Monday, November 23, 2009

The Elegance of Python

Just finishing up a class at UAB that teaches an introduction to computer programming using media computation in Python. Although Python certainly is strange, I have to say that this simple Rotate 90% function using a framework called JES in Jython is somewhat beautiful and elegant in how little code it takes to generate. This would be much more messy in .NET.

def rotate90(image):
width = getWidth(image)
height = getHeight(image)
newPic = makeEmptyPicture(height, width)

for x in range(0, width):
for y in range(0, height):
pixel = getPixel(image,x,y)
color = getColor(pixel)
#switch x and y values for the new image,
#but flip on the x-axis to keep the
#image from flipping.
newPixel = getPixel(newPic, height - y-1, x)
setColor(newPixel, color)
return newPic

Friday, August 21, 2009

On the Origin and Nature of Government

Governments, in their natural and healthy state, exist to provide military security to a group of individuals. As time progresses, however, and this security is sufficiently reached, it is the tendency of government to insist security in other means: economic and social safety. It is here that the concept of government begins to break down, for at this point government exists apart from its natural function. The military security it is meant to provide exists so that the individuals may freely live to collect resources. When the government extends its security into not only assuring the ability to gather resources, but actually going and gathering the resources for the individuals themselves, government has become the very thing it was defending against—a threat to an individual's liberty. Thus, the people, in whatever form, eventually either rise up and override the government until it has again reached its natural state, or an opposing collective of individuals or other government remove said government from power. Of course, there is always the chance that a worse form of government can override the previous one, but the overindulgence of this government will be such that it will fall fate to the same pattern as the previous government. On and on this cycle repeats until the people themselves restore a sound government from within. And yet, given sufficient time, this government too will erode its natural purpose. It is therefore reasonable to assume there exists a cycle—a limited lifespan of government just as is found in nature. It is not only the right of the people but the duty of the people to resolve their government to restore it to its original purpose.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Natural Tendency of Government

It is often believed that ancient man tended to gravitate towards monarchies. There were kings for many ages, and even before them there were tribal leaders. What is often neglected, however, is the fact that this tendency has not changed. Nations in crisis or that have faced recent collapse tend to invertently hover towards a central leader. Why is this? One must look at the main purpose of government--no, it is not to give us stuff we can't get ourselves. Government is a social contract between man and an organization, much like a business. Government is the bodyguard hired by a group of consenting men that pays out a little bit of freedom in exchange for security that they would otherwise have to manage themselves. And where does man naturally tend to devote his security? Into an individual. For man was created of God to rely upon God. Heaven itself is a monarchy, with absolute security and justice and order in the hands of one Being. When man rebelled against his Creator and drifted away from him, that innate biological and spiritual desire for a single holder of security did not go away. Rather, man placed it in the only place he believed he could--in man. It is much easier for man to blindly follow one leader rather than a group, for as the numbers of a group claiming rule increase, the complexity increases and the natural tendency of man to believe the greater the numbers, the greater corruption takes precedence. He follows his beloved leader, whom he idolizes to an unhealthy level. He worships him as he would worship God, but only because he does not truly follow God. In this man he devotes all his life. This is why men are often ready to die by the sword for their beloved king. This is the tendency of government.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Re-Assessment of Day Four of Genesis

I've been rather perplexed as to a recent question about Genesis 1. Basically, the skeptics' argument goes like this:

1.) Why would God create Earth before the Sun?(Earth = Day 1; Sun = Day 4)
2.) Why would God create the plants before the sunlight?(Plants = Day 3; Sun = Day 4)

The basic independent variable in this is the Sun. The problem seems to be that day 4 should actually be day one.

I set out on some reading of Genesis 1, and discovered what I believe has been a misinterpretation by most Biblical students.

Look at Day 1: "And God said Let there be light and there was light." (Genesis 1.3).
The presence of light indicates that some light source existed to light the earth. It is normally assumed that this light is radiation light from the universe or light from God Himself. However, when you look closely at the Hebrew word for light in this verse, you will see this definition: From 'owr; illumination or (concrete) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.) -- bright, clear, + day, light (-ning), morning, sun. (

So light, in this sense, is not light as an element or particles, but a literal light. The word can literally mean "sun" or "morning". This suggests that the sun has been, in fact, created on Day 1.

But here is where the basic rebuttal comes from the traditional consensus on Genesis 1: God didn't create the sun until day 4. To understand why I believe this is incorrect, let's look at Day 3 of creation.

Day 3 describes the creation of plants. Here is where we would seem to run into another problem if we took the traditional view of light in Genesis 1. The Bible says that "God said Let the earth bring forth grass the herb yielding seed and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind whose seed is in itself upon the earth and it was so" ( Now, any student who has had basic elementary science knows that plants cannot grow without the Sun. So if we are following the traditional interpretation of light, the whole creation story would, lest there be some sort of detail we are unaware, collapse.

However, let's turn over to day 4. A reassessment should solve our two problems: plants before the sun, and the sun before Earth. Day 4 says that "God said Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth and it was so. And God made two great lights the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. And to rule over the day and over the night and to divide the light from the darkness and God saw that it was good."

Here is where we must again carefully look at the word light. To my surprise, when I looked up the word light in verse 14: "God said Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years." I did not find the same word that is used for light in verse 3 of Genesis 1. "Light" on Day 4 is different than "light" from Day 1. Unfortunately, thanks to a poorly descriptive and cluttered language such as English, we do not distinguish between the two.

Day 4's light means this: "Or maor {maw-ore'}; also (in plural) feminine mpowrah {meh-o-raw'}; or morah {meh-o-raw'}; from 'owr; properly, a luminous body or luminary, i.e. (abstractly) light (as an element): figuratively, brightness, i.e.cheerfulness; specifically, a chandelier -- bright, light." Here, light is an "element" and refers to intensity such as "brightness" or "bright." Light here is not so much an object like the sun as it is an intensity.

Knowing this, we can clearly see that the Bible intended to distinguish the two types of light in Genesis 1. Here's where it all comes together. If we believe that day 1 was the creation of the sun, day 2 was the creation of the atmosphere, and day 3 the plants, day four makes perfect sense. Early Earth, as I've read in Halley's Bible Handbook, must have had a misty atmosphere. This atmosphere was likely loaded with CO2. With the creation of plants, however, free oxygen would have been produced. The absence of such high doses of C02 would have freed up the atmosphere so that the sun would have been able to peer through to the earth. Thus, it makes perfect sense that day four is not the creation of the sun and stars, but the revealing of the sun and stars on Earth's atmosphere. I believe the Bible is revealing, "OK, we have oxygen, now we can build life."

Incredibly, this is exactly what science concludes as well. This reassessment, I believe, resolves an issue that has for too long been ignored or unknown to most Christians. This solution(though I must acknowledge is the solution of others and not my own) represents a Genesis and science even more in concert than we previously thought.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Resetting an Identity Seed Using Stored Procedure

Ferlin found this; I thought it was interesting and potentially useful. Apparently in MSSQL 2005, you can delete all the rows in a database with an identity column, but that identity seed does not reset once you enter new records--it simply resumes with the last record before the delete. This handy little stored procedure will allow you to reset the identity seed of a table:


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Birth of Corporatism

Even worse than government taking over the private industry is the government contaminating and mingling in it. At least with a big bureaucracy, one can tell “this is the government” and “this is the private industry.” But with modern corporatism, this is no longer the case. Government and business are merging into somewhat of a symbiotic host/client relationship. That is perhaps the most cruel thing that can happen to its people—they cannot tell where government ends and where business begins, for it is all business. Their tax dollars are spread so vehemently and obscurely that it is nearly impossible to correctly pinpoint exactly what is being wasted and what is not.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It is interesting that society always seems to be turning in on itself. One generation will do the opposite of its parents. Whereas college used to be a place where the Christians were turned into “logical and rational humanists,” now it is the lost who are influenced by the faith of Christ's followers all around them. Let us pray and practice that it should remain this way.

The Ultimate Society

We tend to equate success in a culture by how much scientific knowledge they have, how high their buildings are, how big their military is. In truth, however, the ultimate society, I believe, would be indistinguishable from Adam and Eve in the garden. They would be so connected with God and with one another that extravegant buildings and technological innovations would not suite them except for bare survival essentials such as medicine and defense. Other inventions would seem trivial to compare.
It is in our greatest moments of distress and tragedy that we are the men of emboldened ideals. Times of leisure and merriment are that which chip away with the hope and faith which we are so passionately called to by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must, then, live each day with a reminder of who we are in Him.

Friday, February 27, 2009

God Receptors

There must be, embedded somewhere deep within the mind, something that allows us to communicate with God--to perceive Him. There must be some piece of us, like a wrapper class in a computer program, that encapsulates a knowledge and communication with God as well as right and wrong. Ideally, this black box would take input from the spirit and pass it to the brain as a chemical reaction. Of course, there may be a problem with this hypothesis. Are not chemical reactions three dimensional and sometimes two dimensional? How could such a complex thing as spiritual matters possibly be successfully be converted into a three dimensional or two dimensional world? There must be some explanation.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A New Amendment Idea

Idea: a constitutional amendment that restricts all Congressional bills to list the legal authority in the Constitution to authorize such legislation. The authority must be specifically referenced as to a certain article and section.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Is the Universe Modeled For Man Or Is Man Modeled Around the Universe?

When discussing God's design of man, we must reach a very important conclusion: was the universe and all its subsequent laws constructed around the design of man, or was man constructed around the laws of the universe. The answer is quite obvious: if the universe were made around man, then the universe would be hospitable to him. We find that this is not the case at all, however. Rather, it appears that God designed man around the laws of the universe. Therefore, when we speak of supposed “blind spots” of vision or places where God “could do it better” we must remember that the task God performed was to construct man in a universe that likely reflected His nature—a universe of order and absolutes, majesty and mystery, and power and enormity. For man to fit into such a place, considering how humbly he is in the grand scheme of things, is an incredibly impressive feat.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Two Natures of Complexity

It appears to me that there are two types of complexity. There is apparent complexity—the sort of thing whereby one says “It is difficult to drive a car” or, as a child says, “This walking is difficult business.” Then there is absolute complexity—the sort of complexity that does not fade even when we understand the entire process. God is the ultimate absolute complexity, and naturally laws and creation mimic Him. Mathematics is complex even after we understand it. The origins of such distinctions in complexity are still baffling. It seems to be that it is a sort of overwhelming sensation of numerics that defines apparent complexity. By this I mean that man attatches an emotional parasite on the situation. To him it is complex because his emotions tell him it is complex. Then there is the sort of man, and, of course, God, who recognizes a situation for what it is and still appreciates the beauty in the engineering of the whole experience. In a way, there is a sort of emotional attatchment to such beauty as well, but it is an emotional experience guided by a principled response to a stimulating situation. A programmer, when he has completed software to make a rocket ship launch into space, understands full well how every little bit of his software operates. Nevertheless, it is his understanding of the situation that concludes him to a sense of natural complexity. The whole situation of actual complexity is quite similar, if not somehow connected, to the situation of design. The emotional man perceives the design of God when he does not understand how something works. The man with the blessing of a scientific and psychological understanding of an event, however, denotes design because of his understanding. Of course, we are still in the infancy of our understanding of such phenomena, but perhaps to someone one day it will prove useful.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

People Who Can Save America

Ron Paul
Peter Schiff
Jim Rogers
Cody Willard
Rick Santelli
Gerald Celente
Steve Moore
Lew Rockwell
Adam Aldrich
Lonnie McCullough
Mike Huckabee

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Meaning of "Hating" Your Father and Mother, etc.

I must admit I struggled over this passage of scripture here in Luke 14:

" 25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple."

Now, at first glance, this made no sense. How could Christ, the very person who tells us to love both our friends and enemies, command us to hate someone? I did some searching on this and found a rather interesting forum debate on the issue. This guy summed it up beautifully:

Garrett Mitchener writes,

I must object to Pastor Billy-Reuben. It is far easier to assume that the Bible means what you want it to mean rather than think and study and figure it out.

Jesus said:
Matthew 5:21 �You have heard that it was said to an older generation,�Do not murder,� and �whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.� But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment..."

Matthew 5:43 �You have heard that it was said, �Love your neighbor� and �hate your enemy.� But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven...

Mark 12:28 Now one of the experts in the law came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, �Which commandment is the most important of all?� 12:29 Jesus answered, �The most important is: �Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.� 12:31 The second is: �Love your neighbor as yourself.� There is no other commandment greater than these.�

Either we must conclude that Jesus contradicts himself, demanding hatred one day and condemning mere anger the next, or we must read the passages on hatred and strife differently.

We know Jesus speaks in metaphorical language from time to time. In calling some of his disciples who were fishermen,

Luke 5:10 Then Jesus said to Simon, �Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.�

and he does not mean that they will be using physical nets to capture people to be skinned and fileted and smoked. The parable of the sower was not a lesson in agriculture. And although many people with faith the size of a mustard seed have tried, neither scriptures nor history records anyone having success at literally moving a mountain.

The Bible is also full of exaggerated language that was not meant to be taken literaly. Jesus says to forgive a person who asks seventy times seven (=490) times, and does not mean that on the 491st time we're supposed to say no.

A reading of Luke 14:26 that is consistent with other things Jesus says would be to take it as an exaggeration, that your love for God must be so great that your love for any other think looks like hate, and this is what many study Bibles suggest. Pastor Gargalo says correctly that his mother must not come between him and God, but to literally hate her is to go against the Ten Commandments and Matthew 5:43 and Mark 12:31.

As for Revelation 3:16, I find it astonishing that Pastor Billy-Reuben attempts to ground a literal interpretation of a troublesome verse on a passage from a book that consists almost entirely of figurative language. God does not intend to literally ingest the people of Laodicea, become nauseated, and vomit. He means that their metaphorically half-baked response toward him makes him metaphorically sick. Literal interpretation is not necessarily the most true or meaningful reading of any particular text. The Bible is full of poetry, riddles, history, conversations, myths, essays, visions, and nightmares, all of which are True as far as Christians are concerned, and they communicate God's Truth in different ways. Metaphor and exaggeration frequently clarify a message in a way that plain speech does not, and even plain speech is inherently symbolic communication with written word and sound standing in for concepts. And Rev 3:16 cannot be about interpreting scripture -- The New Testament as we know it had not been written down and collected at the time of John's vision.

You must carefully and prayerfully consider what meaning you attribute to any particular passge, including what form of literature it is, the tradition of its meaning, its context, its relationship to the rest of God's word, and the lead of the Holy Spirit.

That makes sense, considering that the usage of the word "hate" gets you to really stop and think about the passage. Metaphors in the Bible often do that. They make you stop and think, "Did He just say THAT? Did He mean that literally or was He exaggerating to make a point?" Anyway, this does a good job of it. And, by the way, the New Living Translation translates the verse differently: "26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison." That makes sense as well, for it is saying, as I've heard one pastor say, "Your love for God must be so deep to be Christ's disciple, that any other love would look like hate."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Power and Its Ultimate Source

Power ultimately belongs to God. It is reflected in His people, who lend it to government. The role of government is to use this leased power to provide for the people the engine of a voice and action. The people, once their freedoms are enabled, use this voice to bring glory to God. It is then that God again receives His glory. The disruption occurs when the people abuse the power by means of sin. They pass their abused power to politicians, who too abuse it because they are an extension of the sins of the people. That is why corruption in the governmental body is ultimately a corruption of the people, echoed with varying delay. The people and its governmental body shall continue until either God, for His own mysterious reasons, puts an end to people and, consequently, their government, or God Himself puts an end to humanity—all of which cases power returns to Him.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Of Truth and Intelligence

Truth is not marked by intelligence. The poor theologian farmer in Honduras could tell you that light was in the beginning of the universe when the scientist is still debating on whether it existed as a wave or as a particle.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Thoughts on Liberty

I fear at the future liberties lost under the name of patriotism. Remember that whatever civil liberties you give them, you will never get back.


I'd rather die with my liberties than live as a slave at the hands of an empire.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Meaning of Matthew 10.23

I must admit I struggled over this passage I came upon the other day:

"... I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes."
--Matthew 10.23b

I did some research and found a good article explaining this passage in context. The author debunks the first few theories before explaining that "the Son of Man['s] [coming]" is actually the destruction of Jerusalem. This is further supported by the urgency with which Christ makes this statement as well as the beginning of the chapter, which is about Christ's instructions to the twelve disciples to go and preach in Israel. This is important because Jesus knew that the disciples didn't have much time to preach, because the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D ( Further evidence that Christ is not, in fact, referring to His second coming lies in the context of verses 5 and 6 "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel." Jesus had instructed the twelve disciples to preach the news first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. If Christ had not even told them to preach to the Gentiles yet, why would He have returned back to Earth before the disciples could finish preaching in Israel? Remember, Christ said that the Gospel must be preached to every nation, to Jew and Gentile alike. This makes it clear that Christ was not talking about His Second Coming, but His coming at Jerusalem to carry out the punishment for Israel's crucifixtion of God's own Son.

Whew :) These were some complicated times and are some complicated Scriptures. Now I see why you can spend your whole life studying the Bible and always learn something new.

The Article:

The MVC Design Gallery

Thought this was really neat. They are MVC templates provided by the mvc community.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Torturous "runat='server'"

An interesting little debate on the purpose of the "runat='server' attribute. I've always felt this is a stupid decision by Microsoft. If at all possible, it should be the default for controls. Then again, maybe there's a logical reason. I've found that more and more with Microsoft lately. They are so big and their work so complex that they often run into things that make sense from a developer standpoint but not to "your average joe." Anyway, enough rant--"More matter with less art." Here's the article.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Shocking Truth about Strings

The shocking truth about strings: