their own environment — a la bc or calc.

The fun part is watching ised generate number patterns, like strings of primes, or Fibonacci sequences.

ised can handle some very complex strings as well as a lot of higher-order mathematical functions, meaning it could be preferable to some other command-line calculators.

Depending on your project, ised might be useful. Of course, it could also balance your checkbook for you.

Tagged: calculator

### Text Patterns

#### on Colin Wilson

At some point in my senior year of high school I told my parents that I wanted to go to college, and they shrugged. It wasn’t a choice they had much sympathy with, and they were not inclined to offer any financial support — indeed, they were probably unable: my mother’s job was not a high-paying one and my father worked irregularly. Since none of us knew anything about scholarships or student loans, we ultimately agreed that if I paid for my university education they would allow me to continue living at home for a while longer. This was a good thing for me, since I was only sixteen.

Tuition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham was low enough that I could work in a bookstore about 25 hours a week — full-time during breaks and over the summer — and keep my head above water, but I was always tired, and after a while my grades started to slip. So I took a year away from school and just worked at the bookstore and read. In those days I wrote the title of every book I read in small neat letters in the squares of a Sierra Club Calendar, which I would pick up in early January when the unsold calendars were deeply discounted, and at the end of my year away from school I counted them up and discovered that I had read 250 books.

One of the writers I discovered that year was Colin Wilson, England’s very own self-educated bohemian existentialist, who has just died at the age of 82. Much of the atmosphere of Wilson’s life and writing is captured in the photograph above, and when I encountered that atmosphere I (briefly) found it intoxicating. Wilson’s interest in the occult led me to other occult writers — Carlos Casteñeda, predictably enough in that period, but also some weirder and more obscure figures like the so-called T. Lobsang Rampa — but all that left me untouched. Though I am a convinced Christian, I do not have a religious or even a “spiritual” temperament, for which, when I think about what I was reading then, I am thankful. Nor could I take seriously Wilson’s image of himself as a man who radiated such powerful psycho-sexual energy that women (like the woman on the sofa in the photo above, I suppose) were helpless before him.

But it was the Wilson who slept in parks at night and read all day in the British Library that captured my imagination. Wilson’s first and most famous book was called The Outsider, and like him I felt myself an outsider to the life of the mind: given my family’s relative poverty and indifference to education, and given what seemed to me the dreary dutifulness of most of my professors, I had no chance of intellectual achievement unless I taught myself, and since I had few principles by which I might be guided, I fell back on the one that I knew: omnivorous reading.

I don’t remember one word or one thought from the Colin Wilson books I read that year, but it may be that, for all his blustery self-assertion, his under-educated overconfidence, he had more influence on my intellectual formation than I know. Certainly I have retained all my life a sense of outsidedness to the institutions I have participated in, and a somewhat perverse determination to take my own path, especially when it’s one that wiser and more prudent people assure me I should not take. Maybe I need to thank Colin Wilson for that.

## Larry Hurtado on the “Jesus’ Wife” Fragment

A few weeks ago I asked here what further news there was about the so-called “Jesus’ wife” fragment announced to the world in late summer 2012. Since then, despite direct inquiry to Prof. King (the email address listed for her [is] no longer valid) and asking several scholars who were in various ways directly involved in the analysis of the item last year, it has proven impossible to get anything further than the last notice about it given in early 2013, that it was undergoing further “tests”. (How long does it take to conduct such tests, after all?)

We do know that the article on the fragment by Prof. King on the fragment announced as forthcoming in Harvard Theological Review was put on hold, and, so far as one can tell, seems now likely permanently so (i.e., it isn’t going to appear). It also seems that the TV programme in preparation last year has been cancelled (so far as one can tell, again, without any formal notice given).

## Michael Bird Reflects on the ETS Conference and Inerrancy

I had a wonderful time at ETS/IBR/SBL in Baltimore. Many highlights for me, but I thought I’d reflect on the conference theme of ETS.

The panel discussion on the book Five Views of Biblical Inerrancy was an absolute hoot! Sadly, Kevin Vanhoozer couldn’t be there, but he gave a pre-recorded video presentation. It was left to Al Mohler, Peter Enns, John Franke, and myself  to strike up a conversation.

## Dan Wallace Argues for a Bibliology Grounded in Christology

The center of all theology, of the entirety of the Christian faith, is Christ himself. The Christ-event—in particular his death and resurrection—is the center of time: everything before it leads up to it; everything after it is shaped by it. If Christ were not God in the flesh, he would not have been raised from the dead. And if he were not raised from the dead, none of us would have any hope. My theology grows out from Christ, is based on Christ, and focuses on Christ.

Years ago, I would have naïvely believed that all Christians could give their hearty amens to the previous paragraph. This is no longer the case; perhaps it never was. There are many whose starting point and foundation for Christian theology is bibliology...I don’t start there, however. I have come to believe that the incarnation is both more central than inspiration and provides a methodological imperative for historical investigation of the claims of the Bible.

## The Radical Christian Approach to Poverty and Riches

For the sake of love and righteousness, Christians have the privilege of helping heal the breach between rich and poor. Against arrogant paternalism and resentful envy, we can shine the light of the gospel to illuminate the truth about what it means to be human. If all of us are made to be in relationship with God and to represent God, then, as believers, we belong to each other as spiritual brothers and, as human beings, we belong to each other as neighbors and citizens with a shared nature and a shared community. This is a message of love and hope that our culture desperately needs.

________________________

Extra-Curricular Activities is a weekly roundup of stories on biblical interpretation, theology, and issues where faith and culture meet. We found each story interesting, thought-provoking, challenging, or useful in some way – but we don't necessarily agree with or endorse every point in every story.

If you have any comments on these stories, we welcome you to share them here. We hope you enjoy!

–The Editors of Koinonia Blog

# Introduction

When we set out to build GOV.UK, the new home for UK Government information and services, we decided up front that we wanted an architecture that would allow us to build very focussed applications that did one thing well. We didn't have a clear idea of how our product or our teams would develop and we wanted to keep our options open. And we wanted to encourage a culture of experimentation where people could easily plug in whichever HTTP-fluent tool helped them most effectively meet whichever user need they were working on.

# Flexibility costs

Unfortunately that flexibility comes with costs and we quickly found ourselves tangled in the problem of how to dispatch incoming requests to the right application when nothing but the full path indicated which application that was.

For example www.gov.uk/bank-holidays goes to a "calendars" application, while www.gov.uk/calculate-your-maternity-pay is served by "smart answers" and something needs to make sure those applications receive those requests and can return responses to their users.

Over the past couple of years we've adopted a few approaches - initially a ruby-based proxy, then some varnish configuration, then a scala based dynamic reverse proxy, then some varnish configuration, and now, finally a solution we believe is going to stick. Since you're reading this here you'll not be surprised to here it's written in Go.

# Sharing the details

Quite a few of us had been playing with Go for a while before this project (I for one kept showing up having spent an evening reimplementing some part of our stack or other) but this was the first time we actually followed through with thorough testing, monitoring, a deployment mechanism and all those vital details.

We've just begun a series of posts on our technology team's blog going into the details of that router. We'll be covering how we started, how we decided it was right for us, how we tested it and how we deployed it. You can find those posts at gdstechnology.blog.gov.uk/tag/router/

### Well, I'm Back

#### Why I Don't Worry About Global Warming (Much)

I don't worry about global warming or any other threat whose most important effects are several decades out. Technology is going to change everything by then: either we'll kill ourselves in more immediate ways, or at least destroy most of civilization (which would do a lot to reduce carbon emissions!) --- or we'll make a lot more technological progress, probably developing brain uploading, strong AI, or other game-changing capabilities we can't forsee yet. Probably the former.

People who worry about what will happen when the sun burns out in five billion years are the worst.

#### One Day The Luddites Will Be Right

Whenever a person proposes that technological advances might reduce human job opportunities in the long term, someone responds with the Luddite Argument: "the Luddites thought the Industrial Revolution would destroy their jobs, and they were wrong, so you're wrong too" [1]. Some go further and explain that the Luddites were wrong because technological productivity improvements are balanced by finding new uses for human labour. Wikipedia has a good summary. However, it seems obvious to me that at some point technological advance will --- or at least could --- be a net destroyer of jobs. All you have to do is imagine a world where robots can do everything a human can do, at lower cost than maintaining a human life. Clearly, there are no economically rational job opportunities for humans in that state [2], so at some point of technological advance short of that state, there's net job destruction.

The only question is whether and when we will reach that point. It seems inevitable we'll reach it unless something halts technological progress or some very strong flavor of Cartesian dualism holds. Economic arguments that human labour will still be worth something at that point are just wrong.

[1] Actually the Luddites were right; the Industrial Revolution did destroy their jobs, and drove them into misery. But they were wrong in that they did not forsee the net benefits to future generations.

[2] There could be sinecures to keep humans occupied, but they would not be economically motivated.

### unethical blogger

#### Airborne ass-kickings

We begin our descent towards Santa Rosa, lined up for runway 32 with strong headwinds and a warning of moderate turbulence from the tower.

The wind speed is variable, a fancy way to say "gusting." The air gusting over the wing is making it somewhat difficult to maintain a proper 500 foot per minute descent.

I'm not thrilled with the weather, but the sky has been gorgeous, and a strong headwind isn't that much trouble so long as you have plenty of fuel to compensate.

Descending through 3,500ft and something suddenly shoves my tail out to the right. In addition to kicking my tail out, the gust of air pushes us upward. I've flown in what is classified as "light-to-moderate" turbulence, but this patch called my bluff. I bank the plane, nose down a little, and politely ask the engine for more power. Entering a climbing left turn, I tell my passengers "we're not going to Santa Rosa today, sorry"

In the car on the way home after the flight, I went through the flight over and over in my head asking that most fundamental question "did I make the right call to take the flight?"

The weather was scheduled to be windy, my briefer advised me to expecting gusting after lunch, but otherwise the skies were looking great, and except a 20 knot headwind, everything lined up for a chilly, but otherwise reasonable flight.

On the way to Santa Rosa, I filed a PIREP from about 4,700ft. We were experiencing light turbulence, but otherwise the 44 knot winds were all we were fighting against. On our return flight, those incredible headwinds became delightful tailwinds, shoving us southeast-bound at nearly 130 knots.

PIREPs filed (mine is the green "47" one)

As we approached the northern end of the San Francisco Bay, NorCal Approach cleared me to proceed direct to the Coliseum at 2,500 ft. I begin our descent from 5,500. Over Hilltop Mall, NorCal advises me that they've received reports of moderate turbulence down the corridor from Oakland to south of Hayward. The skies over Oakland tend to be a little choppy during a good day as the earth heats up, I struggle to imagine what "moderate" means in this case since "moderate" in Santa Rosa sent me packing.

The current conditions at Hayward aren't too favorable either, higher winds with some gusts close to 20 knots.

I'm a frustrated and stressed from fighting the waves of air with 738VU.

"NorCal Approach, 738VU, you can go ahead and cancel our Charlie clearance, we're going to divert to the east and fly down by Walnut Creek and Danville"

I turn left towards the San Pablo Resevoir and ponder my options.

Over Danville, I've made up my mind. Hayward is not happening right now. I pick up the current conditions at Livermore, which are windy, but not gusty. I can do windy.

"NorCal Approach, Seven-three-eight Victor-uniform, diverting to Livermore."

I "enter the pattern" at 3500ft, technically a few thousand feet above it, resolving to hold my altitude as long as can. My pilot philosophy whenever I'm in less-than-ideal conditions is always "I can fix too high, I can't fix too low."

"Livermore Tower, Seven-three-eight Victor-uniform, I'm going to extend my downwind to lose some altitude and then make a long straight-in approach."

Tower acknowledges, resequences me, and clears me as a number two for 25R. The big runway. If I'm going to battle this wind, I might need to go long, so I want some extra runway just in case.

Flaps only out to 20 degrees for the long final, I arm wrestle with 8VU's control column to maintain the proper attitude and my centerline. Less than 40ft from the runway, I level the nose and the headwind helps me bleed off my extra speed. Tap-dancing on the rudder pedals to maintain centerline, the right wheel quietly touches the runway, followed by the left. A landing so gentle, I wasn't sure I was entirely on the runway until the nose wheel settled.

Airplane shut down and secured, we scurry off into the cold to get something to eat.

On the ground I brief my friends on what happens if the wind doesn't get any more favorable, explaining that a taxicab is a lot cheaper than tempting fate. That's one of the benefits of diverting to Livermore, the weather is sufficiently different to be a viable airport to divert to, but close enough to take a cab back to Hayward if necessary.

Brunch conversation predictably meanders through aviation, football and work. All the while, I find myself periodically checking the weather my phone.

Hundred dollar bacon and eggs gurgling around in our stomachs, we make the frigid walk back to the field.

After consulting with Keith (who owns California Airways) and my instructor regarding the current conditions at the field, it looks like in the previous hour Livermore and Hayward had switched places. It was now windy at Hayward, but that was it. Meanwhile Livermore's conditions had changed such that the wind was 16 knots, gusting to 26!

Fortunately for our adventure, the wind's direction was straight down the runway.

Pre-flight and runup complete, we taxi onto the runway, squaring off with the wind. Unafraid of a headwind, 738VU lifts off with a short take-off roll, followed by a bit of a shoving match between me at the wind. Nothing a little dance number on the rudder pedals can't fix.

The story is largely the same en route to Hayward, holding onto altitude, mashing rudder pedals, and so on. After receiving the clearance for 28R (the short runway), I request 28L to make sure I've got enough room to float if necessary and start lining up.

20 degrees of flaps in, I center up and argue with the cross-wind as we descend towards the asphalt. At around 500ft I realize that my glideslope in this headwind is going to put me short of the runway and add some throttle. Descent arrested, we cross Hesperian Blvd, receiving the "Hesperian Bump", a low-level thermal from a big asphalt intersection right below approach for Hayward, which gives me a short-approach boost every time I land on 28L.

Power comes all the way out, I flare, bleeding off excess energy allowing the wheels to ever-so-gently touch down. Considering my passengers have only seen one other landing of mine, I had to be sufficiently impressed by the landing on their behalf.

After detailing the flight to my wife at home afterwards, I mention that the flight was definitely fun, and full of gorgeous views, but I feel like somebody beat me up.

With what I know now, I would have scrubbed the flight. Presented with the information from this morning, I believe I would make the same decision and still go flying.

Leaving yourself options, and being able to re-evaluate and react to change are skills absolutely required to fly an airplane. METARs and current conditions are historical data, forecasts can be inaccurate and are not comprehensive. At the end of the day it comes down to the pilot, the airplane, the environment and what you decide to do with them.

Clear winter skies are excellent to fly in, so here's hoping next weekend is smoother.

#### Linkage: Make Love, Not Porn

I’ll occasionally watch some “couples” hardcore movies (Batman XXX flopped recently, BTW) with the Mrs., but rarely watch on my own.  I’ve seen TedTalks and it’s not a pretty site for young men watching porn these days (if you, or a loved one is a porn hound, please watch… or even if you have younger boys – presenter says average boy watches internet porn by age 10).

Anyway, I was watching Netflix tonight and came across the Make Love, Not Porn (click through the arrows on the right of each page) website.  Some pretty good stuff here, very even handed, about how reality differs from porn.

### assertTrue( )

I've looked at a few stats on my 200,000+ Twitter followers, and some of them are kind of interesting.

I've always wondered how often my people are actually online, using Twitter. This is a difficult thing to quantify, but thanks to tweepi.com, I now know:
• 1,080 people (out of 207,000) tweeted in the last minute
• 2,690 tweeted in the last 5 minutes
• 104,400 in the last day
• 164,980 in the last month
The numbers are tricky, because we can't simply say that in any given 5-minute period, about 2,700 people (1.3% of 207,000 total followers) will be online, because there might be users online who don't tweet in those 5 minutes. The "online" part is suspect, too, since many people set their tweets for scheduled/automated push offline. Nevertheless, in a rough qualitative sense I think it's clear that only a very small percentage of users can be found online at a given moment. This is consistent with half my followers tweeting in a given 24-hour period (an implied average rate of 2.1% per hour; 50% divided by 24).

How many followers do my followers have?
• 36620 (18%) have less than 200 followers
• 79050 (39%) have less than 500 followers
• 119165 (59%) have fewer than 1000 followers
• median 725 followers
If you have 7,500 followers or more, you're in the 90th percentile. I don't know if my followers are representative of Twitter as a whole, but it sounds about right to me that 90% of Twitter users have fewer than 7,500 followers.

So, but. Twitter users tend to follow more people than they have following them. The median number of followees is 1,328. Thus, it's not atypical that a person has 725 followers, but follows 1,328 people. This, again, squares with everyday observation.

Who are my top followers in terms of Follower Count? Here are the top ten:

 Twitter Name Followers Who is this? @BarackObama 40324316 President, U.S. @hootsuite 5528380 Twitter app. @yokoono 4681884 The one and only. @tonyhsieh 2842895 CEO of Zappos. @Number10gov 2508900 David Cameron, UK Prime Minister. @TweetDeck 2485270 Twitter app. @firefox 2260635 The browser I use most. @ElNacionalWeb 1767016 Venezuelan newspaper. @thebenlandis 1657789 Songwriter. @leopoldolopez 1614579 Leopoldo López, Venezuelan politician and economist.

Of these, I was surprised to find I actually follow only four myself.

I took a look at the Twitter users with whom I have a "mutual" relationship (i.e., where we both follow each other). Recall that Twitter relationships can be outbound, inbound, or mutual.

I have around 97,000 mutuals. To get an idea of who they are, I did some keyword searches on the user's bios. Here are the (interesting, I think) results:

 Keyword in Bio Number of People writer 19822 author 16725 music[ian] 10560 market[er,ing] 7800 blogg[er,ing] 5421 photograph[er,y] 4813 editor 3712 actor 3064 coach 2899 Christ[ian] 2383 CEO 2067 coffee 1622 comedian 1538 junkie 1522 actress 1201 comedy 1083 novelist 978 EMPTY (no bio) 952 screenwriter 973 chocolate 790 literary agent 71

The tricky thing here is that people don't always state their occupation (nor their interests) in their bios. For example, comedians' bios are often one-liners. (Wait. This is Twitter. Every bio is a one-liner. Never mind . . .) An actor might give the name of a show, or an imdb.com URL, or just leave the bio blank. An editor might say "I work with words" or "I translate English into English." Thus the above numbers shouldn't be taken too literally.

Why do I follow so many people? Isn't it hard to keep track of their tweets? I use lists a lot, in order to see just what comedians are tweeting, just what authors are tweeting, etc. Still, it's a lot to keep track of. On the other hand, when major news hits, I often learn about it in seconds. If Fukushima melts down, I'll know right away.

Conversely, if I need advice on something, or a research tip, I get it instantly. Once, I was trying to find out what some of the worst/funniest, most poorly conceived children's toys are. I posted a tweet asking for help. Within seconds, I got the info I was looking for.

But the real reason I follow so many people is, I consider my Twitter contacts to be a much more valuable Rolodex than, say, my LinkedIn contact list. I'm not in constant contact with my 500+ "contacts" on LinkedIn. Most of them, I haven't touched base with in years. Some are dead. My Twitter followers are very much alive (I routinely purge accounts that haven't tweeted in the last 90 days), and there for me. Many of them have reached out to me with a request; I always try to help. When I reach out, they help. It's a great system. I have thousands of people I can reach either via a public tweet, or via an e-mail that begins with "We follow each other on Twitter."

Recently, one of my followers (a movie producer) asked to see a copy of my screenplay. She read it, liked it, and is now anxious to show it to a colleague who executive-produced a recent major (well over \$150 million box office gross) motion picture. This is the kind of thing that would not have happened for me without following a great many people on Twitter.

That's my excuse. What's yours?

### Doc Searls Weblog

#### Grace Apgar, 1912-2013

Aunt Grace — my father’s younger sister — died yesterday at her home in Maine. She was 101 years old, and in good health until just a couple days ago. Last month, in fact, she flew to San Diego to visit one of her granddaughters.

Grace often said she wanted to live to 108, like her mom, Ethel F. (née Englert) Searls. We should all be so lucky as either one.

Grace was a lifelong artist, best known for her ceramic Toby Mugs, which she made in the basement studio of the Apgar family home alongside Big Brook in Marlboro, New Jersey. She and Uncle Archie moved there around the turn of the ’50s, with their three kids, George, Ron and Sue. The house was first built as a mill in the early 1700s and had been through many incarnations afterwards. Archie continued to work on improving it through the rest of his life. Same went for the land, which the family also farmed for many years.

When Grace finally “retired” a few years ago, after the age of 90, she didn’t go south like so many seniors. Instead she moved to Edgecomb, Maine. There she continued to maintain a vigorous and independent life.

To help remember her, I’ve put together a couple photo sets on Flickr: one of shots throughout her life, and one of her 100th birthday party last year. The former are mostly from her own photo collection, which I’ve been scanning and posting over the last several years. Some are of Grace, some are of her relatives and friends, and some are mine that she’s commented on, as “gsapgar.” She was the last person whose approval I still craved.

I’ll miss her smarts, her humor, her hospitality, her generosity, and her loving presence in the world. She was as fine a Mom, aunt, grandma, great-grandma and friend as anybody could wish for.

We’ll all miss her.

## Today’s Workout:

Ideally Teams of 4, will completely the entire WOD in order:

3 rounds
15 Team Back Squats (45/25) each person has there own plate for the squats
15 Team Burpees over plate (will show you in class)

4 rounds of
15 partner dead lifts (255/155) team will have two barbells each
15 unbroken single dutch jump ropes (2 people will jump per round together)

5 rounds (teams will have 2 wall balls each)
15 Team Wall ball Sit ups (pass a wall ball back and forth, each team will have two pairs working at the same time)
15 Team Wall Balls (partners must do the squat together and do the wall ball shot out of the squat in sequence)

Shirt orders and payments are due by Monday, December 9th. You can order yours today: on the black board at the gym. or email Eric@crossfitnaptown.com. Please specify size, quantity, style A, B, or C and how you want to pay

### Kevin DeYoung

#### Some Doctrines are Worth Dying For

Martin Luther arguing with Erasmus as to the centrality of the will’s bondage to sin, and therefore the corresponding glory of God’s grace:

Let me tell you, and. . . . let it sink deep into your mind, that I am concerned with a serious, vital, and eternal verity, yea such a fundamental one that it ought to be maintained and defended at the cost of life itself, even though the whole world should not only be thrown into turmoil and fighting but shattered in chaos and reduced to nothing. (Quoted in Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform 1250-1550)

Some doctrines are worth dying for. The truth of the gospel ought to be more precious to us than the tranquility of the world.

### The Tech Report - News

#### Friday night topic: Awkward moments

What is one of your most embarrassing or awkward moments? Discuss.

### 512 Pixels

#### Steven and Stephen »

This week, I joined Steven Aquino on The Accessibility Show to talk about the iPad, Siri and stuttering, OS X's accessibility features and Touch ID. My thanks to him for having me on the podcast.

## December 06, 2013

### The American Conservative » Articles

#### Remembering Jim Morrison

Addled, dressed in black leather, Jimmy Fallon had all the mannerisms down: he swayed as he held onto the microphone stand, head lolling on his shoulders during the instrumental breaks; his eyes alternated between passion and oblivion. He had the vocal style down, too—the semi-croon that could ascend to an alarming shriek. Adding to the effect, the band playing behind him were dead ringers for the dead singer’s lost mates: the Doors, the seminal sixties band fronted by Jim Morrison. But instead of evoking dark psychic worlds, Fallon’s Morrison sang the lyrics from the PBS program Reading Rainbow. He inserted poetry, as Morrison often did, into the song’s instrumental section—but instead of “The Graveyard Poem” or “Horse Latitudes,” he recited from Goodnight Moon and other nuggets of childhood literacy.

Few rock singers made themselves so ripe for parody as James Douglas Morrison, who would have turned an ungodly 70 this week if he hadn’t helped charter rock’s 27 Club in Paris in 1971, where he died from a likely drug overdose. Morrison’s Doors compatriots—the guitarist, Robbie Krieger; the drummer, John Densmore; and the keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, who died earlier this year—were inventive musicians, but no one doubts the source of the group’s enduring fascination. Sixties rock was filled with charismatic front men, from Mick Jagger to Jimi Hendrix, but none could carry Morrison’s water when it came to conveying darkness and danger. Morrison saw himself as a shaman—he believed the soul of a dead Indian had passed into his when he was a child—and he performed often with his eyes closed, apparently trying to summon the muse.

Or maybe he was just having difficulty standing up. Morrison’s energies were slowly drained away by his ruinous alcohol and drug abuse, which worsened over time and transformed an articulate and sensitive soul into a drunken, raving creep who mistreated everyone dear to him and enclosed himself within a fathomless despair. His descent alienated his bandmates and eventually made the Doors unviable on stage—not only because a gonzo Morrison could barely perform, but also because, in 1969, plastered on booze and whatnot, he caused a near riot at a performance in Miami in which he allegedly exposed his genitals. A Florida court convicted him of indecent exposure and profanity, and his appeals were pending when he died (Governor Charlie Crist pardoned Morrison posthumously in 2010). If Morrison the poet/shaman has endured in pop culture, so has Morrison the insurrectionist and drunken lout—the embodiment of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Morrison’s fame during his lifetime pales beside the Cult of Jimbo that sprang up after 1971. His grave in Paris’s Père Lachaise Cemetery has to be guarded to protect against defacement, and for a good while some believed that he hadn’t died but had staged his demise—and would, like Christ, return at an hour of his choosing.

Admiral and Jim Morrison, aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard, Jan. 1964. U.S. Navy photo.

The Doors’ first album appeared in January 1967, their sixth and last in April 1971—prolific by today’s standards but par for the course back then, when pop groups were generally expected to release new music every year. On their debut record, widely regarded as their best, the Doors put down a formidable collection of songs: “Break on Through,” “Soul Kitchen,” “Light My Fire,” and “The End.” Listening to it after so many years, I expected to skip over “Light My Fire,” a song I felt I could safely never hear again. But I was surprised by how alive it sounded, especially its long, Coltrane-influenced middle section. Morrison’s youthful yet sepulchral voice is unravaged by the madness that would claim him, and the lyrics (mostly guitarist Krieger’s) blend romantic idealism with morbid urgency: “The time to hesitate is through/No time to wallow in the mire/Try now we can only lose/And our love become a funeral pyre.” The effect was to leave me ruing lost time. Similarly, hearing “The End” again brought me back to my college years, when I listened to the song repeatedly in dorm rooms cluttered with empty beer bottles and the smell of pot smoke. I always felt a shudder when Morrison got to the famous Oedipal section, where he sang of killing his father and coupling with his mother. The song may be a monument to rock music pretension, but it retains a subconscious power that Francis Ford Coppola understood when he used it in the opening montage to Apocalypse Now. Ultimately, “The End” was probably less important for its shattering of taboos than for opening up a space in listeners’ minds apart from parents and other formative influences.

Much of the Doors’ music can’t be divorced from this context of unstructured freedom—and herein stands the barrier for older listeners. Breaking on through, vague as the command was, once seemed essential. The struggle that engages most of my waking hours today is not the attainment of some new consciousness but an existential bargain to delay my surrender until a more auspicious time. Break through? I just want to hold on. Morrison’s voice on the early Doors’ records is haunting in this regard. It conjures an earlier self and the need to achieve a spiritual autonomy above all else.

It must be that gulf between youth and age that made me gravitate, this time around, to the later Doors’ albums, on which the group shifted from its earlier psychedelic sound to a harder blues style. This evolution was also reflected in Morrison’s writing, which became more concrete, and in his singing voice, which slowly degraded as the toll of his suicidal lifestyle began to show. “Blood in the streets it’s up to my ankles/Blood in the streets it’s up to my knee,” he sings on the 1970 “Peace Frog,” one of their best late songs. “Blood on the rise it’s following me.” The song, which shows off all the band members’ muscles, is tough to beat as a testament to late sixties dread.

On the group’s last album, L.A. Woman, the blues orientation becomes most explicit, as does Morrison’s sense of isolation. The album’s anchors are its seven-minute radio classics, “L.A. Woman” and “Riders on the Storm,” both of which play somewhat against type. Rock’s best long song, “L.A. Woman” has served as accompaniment for countless ecstatic road trips, but it’s more desolate than it sounds, while “Riders on the Storm,” though ostensibly about a serial killer, sounds almost hopeful by the end. The emotional core of “L.A. Woman” comes from its famous bridge, in which the last remnants of the Lizard King dissolve into Morrison’s final incarnation, Mr. Mojo Risin’, an anagram he made out of the letters of his name that resonates with “Got My Mojo Working,” an old blues classic. It’s difficult not to feel carried away by the song’s tempo changes or by the sense of farewell in Morrison’s vocals.

Though it remains the only musical genre I really understand—years of jazz and classical have netted little—rock music lost its hold on me years ago, and the best I can do now is to enjoy it in a retrospective way. Even that diminished mandate has its limits. Listening to the Doors again reminded me of how the essayist George Trow, before putting on his father’s old fedora, had first to “torture it out of shape so that it can be cleaned of the embarrassment in it.” You can try to reshape an outdated hat; the only thing to do with outgrown music is to put it away, even as you realize that part of yourself goes with it. Morrison himself seemed to recognize the problem. “I’m twenty-seven years old,” he said in the last months of his life. “That is too old to be a rock singer.” He died in Paris on July 3, 1971, thus avoiding the implications of that dilemma.

Jim Morrison’s gravestone in Paris. iconauta / cc

The day before, in Washington, D.C., Admiral George S. Morrison presided over the decommissioning of the USS Bon Homme Richard, an aircraft carrier that saw action in the Pacific dating back to World War II. Morrison had assumed command of the ship on November 22, 1963; his first job was to tell the crew that President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. Now, he was retiring the vessel at another pivotal moment, though he didn’t know it yet. A naval attaché would confirm his son’s death.

Aboard the Bon Homme Richard, on August 2nd and 4th, 1964, the admiral commanded the U.S. fleet when North Vietnamese torpedo boats fired, or seemed to fire, on the U.S. destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. President Lyndon Johnson used these incidents, dubious as we now know the second was, as his pretext to pass the Tonkin Resolution, paving the way for full-scale U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. In March 1965, the first U.S. ground troops arrived in Vietnam. By January 1967, when the Doors’ debut album came out, there were over 400,000.

Carrying critical links to both the Vietnam War and the youth culture that mobilized against it is a lot of karma for one household.

In the Morrison mythology, the admiral plays the part of the standard 1950s dad, too invested in his career and too repressed to understand his artistic son, whose middle name, Douglas, was for Douglas MacArthur. No doubt there is some truth to this portrait, but George S. Morrison’s life was every bit as eventful as his son’s and far more gallant. At 22, he was serving aboard the minelayer Pruitt in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked. During the war, he flew combat missions in the Pacific, and he later earned a Bronze Star in Korea. He became the youngest admiral in the navy in 1966, just as the Doors were astounding audiences at the Whiskey a-Go Go on the Sunset Strip and preparing to record their first album. By then, the admiral and Jim had fallen out, polarized by years of mutual incomprehension and by the father’s harsh dismissal of the son’s career plans. When the Doors made it, Jim told reporters that his parents were dead.

Though he had seemed on a career fast track, the elder Morrison never became a full admiral, and Doors drummer John Densmore believes that Jim’s notorious reputation was a key reason why. The navy, Densmore suggests, was reluctant to give the father of the Doors’ lead singer a higher profile. If the father resented the son for this, his actions did not reflect it. During Jim’s Miami obscenity trial, his defense team admitted a supportive letter from the admiral in which he vouched for his son’s good character while acknowledging that he had barely spoken with him for years. He had followed Jim’s career, he wrote, “with a mixture of amazement and in the case of Miami, great concern and sorrow.” He concluded: “I will always follow his progress with the greatest of interest and concern and stand ready to assist him in any way, should he ask.”

The years passed. The admiral served his final tour in Guam, where he led relief efforts for Vietnamese refugees. He gave no public statements about his increasingly legendary son, even as he saw posters of Jim on the bedroom walls of his friends’ children. He never talked about it with anyone in the Navy, “but the young guys all knew,” said Andy Morrison, Jim’s younger brother. Jim’s fame increased with multiple Doors revivals, first generated by the 1981 Morrison biography, No One Here Gets Out Alive, and then again by the 1991 Oliver Stone film, The Doors. “I don’t think Daddy ever understood the impact Jim had on music,” Jim’s sister Ann said. But the admiral wanted to make some kind of peace. In 1990, he and Ann went to Paris to visit Jim’s grave, where he added a plaque to the gravestone that read: Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy, generally translated from the Greek as “True to his own spirit.”

Jim’s demise in Paris, where he lived his final months, has long been the subject of speculation. What is clear is that Morrison was deeply depressed. He had scrawled repeatedly in his notebooks, “God help me,” and his final entry read, probably coincidentally, “Last words, last words/Out.” Psychoanalyzing the dead is a fool’s errand, but it’s no great leap to assume that some part of a gifted 27-year-old’s inner torment might have to do with the unresolved conflict with his father.

In fact, during Morrison’s time in Paris, the admiral had been on his mind. Alan Ronay, an old college friend, spent weeks with Jim there. “One night we had a conversation that was totally moving,” Ronay told Morrison biographers James Riordan and Jerry Prochnicky. “It was full of affection … Jim telling funny stories about his dad and so on. The stories were really tender and warm. I wish his parents could’ve heard it. I really felt that he’d totally reclaimed himself.” But a few months later, he was dead.

Jim Morrison once described the Doors as “basically a blues-oriented group.” If he never quite got there as a blues vocalist, his profound sense of estrangement lies at the core of that music, which he and the Doors grew closer to on their final albums. For all of its sixties trappings, the Morrison saga owes its pathos to older sources: the classical theme of separation from the father, and the blues motif of feeling like a stranger in the world. Admiral Morrison may have brought the two strands together with his gravestone inscription, True to his spirit. Its origins are Greek, but it can do as an American blues for a father and son who rose to lonely ranks.

Paul Beston is managing editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.

### The Tech Report - News

7 Up

1. Reuters: Supreme Court to decide on patent protections for software
2. Fixing the Nexus 5: With a new version
of Android, Google tackles the camera
3. The Verge: Razer Kazuyo looks set to add to iPhone controller options
4. Linux 3.13-rc3
6. Ars Technica: Mozilla making progress
with Firefox's long journey to multiprocess
7. VentureBeat: Hardware manufacturer Piixl reveals a
Steam Machine that latches to your TV like a jetpack

### Timstafford's Blog

#### Live on FoxNews.com

A short opinion piece I wrote on Evolution-Creation is posted on FoxNews.com. I wrote it at the suggestion of my PR guy for my new book, The Adam Quest.

### Schneier on Security

#### Friday Squid Blogging: Hoax Squid-Like Creature

The weird squid-like creature floating around Bristol Harbour is a hoax.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

### 512 Pixels

#### Apple selling Sharp 4k display »

The new Mac Pro will be able to drive this baby, but many are clamoring for a first-party display from Apple. My guess is that this is just a stopgap.

### Justin Taylor

#### Why Hobby Lobby Matters

An op-ed from Notre Dame’s Rick Garnett, writing in the Los Angeles Times:

The Green family [who owns Hobby Lobby] has not confined its Christian beliefs to Sunday worship, and has instead expressed them through the operation of its Hobby Lobby stores for nearly 40 years. . . .

Like millions of religious believers and groups, these challengers reject the idea that religious faith and religious freedom are simply about what we believe and how we pray, and not also about how we live, act and work. At the heart of these two cases is the straightforward argument that federal law does not require us to “check our faith at the door” when we pursue vocations in business and commerce.

There should be no question about the sincerity of the religious beliefs at issue. These are not cases where the profit-focused managers of publicly traded mega-companies are cynically trying to save a few bucks or to gain a competitive edge.

As many would-be Sunday shoppers know, the Green family “walks the walk.” Signs on Hobby Lobby stores’ doors say that they close on Sundays “to allow employees time for worship and to spend time with their families.” Their stores do not carry shot glasses, lewd greeting cards or vulgar posters, and the background music is Christian. Hobby Lobby contributes generously to charities and starts full-time employees at nearly double the minimum wage. When the Greens and Hobby Lobby do this, and many other things, they are living out their faith and exercising their religion.

Hobby Lobby also provides excellent health insurance, which includes coverage for most — but not all — contraceptives. However, because of the Greens’ firm belief in the dignity of human life and about when and how it begins, Hobby Lobby cannot provide coverage for some of the required drugs because they could cause an abortion.

The government and others argue that the Greens’ religious beliefs are irrelevant because they’ve freely chosen to enter the rough-and-tumble world of commerce and that, in any event, the exercise of religion is for individuals, not corporations. But Hobby Lobby’s lawyers at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will be on solid ground when they explain to the court that both of these arguments are misguided.

The issue is not whether groups, associations and corporations have religious freedom rights under federal law. Of course they do. After all, religious hospitals, schools, social service agencies and churches are not “individuals,” but it would be bizarre to say that they don’t exercise religion.

And the question should not be whether legal protections for religious liberty stop at the sanctuary door or evaporate when a person is trying to make a living or a business is aiming to make a profit. At a time when we talk a lot about corporate responsibility and worry about the feeble influence of ethics and values on Wall Street decision-making, it would be strange if the law were to welcome sermonizing from Starbucks on the government shutdown but tell the Greens and Hobby Lobby to focus strictly on the bottom line.

You can read the whole thing here.

See also Denny Burk’s helpful post on why it’s not true to say that Hobby Lobby denies its employees contraceptives and is forcing their religion on them.

### Schneier on Security

#### New Book: Carry On

I have a new book. It's Carry On: Sound Advice from Schneier on Security, and it's my second collection of essays. This book covers my writings from March 2008 to June 2013. (My first collection of essays, Schneier on Security, covered my writings from April 2002 to February 2008.)

There's nothing in this book that hasn't been published before, and nothing you can't get free off my website. But if you're looking for my recent writings in a convenient-to-carry hardcover-book format, this is the book for you.

I'm also happy with the cover.

The Kindle and Nook versions are available now, and they're 50% off for some limited amount of time.

Unfortunately, the paper book isn't due in stores -- either online or brick-and-mortar -- until 12/27, which makes it a pretty lousy Christmas gift, though Amazon and B&N both claim it'll be in stock there on December 16. And if you don't mind waiting until after the new year, I will sell you a signed copy of the book here.

Suggestions for a title of my third collection of essays, to be published in five-ish years, are appreciated.

#### Bruce Schneier Facts T-Shirts

0-Day Clothing has taken 25 Bruce Schneier Facts and turned them into T-shirts just in time for Christmas.

### The Outlaw Way

#### 131207

Weightlifting:
A) CJ: 90%/2+1*3 sets. Yes this will be hard. If this turns into a session with more misses then drop the percentage but 90% would be the optimal place.

Strength:
A) FS Recovery Work: 75%/3*4 sets
B) Jerk Drives: 110/3*3 sets
C) Jerk Recoveries From Split + ME Hold: 100%/5+1 * 3 sets

The post 131207 appeared first on The Outlaw Way.

### Andy Crouch’s excellent book Culture Making is only \$2.99 right now for Kindle!http://amzn.to/ACrouch-CM

Reviews, etc. posted this week on The Englewood Review of Books website:

• Philip Gulley – Living the Quaker Way [Interview]
An Opportunity to Live Differently An Interview with Philip Gulley Author of (Convergent Books 2013) by Bob Henry Philip Gulley is the author of more than fifteen books, including , , and several collections of his beloved “Front Porch Tales.” His most recent book, Living the Quaker Way: Timeless Wisdom for a Better Life [...]
•

• Mary Oliver – Making the House Ready for the Lord [Poem]
A lovely poem for Advent by Mary Oliver… This poem is found in the collection: Thirst: Poems Mary Oliver Paperback: Beacon, 2007 Buy now: [ ] [ ] Also, see Three Advent Poems by Madeleine L’Engle   Amazon.com Widgets
•

• Best Food Writing 2013 – Holly Hughes, Editor [Feature Review]
Making connections A Feature Review of Best Food Writing 2013 Holly Hughes, Editor. Paperback: Da Capo Books, 2013 Buy now: [ ] [ ] Reviewed by Jenn Moland-Kovash   “Take a deep breath,” she instructed. “And another one.” Pause. “Ok, good… Oh, this looks like an interesting book.”   I heard my doctor pick up [...]
•

• Jennifer Ayres – Good Food: Grounded Practical Theology [Review]
Leaving the Table Hungry? A Review of Good Food: Grounded Practical Theology Jennifer Ayres Hardback: Baylor UP, 2013 Buy now: [ ] [ ] Reviewed by Rachel Marie Stone     What makes food good?   Is it ‘good’ because it tastes good – or because its constituent parts are ‘good’ for us? Is it [...]
•

• St. Nicholas – The Saint Who Would be Santa Claus [Video]
Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas… And on this occasion, we offer this video interview with Adam English, author of: The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra Hardback: Baylor UP, 2012. Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ] [ Read our review of this [...]
•

• Rainer Maria Rilke – Three Poems
Today is the birthday of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, born 1875… We offer today three excellent poems of his, which can all be found (I believe) in: The Poetry of Rilke Edward Snow, Translator Paperback: North Point Press, 2011 Buy now: [ ] *** I believe in Everything that’s Never Been Said:   NEXT [...]
•

• New Book Releases – Week of 2 December 2013
Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out: (Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…) See a book here that you’d like to review for us? Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review. > > > > [...]
•

• Worst Christian Book Covers of 2013!
Here is our list of the worst Christian book covers of 2013… (Numbers 13-15 on this list are ebooks, the rest are print books. If we hadn’t limited our ebook choices to three, we could have chosen literally hundreds of bad ebook covers.) Enjoy, and share these with your friends! Count down with us to [...]
•

### Alexis C. Madrigal : The Atlantic

#### Snowden Leaks Notwithstanding, It's Business as Usual at the NSA Museum

It would be fair to say that media interest in the National Security Agency has never been higher, thanks to Edward Snowden, the IT administrator who leaked thousands of NSA documents to journalists.

There have been Congressional hearings. There have been magazine profiles of the NSA's head, General Keith Alexander. There have been front page stories and endless cable news speculation.

"The National Cryptologic Museum is the National Security Agency's principal gateway to the public," the NSA itself puts it

So one might imagine, in this year, that the National Cryptologic Museum is now overrun with interested citizens and looky-loos.

But that is not the case.

After weeks of haranguing, the museum disclosed their attendance figures to me. They look like this:

Last year, 62,388 people went to the museum. This year, they're estimating attendance at 63,000. In other words, despite all the hubbub about the NSA's activities, few people are making the trek to the agency "principal gateway to the public."

Instead of drowning in a flood of visitors, the museum's staff is preparing for the 20th anniversary of the museum's opening, which is December 17. In fact, they already had a party for the commemoration, complete with a birthday cake and swag for children ("America's Cryptokids: Future Codemakers & Codebreakers").

There was even a birthday singalong led by the museum's administrator and educational coordinator Jen Wilcox.

NSA deputy director John C.  Inglis dropped in for a visit, too. Here he is explaining the WWII-era Enigma codebreaking machine to a tour.

It's really a shame that as interest in the NSA's activities has gone up, more people haven't taken the time to visit the agency's museum. When we sent a reporter in 2010, he found it a fascinating trip:

The displays humanize and, at times, justify the shadowy agency that may or may not be listening to your phone calls. Unlike the NSA of the '50s and '60s, which went by the name No Such Agency and would, upon questioning, claim to not exist, the National Cryptologic Museum paints a portrait of an agency that wishes it could break its self-imposed obscurity.

When asked to define the primary function of the museum, curator Patrick Weadon responded that it was to "help people understand the critical role the making and breaking of codes has played throughout history" and "extrapolate from that how important the present day mission is."

And extrapolate you must because the museum's collection mysteriously ends around the 1990s, and is curated in a way that manages to avoid any lingering controversy or unseemliness.

### Runblogger

#### My Ideal Running Shoe Rotation

Runblogger has migrated to Wordpress. Please click here to go to the Runblogger subscription page and subscribe to the new RSS feed! I’m part of a pretty active group on Facebook that is aptly titled “Running Shoe Geeks.” The group is diverse in that we have minimalist aficionados, folks who prefer more traditional shoes, industry insiders, regular runners, and a smattering of scientists and therapists. Last night I posted a link to an article I wrote yesterday […]

### The Outlaw Way

#### 131207

I swear to G, I understand how hard it must be to pull off a WL meet of this magnitude. I’m not trying to be a whiner, but this is almost too confusing for anyone to follow. Here’s an updated schedule. I know you’re all probably scheduling your entire lives around this, so I apologize if you penciled in a major surgery, or wedding, around the AO viewing schedule and now everything has gone to hell. As you can see, this afternoon should be pretty exciting, and thankfully some of our best ladies have been separated tomorrow evening. Also, Spencer will be defending his title at 5:00pm now instead of the 3:00pm I posted yesterday. Everything is running a little behind, but these times should be pretty accurate. I’ve included the platform for each lifter, so you don’t have to spend 45 minutes trying to figure out which webcast you should be watching. You’re welcome.

Friday:

3:30pm
Kevin Simons (94C) Platform B
Drew Bignall (94C) Platform B
James McCoy (94C) Platform B

6:00pm

8:30pm
JoEllyn McAtee (75B) Platform C
Kat Anderson (75B) Platform C

Saturday:

EDIT:

5:15pm
Sarabeth Phillips (58A) Platform A
Caitlin Vodopia (58A) Platform A
Spencer Arnold (69A) Platform B

7:15pm
Nicole Capurso (63A) Platform B

Sunday:

12:30pm
Marco Coppola (94A) Platform B

2:30pm
Elisabeth Akinwale (75A) Platform A

## WOD 131207:

Run, Swim, Row, Cycle for 30:00-45:00 at 70-80% intensity.

Notes: And don’t do anything else.

The post 131207 appeared first on The Outlaw Way.

### Lift Big Eat Big

#### The 12 Days Of LBEB

It's the holiday season, and at LBEB, we want to celebrate the holidays doing one of our favorite things: lifting ungodly amounts of weight all damn day, then bragging about it after. What better way to do this than put together a program based on the "12 Days of Christmas?"
This is how it's going to work: Starting on December 13th, we are designating a different lift every day for 12 days, aiming for PRs 12 days in a row. This is not something that we would recommend combining with any other programming that you are currently on. This challenge will not be for the faint of heart; in fact, you probably shouldn't even do it. I repeat, DON'T DO THIS (unless you want to get huge).

Starting today would be a great time to start a 6 day deload in preparation for this challenge. That means 6 days of doing absolutely NOTHING except stretching, eating, and resting to make sure you are adequately rested for 12 days of maxing. You want to know what it's like to max every day, like all the "pros do"? Now you can put your money where your mouth is and test it for yourself. Some of us spend up to 10 days deloading before our competition spend  not touching a single weight, and things work out pretty well.

Here is how the lifts will break down on the appropriate days:

Dec 13th: Strict press
Dec 14th: Back squat
Dec 15th:Power clean
Dec 16th Bench press
Dec 17th: Snatch
Dec 19th: Push Jerk
Dec 20th: Snatch grip deadlift (Use straps)
Dec 21th: Bear complex (1 complete rep)
Dec 22st:  Clean
Dec 23nd: Farmers walk (50ft)
Dec 24rd:1-1/4 squat

The following is a simple way to warm up to your max attempts without fatiguing yourself. In fact, this is what I do:

Starting with 2 reps the empty bar, add 10% of your max weight to the bar for sets of 2 reps until you reach 70%. Then, decrease to 1 rep per set and increase weight by 10% until you reach 90%, after 90%, take 5 minutes complete rest. Then, hit your old max and attempt a new PR at your own weight discretion. You can use this method for all exercises here. You get 3 attempts at a new max for each exercise before you have to call it quits, but that won't happen, WILL IT?

We want to see as many people participating as possible, so please submit videos to the LBEB fan page, with "12 Days of LBEB" in your video title. You can also compile all videos into one giant video when its all over if you prefer.

Whoever makes it through all 12 days and PRs every day will be entered into a pot, where we will post a secret 13th lift to serve as an overtime tiebreaker. The winner will receive a 5lb jug of protein of their choosing from one of our partners: Truenutrition.com

The winner will also receive a month's supply of meat from one of our other partners: Bos Creek

### Front Porch Republic

#### Propaganda, The Military, and the Melodrama

On a recent sojourn in the Hoosier state to visit a disaffected Hoya, Jeff Polet and I were discussing the military melodramas that have become the de rigueur halftime shows at football games. My traveling companion pronounced them “exploitative, manipulative, and propagandistic.”

“And those are their good points,” I said.

We then began to muse about alternative ceremonies, about how it might be nice to hear a public address announcer say, “The Houston Texans would like to welcome all our men and women from around the world who are protesting war,” or “The Citadel welcomes our men and women in uniform”—where “uniform” means twill pants rolled up to the knees and tie-dyed skirts and Birkenstocks—“who serve our country by participating in peace demonstrations. Show your peacenik ID at any concession stand and receive a free tub of muesli or granola.”

Polet has taken up the matter in a more serious-minded way over at Bridge. Improve your day by reading it.

The post Propaganda, The Military, and the Melodrama appeared first on Front Porch Republic.

Breakfast.

### The Tech Report - News

#### Deal of the week: IPS displays and 7'' tablets

One would expect slim pickings in the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but there are still some nice deals to be found out there—provided you know where to look.

For instance, Newegg has two IPS monitors on sale for less than \$200. The first is LG'S IPS234V-PN , a 23" 1080p display that's ...

### One Big Fluke

#### Good overview of branching models for releases

Check out this post by Paul Hammant. Our team does continuous deployment:

### Blog & Mablog

#### One or the Other

“From the moment Simeon spoke those fateful words, the winnowing has been in effect. Come to Jesus or go away. In Him is light, and away from Him is only darkness” (God Rest Ye Merry, p. 31).

### If You Want to Read More . . .

#### And Fat Targets Are Everywhere

“Though it be not true that ‘ridicule is the test of truth,’ it is certainly a very effective way of refuting pretentious falsehood” (Broadus, Preparation and Delivery, p. 203).

### The Brooks Review

#### → Cano to Mariners for \$240 Million Over Ten Years

Thank God for baseball season again. Dave Cameron:

It could also be a total disaster, though. If the other moves don’t come together, or simply aren’t enough to turn a bad team into a good team, the Mariners could easily have the best second baseman in baseball surrounded by a supporting cast that still doesn’t leave them with a better than .500 club. And this team is very vulnerable to injuries, especially to either Cano or Hernandez, who represent a huge chunk of the team’s chances of contention. A prolonged DL stint by either one probably sinks their season.

I hate long contracts. Five years seems like far too long for baseball. (But salary and contract lengths have gotten crazy.) I hope this works out, but then again, Mariners.

Go Ms?

Please consider becoming a member to remove the 7 day delay on the RSS feed.

### TOJ_feeds

#### The Briefing: 12.06.13

Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week. The Respectful Conversation always hosts some great dialogue,  Sarah Ruden’s contributions really make it worth following. Here she responds to the future of American Evangelicalism: My answers to this month’s questions […]

### DOGHOUSE

I guess I should’ve made everyone click through and pay something before divulging the secret huh? Oh well. Cat’s out of the bag.

### One Thing Well

#### boot2docker

boot2docker:

boot2docker is a lightweight Linux distribution based on Tiny Core Linux made specifically to run Docker containers. It runs completely from RAM, weighs ~38MB and boots in ~5-6s (YMMV).

### ProjectVRM

#### Big Data, meet Big Privacy

Look up “big data” (with the quotes) today on Google, and you’ll results that look like this:

Basically, a heap of hype. The only visible organic search results are a Wikipedia article and the a May 2011 report that McKinsey wrote for corporate customers. I am sure some of those same customers are among the advertisers hogging acreage in search results.

Whenever you see a money river that gets bigger and bigger while flowing in a circle, you’ve looking at a mania. That’s what we see here, and in Google Trends as well:

Big Data today is entirely an obsession of the B2B (Business to Business) world. It may fuel B2C (Business to Consumer); but the consumer does not participate except as a source of data and as a target for marketing messages guided by Big Data analytics. So, while we get to witness the Big Data mania as individuals, we don’t participate in it.

But we will.

Think about computing before it got personal around the turn of the ’80s. Before then, “personal computer” was an oxymoron. But eventually computers became something everybody had. Today our phones are computers. The same thing happened with networking. Before the Internet got huge in the mid-’90s, networking was something companies and governments did.  Today computing and networking are fully personal as well as fully corporate. And far more value is generated by people computing and networking than by companies doing it only with themselves and each other.

It’s a good bet that Big Data will follow the same path. Individuals will be able to do far more with data of all sizes than would ever be possible in the B2B world alone.

Meanwhile, the B2B appetite for “big data,” and eagerness to use it to market at us, has raised privacy as an issue. Back in the pre-Internet world, privacy wasn’t very controversial. We all knew what it was, and how to protect it most of the time. In the new digital world, we don’t, except through relatively primitive means, such as ad and tracking blocking. In The Rise of Ad Blocking, published in August 2013, PageFair found an average ad blocking rate of 22.7%. On some browsers it’s much higher:

This is the market speaking.

So is Big Privacy: Bridging Big Data and  the Personal Data Ecosystem Through Privacy by Design, a paper published today by Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D. and Drummond Reed. Ann is the Information & Privacy Commissioner for Ontario, Canada, and Drummond is Co-Founder and CEO of Respect Network.  Ann is also behind Privacy By Design, which “advances the view that the future of privacy cannot be assured solely by compliance with legislation and regulatory frameworks; rather, privacy assurance must become an organization’s default mode of operation.”

Both Ann and Drummond are coming from the customer side of the C2B relationship. In other words, they are coming from the need for VRM ways to solve market problems and open up new opportunities. It also goes straight after “big data”:

Recent technological and business developments have given rise to a new understanding of personal information. It is now being compared to currency and energy1—often being referred to as “the new oil.” It is an economic asset generated by the identities and behaviors of individuals and their technological surrogates. These metaphors, which express its increasing economic value to organizations, ring especially true in the case of Big Data. Indeed, Big Data derives economic value from its use of personal information to such an extent that if personal information is considered to be “the new oil,” then Big Data is the machinery that runs on it.

However, like our current dependence on fossil fuels, Big Data’s current use of personal information is unsustainable, increasingly resulting in “pollution” via privacy infringement. At the moment, individuals have little, if any, control over their information’s use and disclosure in Big Data analytics. In addition to a host of privacy concerns, this lack of informational self-determination gives rise to an uneven exchange of the economic value. While the owners of Big Data algorithms profit from their use and disclosure of personal information, the individuals the personal information relates to do not—at least not directly. If not properly addressed, the privacy and economic concerns raised by Big Data threaten to decrease individuals’ willingness to share their personal information—in effect, cutting off the flow of the “oil” on which the analytic “machinery” of Big Data runs.

The report describes the Personal Data Ecosystem (PDE) as “the emerging landscape of companies and organizations that believe individuals should be in control of their personal information and directly benefit from its use, making available a growing number of tools and technologies to enable such control,” adding (in boldface type), “So if privacy infringement is the negative externality that Big Data frequently ignores, the PDE is the emerging positive externality that can turn the combination into a positive-sum outcome where both data subjects and Big Data users benefit.

The paper defines Big Privacy this way:

Big Privacy is Privacy by Design writ large, i.e., it is the application of the 7 principles of Privacy by Design, not only to individual organizations, applications, or contexts, but to entire networks, value chains, and ecosystems, especially those that produce and use Big Data. The goal of Big Privacy is the systemic protection of personal data and radical personal control over how it is collected and used. Radical control is an embodiment of “informational self- determination”—the right enshrined in the German Constitution relating to the individual’s ability to determine the fate of one’s information.12 This means that it must be possible to assure whole populations that their privacy is being respected because the network, value chain, and/or ecosystem producing and processing Big Data has implemented Privacy by Design at a system-wide level, enabling individuals who consent to the use of their personal information to reap a proportion of the benefits.

The paper goes on to detail seven architectural elements of Big Privacy:

1. Personal Clouds
2. Semantic Data Interchange
3. Trust Frameworks
4. Identity and Data Portability
5. Data-By-Reference (or Subscription)
6. Accountable Pseudonyms
7. Contractual Data Anonymization

These in turn leverage the  ”Seven Foundational Principles of Privacy by Design”:

1. Proactive not Reactive; Preventative not Remedial
2. Privacy as the Default Setting
3. Privacy Embedded into Design
4. Full Functionality – Positive-Sum, not Zero-Sum
5. End-to-End Security – Full Lifecycle Protection
6. Visibility and Transparency – Keep it Open
7. Respect for User Privacy – Keep it User-Centric

ProjectVRM gets a mention. I’d also like to add a pointer to the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium, which has done pioneering work in the PDI, and whose work pulls toward the future alongside ours here.

The paper also does the best job I’ve seen yet of explaining the Respect Trust Framework and XDI, both of which normally require a lot of mental chewing to get down. They still do; just less this time.

I’ve always thought that XDI was a brilliant and elegant solution looking for a problem. I still do. The difference now is that it’s found the right one.

### Beeminder Blog

#### How Beeminder Paid for 14 Bikes

This is a guest post by Henrik Wist, to whom we just paid \$1000 for derailing on our own meta Beeminder commitment to announce one User-Visible Improvement (UVI) to Beeminder per day. For our version of how this went down, see the addendum to our recent “1000 Days of User-Visible Improvements” article. (And, yes, we made 1000 improvements in 1000 days only to derail on day 1016!) We’re blown away by Henrik’s generosity in donating his windfall, and delighted by this chronicling of how it happened. It is cross-posted at his blog, Run Bike Code.

For almost a year now I’ve been a happy Beeminder user. It helps me accomplish goals that I otherwise probably would not achieve, like doing a short daily workout, practicing some Spanish, or even keeping my blog alive with content. I had planned for today’s post to be about my blogging workflow, which heavily depends on Beeminder. Alas, today’s post is a different story.

Let me give you a little background. What I love about Beeminder is their extensive belief in dog food. Dog food in the sense of product development where you use your own product (in production, no less) from a very early point during development on. Beeminder has taken that to the next level, because they use Beeminder to improve the product. There is a meta Beeminder goal where the team promises to implement and roll out (and tweet about!) one “User-Visible Improvement” every day. Should they fall off the wagon (derail, in Beeminder terms) the pledge goes to a lucky blog reader (or commenter, technically). With this scheme, the team managed over 1000 UVIs over the last three years! Pretty awesome, if you ask me. In the process though, due to some derailments, the pledge slowly grew to \$1000. [1] And yes, all previous pledges were paid to Beeminder blog readers.

## Close, but no cigar

So, the UVI pledge looms at \$1000. Believe it or not, I have far better things to do than checking the UVI chart on a daily basis. But once in a while, after checking that my own charts are all green, I wander over to the meta goals. November 19th was such a day, and lo and behold, the team was very close to derailing, which I noticed shortly before going to bed. As time zones happen, the deadline (midnight PT) is a convenient 9am for me, so I set an alarm for the next day to check the goal again, only to find out that they managed to get a UVI rolled out and tweeted about. After a quick exchange on Twitter I went on with my day and more or less forgot about it. And in the following days the Beeminder team managed to stay on the road, all the way up to 1000 UVIs and more.

On December 3rd, a couple hours after 9am (CET) I came across the UVI meta goal again, and to my surprise it was off the road, and to my further surprise, no one had claimed it by commenting on the blog post. Which I did, immediately. And Daniel responded some minutes later, saying that it seemed to be legit, even though they actually had a UVI rolled out, just not tweeted about in time.

## Holy Moly, they just paid me \$1k

To be honest, after reading Daniel’s comment, I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d actually get paid by Beeminder. But I had other things going on (like work) and it was night time at Beeminder HQ anyways. Turns out, when I was asleep the next night, Daniel contacted me on pretty much all available channels to figure out how to pay me. After a few emails back and forth in the morning I received the confirmation from PayPal that I had a payment of \$1000 in my account. Wow.

## Own vs. Earn

What to do with a windfall of \$960 (yes, some \$40 were lost due to PayPal’s transaction fees), shortly before Christmas? There are a couple of gadgets I’ve been eyeing for the last few months. The Garmin FR620, for one, coming in at \$400. A GoPro Hero 3, another \$400. That would still leave me with more than \$150 to spend. But somehow that didn’t feel right. If I own gadgets, I want to have earned them, knowing that I worked for it.

Then how about getting rid of that slight overdraft, that crept up over the summer? That would make me reach my “Pay back overdraft” Beeminder goal pretty quickly. Still, feels wrong.

Honestly, these two thoughts on how to spend the money went as quickly as they entered my head. I knew what I’d do with the money even before I posted my comment on the Beeminder blog.

## World Bicycle Relief

The thing is, it’s Holiday Season, and that is the time to give. Probably not very coincidentally, the well known Fat Cyclist has a fundraiser for the World Bicycle Relief going. This is one of the charities that I give money to on a regular basis (and have already done this year for Fatty’s Grand Slam for Zambia 5).

To cut a long story short, I made a donation of \$938 for the WBR, thus giving seven bicycles to people in Zambia, courtesy of Beeminder. However, since this counts towards the “Grand Slam”, Fatty’s anonymous donor will match those seven bicycles and make it 14. Here’s the confirmation email:

Dear Henrik,

On behalf of World Bicycle Relief and the people we serve, please accept my sincere appreciation for your generous donation of \$938.00.

World Bicycle Relief’s mission is to provide access to independence and livelihood through the Power of Bicycles; your gift helps mobilize people across rural Sub-Saharan Africa with simple, sustainable bicycle transportation. Your generosity helps connect children with schools, healthcare workers with patients and entrepreneurs with markets.

Thank you for sharing The Power of Bicycles!

F.K. Day,
President, Co-Founder, World Bicycle Relief

Now, should I, by any chance, win one of the bikes that Fatty organised as an incentive for his fundraiser, I’m totally going to keep it.

I would like to thank the Beeminder team for an awesome product and the courage to live up to their slip-ups each and every time.

## Footnotes

[1] Correction from the Beeminder team: That’s indeed how things normally work with Beeminder but it wasn’t until UVI #150 or so that we actually came up with that! When we created this Beeminder contract for User-Visible Improvements, Beeminder was in its infancy, and not even publicly launched. So we just picked \$1000 from the start in that case, and this in fact is the very first time we derailed on it — because \$1000 is super motivating!

### Alexis C. Madrigal : The Atlantic

#### Nelson Mandela's First TV Interview, May 1961

The year was 1961. Nelson Mandela was already a wanted man.

Apartheid would not end for 33 years. Mandela would not be removed from the U.S. terrorist watch list for 47 years. And Mandela would live 52 more years, becoming the head of his nation, and one of the most respected leaders in the world.

But in May 1961, Mandela was only an increasingly powerful opposition leader hiding from the government in the aftermath of a peaceful campaign for non-cooperation with the government, which South African authorities responded to by arresting 10,000 people and mobilizing the military.

A reporter with the British television network ITN, Brian Widlake, arranged to meet with Mandela. It was Mandela's first TV interview, and he took the opportunity to declare that methods beyond non-violence and non-cooperation would be considered by the ANC.

But first, Mandela laid out his group's simple demand. "The Africans require the franchise on the basis of one man, one vote. They want political independence," he told Widlake, who responds with a question about whether Mandela wants to boot the Europeans out of South Africa. "We have made it very clear in our policy that South Africa is a country of many races," Mandela responds. "There is room for all the various races in this country."

Then the reporter asks, "Are there many educated Africans in South Africa?" Which was a way of questioning whether Africans could truly "want" political independence without schooling, as Mandela recognizes in his answer (throughout the interview, the reporter asks coded questions and Mandela gives decoded answers).

"We have a large number of Africans who are educated and are taking part in the political struggle of the African people. The question of education has nothing to do with the question of the vote. On numerous occasions, it has been proven in history that people can enjoy the vote even if they have no education or quality of education. And I think it is a good thing," Mandela said. "You don't have to have education to want certain fundamental rights. You have got aspirations, you have got claims. It has nothing to do with education."

Finally, Widlake asks about the "possibility of violence," by which he meant African-on-European violence, as European-on-African violence was a constant repressive force.

Mandela gave the following considered response.

There are many people who feel that the reaction of the government to our stay at home, ordering a general mobilization and arming the white community, arresting ten thousand Africans, the show of force throughout the country. Notwithstanding our clear declaration that this campaign is being run on peaceful and non-violent lines close a chapter as far as our methods of political struggle are concerned. There are many people who feel that it is useful and futile for us to continue talking peace and nonviolence against the government whose reply is only savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people. And I think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences in this stay-at-home, whether the methods we have applied so far are adequate.

### Siris

#### Dignity and Forbearance

You would have to be isolated from the news not to know that Nelson Mandela has died. I don't have a huge amount to add to the lauds, although I think a great many of them are secretly self-congratulatory; one of the things Mandela did very well as a politician was finding ways to let people think they had actually contributed something significant, and those of outside of South Africa have often been all too eager to jump at the idea that it was partly their doing. (I'm not an expert on the matter, by any means, but I am greatly inclined to think that, whatever Western support may have done, the crumbling of the Soviet Union and its client states did far more to tip the balance.)

It does show that in judging historical figures we have to take context and circumstance into account; people forget that Mandela was in prison for being the co-founder and head of a political organization, Umkhonto we Sizwe, inspired by Cuban guerilla warfare and actively engaged in political violence. One could well imagine a historian far in the future, or, for that matter, a random guy on the internet tomorrow, trying to correct the 'myth' of Mandela by pointing out his involvement in such things. But it's easy to see that this would miss an extraordinary amount that needs to be taken into account: Apartheid itself, the fact that Mandela's own involvement in political violence seems to have been quite reluctant, the fact that, while theoretically committed to whatever violence would work and preparing for outright warfare if necessary, in part through Mandela's influence the MK actually focused on sabotage and made considerable efforts to limit deaths; the long endurance in prison for it; more importantly, emergence from prison a leader of extraordinary clarity and power; perhaps as importantly, his patient and careful handling of a transition that could easily have resulted in civil war and his honest willingness to hand over power for the good of everyone rather than, as so many would-be liberators have, holding on to power at any cost. And when it's all taken into account, the man was no more flawed than any other true hero; and heroic he genuinely was.

The New York Times obituary is quite good, conveying a great deal of what was admirable about the man, and his ability to build a genuine moral authority, without shirking the fact that he made many errors, some of them morally serious, both before and after his imprisonment. Some tidbits:

Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday night.
***
Mr. Mandela noted with some amusement in his 1994 autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” that this congregation made him the world’s best-known political prisoner without knowing precisely who he was. Probably it was just his impish humor, but he claimed to have been told that when posters went up in London, many young supporters thought Free was his Christian name.
***
[Mandela recalling hotheaded student revolutionaries with exasperation:] “When you say, ‘What are you going to do?’ they say, ‘We will attack and destroy them!’ I say: ‘All right, have you analyzed how strong they are, the enemy? Have you compared their strength to your strength?’ They say, ‘No, we will just attack!’ ”
***
In interviews published in Mr. Gevisser’s biography, Mr. Mbeki chafed at President Mandela’s ability to rule by charm and stature, with little attention to the mechanics of governing.
***
“Madiba didn’t pay any attention to what the government was doing,” Mr. Mbeki said, using the clan name for his predecessor. “We had to, because somebody had to.”

### CrossFit 204

#### Holiday Hours – and Advice

A kettlebell as a present?

The holidays are here, bringing with them winter roads, busy schedules and all manner of special food and drink.

You have a choice to make over the next month: You can choose to “take the month off” from fitness and health or you can make reasonable food choices and continue working out.

We’ll challenge you to do the latter.

It’s tremendously easy to look outside at the snow or into your calendar at the chaos and then say, “I’ll skip training today.” It’s also very easy to look at a bucket of treats and say, “I’ll get back on track in the New Year.”

These are mistakes, and they can derail you. They can also make you depressed when it’s time to get back to work and you realize you’ve slid backwards over the holidays.

We aren’t expecting you to miss your nephew’s holiday concert for a workout, but we expect you to keep training. Some of our busiest members have the largest attendance numbers, and you can find time for anything that’s a priority in your life. Make fitness a priority. Sign into classes and get in here.

If you can’t, you can certainly find time for this:

As many reps as possible in 10 minutes of 10 burpees and 20 squats.

Don’t fool yourself. If you can’t get to the gym, you can find 10 minutes to do something, and you don’t even need any equipment. Tell yourself now that if you decide not to go to the gym because the weather sucks, you will do something in your living room. Then do it!

As for eating and drinking, we don’t expect you to eat vegetables for the next month. Enjoy yourself, but in moderation. Two cookies is a treat. Ten is a meal. Know the difference and make wise choices that will support your goals. You’re here for a reason, and you’ve left a lot of sweat on the floor over the last months. Don’t waste that.

As I said, we expect some treats and missed workouts over the holidays, but if you’re absent without leave for long, expect nagging. We want the best for you, and we care.

### Justin Taylor

#### Adoption: Bringing Their Son to His New Home

A brief film on Aaron and Jamie Ivey’s trip to reunite with and adopt their son, orphaned after the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010:

For Jamie’s perspective, go here.

View more stories from The Austin Stone church at austinstone.org/stories.

HT: Z

### CrossFit 204

#### Workout: Dec. 8, 2013

Josh at the old space about three years ago–and still not smoking! (photo: Sandra Benz)

### 15 muscle-ups

#### Workout: Dec. 6, 2013

When you finish a clean, your shoulders should be behind the bar for an instant before you pull yourself underneath it.

### 3 sets max slow, strict hanging leg raises with a 1-second pause with the toes above the belt

#### The Unbridled Joy of Young Kids and Christmas

Last night in our house, St. Nicholas came and put a few odds and ends into stockings.  This was a tradition from Holly’s childhood and not mine, so I’m still not too sure how it is supposed to go.  My family always had stockings filled on Christmas morn.  Anyway, the kids (ages 6 and 8) were buzzing with excitement yesterday morning, which was St. Nick’s eve day.  LoudBoy was like a plucked guitar string, humming at a higher frequency, almost jumping out of his skin.  ”I am sooo excited for tonight [about St. Nick coming]!”  Unbridled joy and excitement, what a treat.  By bedtime, that’s all they were talking about as they snuggled up in the big blankets in their chilly rooms.  Wonderful moment to see and experience.

My wife was out of town for work, so I was on my own.  The stockings were hung on the fireplace with care, but I didn’t know whos was whos (no names on them).  I first remembered which was the dog’s, then mine, then Holly’s so it was 50/50 which was the boy’s and which was the girl’s.  I stuffed them with the following items:

Berties Every Flavor Beans (Harry Potter themed Jelly Belly beans with flavors like rotten egg, grass, tutie fruity and vomit, good stuff!)

Crazy mixed up socks (these are fucking awesome as I don’t have to match anything, just grab a mixed up pair and go.  Wife, daughter and son all like this style)

Random Lego figurine

and a pack of gum.

..and for my wife a pack of Burt’s bees lip balms and me a new kitchen timer that I needed for my home gym.  The dog got a new collar and leash and some treats. What she did to deserve them, I don’t know; especially since she’s taken to shitting in Birdsnest’s room since the weather has turned cold, but that’s a story for another day.

At exactly 4:41 a.m. this morning, LoudBoy comes into my room – both him and his sister had already apparently been awake for 10 minutes I’m guessing – and starts rattling off what was in everyone stockings.  They were both very excited!  I took in the moment for a few minutes, took the dog out to do her business, and tried to get another hour of shut eye.  That’s one gift having kids that are finally old enough to not kill themselves if left alone; being able to catch a few more winks in cases where they don’t care that it’s 4:30 in the fucking morning when they wake you up.

Anyways, this is just a taste of how they behave on Christmas morning.

A slight update on the Thanksgiving post from a few days ago.  My wife and I have decided enough is enough for trying to please everyone for both T-day and Christmas.  We have told families we will be alternating holidays effective immediately, so we aren’t going to my parents for Christmas this year, and hopefully will host at our house next year to not deal with what has become a manic holiday episode of the show Hoarders.  We’d like to focus less on the huge production that is Christmas at my parents and enjoy the relaxing family time, while restressing what Christmas really is to the kids.  While I’m a reformed Catholic turned atheist, Holly still wants to embrace in her own way some religion.  I’m fine with that, and think in general the church (really any religion) has a lot of good teaching on morals and values.  Anyway, we plan to go to a Christmas Eve candlelight service this year to at least show the kids what the real story of Christmas is and try and refocus them a little.

Regardless of our best intentions though, I fully expect to be up by 5:30 on Christmas morning, bleary eyed and tired, getting the coffee ready so we can see the light of our lives shining as brightly as they ever are, with the dog trying to eat and play with the wrapping paper balls thrown at her.

Hope the start of your holiday season is a good one!  [Crap! I just remembered we still haven't ordered Christmas cards, I better get on that!]

### Inconsolation

#### ircII: The classic, as advertised

ircII is a name that keeps echoing around every time I install an IRC client. Invariably something claims its heritage as, or compares itself to, ircII.

Which made me rather curious to put it to work.

And it’s … well, just as I expected, I suppose. If I stripped away the visual elements of something like epic4/5 or erc, or the colorized arrangements of irssi, or just about any other frill from something like bitchx or frequency or what have you … well, I suppose I’d end up with ircII.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. ircII starts up fine, has most of the command-line options you’d expect, and as advertised, jumps straight into irc.debian.org, and starts spilling the beans.

ircII seems to have a few derivatives available, as evidenced by a quick AUR search. I doubt that list is comprehensive.

A small measure of irony again though: My efforts to build straight ircII in Arch were met with errors. Perhaps one of the offshoots would fare better.

Beyond that, there’s not much I can offer in advice for ircII. It is, as advertised, the classic. Perhaps that’s enough.

Tagged: chat, client, instant, internet, messenger, relay

### Koinonia

#### Does Your Career Define You? Excerpt from “Multi-Careering” by Bob Goff

Whether you are a pastor, professor, ministry leader, or graduate student, it is easy to make your career your identity. It's almost inevitable, isn't it? We spend something like 45-50 hours of our week striving at whatever it is God has placed us in to work and cultivate creation.

But what happens when you don't get tenure? Or there's a riff in your church and it splits, leading to a fold? What happens if you don't pass your comp exams? What then?

Or let's flip it to the positive: what happens when you get that book contract or doctorate in hand? What happens when you score that shiny new worship building or first (or third) satellite campus? What then?

Bob Goff, president and founder of Restore International, has written a new book that addresses that lovely word career, and what it means for living a meaningful life. It's called Multi-Careering: Do Work That Matters at Every State of Your Journey (releasing 1/7/14), and it's part of an innovative series of short books called FRAMES, a partnership between Zondervan and Barna Group.

In the excerpt below, Goff writes about the danger that can come from identifying with your career to such an extent that the kinds of highs and lows we talked about affect our identity. This is especially important for students and how we should view our degrees. Goff encourages us to be careful with defining our lives by our careers. His advice is to do the opposite: to choose our lives and backfill our careers so that what we do doesn't define who we are.

At some point, most people begin what they call a “career.” I’m not really sure what makes us distinguish between what we call a job and what we call a career. To me, a career sounds like a job you do for long enough that you start to identify a part of yourself with it. That’s not necessarily a bad idea — but it’s not necessarily a good one, either.

Some people think of what they do as merely work, while others think of it as legacy.

As time has passed, I’ve come to think of my careers as a part of my legacy, but certainly not all of it. After we’re gone, those closest to us may appreciate the work we did, but they’re more likely to remember how we did it. They will remember us for our love and whimsy. Only strangers will remember us just for our jobs or titles. The People for whom we care most and who care most for us will remember best how we loved them (or didn’t) with our careers.

I wrote a book called Love Does. I struck a deal with [Thomas Nelson] that I would trade writing a book for them for their building a school in northern Uganda. I wasn’t sure the book would be any good, but I really wanted them to build that school, so I did my best. Then it hit the New York Times best-seller list for quite a while, which was great because I got to share with a heap of readers about some of the things that excite me most.

I am not an author. Sure, I wrote a book — so, technically speaking, I guess I am an author. But let’s not get technical. What I mean is, what I do isn’t who I am. You know who I am? … Maria’s husband. Lindsey, Richard, and Adam’s dad. I have learned to be very careful how I describe myself, because people do best at what they identify with most… How we identify ourselves is the thing we will become.

If we call ourselves speakers or writers or knife throwers but then some night we do a lousy job of speaking or writing or knife throwing, it’s not just a bad night. It’s an identity crisis. I’ve chosen to identify myself by Jesus, by my family, and by my friends. Do a great job at your family and you always win. Define yourself by them. When you’re choosing what job to do, remember — it’s not who you are, it’s a day job.

Some of us labor under an oppressive misconception. Far more limiting than a physical challenge, it’s an impediment we make up ourselves. It’s as simple as it is insidious. It is believing the lie that our titles and accomplishments have a significant shelf life. To be sure, getting a doctorate is a real accomplishment. But years from now, ask the family of the person with the PhD what comes to mind when you say her name; I’ll bet you dollars to donuts they don’t mention her big degree. I’ve won law cases worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and I’ll bet you every cent that, decades from now, my kids won’t remember a single case. Me neither.

We’re not defined by our jobs. We’re defined by our love.

Too many people choose their careers and then backfill their lives. That’s a big problem if our careers are not, in the end, what define us. What if, instead, we choose our lives and backfill our careers?

### Inconsolation

#### ipsc: The nitty-gritty details

I will continue to swear I have very little networking expertise, probably for as long as I continue to draw breath.

My underlying rationale is that, having managed little more than home networks, I just don’t have the length and breadth of experience.

So while tools like ipsc are kind of cool, there’s not much in practical use that I can really get from it.

There’s plenty of information there, but I couldn’t tell you what most of it means. I am sure that there are bona-fide network gurus who can see all sorts of useful nitty-gritty details in that.

I don’t mind if a tool is beyond my grasp; it’s interesting to learn about these things and watch them in action. Even if it’s little more than random info to me.

ipsc is in AUR but not Debian; the irony is that the Arch version actually pulls source and patches from Debian and Ubuntu repos. All the way back to Dapper Drake … wow, I remember those days, when you could put Gnome on a 550Mhz Celeron. …

Tagged: information, network

### Alexis C. Madrigal : The Atlantic

#### 5 Intriguing Things: Friday, 12/6

1. 'Crazy ants' (this is their real name) are overwhelming swaths of Texas. They horrify us because we see in them "

"Entomologists report that the crazy ants, like other ants, seem drawn to electronic devices — car stereos, circuit boxes, machinery. But with crazy ants, so many will stream inside a device that they form a single, squirming mass that completes a circuit and shorts it. Crazy ants have ruined laptops this way and, according to one exterminator, have also temporarily shut down chemical plants. They are most likely climbing into these cavities to investigate possible nesting sites. But as David Oi, a research entomologist at the Department of Agriculture, told me, the science-fiction-ish theory that the bugs are actually attracted to the electricity itself can’t be ruled out."

2. An African National Congress policy report on the challenges of developing information and communication infrastructure in post-apartheid South Africa.

"The communications infrastructure and services, like all other aspects of South African life, had been deployed in a skewed manner to the disadvantage and exclusion from services delivery of the rural, peri-urban and township areas. The communications infrastructure was deployed primarily to serve the minority segment of the population, the repressive requirements of the security establishment and big business."

3. John Perlin, the most dedicated solar historian in the world, has a new book out, Let It Shine: the 6,000-Year History of Solar Energy.*

"The first solar steam engine was built and tested by Augustine Mouchot, a French engineer, in 1866. He focused a parabolic mirror onto a one-inch tube in which the water was turned into steam. He went on to use concentrators to produce ice and electricity. Mouchot’s work ignited a number of inventors to develop solar motors over the latter part of the nineteenth century."

4. Each year, dozens of people hike some dangerous miles to visit the abandoned bus where Christopher McCandless of Into the Wild fame died

"I’d always had mixed feelings about McCandless and his story, despite moving to the Yukon Territory in my 20s and enjoying a relatively unconventional life myself. I shared some of his beliefs and passions, but for me the sticking point had always been his refusal to contact his family during his journey. I could imagine the resulting pain and anxiety, and that, as much as anything, kept me from considering McCandless someone to emulate. But at the same time I understood the pull that his story exerted on people: Plenty of us dream, but few make those dreams a reality. What's more, the young men and women inspired by McCandless today live in a world more wired and connected than anything he could have imagined. Small wonder that some of them are seduced by the idea of chucking their iPhones and disappearing into the wilderness."

5. Lead from Roman-ship anchors is a key component of some dark matter experiments.

"On 14th May 2011 a 2000-year-old shipwreck’s cargo was used as a source for
experiments in particle physics. Italy’s new neutrino detector, CUORE (Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events), at the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics, received from the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari in Sardinia 120 archaeological lead bricks from a ship, which was built more than 2,000 years ago and recovered from the sea 20 years ago on the coast of Sardinia. This ‘Roman lead’ - mainly found in the anchors of sunken ships - was used because of its low radioactivity: for, being underwater for 2,000 years, the very low original radioactivity was reduced approximately 100,000 times.  The use of these objects as stock for experimentation had never been an issue  before, but now it is beginning to be deemed ethically questionable."

* I should note that I played a tiny role in helping this book come into being. I hooked Perlin up with an agent, after I discovered that his previous solar history, A Golden Thread, was out of print and exceedingly difficult to find.

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More fun than a swarm of crazy ants.

### Mastering Emacs

#### An introduction to Magit, an Emacs mode for Git

If you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on your viewpoint) to be using Git as part of your workflow, you may have come across Magit, an Emacs interface to Git. Magit’s an excellent interface to Git, but it does assume you know exactly what you’re doing with Magit and, ultimately Git.

Magit has a fine Info manual that covers all the many actions Magit supports, but like a lot of manuals it doesn’t help with workflow; it assumes you’re already familiar with Magit and that you know exactly what to do and how to go about doing it.

Magit is also under active development. It pays to be on the cutting edge because as of Dec 2013 there is a forthcoming release that adds a lot of cool new stuff to Magit that makes it even better. Therefore, this tutorial will assume you’re using the bleeding edge.

To install the `master` branch version of Git, I suggest you use Melpa. Alternatively you can pull the latest from their github repository and follow their (simple) build instructions.

Here’s the first part of my tutorial on Magit. It will cover the status window; staging and unstaging items; committing changes; and the history view.

## Getting Started

First and foremost: Magit does not hide the complexities of Git; in fact, you most certainly need to know exactly what Git is doing in order to truly use Magit effectively. I like to think of Magit as a tool that removes the tedium of interacting with Git’s rather poor commandline interface. It does this very, very well.

To use Magit, run `M-x magit-status`. This command will open up a window (or prompt you for a Git repository if the buffer’s file directory is not under Git control) and display Magit’s status screen. It is through this interface that you will use Magit. If you’re a user of Emacs VC then you must know that, frustratingly, Magit makes no effort to integrate itself into Emacs’s `VC` (Version Control) abstraction layer. Say what you want about VC, but it works across a wide range of source control systems and provides a unified interface to all of them. To use Magit you must do it through `M-x magit-status`.

## The Magit Status

The first thing you’ll notice about the Magit status window is that it plays nice with your window configuration when you open it, and when you close it with `q`. Almost all the actions you can carry out in Magit is done through a one-key system that opens up a “command console” window at the bottom, letting you further refine your command before you carry it out. This is a fantastically well-done interface and is probably the killer feature that makes Magit so great. I like it so much that I have copied the underlying interface code for use in some of my own Emacs hackery. It’s really, really nice.

The status window will give you an overview of your repository, including: staged/unstaged changes; unpulled/unpushed commits; stashes; and a header containing: local and optional remote, the latest tag, if any; and HEAD.

The older, stable version does little to aid discoverability, but in the bleeding edge you can type `?` to get an annotated list of actions. I found it really difficult to use Magit in the beginning because I had to stumble my way through random menus until I found the thing I was looking for. The annotated list is, however, not complete. There are some commands (important ones, depending on your git workflow) missing from the list — particularly `E`, for interactive rebase.

### Staging and Unstaging Items

Putting stuff into Git is something you’ll do often, and Magit has a selection of keybindings and tools to help you make that easier. The key take away is that you can stage “items” — not just the whole file, but the hunks in a diff, for selective staging. The killer feature here is how it displays this information, using its “levels” system. Magit lets you expand and collapse staged and unstaged files with `M-1` through to `M-4` for all the files; and `1` to `4` for the selected one.

Level 1 hides everything in a category (say, “staged” files); Level 2 expands to show just the filenames in a category (this is the default); Level 3 will show the git hunk headers; and Level 4 will show all the diff hunks. I use Levels 2 and 4 the most.

You have a range of keybinds available to make your life easier. `n` and `p` will move between the next and previous section (such as a hunk); `M-n` and `M-p` move between sibling sections, such as between each file in level 4, or between each section (like staged or unstaged). You can use `+` and `-` to enlarge or shrink each hunk and `0` to reset to the default. You can also type `H` to refine the hunk for additional diff highlighting. Pressing `RET` will go to where the change is made if you press `RET`. It works on both hunks and files.

To stage or unstage you can type `s` or `u` to stage/unstage the item (be it a whole file, or just a hunk) — however, there’s one more very useful tip. If you use the region to select a portion of a hunk and then press stage/unstage then Magit will automatically stage or unstage just that selected region! That’s extremely useful for fine-grained control when a diff hunk itself is not good enough.

Finally, sometimes you’ve made changes you don’t care to ever commit; like staging and unstaging above, you can discard hunks and files (revert to HEAD) and delete untracked files from your filesystem. To do this, press `k`. This command works for more than just staging/unstaging — for instance, you can also remove a stash with it.

### Committing Changes

To open up the commit menu, type `c`. You’ll be given a laundry list of switches, most of which you probably won’t need to use very often. What is useful are the actions. You can do much more than merely commit (`c`) staged changes:

• You can extend (`e`) the current commit HEAD is pointing to
• You can amend (`a`) the commit message
• You can reword (`r`) it, if you don’t like the commit message
• and you can both fixup (`f`) and squash (`s`) against the current commit. If you have previously markewd a commit with `.` this commit will be used instead.

Extending a commit basically envelops the changes you’re trying to stage into the current commit HEAD. So if you forgot to commit some stuff that belongs to the commit you just did — use extend. If you want to amend the commit message as well, use amend.

Rewording it will do so without committing your staged changes. Use this if you fat-fingered a commit message and you want to change it.

If you want to create a “fixup!” or “squash!” commit against the latest commit you have made — for later use with rebase and `--autosquash` — use the fixup or squash commands. If you’re not into rewriting your git history, and if you never use rebase, then these two commands are probably not very useful to you.

### Logging

I think one of the areas where Magit really shines is its multitude of switches to filter, sort and search your git history. Not only does it display this information, but it lets you act on it interactively. To access the log menu, type `l`.

The first handy shortcut you should know is `l l`. That opens the “short log”. In it, you will see a one-line commit message; the name of author; how long ago the commit happened; the tree structure of the git log; and various labels, like where HEAD is and where the branch markers are.

If you ever screw up, `git reflog` is there to save the day, and Magit does a stellar job overlaying a nice UI on top of the reflog mechanism (`l h`.)

Both the reflog and the normal log has a wealth of useful keybinds.

There are many things you can do with an individual commit in the log:

• `.` will mark the commit for use with commands like commit fixup and commit squash (`c f` and `c s`)
• `x` will reset your head to the selected commit
• `v` will revert the commit
• `d` will diff between the selected commit and your working tree
• `a` will apply the selected commit's changes to to your working tree
• `A` will cherry pick the commit on top of your working tree
• `E` will interactively rebase from HEAD to the selected commit. Very useful if you want to rewrite history
• `C-w` will copy the commit hash to the kill ring
• `SPC` will show the full commit message

A note on marking: the mark command will persist even if you close the log window. It's a powerful tool but it's easy to forget you've marked something.

If you navigate up/down the log with `M-n` and `M-p` magit will automatically show the commit in a separate window.

## Conclusion

Magit's a great tool for experienced Git users. If you're new to Git, then Magit may help you make sense of how Git works, but it'll never teach you Git. The only thing that impedes Magit, in my opinion, is the lack of discoverability; despite exposing a million different Git arguments, switches and toggles, it ironically does not teach you how to find and use itself. I found it quite hard to replace the Git commandline (not because I like it -- I actually think it's awful) but because the commands and actions I wanted to do were quite well-hidden. The cutting edge version is much better, with `?` actually giving you an annotated list of (some, but still not all) the different key menus. But it's a big improvement. If you're on the fence about Magit, or if you've tried and failed to adopt it, I suggest you give it another go. I plan on covering more of Magit in future posts.

### The Tech Report - News

#### Dell's Venue 8 Pro will be \$99 at select Microsoft Stores on Monday

Microsoft wants you to buy a Windows tablet. Microsoft really wants you to buy a Windows tablet. The company is so gung-ho about the whole thing that, as Neowin reports, it's going to sell Dell's Venue 8 Pro tablet for only \$99 at some of its retail stores on Monday, December 9.

...

### Evangelical Outpost

#### Meta-Thoughts for Forum Blogging

It might have slipped your notice, but the Evangelical Outpost found six Torrey Honors students who were keen on writing, tsk-tsked at our lonely Blogspots and well-hidden journals, and invited us into the open, the fray of forum blogging. Instead of constantly writing by ourselves (and mostly, for ourselves), the forum-structure offers a chance to refine our blog posts with dialogue. The major premise of EO content isn’t a particular theme or audience; it’s inter-editorial feedback. So, I won’t say they let us go completely unscathed, not with the weekly grooming and shearing our pieces get. We subscribe to the blog-dialogue approach, where every post is part of a larger conversation.

Sometimes, Facebook feed and daily blog skimming unearths posts which are actually aspiring to be essays—pieces that stand-alone on internal consistency and supported argument. Timothy Bartel recommends an excellent set of questions for what qualifies as a good ‘essay-post.’ But that’s not the only way to read or write. In fact, it’s rare in the blogging world. Several of us are looking into what we do with those messier, less-polished posts that don’t deserve the wide, public audience an essay would.  Rebecca Card-Hyatt suggests we are writing for a difference audience: peers, friends and like-minds.

The future for blog-dialogue offers several promising effects:

Relevance / ‘In Real Time’

Write a review of a presidential debate. Then, refine it for a month until it qualifies as an essay. There’s too much distance. While the written response might be insightful, interest in the instigating event has already peaked and disappeared. Our friends have already watched, opined about and moved beyond the following four debates. Essays aren’t naturally conducive to interacting with fast-paced culture. One alternative is to devote all blog posts to what’s transcendent, limiting ourselves to only abstract ideas and excluding current events. That’s a limiting alternative, however. range of interests, though. For me, writing in conversation with like-minds runs on a spectrum of interests, including everything from the ordinary to the sublime. All due respect to the ordinary, writing quickly is the way to keep pace with up-to-date topics.

More critical thinking, not less

Real conversations crumble under the siege of poor speech and lazy thinking. The challenge of having real forward movement required you to move forward at a shared pace, going step by step, thought by thought. Simultaneously, the challenge of communicating to someone else requires you to think through old thoughts in new ways and invent an apt expression for them. The blogger keen for listeners and responses wants the same things as a normal conversationalist, simultaneously aware that blogging is susceptible to sloppiness of thought and delivery but, placed in a dialogue atmosphere, might become an opportunity working out real communication. Each post functions like a few statements, building on previous thoughts and anticipating nearby implications. The guidelines and challenges of an ordinary conversation shape limits for the writer which naturally improve her work.

Layers of timbre

I encounter a lot of over-assertiveness in individual blogs. The writers are distinctly aware that, aside from their font and background color choice, confidence is their only platform. But too often, the anxiety of being their own endorsement makes their tone more obnoxious than persuasive. The blog-dialogue distributes the weight of authority between all the participants, giving everyone a chance to risk sharing their idea without fearing the ‘you-don’t-sound-expert-enough’ response. It allows different timbres to color the general tone: curiosity, concord, humility, uncertainty, etc. Instead of being delivered in one tone bent on asserting the speaker’s authority, the blog-dialogue has a layered tonal atmosphere that illumines the topic directly, in addition to highlighting the speaker.  The wider range of writers increases the range of readers.  The entire team of writers draws an audience of diverse shape, eliciting fresh density to the tone of the pieces. As a result, the audience watches how their attention actually contributing to the conversation, validating their input and watering down the emphasis on who is following, sharing or tweeting whom.

Recurrences

Images seeped with memories. Rock-bottom questions. Words with long histories. Inside jokes. Recurrences are facilitators of our best conversations. They are reminders of how common understanding between people makes listening worthwhile. They function as comfortable resting points during strong disagreement. Ultimately, they support our weird questions and crazy assertions with credible backstory. Spouting out statement after statement like meteors that light up and then die keeps a writer on a surface his audience can instantly access. Without backstory with his audience, he won’t reach the level of discourse where his thoughts begin to build new ideas on familiar concepts.

The outworking of blog-dialogue continues to evolve. Some actually address their posts to their intended reader, as though writing a letter. Others have a heyday with embedded links, drawing lines out to as many available perspectives as possible. At the Evangelical Outpost, there’s always a dialogue behind the scenes in the editorial process. The future of the approach doesn’t require commitment to any one tactic. Blog-dialogue will and continues to occur wherever online publication multiplies one thought into several ideas, one question into network of thought-projects, and one person into a community.

### One Thing Well

#### boinctui: Fullscreen text mode manager for BOINC client.

Fullscreen text mode manager for BOINC client.

### The Urbanophile

#### Some Implications of Detroit’s Bankruptcy

There’s been so much ink spilled over Detroit’s bankruptcy that I haven’t felt the need to add much to it. But this week the judge overseeing the case ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy. He also went ahead and ruled that pensions can be cut for the city’s retirees. Meanwhile, the city has received an appraisal of less than \$2 billion for the most famous paintings in the Detroit Institute of the Arts.

A couple of thoughts on this:

First, every city in America should be doing a strategic review of its assets, and moving everything it doesn’t want turned into de facto debt collateral into entities that can’t be touched by the courts. In the case of the DIA, the city owns the museum and the collection. Hence the question of whether or not art should be sold to satisfy debts. If it were typical separately chartered non-profit institution, this wouldn’t even be a question.

At this point, I’d suggest cities ought to be taking a hard look at whether they own assets like museums, zoos, etc. that should be spun off into a separate non-profit entity. Keep in mind, the tax dollars that support the institutions can continue flowing to it. But this does protect the assets in the event of a bankruptcy.

In the case of Detroit, it seems inevitable that at least some art work will be sold. Given that worker pensions are going to be cut, it would be pretty tough to say no to selling art. Assuming this is the case, post-sale the museum should be spun off as a separate entity to hopefully reboot its standing the museum world. As the trustees of the group that operates it have been adamantly opposed to any sale, one would hope other museums would not hold any violations of industry standards against them for, particularly if they acquire ownership of the building and artwork away from the city afterward. The city of Detroit doesn’t need to be in the museum business anyway. It has bigger fish to fry.

Secondly, public sector employees will have to start rethinking their approach to retirement benefits. The current mindset has been to grab as much as you can anytime you can because the taxpayer will always be forced to cover the promises no matter what. As the actual results in Central Falls, RI and now this show, that’s no longer a good assumption.

Detroit’s workers don’t have lavish pensions as these things go. But they weren’t shy about abusing the system either. They in effect looted their own pensions by taking out extra, unearned “13th checks”. They also used pensions funds to give a guaranteed 7.9% annual rate of return on supplemental savings accounts workers were allowed to establish. All told these “extra” payments drained about \$2 billion out of the pension system.

This was not something the city did through an arm’s length transaction. As the Detroit Free Press reported, Mayor Dennis Archer was alarmed by the practice and wanted to stop it. But “the city doesn’t control its pension funds, which have been largely administered by union officials serving on two independent pension boards.” So he tried to amend the city’s charter to stop the practice. According the Free Press, “Archer backed an effort to block the payments through a proposed new city charter, which actually passed in August 1996. Enraged, several city unions and a retiree group sued and won. Archer tried again to block payments through a ballot initiative, called Proposal T, but it failed.”

The unions could brazenly loot their own pension plan because they felt rock-solid assurance that the taxpayers would ultimately be required to make them whole. This bankruptcy is showing that may not be the case after all. It should serve as a warning to unions everywhere not to get too aggressive with their shenanigans.

They’ll of course appeal the judge’s ruling and may win. But the Michigan constitution says pensions are a contract right. The very definition of bankruptcy is that you can’t pay what you’re contractually obligated to. Bankruptcy is all about breaking contracts. The bondholders have contracts that are not supposed to be impaired too, after all. I’m a fan of local government autonomy as you know, but as Steve Eide rightly points out, any freedom worth its name is freedom to fail. If cities and their various constituencies don’t suffer the consequences of their mistakes, they should be heavily micromanaged from on high.

When individuals fail, we have a safety net (unemployment insurance, for example). Plus we have personal bankruptcy to give people a fresh start. We don’t even worry about whether the person is at fault for their own position or not. We provide that backstop regardless. But that backstop doesn’t allow people to go on living like they did before as if nothing happened. Similarly, cities in trouble shouldn’t be abandoned, but they need to realize that there are genuine consequences for failure. A realization that failure has consequences for pension holders as well as the taxpayer should hopefully promote healthier decisions about how retirement benefits should be offered, funded, and administered.

The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. Great for anyone who cares about our cities, The Urban State of Mind also makes a great gift this holiday season.

### Crossway Blog

#### An Interview with David Wells

We recently asked David Wells, author of God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World (Jan. 2014),  a few questions about what he hopes to accomplish with his new book and why he thinks a renewed appreciation for God’s “holy-love” is important for evangelicalism.

How does God in the Whirlwind contribute to the work you’ve already done in No Place for Truth, God in the Wasteland, Losing Our Virtue, Above All Earthly Pow’rs, and The Courage to Be Protestant?

Christianity Today has dismissed this new book as being a mere retread of these prior works with lots of hurrumphing, they say, along the way! Oh, dear. I am sorry that they were unable to see that this book is actually quite different from what I have written in the past. It is true that my understanding of modernized culture remains substantially the same as before. In this book, though, I have focused most of my attention, not on the culture, but on developing a biblical understanding of the character of God. This is something I have not done before and some of my critics have said that while I have exposed the problems in the church, I have not given the answers. Well, the answers are all tied up in knowing God and obeying him. This book is really a biblical theology of God’s holy-love showing how that holiness and that love are progressively revealed through the O.T., are embodied in Christ, and come together in the cross that God’s love provided and that his holiness required. This is what grounds and defines our sanctification, worship, and service in the world.

In the introduction, you write that the primary thing that evangelical theology lacks is an understanding of God’s character that carries “weight.” What do you mean by this?

What gives weight to God in our lives is two things. First, he has to be enthroned in the center and not merely circling on the periphery. Second, the God who is enthroned must be the God who has revealed himself in Scripture. This God is not simply the supplier of everything we want, our concierge, and our therapist dispensing comfort as we feel the need for it. He is the God of burning purity as well as of burning love. That God, as he rules our own private universe, will wrench around what happens in that universe to conform us to who he is in his character. The “god” who is there only for our needs as we define them will be a “god” who is light and skinny.

You’ve coined the term “holy-love” as a way to refer to the essential union of God’s holiness and love. You write, “Today, our constant temptation, aided and abetted as it is by our culture, is to shatter the hyphen.” How does this happen and why is it dangerous?

We have to hold God’s holiness and his love together in our understanding because that is how he is! His holiness and his love are never incompatible with each other. Just the reverse. Let’s think about it this way. His holiness is his utter moral purity. If it did not include his love, then that holiness would be far less than what we know God’s holiness to be. Without his love, his holiness would be emptied of what is essential to being holy. In fact, his love is his holiness in action. That is why his love always seeks what is right and what is morally pure. It is never indifferent to what is wrong in life. At the same time, God’s holiness is essentially redemptive in nature, just like his love.

But this hybrid, this holy-love, is hard for us to practice consistently in our own lives. We tend to fall to the one side or the other—holiness without love or love without holiness. Legalists err by focusing on the demands of God’s holiness and then lose sight of his love. The result is a hard, unattractive moralism. Antinomians err on the side of his love and lose sight of his holiness. The worst form of this was the old Protestant liberals who were so taken with God’s love and its inclusiveness that they jettisoned his holiness. So, Christian faith was emptied out of any atonement because God was no longer seen as wrathful in response to sin. Neither legalism nor antinomianism are good—though for entirely different reasons. The truth is that God’s holiness, as expressed in the law, gives us the moral norms for life, and God’s love fills us with the desire so to live and thus to please him. Love in the service of what is true and right is a beautiful thing!

How should Christians answer the charge that we are intolerant and exclusive in our thinking about God and salvation?

There is no way to soften the truth that Christ is the only incarnate Son of God, uniquely the way to God, and the only source of saving grace. But why would anyone who belongs to Christ want to soften this? The uniqueness of Christ is, in fact, what makes the Christian faith so glorious. What can be tempered, though, is the way that we relate to people as we tell them this gospel. I am quite certain that if unbelievers saw in us more authenticity, more of the character of Christ, more of the spirit of service, their hostility to Christian faith would subside quite a bit.

You argue that our thinking is fundamentally flawed if we seek to understand God’s love through the lens of our own experiences related to loving and being loved. Why is that? Doesn’t such a claim negate the importance of the imago Dei?

There is nothing wrong and, indeed, everything right with loving and being loved! By creation, we have been made social beings for whom giving and receiving love is at the heart of our families and relationships.

But here is the problem. Our need for a relationship with God is often understood in therapeutic ways. We need answers to our sense of emptiness, to the bruises life gives us, and to disappointments. The answers we really want are for God to make those things go away and to restore us to full happiness, fulfillment, and wholeness. God, no doubt, is gracious to us in the midst of our pressure-filled lives, with their fast pace and debilitating anxiety. But what we are thinking about as his love may be very different from what it really is. We are often looking only for therapy, for comfort. God, though, is about building our character. He loves us, but his love goes hand-in-hand with his holiness. That is why he is more interested in our character than in our comfort! So, God’s love may be very different from what we are thinking we want and very different from how God relates to us in grace!

What is the biggest challenge the evangelical church will face in the next 50 years?

The evangelical church is in different situations in different parts of the world. Since I have traveled to Africa a lot, I can tell you that while Christianity is spreading rapidly, there is a deep need now for that faith to be instructed in the truth of God’s Word. In some places, Bibles are scarce. In almost all places, educational materials are non-existent, and often pastors have had no opportunity to receive training.

But here in the U.S., we have Bibles, theological education, literature, a surfeit of education, organizations, and churches. What is astonishing today is that despite this surfeit, there is a growing literature pointing out the obvious: the church seems to be losing ground and people more and more seem to be losing interest. I think of Julia Duin’s quick, journalistic trip around the religious world called Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What To Do About It or Eddie Gibbs new book which begins at the same point, The Rebirth of the Church: Applying Paul’s Vision for Ministry in Our Post-Christian World. In my view, the greatest challenge that stands before us is that Christian faith, for too many, has lost its reality. It is no longer on the same moral and spiritual scale as the world around us but has become a much smaller and more comfortable thing than it actually is. It has been domesticated in ways that are really very injurious to its nature.

I am, however, greatly heartened by the fact that more and more people are understanding this. There is a younger generation that is arising that really wants the real thing. And we can be assured that, if we do want the real thing, God, in his grace, will ensure that we find it!

David F. Wells (PhD, University of Manchester) is the Distinguished Senior Research Professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  In addition to serving as academic dean of its Charlotte campus, Wells has also been a member of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and is involved in ministry in Africa.  Wells has written numerous articles and books, including a series that was initiated by a Pew grant exploring the nature of Christian faith in the contemporary, modernized world. He is the author of God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World.

### CrossFit Naptown

#### Want Extra Yoga this week?

Shannon will be teaching a donation based YOGA class this Saturday from 10:30-11:30am at the Indy Winter Farmers Market. She would love to have you all join her! Also, did you know CrossFit NapTown is a sponsor of the Winter Market? Go support local and get out there this Saturday. For more information check out their website:

http://www.indywinterfarmersmarket.org/

As the weather get’s slushy and nasty please bring a pair of shoes to change into as you enter the facility to prevent the salt from traveling all over the gym. Thanks

## Today’s Workout:

Open WOD
12.3

MEN - includes Masters Men up to 54 years old
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 18 minutes of:
15 Box jumps, 24″ box
115 pound Push press, 12 reps
9 Toes-to-bar

WOMEN - includes Masters Women up to 54 years old
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 18 minutes of:
15 Box jumps, 20″ box
75 pound Push press, 12 reps
9 Toes-to-bar

MASTERS MEN - includes Masters Men 55+
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 18 minutes of:
15 Box jumps or step-ups, 20″ box
95 pound Push press, 12 reps
9 Toes-to-bar

MASTERS WOMEN - includes Masters Women 55+
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 18 minutes of:
15 Box jumps or step-ups, 20″ box
55 pound Push press, 12 reps
9 Toes-to-bar

The workout will begin with box jumps. The athlete will jump with two feet and come to a standing position with knees and hips locked out on top of the box. After 15 reps they will move to their loaded barbell. The barbell will begin on the ground. For the Push press to count the barbell will move from the shoulders to the overhead position, with the knees, hips and shoulders extended in one line. After 12 reps they will move to a pull-up bar. For the Toes-to-bar to count, the feet must begin behind the bar at the bottom and both feet must touch the bar at the same time at the top. After 9 reps are completed, the athlete will begin their next round.

Every rep counts in this workout. Credit will be given for partially completed rounds.

Shirt orders and payments are due by Monday, December 9th. You can order yours today: on the black board at the gym. or email Eric@crossfitnaptown.com. Please specify size, quantity, style A, B, or C and how you want to pay

### Matt Gemmell

As I’ve mentioned several times on Twitter and on App.net, I’m working on a novel. It’s going relatively well, but I had some concerns about pace and structure, so I bought a copy of K. M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel on my Kindle.

The book was very helpful to me, and I agree with its advice (he said modestly). It presents a theory of structure (drawing on many examples from historical and contemporary fiction, and even movies) whereby certain core ingredients of a story happen at certain points during the course of the novel.

I wanted to visualise the structure as a chart, so that I could then see where my own story’s elements appeared, and how I could improve my novel. The result is shown below.

The diagram presents the advice from Structuring Your Novel in a concise way (slightly massaged for my own tastes), and should be useful for anyone who has read Weiland’s book – and I highly recommend that you do.

You can download the chart as a PDF file. I hope it’ll be useful to you.

If you like, you can also download the original (Numbers 2013 for Mac OS X) file, and I converted it to Microsoft Excel format too, although I can’t guarantee the fidelity of the Excel version.

I’d like to thank Katie Weiland for her permission to share the chart with you. You’ll also be able to find the chart on her own site sometime soon. If you’re interested in further writing advice, you may wish to subscribe to her blog or follow her on Twitter.

Lastly, I’ve written a few previous articles that might be of interest: a list of my tips for writing fiction, my fiction style guide, and a discussion of how I approach factual pieces.

### QuirksBlog

#### Mobile viewports overview

Just a pointer: I created a quick and dirty overview table of where the mobile viewports and related concepts stand right now.

May be useful if you’re new to this sort of stuff.

### Justin Taylor

#### The Joy, Work, and Beauty of Motherhood: A Day in the Life

We need more celebrations of self-sacrificial motherhood. Here is a great example of art serving truth:

### The Finance Buff

#### Bank Tellers On Public Assistance

I read Low bank wages costing the public millions by Danielle Douglas at Washington Post. Survey says a large percentage of bank tellers receive some form of public assistance such as food stamps. In New York it’s 39%. It’s said to be a hidden subsidy to the banks.

I heard stories like this first about Walmart employees, then fast food workers, now bank tellers. All the bank tellers I dealt with are pleasant and competent. I wonder why they bother working at the bank at such low pay. Could it be the bank offers a better opportunity than elsewhere?

I also read these other articles this week:

Positive Developments for Municipal Bond Investors by Jared Kizer at Multifactor World

I’m a muni bond investor. I welcome the positive developments. I think it makes sense to protect pension benefits for years already worked but it’s fair game to adjust them for years not yet worked. Public-sector employees still have a powerful tool others don’t have: they vote.

***

Tips to qualify for tax credits on health exchanges like Cover Oregon by Brent Hunsberger at The Oregonian

There are many ways to boost your income to make it go above 138% of FPL but only very limited ways to get the income down to 400% of FPL or below. Income bunching will sacrifice one year and make you eligible in other years.

***

If You Are Still in School, Keep Your Investment Powder Dry by Scott Burns at AssetBuilder

It’s not a market-timing call. Just there are better uses of money for a young person than investing, the usual argument for starting early notwithstanding.

***

Beware: Gift Cards are Warranty Killers by Michael at Financial Ramblings

Good call. I save my gift cards for non-electronic items.

***

Retire Here: Life In San Miguel de Allende, Mexico by Paul Merriman at Sound Investing

Retired investment advisor Paul Merriman gave a glowing review of his retirement life in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Listen to the mp3. Low cost of living, good expat community, lots of culture — it sounds very attractive. I will go check it out someday.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Old Shoe Woman]

#### Compare Online Savings Accounts

Rates as of Dec. 2, 2013, subject to change at any time.

AccountAPY
American Express High-Yield Savings Account0.85%
Discover Bank Online Savings Account0.80%

### One Thing Well

#### ccache

ccache:

ccache is a compiler cache. It speeds up recompilation by caching previous compilations and detecting when the same compilation is being done again. Supported languages are C, C++, Objective-C and Objective-C++.

### sacha chua :: living an awesome life

#### Making decisions that don’t matter that much to me

I minimize the number of decisions I care about. What I’m going to do with my life? Big decision worth spending time on. Is something worth it? I can spend hours analyzing the trade-offs. What do I want to eat? I don’t particularly care. I’m trying to avoid decision fatigue. Decisions take up time and willpower. Also, I’m trying to minimize attachment. Everything’s going to be okay.

W- asked me what colour I would like the deck to be. I looked at the dozens of swatches all neatly laid out, and I boggled at him. It’s like when people ask me where I want to eat. Beats me. At least there, I can use a rule of thumb: closest \$-\$\$ place rated at least 3.5 stars on Yelp that’s still open at this time of day and that satisfies everyone’s dietary restrictions.

If I don’t care about the outcome of a decision – if multiple alternatives are not significantly different in terms of their value to me – I’ll tell people I don’t care strongly enough to decide. That way, they don’t mistake a casual opinion for a strongly-held opinion and end up regretting being overruled. If people really want me to participate, I’ll support whatever people suggest, and I’ll help people remember their reasons for or against something. I’ll also ask questions to draw out reasons and make off-the-wall suggestions to add humour.

This is probably not quite what people are looking for. Usually, when people ask for your opinion on something, it’s because they want it.

My default is to not have an opinion. Maybe I should. It’s pretty easy to pick something and then let your brain fill in the reasons for it. People learn more about their choices in the negotiation.

Or maybe I should just have a more structured approach when people ask me about things I don’t have an opinion about. List alternatives, costs, benefits; make diagrams; graph arguments. That way, even if I don’t have an opinion, I can contribute value.

We discussed a few stain options. W- picked one and painted the deck with it. He thought it looked too gray in the sunlight. He stripped it back down and started looking for a different colour. (While I’m easily distracted from finishing my tasks and a big fan of getting things 80% okay, W- is awesome at persistence, and is working on getting around the sunk costs fallacy.)

I don’t mind. It gives me more opportunities to be supportive of projects and experiments, even though I am probably not yet filling the more useful role of the Voice of Reason. I think being able to use the Voice of Reason needs experience anyway. (They say good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. Not that this was a bad decision; it’s just a different outcome.)

I’m going to be asked for my opinion of or recommendation for many many things in life, especially as I move into my thirties. People assume twenty-somethings don’t know very much, except maybe about tech. Thirty-somethings probably don’t know much either, but are expected to have Opinions. Might as well learn.

How do you handle being asked for your opinion when you haven’t given something much thought?

Read the original or check out the comments on: Making decisions that don’t matter that much to me (Sacha Chua's blog)

The post Making decisions that don’t matter that much to me appeared first on sacha chua :: living an awesome life.

### Greg Mankiw's Blog

#### Two Random Things That Made Me Smile

On New England frugality:
Bostonians still tell the story of the respectable society matron who was crossing the Common one day and ran into an old college chum she hadn’t seen for years. The matron was dismayed to see that her friend was obviously engaged in the world’s oldest profession. “My dear,” she said, “whatever has happened to you?” “Well,” said her friend, “it was either this or dip into capital.”
On a child's view of marriage:
How can a stranger tell if two people are married?
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.  - Derrick, age 8

### Siris

#### Truth and Constancy

The question of truth is vital to this reading of Mansfield Park in three important ways. First, there is the pursuit of truth represented by the conversations--both internal and external-- of characters int he novel. There is the truth--or realism--of that representation itself, as manifest by specific narrative techniques (especially with dialogue) of which Austen is an innovator. Finally, there is the larger truth--as effected by a combination of the first two--that conveys itself to the reader. Constancy plays a role in all three expressions of truth. It grounds the right pursuit of truth--enacted by Fanny--whose "hermeneutical" habit and growing clarity of vision contrasts with the inflexible blindness to truth in those around her. In some instances, constancy--in particular its development--also is enacted by Austen's use of narrative techniques; the reverse--the lack of its development--may also be suggested thereby. Finally, from the process of reading and responding to the novel's truth, readers may approximate a kind of constancy that allows them to grow in self-knowledge--discovering truths about themselves that may lead to transformation.

Joyce Kerr Tarpley, Constancy and the Ethics of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, p. 182.

### Schneier on Security

#### Telepathwords: A New Password Strength Estimator

Telepathwords is a pretty clever research project that tries to evaluate password strength. It's different from normal strength meters, and I think better.

Telepathwords tries to predict the next character of your passwords by using knowledge of:
• common passwords, such as those made public as a result of security breaches
• common phrases, such as those that appear frequently on web pages or in common search queries
• common password-selection behaviors, such as the use of sequences of adjacent keys

Password-strength evaluators have generally been pretty poor, regularly assessing weak passwords as strong (and vice versa). I like seeing new research in this area.

### The Tech Report - News

#### HP offers Leap Motion-infused keyboard with desktop, all-in-one PCs

I think HP is serious about Leap Motion controller integration. Fresh from building the controller into its Envy17 laptop, the PC maker has now introduced a USB keyboard featuring the same technology.

...

#### Go Advent Day 6 - Service Discovery with etcd

At Poptip, our first foray into Go was a small but critical service that required extremely high throughput for a non-trivial amount of text processing. Skeptical at first, I remember having a conversation with a friend who was raving about how much he had been enjoying Go, and noticed that some other very smart people had chosen to bet their entire companies on the language. After writing a few benchmarks, we were very happy with the results and confident to move forward with the project.

One of the many things that we didn’t want to overcomplicate early on in the process was deployment, so we made it dead simple. Once a commit to master is made, our continuous integration server pulls, compiles, and runs the tests. If everything is green, it scps the binary and a run script to a set of hosts listed in a text file checked into master. Once that’s complete, it executes the run script which will kill the existing process and start up the new binary. The time from push to live in production was less than 2 minutes, which made rollbacks simple: just revert the change and push.

This process was fine for a single service, but we’ve since moved the majority of our stack to Go, and it’s become suboptimal. Many services share the same config flags, which causes a headache when we rotate a database credential but forget to update one of the service’s config. Additionally, our infrastructure has become mature enough that autoscaling has become a crucial need in order for us to handle traffic spikes while minimizing cost overhead. Updating a text file in the repo just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Enter etcd, “[a] highly-available key value store for shared configuration and service discovery.”

The README has wonderful documentation on the basics of the service, but I’d like to go into some specific features that address some of the problems outlined above: host management and storing configuration parameters.

## Host Management

Let’s get started by firing up an etcd process we can use to play around with.

You can either compile the binary from source, or download the latest release from GitHub. I’ll wait here while you get things set up.

While etcd is highly available — a crucial feature for Poptip’s mission-critical systems — we won’t go into the details of multi-node clusters or failover scenarios. Let’s just start up a single node called dot:

```\$ ./etcd -data-dir dot -name dot
[etcd] Dec  4 16:28:39.451 INFO      | etcd server [name dot, listen on 127.0.0.1:4001, advertised url http://127.0.0.1:4001]
[etcd] Dec  4 16:28:39.451 INFO      | raft server [name dot, listen on 127.0.0.1:7001, advertised url http://127.0.0.1:7001]```

The reasoning behind the name dot is left as an exercise for the reader, but it isn’t important for these set of exercises. You can name it whatever you like.

Let’s say we have a set of web frontend servers that we want to keep track of. Upon startup, they can make a simple curl request to register themselves within a directory in etcd. Let’s add two servers within the frontends/ directory:

```\$ curl -L http://127.0.0.1:4001/v2/keys/frontends/fe1 -XPUT -d value=10.0.1.1
{"action":"set","node":{"key":"/frontends/fe1","value":"10.0.1.1","modifiedIndex":2,"createdIndex":2}}
\$ curl -L http://127.0.0.1:4001/v2/keys/frontends/fe2 -XPUT -d value=10.0.1.2
{"action":"set","node":{"key":"/frontends/fe2","value":"10.0.1.2","modifiedIndex":4,"createdIndex":4}}```

Now we can list all the frontends within that directory:

```\$ curl -L http://127.0.0.1:4001/v2/keys/frontends/
{"action":"get","node":{"key":"/frontends","dir":true,"nodes":[{"key":"/frontends/fe1","value":"10.0.1.1","modifiedIndex":3,"createdIndex":3},{"key":"/frontends/fe2","value":"10.0.1.2","modifiedIndex":4,"createdIndex":4}],"modifiedIndex":2,"createdIndex":2}}```

You’ll notice at this point that each call returns a very nice JSON-encoded response. This makes integrating with clients extremely easy (especially if you’re using encoding/json). That said, there is a client library built for Go by the same team that built etcd called go-etcd.

This is all well and good, but what about if a host or process dies? They’ll be this zombie entry in there forever, right? Not with key TTLs. Let’s set a TTL of 5 seconds for one of our web frontends:

```\$ curl -L http://127.0.0.1:4001/v2/keys/frontends/fe2 -XPUT -d value=10.0.1.2 -d ttl=5
{"action":"set","node":{"key":"/frontends/fe2","prevValue":"10.0.1.2","value":"10.0.1.2","expiration":"2013-12-04T16:56:54.123531985-05:00","ttl":5,"modifiedIndex":5,"createdIndex":5}}```

Now we wait for at least 5 seconds and query the directory again:

```\$ curl -L http://127.0.0.1:4001/v2/keys/frontends/
{"action":"get","node":{"key":"/frontends","dir":true,"nodes":[{"key":"/frontends/fe1","value":"10.0.1.1","modifiedIndex":3,"createdIndex":3}],"modifiedIndex":2,"createdIndex":2}}```

As expected, the frontend with the short TTL was removed. This is useful because you can set your hosts to periodically send a “heartbeat” request that will ensure that all values within the frontends directory are up to date. The request is simply to set the key to the same value and TTL, therefore extending the lifetime that it will remain in the store. If there is no heartbeat request after the TTL has elapsed, then the entry is removed and it can be assumed that the machine or process is not available. This is especially helpful for deployment, but also can be used to update load balancers automatically when a machine is added or removed.

## Shared Configuration

We’ve gone though the basics of keys and directory storage. In addition to them being very useful for machine management, configuration values can be stored so that your run scripts don’t require too many flags, environment variables can be left alone, and config files don’t need to be managed on each box. A simple way of working with this setup would be for the relevant processes to query for the keys that it needs on startup, but that requires the binary to be restarted in order for new config values to take effect. What if we want to respond to changes immediately without having to restart anything? That’s where etcd’s watch feature comes into play.

So far, we’ve been using curl, but let’s get our hands dirty with a bit of Go code and the go-etcd client library. Make sure your server is still running. We’re going to need it.

Let’s re-add the second frontend server that was removed during our TTL example:

`\$ curl -L http://127.0.0.1:4001/v2/keys/frontends/fe2 -XPUT -d value=10.0.1.2`

The following code will connect and list out each frontend stored within the frontends/ directory:

```package main

import (
"github.com/coreos/go-etcd/etcd"
"log"
)

func main() {
client := etcd.NewClient([]string{"http://127.0.0.1:4001"})
resp, err := client.Get("frontends/", false, false)
if err != nil {
log.Fatal(err)
}
for _, n := range resp.Node.Nodes {
log.Printf("%s: %s\n", n.Key, n.Value)
}
}
```

That’s great, you say, but what about the configuration stuff I was talking about? Let’s say I have a set of credentials that more than one service uses to connect to one of our datastores. We set that as a key in our etcd instance for shared usage:

`\$ curl -L http://127.0.0.1:4001/v2/keys/creds -XPUT -d value='dbname=naughtylist host=ec2-123-73-145-214.northpole.compute-1.amazonaws.com port=6212 user=saintnick password=ilovemrsclaus sslmode=require'`

Now we need a program to watch for updates when those credentials were to change:

```package main

import (
"github.com/coreos/go-etcd/etcd"
"log"
)

func main() {
client := etcd.NewClient([]string{"http://127.0.0.1:4001"})
resp, err := client.Get("creds", false, false)
if err != nil {
log.Fatal(err)
}
log.Printf("Current creds: %s: %s\n", resp.Node.Key, resp.Node.Value)
watchChan := make(chan *etcd.Response)
go client.Watch("/creds", 0, false, watchChan, nil)
log.Println("Waiting for an update...")
r := <-watchChan
log.Printf("Got updated creds: %s: %s\n", r.Node.Key, r.Node.Value)
}
```

Run the above program...

```\$ go run watch.go
2013/12/04 18:37:23 /creds: dbname=naughtylist host=ec2-123-73-145-214.northpole.compute-1.amazonaws.com port=6212 user=saintnick  password=ilovemrsclaus sslmode=require
2013/12/04 18:37:23 Waiting for an update...```

and it will wait for a change to the /creds key, so when you change it...

`\$ curl -L http://127.0.0.1:4001/v2/keys/creds -XPUT -d value='dbname=naughtylist host=ec2-123-73-145-214.northpole.compute-1.amazonaws.com port=6212 user=saintnick password=iadoremrsclaus sslmode=require'`

It will print the updated credentials value:

`2013/12/04 18:37:39 Got updated creds: /creds: dbname=naughtylist host=ec2-123-73-145-214.northpole.compute-1.amazonaws.com port=6212 user=saintnick password=iadoremrsclaus sslmode=require`

And that’s it! You can use this functionality to update any clients to reconnect using the new database credentials however you see fit.

## Conclusion

We’ve only scratched the surface of how you can make your life easier using etcd with some basic examples, and I hope that they helped to demonstrate how powerful it can be for you. I find it to be one of the best-designed tools precisely because of this simplicity, and I hope you do too. Also, did I mention it’s also completely written in Go?

Happy hacking and if you’d like to see more posts like this, get @ me on Twitter!

### Simon's blog

#### I didn't even know the name

English

God only knows, God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable to the mortal man

- Paul Simon, Slip Sliding Away

I’ve been holding back from blogging recently; there’ve been a few fires burning in the mission for a while, and while adding fuel would make me feel better it wouldn’t help anyone else. But one thing that I have really been dwelling a lot on is the third commandment:

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold guiltless anyone who takes his name in vain.
לֹ֥א תִשָּׂ֛א אֶת־שֵֽׁם־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ לַשָּׁ֑וְא כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יְנַקֶּה֙ יְהוָ֔ה אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־יִשָּׂ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ לַשָּֽׁוְא

What does this mean? Observant Jews extended the commandment to include a ban on all uses of God’s name (“putting a fence around the law”), and so it’s often thought of as being a prohibition against saying “God” or “YHWH” for trivial purposes. But

נָשָׂא שֵׁם does not mean to utter the name (נָשָׂא never has this meaning), but in all the passages in which it has been so rendered it retains its proper meaning, “to take up, life up, raise;” e.g., to take up or raise (begin) a proverb (Num. 23:7; Job 27:1), to lift up a song (Ps. 81:3), or a prayer (Isa. 37:4).

- C. F. Keil and Delitzsch F., Commentary on the Old Testament

Names signified identity and authority. When we are instructed to pray in the name of Jesus, that means to speak with the full authority of Jesus, as if Jesus were speaking himself. And the word שָׁוְא, “vanity”, is used for both meaningless or pointless things and also false and delusional things—in particular, false prophecy. (See Exek 12 and 13) And prophecy is speaking with the identity and authority of God.

So I think this commandment is much more about loose talk claiming God’s authority than it is about loose mentions of God’s name.

At various points during the unbloggable, I have noticed an amazing amount of loose talk claiming God’s authority. One can observe a process which men have handled and mishandled from end to end, and still someone will stand up at the end and say “this is the situation that God has given us.” I am sure you have seen Christians factionalising, scheming, and then either appointing or voting for leaders, before claiming “These are the ones that God has ordained.” And I want to shout, “And how, precisely, did God make that clear? Because it looks very much like you ordained it.”

Part of this is the inevitable result of the God’s-will-is-whatever-ended-up-happening theory of sovereignty that is so common within contemporary Christianity; but I think there is more to it than that.

There is, psychologically, a need for safety and understanding in the midst of confusing times; people want to feel that there is a purpose and a meaning to the chaos they are experiencing and want to bring something positive out of that chaos, and the name they give to that purpose is “God’s will.” But in this sense, loose talk claiming God’s authority is actually idolatry, because it seeks safety in comfortable explanations about God, rather than in God himself. To say that God is with us through the earthquake is an expression of hope; to say that God sent the earthquake is an expression of resignation.

There is also the terrible temptation of using authority claims to shore up our own identity, and taking the name of God is the ultimate appeal to authority. This is also idolatry. At the root of all spiritual abuse is a leader who claims that he (and it normally is a “he”) is acting with the authority of God, and therefore that any challenge to his authority is actually insubordination to God’s will. Similarly, once someone claims “this is what God has ordained for us,” any attempt to change, dispute or improve the situation is viewed negatively; and so this too is an expression of resignation rather than hope. It removes the potential that God might have wanted something different.

One of the major themes in Kosuke Koyama’s theology is that the Old Testament is a treatise against idolatry. He talks about obvious gods and the non-obvious God. The Israelites were sent forty years between Egypt and the promised land to teach them to depend on a non-obvious God who would lead them day by day through the midst of wilderness. They failed; they preferred the safety and security of the obvious god of a gold idol. Knowing the temptation we humans have towards preferring the obvious, God instituted many commandments against idolatry in order to encourage his people to trust in Him alone.

The third commandment is one such. It is a call to avoid claiming the authority of God for our human pronouncements, to avoid wrapping up our fears and our ambitions in a garment of incontrovertibility. It is a call to trust instead in the non-obvious God who would lead us through the wilderness, rather than the obvious god of our own explanations. It is a call to be more circumspect, more humble in our God-talk.

Do not be rash with your mouth or hasty in your heart to bring up a matter before God,
for God is in heaven and you are on earth!
Therefore, let your words be few.

And I think I have already used way too many of my own.

Subject tags:

### Kevin DeYoung

#### What We Owe Each Other

John Calvin summarizes beautifully the duties we owe each other in Christ:

Finally, let each one see to what extent he is in duty bound to others, and let him pay his debt faithfully.

For this reason let a people hold all its rulers in honor, patiently bearing their government, obeying their laws and commands, refusing nothing that can be borne without losing God’s favor [Rom. 13:1 ff.; 1 Peter 2:13ff.; Titus 3:1].

Again, let the rulers take care of their own common people, keep the public peace, protect the good, punish the evil. So let them manage all things as if they are about to render account of their services to God, the supreme Judge [cf. Deut. 17:19; 2 Chron. 19:6-7].

Let the ministers of churches faithfully attend to the ministry of the Word, not adulterating the teaching of salvation [cf. 2 Cor. 2:17], but delivering it pure and undefiled to God’s people. And let them instruct the people not only through teaching, but also through example of life. In short, let them exercise authority as good shepherds over their sheep [cf. 1 Tim., ch. 3; 2 Tim., chs. 2; 4; Titus 1:6ff.; 1 Peter, ch. 5].

Let  the people in their turn receive them as messengers and apostles of God, render to them that honor of which the highest Master has deemed them worthy, and give them those things necessary for their livelihood [cf. Matt. 10:10ff.; Rom. 10:15 and 15:15ff.; 1 Cor., ch. 9; Gal. 6:6; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17-18].

Let parents undertake to nourish, govern, and teach, their children committed to them by God, not provoking their minds with cruelty or turning them against their parents [Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21]; but cherishing and embracing their children with such gentleness and kindness as becomes their character as parents.

As we have already said, children owe obedience to their parents.

Let youth reverence old age, as the Lord has willed that age to be worthy of honor.

Also, let the aged guide the insufficiency of youth with their own wisdom and experience wherein they excel the younger, not railing harshly and loudly against them but tempering their severity with mildness and gentleness.

Let servants show themselves diligent and eager to obey their masters—not for the eye, but from the heart, as if they were serving God.

Also, let masters not conduct themselves peevishly and intractably toward their servants, oppressing them with undue rigor, or treating them abusively. Rather, let them recognize them as their brothers, their co-servants under the Lord of heaven, whom they ought to love mutually and treat humanely [cf. Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-25; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:18-20; Col. 4:1; Philemon 16].

In this manner, I say, let each man consider what, in his rank and station, he owes to his neighbors, and pay what he owes. Moreover, our mind must always have regard for the Lawgiver, that we may know that this rule was established for our hearts as well as for our hands, in order that men may strive to protect and promote the well-being and interests of others. (Institutes of the Christian Religion, II.viii.46)

### Cool Tools

#### Level Legs Wheelbarrow Stand

My property is on a slope, so placing a wheelbarrow on the hill is a risky proposition. It often turns over. Level Legs stops this. I’ve used it for three months. Not only can it keep the wheelbarrow self-leveled on a 20-degree grade, I can also use it to tilt the barrow left or right by dropping one leg eight inches closer to the ground, making it easy to rake or shovel over the side. It’s easy to install — just remove the factory legs, and bolt Level Legs in their place.

-- Bob Ethridge

[This video on Amazon does a good job of showing how it works. - Mark Frauenfelder]

Prevent wheelbarrows from tipping

Available from Amazon

### Q | Ideas for the Common Good

#### Kony and Redemption: Can Movements Outlive Their Founders?

 The famous 30-minute documentary, KONY 2012, became the most viral video in history, reaching more than 100 million views in six days. At the peak of the video’s success, Jason Russell, the director and founder of Invisible Children Inc., suffered a radical and public breakdown. Russell admits his personal limits and their power over him. He shares his own story of breakdown and redemption and asks if a movement can, in fact, outlive its founder.View

#### 6 Dec 2013

Shameless

From the Advogato page at knowem.com:

Members of Advogato are commonly tagged with:

Click on those links to find lists of people who advertise that they have been creating spam accounts. So far I haven't found any that still exist.

### Parchment and Pen

#### A Bibliology Grounded in Christology

The center of all theology, of the entirety of the Christian faith, is Christ himself. The Christ-event—in particular his death and resurrection—is the center of time: everything before it leads up to it; everything after it is shaped by it. If Christ were not God in the flesh, he would not have been raised from the dead. And if he were not raised from the dead, none of us would have any hope. My theology grows out from Christ, is based on Christ, and focuses on Christ.

Years ago, I would have naïvely believed that all Christians could give their hearty amens to the previous paragraph. This is no longer the case; perhaps it never was. There are many whose starting point and foundation for Christian theology is bibliology. They begin with the assumption that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. I can understand that. Starting one’s doctrinal statement with the Bible gives one assurances that the primary source of theology, the scriptures, is both true and trustworthy. I don’t start there, however. I have come to believe that the incarnation is both more central than inspiration and provides a methodological imperative for historical investigation of the claims of the Bible.

Sometimes the reason why doctrinal statements begin with scripture is because the framers believe that without an inerrant Bible we can’t know anything about Jesus Christ. They often ask the question, “How can we be sure that anything in the Bible is true? How can we be sure that Jesus Christ is who he said he was, or even that he existed, if the Bible is not inerrant?”

Inductive vs. Deductive Approaches to Inerrancy

My response to the above question is twofold. First, before the New Testament was written, how did people come to faith in Christ? To assume that having a complete Bible is necessary before we can know anything about Christ is both anachronistic and counterproductive. Our epistemology has to wrestle with the spread of the gospel before the Gospels were penned. The very fact that it spread so fast—even though the apostles were not always regarded highly—is strong testimony both to the work of the Spirit and to the historical evidence that the eyewitnesses affirmed.

Second, we can know about Christ because the Bible is a historical document. (Even if one has a very low regard for the Bible’s historicity, he or she has to admit that quite a bit of it is historically accurate.) If we demand inerrancy of the Bible before we can believe that any of it is true, what are we to say about other ancient historical documents? We don’t demand that they be inerrant, yet no evangelical would be totally skeptical about all of ancient history. Why put the Bible in a different category before we can believe it at all? As one scholar wisely articulated many years ago, we treat the Bible like any other book to show that it is not like any other book.

Warfield’s Two Premises

We are not asked to take a leap of faith in believing the Bible to be the word of God, or even to believe that it is historically reliable; we have evidence that this is the case. I enlist on my behalf that towering figure of Reformed biblical scholarship, Benjamin B. Warfield. In his Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, Warfield lays out an argument for inerrancy that has been all but forgotten by today’s evangelicals. Essentially, he makes a case for inerrancy on the basis of inductive evidence, rather than deductive reasoning. Most evangelicals today follow E. J. Young’s deductive approach toward bibliology, forgetting the great, early articulator of inerrancy. But Warfield starts with the evidencethat the Bible is a historical document, rather than with the presupposition that it is inspired. This may seem shocking to some in the evangelical camp, but one can hardly claim that Warfield was soft on bibliological convictions! Let me prove my point with a lengthy quotation from his Inspiration and Authority of the Bible (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1948), p. 174:

“Now if this doctrine is to be assailed on critical grounds, it is very clear that, first of all, criticism must be required to proceed against the evidence on which it is based. This evidence, it is obvious, is twofold. First, there is the exegetical evidence that the doctrine held and taught by the Church is the doctrine held and taught by the Biblical writers themselves. And secondly, there is the whole mass of evidence—internal and external, objective and subjective, historical and philosophical, human and divine—which goes to show that the Biblical writers are trustworthy as doctrinal guides. If they are trustworthy teachers of doctrine and if they held and taught this doctrine, then this doctrine is true, and is to be accepted and acted upon as true by us all. In that case, any objections brought against the doctrine from other spheres of inquiry are inoperative; it being a settled logical principle that so long as the proper evidence by which a proposition is established remains unrefuted, all so-called objections brought against it pass out of the category of objections to its truth into the category of difficulties to be adjusted to it. If criticism is to assail this doctrine, therefore, it must proceed against and fairly overcome one or the other element of its proper proof. It must either show that this doctrine is not the doctrine of the Biblical writers, or else it must show that the Biblical writers are not trustworthy as doctrinal guides.”

Notice how often Warfield speaks of evidence here as the grounds for believing in inerrancy. The evidence is historical, exegetical, and doctrinal. Two statements stand out as crucial to his argument: “If they [the biblical writers] are trustworthy teachers of doctrine and if they held and taught this doctrine, then this doctrine is true…” and “If criticism is to assail this doctrine… It must either show that this doctrine is not the doctrine of the Biblical writers, or else it must show that the Biblical writers are not trustworthy as doctrinal guides.” Warfield’s argument is one of the most profound paragraphs ever written in defense of inerrancy. If you’re reading this quickly, go back and let it sink in for awhile.

Metzger’s Challenge: The Bible Doesn’t Affirm Its Own Inerrancy

In 1992, when Bruce Metzger was on campus at Dallas Seminary for a week, delivering the Griffith Thomas lectures, students would often ask him whether he embraced inerrancy. Frankly, I thought their question was a bit uncharitable since they already knew the answer (he did not). But as one who, like Warfield before him, taught at Princeton Seminary, and as a Reformed scholar, Metzger certainly had earned the right to be heard on this issue. His response was simply that he did not believe in inerrancy because he felt it was unwise to hold to any doctrines that were not affirmed in the Bible, and he didn’t see inerrancy being affirmed in the Bible. In other words, he denied Warfield’s first argument (viz., that inerrancy was held by the biblical writers). It should be pointed out that Metzger did not disagree with Warfield’s second argument. In other words, he had a high view of the Bible, but not as high as, say, the Evangelical Theological Society, precisely because he did not think that the biblical writers held to the doctrine of inerrancy.

The Role of 2 Timothy 3.16

I mention the above autobiographical note for two reasons. First, the question of the nature of the Bible has been, and still is, a very precious issue to me. Obviously, to spend over 1200 hours on where to put the “is” in one verse of scripture shows that I regard such a text to be rather significant! And that such a passage is a major verse on verbal inspiration should show that this doctrine is important to me. Second, the conclusion I came to is equally important: I can affirm, with Warfield, that the biblical writers do indeed embrace a high view of the text of Holy Writ. To be sure, this verse is not all there is in defense of inerrancy. But it is a crux interpretum, deserving our utmost attention. I must therefore respectfully disagree with Professor Metzger about Warfield’s first argument.

Christological Grounds for a High Bibliology

Where does this leave us with reference to inerrancy? I arrive at inerrancy through an inductive process, rather than by starting with it deductively. My epistemological method may therefore be different from others, but the resultant doctrine is not necessarily so. At bottom, the reason I hold to a high bibliology is because I hold to a high Christology. Jesus often spoke of the Bible in terms that went beyond the reverence that the Pharisees and Sadducees had for the text. They added traditions to the Bible, or truncated the canon, or otherwise failed to handle scripture appropriately. Jesus had a high view of the text, and it strikes me that I would be unwise to have a view different from his. Indeed, I believe I would be on dangerous ground if I were to take a different view of the text than Jesus did. Thus, my starting point for a high bibliology is Christ himself.

Some may argue that we can’t even know what Jesus said unless we start with a high bibliology. But that approach is circular. Making a pronouncement that scripture is inerrant does not guarantee the truth of such an utterance. If I said the moon is made of green cheese, that doesn’t make it so. At most, what such pronouncements can do is give one assurance. But this is not the same as knowledge. And if the method for arriving at such assurance is wrongheaded, then even the assurance needs to be called into question. A web of issues brings about the deepest kinds of theological assurance: evidence (historical, exegetical, hermeneutical, etc.), affirmations, the role of the Spirit, etc. One does not have the deepest assurance about inerrancy simply by convincing himself or herself that it must be true. Indeed, I would argue that such a presuppositional approach often caves in on itself. Now if inerrancy is true, what harm is there in examining the data of the text?

Now, someone may say, “But how do you know that Jesus actually held to a high bibliology unless you start with that presupposition? How do you know that the Gospel writers got the words of Jesus right in the first place?” I think that’s an excellent question. I would use the criteria of authenticity to argue that he did indeed hold to a high view of the text. The criteria of authenticity, when used properly, are criteria that Gospels scholars use to affirm whether Jesus said or did something. Notice that I did not say, “Gospels scholars use to deny whether Jesus said or did something.” The criteria of authenticity should normally be used only for positive results. To take one illustration: The criterion of dissimilarity is the criterion that says if Jesus said something that was unlike what any rabbi before him said and unlike what the church later said, then surely such a saying is authentic. I think this is good as far as it goes. It certainly works for “theSon of Man” sayings in the Gospels. The problem is that the Jesus Seminar used this criterion to make negative assessments of Jesus’ sayings. Thus, if Jesus said something that was said in contemporary Judaism, its authenticity is discounted. But surely that would create an eccentric Jesus if it were applied across the board! Indeed, Jesus said things that were already said in the Judaism of his day, and surely the early church learned from him and repeated him.

How does this apply to Jesus’ bibliology? Since his statements about scripture are decidedly more reverential than those of the Pharisees or Sadducees, the criterion of dissimilarity requires us to see that Jesus did, indeed, hold to a high bibliology. Of course, I am not arguing that the average Christian for the past two thousand years needed to think about whether Jesus said something. But I am arguing that even the evidence from a historical-critical perspective points in the same direction. And I am arguing that in the modern world, and even postmodern world, for evangelicals to ignore evidence is tantamount to a leap of faith.

I must confess that I did not at first embrace a high bibliology because of applying the criteria of authenticity to the sayings of Jesus. No, I initially embraced a high bibliology because I believed that the Bible’s testimony about itself was sufficiently clear and certainly true. But when I came to grips with Warfield’s inductive approach and Metzger’s denial of Warfield’s first argument, I realized that, for those engaged in serious biblical studies, historical evidence needed to be assessed before dialogue with those of a different perspective could begin. The fact that many evangelical students abandon inerrancy may in part be due to them not wrestling with more than a fideistic claim. What harm is there in adding historical evidence to one’s arguments for a doctrinal position? Why are so many afraid, or unprepared, to do so? The impression this gives to many students is that such views are defenseless.

Incarnation as Methodological Imperative

Permit me to address one other issue. If Christ is at the core of our beliefs, then the incarnation has to loom large in our thinking about the faith. When God became man and invaded space-time history, this served notice that we dare not treat the Bible with kid gloves. The incarnation not only invites us to examine the evidence, it requires us to do so. The fact that our religion is the only major religion in the world that is subject to historical verification is no accident: it’s part of God’s design. Jesus performed miracles and healings in specific towns, at specific times, on specific people. The Gospels don’t often speak in generalities. And Paul mentioned that 500 believers saw the risen Christ at one time, then added that most of these folks were still alive. These kinds of statements are the stuff of history; they beg the reader to investigate. Too often modern evangelicals take a hands-off attitude toward the Bible because of a prior commitment to inerrancy. But it is precisely because I ground my bibliology in Christology rather than the other way around that I cannot do that. I believe it is disrespectful to my Lord to not ask the Bible the tough questions that every thinking non-Christian is already asking it.Similar Posts:

### The Tech Report - News

#### Brawling my way through Batman: Arkham Origins

I keep hearing that winter is coming, but in Gotham, it's already here. Snowflakes swirl as I glide through the dim moonlight and onto another empty rooftop. My boots crunch into inches of fresh powder, and the next thing I hear is voices below. The crude, thuggish banter tells me what to expect before I even peer over the ledge. There's at least half a dozen of 'em, some armed and armored, and all oblivious to the shadow perched above.

My mission lies blocks away, and these miscreants aren't related. But they're here and, well, I can't help myself. A moment later, ...

#### Heavyweight rematch: Gigabyte X79-UP4 vs. MSI X79A-GD45 Plus

Intel's ultra-high-end desktop platform got a shot in the arm from Ivy Bridge-E in September. This refresh delivered updated CPU cores, but it didn't bring any changes to the two-year-old LGA2011 platform. Intel didn't update the accompanying X79 Express chipset, which is why we didn't see a wave of new motherboards rolled out with Ivy-E. Asus' X79-Deluxe was the only fresh face at the time, and neither Gigabyte nor MSI has released anything since.

Part of Ivy-E's appeal is the fact that the chip is a drop-in replacement for its Sandy Bridge-based predecessor. Existing X79 boards should require no more than a firmware update to work with the latest processors. Gigabyte and MSI both have newish X79 models ...

### The Gospel Coalition Blog

#### Scowling at the Angel

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." —Galatians 5:22-23

We sat together, just the two of us. The sun would be coming up any minute. We didn't say much. We couldn't. We were on the verge of bursting into tears, but neither did. What we did say was mostly of a lighthearted nature.

It was our 18th anniversary.

"In sickness and health," I joked.

"Yeah, well," she said, "it's only fair. You stuck with me through four labors and deliveries. It's the least I can do."

A man wearing black scrubs and carrying a clipboard entered the waiting area and barked, "Ramsey. Ramsey."

Together we stood and made our way to the shouting man who led us to the elevator.

"I'll be right out here," my wife said. "I'll see you just as soon as they're done."

I squeezed her hand, gave her a kiss, handed her my wedding ring, and then stepped into the elevator as it closed and carried me up and away.

The man in black said, "If you have any modesty issues, now is the time to get over them."

He spoke as though I'd done something wrong and was about get my comeuppance. I don't know why he did this.

He continued, "I'm taking you to the pre-op ward. The first thing they're going to have you do is strip down to nothing."

What he lacked in bedside manner he made up for in accuracy. A nurse met us at the door and led me to a room filled with beds separated only by curtains. He gave me a hand towel and told me to strip down so he could shave me.

"I need to shave you from your neck to your toes. Standard procedure for open heart surgery," he said. "I'll be right here on the other side of the curtain. Go ahead and lie down on the bed when you're done. You can cover yourself with that towel. Holler at me when you're ready."

With no option but to comply, I played my only card: "You're going to bring me a sedative soon, right?"

He said, "Just as soon as I'm finished your surgical team will pay you a visit and set you up with an IV. They'll give you something then to help you relax."

I did as instructed, and after he at last clicked off the electric shaver, my nurse draped a white cotton blanket over me, and then a second one, tucking them in tightly under my legs and sides, as if to say, "Sorry, friend. Here's a little of that modesty back."

I hadn't been that vulnerable since the day I was born.

As I waited I thought about my wife down in the lobby. Never in 18 years of marriage would we have imagined I'd be lying in this bed, not at my age anyway. I thought about how strong she'd been in the weeks leading up to this day, and how she'd carried so much with such grace. Though we'd kept the mood light in the waiting room, I knew, in a way only a husband of two decades could, a bit of the sorrow she now sat with. And I loved her for it.

The Puritans used to say you got married in order to fall in love. They reasoned: How can a man and woman possibly hope to know the wonder, joy, and depth of real love—the kind where you are truly known and truly loved at the same time—without making those two lives into one thing?

The qualities I love most about my wife were largely unknown to me when we married. We'd known each other for a few years, but we both brought oceans of deep, unexplored waters to that altar. We promised to stay together in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, but neither of us knew what those words would cost or where they would take us. How could we? We were kids. Yet there we stood, she in her shimmering ivory and me in my rented tux—the angel and the penguin—promising, like a couple of immortals, to sound those depths together until one of us died.

But I couldn't have known how she would pour her love into our kids; how she would build them up and guard their hearts. When we moved them away from their friends in one city to a place they didn't know, I watched this woman join them in a sorrow they were too young to name. I watched her grieve their heartache and risk new relationships to help them begin again.

I couldn't have known how she would lay down her life to support God's call on mine, or how she would count that as God's will for her as well without complaint, resentment, or doubt.

I couldn't know how she would fight for me to return to her when I'd withdraw into myself out of fear, or how she would comfort me with gracious words when I felt lost and alone, or how she would confront me with a loving rebuke when I needed someone to break anxiety's spell.

I couldn't have known the home she would make for us—practical, happy, and beautiful. Or how she would remember her friends' joys and sorrows throughout the years—always ready to celebrate with real joy or to mourn with genuine tearful sadness.

Now here we were, 18 years later. With four cities, four kids, and probably four dozen W-2's between us, I marveled at the woman in the lobby making good yet again on her promise to stay. The penguin had no idea.

Soon my surgical team began their rounds. No fewer than a dozen people passed through my curtain, each armed with a medical device or a clipboard full of forms. After they'd asked every question they needed to hear me answer—Did I know where I was? Did I know why I was there? Did I know my name and birthday?—they injected a warm liquid into my IV that left me awake but set me free from all of life's carking cares.

And so I went off to surgery in much the same way I came into this world—completely vulnerable and swaddled in warm hospital cotton, watching the tiles overhead pass as they delivered me from my familiar warmth into the cold air and bright lights of the operating room.

The last thought to pass through my mind before they took me completely under was that I would either wake up in recovery or in glory.

I first opened my eyes to a blurry figure in white standing at the foot of my bed, shining so bright I had to squint. Was this the angel dressed in lightning who sat atop Jesus' empty tomb that first Easter morning, coming to tell me I'd risen to newness of life (Matt. 28:1-10)? Or had Abraham's visitor by the Oaks of Mamre appeared to tell me to hang on just a little longer (Gen. 18:1-15)? As I adjusted to the light I realized the vision in white was my wife in the sweater she put on that morning. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen—my friend, my heart, my love. Her glory flooded into the fog of my waking and I came to.

My nurses were determined to get me up on my feet as soon as possible, but due to the stroke I suffered during surgery, I had lost the use of my left foot. I couldn't stand. This detail was irrelevant to my caretakers. They hoisted me and my lifeless leg to the standing position and forced me to walk by pushing and pulling one leg in front of the other. Eight feet from the bed to the window and eight feet back.

Every step was an exercise in defeat. I couldn't do it. I sulked. When I was young I used to walk wherever I wanted. But now I stretched out my hands and others carried me where I did not want to go (John 21:18). I tried to object, but the stroke had also shut down a significant part of my ability to speak, so I couldn't express my frustration. As they carried me across the room and back, my wife stayed where I could see her, encouraging me. She said she was proud of me. She told me she believed I could do this and that she loved me.

I lifted my eyes to the vision in white—the wife of my youth—and focused all my confusion, pleading, anger, and frustration into a single venomous glare that said to her, "You leave me the hell alone."

Anesthesia is a strange monster. Anyone who has been through something even as simple as having their wisdom teeth removed has likely provided at least a few minutes of entertainment for their loved ones. It's one of those rare times when a man gets a free pass for whatever comes out of his mouth. But it's also true that traumatic situations don't create a person's character so much as they expose what's already there. Silence a man's inner dialog and take away the filter through which he runs what he chooses to say and what he keeps inside, and what comes out of him will likely fall closer to the truth than to fiction. If this is true, then it is in me to belittle kindness and glare at beauty. It is in me to tell the ones who love me most to go away. It is in me to reject the advances of grace. And it is true. I know it is.

I remember the first time I saw my wife. We were freshmen in college, less than a month in. I was sitting in the lounge outside the library when she passed through. My initial reaction was one of disbelief. She was the most beautiful girl I'd seen in my short but attentive life. I had to do a double take just to confirm my eyes weren't playing a trick on me. Could someone really be that pretty? I resolved to find ways to put myself in her path in the hope that our roads might eventually converge into one.

Over the next four years we danced a dance that led us to this hospital room. She remained so radiant that when I woke from surgery I mistook her for an angel, or at the very least someone draped in the splendor Moses brought down from the mountain to a fearful people (Exod. 34:29-30). But as it went with Moses and the children of Israel, my eyes grew accustomed to her glory and I quickly moved from wonder to a familiarity that bred in me a heavily medicated yet nevertheless contemptible scowl. She took it without a word, dissolving my wrath with the soft answer of a smile (Prov. 15:1). She pulled her chair up next to my bed and lay her head down by my side.

After I'd been home for a couple weeks, I asked her if she ever noticed that I gave her a few dirty looks. I remembered doing this, but never knew if she'd noticed. She told me I glared at her many times those first few days.

"Did it ever get to you?" I asked.

She told me she knew they came out of frustration. I was hurting and medicated, exposed and weak. I couldn't take myself to the bathroom or pour a drink of water. Often I couldn't even find the words to ask for help. Like a baby on his back, I made my needs known through tears and protest.

"Still, I'm sorry," I said. "What did you do when I scowled at you?"

"I cried," she said. "But never so you could see. I'd step out into the hall or into the bathroom, cry my tears, and pull myself together before coming back."

"I made you leave?" I said.

"No," she said. "Most of the time I would wait for you to fall asleep and then I'd scoot my chair up next to the bed so that I could lay my head by your side and cry there."

I had no idea. All I remembered was that she was the picture of grace—steady and ever-present, deflecting my misdirected frustration with a gentleness that won my heart. Hers was the voice of wisdom; all she spoke were words of kindness (Prov. 31:26). She lavished me with goodness and mercy. She filled the room with love, joy, and peace. She put my ring back on my finger, just as she'd done 18 years before, to say to me, "I still choose you." Against such things there is no law (Gal. 5:23).

There in my brokenness I had so little to give. But grace, she never left. She met me in all my frailty, raw and wrathful, as exposed and defenseless as the day I was born. There she stayed, tending to me with kindness and mercy, weeping both for her sorrow and mine while I slept, in a chair scooted up next to my bed so that she could lay her head by my side because she loved me.

Editors' note: The last in a five-part series titled "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made," this article originally appeared at The Rabbit Room.

#### We Struggle to Imagine Because We Struggle to Remember

At the age of 6, the Little Prince abandons "a magnificent career as an artist" when the adults around him misunderstand his drawings. "Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves," he laments, "and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again."

The Little Prince is right. As we age, we lose the ability to imagine. In fact, brain-imaging studies suggest that imagination loss is linked to memory loss. As Harvard researcher Donna Rose Addis explains, "Our theory of how one puts together a future event is that . . . you take bits of information from past events and you kind of recombine those and integrate them into some new scenario that hasn't happened before." In other words, we struggle to imagine because we struggle to remember.

### Memory and Imagination

Memory is an important part of our faith. The Lord put a rainbow in the sky to "remember" his everlasting covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:16). Throughout the Exodus account—in the institution of the feasts, in the preamble to the law, and in the instructions for entering the promised land—the Israelites were repeatedly told to remember what the Lord had done to bring them out of Egypt (e.g., Exodus 13:3; Deuteronomy 5:15; 7:18; 15:15; 16:12). During the period of the judges, the people "did not remember the Lord their God," and, as a result, "everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 8:34). The psalmists frequently wrote about the beauty and glory of remembering and the danger and folly of forgetting (e.g., Psalm 78:42; 105:5; 106:7).

The Old Testament exhortations to remember, however, did not merely point to the past. Now that the glory of the Son has been revealed, we know that the commands to remember also pointed to the future. Even if the prophets did not fully understand the anticipated glory of the incarnation, the Lord used them to offer glimpses of glory to his people. For example, Isaiah spoke about a "lamb" that would be "cut off" by the "will of the Lord" in order to "bear the sin of many" (Isaiah 53). As they remembered the past, of course, they thought about the blood of the Passover lamb that was sprinkled on the doorframes of the homes of their ancestors. Yet Isaiah also prophesied about the future. Who was this man of whom the prophet spoke?

When Jesus came, the "imagination" of the prophets turned into reality. What they could vaguely picture in their heart became concretely incarnate. As Peter later reflected, "Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories" (1 Peter 1:10). This inquiring was not merely a mental exercise; it was a thirsting and a longing, an affection for the One who was to come.

### Imagination in the Overlap of the Ages

Like the prophets, we live in an age where many things—but not all things—have been revealed. We have seen the glory of the Father in Christ Jesus, but the fullness of redemption has not yet been revealed. Some theologians call this "the overlap of the ages" or "the already but not yet."

Again, here, our ability to remember affects our ability to imagine. For example, if we frequently remember that we were once "separated from Christ" with "no hope and without God in the world" (Ephesians 1:12), then it becomes easy to imagine that there is no one beyond his grace and redemption. He died for us when we hated him. Is anyone beyond this salvation?

In this age, when we are not yet made perfect, imagination is integral to all of our relationships. John writes, "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared" (1 John 3:2), and Paul says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully" (1 Corinthians 13:12). In The Meaning of Marriage, Tim and Kathy Keller write,

If you don't see your mate's deep flaws and weaknesses and dependencies, you're not even in the game. But if you don't get excited about the person your spouse has already grown into and will become, you aren't tapping into the power of marriage as spiritual friendship. The goal is to see something absolutely ravishing that God is making of the beloved. You see even now flashes of glory. You want to help your spouse become the person God wants him or her to be.

### Imagination and Work

To see what cannot be seen is not merely important in the context of spousal or personal relationships; it is also important in the context of work. Where can I see flashes of glory in my workplace? In the content of my work, what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy? What was God's original intention with the industry in which I work? How is he redeeming it and where can I get involved in his plan of redemption?

As we ask ourselves these questions, it is important to remember that imagination—unlike imaginary—is rooted in reality. In fact, research shows that children do not develop an imagination until the age of 2 because they simply do not have enough reality from which to create new scenarios and possibilities. In the same way, when we imagine what the gospel and redemption might look like in our work, we take what we know from the Scriptures and apply it in new ways to the reality of our lives.

The creation-fall-redemption framework is helpful when we imagine how God is working to heal our world. In some industries, there is so much brokenness that seeing "creation" and imagining "redemption" seems futile because "fall" is so readily apparent. This is the moment, however, when we must return to remembering. We remember what the Lord has done in seemingly impossible situations with nothing but sinful human beings. Most especially, of course, we remember the incarnation, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20).

### The Tech Report - News

7 Up

1. Bloomberg: Ford's Mulally not leaving company, board director says
2. LinuxGizmos.com: Android eyewear beats Google Glass to market
3. Obama: 'I'm not allowed an iPhone' - Yahoo! News
4. Network World: China prefers to stick with
dying Windows XP rather than upgrade
5. Linux kernel 3.12.3
6. AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.5 driver (thanks ClickClick5)
7. PCPer does Nvidia GRID beta testing on Shield

### Justin Taylor

#### A Dialogue between N. T. Wright and Richard Gaffin

AT the 2005 Auburn Avenue Pastors Conference on “Paul’s Theology: The Apostle and His Theology,” NT scholars Tom Wright and Richard Gaffin ask each other questions about biblical theology, interpretation, justification, etc.:

### The American Conservative » Articles

#### 2012’s Lessons for Republicans

The 2012 election was another chapter in America’s decades-old semi-civil civil war, and Dan Balz’s Collision 2012 gives the ongoing rift between Red and Blue Americas the attention it deserves. In Balz’s telling, last year’s contest was not an ennobling exercise in democracy—both candidates were definitely found wanting. Balz repeats a senior Democrat’s observation that the teleprompter was the perfect metaphor for Barack Obama’s aloof persona, while the Washington Post veteran lets Mitt Romney’s own words repeatedly demonstrate the challenger’s disconnect from the nation he sought to govern. Balz shows the reader what went right and wrong with both campaigns.

Obama’s greatest problem was his stewardship of the Great Recession. He faced a stiff challenge as the election year approached: in December 2011, unemployment stood at 8.6 percent. To top it off, Obama had “left the country even more deeply polarized than it was under George W. Bush,” according to Balz.

Obama’s 2008 rhetoric—that America was “not a collection of red states and blue states” but that “we are the United States of America”—was by then as convincing as Bush 43 declaring himself “a uniter, not a divider.” The aspirational tropes of 2008 had yielded to the scars and scrums of Obamacare’s enactment, the backlash in 2010’s congressional elections, and the ensuing debt-ceiling fight of 2011.

Romney’s problems were different. He was architect and author of Romneycare, the template for Obamacare writ small. He was also a reluctant candidate who never captured the heart or imagination of the party whose nomination he sought. The former Massachusetts governor—by way of Stanford, Harvard, and Bain Capital—was constitutionally incapable of internalizing the fact that the Republican Party had become the home of the white working- and middle-classes, as opposed to a preserve for America’s wealthy. Romney meant what he said about the 47 percent and never understood what all the resulting fuss was about. That was his downfall.

In a post-election interview with Balz, Romney could only acknowledge that “well, clearly that was a very damaging quote and hurt my campaign effort.” But he continued to channel his inner Mitt, telling Balz that Americans remain most concerned about borrowing and spending—when in fact jobs were and are the top priority for an overwhelming majority of Americans.

As Balz points out, “Obama won reelection despite winning just 39 percent of the white vote and recording the worst margin among whites of any successful Democrat.” Thus, in a sense, Mitt met a target and still lost. Even that number is deceptive, though, as it masks Romney’s problem with white voters on the lower rungs of the social ladder.

In the Ohio and Michigan primaries, Romney narrowly defeated former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, assembling a bare coalition of wealthier voters and college graduates. In the general election, Romney managed only to eke out a five-point plurality among the Great Lakes’ white working class and did worse among that bloc in make-or-break Ohio than he did nationally.

Given an opportunity to reevaluate its candidate’s support for race-based affirmative action during the Midwest primaries, Romney’s campaign demurred. Likewise, Romney never wavered in his opposition to the automobile industry rescue favored by George W. Bush and Obama. America’s workers got Mitt’s message.

Oddly, for all of Romney’s smarts and wealth, his campaign appeared removed from the technological advances that had been driving presidential campaigns for nearly a decade. The failure of Team Romney’s ORCA data operation on Election Day was symptomatic of the technology deficit that plagued the Republicans from the start.

Balz focuses on the technical edge that Obama 2012 carried over from the 2008 campaign and how the president’s team honed that advantage into an ever more potent weapon as Election Day approached. While Romney was telling his family that he really didn’t want to run for president, and later when he was engaged in mortal combat with the Republican field, the Obama campaign was continuously testing and perfecting new ways to identify, woo, and nudge prospective supporters.

Balz rightfully gives kudos to the Bush 2004 campaign for its get-out-the-vote operation, and in a sense the sophistication shown by Bush 43 and Obama’s respective campaigns reflects the perks of incumbency. Still, Obama’s campaign manager and former deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina, threw himself into melding the latest in technological innovation with the needs of the re-election effort.

Messina tapped “Silicon Valley tech giants” for their expertise and sidled up to Google’s Eric Schmidt for across-the-board advice. With Obama back in the White House, the relationship between Schmidt and Messina has developed into Civis Analytics, a consulting firm that stands ready to crunch big data for the highest bidder.

If the working class had doubts about Romney, the tech world had no such uncertainty—it was flat-out hostile. What might be called the modernity gap is a steadily growing problem for Republicans.

Election Day numbers and campaign-donor records reinforce the point. In Santa Clara County, California—the heart of Silicon Valley—Obama bested Romney by more than 40 points, as statistics blogger Nate Silver recounts. Obama received approximately \$720,000 in contributions from Google employees, while Romney collected a paltry \$25,000. At Apple, the story was almost the same: its employees gave more than nine out of every ten campaign dollars they contributed to Obama. And once again, as in every election since 1992, graduate degree holders voted Democratic.

Romney’s donors appear to have harmed his campaign almost as they much as they helped it. The GOP donor base helped skew the campaign toward relying upon media buys, as opposed to seeking votes block-by-block, door-to-door. Whereas the Obama campaign successfully updated its 2008 playbook and made local field operations a focal point, the Romney campaign shuttered its local primary operations the day after a Republican contest had come and gone.

As a result, Romney was essentially dormant in Ohio from the late winter until the summer. Balz frames the facts on the ground like this, “Obama had at least 130 offices around the state, plus five hundred staging areas for volunteers working the final days.” Romney had “about forty offices and 157 paid staff.”

Balz recounts the rampant belief in Republican circles that pre-election polling was biased in favor of Obama and writes that Romney came to believe he would emerge victorious based upon perceived “voter intensity.” Balz makes no mention of a poll circulated on the Saturday night before the election by Alex Gage, which showed Obama with at least 300 electoral votes. That pre-election poll was significant, as Gage was a veteran of the Bush 2004 re-election effort and Romney 2008 primary quest. His wife, Katie Packer Gage, was Romney’s deputy campaign manager.
While interviewing Romney’s in-house pollster, Neil Newhouse, for the book, Balz failed to raise the issue of how these two contradictory polling narratives emerged. Likewise, Balz does not appear to have pressed Newhouse or Packer Gage as to what either did with the knowledge of Romney’s likely defeat.

Collision 2012 is not just another campaign chronicle. It is also Balz’s attempt to chart where American politics is and where it may be heading. What he sees is not reassuring. In his words, “campaign 2012 settled little.” Indeed, the gap between “ideologically red and blue America” was “as wide as ever.”

Balz notes the country’s changing cultural and demographic landscape and acknowledges its role in Obama’s win. For better or worse, yesteryears’ outliers have matured into today’s political dominants. George McGovern’s coalition has finally prevailed.

History says that a Republican win in 2016 is doable because Americans generally tire of the incumbent party after two terms. Yet that trend may yield to the fact that the Democrats will be starting with a built-in advantage in the Electoral College. Republican must-win states such as Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire have gone Democratic in the last two elections.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Republicans can reach working- and middle-class voters in large numbers outside of the South. Paul Ryan’s demands for entitlement reform may sound soothing to high-end contributors, but as the GOP becomes ever grayer, that message gets tougher to sell even to the party’s core membership.

Doing better with less affluent voters while keeping wealthier Americans happy enough to vote Republican is no easy task. Understandably, Balz does not offer his own predictions.

Lloyd Green was opposition research counsel to the George H.W. Bush campaign in 1988 and served in the Department of Justice between 1990 and 1992.

### assertTrue( )

#### How I Got to 200K Twitter Followers

In terms of basic Twitter philosophy, understanding Twitter as a medium, managing your followers, etc., Jonha Revesencio (be sure to Follow her) has written the best article I've ever seen on the subject, and it sums up a lot of what I've found to be true, in far fewer and better words than I could ever sum it up. Be sure to read her post. It's the best introduction to this post.

How Did I Get That Many Followers?
People always want to know this. The answer is really simple. You don't have to Promote your account (buy exposure), you don't have to use one of the cheesy "services" that sends thousands of sock puppets (phony users) to your Follower list. (And just to be clear: I have never purchased any followers. Nor should anyone, ever.)

The secret is this: Follow lots of other people—but at the same time, be selective about who you follow.

If you follow a bunch of like-minded people, anywhere from 20% to 40% will follow you back within 72 hours. Try it. Follow 100 people, wait 72 hours, and see how many followed you back. (I use tweepi.com for this, but there are other good tools as well.) If you're not getting at least a 20% followback rate, it could be that you're following inactive users (you want to follow people who tweet daily, not monthly), or your bio needs work, or your content is not appealing for one reason or another. Find out which it is, and fix it. Again, see Jonha Revesencio's article (link above).

With tweepi.com, you can scan up to 200 user bios in one web page, select just those people you want to follow, and click the mouse once to follow all of them. The free version supports only 20 tweeps per page. I pay the \$14.95 a month fee to use the premium service, because it's worth it.

 A typical day in the Twitterverse (4 Dec 2013 screenshot 1:00 pm local). Who the heck ARE all these people?? For that, see tomorrow's post.

The recipe once again: Follow a bunch of people every day; make sure they're the kind of people you want to interact with (in my case, that would be writers, actors, comedians, filmmakers, journalists, and interesting/funny/smart people in the arts and sciences); wait 72 hours; then Unfollow any Inglourious Basterds who don't follow back. Soon you'll have more followers than you know what to do with (at which point, you need to start managing Followers in categorized lists; but that's another story).

How to Know Who to Follow
Let me tell you (from personal experience) the Wrong Way to grow your list. When I first got on Twitter, I thought a good way to gain followers was to follow anyone with #Followback in their bio. I discovered that certain users keep curated Lists of such people. I also found that some Twitter personalities with large followings had/have primarily #Followback types in their Follower lists. I started following those followers. Big mistake.

What happens is, you soon find that your Follower list has grown, all right, but it's full of bots, sock puppets, scam artists, people who tweet in Japanese (or some other language you don't know), and sundry undesirables.

I've long since removed such "followers" from my list (although some creep back in, unsolicited, from time to time). I also periodically cull people who haven't tweeted in, say, two months or more, to get rid of dead accounts (which are legion, on Twitter).

My strong advice is: Think long and hard about who you want to have as followers. These are people you'll interact with, read the tweets of, and share your insights with. Do you want your twitterstream to be a jumble of random "I fed my cat just now" messages and get-rich-quick ads? Wouldn't you prefer to follow, say, 1,000 pro and semi-pro comedians, and have your twitterstream be full of hilarious, off-the-wall, often edifying (but often twisted) wisecracks, jokes, and personal takes on the day's news? If you're a writer, wouldn't you like to know what other writers are doing? If you're a journalist, wouldn't you want to be plugged in to what other journalists are saying?

Tip: Want to follow some funky people? Comedienne Sue Funke follows around a thousand sitcom writers, standup-comedy types, sit-down misery types, and miscellaneous interesting people. You can explore her colorful Followee list here.

Some Basic Analytics
I devote 44% of my 4.88 tweets per day (according to twitonomy.com) to curated links. Another 45% of my tweets are personal laments, observations, opinions, Tourette-like outbursts, etc. The rest of my tweets are interactions: shout-outs, replies, reach-outs, thank-yous, Follow Friday recommendations.

The following stats are from twitonomy.com and reflect the period 20 Feb 2012 to 3 Dec 2013.
• 61.6% of my tweets get Retweeted.
• 58.4% of my tweets get Favorited.
• Just under 2,000 of my tweets got retweeted.
• People retweeting me posted 14,996 individual retweets.
• I was listed in 3,192 Twitter lists.
Comment: When you have a lot of followers, you can tell right away whether a given tweet is engaging. The majority of my tweets get retweeted. When I tweet something, and five minutes later I see that no one has retweeted it, it means whatever I tweeted just bombed. If I tweet a useful link, on the other hand, I can more or less count on seeing 5 or 10 retweets in five minutes. The instantaneous feedback is immensely useful. It's helped me understand what works, what doesn't, what people are expecting from me—how to provide value.

There's a tradition on Twitter whereby people make Follow recommendations on Friday, using the #FF hashtag. Friday is when you tell everyone else on Twitter about that great, fantastic Twitterer you discovered on Tuesday (or whenever).

Every Friday, about 25 people mention me in #FF tweets. Whenever someone #FFs me, I thank the person in a tweet. Sometimes I thank them individually; sometimes I gang-thank them. The net effect of the #FFs is that I get free exposure to an extra 25,000 or so people each Friday, because each person that mentions me in a #FF tweet is exposing me to an average of 1,000 followers.

Note that if you institute a policy of thanking people, in public, every time you get a #FF mention, many people will start #FF-ing you every Friday in expectation of the free mention. Give it to them. Soon enough, you'll have a ton of free recurring publicity every Friday.

Tweets That Get Retweeted
What kinds of things can you say that will get you retweeted? Just about anything, if you have enough followers. But I suggest you avoid the obvious, avoid the irrelevant ("I just went to the bathroom"), be authentic, be yourself, and add value. If I tweet a news story, I check to be sure it's the best version available. (Believe it or not , sometimes the Huffpost version isn't the best.) I try never to send people to sites that have popup windows of any kind. If it's a science story, I try to dig up the original paper (if it's not paywalled) and post the URL. If the news item sounds rumorish ("Paul is dead"), I check it out first.

A lot of times, I just tweet silly nonsense-thoughts that come into my head.

Here are my top five most-retweeted tweets of the past 18 months (the top one got 168 RTs):

April 16, 2013, 10:20 am
Let's see. If Boston bomber is white, he'll be mentally ill; black, a criminal; foreign student, terrorist. #MediaProfiling #PickAStereotype

September 19, 2012, 10:20 pm
My whole life, I've never wanted to own a gun. Then I bought this Dell laptop.

September 15, 2013, 5:43 pm
Can't decide which is worse, the fact that YouTube lets people post public executions, or that they embed Marriott ads in them first.

December 2, 2013, 10:40 pm
This is the Domino's Pizza delivery test drone, for real. (via @richdownie) http://t.co/N0EgV95kSK

September 17, 2013, 4:03 pm
CAPS LOCK DOES NOT MAKE AN IDIOTIC POINT MORE VALID #NOT #EVEN #WITH #HASHTAGS

Tweets Most Favorited:

November 8, 2013, 6:56 pm
Miss America 1924 https://t.co/LVb4Z1tLy5

August 27, 2013, 4:18 pm
The 7 stages of grief, as I understand them, are: artist, writer, waiter, student, deadbeat, drunkard, corpse.

September 8, 2013, 9:22 pm

April 16, 2013, 10:20 am
Let's see. If Boston bomber is white, he'll be mentally ill; black, a criminal; foreign student, terrorist. #MediaProfiling #PickAStereotype

September 20, 2013, 7:12 pm
Dear literary agent, I regret that I am unable to respond personally to your rejection note, which is not right for me at this time.

### Blog & Mablog

#### In a Pig’s Eye

The president’s Twitter account recently sent out this small dribbly contribution to the oceans of illiteracy that already exist out there. What’s another half pint?

Here’s how to improve our economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs: #RaiseTheWage. http://OFA.BO/tXMYUq  pic.twitter.com/UDTcTSaqZJ

So here’s the comeback, and I must say that it is hard to type and snort at the same time.

So why don’t we just raise the minimum wage to a hundred dollars an hour and make everybody well off? Or, while we are in this compassion groove, why don’t we make it a hundred dollars a minute and make everybody fabulously wealthy? To reply that employers don’t have that kind of money to spare is to betray a churlish spirit, and is frankly unworthy of you. Why should we allow a detail like “not having the money” stand between us and the right thing to do?

But be a man. Run the thought experiment anyway. Do this in order to throw in high relief what is actually happening every time we raise the minimum wage. If minimum wage levels “create jobs,” as the president’s infographic would have it, why in the world is he stopping at ten bucks an hour?

I will tell you what happens every time you raise the minimum wage. If you raised it to one hundred dollars a minute, virtually everyone in the world would see that you were doing it, and what a disaster you were being. But if you raise it to ten dollars an hour, you would be doing it in that passive aggressive way of yours with plenty of deniability if the consequences of your lunacy ever become too apparent.

Have I told you what happens every time you raise the minimum wage? You are raising the costs of legal labor. That is what you are doing. Whenever you raise the price of something, you are pricing somebody, in this case employers, out of the market. When you raise the minimum wage to one hundred dollars a minute, you throw absolutely everybody out of a job, pricing all employers out of the market, and everybody sees that it was you. But if you raise it to ten dollars an hour, the only people you price out of a job are black teenagers, who have no lobbyists representing them, and so the progressive stealth campaign against blacks proceeds on, unimpeded.

So somebody raised the price of legal labor. But if you are an employer who needs labor in order to function, you have three options before you. You can hire illegal labor at the true market rates, you can reduce your labor force via layoffs, or you can refuse to grow your force through refusing new hires.

Create new jobs? In a pig’s eye.

### If You Want to Read More . . .

#### Schizophrenia Finds Its Virgil

Speaking To My Madness: How I Searched For Myself In Schizophrenia. By Roberta Payne. Kindle and print-on-demand.

Reviewed by Thomas Levenson

Roberta Payne, a polylingual scholar and translator has just published her first book of prose, Speaking To My Madness. It is remarkable, wonderful, absolutely worth your attention.

The book is, most simply, a memoir of a life lived in contention with that singular disease of the mind: schizophrenia.  Payne leaps (in fine classical style), in medias res, opening her account at what she tells us is the midpoint of her odyssey through her pathologies, speaking from within a locked ward for the mentally ill in Ames, Iowa.  She writes:

"My meds had not yet kicked in for the night.  I stood in bare feet in the middle of the floor and looked at the beds, the mirror, the window.  The air around me curled up at the edges.  It laughed at the fear spurting in my chest, just as the Evil Ones spurted through the night on their way to their own galaxy.” [Italics in the original]

That brief passage conveys one of Payne’s great strengths:  transforming feeling — terror, often — into vivid prose.  From that in-the-midst-of-it opening at Ames, Payne steps backwards to the year she spent in a master’s program at Stanford, when she disintegrated severely enough to wind up in hospital for the first time.  Her description of that crisis sets the tone for much of the first half of the book:

I drove home.  On Palm Drive, while I was listening to rock on the radio, I felt my mind change.  I was aware of the same things – palm trees, bicycle riders, cars -- but they were all far away and magical. “MacArthur Park” lasted all the way home.  It had a weird, doomsday authority over me.  I felt fragile.  Then I felt hot pain rise through my chest and spread out through my veins, just as it did when I drank at night.  Right on the edge of panic.

When I got home, I went and lay down on the grass under the hot sun and submitted to the pain.  I couldn’t move until it got cool late that afternoon.

I went into my little cottage and sat down on the sofa.

Huge, invisible razor blades were attacking my eyes horizontally.

My body shook all over.

I wanted to kill myself.  Almost.  In my mind I went right to that edge and knew that I wanted to try to kill myself but be found while I was still alive.

But someone had to find out how bad it was.  Somebody had to know.  Before nightfall.  The night poised before me promised full-assault fear.  There was no way I could get through that night.

Unbelievably, Liz, an old roommate of mine, knocked at my door, opened it herself, and came in.  Blood was spurt-spurting crimson from my arm.

I cringed for doing that to her.

Payne’s story goes down hill from there.  We follow her as she pursues the opportunities her clearly formidable mind opens up:  graduate studies at Harvard; mastery of language after language (Italian, ancient Greek, medieval Greek, Latin…), Ph.D work at the University of Denver.  We wince, and then grieve, as at each stop, panic, depression, fear, alcohol — buckets and buckets of booze — and then full-blown schizophrenia derail this voice, this marvelous, literate voice at once narrating and living the train wreck unfolding across the page.

We learn about the pain of her childhood home, populated by a mother presented initially as uncaring, harsh, terrifying, a distant and uncomprehending father, a sister who, as the book proceeds, is revealed to be almost utterly without empathy — or perhaps better, as thoroughly terrified of whatever existential challenge Payne’s illness seems to embody.  Payne describes in detail what happens as her schizophrenia advances, to the point where, in the hospital ward in Ames with which the book opens, she edges toward suicide…and then pulls back.

The second half of the book takes up what comes after her halt at the point of self-murder.  It’s a very long way back — years, decades of  painstaking, painful, courageous and ultimately successful labor, advanced with the help of modern pharmacology, persistent and sensitive talk therapy, AA, the rooted kindness of an admirable pair of Episcopalian clergy, and, in one of Payne’s most subtly framed challenges to expectations raised earlier in her narrative, the love and care of parents who had seemed near-villainous in the early passages of the book.

By now what Payne’s disease has taken from her is so apparent, so empathetically available, that I found myself rooting for her at every turn — and terribly fearful that something terrible might happen as I flipped each page.  But this latter story is one of renewal.  As Payne climbs out of the dark years she shows without saying what the reader can clearly recognize as the evidence of her strength, her capacity for restitution, for kindness and restitution and forgiveness.  The Roberta Payne who emerges through the final hundred pages of the book is someone it becomes a privilege to know, and one whose virtues make what her illness stole from her the more terrible.

This is supposed to be a review-site for works on science and related fields, so let me switch gears for a moment to say what else Payne achieves here:  her story amounts to a case study in the advances achieved over the last half century in the understanding and treatment of serious mental illness.  At the beginning of that period and in the early days of Payne’s troubles, talk, persuasion, some righting of wrong thoughts were seen as the royal road to treatment (at least for someone in Payne’s circumstances — educated, ferociously intelligent, articulate and, as a Stanford student, an ex-officio member of the elite).  Each of her various crises were, at least initially, seen as discrete problems — depression in one pocket, alcoholism in another and so on.  Ultimately, she achieved a clear and — for her — appropriate diagnosis, began to receive medication that over time became properly suited to her particular chemistry and physiology, and was able to return to the world supported be an infrastructure of therapeutic and social support.  What gets her and keeps her out of her madness was not available to her, to anyone, in the tie when she first fell ill. Payne shows what that means with utter, brutal, and ultimately relieving detail.

Throughout both her descent into Hades and her return, Payne tests a claim she makes to one of her doctors midway through the book: that one can’t convey the experience of schizophrenia in words.  Of course, she’s right.  It is impossible to give  the full experience of any interior state, any landscape, anything but words in words.  Writers represent reality. We don’t replicate it, anymore than the painted illusion of three dimensional space in Raphael’s School of Athens is anything more than a flat depiction, blobs of color on a plane.  We can’t experience Payne’s disease, no matter how well she writes about it.

And yet, she’s wrong.  Speaking to My Madness is much more than a memoir, though its a very fine remembrance indeed.  It is a meditation on how life may be lived.  In describing as clearly as she has what schizophrenia did to her and what she has done to live with, through, and beyond it, Payne has conveyed a four dimensional human experience.  It’s not the same as being there, of course, but the book evokes imagination; it compels an attempt at empathy. I think it would please the classicist in her (I hope it does) to say that what she has done here is a thoroughly compelling display of mimesis — the art of description that, despite its necessary incompleteness, powerfully conveys the meaning of the whole.  Payne is simply a formidably skilled writer.

It’s that skill that gives power to a proposition that Payne makes explicitly about two thirds of the way through the work: that psychosis, for all the pain and terror involved, is yet “a deeply enriching experience” as Payne put it, borrowing the phrase from some unremembered earlier reading.  The person writing the book, the voice we hear, is so compelling, so much a companion, that it seems that, yes, Payne’s illness must have given her something, sensitivity, heightened feeling, whatever.

That’s a comfort that doesn’t survive her telling.  Reporting a conversation with her dearest friend she writes: ”you don’t grow through schizophrenia … It’s a fucking impediment and a waste of a lifetime.”  That seems right — and Payne is writer enough to give that conclusion an air of necessity. The fabric of her story, the utter courage with which she describes her worst days, makes it impossible to sustain the illusion that her terrors  compensated her in any real measure.  Anyone who’s suffered through the kinds of wretchedness Payne documents, or anyone who’s watched someone they love do so, knows the costs involved.

But even so, there is a reward, scant comfort to those afflicted, that comes for those of us invited to listen to Roberta Payne’s madness.  By the time she arrives at her resting point, speaking with a beloved companion, in the midst of a beauty her brain allows her to recognize, having mastered thought and feeling and the language needed to express both, Payne has delivered this marvelous book.  Her readers’ lives, if not her own, are undisputedly better for it.

The shorter:

I loved this book.  I’m sure it has flaws, and I could probably meditate a bit and offer the usual reviewers caveats about this or that.  But every now and then one comes across a writer, a voice, a text that lights up what’s involved in being human.  Roberta Payne is such a writer. Speaking to My Madness is such a work.

Tom Levenson writes books (most recently Newton and the Counterfeiter) and makes films about science, its history, and whatever else catches his magpie's love of shiny bits.  His work has been honored by a Peabody, a National Academies Science Communication and an AAAS Science Journalism Award, among others.  By day he professes at MIT, where he directs the Graduate Program in Science Writing.

### Runblogger

#### 2013 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Running Gear Deals

Runblogger has migrated to Wordpress. Please click here to go to the Runblogger subscription page and subscribe to the new RSS feed! Last year around this time I put up a post containing a collection of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale links. Basically what I did was spend several hours scouring the web for running-related holiday sales, and aggregated them all into a single post – kind of a one-stop shop for runners looking for discounted […]

### Caelum Et Terra

#### New Seeds

I don’t get to listen to Al Kresta, the EWTN talk show host, much anymore. The local Catholic radio station goes off the air at sunset, and that occurs very early this time of year in this latitude. But tonight I got off work earlier than I have been lately and I heard a little bit of his show.

I had been curious about his take on Evangelii Gautium. I tuned in as he was talking to someone whose name I did not catch. The guy was saying that while he granted that the free market is the best way to insure widespread prosperity, he had to admit that sometimes there were negative effects from the market on the poor, and surely we can find ways to mitigate them.

Mr Kresta agreed, and said “We always hear about the creative destruction that capitalism brings, but maybe we should strive to find ways to make it less, well, destructive.”

I guess we should be grateful that this sort of Catholic is at long last admitting that the market is something less than a magic transformer of everything it touches, uplifting all in its wake, that it in fact has negative effects.

But really, when Pope Francis says, starkly, that “the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root”, isn’t a more radical critique required?

It is insufficient to water and prune and trim the leaves, or even graft a limb onto a tree with rotten roots.

The damned thing needs to be torn out, and new seeds planted.

### Runblogger

#### Can Rotating Running Shoes Reduce Injury Risk? – New Study Suggests Yes!

Runblogger has migrated to Wordpress. Please click here to go to the Runblogger subscription page and subscribe to the new RSS feed! Shoe geeks rejoice! If you’ve been looking for a good reason to convince your spouse or significant other that you need a new pair of running shoes, look no further than a new study that suggests that runners who rotate among more than one pair of running shoes are significantly less likely to get injured […]

### Caelum Et Terra

#### The World’s Worst Bouncer

This is by Dan Amira, from New York magazine:

“In addition to having worked sweeping floors and running tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager, Pope Francis revealed he also used to work as a bouncer.” — Catholic News Service, December 2, 2013.

Pope: Come in, please! All are welcome!

[Teens stream into nightclub.]

Club Owner: Look, uh, Jorge, is it? I know it’s your first day, but you need to be a little more discerning about who you let in to the club. We’re going for an “exclusive, V.I.P.”-type vibe, and I’m seeing a lot of poorly dressed losers in here. Also a number of lepers.

Pope: Is not all of mankind deserving of respect? The street urchin and the nobleman alike are equally blessed by the Lord’s grace.

Club Owner: You’re fired.

### Well, I'm Back

#### WebRTC And People-Oriented Communications

Tantek had an interesting blog post about making people rather than protocols the organizing principle of communication apps. I like his vision quite a lot. One neat extension of his post would be to introduce WebRTC. With WebRTC it would be relatively easy to have the "Robert O'Callahan" app check if I'm currently logged into the appropriate receiver app, at any WebRTC-capable endpoint, and if I am, establish a voice or voice+video session with me (with peer-to-peer transmission, naturally). If I'm not logged in, WebRTC lets you record a message for later delivery. This would be very cool.

### Justin Taylor

#### The Biggest Hole in Our Gospel Is the Gospel Itself

In his editorial for the latest edition of Themelios , D. A. Carson interacts with Richard Stearns’s The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us?

This frank and appealing book surveys worldwide poverty and argues that the American failure to take up God’s mandate to address poverty is “the hole in our gospel.” Without wanting to diminish the obligation Christians have to help the poor, and with nothing but admiration for Mr Stearns’s personal pilgrimage, his argument would have been far more helpful and compelling had he observed three things:

First, “what God expects of us” (his subtitle) is, by definition, not the gospel. This is not the great news of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. Had Mr Stearns cast his treatment of poverty as one of the things to be addressed by the second greatest commandment, or as one of several entailments of the gospel, I could have recommended his book with much greater confidence. As it is, the book will contribute to declining clarity as to what the gospel is.

Second, even while acknowledging—indeed, insisting on the importance of highlighting—the genuine needs that Mr Stearns depicts in his book, it is disturbing not to hear similar anguish over human alienation from God. The focus of his book is so narrowly poverty that the sweep of what the gospel addresses is lost to view. Men and women stand under God’s judgment, and this God of love mandates that by the means of heralding the gospel they will be saved not only in this life but in the life to come. Where is the anguish that contemplates a Christ-less eternity, that cries, “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses. . . . Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone” (Ezek 18:30-32). The analysis of the problem is too small, and the gospel is correspondingly reduced.

Third, some studies have shown that Christians spend about five times more mission dollars on issues related to poverty than they do on evangelism and church planting. At one time, “holistic ministry” was an expression intended to move Christians beyond proclamation to include deeds of mercy. Increasingly, however, “holistic ministry” refers to deeds of mercy without any proclamation of the gospel—and that is not holistic. It is not even halfistic, since the deeds of mercy are not the gospel: they are entailments of the gospel. Although I know many Christians who happily combine fidelity to the gospel, evangelism, church planting, and energetic service to the needy, and although I know some who call themselves Christians who formally espouse the gospel but who live out few of its entailments, I also know Christians who, in the name of a “holistic” gospel, focus all their energy on presence, wells in the Sahel, fighting disease, and distributing food to the poor, but who never, or only very rarely, articulate the gospel, preach the gospel, announce the gospel, to anyone. Judging by the distribution of American mission dollars, the biggest hole in our gospel is the gospel itself.

HT: Z

## December 05, 2013

### The Tech Report - News

#### Acer's Iconia W4 tablet offers Bay Trail, 8'' display for \$330

It looks like Acer is about to add to the growing list of fun-sized Windows 8.1 slates. As VR-Zone reports, a product page for the Iconia W4, a Bay Trail-powered tablet with an 8" screen, briefly popped up on Acer's website. The page has since been pulled, but Google still has a cached version of it.

...

### The Outlaw Way

#### 131206

Ok kids, here’s the most accurate list we could put together. Things may change a little with a few of our lifters trying to move weight classes, but this should be fairly accurate. I’ll post any possible changes to twitter and the facebooks, so shameless plug make sure you’re following one of them (if, of course, you care).

Here’s the link to THE AO WEBCAST.

Obviously there’s a ton of people lifting (including other Outlaw BB lifters), but the start times listed below are for the lifters who we are working directly with. Also, remember the times are CST. Here’s some highlights…

-8:00am Friday will feature Harrison Marus trying to break his own 13 and under American Records.

-8:30pm Friday is the night of the “Kings of the Outlaws”, and the tall blonde girls. Featuring Paul Estrada, and Kevin Simons, as well as, Kat Anderson and JoEllyn McAtee ALL at the same time. I’m a little excited about this one.

-Saturday at 3:00pm features defending AO 69k Champion, Spencer Arnold. Enough said.

-Saturday at 7:30pm features possibly our most talented group of women. 2012 5th place 58k, Sarabeth Phillips, Outlaw CrossFit’s own, Caitlin Vodopia, and the 63k D1 basketball player turned elite lifter, Nicole Capurso. These are some of our best podium chances, and most fun to watch lifters.

-Sunday, 12:30pm and 1:30pm, Coppola and Akinwale, arguably the two strongest overall competitive exercisers on earth, and arguably the best candidates for active CrossFitters to take a podium at a national meet. Someone may need to duct tape me to a chair for a few hours.

Friday:

8am
Harrison Marus (YB)

10:30am
Emily Carothers (63C)
Jess Shultz (63C)
Jake Dickerson (69C)

3:30pm
Drew Bignall (94C)
James McCoy (94C)

6pm
Ingrid Kantola (63B)

8:30pm
JoEllyn McAtee (75B)
Kat Anderson (75B)
Kevin Simons (94B)

Saturday:

3pm
Spencer Arnold (69A)

7:30pm
Sarabeth Phillips (58A)
Caitlin Vodopia (58A)
Nicole Capurso (63A)

Sunday:

12:30pm
Marco Coppola (94A)

1:30pm
Elisabeth Akinwale (75A)

WOD 131206:

BBG

1) 15 min to establish a 1RM Snatch.

2) 15 min to establish a 1RM Clean & Jerk.

Conditioning

Courtesy of Ben Bergeron.

“GODZILLA”

3 rounds for time of:

1 Legless Rope Climb 15′
2 Snatches 225/145#
3 Back Squats 365/245#
4 Parallette HSPU 13/9″ (to top of parallette)

The post 131206 appeared first on The Outlaw Way.

### Inconsolation

#### iptstate: Top, for iptables

Once you get iptables working, you’ll probably want iptstate next.

As I understand it — and again, networking is not my strong point — iptstate lets you watch traffic as it crosses iptables, and sort or filter it, like top does. And atop, and powertop, and iotop and. …

I can’t show a whole lot for it, mostly because I don’t have iptables configured right now. The home page has better screenshots of how it looks in action.

I can see where this would be useful, provided it was configured and running properly. And I imagine in a complex network environment, it would be quite impressive to watch.

Of course, I’m a sucker for anything that manages the screen real estate and flashes a little color.

Tagged: configure, firewall, information, monitor, network

### Greg Mankiw's Blog

#### The CEA Fact Checkers Miss One

In his speech yesterday, President Obama said,
Now, we all know the arguments that have been used against a higher minimum wage. Some say it actually hurts low-wage workers -- businesses will be less likely to hire them. But there’s no solid evidence that a higher minimum wage costs jobs.
From my perspective, the last sentence is just incorrect.  There is a lot of work by reputable economists that finds adverse employment effects of a higher minimum wage.  In a poll of top economists, as many say they believe that the adverse employment effect is noticeable as those that say the opposite.

The president could have said there is no completely decisive evidence.  Or, more accurately, he could have said there is mixed evidence. But saying there is no solid evidence is misleading.

### Inconsolation

#### iptables: It’s better if I don’t explain

I thought perhaps, a month or so ago, that I would walk through iptables slowly and carefully, since it’s a tool that’s very useful and in just about every distro.

But as seems to be the case these days, I keep finding better explanations already published on the ‘net, by people with much more experience than me.

Times like this reinforce the need not to repeat information endlessly, especially when — to be honest — networking and firewalls are not my strongest points.

So what I’ll do is give a few links to the better tutorials that I found, and not waste anyone’s time by polluting the Internet with repeated information.

Listed not in any particular order:

Sorry if this looks like a cop-out, but what I realized after starting my own weak-sauce “tutorial,” was that many other people had already done it, and much better.

Tagged: configure, firewall, information, network

### Alexis C. Madrigal : The Atlantic

#### 5 Intriguing Things: Thursday, 12/5

1. The "not-too-distant" future of television.

"What remains of live programming is reserved for sports programming, breaking news stories, talent contests, and the big awards shows. Nearly all scripted shows become streaming shows, whether they are produced or aggregated by Netflix or Amazon, CBS or a (finally unbundled) HBO—or even an unexpected entrant such as Target, which recently launched a Netflix competitor. The new networks compete based on the their ability to make the right original programming decisions and secure the best old shows, as well as the prescience of their recommendation engines. But ultimately they’re all just selling access to piles of content to be perused at the viewer’s desire. Oddly enough, it’s a vision that actually makes television a lot more like the rest of retail. Or, more specifically, not unlike the old-style video-rental stores where Sarandos started his career, but super-sized for a new era."

2. How hackers (or government cyberwarriors) could jump the air gap into sensitive systems

"The hurdles of implementing covert acoustical networking are high enough that few malware developers are likely to add it to their offerings anytime soon. Still, the requirements are modest when measured against the capabilities of Stuxnet, Flame, and other state-sponsored malware discovered in the past 18 months. And that means that engineers in military organizations, nuclear power plants, and other truly high-security environments should no longer assume that computers isolated from an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection are off limits."

3. The legal implications of bringing extinct species back into being. (There are some.)

"For purposes of this Article, we treat de-extinction, in some form, as a scientifically reasonable future prospect whose legal implications should be considered in a practical manner. For the most part, we assume that if de-extinction can feasibly be accomplished, someone will undertake the effort if for no other reason than because it would be irresistibly thrilling to do so. Jurassic Park itself may be unattainable, but a somewhat more plausible Pleistocene Park, populated with mammoths and aurochs, would generate nearly as much popular excitement. Other motivations for pursuing de-extinction might include the reintroduction of “keystone” species for purposes of reviving whole ecosystems, with substantial environmental benefits.

Therefore, this Article explores the implications of de-extinction under existing law. "

4. The Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection at Harvard.

"The world’s largest private collection of material documenting altered states... The collection documents psychoactive drugs and their physical and social effects, from cultivation and synthesis to the myriad cultural and counter-cultural products such altered states of mind have inspired and influenced. Rich in scientific and medical works on cannabis, hashish, opium, coca, peyote, LSD, anesthetics and various derivatives, it documents in depth both the benefits of controlled use and the horrors of addiction. The bulk of the collection, however, explores drug use by individuals and the influence such use and users had on their society, with emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries in America and France."

5. Many more people are suffering from dementia.

"The global burden of dementia has increased by 22 per cent in just three years. 44 million people worldwide now have the disease, a figure which is projected to rise to 76 million by 2030. In western Europe, incidence rates are on track to double by 2050."

Advisory: The Freedom of the Press Foundation is raising money to work on encryption tools for journalists

### 512 Pixels

#### Ryan Seacrest’s iPhone keyboard case »

Great, now “Ryan Seacrest” is in my site’s database.

### Blog & Mablog

#### Earthiness Saved

“But in the face of this false doctrine, God was made flesh. This means that we may build, sew, pick up a knife and fork, make love, spank our kids, shovel the walk, and do all to the glory of God. Earthiness is not the gospel, but the gospel did come to earth. Earthiness is no savior, but earthiness is saved” (God Rest Ye Merry, pp. 26-27).

### 512 Pixels

#### On Apple and the podcast market »

I don’t find the fact that the majority of mobile podcast downloads are on iOS devices all that surprising. Like Marco points out, podcast listening is one of several activities that makes iOS seem bigger than it is. I’m sure the level of quality of podcast apps on iOS doesn’t hurt either.

### Parchment and Pen

#### One Sermon People would Remember

From a human perspective a sermon is so subjective. If a person preaches for any length of consecutive weeks it becomes surprising how differently people respond to sermons.

The exact same sermon can be described by people as: Amazing, Convicting, Deep, Light, Boring, Faithful, Questionable, Solid and Weak.

Several times I have used the scene from Walk the Line to explain a sermon. In the biographical movie about Johnny Cash he finally has a shot to impress someone who could get him started in the music industry. Sam Phillips stops Johnny Cash a couple verses into the audition. The following dialogue ensues:

Sam Phillips: You know exactly what I’m telling you. We’ve already heard that song a hundred times. Just like that. Just… like… how… you.. sing it.

Johnny Cash: Well, you didn’t let us bring it home.

Sam Phillips: Bring… bring it home? All right, let’s bring it home. If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had one time to sing one song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin’ me that’s the song you’d sing? That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day, about your peace within, and how it’s real, and how you’re gonna shout it? Or… would you sing somethin’ different. Somethin’ real. Somethin’ you felt. Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song that truly saves people. It ain’t got nothin’ to do with believin’ in God, Mr. Cash. It has to do with believin’ in yourself.

Johnny Cash: I got a couple of songs I wrote in the Air Force. You got anything against the Air Force?

Sam Phillips: No.

Johnny Cash: I do.

You can see parts of the scene here:

Please don’t misunderstand my reason for writing this post. It is not to beat up pastors. Satan, sin and the flesh do enough to beat up all of us. Instead, my primary goal is to encourage pastors to preach Jesus with their voice. Don’t preach the sermon of another person. Preach your sermon. Don’t try to emulate your favorite preacher. Don’t try to follow a textbook outline on preaching. Find your Savior. Find your voice. Preach the Word.

One of my living heroes is Chuck Swindoll. It was a privilege to hear him preach every Sunday for more than 6 years while I went through seminary (I’m a slow learner). On many occasions I heard him tell small groups of men about his first pastoral experience. Swindoll has literally preached to millions of people but his first ministry was in the New England area and it was a failure. Swindoll had many “famous” preachers and professors as mentors. Swindoll was one of the first interns of Ray Stedman. Many younger people have probably never heard of Ray Stedman, but he was in some ways the Mark Driscoll, Craig Groeschel, Matt Chandler of a couple generations ago.

Swindoll tells the story that he was basically trying to be like, sound like, and think like his wonderful mentors. He was succeeding in trying to sound like his mentors, but he was failing at actually making any difference for the Kingdom of God.

Swindoll tells the story that he was driving down a highway many decades ago in New England and started to weep. His ministry was a failure. He pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road and continued to weep. Swindoll says Galatians 1:10 came to his mind, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

I’ve heard Swindoll explain many times that it was at that precise moment he realized he had to stop trying to be like and sound like someone else and just be himself. He would speak about Jesus and teach the Bible with his voice. He is not Ray Stedman. God does not want another Ray Stedman. The New England ministry failed but Swindoll’s next pastoral position was in California. He became famous there for his authenticity and clear biblical teaching.

The last time my wife and I heard a sermon we both knew was poor I was waiting for the inevitable question, “What did you think of the sermon?” About halfway home with the kids occupied in the backseat she looked at me and asked the question. After pausing for a bit I said, “I don’t think that’s the message he’d preach if he knew he’d die tomorrow. And, I don’t think he has found his voice.

If you are a preacher or can encourage a preacher here are some quick points:

• Find your voice. If you don’t know what I mean then you haven’t found your voice.
• Preach Jesus. Every sermon, even on Leviticus 4, is infinitely changed by the reality of the living Jesus.
• Listen to advice, but not too much. You answer to God. You live only for the applause of our God.
• Don’t ever preach what hasn’t first affected you. If it hasn’t moved you, it probably won’t move others.
• Even if you are preaching Leviticus 4, preach it like it’s the last thing people will ever hear from you this side of glory.

Similar Posts:

### CrossFit 204

#### Workout: Dec. 7, 2013

Sled work: bad on the grass, bad on the rubber. (Photo by Brett)

### The Outlaw Way

#### 131206

Weightlifting:
A) Snatch: 90%/2*4 sets, rest 2-3 min between sets
B) Snatch Pull To Hips: 100%/3*3 sets: DEMO: STAY OVER THE BAR

Strength:
A) GHD Back Extension Unweighted: 3 sets of 8. At the bottom the back should be flexed and as you return to the top extend the back.
B) Drop Snatch: 5 sets of 2 AHAP

The post 131206 appeared first on The Outlaw Way.

### Doc Searls Weblog

#### Rushing around

Clear Channel Los Angeles says Rush will be moving from KFI to KTLK-AM in January. KTLK-AM will become The Patriot AM 1150, home of Los Angeles conservative talk radio, featuring Rush, Hannity, Glenn Beck and others. A similar move is being made in San Francisco where Rush will be moving from KKSF-AM to KNEW-AM. And as expected on Rush will move from WABC to WOR. The Clear Channel strategy is to move Rush off an established station, in the case of L.A. and San Francisco, to anchor a new station and help build that station up. Clear Channel recently purchased WOR-AM in New York and he’s being moved off WABC, a Cumulus station.

In all those cases the move is to a station with less coverage. Technicalities:

I’m also wondering how much the temporary move of Rush in Boston from WRKO/680 to WXKS/1200 helped “build up” the latter.  These days WXKS is running Bloomberg business news, which fills a niche but isn’t a big ratings winner.

The larger picture here, and the reason I bring this story up, is that the real stations aren’t the stations at all, but the shows and the talent. Rush’s listeners care about Rush, not where they find him. As this fact becomes more obvious over time, look for the Clear Channels of the world to become routers of talent and programming through any available medium (especially the Net, which is where everything is already moving), rather than a collection of radio stations.

And let’s face it: Rush isn’t on any one station. He’s on SCAN. Keep hitting that button and you won’t miss him.

Not missing is the future of radio. And, maybe, of all media.

### The Urbanophile

#### Are Special Service Districts a Boon or a Bane?

Small scale special service districts in their various forms – such as conservancies, business improvement districts, and management agencies – are increasingly common in our urban landscape. This is part of a trend towards public-private partnerships, or perhaps more accurately in this case, privatized/outsourced government.

Are these a good thing or a bad thing? In my latest post at New Geography I take a look. It’s called “Are Special Service Districts a Bane or a Boon?.” Here’s an excerpt:

In fact, the move towards privatized services in wealthier areas could be a good thing for the rest of the city if it is used to free up funds for use where there isn’t as much private capital available. In this case a city could look to move parks, street cleaning, and other items “off the books” via special service districts in areas that can afford to fund such services largely by themselves. The city would then concentrate public funds in poorer or middle class areas. The tradeoff would be that the wealthier areas might be allowed to purchase higher quality services for themselves, but that would be structured in a way that let service quality be raised for others.

On the other hand, it’s not hard to see how this could evolve as a mechanism for “strategic abandonment” as well. In this case the city would cut general service levels then allowing wealthier areas to buy them back. Critics have charged that special service districts are exactly the legal mechanism that will be used to implement planned shrinkage in Detroit.

In the case of Detroit, the city has no good options and may well be forced by reality to make tough choices like this. But not everyplace has that excuse.

The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. Great for anyone who cares about our cities, The Urban State of Mind also makes a great gift this holiday season.

### Schneier on Security

#### Heartwave Biometric

Here's a new biometric I know nothing about:

The wristband relies on authenticating identity by matching the overall shape of the user's heartwave (captured via an electrocardiogram sensor). Unlike other biotech authentication methods -- like fingerprint scanning and iris-/facial-recognition tech -- the system doesn't require the user to authenticate every time they want to unlock something. Because it's a wearable device, the system sustains authentication so long as the wearer keeps the wristband on.

### CrossFit Naptown

#### Lifting Seminar Tuesday

As stated before this is the last week of the Olympic Lifting Cycle. We will be hitting our 1 rep max Snatch and Clean and Jerk next Friday and Saturday.

Next Saturday is the Olympic Lifting meet hosted by Force Barbell for those have signed up for it.

On top of hosting the event, the owner of Force Barbell, Dan Brown, will be here at CrossFit NapTown giving a free 2 hour seminar. This is FREE to ALL members. He will be reviewing a lot of what we teach and adding a little more. This is an amazing opportunity to learn from an Olympic Lifting Specific Coach. We as coaches at NapTown give you as much information as possible based on our certifications, seminars, and learning’s, but we do not specialize in one specific area. Force Barbell does specialize in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk, so this opportunity is HUGE, especially because it is free.

## What: Olympic Lifting Seminar Where: CrossFit NapTown When: Tuesday, December 10th 6pm-8pm Cost: FREE Why: To help reiterate the importance of the Olympic Lifts and the technique involved in them.

Next week will be a deload week, we will be focusing more on mobility, some less intense WODs and preparing for the one rep maxes. If you have any questions or concerns about the deload week please feel free to reach out to Peter or Jared. As always we have an open door policy and are happy to discuss any and everything with you.

After next week we will be getting back to some regular good ole “randomness” of CrossFit.

# Today’s Workout:

Clean and Jerk
1×1 82%
1×5 91%
Three rounds for time of (16 min cap):
10 Front Squats (185/115)
50 Double-unders
Sub for double unders is to scale down the number of double unders: or 200 singles if you cannot do them.

Shirt orders and payments are due by Monday, December 9th. You can order yours today: on the black board at the gym. or email Eric@crossfitnaptown.com. Please specify size, quantity, style A, B, or C and how you want to pay

### Front Porch Republic

#### Localist Roundup: Walmart, Death, and the Pope

In a follow-up to a previous Localist Roundup, a petition has appeared on the White House Petition website urging that the runner-up turkey from this Thanksgiving’s turkey pardoning be executed: “Justice must be served. Preferably with a side of mashed potatoes and candied yams.”

Meanwhile, Time finds irony in the fact that Walmart sells fake prints of a British artist’s piece ‘Destroy Capitalism.’ Also, the Atlantic explores why President Obama has lost favor with millennials. And the Nation has nothing but praise for Pope Francis’s recent critiques of the modern capitalist economy.

Lastly, this piece describes a mobile app that estimates the user’s life expectancy and counts down until death. The author believes this morbid tool tells something about out relationship with technology.

The post Localist Roundup: Walmart, Death, and the Pope appeared first on Front Porch Republic.

### The Tech Report - News

#### AMD issues statement on R9 290X speed variability, press samples

In the wake of our investigation into whether retail Radeon R9 290X cards are slower than press samples, AMD has issued a statement on these matters. Here's the text in full:

Based on feedback from the enthusiast community, we’ve implemented an all new PowerTune mechanism in the AMD Radeon R9 290 series that exploits the full capability of the individual GPUs rather than clamping performance to a least-common-denominator type of capability ...

#### Considerations on a non-profit home for your project

[ This post of mine is cross-posted from Conservancy's blog.]

I came across this email thread this week, and it seems to me that Node.js is facing a standard decision that comes up in the life of most Open Source and Free Software projects. It inspired me to write some general advice to Open Source and Free Software projects who might be at a similar crossroads0. Specifically, at some point in the history of a project, the community is faced with the decision of whether the project should be housed at a specific for-profit company, or have a non-profit entity behind it instead. Further, project leaders must consider, if they persue the latter, whether the community should form its own non-profit or affiliate with one that already exists.

Choosing a governance structure is a tough and complex decision for a project — and there is always some status quo that (at least) seems easier. Thus, there will always be a certain amount of acrimony in this debate. I have my own biases on this, since I am the Executive Director of Conservancy, a non-profit home for Open Source and Free Software projects, and because I have studied the issue of non-profit governance for Open Source and Free Software for the last decade. I have a few comments based on that experience that might be helpful to projects who face this decision.

The obvious benefit of a project housed in a for-profit company is that they'll usually always have more resources to put toward the project — particularly if the project is of strategic importance to their business. The downside is that the company almost always controls the trademark, perhaps controls the copyright to some extent (e.g., by being the sole beneficiary of a very broad CLA or ©AA), and likely has a stronger say in the technical direction of the project. There will also always be “brand conflation” when something happens in the project (Did the project do it, or did the company?), and such is easily observable in the many for-profit-controlled Open Source and Free Software projects.

By contrast, while a for-profit entity only needs to consider the interests of its own shareholders, a non-profit entity is legally required to balance the needs of many contributors and users. Thus, non-profits are a neutral home for activities of the project, and a neutral place for the trademark to live, perhaps a neutral place to receive CLAs (if the community even wants a CLA, that is), and to do other activities for the project. (Conservancy, for its part, has a list of what services it provides.)

There's also difference among non-profit options. The primary two USA options for Open Source and Free Software are 501(c)(3)'s (public charities) and 501(c)(6)'s (trade associations). 501(c)(3) public charities must always act in the public good, while 501(c)(6) trade associations act in interest of its paying for-profit members. I'm a fan of the 501(c)(3)-style of non-profit, again, because I help run one. IMO, the choice between the two really depends on whether you want the project run and controlled by a consortium of for-profit businesses, or if you want the project to operate as a public charity focused on advancing the public good by producing better Open Source and Free Software. BTW, the big benefit, IMO, to a 501(c)(3) is that the non-profit only represents the interests of the project with respect to the public good, so IRS prohibits the charity from conflating its motives with any corporate interest (be they single or aggregate).

If you decide you want a non-profit, there's then the decision of forming your own non-profit or affiliating with an existing non-profit. Folks who say it's easy to start a new non-profit are (mostly) correct; the challenge is in keeping it running. It's a tremendous amount of work and effort to handle the day-to-day requirements of non-profit management, which is why so many Open Source and Free Software projects choose to affiliate or join with an existing non-profit rather than form their own. I'd suggest strongly that the any community look into joining an existing home, in part because many non-profit umbrellas permit the project to later “spin off” to form your own non-profit. Thus, joining an existing entity is not always a permanent decision.

Anyway, as you've guessed, thinking about these questions is a part of what I do for a living. Thus, I'd love to talk (by email, phone or IRC) with anyone in any Open Source and Free Software community about joining Conservancy specifically, or even just to talk through all the non-profit options available. There are many options and existing non-profits, all with their own tweaks, so if a given community decides it'd like a non-profit home, there's lots to chose from and a lot to consider.

I'd note finally that the different tweaks between non-profit options deserve careful attention. I often see people commenting that structures imposed by non-profits won't help with what they need. However, not all non-profits have the same type of structures, and they focus on different things. For example, Conservancy doesn't dictate anything regarding specific CLA rules, licensing, development models, and the like. Conservancy generally advises about all the known options, and help the community come to the conclusions it wants and implement them well. The only place Conservancy has strict rules is with regard to the requirements and guidelines the IRS puts forward on 501(c)(3) status. Meanwhile, other non-profits do have strict rules for development models, or CLAs, and the like, which some projects prefer for various reasons.

0BTW, I don't think how a community comes to that crossroads matters that much, actually. At some point in a project's history, this issue is raised, and, at that moment, a decision is before the project.

#### MSI's new gaming notebook has a 2880x1620 screen

More and more premium ultrabooks are toting high-PPI screens. MSI's latest mobile offering has a similarly high-density display with an impressive 2880x1620 resolution—but it's hardly an ultrabook.

Rather, the new GT60 is a big honkin' gaming laptop filled with high-end hardware. Complementing its 15.6" high-PPI display are a quad-core Core i7-4700MQ processor, a GeForce GTX 780M discrete GPU, 16GB of system memory, a 128GB ...

### Art House Blog

#### Presence

Ive been sleeping in her bed with her, nervous at listening to her uneven breathing and feeling her body radiate heat, but more nervous to be in the other room. Throughout the night, she says, Mama?and asks for water, more blankets, fewer blankets, or the ice pack that fell on the floor. She is constantly aware of my presence. Mama?I love to hear her voice asking for me, assuming I am there. Most of all, I love her arm reaching to me in her sleep, not needing anything. Reaching because, even as she dreams, she dreams of me.

#### An Astonishing Work

My work is wrapped up in the self I knock against every ordinary day. It is in my home. It is there with me on vacation. It is in breathing and being; in worrying less and wondering more; in the act of loving (or cooking or cleaning or playing or resting), rather than in analyzing how well I’m doing it. Don’t get me wrong; my work is hard work (as is yours). But it is very simple. It is right in front of me.

### Lift Big Eat Big

#### Women: Building the Upper Body

Article written by Alanna Casey
If you’re still with me, then awesome, listen up! Women should train upper body no differently than a man trains upper body. However, I see the opposite happen all the time. Women train hard and end up with big powerful legs, yet lack a developed upper body. The reason for this is simple; they don’t train upper body for power.

The two main lifts that I identify as a “must” for a powerful upper body are: the bench press and the overhead press. You should do these lifts and/or a variation of these lifts every week. Most importantly, you should do them with heavy weight. I recognized that “heavy weight” is different for everyone but, when doing 3 sets of 8 reps on both exercises, your last 2 reps should be very challenging. As a standard, if you still look pretty during your last two reps, you’re doing it wrong; up your weight.

Additionally, the majority of your lifting time should be focused on upper body. For example, I train 4 times a week. One day I train squats, one day I train bench, one day I train deadlift and one day I train overhead press. Now, when I break down my assistance work, I actually spend more TIME on my upper body. This is because on deadlift day, about half of my assistance exercises are upper body movements (wide grip pull ups, good mornings, barbell row). When you think about the intensity level of a typical Powerlifter/Strongwoman workout, this makes sense. It makes sense because the overall stress you are able to place on the lower body is greater than the overall stress you typically place on the upper body. For example, when you squat or deadlift, you are moving very heavy weight, relative to your body mass.

When you train upper body you end up using lower weights because you’re using smaller muscle groups in the body and less efficient levers. Because it is difficult to place the upper body under as much stress as the lower body, you need to train it more often. I do not mean you should bench 3 times a week. What I mean, is that you should have a variety of upper body movements throughout your weekly training cycle.

My favorite exercises for wide lats and a big bench:

Wide grip pull ups: Use a band if you need to, or even push off your training partners hands. If you really need to, use the reverse weighted pull up machine, but make it challenging! Try to get in 40 reps weekly. It doesn’t matter how “assisted” they end up being as long as you get them in! When I first started these I could only do 1 rep. I have to rely on assistance machines for all of my other reps.

Dumbbell flat bench press: Make sure to control the weight, especially on the negative. Using dumbbells as opposed to a barbell will challenge your stabilizing muscles more.

Single arm dumbbell rows: Go HEAVY on these! Lower the db slowly then crank it up with power!

Seated dumbbell shoulder presses: One these, be sure to bring the dumbbell down low. This means
your elbows should break the 90 degree plane. Flare your lats through the top of the movement.

Single arm dumbbell snatches: Start with a single dumbbell on the floor. Snatch it overhead in one fluid motion, exploding your hips as you complete the movement. Your weight should mostly be in your heels as you snatch. Keep the barbell as close to your body as possible and in a straight line as you pull.

Overhead barbell lockouts: Set the barbell on safety pins which place the barbell at forehead level. Every rep should be initiated from the safety pins.  Press the barbell overhead, resetting the weight on the safety pins at the end of each rep.

Bent over barbell rows: If you use and overhand grip one week, use an underhand grip the next week. Bend slightly at the hips and pull the barbell to your belly button. Your weight should mostly be on your heels. Use the heaviest weight possible, while still being able to keep your back in a straight line. If you start looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame, lower your weight.

### John C. Wright's Journal

#### The Unreality Principle in Action

A reader who goes by the fruitful name of Watermelonyo takes me to task for daring to say that the modern Left supports the Jihad. He expresses astonishment, and doubts my sincerity and even my sanity for saying such a thing.

Time does not permit me to post a complete list of the outrageous statements and actions by the Left who have defended the Jihadist enemy. I assume we all remember the human shields who volunteered, with their bodies and their lives, to defend Saddam against the West.

However, time does allow me to post a partial list, compiled by another man, of supporters and support for various aspects of Jihadist terror. I have not clicked through all the links, for there are too many. I have not reproduced his whole list, for it is too long.

The list below is from one Mark Humphrys, an Irish Atheist who ‘self-identifies’ as a Liberal-Right, because the Left support for Islamic Fascism drives him away from the Left.

I reprint his list in part, and his comments, without his permission, in the hope that he would approve that his work in lighting his torch will shine a light on this dark issue.

My point in posting this list is not to convince my honorable opposition that the Left does indeed support Jihad. My point is that it is not insane, nor even unreasonable, for an honest man to see what Leftwing figures have said and done and come to the conclusion that a collusion of sentiment exists.

I am proposing that I am that one figure whom Leftists steadfastly say does not and cannot exist: a reasonable man whose conclusions do not match Leftwing conclusions.

The part of the list I find saddest is the one placed at the top. These were Mr Humpheys’ heroes, the thinkers he trusted and admired,who betrayed their trust in him. If you click through no other links, click that one. It makes for interesting reading.

The words below are Mr Humphrys’.

# The left’s reaction to 9/11

• Chew on This by Christopher Hitchens – “Ever since that morning, the United States has been at war with the forces of reaction.” – and the left supports the reactionaries.
• People who let me down after Sept 11th
• Jean Baudrillard
• Baudrillard’s decadent applause for 9/11: “That we have dreamed of this event, that everyone without exception has dreamed of it, because no one can avoid dreaming of the destruction of any given power that has become hegemonic to such a point, is unacceptable for the Western moral conscience but it is still a fact which is measured precisely by all the pathetic violence of all the words that would erase it. Ultimately, they did it but we asked for it.”
• Baudrillard on the WTC: “The horror for the 4,000 victims of dying in those towers was inseparable from the horror of living in them – the horror of living and working in sarcophagi of concrete and steel.”
• Damien Hirst
• The fabulously wealthy multi-millionaire Damien Hirst‘s decadent applause for 9/11: “The thing about 9/11 is that it’s kind of like an artwork in its own right. … Of course, it’s visually stunning and you’ve got to hand it to them on some level because they’ve achieved something which nobody would have ever have thought possible – especially to a country as big as America. So on one level they kind of need congratulating, which a lot of people shy away from, which is a very dangerous thing.”
• Norman Mailer
• Norman Mailer on 9/11: “The WTC was not just an architectural monstrosity, but also terrible for people who didn’t work there, for it said to all those people: ‘If you can’t work up here, boy, you’re out of it.’ … Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed. And then came the next shock. We had to realize that the people that did this were brilliant. … Americans can’t admit that you need courage to do such a thing. For that might be misunderstood. The key thing is that we in America are convinced that it was blind, mad fanatics who didn’t know what they were doing. But what if those perpetrators were right and we were not?”
• Mary Beard (Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge)
• Mary Beard’s depraved reaction to 9/11, London Review of Books, 4 October 2001: “when the shock had faded, more hard-headed reaction set in. This wasn’t just the feeling that, however tactfully you dress it up, the United States had it coming. That is, of course, what many people openly or privately think. World bullies, even if their heart is in the right place, will in the end pay the price. But there is also the feeling that all the ‘civilised world’ (a phrase which Western leaders seem able to use without a trace of irony) is paying the price for its glib definitions of ‘terrorism’ and its refusal to listen to what the ‘terrorists’ have to say.”
• Of course, Mary Beard hasn’t a clue what the terrorists have to say. She simply projects western values onto them, that they do not share. The people who actually listen to what the terrorists have to say want the terrorists destroyed.
• She attacks the use of words like “‘fanaticism’, a term regularly applied to extraordinary acts of bravery when we abhor their ends and means. The silliest description of the onslaught on the World Trade Center was the often repeated slogan that it was a ‘cowardly’ attack.”
• List of celebrity reactions to Sept 11th and Islamofascism contains a huge list of morally-sick responses from:

I think people show their true colours at a time like this.

• John Pilger’s stupid reaction to 9/11, September 13, 2001, viewing it as some kind of response to “oppression”.
• He says: “Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been its victims – principally the victims of US fundamentalism, whose power, in all its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the greatest source of terrorism on earth.”
• “The attacks on Tuesday come at the end of a long history of betrayal of the Islamic and Arab peoples: the collapse of the Ottoman Empire” [Oh how sad - every leftist should regret the collapse of an unelected tyranny that carried out the genocide of the Armenians.]
• Bush’s Secularist Triumph: The left apologizes for religious fanatics. The president fights them. – article by Christopher Hitchens an atheist for Bush.
• “Only one faction in American politics has found itself able to make excuses for the kind of religious fanaticism that immediately menaces us in the here and now. And that faction, I am sorry and furious to say, is the left. From the first day of the immolation of the World Trade Center, right down to the present moment, a gallery of pseudointellectuals has been willing to represent the worst face of Islam as the voice of the oppressed.”
• “George Bush may subjectively be a Christian, but he – and the U.S. armed forces – have objectively done more for secularism than the whole of the American agnostic community combined and doubled.”
• The Transformation of “Jihad Jack” and John Walker Lindh by Christian Beenfeldt – How can you go from trendy western liberal-left godlessness to Islamic religious fascism? You can if your trendy, non-judgemental godlessness is based on feelings rather than on reason:
• “Consider the typical “progressive” leftist, with his non-judgmental relativism. He is the embodiment of subjectivism: he holds that there are no absolute principles, that truth is “in the eye of the beholder,” and that “what’s right for you might not be right for me.” … the subjectivist makes clear that his choices are ruled by blind feelings.”
• “This is precisely also the basic policy of the religious dogmatist. There are an infinite number of opposing religious sects. How does the religionist decide which faith to embrace, which revelations to follow and which authority to obey? Does he scientifically gather the evidence, carefully weigh it, and then adopt the conclusion to which reason and logic point? Obviously not. He feels it. He feels that Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, astrology or whatever, is the right faith for him.”
• “So while the religionist may claim to uphold absolute truths, his beliefs are as arbitrary and baseless as those of the subjectivist. Thus, the paradoxical conversions of Jack Thomas and Walker Lindh – from subjectivist to religious dogmatist – aren’t so paradoxical after all; in both cases, the switch was merely from one form of emotionalism to another.”
• Australian Taliban Feted Again – Via the Medium of Dance – Scott Burgess is hilarious on Australian leftists’ mad support for the Australian Islamic convert and jihadist David Hicks. If he was a Christian violent fundamentalist nutcase the leftists wouldn’t touch him with a bargepole.
• Pimp my Soviet ride, Tim Blair, January 05, 2008 – On Australian leftists’ support for David Hicks.

• Open Letter from an Arab-American Student by Oubai Mohammad Shahbandar – A Syrian disgusted with the western left. – “They have never known the humiliation of living under the iron rule of an Islamic despotism. I have.”
• The left-wing solicitor Gareth Peirce‘s bland whitewashing of the women-hating, gay-hating, atheist-hating, mass-murdering religious savages, the Taliban.
• Afghans and the Guardian by Matthew Leeming – Afghan women, who suffered under the Taliban, listen to how left-wing writers in the west defended the Taliban, and get angry.
• Zachary Roth, May 22, 2009, at the left-wing Talking Points Memo, illustrates the double standards. On jihadis who planned to slaughter Jews at American synagogues: “It’s easy to laugh at this gang of goons — and we’ve done our share of that. But, frankly, it’s also hard not to feel some compassion for what looks like a group of struggling, credulous, under-educated men, existing on the fringes of society, who lacked the intelligence or willpower to avoid getting taken in by a government informant anxious to mitigate his own situation, and by their own vague understanding of radical Islam and the hole it might fill in their lives.” Can you imagine, just for one second, him saying that if these were white right-wing skinheads who planned to slaughter Jews at American synagogues?
• The Huffington Post runs Islamic religious apologetics:

• This moral sickness on the left has been building for a long time:

### Culture Digitally

#### Two Culture Digitally dialogues now published in the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media

Two of the dialogues that first appeared here and here at Culture Digitally are now available in their final, published form, thanks to our continued partnership with the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media. (Re)read them now! Print and frame! They make excellent holiday gifts.

Habitus of the New (with Zizi Papacharissi and Tom Streeter)

Digital In/Justice (with Nick Couldry and Mary Gray)

Both appear as invited essays in vol. 57, no. 4, 2013.

### One Thing Well

#### Slugline

Slugline:

…a simple, elegant app for writing screenplays on your Mac.

Slugline lets you write your screenplays in Fountain—a Markdown-like syntax for screenwriting—and offers some nifty autocompletion and outlining features.

App Store

### The Urbanophile

#### Is the City Where You Should Be?

My latest post is online at City Journal and is called “Is the City Where You Should Be?.” It’s a book review of Leo Hollis’ Cities Are Good For You. Here’s an excerpt of my review:

From the High Line in New York to London’s Silicon Roundabout to the Dharavi slums in Mumbai to bicycling in Copenhagen, British writer and urban historian Leo Hollis offers a broad and sumptuous survey of contemporary urban life in his new book, Cities Are Good For You. Unfortunately, his claim doesn’t quite stick, as Hollis never fully explains what the vignettes and case studies he has assembled add up to—while his scrupulous reporting uncovers plenty of unflattering urban details. The reader comes away with only a vaguely positive impression of cities’ potential to increase prosperity and improve lives.

The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. Great for anyone who cares about our cities, The Urban State of Mind also makes a great gift this holiday season.

### THE LATE AGE OF PRINT

Did you know that books were among the very first commercial Christmas presents? That’s right—printed books were integral in helping to invent the modern, consumer-oriented Christmas holiday. Before then it was customary to give food or, if you were wealthy, a monetary “tip” to those who were less well off financially. (The latter might come to a rich person’s door and demand the “tip,” in fact.)  The gift of a printed book changed all that, helping to defuse the class antagonism that typically rose to the surface around the winter holidays.

You can read more about the details of this fascinating history in my post from a few years ago on “How the Books Saved Christmas.”  And if you’re interested in a broader history of the role books played in the invention of contemporary consumer culture, then you should check out The Late Age of Print.  At the risk of pointing out the obvious, it makes a great gift.

### Dean Bubley's Disruptive Wireless

#### Telcos' digital services/OTT businesses make Net Neutrality more important than ever

Telcos actually need Net Neutrality to survive & thrive, even though some don't realise it.

The current US & European softening of regulatory stance about "managed services" and Net Neutrality potentially hands suicide pills to operators, who mistake them for candy.

The problem is that some telco executives - and most of their lobbyists and industry associations - are still living in the past, and haven't actually caught up with the realities of creating and delivering new services, working with customers' preferred behaviour, and interacting with the innovators and developers of tomorrow's propositions.

In addition, many are being influenced by vendors still pushing an assortment of unworkable plans around "personalisation", "smart pipes", "differentiated QoS", "1-800 models", "sender-pays content delivery" and assorted other policy paraphernalia and "useless-cases". I've been in meetings listening to telco network folk regurgitate tired marketing slogans about "turbo boosts" and "monetising OTT services" recently and had to do urgent remedial re-education on the realities of what's actually feasible.

Until now, Net Neutrality (in some markets) or at least the threat of regulatory intervention, has acted as a safety valve protecting telcos from themselves.

The problem is that some of the regulators are also living in the past, and there is a danger that they'll buy into some of the nonsense. Part of the issue is that many of the advocates of Net Neutrality are also from another planet, arguing from silly positions like free speech and sinister conspiracies.

There's a new commissioner at the FCC, while the EU position espoused by Neelie Kroes is seen by many to have caved-in to the requests of the telecoms incumbents wanting to provide managed services. The FCC chair appears to have read a 2008-era report on two-sided business models (yes, I know I wrote about it around then too - one of my worse calls) and seems to think they can be workably applied to broadband. The usual "Netflix will pay for a fast lane" wishful thinking is being wheeled out again. The Devil is in the details, but this article from TelecomTV suggests that the cut-and-dried Neutrality stance is unlikely to succeed. (And that's even before the baffling US legal system finishes its wrangling with the previous FCC rules).

The truth is that almost all non-Neutral Internet models are unworkable. Rather than abdicating their role as consumer advocates and saying "no rules should stand in the way of new business models", regulatory authorities should treat telcos pitching non-neutrality as if they were exhibiting suicidal tendencies, and take measures to prevent them from harming themselves their customers, and cherished national broadband/economic objectives.

Yes, I know there are some isolated non-neutral examples like zero-rating, throttling of P2P, or national blocks on specific services, but by and large these remain in the spirit of the general perceived openness of the Internet. There are also a handful of emerging-market prepaid mobile data plans that try to offer app-by-app/site-by-site pricing, which are often aimed at featurephone users with very low ARPUs and equally low expectations of what the Internet offers.

But the oft-repeated "Internet fast lane" falls down on many grounds, much of which will end up with telcos ending up worse off than before, rather than foiling the dastardly customer-driven succss of Internet application and service companies.

The most obvious gotcha here is that the majority of non-neutral models (and proposed rules) are completely in contradiction to the recent, welcome trend of telcos to develop their own OTT/Internet-style applications, services, enhancements and enablers. Numerous telcos now have OTT communications or content units, offering everything from video streaming to VoIP to developer platforms. Several now have Telco-OTT messaging apps, cloud propositions and so on, as I predicted in my 2012 report. Sometimes these are "standalone OTT", while others are extensions of existing on-net services for users wanting access via WiFi, or devices running on other providers' connections. Even standardised failures like RCS/joyn now have OTT-extension capabilities over generic Internet access.

Ending Net Neutrality would kill these and many other promising service initiatives stone dead. In discussions with these groups, I have come across nobody who has even considered asking other telcos or ISPs for help in prioritising traffic. Most haven't even looked into QoS/priority for the times when users are actually their own access subscribers, on their own networks. There are numerous reasons for this, but chief among them is that these separate units or product people are usually staffed by Internet people, for whom this entire thing is an alien prospect.

There's a broad set of other reasons to consider sweeping changes to Net Neutrality law being actively suicidal for telecom operators. Potential unintended consequences include:

• Lots of expenditure on DPI/policy infrastructure & use-cases that don't actually work as well as vendors make out, given the constant shapeshifting of the application space
• Loss of focus on things that customers actually want (cool new services, whether in-house or re-sold/partnered) vs. stuff they don't (attempts to sell them half the Internet rather than the whole thing)
• Probability that regulators will insist that non-neutral offers are made on a non-discriminatory basis, ie to anyone who requests them. Should be fun when Skype, competing telcos or adult content firms get in touch.
• Hideous nightmare of OSS/BSS integration to put in systems to monitor all of the new non-neutral stuff, bill for it, support it and so forth.
• Numerous ways to game the system, either legitimately or fraudulently. I can think of plenty just off the top of my head (feel free to ask for a workshop for ideas!)
• Probability that non-neutrality will cut both ways, with powerful companies like Netflix, Google and Facebook instead charging telcos for access to their servers/features rather than money flow going to the ISPs. Want your subscriber to get HD? How about avoiding the 10 second delay on search that gets implemented on your new shiny non-neutral network? Pay up. It'll soon be obvious who wields the real consumer power to force churn.
• Likelihood of new OS's moving to default-on hard encryption for all IP traffic. Good luck picking out and prioritising traffic when that happens.
• Web mashups making a mockery of what gets accelerated / prioritised
• All sorts of entertaining corner-cases with radio networks, eg working out how to balance the needs of a Gold customer with a Platinum application at the edge of a cell's coverage, versus a 100 Bronze users using a Gold application next to the base station.
• Proliferation of "how neutral is your ISP?" traffic-light reporting schemes. Some regulators already offer these.
• Incentivising application developers and device/OS supplies to push users to open, 3rd-party WiFi wherever possible
• Embarrassing and easy comparisons between "prioritised" traffic on-net, versus potentially better performance on other unmanaged networks. Will a refund mechanism be in place for unnecessarily paid QoS?
• Huge scope for cost and lousy execution around the sales and marketing of non-Neutral Internet services.
• The risk that lots of money gets spent, lots of time & management effort wasted and diverted from real value-added services, and then any (massively politicised) laws get changed 15 minutes after the next set of elections.
Yes, there are some isolated examples where this might work. Enterprise cloud services for home-workers on fixed broadband. In fact in general, it's easier to see non-Neutrality apply to the fixed/cable network where there's a much clearer distinction between Internet and non-Internet broadband services anyway - plus it's possible to use a second physical or logical connection to ringfence the two. But these are small niches, which don't warrant the huge moral hazards of risking the general "open Internet" principle which is the only thing driving 2+ billion people to buy data access.

It would probably be worth governments sponsoring second broadband lines to support some of the other services, rather than caving in to the illogical and dangerous "multi-service" rhetoric from some pundits who spend too much time perfecting mathematics, rather than customer and economic needs.

Overall, the current swing back away from Net Neutrality looks as if years of lobbying has born fruit. Unfortunately, the lobbyists' and protagonists arguments are now years out of date with reality. Most non-neutral business models are not just irrelevant, they are actively harmful to the telecoms industry at precisely the point it needs to focus on service innovation, not pointless network tinkering. It will lead to greater loss of money for operators, and ultimately faster consolidation and poor outcomes for the consumer.

You get the picture. Basically, out in non-Neutral Internetland there are lots of bear-traps. And lots of bears. Be careful what you wish for. Regulators should be acting as rangers, rather than encouraging naive telcos to go blundering about in the "polyservice" forest.

### Koinonia

#### A Preview of the Four Evangelical Views of the Historical Adam

In the past decade a new front in the science vs. faith debate has opened up within evangelicalism. While the historic struggle between evolutionists and creationists is still present, this new conversation centers around the historicity of an ancestral primordial parent, Adam.

Leading this conversation through the opposing viewpoints is the new resource Four Views on the Historical Adam, releasing next week (12/10/13). The book clearly outlines four primary views on Adam held by evangelicals, featuring some of the leading scholarly voices who present their positions in their own words and critique the positions with which they disagree. Contributors include Denis O. Lamoureux, John H. Walton, C. John Collins, and William Barrick.

Each essay focuses on answering the following questions:

1. What is the biblical case for your viewpoint, and how do you reconcile it with passages and potential interpretations that seem to counter it?
2. In what ways is your view more theologically consistent and coherent than other views?
3. What are the implications your view has for the spiritual life and public witness of the church and individual believers, and how is your view a healthier alternative for both?

Below is an excerpt that previews these four major evangelical positions. Engaging this book will help you better understand the key biblical and theological issues at stake, as well as the implications of Adam for contemporary Christian witness and church life. Pre-order the book today and look forward to December 17 and 18 where we will explore and highlight each of these positions.

1. No Historical Adam: Evolutionary Creation View, by Denis Lamoureux, Associate Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta, and author of Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution

Lamoureux argues that while Christians in the past affirmed a historical Adam, the evidence for evolution precludes such belief today. Rather, God created the universe through the natural process of evolution, and humanity’s existence also results from evolutionary development.

Evolutionary genetics and the fossil record indicate that humans “share with chimpanzees a last common ancestor that existed around six million years ago” and that we descended not from one couple (Adam and Eve), but from a group of around 10,000.

While Lamoureux acknowledges that some scholars have tried to incorporate a historical Adam with an evolutionary view (e.g., Bruce Waltke, Darrel Falk, Denis Alexander), he argues that such an attempt is misguided because it seeks to combine modern science with ancient science, the latter of which God accommodated as an incidental vessel through which he communicated inerrant spiritual truths…

2. A Historical Adam: Archetypal Creation View, by John Walton, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. Walton is the author of numerous books, including The Lost World of Genesis: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate.

In contrast to Lamoureux, Walton believes that Adam was a historical person. However, his historicity is not where Scripture places its emphasis. Rather, Scripture’s primary concern is to speak of Adam and Eve as archetypal representatives of humanity. Walton argues that not only do Old and New Testament passages support his view, but also evidence from Ancient Near Eastern literature strongly buttresses his claim….

3. A Historical Adam: Old-Earth Creation View, by C. John Collins, Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary. Collins is the author of Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? Who They Were and Why You Should Care and Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?

Collins argues that Adam and Eve were real, actual, historical persons. A historical Adam and Eve make the best sense not only of the story line of Scripture, but also of our human experience as sinners, children of Adam, in need of redemption through the second Adam, Jesus Christ.

Collins takes Genesis 2 as describing historical persons, whom God created as those made in his own image. Genesis 2 sets the stage for the entire biblical story line and worldview, and Collins believes the biblical authors were aware of this. They were narrating salvation-history, specifically God’s “great works of creation and redemption,” and not merely a catalog of timeless truths…

4. A Historical Adam: Young-Earth Creation View, by William D. Barrick, Professor of Old Testament at The Master’s Seminary. Barrick contributed to the book Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth, is the Old Testament editor of the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series, and is the author of the Genesis commentary in that forthcoming series.

Barrick makes a case from Scripture for Adam as a historical person and as the originating head of humankind. Adam is not primarily an archetype (Walton) nor a product of biological evolution (Lamoureux). Rather, he is the first person, supernaturally created by God, and the father of all mankind. Barrick argues that such a view is apparent not only in Genesis 1 – 2 but throughout the New Testament as well, especially in the writings of Paul. (Pgs 27-35)

### Four Views on the Historical Adam

Edited by Ardel B. Caneday and Matthew Barrett

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#### "Introduction to Messianic Judaism": An Approach to the Bible and Christianity That Relates to Judaism and Jewish Ethnicity

Perhaps you are like me and are largely unfamiliar with the deeply historic movement of Messianic Judaism. In his introductory essay to Introduction to Messianic Judaism, David Rudolph explains this movement in this way: "When we speak of Messianic Judaism in antiquity and in the modern era, we are referring to a religious tradition in which Jews have claimed to follow Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah of Israel while continuing to live within the orbit of Judaism." (21)

One approachable, comprehensive starting place for better acquainting yourself with Messianic Judaism is this book. It will help you discover that the significance of the movement is much broader than merely how Jews maintain their ethnic identity while worshiping Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel.

As co-editor Joel Willitts explains in the video below, the book "isn't just relevant to the discussion of Messianic Judaism. The approach we take [in the book] is illustrating how one can read the New Testament in a way that complements an ethnically distinct Jewish expression of Christian faith."

He goes on to say that their approach in this book toward Messianic Judaism better addresses the Jewish evidence in the New Testament, offers a better method of joining the Old and New Testaments, and provides a more robust theological vision of the Church that redeems, rather than erases ethnicity.

This approach goes by the name of "post-supersessionist readings." Supersessionism carries the idea that the largely Gentile Church has replaced Jewish Israel as God's covenant people. Willitts deftly explains below why such a view isn't helpful, as well as how the essays in the book help explicate the relationship between Israel and the Church and what it requires to be part of the people of God.

As an editor of this book, Willitts believes this post-supersessionist approach is better on a number of fronts and is thrilled to provide one of the first attempts to bring together a number of scholars who are working from the post-supersessionist position.

Watch the video below to better equate yourself with this movement and then buy the book to dive deeper into this important conversation.

(Can't see the video? Watch it, here)

### The Tech Report - News

#### Next-gen Intel SSDs could have 2TB capacities, integrated heatsinks

Information about Intel's next-gen SSDs has leaked out. Myce has published a collection of slides detailing several drives due to be released in the second quarter of next year. The big daddy is Fultondale, otherwise known as the DC 3700 Series. According to the slides, this puppy will sport up to 2TB of high-endurance MLC NAND. The server-focused drive will be available as a PCIe add-in card and in a standard 2.5" form factor.

Interestingly, the slide suggests that both implementations have finned heatsinks. The P3700 Series is said to draw up to 25W of power, and it should be pretty quick. The spec ...

### Steamboats Are Ruining Everything

#### The Vltava and the Charles Bridge

A 1930s-era postcard of the Vltava and the Charles Bridge. “V.K.K.V. 131.”

If this image were included in an extra-illustrated binding of the novel Necessary Errors, it might follow page 329. (For an explanation of extra-illustration, click here.)

### Justin Taylor

#### Do You Know Union with Christ?

James S. Stewart wrote that “union with Christ, rather than justification or election or eschatology, or indeed any of the other great apostolic themes, is the real clue to an understanding of Paul’s thought and experience” (A Man in Christ [Harper & Bros., 1955], vii).

John Calvin said that union with Christ has “the highest degree of importance” if we are to understand justification correctly (Institutes 1:737).

John Murray wrote that “union with Christ is . . . the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation. . . . It is not simply a phase of the application of redemption; it underlies every aspect of redemption” (Redemption—Accomplished and Applied [Eerdmans, 1955], pp. 201, 205).

Lewis Smedes said that it was “at once the center and circumference of authentic human existence” (Union with Christ [Eerdmans, 1983], xii).

Anthony Hoekema wrote that “Once you have your eyes opened to this concept of union with Christ, you will find it almost everywhere in the New Testament” (Saved by Grace [Eerdmans, 1989], 64.

Hoekema explains that the New Testament uses two interchangeable expressions to describe union with Christ:

1. We are in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; John 15:4, 5, 7; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 12:2; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 1:4, 2:10; Phil. 3:9; 1 Thess. 4:16; 1 John 4:13).
2. Christ is in us (Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 3:17).

Three passages (John 6:56; John 15:4; 1 John 4:13) explicitly combine both concepts.

Hoekema says that we should see union with Christ “extending all the way from eternity to eternity.” He outlines his material in this way:

1. The roots of union with Christ are in divine election (Eph. 1:3-4).
2. The basis of union with Christ is the redemptive work of Christ.
3. The actual union with Christ is established with God’s people in time.

Under the third point, he shows eight ways that salvation, from beginning to end, is in Christ:

1. We are initially united with Christ in regeneration (Eph. 2:4-5, 10)
2. We appropriate and continue to live out of this union through faith (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:16-17).
3. We are justified in union with Christ (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8-9).
4. We are sanctified through union with Christ (1 Cor. 1:30; John 15:4-5; Eph. 4:16; 2 Cor. 5:17).
5. We persevere in the life of faith in union with Christ (John 10:27-28; Rom. 8:38-39).
6. We are even said to die in Christ (Rom. 14:8; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 14:13).
7. We shall be raised with Christ (Col. 3:1; 1 Cor. 15:22).
8. We shall be eternally glorified with Christ (Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:16-17).

And here’s a helpful quote from Sinclair Ferguson (in Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification [IVP, 1989], 58), explaining in a nutshell why union with Christ is the foundation for sanctification:

If we are united to Christ, then we are united to him at all points of his activity on our behalf.

We share

• in his death (we were baptized into his death),
• in his resurrection (we are resurrected with Christ),
• in his ascension (we have been raised with him),
• in his heavenly session (we sit with him in heavenly places, so that our life is hidden with Christ in God), and we will share
• in his promised return (when Christ, who is our life, appears, we also will appear with him in glory) (Rom. 6:14; Col. 2:11-12; 3:1-3).

This, then, is the foundation of sanctification in Reformed theology.

It is rooted, not in humanity and their achievement of holiness or sanctification, but in what God has done in Christ, and for us in union with him. Rather than view Christians first and foremost in the microcosmic context of their own progress, the Reformed doctrine first of all sets them in the macrocosm of God’s activity in redemptive history. It is seeing oneself in this context that enables the individual Christian to grow in true holiness.

Some newer treatments of this important subject:

Robert Letham, Union with Christ: In Scripture, History, and Theology

Marcus Peter Johnson, One with Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation

Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ

Robert Peterson, Salvation Applied by the Spirit: Union with Christ (forthcoming, 2014)

### One Thing Well

#### skippy-xd

skippy-xd:

Skippy-XD is a full-screen task-switcher for X11. You know that thing Mac OS X, Compiz and KWin do where you press a hotkey and suddenly you see miniature versions of all your windows at once? Skippy-XD does just that.

### Evangelical Outpost

#### The Best Article You’ll Read Today (Isn’t This One)

I’m serious.

If this is the best article you’ve read today so far, then I would encourage you to read more. Maybe try this one. That is just what I had open on my desktop, there are a lot more out there.

But who knows which one will be the best to read? That’s a journey you’ll have to take alone, my young apprentice.

You may have noticed—assuming that you at any point in the last three months had access to the Internet—that there’s been an overwhelming surge of a certain type of article headline. The kind that makes whatever the article is talking about sound like it must be up there with finding a cure for all of the world’s diseases.

Things like “You Won’t Believe What Happened When This Person Did This Thing,” or “This Thing That Happened Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity.”

This type of enticing headline style is called “clickbait.” It was recently made legendary by “good-news-spreading” site Upworthy, and has been copied ad nauseum everywhere else. Sometimes it starts to get a little annoying with so many grandiose claims and so much similar wording all over your Facebook newsfeed.

Steve Hind of The Guardian writes in his In Defence of Clickbait: “When readers are lured in, and rewarded for their curiosity by good content, everyone wins.”

Sure. But what if online publishers set up promises on which they can’t deliver?

“Well duh, then no one will share it,” the readers respond.

And it’s true, to some extent. In the Darwinian world of online traffic rankings, only the interesting survive. (Kanye tweets excepted.)

But there are still a couple of repercussions to this kind of model. The first, as you might expect, is that everything becomes impossible to gauge or even take seriously. We can’t just give all of our online content participation trophy-headlines, or the same thing happens that we all felt in second-grade soccer—suddenly no one is special.

In the same way that repeated, unpoliced misuse of “your/you’re” has made even grownups unsure of correct usage, overuse of hyperbole dumbs down the awesomeness of everything.

We’re already reaching a point where having a “purely factual” headline is something only really super-respectable news sources, who already have an audience, can feel confident about. An un-established writer labeling something as “Some Thoughts I’ve Had” rather than “Something Everyone Needs to Know” is immediately dismissed. Because with all of The Most Important within our reach, why would we have time for anything else?

Another thing that irks me about this type of marketing is an assertion like “This Will Be The Best of This Type of Thing You’ll See All Day.”

Sure, there is some potential for really niche topics: a video titled “This Will Be The Best Video of A Llama Singing You See Today” will probably turn out to be accurate.

But did anyone tell these people about the Internet? I can actually go to this thing called YouTube and type in “llama singing” and find other results, which I might be inspired to do after seeing that first video that piqued my interest.

And finally, my biggest concern with clickbait is its tendency to try to predict or even mandate your reaction. Particularly lines like “You’ll Never Guess” or “This Will Make You Cry.”

Who are you, freelance Buzzfeed columnist, to tell me what I will or will not think or feel?

There is, of course, some implicit understanding that titles like this are just a recommendation of your most likely reaction, and meant merely to give you some kind of context for what type of thing you’re about to read or see. It’s better, I suppose, to be aware you’re about to watch a heart-wrenching story, before everyone hears you sobbing in your cubicle.

But that doesn’t keep lines like that from acting as the laugh tracks of the Internet. Sometimes appropriate, but sometimes painfully awkward and misplaced.

Which comes back to that issue of making promises.

Most of us grew up hearing stories like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” and can’t shake the feeling that there’s something wrong with stringing your audience along. Even if they’ll keep believing you every time.

Back when newspapers and magazines had to rely on physical subscriptions, there was no room for bait-and-switch marketing. People got what they paid for, because it was the same thing that they had already gotten to know and learned to trust.

And trust is something that marketing agencies have been trying to replicate for decades, but never mastered.

I grew up with a stellar ability to overdramatize my problems when it was convenient for me. (Think Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.) There were numerous factors that led to my eventual reformation, but one of them was just having a couple of professors who wouldn’t buy what I was selling. After the third “but I was so sick and busy and ran out of printer ink the day that paper was due!” they started calling me on it.

And perhaps it would be helpful to start calling these “best things ever” on their respective crap.

Am I saying that we should all boycott Upworthy? No. Stop reading Buzzfeed? Well, maybe.

But can you imagine what it must be like working at a site like that? Having to scour the world for “the BEST advice for twenty-somethings” and “the CUTEST cat picture EVER.” That’s a lot of unnecessary pressure, spawned from the success of clickbait.

Maybe we can start by presenting things with less ridiculous adjectives in our own sharing, and giving less-paraded things a chance. There’s nothing wrong with reading another article aside from the best one. It can still be good.

I think one of the reasons I like listening to NPR is that they spend so little time on convincing you to care. They don’t introduce a segment about Somalia with “This Story Will Bring You to Tears”…they just start talking about it. It’s up to you, the listener, to engage with the content and react as you see fit.

What a concept.

Maybe we could be people who are thoughtful and humble in the way that we engage with media content and each other. Giving everything a fair shot, but valuing trustworthiness above flashiness.

Wouldn’t that be just the BEST?

Image via the ever hilarious xkcd.

### QuirksBlog

#### Desktop DPR redux

Well, some discussion has certainly started about my first and second desktop media query bug reports. A redux is useful.

First, some good news. The way the resolution media query is currently behaving in Chrome is a bug, and it’s in the process of being fixed. That takes a load off my shoulders; for a moment I was afraid it was designed this way. But it’s not.

This does not say anything about the underlying issues I have with redefining DPR, though. Apart from the technical issues, there’s a cultural issue, if you wish. The discussions clarified my thinking and I can now describe it.

### Desktop and mobile zooming

I wrote:

Zooming on desktop is totally different from zooming on mobile. On the desktop, the (layout) viewport becomes smaller when you zoom in, since less CSS pixels now fit in the browser window. On mobile, the layout viewport is unaffected, and only the visual viewport changes size.

This is all true and important; and I agree that web developers should be hit over the head with the difference time and again until they understand it. In fact, I’m currently selecting the very cudgel I’m going to wield in the process, and you can expect me to use it ad nauseam in the next year or so.

The weird thing is that during my discussions, both on Twitter and in private email, the difference between desktop and mobile zooming was brought up in hushed and reverend tones, as if it’s a totally new concept that nobody in the history of history itself has ever considered ever. Well, I’ve been considering it for three years, and Nokia, BlackBerry, and Apple for even longer.

Even more oddly, it seems as if people think the difference in zooming is an argument in favour of the new-style DPR that desktop browsers are pushing.

1. Desktop and mobile zooming are vastly different.
2. ?????
3. Desktop zoom level should be exposed in window.devicePixelRatio. We break the One Web, hurray, hurray.

I do not understand the second step; the minor of the syllogism, if you wish. If someone could connect the dots for me I’d be grateful. Maybe I’m missing something here.

Meanwhile I will treat the difference between desktop and mobile zooming as an argument for my solution.

1. Desktop and mobile zooming are vastly different.
2. Web developers must be able to disregard mobile zooming while using desktop zooming extensively.
3. We need separate properties, media queries, and events for zooming.

### The elephant in the china shop

`<soapbox>`

In the past three years or so, the mobile viewport has gone from a random collection of good and bad ideas, as well as stretches of pure gibberish, to a de-facto emerging standard. Every time I study the mobile viewport I see more and more browsers subscribing to the same theory and definitions.

Enter the desktop browser vendors. It seems as if the mobile viewport is something totally new and unexpected to them. Worse, they don’t seem to understand the ins and outs of the system.

I’m sorry if this comes across as arrogant, but I feel the desktop browser makers are behaving as the proverbial elephant in the china shop, barging around, creating new definitions and breaking an awful lot of stuff that has just started its ascent to cross-browser compatibility — and all this for no reason but their own confusion.

The exception is Apple, which seems to be the only one to have internalized the shift to mobile. In fact, large swaths of the mobile viewport were invented by Apple, and were subsequently copied by the other browser vendors because iPhone.

I stand solidly behind Apple here, that’s for sure. They’re the only ones to understand what’s at stake.

I mean, the One Web is important, isn’t it? We should take care that properties, media queries, and everything else work the same on desktop, mobile, and as-yet-to-be-invented devices, right? Then do it.

Again, I’m sorry if this comes across as arrogant, but this is truly how I feel. Desktop browser vendors know too little about the mobile viewport and are breaking stuff out of ignorance. (And hey, if you have questions, ask. That’s what I’m here for.)

As to W3C, it has rendered itself effectively irrelevant in this discussion. I first published my mobile viewport findings three and a half years ago, in May 2010, and since then W3C has done absolutely nothing in this area. I expectd a draft spec that treated the mobile viewport, and expected it, and expected it.

Enough. W3C has forfeited its right of initiative. It should rubber-stamp the mobile viewport as it exists today, and not make any changes. It has done nothing to help bring about the de-facto standard, so it has lost its right to determine how the standard looks. (Again, if you need help, ask.)

`</soapbox>`

### Use cases

Alistair Campbell took a look at practical use cases for high-DPI zoom.

It is counter-intuitive, but actually the higher the DPI the better for people with mild/moderate visual impairments (VIPs from here).

For example, I heard from several VIPs that they found the iPhone 4 a big improvement in clarity. Googling just now I found someone post about that.

That’s not what I expected, but it’s interesting. Also, I cannot resist the temptation of making this finding into yet another argument in favour of my theory.

If vision-impaired users would like high DPI for their images, it becomes necessary to leave DPR as it is today. After all, the users will also need high-res images when the zoom level is 1. And if the zoom level is exposed in DPR, and is 1, desktop website makers will assume high-res images are not necessary and withhold them. If DPR were a constant, however, reflecting the device and not the zoom level, vision-impaired users would be adequately served.

### matchMedia

Finally, I did one `matchMedia` test. This method is supposed to return `true` if a certain media query would fire in the current configuration.

Also, it was suggested that we would do better to use `matchMedia` than JavaScript properties such as `screen.width`. This turns out not to be the case.

In Chrome 31, at least, `matchMedia` for the resolution media query does not actually match the query. The media query remains at 1 for a long time, while the `matchMedia` value grows slowly.

I haven’t tested `matchMedia` extensively yet; I’m currently figuring out how to do that (or rather, I know how to do it, but I’m afraid of performance issues on mobile since I’ll have to generate hundreds, maybe thousands of media queries).

However, I extensively tested the traditional JavaScript properties, and found they work in an ever-growing number of mobile browsers. The only exception is `screen.width/height`, whose definition is shifting.

Therefore I can say with certainty that the JavaScript properties are fairly reliable, while `matchMedia` is not proven to be reliable, and data is available to show that it isn’t in the exact use case under discussion.

### Conclusion

No real conclusion here; the discussion continues and I haven’t yet heard persuasive arguments in favour of DPR exposing zoom level on desktop. In fact, my resolve that I am right and the desktop vendors (except Apple) are wrong is only growing.

But we’ll see. Maybe I’m wrong after all. Wouldn’t be the first time.