Monday, November 21


Tuesday, November 15

Eating out 'linked to heart risks'

More from the Department of "No Kidding!": Children who eat out a lot have heart problems.

Let's report about things we didn't already know.

Monday, November 14

Expiration, Schmexpiration

A new study by food scientists at Brigham Young University proves that many food can be healthfully and edibly stored nearly indefinitely at room temperature or below.

This is interesting, but it's not news to me. My dad works for Frito Lay as a route salesman; he delivers and creates displays for Lays, Doritos, and Ruffles in a number of stores. Once the chips go past their marked "sell by" date, he can no longer sell them, so he can mark them on his report as "stales" and bring them home. I don't think I ate a fresh Cheeto during my entire childhood.

But that doesn't diminish their edibility. Snack products, like those with the Frito brand name, are simply swimming in preservatives. They can still taste good months after they've gone "out of code" (as they say in the biz). I'm certainly not surprised that packaged foods remain passably edible far longer than that.

Wednesday, November 9

Google Reader: (probably) my last post on it for a while

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I now loathe the above image. The Google Reader interface is cool-looking, and the keyboard navigation is excellent (I even figured out how to open items in background tabs via the keyboard with the Hit-a-Hint Firefox extension), but it just doesn't fit my style of feed-reading. And the unending waits for that "Loading..." graphic to go away are literally starting to hurt.

My style is much like that described in this blog post at The comments in that post do give me hope for the future of Google Reader, but the current state of its stream-of-consciousness interface just doesn't help me at all. I tried keeping it as my main feed reader for a couple of days, and it nearly drove me insane.

So I'll *try* to stop posting about it. No guarantees, though.

Tuesday, November 8

Vatican Endorses Scientific Method, Part II

(Part One of this post)

From the news story in The Australian, linked below:

His statements were interpreted in Italy as a rejection of the 'intelligent design' view, which says the universe is so complex that some higher being must have designed every detail.

Say what?!? Intelligent Design points to a designer/creator, and of course Cardinal Paul Poupard still stands for the Biblical truth that God is the creator of the Universe. His aggregate of Creationism and Evolution still falls under the umbrella of Intelligent Design, since the church will never so much as imply that God is not a divine Creator.

The only thing Poupard is saying is that Evolution could be accepted as the manner God chose to use when creating the universe. He is in no way denying Intelligent Design. ID can mean either Special Creation (the "Poof!" theory) or directed evolution, and all he's proposing is that Theistic Evolution is a viable theory, which still is an endorsement of ID.

Whoever "interpreted" his comments as a rejection of ID obviously does not understand the theory of Intelligent Design. Too many people have believed the lie that ID and Special Creationism are one and the same, which is in no way the case. Please get your facts right before making blatant assumptions, people!

Wired News: Some Technologies Will Annoy

Don't expect the advances in technology that might connect appliances and computers in a home to be a life-saver. This Wired article talks about how annoying such "advances" could possibly get.

Vatican Endorses Scientific Method, Part I

(Part Two of this post)

Cardinal Paul Poupard is calling for an end to the "mutual prejudice" between science and faith, citing the church's incrimination of Galileo in the 17th century as an example of an unnecessary clash between the two groups. In 1992, Pope John Paul II declared the Galileo incident an error of "tragic mutual incomprehension," and Cardinal Poupard is trying to bridge the gap between science and religion to prevent such a tragdy from ocurring again.

I thoroughly support this effort; I feel that the truth will be found, like Aristotle's description of virtue, at "the mean between extremes." Radicals on either side are sure to have it at least partly wrong, but cooperation will provide a way to move forward productively.

The evidence provided by science has become too persuasive for the church to ignore. What must be done, as in the case of the Intelligent Design theory, is to propose a new interpretation of that evidence that fits within the faith-based paradigm. After all, evolution is only an interpretation of the findings of science despite its rigid following. For scientists to completely disregard other interpretations is inherently unscientific.

I know I've just opened a can of worms here, but my morning break is just about over so I'll finish with this thought: Hard-line evolutionists are just as closed-minded as they accuse fundamentalists of being. The essence of scientific thinking is being open to new discoveries and ideas, and refusing to incorporate (or even listen to) new lines of thought runs counter to the whole premise of scientific exploration.

Monday, November 7

Jersey Boys hits Broadway

I saw this show, which is a biography of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons that includes a lot of their famous songs, when it was first introduced at the La Jolla Playhouse here in San Diego. I loved it, and when there was talk of it possibly hitting Broadway I wasn't surprised. Now that the show has actually made it into the big leagues of theater arts, I feel proud to have participated in its very first run.

The cast is even the same as the La Jolla production, with the exception of David Norona, who played Valli. According to an article in the North [San Diego] County Times, Norona withdrew from the role because the high falsetto notes he was required to continually sing eventually wore out his voice. He even used a chalkboard to communicate between shows rather than running the risk posed by merely speaking.

The show is great, and while I'm not a big Seasons fan (I wasn't even born until almost two decades past their heyday) I recognized most of the tunes and was able to appreciate the acting and musical talents of the players. I heartily recommend "Jersey Boys" to anybody seeking some good old-time entertainment. Even the portions of the band's story that take on a darker demeanor take on the pace and peppiness of the rest of the show, though I wouldn't recommend taking children to see this play as there is a smattering of coarseness.

Wednesday, November 2

What is the Intelligent Design Theory?

Intelligent Design is a hot-button issue right now (especially in Dover, PA), and I just wanted to add my thoughts to the ongoing discussion.

Firstly, Intelligent Design does NOT specifically mean Special Creationism. Special Creationism is the theory that God spoke all things into existence from nothing in a "Poof! There it is!" sort of way. It doesn't mean that this isn't the case, but all it realistically implies is that there was some sort of guiding force (not necessarily even God) that brought rise to the complex system we see around us today.

I'm not fully convinced by every argument on, which is where the linked article comes from, but the definition they give of ID is the clearest and most succint I've seen. Reading some of the other articles on the site I can tell that those at GotQuestions definitely are Special Creationists, and I happen to espouse the theory of Theistic Evolution (which they supposedly refute).

They also say there are only two versions of Theistic Evolution:
1) God set everything up just so, and then he set it into motion and just watches (deism, or the "Blind Watchmaker" theory)
2) God is intimately involved in every physical process, and He has taken all forms of life step by step
I disagree with both of those. My theory of Theistic Evolution is that God did set everything up "just so" (for instance, so that planets would align in the night sky to look exactly as it did in order to lead the Magi to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus), but that He is intimately involved in His creation... not to the point of the physical manipulation of all living things, but as a maintainer and protector. Also, that He is much more involved in the spiritual lives of humans than He is in the minutiae of the physical world (though he is aware of it all).

This is still a fledgling theory, and I am not an expert (but my wife, an environmental scientist, is), but it makes sense to me... at least for now. I'll deal with the "problem" of death existing before Adam, GotQuestions's main argument against Theistic Evolution, later.

Tuesday, November 1

Google Reader

Google Reader has had a bit of an update. I really like it now, but it needs two things:

1. A "Mark All As Read" button for viewing feed items by tag
2. The ability for the "V" keyboard shortcut to open items in a new background tab in Firefox (like all the rest of my links) rather than opening a whole new window.

However, I have to congratulate the Google guys on creating a useful tool. Even though it's not useful for my particular working style just yet, I can see that a lot of thought and skill were present in its design and coding.

By the way, is it at all possible to delete the Reader service from my Google account so I can start fresh without all of the crud I've collected while I try it out (Read items, etc.)? I've even noticed that importing a new OPML into my account on which everything has been unsubscribed (fewer feeds are present than were in my first OPML import) causes a bunch of items from previously-subscribed feeds to show up again as "new," even though I don't have those feeds in my Subscriptions list.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by emailing the author (use the link above).

The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.