The Fast Company is perfecting its humanoid, soldier robot. Here’s a short video showing the latest. Could this be the progenitor of some future Terminator?
I have a feeling this is going to end up in Sky somehow…
The Writing Diary of Novelist Karen Hancock
The Fast Company is perfecting its humanoid, soldier robot. Here’s a short video showing the latest. Could this be the progenitor of some future Terminator?
I have a feeling this is going to end up in Sky somehow…
“Record snowfall, killer tornadoes, devastating floods: There’s no doubt about it. Since Dec. 2010, the weather in the USA has been positively wild. But why?”
(Shall I add extreme drought and heat leading to horrific forest fires that have both scorched the southwest and are even now burning up Oklahoma?)
Some say it’s because of La Nina, a band of cold water that sometimes stretches across the Pacific, and affects global weather patterns. We’ve had La Nina conditions before, however, and not all these weird weather problems.
NASA climatologist Bill Patzert doesn’t think it’s La Nina either. “La Niña was strong in December,” he says. “But back in January it pulled a disappearing act and left us with nothing – La Nada – to constrain the jet stream. Like an unruly teenager, the jet stream took advantage of the newfound freedom–and the results were disastrous.”
“By mid-January 2011, La Niña weakened rapidly and by mid-February it was adios, La Niña, allowing the jet stream to meander wildly around the US. Consequently the weather pattern became dominated by strong outbreaks of frigid polar air, producing blizzards across the West, Upper Midwest, and northeast US.”
And that wasn’t all it produced as spring came and the unruly jet stream continued to be uncontrolled. Russell Schneider, Director of the NOAA-NWS Storm Prediction Center, explains:
“First, very strong winds out of the south carrying warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico met cold jet stream winds racing in from the west. Stacking these two air masses on top of each other created the degree of instability that fuels intense thunderstorms.”
According to NASA author Dauna Coulter, “Extreme contrasts in wind speeds and directions of the upper and lower atmosphere transformed ordinary thunderstorms into long-lived rotating supercells capable of producing violent tornadoes.”
And climatologist Patzert adds, “The jet stream — on steroids — acted as an atmospheric mix master, causing tornadoes to explode across Dixie and Tornado Alleys, and even into Massachusetts.”
I love his description of an unruly jet stream, free to roam about as it chooses — with devastating results. Because what a parallel to a people who have rejected God and gone their own way.
Especially when you combine the weather problems with the economic woes, the war issues, the rising crime, the emergence of mobs of young people running amok in various cities from Chicago to DC to Orlando… I really do think God is trying to get our attention…
Read the article and look at the pictures HERE.
Recently I reread Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. I first read it not too long after it came out in 1969 (at least the paperback), which would have put me in high school or college. I kind of think high school because 1) I had no time to read any novels during the 4 years I was in college and 2) I remember not really having much of an idea what was going on in it.
As a result I did not read Crichton again until Jurassic Park came along in 1990. I had no problems understanding what was going on in Jurassic Park, in fact, I loved it and went on to read almost all of Crichton’s novels until his death. Now I’m going back to catch up on his early work.
Re-reading The Andromeda Strain I certainly understood why I might not have grasped what was going on the first time, since it’s heavy on the science/medical stuff which I had no frame of reference for in high school. This time I had no problem with any of it, because almost all of it was familiar. The funny part was how outdated it was combined with the pervading tone of “Wow! isn’t this new computer technology mind-blowing?!” Now days all that stuff is clunky and slow, and the “weird” new technologies are commonplace.
What was even more interesting to me, and what I now see runs through almost all his work, is the idea that science is fallible and subject to the effects of ignorance, stupidity, naivite, arrogance and thus — my conclusion here — not to be worshipped.
He starts in the “Acknowledgements” which is actually part of the story, and says:
“This book recounts the 5-day history of a major American scientific crisis. As in most crises, the events surrounding the Andromeda Strain were a compound of foresight and foolishness, innocence and brilliance. Nearly everyone involved had moments of great brilliance and moments of unaccountable stupidity.
To the list he adds fatigue, minor but not uncommon malfunctions of machinery, and incorrect but logical assumptions born out of pre-existing mindsets that affected the investigator’s perspective and direction of inquiry. All these combined in the story to hinder and dangerously delay their arrival at the truth of what the Andromeda strain was and what it did.
I found it a treatise on the fact that man is not and never will be omniscient. There will always be vast areas of truth he will never comprehend. In fact, I believe there are some things we will never be capable of figuring out — or of truly understanding even if God flat-out tells us. After all, He’s already flat-out told us He is three persons in one essence and we don’t really understand that. Nor how Jesus Christ could have borne all the sins of all time in His body on the Cross in just three hours. Nor how He can be God and Man in one person forever, the two natures separate but inseparably united…
But I digress from the book. Because it seemed that these conclusions were everywhere. Case in Point:
“Biology… was a unique science because it could not define its subject matter. Nobody had a definition for life. Nobody knew what it was, really. The old definitions — an organism that showed ingestion, excretion, metabolism, reproduction and so on — were worthless. One could always find exceptions.
The group had finally concluded that energy conversion was the hallmark of life. All living organisms in some way took in energy — as food, or sunlight — and converted it to another form of energy and put it to use.” [Emphasis mine]
One of the characters then presented three objects as rebuttal to this definition: a black cloth that absorbs heat, a watch with a radium dial, and a piece of granite which he challenged the other team members to prove were not living.
The cloth absorbed heat, seemingly to no purpose, but how can we say that for sure? The watch showed decay in process, and the production of light, but again how could it be said for sure there was no purpose in it? Finally the granite, which he claimed was living, breathing and walking, only at such an infinitesimally slow rate we can’t see it. To the granite we are like flashes in the light. I loved this. Made me think of God, though of course He does see us, and has revealed Himself to us. He has not left us at the mercy of our limitations of sensation and rationalization, only of our volition.
The scientists finally conceded
That it was possible they might not be able to analyze certain life forms should they arrive…might not be able to make the slightest headway, the least beginning in such an analysis.
I loved this for the elemental humility that is in it, for showing the limits of science and man and drawing parallels (though not explicitly) to God, who is not only an “alien” life form, but the source of life. And we cannot analyze Him, not in full, even with His word. Delving into questions like these should make us sit back and realize that.
As a culture and a civilization, we’ve spent so much time and energy and man-hours of effort trying to analyze our world, trying to figure out how the Lego pieces fit together, as it were. We’ve “invented” and produced a lot of things that supposedly make life easier and safer and healthier and cleaner. But… I do not believe we are any happier than any other generation of people. Because the only one who’s really worth all that time and effort to understand is God who is the only source of true happiness.
I got a comment on yesterday’s post that took me down a new line of thought relative to whether these global warming folks are outright lying, or just indulging in massive wishful thinking. At least as regards to whether the planet really is warming up and man is actually the cause. Though Rush Limbaugh maintains they are indeed lying, and I wouldn’t rule it out, I can’t help but wonder if desire, delusion and projection might be another way to evaluate their viewpoint/actions.
I’ve mentioned before being at the World Science Fiction convention years ago and listening to a panel of scientists express agreement that sometimes one’s hypothesis can overshadow the data. “You know in your gut your hypothesis correct,” one woman said. “You just know. And thus your job is to figure out how to make the data show it.”
Confirmation bias, anyone?
As I’ve also mentioned before, I’ve encountered that same viewpoint repeatedly ever since. I’ve even quoted from some prominent atheists/scientists to the effect that science by definition excludes God. They begin from the standpoint that God should not even be able to get his foot in the door because that would destroy the “science ” of the scientific method. I can see justification for the viewpoint in a way: if whenever you don’t understand how something works you just say God’s making it happen that way and leave it, you’re not going to learn very much about the world around you on any kind of deeper level. Such an approach operates from the premise that there is no logic, no sequence, no underlying order in what’s happening, nothing to be learned about God from the created world.
When the truth is the exact opposite. Romans 1:20 says that “His invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made…” Science, then, is really just another way of finding God. Looking carefully at the natural world, you see the logic, the sequence, the building of one element upon another to produce a whole, the incredible precision and specificity of it all. None of which you’d see if you could never get past the, “God did it so we can’t figure it out” mentality. The real question behind all scientific inquiry and experimentation is how did God set this thing up to work? How will it interact with other things? What exactly is this thing and how much of it can we know? Kind of the same approach we use in studying the word of God.
But as with so many things, including the word of God, people can take a truth and misapply it. They are ignorant, arrogant, they possess a nature virulently opposed to God, their natural thoughts can’t understand God, and they live in a world system devised and administrated by a creature who is far smarter than any of them, but just as arrogant about himself and as ignorant and deluded about who God is. Many of the people who have seized upon science and the theory of evolution as truth, do so admittedly because it gives them a way to explain everything without having to acknowledge (and thus be accountable to) God.
Which brings me to the third element of my triad, projection. Projection is when you take your own sins, failings, and faulty viewpoint and project them onto others, all the while denying you have any such failings yourself. Then you criticize those on whom you’ve projected for the sins you deny in yourself. So it is here. Atheists and atheist/scientists love to mock Christians as being blind, as having “to check their brains at the door in order to believe in the things of God. “Faith is believing to be true what you know to be a lie,” one said.
I know that’s not me, because I know the Word of God is not a lie. But given the revelations of Climategate, the desperation with which the media and global warmists seek to defend their position in the face of God’s laughter (that would be the massive snowstorms burying the east coast just now) it seems to me that they are the ones who are caught in “blind belief”, the ones who truly are seeking to believe that which they know to be untrue.
And I can see why they might be so incredibly desperate because look what they have to lose… position, esteem, reputation, money, maybe their life’s work. I suspect not too many of them are eager to admit they are wretched sinners, weak and foolish and in need of a savior, either. It’s not rational, it’s emotional.And emotions simply cannot think.
ADDENDUM: Speaking of desperation in defending global warming, a British engineering prof, Dr. John Brignell, runs a website called numberwatch where he’s collected links to media stories ascribing the cause of everything under the sun to global warming, many of them contradictory. Things like…
Lack of snowfall, too much snowfall
shrinkage of coral reefs, growth of coral reefs
destruction of bananas, growth of same
winds increasing, winds decreasing
hibernation ends too soon, hibernation ends too late.
wolves eat more moose, wolves eat less…
All supposedly the result of global warming. He has over 600 of them at this writing. You can see them all HERE.
The poor Green Police are looking stupider than ever now that the global warming scientist from University of East Anglia, Professor Phil Jones, has come out with the admission that
1) he’s a terrible records keeper and has no idea where the original raw data is that he used for his analysis (the one that everyone including the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relies upon to support their hysterical claims of anthropocentric global warming; the one based on the infamous hockey stick graph that supposedly closed the deal and ended the debate);
2) there has been NO global warming since 1995 ! and
3) it’s entirely possible that the Medieval Warming Period (when the Romans were growing grapes for wine in England) back between 800 and 1300 AD was warmer than anything we’re experiencing now, (ahem) , and may well have been global, they just don’t happen to have any paleoclimatic data from the southern hemisphere. (That’s because the southern hemisphere is mostly ocean and it’s difficult to measure what the ocean’s temp was thousands of years ago… ) In any case, the MWP was in NO way caused by anything man was doing at the time.
These admissions are huge, particularly coming from this individual. They entirely knock the legs out from under the whole idea of AGW (Anthropocentric Global Warming). But… are we hearing about it anywhere? I found a link on Drudge to an article in the UK’s Daily Mail. The same article Rush read from on his radio program today. I just did a quick check of CNN, ABC, MSNBC and CBS’s online news pages. Nada. (I did , however, learn that production of 24 will be suspended briefly while Keifer Sutherland has a minor, elective surgery to deal with a ruptured cyst on one of his kidneys… )
Only Fox News carried the story. And yet, it completely negates the need for cap and trade, for all these green initiatives, green cars, ethanol, wind generators, all the demonization of SUV’s and cars in general, compost regulations, light bulb regulations, carbon offsets, carbon footprints. The whole thing is a pipe dream. A hoax. Though a very lucrative hoax for some of the hoaxers.)
“… colleagues of Professor Jones said ‘his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realised that 20 years later he would be held to account over them’. “
Forget about the twenty year thing. What about normal scientific protocol where you’re supposed to have your data available for others to evaluate and confirm your conclusions? Something that should have been done long before twenty years had passed.
“Professor Jones admitted the lack of organisation in the system had contributed to his reluctance to share data with critics, which he regretted.
“Asked about whether he lost track of data, Professor Jones said: ‘There is some truth in that. We do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be…
“‘There’s a continual updating of the dataset. Keeping track of everything is difficult. Some countries will do lots of checking on their data then issue improved data, so it can be very difficult.’”
And this is the kind of person whose conclusions are worthy of the entire nation destroying its economy, enslaving its citizens and spending millions of dollars to implement?
You can read the Daily Mail article HERE.
Many of you may have heard about the leaked emails out of the Climate Research Unit at the University East Anglia in Britain. the CRU is supposedly the premiere research organization in the world when it comes to climate change, and the group that supplied two of the four sets of data that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used for its report. Its data and perspective are described as “key to setting environmental agenda” for the world and turns out these climate scientists were doing exactly the same things the evolutionists tend to do: making the data fit how they want it to fit, and in some cases even making the data up.
One of the things legitimate scientific researchers are supposed to do is give other researchers free access to the data they have collected to so they may come to the same conclusions, generally by repeating the experiment or process. In this case the CRU not only refused for years to allow others to examine their original data it now turns out that they managed to “lose” the original data… these would be temperatures they took over the years from various locations, information gleaned from tree ring studies and other elements they combined to “reconstruct” past temperature profiles. (that last immediately begins to sound fishy to me. Once people start trying to reconstruct something as ephemeral as specific temperatures of the past, my skeptic lights go on)
In any case, they took the temperatures they had gathered, put them through a sequence of computer programs (also top-secret so others could not confirm) to “adjust” the temperatures to make up for various unspecified factors in the collection process and, oh my! they came up with a tidy rise in global temperatures over the last 150 years. Then they managed to ditch original readings from which they derived their adjusted temps.
They’d like people to believe it was all an accident, it was way back in the 80s when global warming wasn’t an issue, and maybe some would believe that if it weren’t for the emails wherein heretofore respected AGW (that’s Anthropocentric Global Warming) scientists told each other to get rid of the data, moaned about how hard it was to get their vaunted programs to spit out the right conclusions, and discussed how they might keep their opposition from ever publishing in legitimate journals, thus providing themselves with the ability to marginalize their findings by pointing out they’d never been published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal.
These people are the main scientists involved in the UN study (IPCC mentioned above) that resulted in the alarmist warning that governments had better do something about this approaching disaster or mankind will destroy the earth. The same study that’s generated the upcoming conference in Copenhagen which our President is set to attend in just a few days.
Even Global Warming advocates are horrified and shocked that their heros, the scientists they respected and believed have pretty much violated every research protocol in the book. They want the head of the CRU to step down and last I heard he was going to. But even so, there are others who tsk and sweep it all under the rug. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, (whose degrees are in Industrial Engineering and Economics, not a climate science) told the UK’s Guardian, “The processes in the IPCC are so robust, so inclusive, that even if an author or two has a particular bias it is completely unlikely that bias will find its way into the IPCC report.” So he’s just pretending none of it happened. (article)
That just blows me away. I don’t know what universe these people live in, but it’s not the same as mine. Or maybe it is, and the truth is that they don’t care if they lie, don’t care, really, if anyone believes them, they just want to continue on with their plans until they have the power they are seeking. (Pachauri also thinks “Hotel guests should have their electricity monitored; hefty aviation taxes should be introduced to deter people from flying; and iced water in restaurants should be curtailed.”) (article)
I’ve said it before, and this new development makes it clearer than ever that the whole thing is a hoax. It’s all wishful thinking, self-delusion, corruption, deceit, arrogance, and clearly, I think, part of the push toward one world government.
The interesting thing, as I mentioned earlier, is how closely the methods and comments and goals of the scientists are so similar to those I quoted as coming from evolutionists not too long ago. The same approach of deciding what the truth is, then setting out to “prove” it.
I find it also interesting that in both cases, God is shoved aside, deliberately, consciously and in some cases openly, excluded from the picture. Evolutionists are searching for a rational explanation for everything that does not include God or any sort of supernatural creative event. At the other end of the spectrum, Global warming alarmists say God cannot protect His creation and they are committed to proving that global disaster which only man can avert, is on the way.
And amazingly a lot of people believe both camps.
A quote from The Black Swan comes to mind (actually a lot of concepts do, but I’ll confine myself to one.)
“I am most often irritated by those who attack the bishop but someone fall for the securities analyst — those who exercise their skepticism against religion but not against economists, social scientists, and phony statisticians.[And here I would add, global warming scientists] Using confirmation bias, these people will tell you that religion was horrible for mankind by counting deaths from the Inquisition and various religious wars. But they will not show you how many people were killed by nationalism, social science, and political theory under Stalinism or during the Vietnam War…”
How weird to live in a world where people would rather trust fallible men spouting theories that the least bit of common sense would recognize as ridiculous, than God. How weird that these same people should take their own views a step further and describe them in religious terms. As happened last Monday as reported on Fox News by George Russell: “Environmentalism should be regarded on the same level with religion ‘as the only compelling, value-based narrative available to humanity,’ according to a paper written two years ago to influence the future strategy of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the world’s would-be environmental watchdog.”
For more on this: Worst Scientific Scandal of our Generation
Does this make any sense:
Scientists have “recovered DNA sequences from the bones of ancient tuatara, which are up to 8000 years old. They found that, although tuatara have remained largely physically unchanged over very long periods of evolution, they are evolving – at a DNA level – faster than any other animal yet examined.”
So reports the Science Daily in an article called New Zealand’s Living Dinosaur — the Tuatara — is Surprisingly the Fastest Evolving Animal. The creature, a type of lizard that lives only in New Zealand, hasn’t changed physically in 8000 years, but its DNA is evolving rapidly. “Of course,” says the discoverer, Professor Lambert, “we would have expected that the tuatara, which does everything slowly — they grow slowly, reproduce slowly and have a very slow metabolism — would have evolved slowly. In fact, at the DNA level, they evolve extremely quickly, which supports a hypothesis proposed by the evolutionary biologist Allan Wilson, who suggested that the rate of molecular evolution was uncoupled from the rate of morphological evolution.”
Say what? Molecular evolution has “uncoupled from morphological evolution?” Then wouldn’t that mean the first has no connection with the second? And wouldn’t that sorta make molecular evolution a bit… irrelevant? Is the data here being pushed into a mold to fit the conclusion the researcher desires? The whole thing raises numerous questions for me, being neither a paleontologist nor a geneticist. How exactly does DNA evolve? What are the signs? And if DNA is “evolving” with no discernible change in phenotype… what’s the point? How does that prove anything?
The conclusions in this article presented as from the “experts” requires not only the use of faith, but the dispensing of logic to be accepted: We know this creature is evolving rapidly, even though it hasn’t changed in 8000 years. Talk about non-intuitive! Tell me again — why is it we’re supposed to put our faith in stuff like this instead of the Bible?
Photo: Tuatara in New Zealand. (Credit: iStockphoto/Robyn Grant)
(Crew quarters inside Biosphere 2)
Day Three of the Christian SFF Blog tour for The Enclave. Some of my favorite posts so far:
Becky Miller’s opening intro post from Monday and her Tuesday musings on on some of the elements of Enclave that got her thinking.
Yes, they’re all positive, but hey, I’m the author. Of COURSE the positive ones would be my favorites! There are others that are also good, some positive and some not, but interesting in the own right. I got tired of trying to transfer the html from Becky’s site to mine — she set it up so that each check represents a different post and clicking on it will take you straight to that particular post. In any case if you want the full list, including entries for Wednesday, which I don’t have yet, head on over to Becky’s Christian Worldview of Fiction for the full list. (Thanks, Becky!)
Now for today’s question, which isn’t quite a question that Bethany House actually posed me. In addition to the questions they posed, they asked me to come up with seven or so questons — and answers — to put in a document the Media could access. (The Nephilim question yesterday was also from this document, but the answer contained material from the other group of questions BHP had asked directly) You can see the actual Media Questions file here. As I just downloaded it myself (it’s a PDF file), I noticed that they left off both this question and the one about the Nephilim, plus another, and substituted one of the questions they had posed… Interesting. Okay, on with today’s question:
I hated science when I was in high school so why would I want to read a novel about it? (Seriously, people have either said this to me directly, or to others who’ve told me about it)
Science is really nothing more than looking at God’s creation and seeing what is there and how it fits together. All the so-called scientific laws, are actually God’s laws, and evidence of His faithfulness and power. His hand in it all is screamingly obvious to any who are willing to see it.
Unfortunately many have taken the discipline of science and corrupted it into an almost religion these days, replacing God with “Science,” and God’s ministers with its own high priests and priestesses, the expert “oracles” we are all expected to listen to and obey. “They” say such-and-such is true and most of us have little recourse but to believe what they say. It seemed a good environment in which to set my story, even though The Enclave is more about people, deception and belief than any particular scientific discipline.
Dining area inside Biosphere 2
That’s the end of my answer, but I will admit the question has always surprised me. I’ve had so many people turn up their noses at science and at any kind of speculative ficiton. Can’t get into it, they say. So I’ve started telling some who seem to be truly interested in reading my books that most people who love science fiction or fantasy don’t let the weirdness or the fact they don’t immediately know what’s going on get them down. They start such books expecting not to know what’s going on, what the setting situation is — it’s part of the fun.
Non fans, from what I’m told get all confused and bothered because they don’t know what a trog is, and there isn’t an explanation in the text to tell them. So they stop reading and go looking for a glossary.
Which really interferes with the fun of reading. I told one friend I never stop reading just to go look up a word and I pretty much always ignore glossaries until I’m finished. You can usually pick up enough from context to get the gist of what’s going on.
It surprised me to learn of this apparent difference in readers, though, so I thought I’d share it. At least one of my friends who perservered through her initial discomfort in Arena ended up not being able to put the book down and really enjoying the story.