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Archive for March, 2013

A few weeks ago, I created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the $25,000 required to develop the app for the iPad.

The campaign is not yet over, but I’m pretty sure it’s dead.

There’s only a few days left and I have raised a grand total of $35. I posted on Facebook and Twitter and people talked with me that it was a cool idea but I never gained any traction in raising money.

I went to Google and created an adWords campaign. That’s where you register a bunch of words used in Google searches and drive traffic to your website if people click on your advertisement.

I set a budget of $5.00 per day. In total, I’ve spent around $50 and registered 200 clicks but it only resulted in $25. That means I have to spend twice what I can raise in capital.

That’s too expensive.

At this point, I think that the app is dead. However, I plan to re-incarnate it as a web page and figure out how to make it profitable. But it will be a few more weeks before I get anything off the ground.

Proposed Go Somewhere icon square

  Go Somewhere…

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I understand why parents fight over how they raise their kids.

The wife and I don’t have kids but we do have a cat, Ruby. And we have issues with how we deal with the cat.

  1. Type of food

    As I have written previously, Ruby has a sensitive stomach. The other week, the wife decided to give her some cooked salmon – you know, stuff that people would eat. I was at work when this happened.

    Later on, she gave her some canned tuna. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough. A few minutes later, Ruby vomited it up on the floor. It was pretty gross.

    The wife claims that this occurred because she ate too much food in too short a time. I say it was because she is not used to eating that type of food and that she has a sensitive stomach. As evidence, I point to every other time we have changed her diet, she reacts by throwing it up.

    We still give her tuna sometimes, but I insist on giving her far less than the wife would if she were alone. As I say to her “You give her too much and she pukes, you’re cleaning it up.”

  2. Grooming

    When Ruby was a kitten, she had longer fur but it wasn’t too bad. Now that she has grown up and is nearly a year old, the fur around her face is starting to get out of control.

    To fix this, I say that we should trim her fur with a pair of scissors. The wife insists that we shouldn’t do this because we’ll do it wrong and she’ll end up looking stupid with crazy fur here and there. I say that it’s not that hard to do and I’m not going to take her to the groomers because she’ll whine and meow all the way there and even if we get there, she’ll still be restless and unruly.

    In the meantime, she still has crazy fur.

Poor Ruby. Caught in the middle.

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Last week, I went out with some friends to a restaurant in Redmond that specializes in Italian food. There were five of us.

When we got there, I looked over the menu. In years past, I used to love going out for Italian food. I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to, though. I don’t know if it was because of this place which I had been to once before which was merely okay, or if it is all Italian food.

Anyhow, I looked over the menu and ordered penne with sausage in a tomato sauce:

The difference from the above picture is that mine had more sauce and less greens. The meal came with garlic bread as an appetizer, and I also ordered a green salad.

While the food was okay, after finishing it I realized that I haven’t consumed a lot of pasta over the past year, and that the favorite part of my meal may have been the green salad with vinaigrette dressing. The penne sauce was very rich, and the bread was greasy. It still tastes fine but in my mind I was thinking “Hmm, I don’t know if I want to eat a meal so rich in carbohydrates.” My brain was getting in the way of my enjoyments.

I ordered water with my meal, like everywhere I go because I don’t drink Coke or Pepsi very often, except when I travel. But I almost ordered a glass of red wine.

Five years ago, this would not have been me. I would have gladly ordered pasta, I may have ordered Coke or Pepsi, but I definitely would not have ordered a red wine. My palate has changed and the foods I eat now are different than they were five years ago (pasta) or even one year ago (red wine). Heck, I didn’t even like red wine until I went to Argentina in December 2012; man, it’s good there.

I guess it’s true what they say – your tastes do change as you get older.

But don’t expect me to eat perogies.

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A few weeks ago I went through the New Testament and made notes about how many insults there are directed at the writer’s unnamed opponents.

While I was doing this, I noticed how similar to the books of Jude and 2 Peter were. Today, I decided to go back and see just how similar they really are.

I made a list of all the passages in Jude and their equivalents, or near equivalents, in 2 Peter. Three quarters of the verses in Jude have something similar in 2 Peter. Moreover, 2 Peter follows the same order as Jude. The order is never switched around except for once (Jude 1:5).

Below is my list of comparing both books to the other. I have highlighted the red text where the passages or wordings are nearly the same.

 

Passage in Jude

Equivalent in 2 Peter

Jude 1:1 – Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

2 Peter 1:1 – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Jude 1:2 – May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

2 Peter 1:2May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Jude 1:3 – Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

2 Peter 1:12Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have

Jude 1:4For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

2 Peter 2:2 – And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.

Jude 1:5Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

2 Peter 1:12Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have

This is the one exception to ordering.

Jude 1:6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the Judgment of the great day—

2 Peter 2:4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the Judgment;

Jude 1:7just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

2 Peter 2:6if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

Jude 1:8 – Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.

2 Peter 2:10 – and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones,

Jude 1:9 – But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."

2 Peter 2:11 – whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.

Jude 1:10But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.

2 Peter 2:12But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction,

Jude 1:11 – Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.

<No equivalent in 2 Peter)

Jude 1:12 – These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;

2 Peter 2:13 – suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.

Jude 1:13wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

2 Peter 2:17 –These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

Jude 1:14 – It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones,

<No equivalent in 2 Peter>

Jude 1:15 – to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

2 Peter 2:18 – For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.

Jude 1:16These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

2 Peter 2:19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Jude 1:17 – But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:2 – that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,

Jude 1:18 – They said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions."

2 Peter 3:3knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.

Jude 1:19 – It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

2 Peter 3:4 – They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation."

Note: this is not an exact match. In Jude, people are causing divisions and it is unspecified how, whereas in 2 Peter they are stirring up trouble by asking where Christ’s second coming is. Presumably in Jude, they were saying something but we don’t know what.

Jude 1:20 – But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,

<No equivalent in 2 Peter>

Jude 1:21 – keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

2 Peter 3:13 – But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Jude 1:22 – And have mercy on those who doubt;

<No equivalent in 2 Peter>

Jude 1:23 – save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

2 Peter 3:14 – Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

Jude 1:24 – Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,

<No equivalent in 2 Peter>

Jude 1:25 – to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Note: What is striking is how elaborate both closing doxologies are in giving glory to Christ. There is no other book in the New Testament that has this much praise for Jesus (they are short “Grace be with you through Christ” type closings).

The only other one that comes close is in Romans, but there Paul gives glory to God for evermore through Jesus, not to Jesus directly as in Jude and 2 Peter.

 

To most people, this is pretty dull. But I find stuff like this very interesting.

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You may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging a lot lately. That’s because I have been doing a lot of stuff at work lately. I’m usually busy from the time I get in to the time I leave and when I get home, I just don’t feel like writing because I write so much during the day.

But as a consequence of all that work, it turns out that I have several opportunities to travel.

For you see, my manager and I (mostly me) made a list of conferences that were relevant to people on my team for the year 2013. These included conferences both within North America and also abroad. As our service moves into emerging markets (especially China) we need to increase our presence there.

Typically when I go to conferences, I usually ask my manager a few weeks in advance if I can go. The exceptions are the international ones where I ask a few months before, and even then I only ask if I am presenting at the conference. This time, we had a plan – we would make a list of all the relevant conferences for our team and get approval ahead of time so we wouldn’t have to “last-minute” it.

This is very similar to what the wife does. She makes travel plans 6 months to two years in advance.

On my team (I have been fighting spam for 8.5 years), I go to the most conferences because I ask the most, and I write up in detailed emails what I learned.

However, seeing as how I made up the list of conferences, it also puts me in a good position to travel more. I am not trying to go to every single one, but I won’t deny that planning them out works to my benefit.

So without further ado, here are some I am looking at:

  1. China

    We are looking for places go to in the China (or Asia region) and I just found out that there is a relevant conference in Beijing in April.

    China_2_a

  2. Vienna

    There is a working group that meets three times per year, once on the west coast, once in Europe and once on the east coast. The European one this year is in Vienna in June. I’ve never been to the European one but it makes sense to go this year.

  3. Berlin

    Every year since 2009, in September or October, I have presented at a conference that alternates between Europe and North America. I have a pretty good chance of going this year but at this point, you may be looking through this list and see that I might start getting travel fatigue.

    The wife and I were planning to go to Turkey after, but due to the two above we may rethink those plans.


  4. Montreal

    As if that weren’t enough, the conference above in Vienna meets a third time this year (the first was San Francisco in February) in Montreal in late October.

These are the most relevant work opportunities I have for travel this year. It interferes with the wife’s travel plans a little bit because she was operating on the assumption that I would only go to Berlin in October. But as it turns out, it may make more sense to go to these other ones.

I won’t get to go to all of them, but at the same time, now that I’ve done my homework on them we can make better plans.

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A few weeks ago, I woke up with a pain in the side of my neck. You know what I’m talking about – where you can’t turn your head to one direction because you slept wrong, maybe with your head tilted.

It turns out there is a name for this – adult torticollis. It occurs one or more of the joints in your neck become jammed or locked. The muscles surrounding these joints then contract and hold the joint in a protective manner so as to avoid further damage. The result is neck pain!

The problem is that your joints need to go back into alignment. But your muscles don’t to let them go because they think they are protecting you. The result is 4-7 days of annoying neck pain.

Just like I read on the Internet, it took me 7 days to get over it. And even then, for the month after, I still had a little residual neck pain whenever I tilted my neck to one direction.

Do I continually sleep funny? Is there something else going on inside my neck?

It’s tough to maintain your health as you get older.

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Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the origins and meaning of religion. Not one religion in particular, but all religions.

Religion can be very polarizing. To people on the outside, religious adherents are thought of as spiritual, devote and moral. On the other hand, to outsiders, religious people are also thought of as intolerant, with bizarre beliefs and should keep those beliefs to themselves. Some, such as those in the New Atheism movement, claim that the beliefs are dangerous and in response are creating an atheistic social movement. I call this “Evangelical Atheism.”

By contrast, the religious themselves find great comfort in their faith (depending on the degree of their adherence). They follow in their paths because they believe in the underlying doctrines of their faith, its future promises, and it provides them real, tangible benefits. They ask the question “What do you mean what is the purpose of religion? It exists because…”

To the skeptical, the question must be asked why religion exists today. It is alive and well in all regions of the world, although it is declining in influence Europe and parts of the United States and Canada. But if all religion did was impose a serious cost to people with little benefits other than for the ruling elites, why has an atheistic society never arisen by chance and outcompeted religious ones?

Take a look at the following pictures:

 IMG_1457

What you see are images of a Buddhist temple complex, a Hindu temple, a Christian church and a Muslim mosque. All of these took years to build in the time before modern construction and machinery. There was a real cost to building these.

These costs are known as opportunity costs. By spending the time, money and labor necessary to building these structures, societies could not spend them doing something else. If religion were completely spurious then why didn’t other less religious societies arise, spend money on more useful projects and outcompete them for resources?

The answer is that religion served an important function whose returns were more than its costs.

When I read criticisms of the web of Christianity (I don’t spend any time looking at other religions), many instances they make light of Christian beliefs as being illogical. How could axe heads float? How could the entire world be flooded? How could a man survive the bite of a poisonous snake? How could someone accuse another of lying and the accused instantly fall dead?

Still other criticisms accuse religion of inventing stories to explain the world (for example, that God controls thunder and lightning and this was a sufficient explanation until we learned about electricity), or of inventing theories to control human behavior (for example, drawing lines of morality around sexual behavior). These ideas were invented before science explained them and now we should discard them.

But how accurate is this? Did religion make things up? Or did they arise more organically?

image

When anti-theologians (i.e., atheists and your friends on Facebook who post derogatory messages about religion) criticize faith they usually attack people’s beliefs and their behaviors. The beliefs are outdated and wrong and the behaviors they rationalize are immoral.

Yet when sociologists study religion, they usually examine the underlying social structure of religion and the purposes that they serve to the people within the faith structures. In other words, there is a gap between the people who flippantly dismiss religion and those who apply the scientific method as to its purpose.

I’m going to write a few more posts to try to address the question: What is the meaning of religion?

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