How Coke Is Made

Each can originated in a small town of 4,000 people on the Murray River in Western Australia called Pinjarra. Pinjarra is the site of the world’s largest bauxite mine. Bauxite is surface mined — basically scraped and dug from the top of the ground. The bauxite is crushed and washed with hot sodium hydroxide, which separates it into aluminum hydroxide and waste material called red mud. The aluminum hydroxide is cooled, then heated to over a thousand degrees celsius in a kiln, where it becomes aluminum oxide, or alumina.


I didn't understand a single word of this. 

BREAKING NEWS: Houston Astros Fan Lets Go of the Ball Too Late!

Funny video of an Astros fan who evidently doesn't have a lot of throwing experience.

Heard someone remark yesterday, "If you've never thrown a baseball before, why would you agree to throw out the first pitch?!"  What's hard to realize and remember is that even if you have confidence in throwing a baseball, throwing one on a downward slope from the pitcher's mound is another thing entirely.

This girl looks like she didn't have experience with either of those.

Driscoll Being Asked to Leave

If those who appreciated his brash nature for their own transformation see the troubles his behavior caused, it might mean that his behavior was far too brash to begin with. 

But even some of Mr. Driscoll’s admirers have doubts about his ability to continue. Robbie Leib, who joined an embryonic Mars Hill in 1996, when he was 19, said Mr. Driscoll rescued him. “I was that classic guy he felt called to serve — video games, porn, screwing around, not ready to contribute,” he said. “I was the guy he was built to rebuke. I was ready to grow up, and he was there to spank me.”

Mr. Leib said he worked on the church’s staff for a time, and never saw any abuse or culture of fear. But, he said, he knows many of those who say they were mistreated by Mr. Driscoll, and is concerned by their allegations. “I love this church,” he said. “But Mark might need to step down for a year, or forever.”

I wish Mars Hill the best  but think it's time that their pastor take a little time away from the stress and spotlight. A little soul searching might be good for Mark.

Mind-Blowing Physics


A tachyonic antitelephone is a hypothetical device in theoretical physics that could be used to send signals into one's own past. Albert Einstein in 1907 presented a thought experiment of how faster-than-light signals can lead to a paradox of causality, which was described by Einstein and Arnold Sommerfeld in 1910 as a means "to telegraph into the past".

SeaWorld's Letter: From our Zoological Team

SeaWorld, with a partial response to some of the fact-shifting done in production of "Blackfish." Most significantly, in my opinion, this point:

SeaWorld is a world leader in animal rescue. The millions of people who visit our parks each year make possible SeaWorld’s world-renowned work in rescue, rehabilitation and release. We are constantly innovating when it comes to this care: Our veterinarians have created nursing bottles to hand-feed orphaned whales, prosthetics to save sea turtles, and a wetsuit to help injured manatees stay afloat during rehabilitation. Whether it’s the result of natural or man-made disasters, SeaWorld is always on call and often the first to be contacted. We have rescued more than 23,000 animals with the goal of treating and returning them to the wild.

I've always supported SeaWorld, before I even knew of their quality work in conservation and rescue. I, the average non scientist Joe Scmoe, know more about marine life and have developed an affinity for such creatures because of SeaWorld's work. This, in my mind, is only one of SeaWorld's many successes. 

Bishop Carcaño’s Invitation to Rev. Frank Schaefer

This just got interesting. 

I acknowledge that I do not have the authority to restore the ministerial credentials that Frank Schaefer has lost. Only a board of ordained ministry can recommend such a reinstatement of credentials, and only the ordained clergy of an annual conference can determine whether a person will be credentialed for ordained ministry. What I can do, however, is invite and welcome others to love and serve Christ Jesus among us, accompany those who choose to be faithful, and exhort us all to be biblically obedient. This I will do for as long as God gives me breath.

Again, if you don't see a serious upheaval in either the way the UMC understands its own polity or the way in which it is structured, you're not paying attention.   

Widening the Gap

If you don't see some sort of split for United Methodists on the horizon, you're not paying attention.

In Philadelphia last month, 36 Methodist ministers recited the Declaration of Marriage on the steps of a Methodist church for two gay men in a 25-year relationship. In New York, Methodist clergy members have been triumphantly posting accounts on a blog of the same-sex marriages they have been performing.


What Phil Robertson Gets Wrong

Smart commentary on the Duck Dynasty fiasco.

I won’t quote Robertson’s remarks in full here—they’re easy to look up—but suffice it to say that he implies that if gay men could only open their eyes, it would dawn on them how myopic they’ve been. “I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” The conclusion to draw from this comment, as Katelyn Beaty noted earlier today on Twitter, is “that gay men should just wake up to how awesome women’s body parts are.”

But, of course, that’s just not how sexuality works.


Tract Money Tip Is Not Okay to Leave, Christians

So, yeah. This is, most definitely, not an okay tip to leave, Bible belters and tract leavers. If you want to leave this AND leave them a tip for their exceptional service, then whatever floats your boat. But in all honesty, do you think that Jesus would have done something this shady and shitty? Tricking someone into thinking they were getting money, when in reality you were handing them a piece of meaningless paper, which in and of itself is essentially lying? Congratulations. You have accomplished the opposite of what you set out to do. The server now hates your religion even more than they maybe used to.

There are lots of things wrong here:

  • That tract exists
  • Someone thinks that tract is a good idea
  • The client did not tip
  • The client deceived the server with the "tip" 
  • The client was cheap

Look at the results, Christians. What a poor, poor witness. 

You Need to Hear What a Little Girl Says About Her Brother With Down Syndrome

The fact that there is such a thing as a "GodTube" makes me feel a little weird inside, but I'll let it fly for this moment. 

My first (cynical) thought about the video--within the first minute or so--was concerned with whether the video was scripted or not. The more I watched, though, the less I cared about the scripting. It doesn't matter if the parents told this little girl to say these kind things about her brother or not. 

What matters is the way her parents have shaped her to appreciate, tolerate, and love those that are "different."  How many times have you met someone who is hyper-conscious about how they understand people different from them and then you come to understand that they are related to someone who is "different" ? This little girl will be a better human, a more faithful child of God, and minister in a completely unique way because of the relationship her parents have granted her to have with her brother.


Al Mohler on The Gospel Job

I came across this clip of Lakelandite (Lakelander?) and SBC Superhero, Al Mohler on YouTube.  I've watched a lot of the man's work but had not seen this one.  It's worth a few minutes of your time.

Any biblical scholar or Christian, whether liberal or conservative on the homosexuality "issue", must--at some point--come face to face with Paul's apparent understanding of homosexuality as sinful.  We can choose to agree or disagree with Paul, but his words often stand strongly against the practice of homosexuality.  

While I continue to charge that Paul's comments in Romans 1 MUST  be understood contextually with his stern warning in Romans 2 to those who judge (go ahead and take a few minutes to read them both), I find Mohler's statements within this video intriguing.  He does not back down from the Southern Baptist Convention's strong stance regarding homosexuality (that it is sinful and that those who practice it need to be rescued from it); he  takes an opportunity, under fire, to speak a truth to many who have taken the SBC's stance on the subject and done unfaithful work with it.

He acknowledges that the church has done a poor job with this issue (I agree) and that there are people "struggling" within their churches with this "issue"  even if the SBC does not want to acknowledge it (I agree). As he puts it: The Christian Church (defined however you like) has tried to tell the "truth" but has not told the "truth" in a biblical way.  Yes. Yes. Yes, Al. 

Let's put it another way. Forgetting for a second my insistence that Paul's claim that homosexuality is indicative of human sinfulness in a generalized sense must be understood within the context of Paul's second chapter of Romans (the "therefore"  transition is my indicator here), Mohler is stating what many within the evangelical movement need to hear. Mohler is asking the Christian church to remain faithful in the ways in which it preaches the "truth", asking it to rethink its strategy of "homosexuality is a choice" and rid itself of the "certain type of homophobia" it has produced.

While Mohler is still proposing that homosexuality is sinful and needs to be repented of and that the gospel (I'm assuming he's defining it in the same way I am? The grace of God through the risen Jesus Christ) is a remedy for sin, he's calling here, very publicly, for accountability in the way in which this gospel is moved throughout the churches of the SBC.  To the questioner it may seem that Al Mohler has made more ambiguous his once strong stance on homosexuality as sin; he has not.  He continues to assert this principle regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality.  He is simply asking that the church repent of its own sins in calling out the sinful nature of others. 

Like I said, Romans 2. 

This Just In: Church Needs to Look Different and The Same

"5 churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials" In short, millenials are bothered by the churchy language that incites bad theology, cheesy one line salvation, and reliance on literal interpretations of the Bible. This author puts his own return to church this way:

When I returned to church, it wasn’t because of great programs, alluring events or a really cool “café” set up in the foyer. I went back not because of what the church was doing, but rather in spite of it. I went back because I needed community, and because, thanks to a steady dose of medication and therapy, I was finally well enough to root through the cliché to find it.

Community is an obvious church necessity and one, oddly enough, that has also bankrupted the discipleship of many of our churches.  While millenials need to feel and experience a community to become more faithful followers of Christ, the generation before them turned church into an theological (or not, as the case may be) country club. BONUS: the generation before millenials added all those cheesy phrases and decided that they "ran this place" (an actual phrase I heard form an actual churchgoer about an actual church) in the same way that they dressed up for dinner at the club and complained when the bread came out cold.

If you believe, like I do, that church ought to exist as it always has, incorporating quality and necessary elements like worship, sacrament, and community then this nonsense is unnecessary.

Millenials aren't into hoakyness. Raise your hand if you're surprised. 

Millenials want to be loved and love. Raise your hand if you're surprised. 

The only thing I fear: this paring down of church (the attitude insisted upon in this article) to "community" is weak, weak, weak.  It may, in fact, draw more millenials to church in the short run but "community" is only the top layer of what church is.

Xbox One and Microsoft's Wrongheadedness

Nilay Patel, journalist for The Verge, spent some quality time with Microsoft's Xbox team regarding their new Xbox One which is set to hit shelves very very soon. One of the coolest things Xbox does is integrate everything you might use on your TV (gaming system, Hulu, Netflix, Cable subscription) into one input. Unfortunately, in order to integrate your cable subscription they did not partner with a company and rewrite what could be markedly better software for the DVR, the interface simply sits on top: 

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is exactly the same system implemented by Google’s ill-fated Google TV project, which launched to great fanfare in 2010 and has been slowly dying ever since. It’s also the same trick used by Microsoft’s own WebTV platform, which launched to similarly great fanfare in 1996 and painfully lingered on until finally being killed earlier this year. Hacking your own interface on top of the cable box is a great idea in theory, but history suggests different results in practice. I am not shy about expressing my doubts that the Xbox One will fare any better while I’m in Redmond:

Henshaw: We’ve built a really cool technology into Kinect itself, where it is emitting the IR codes…

Nilay: It’s not a really cool technology.

Henshaw: It’s a super cool technology.

Nilay: It’s a super old technology.

Yet my persistent criticism doesn’t seem to faze the Xbox team. If a somewhat clunky TV integration is the price of being the primary interface in people’s living rooms, they’re surprisingly enthusiastic about paying it. "Our goal is to work with what people have today," says Henshaw. "We love Comcast, we love DirecTV, we love Time Warner, we love them all." Whitten agrees. "I actually think those guys do a good job," he says. "I want people to continue to have a relationship with their cable provider. I think that’s a great thing."

This is wrongheaded in every way.  The Xbox One might be successful for gaming and voice innovation alone, but it will not change the way TV is provided.  In the Verge's well done video that accompanies this piece, one of the executives says that you "can't expect someone to go out and spend hundreds of dollars to replace all of their boxes."

I think you can. And should.  The company that does that and does it really well will fully disrupt the TV market and start a revolution.  The Xbox One looks cool, but still serves as a cop out--much like how they integrated the old Windows interface with the new Windows 8 interface. 

Tim Cook: Workplace Equality Is Good for Business

Apple, always leading the way for progress: 

At Apple, we try to make sure people understand that they don't have to check their identity at the door. We're committed to creating a safe and welcoming workplace for all employees, regardless of their race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation.

As we see it, embracing people's individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights. It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business. We've found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives.

I appreciate Cook's piece here and, perhaps moreso, his drive for furthering equality through legislation. Why, though, can't we simply say "Workplace Equality is Good"? Why the necessity of framing it from a business perspective? It's perhaps a necessary evil of rhetoric to present it in this way, but in doing so I think it hurts the meaning of equality.

Equality is not good for a purpose.  Equality is good.  Period. 

The iPad 2 and Education

I predicted before last week's event that the iPad 2, after a long run and stellar sales that boosted interest in iPad, would retire.  Not only did Apple not retire the iPad 2, it didn't even lower the cost. Here's one reason: 

My daughters’ elementary school bought 40 iPad minis at the end of last year and those systems have mostly been used by the fourth and fifth grade classrooms. Realizing they could use about 10 more devices, the school moved forward with purchasing this fall. I advised the principal to wait until after the October 22 event, believing that retina iPads would replace non-retina iPads and be better bang for the buck, so to speak.

Our principal reminded me that that didn’t matter. What did matter is that all students were using the same devices, that teachers didn’t have to know one thing for one group of devices and another thing for another group of devices. Even more important, she didn’t want students fighting over who gets to use the nicer devices.

That last point, the fighting, surprised me but makes complete sense.