Sunday, May 31, 2009
Bird in the magnolia tree
Late afternoon sunlight dappling the scuppernine grove
The next magnolia to bloom will be this one
Mathematical perfection in the magnolia seed structure. Perfect proportion. Beauty too
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"Christian response to Ida" here
"Will Ida the (alleged) missing link impact your Christianity? She shouldn't"
I am challenging myself to take good nature photos, and specifically ones of birds in natural habitat. Not just the snaps I get when they congregate around the feeder, that's too easy. But photos where they are doing real daily bird life.
I recently discovered that all the birdhouses on the property are working birdhouses, there are peeps emanating from each and every one. I've begun to notice a routine with some of the birds, particularly the mourning doves: they coo in the early morning and late afternoon, and call to each other from atop the phone poles. Only the biggest doves get to perch on top of the pole.
So last night I went to the granite bench and table under the Magnolia tree. I sat still and waited. Soon some of the braver birds flocked back to the densely covered branches, and I heard the usual squawks.
I noticed one bird (which I have not identified yet) had a large insect in its mouth, mangled worm or dessicated spider, I could not tell which. I walked around the tree to where there was a slight opening in the leaves and saw it more clearly. I raised my camera and snapped away, settling on one good, non-blurry photo. Yet this bird squawked, and hopped and yelled the entire time. "Boy, this bird is mad," I thought to myself. I waited to see what else it would do.
It stalked and hopped up and down the branch, yelling the whole time. "Gee, why doesn't it just eat the spider?" I wondered.
Then it hopped from the branch to the hanging bird house roof for a moment and then hopped back to the branch. As it landed on the roof, in that brief second, I heard a chorus of peeps, which immediately silenced when the momma bird went back to the higher branch.
"Ohhhh..." It dawned on me, "She wants to get to her babies but won't as long as I'm standing here." Duh.
I moved away to the corner of the shed and she immediately went to the house again. Again the chorus of peeps welled up from inside. I snapped, using the zoom, but the day had slipped into dusk and the photo came out grainier than I wanted. Boy I wish I had a 12X zoom. Oh, well, back to the bird. I guess she told me, and next time I'll focus on the nature as much as I'm focusing on the photograph!
Here are the scenes:
Monday, May 25, 2009
North Yarmouth, Maine
New Gloucester, Maine
Eastport, Maine (USS McFaul)
Saturday, May 23, 2009
C-SPAN host Steve Scully broke from a meek Washington press corps with probing questions for the new president.
SCULLY: You know the numbers, $1.7 trillion debt, a national deficit of $11 trillion. At what point do we run out of money?
OBAMA: Well, we are out of money now.
full interview here. Start at 13.20 for this piece
Well, the First World was fun.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Though, we know from experience, once the kids reach home in a few minutes, they will drop their bags at the door, look at mom and say, "Now what?" LOL
**Note, photo is not the actual school nor is actual depiction.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Magnolia is gorgeous and now the addition of the blossoms dotting the tree with more to come has just made me love it even more.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
As a Creationist of course I remain amused and skeptical that a lemur skeleton looking much like today's lemur skeletons is a bridge to anywhere. As David DeWitt said in a Washington Times article, "Where did the genetic information come from that produced that skeleton in the first place? It's not random chance"... That is the basic question that science has never answered.
But back to the fossil. The fossil itself is not a recently uncovered specimen. It was discovered 26 years ago and promptly split into two pieces, one going to a museum in Wyoming and the other to a Museum in Oslo. Much wrangling ensued. In Law & Order evidence such as that would be tossed out due to a breakdown in the "chain of custody."
Just because scientists say this is the missing link of course does not mean that it is. Remember the Piltdown Man? The Cardiff Giant? Johann Beringer's fraudulent fossils? The Sokal Scientific Hoax? A single fossil does not "finally confirm" Darwin's theory, as there are too many branches in his theory to affix the entire ball of wax on one specimen.
No doubt Ida is likely a real fossil and not a hoax. It is a remarkable find on its own, interesting in natural history, but remember with the above examples and many others, that just like everything else, science is subject to fallibility and human quality of interpretation, much of which is done through the filter of preconceived notions, perception, and tradition. Theories precede facts, and the longer a theory has been in existence the firmer the scientist becomes attached to it, eventually (perhaps) fitting the facts to fit the theory, as the above examples demonstrate.
The process that includes merciless peer review of this specimen has not undergone anything like rigor yet, the hype is purely the scientifically illiterate media making pronouncements and sweeping generalities. Other scientists will now question the findings, debate it if is another already existing species, or the naming of a new genus, and so on. Anything gleaned in the arena of media and emotion at this juncture is suspect and likely hype.
As Ewen Callaway wrote today on the science news blog NewScientist, "Science bloggers put some needed cold water on the claims that the Darwinius masillae fossil conclusively determines which group of mammals gave rise to apes and monkeys, as well as the media blitz."
And also: "Brian Switek on Laelaps, an evolutionary biology blog, says: "I have yet to see the paper, but I am skeptical of this conclusion. First, one of the main authors of the paper is Philip Gingerich, who has been maintaining the evolution of anthropoid primates from adapids for years despite evidence to the contrary."
The evolutionary descent of man through the line of anthropoid primates from adapids is hotly debated among scientists. Did you know that there is a debate raging among scientists that is equally as controversial as the one between evolutionists and creationists? It is regarding the origin of the earliest primates and which branch therein man might have arisen: adapids vs. omomyids. They cannot come to any sort of verifiable conclusion.
And this nugget shows that scientists, longing perhaps to be in the same league as pop stars and athletes with the same level of marketing, media hype, and attention, have decided to roll out scientific news in the same way as they do when athletic managers complete coup of a signing deal or a when a rock group presses a new CD:
As the first stop in a coordinated, branded media event, orchestrated by the scientists and the History Channel, including a film detailing the secretive two-year study of the fossil, a book release, an exclusive arrangement with ABC News and an elaborate Web site. “Any pop band is doing the same thing,” said Jorn H. Hurum, a scientist at the University of Oslo who acquired the fossil and assembled the team of scientists that studied it. “Any athlete is doing the same thing. We have to start thinking the same way in science.”Hype anyone? ;)
Living here cracks me up, actually. I am a mile from town, yet folks have large yards, hayfields even. It is quite rural. One person has free range chickens and a rooster walking around on the lawn. They are pretty to look at, the rooster is a rust color and contrasts with the green grass and the pale hayfield behind him. As I return from the Post Office, I drive by the farm stand with pink neon cardboard posters announcing the latest produce for sale. Yesterday it was "Turnip greens," next to signs announcing "Open" and "Check it out!"
At night, as the windows are open and the little traffic we get during the day dies down, I hear dogs, chickens, roosters, the train, owls, birds and an occasional car. Sometimes someone laughing in the distance.
So the spring has progressed and I wandered out to the back corner of my yard and drifted near the hedge. I was interested in the part of the yard between the stand of apple and pecan trees and the mowed line where the hayfield begins. There is a line of birdhouses on posts, and standing on tiptoe I saw that they were all occupied with chicks. Well, I'll be dogged! I could not see them but I heard teeny little peeps and was completely charmed.
I could not get the blue jay to turn around for me. A zoomed picture taken dark at dusk was the closest I could get. He is a fat boy, isn't he!
Ah, the culprits of the pollen explosion. Spring is great, but the resulting yellow dust that grits everywhere is not.
The regularity of this pattern reminds me of the Fibonacci sequence. There is mathematical harmony in growth. In my opinion of course, it is Designed.
I love wood. In this case, the differing colors caught my eye, from gentle tan to slate gray to green mossy lichen. The tree was still stately despite losing a branch.
Later dusk now, it was this little guy who got me outside to see what the ruckus was. He is standing about 15 feet from my bedroom window cawing up a storm. When I got out there and saw it was just a baby cardinal tweeting as the sun went down, I laughed and chided him gently. He paid me no mind and went right on calling. Such a huge sound from a little guy! I dubbed him my Sundowner Bird.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
But tonight I decided to have a proper dinner and it was fully satisfying and wonderful.
Stuffed Salmon steaks (with crabmeat dressing)
Baby Spinach salad with almonds, cherry tomatoes, and Feta cheese
Steamed Red Potatoes in jackets, salt and cracked pepper
Crusty Wheat Roll
Hot Green Tea
Monday, May 18, 2009
In what could prove to be a landmark discovery, a leading paleontologist said scientists have dug up the 47 million-year-old fossil of an ancient primate whose features suggest it could be the common ancestor of all later monkeys, apes and humans.
Anthropologists have long believed that humans evolved from ancient ape-like ancestors. Some 50 million years ago, two ape-like groups walked the Earth. One is known as the tarsidae, a precursor of the tarsier, a tiny, large-eyed creature that lives in Asia. Another group is known as the adapidae, a precursor of today's lemurs in Madagascar.
Based on previously limited fossil evidence, one big debate had been whether the tarsidae or adapidae group gave rise to monkeys, apes and humans. The latest discovery bolsters the less common position that our ancient ape-like ancestor was an adapid, the believed precursor of lemurs.
The discovery has little bearing on a separate paleontological debate centering on the identity of a common ancestor of chimps and humans, which could have lived about six million years ago and still hasn't been found. That gap in the evolution story is colloquially referred to as the "missing link" controversy. In reality, though, all gaps in the fossil record are technically "missing links" until filled in, and many scientists say the term is meaningless.
this news does not seem to have a bearing on the History Channel's May 25 extravaganza. Or maybe it does. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
I still like the FreeCreditReport.com ads with the slacker guy singing, and the Geico commercial with the cavemen and the gecko best. If you have to like a commercial at all, I mean.
A boy went missing from school the other day, the school in my neighborhood, not the school I usually work at. He ran away from the After School program, and the police, fire, rescue, and helicopters were all in full mode practically instantly. That was great to see. I became aware as I heard the helicopter landing in the playground-field across the street. It buzzed around for an hour making grid-like swoops over the neighborhood, while police coordinated from the ground.
It was such a heartbreaking thing...counting the hours till sundown, praying for the mom and dad, praying for the school officials...eventually the boy was found unharmed. It is so tragic when it happens anytime to anyone but when it's a kid you know it is a thousand times worse. (no last names were given but I had taught at the afterschool Good News Club so it was likely I knew him or his family in this small community). I felt so helpless to DO anything, something! I prayed a lot and looked for him around my yard and in the immediate environs, the shed, under the shed, in the rushes, on the deep front porch...all I could do besides leave it to police and to God.
I find the sound of running water extremely peaceful. Especially tides or small waves. Always have. No wonder Watson Mill Bridge State Park is one of my favorite places...I've sat by the river's edge and listened to the waterfall many a time.
I am reading Tim LaHaye and series right now titled The Jesus Chronicles, documenting in novel form the early Christians immediately after Jesus died. The first one is called The Last Eyewitness, and it is about Apostle John. I read Mark's Story next and now I'm on Luke's Story. Though the first two were very simplistic in writing, they did give me a sense of the background of the early Christian life and their travails and sacrifices. The third installment is a bit more meaty so I am enjoying it more.
What ever happened to the anchor desk? Now the news guys stand up in front of a star trek-like wall of moving images, buttons, flashes, and banners. Not to mention the one scrolling across the bottom of the tv screen. I long for the day when one guy sat behind a solid looking desk, spoke the news without smarm, double entendres, or snideness, and just simply delivered the news.
Speaking of newsmen, that was Walter Cronkite in the early days of CBS, 1968. Here is he below in New York City at the Society of Professional Journalists' conference at the Grand Hyatt, which I attended with a colleague in 2006. Also in the photo is Brian Jennings and a SPJ organizer/executive. That was a fun time. Not only did we get to listen to Bill Moyers, Cronkite, and many other journalism luminaries, but we had a reception aboard the Intrepid, and then a yacht ride by moonlight around Manhattan Island and Lady Liberty. A good time was had by all.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I wrote the other day that it may well be an evolution topic, such as the missing link, with possibly author Colin Tudge.
Twitter searches turned up this:
"Colin Tudge is a British science writer specializing "natural history in general, evolution & genetics." He's not a bad fit for #ProjectX"
LOL, the Norman Public Library has a copy on order. It is titled Project X by Lucy Highfield and synopsis is "discoveries in science".
"Lucy Highfield" is code for Leakey's hominid fossil Lucy, found in a high field. Follow it on twitter #ProjectX
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The fact that novel H1N1 activity can now be monitored through seasonal surveillance systems is an indication that there are higher levels of influenza-like illness in the United States than is normal for this time of year. About half of all influenza viruses being detected are novel H1N1 viruses.
Original map can be viewed large here
4,298 Confirmed and Probable Cases in 47 States
...or 946 more cases in 24 hours.
There were the math models for pandemic spread of flu online when this virus first became public. It showed a slow, but steadily increasing number of infection which got seriously heavy on day 50 and peaked at day 85. By day 120 it's headed back to - but not quite to yet - normal. It is a slow-moving long term event.
At present we are about at day 17 in the whole cycle...
History Channel says they will have it. Colin Tudge and Josh Young have written a book called "The Link: Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor" due to be released on May 20. The History Channel will air a documentary on May 25, with a press conference afterwards. The authors have been sworn to secrecy until that time. Even the ISBN description (ISBN:9780316070089) of the book masks its title and cover art. However, the cover purportedly has a fossilized hand and arm and a skeleton.
The blurb: "Lying inside a high security vault, deep within the heart of one of the world’s leading museums, is a discovery that will change textbooks, change science, and change how we understand the human race. The author of Untitled has been given exclusive access to all of the research and the team of top scientists who have been validating the discovery, the announcement of which will send shock waves around the world. The discovery will be announced at a major press conference followed by a media blitz and a documentary that will air on the History Channel following the press conference."
History Channel commercial:
This ought to be interesting...stay tuned
"Are you struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions? Maybe you have lived as a homosexual for a long time, but now are looking for a way out. You have come to the right place! For thirty years, Exodus International has offered hope and help to people seeking freedom from homosexuality. We believe and we have seen in thousands of lives that this freedom is possible through the power of God working in our hearts and minds."
The bottom line - you don't have to be gay! Now that even the gay activists have admitted that there is no "gay gene" people need not feel locked into a biological certainty. Jesus ill help all people who ask for forgiveness, overcome sin. Exodus will help.
Think it's bunk? Notwithstanding that no matter is too large for Jesus to handle, notwithstanding that redeeming people from sin is Jesus's reason for coming to us, here are some real-life stories of people who have overcome.
A publication from the American Psychological Association includes an admission that there is no "gay" gene, according to a doctor who has written about the issue on the website of National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. NARTH deleted the following statement that was originally contained in their: There is considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality" and instead have revised it to state the following, according to A. Dean Byrd, the past president of NARTH:
"There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles. ..."
"Although there is no mention of the research that influenced this new position statement, it is clear that efforts to 'prove' that homosexuality is simply a biological fait accompli have failed," Byrd wrote. "The activist researchers themselves have reluctantly reached that conclusion. There is no gay gene. There is no simple biological pathway to homosexuality."
Sunday, May 10, 2009
In the garage are these weird pipe-like nests attached to the concrete walls. The holes are too small to be bird's nest, so I surmised it was an insect. Googling "weird insect nests" I discovered that they are organ pipe mud dauber wasps (or dobber). Solitary wasps, they lay eggs inside and the new hatchlings emerge from holes they create in the pipe.
This glorious tree has entranced me from the first. Its long, shiny leaves are thick and stout. The tree towers, it is about 75 feet high and proportionally pleasing to boot. It affords shade over much of the side yard, and to my extreme delight, provides great cover for many birds, who sing and chirp there all day long. I searched Google and found that it is a Magnolia tree. How wonderful! I have a Magnolia Grandiflora in my yard!
The roses are blooming. I don't know what kind they are but they are huge and colorful. I put my 'little girl' planter in front of it to support the long stems.There is another one, a red rose, in the front yard that is blooming one giant blossom right now. It looks to be a "Purple Passion" if I compare to this photo.
I am not sure what these three are yet, but the pink and white are really vibrant. More than I could catch in the high sun.
So after my trip to the Farmer's Market, I arrive back home to find two of the cutest doggies ever in the dog pen under the Magnolia tree. I emerged from the car laughing. The landlord laughed too and said that they sure were cute.
In a serious moment though, he said that he saw them trying to cross the busy road in front. They would step out and skitter back as a car whooshed by. He saw they were clean, and had new collars on with lots of tags so he surmised they were well-kept pets. He grabbed both and brought them to the dob pen. Reading the collar he saw a name that rang a bell, and called the woman across the street. Sure enough, the lady's friends were visiting, with their dogs, which they had let out to go potty and then the family fell back asleep.
I'm so glad he nabbed them. What a shame if they had been injured!
Saturday, May 09, 2009
"But instead she'll have no doubt stayed in with her cat Pebbles, washed her hair and watched Britain's Got Talent on telly" said a source.
Now there's a woman with sense in her head!
Even though this is only the second week of this season's market, there were quite a few vendors. The main produce being sold was early lettuce. There were plenty of seedlings, soaps, lotions, baked goods, and jewelry, though.
I was dying for a muffin for breakfast, so that is what I looked for. No muffins but mmm, homemade focaccia with olives, rosemary and tomatoes; and chocolate babka.
As I strolled the aisles under the metal roofed lean-to, a woman vendor played a zither. A man in the back was painting posters on the stage. People chatted, kids drew with chalk on the entry concrete pad, and cars came and went.
Nice hometown. Nice thing to do on a Saturday morning. Now I am enjoying a second cup of coffee, my hometown newspaper, and babka for breakfast.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Political Pistachio asked:
"'But how does this bill protect pedophiles?' one may ask."
"Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, submitted that a simple sentence, an amendment, to H.R. 1913 in the House Judiciary Committee to read the following:"
"The term sexual orientation as used in this act or any amendments to this act does not include pedophilia."
"His suggestion was rejected."
"As the bill stands, if it passes for law, if you catch an adult in the act of raping a child, and use force to remove that person from the child, the pedophile can turn around and accuse you of assault, and claim it was a hate crime."
"Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., in response to the outcry by King, and others, stated that this bill will protect all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or "Paraphilias" listed by the APA."
We see that a special class of people have been created and worse, protected, from so-called "hate crimes" that barely or do not exist. As a matter of fact, FBI statistics consistently show that hate crimes are overwhelmingly about race, and secondly, religion. Crimes against gays for their sexual orientation are only third down the line, and in 2007 there were only 1265 incidents. 1265 incidents against a population, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, of 23 million constituents strong.
The bill would create a special class of people, including people who exhibit "behaviours generally involve children or non-consenting partners, non-human objects, or the humiliation or suffering of a partner or oneself..."and then this bill enhances their protection in the justice system, even though no known studies show that hate crime against them is higher than any other class of people and is in fact, lower.
In response to Maine's affirmative vote for homosexual marriage, Pat Robertson said:
"ROBERTSON: Lee, we haven’t taken this to its ultimate conclusion. You got polygamy out there. How can we rule that polygamy is illegal when you say that homosexual marriage is legal. What is it about polygamy that’s different? Well, polygamy was outlawed because it was considered immoral according to biblical standards. But if we take biblical standards away in homosexuality, what about the other? And what about bestiality and ultimately what about child molestation and pedophilia? How can we criminalize these things and at the same time have constitutional amendments allowing same-sex marriage among homosexuals. You mark my words, this is just the beginning in a long downward slide in relation to all the things that we consider to be abhorrent."
He is right. It is abhorrent. In S909 we see the downward slide hastening to its inevitable conclusion ... judgment.
It is not too late. Those suffering in a sinful lifestyle whether it be sexual or other, can and must repent. Ask the Lord to forgive your transgressions and ask the Holy Spirit to give you strength to withstand these heinous temptations. Because if S909 passes and these specially created and protected class of people breathe a sigh of relief, thinking they are secure and protected forever, they are not. It is only for a whisper of time, and then they will face the Holy God and account to Him for their sins. There is no protection at the Judgment Seat.
I miss the flowers...(Villa D'Este, Como)
I miss the glorious buildings
I miss the glitz (Portofino)