October 24, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 7.3.10

After a heady week here at iMonk of creation wars and Christian arts, Jeff Dunn swooned with the vapors and had to lie down for a bit, leaving the Saturday-themed rambling up to me, Adam Palmer. Shall we?

As long as we’re on the subject of Creation Wars, let’s begin with this story that tells us paleontologists have been completely wrong in their estimates of when complex life began on the Earth–wrong by 1.5 billion years! Yes, paleontology got turned on its ear this week when fossils indicating complex life were dated to approximately 2.1 billion years ago. Paleontologist Philip Donoghue gets the prize for best quote, saying the discovery was “like ordering an hors d’oeuvre and some gigantic thick-crust pizza turning up.” A thick crust pizza topped with 2.1 billion-year-old fossils. Yum.

Since we’re already on the scientific front, and since this is Saturday ramblings, I thought it only appropriate to include a story that has this delightful bit of rambling: “Clearly the chain of coupled harmonic oscillators is entangled at zero temperature.” Yes, clearly. What are they talking about? A theory introduced this week that quantum entanglement is the mechanism holding DNA together, preventing the double helix from vibrating itself apart. Please read the story and then explain it to me, ’cause it sounds mighty cool. Oh, and while we’re on the subject, “quantum plasticity” a new theory that allows a solid to flow like a liquid through itself. No word yet on whether these two new quantum theories, despite their distance from each other, share the same existence. (Yes, that was a nerd-flavored quantum mechanics joke.)

If all this “science” stuff is getting too complicated, may I suggest you play a video game? And may I suggest that game be Moonbase Alpha, a new moon-themed video game announced this week by, of all people, NASA. It offers all the thrills of walking on the moon without any of the cost of manned space flight (note: also without any of the actual thrills). Interested? It will become available next week.

Wycliffe Bible Translators announced a staggering goal this week: to translate the Bible into every language within the next fifteen years. And yes, this includes languages that, at this point, are only spoken. How? By using open source software and “apprentice translators” to create written forms of languages they can then teach to preliterate people groups. Your thoughts?

Turns out the United States isn’t the only country who can’t agree on where the line between church and state needs to be drawn. Italy is fighting the European Parliament to keep legally mandated crucifixes hanging on the walls of Italian public school classrooms. Italy’s lawyer Nicola Lettieri argued that the crucifixes don’t openly proselytize, saying, “A crucifix in the class is not there to indoctrinate anyone but as the expression of a popular feeling that is at the heart of Italian national identity.” What do you think, gang? (Please, no “slippery slope” arguments; everything is a potential slippery slope to someone.)

And in other church/state-bending news, elected officials in five gulf states declared last Sunday to be a day of prayer to petition God to stop the oil spill. The governors of Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, as well as the lieutenant governor of Florida, all issued official proclamations to ask God for his divine intervention in ending the ever-increasing environmental crisis.

One young man in the United Kingdom decided to do something not about the oil spill but about his lack of ability to pretend to be Spider-Man and walk on walls. So he went to the British Wal-Mart, bought a couple of vacuum cleaners, and created this contraption. If I was more cynical and less scrupulous, I would take this opportunity to offer this young man a free copy of my book (co-authored with Jeff Dunn) called The Soul of Spider-Man. But that would be crass.

Birthdays! Speaking of Spidey, former Spider-Man Tobey Maguire celebrated his birthday this week  by being replaced as the web-slinging hero by Andrew Garfield; Frank Loesser, the songwriter who gave us “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” and the Broadway show “Guys and Dolls”; all-around amazing woman Helen Keller; Thurgood Marshall; Tom Cruise; co-first kid Malia Obama; playwright Tom Stoppard; George Steinbrenner; Rube Goldberg; and a little country called The United States of America.

And since we’ve established a tradition of closing with some sort of video, and since we talked this week about the importance of the arts, and since I like the song, I leave you with the video for “Glosoli,” by Sigur Ros, an Icelandic band who have so gloriously summed up in six minutes what it looks like to follow Christ:

Comments

  1. A few response thots:

    * The day of prayer for the Gulf sounds like a good idea — the results can’t possibly be worse than BP’s efforts have been. (Also, what’s with the LIEUTENANT governor of Florida chiming in — where’s the GOVERNOR of Florida on this? Is he an atheist, or just a coward?)

    * Leave the crucifixes alone, European Parliament – they’ve been up all this time, and Christian practice in Italy has been going south for decades. Clearly, even if it WAS proselytizing, it’s not effective …

    * “Quantum Plasticity” may be the name for my next fantasy basketball team — it’s either that or “Laurence Franks Wild Years” at this point.

    * GET WELL SOON, JEFF DUNN!

    • “Quantum Plasticity” would be a great name for a fantasy sports team. Or a band.

      FYI: Jeff Dunn is actually in solid health; he just couldn’t do the ramblings this week. I was intending to be humorous–who knows, maybe you were, too.

      Love,
      Adam

  2. “Glosoli” is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands. Good choice.

  3. Too bad the spiderman device reminds me of Doc Oc. Very cool stuff though.

  4. Wycliffe Bible Translators announced a staggering goal this week: to translate the Bible into every language within the next fifteen years. And yes, this includes languages that, at this point, are only spoken. How? By using open source software and “apprentice translators” to create written forms of languages they can then teach to preliterate people groups. Your thoughts?

    I think Wycliffe should instead spend their money on teaching all Americans – and then all peoples – to read Biblical Hebrew (and Aramaic) and Greek so not only would we all be able to read the same Bible, but we’d all be able to agree on what it says and means. And then everyone will be saved and live happily ever after until some day our prince will come, some day we’ll meet again, and away to His kingdom we’ll go, to be happy forever I know.