Sapphire Sky

November 29, 2012

Are you smart enough to make a pencil?

Filed under: politics, economy, etc., video — Anthony Biller @ 9:35 pm

November 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anthony Biller @ 7:57 pm

Pastor Travis replayed this video during the offertory today at his church, Immanuel Baptist, Elizabethton TN. Excellent video, which was followed by an excellent sermon on John 1:1-18.

November 17, 2012

Questioning what you don’t know …

Filed under: homeschooling — Anthony Biller @ 8:20 am

One of the many blessings of children is their fresh perspective on all things.  Being around children and getting down to their level quickly re-introduces the novelty, beauty and amazement of the world around us.  Emblematic of the child’s wide eyes to the world is the stream of continual questions that pour forth from the mouths of children as they explore the wonders of creation.

At some point, we as adults stop asking questions as a general rule.  Do we stop seeing the novelty and wonder all around us?  I wonder whether we feel that being “grown up” means knowing “the” answers.  Sometimes asking a questions almost feels like an admission that we’re not smart enough to know the answers.  Perhaps we get to fixated on our “problems” or are too distracted by what we know. Maybe now there isn’t much of a need to ask questions – just “Google” it!

In any event, a few years ago, my family and I had a race to see who could be the first to write down 100 questions – real questions to which the author didn’t know the answer.  We never finished that competition.  Why?  I don’t know!  Recently, I ran across my list.  I removed those that I now knew the answer, didn’t “Google” any of the answers, added a few new ones and publish it below.  It’s a fun game to play. I’d enjoy hearing some of your questions also.

  1. Where do pimentos come from?
  2. What exactly is a quark?
  3. How long were Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before the fall?
  4. What’s gravity?
  5. Why do we only sometimes bight our own lips?
  6. Who discovered Pi?
  7. Who discovered apple pie?
  8. How is asphalt made?
  9. How does hair detangler work?
  10. If a light bulb, or a star, moves away from you at or above the speed of light, would you ever see its light, if you remained stationary
  11. Why can heart problems cause fluids to build up in the lungs?
  12. How does a digital clock keep time?
  13. How is sunlight “converted” into energy or food for plants?
  14. What’s the difference between an extern and an intern?
  15. Would Jesus like spicy food?
  16. What is the difference between “orthodox” and “heterodox”?
  17. What is the difference between “scenic” and “picturesque”?
  18. Did Jesus laugh often?
  19. How do vocal chords articulate words?
  20. How do you navigate a boat by only stars and the sun?
  21. How does cancer kill you?
  22. Where do we “see” – it feels like my eyes, but am I visualizing deep inside my head?
  23. How do circuit breakers work?
  24. If God is infinite and all-powerful, has he likely created an infinite number of realities?
  25. Why was Socrates put to death?
  26. Will there be shadows in heaven?
  27. How do you steer a ship by trimming sail when you lose a rudder?
  28. How are multi-layered ice cream cakes mass-produced?
  29. Do stick bugs hear?  Do they make sounds?  If so, what do they sound like?
  30. Will the dollar collapse within the several years?
  31. If the dollar collapses, will the United States stay united?
  32. What are the requirements for fog?
  33. How does the mechanism within a bedroom window shade work?
  34. What “is” the “substance” of gravitational force? Electro-magnetic force?
  35. What is the “dell” in “the farmer and the dell”?
  36. From where/what did the name “Wales” derive?  Anything to do w/ whale fishing?  Did the ports in Wales support whalers?
  37. From where/what did the name “Rome” derive?
  38. How does a computer “read” code?
  39. What is thought?
  40. How do harmonic scales “work,” such as the “C” scale?  Who “invented”/discovered the scales and why is there no such “thing” as an F-flat?
  41. Why does the ocean “draw out” prior to the arrival of a tidal wave or tsunami?
  42. Is a clam self-conscious?
  43. What causes a vapor lock, and how does it occur, if at all, in a residential HVAC system?
  44. How did people use horse hair or cow hoofs 100 or 200 years ago?
  45. How is it determined which Sunday is Easter?
  46. Why does carbonated water “fizz” and how is the carbonation created?
  47. Why does “shaking” carbonated beverages increase the rate of “fizzing”, and does tapping the top retard this effect, and if so, why?
  48. Why do bubbles form in a glass of water left out for several hours?
  49. With what to hummingbirds line their nests?
  50. Are we there yet?

November 10, 2012

Power and the mourning after

Filed under: encouragement, politics, economy, etc. — Anthony Biller @ 10:59 pm

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100

I was wrong on both counts, regarding the election.  It was close and the other guy won.

The experience was worse than anticipated because it made the truth so obvious. There was no way to rationalize it for anything other than what it is: a plurality of tens of millions of Americans knowingly elected a European styled social democrat notwithstanding having lived through four years of a European styled economy while at the same time watching the European social democracies struggle with insolvency with no long-term solution.  The past miserable four years were exactly on par with European social democracies, albeit with greater debt to show for it than even our European friends are accustomed to accumulating in their throes of insolvency.

The election defeat was good for clarity of vision.  I saw for the first time our consistent progress towards social democracy (socialism light).  2008 we elected the same man, though I thought he had just “fooled” many … the plurality didn’t knowingly elect a progressive, or so I told myself.  2000-2008, GWB’s domestic legislation was as progressive, big government as any Democrat since LBJ.  Further, in 2000, the plurality voted for Al Gore, arguably more liberal and certainly less stable than our current liberal President. Eight years of Bill Clinton before that; the man who claimed the era of big government was over, as domestic non-defense spending continually increased…

But wait, there’s more! The European democracies have all long since moved to social welfare democracies.  So have Japan and Canada, and the democracies of Latin America are all either social democrat or left-populist.

American was exceptional precisely because it was founded on the ideas of liberty, individualism, egalitarianism and free markets.  It now appears however that we’re joining the collectivist pack … indeed, Tuesday night was so painful because it became apparent to me that tens of millions of Americans have for some time now been more comfortable with and supportive of the collective compact than with American exceptionalism.  As the Englishman Charles C.W. Cooke eloquently notes, that’s quite unfortunate for the world.

Socialism and social democracy as practiced throughout much of the world is simply not sustainable, as we’re seeing in Europe and as we’ve seen in most the nations south of our border.  Further, for reasons beyond this post, the social democracies are rarely “family friendly” in the sense of producing families with children, and they are almost always militant secular humanist societies.  Apparently, the “welfare” state does not like sharing power or influence with the church or with nuclear families. Ironic, that.

Tocqueville warned that such an end for democratic experiments was inevitable.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

Stanley Kurtz notes, the social welfare state may be inevitable, but the system is impossible to sustain.  It will collapse of its own weight, sooner rather than later, regardless or perhaps precisely because it is not obvious enough to a majority of our fellow Americans.

We must keep faith and pray hard for this country, President Obama and the rest of our leaders.  The future could be upon us soon.  We need God’s grace and wisdom.  True power is from Him and for His glory.  Let us rejoice in Him and be witnesses to his truth. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Verses upon which to meditate and remember with your family: Daniel 2:21 (God removes and appoints kings), Romans 13:1 (no authority but God and those established by God), John 19:11 (Jesus telling Pilate he only has power because God gave it to him), Matthew 12:25 (divided Kingdom will be ruined; we shouldn’t writhe in anger over those who vote differently), Romans 8:28 (God works all things for good with those who love Him), Matthew 6:34 (don’t fret over the future – be prepared but don’t live in fear), Proverbs 16:4 (the Lord works everything out in the end even the wicked), Joshua 1:9 (be strong and courageous, not discouraged), Titus 3:1,2 (be subject to authority).

We need to be diligent to study the Bible and history so we can be wise. We also are not to be grumbly and complain about authority. Turn away from mourning to focus your hope in Christ, the holder of power and of the future, which future He promises will include His followers and His perfect kingdom.

November 4, 2012

Conservatism Calling or Goodbye Tomorrow?

Filed under: politics, economy, etc., video — Anthony Biller @ 7:51 am

We’ll find out Tuesday!  I have faith that our fellow Americans will not reelect this President.  Contrary to the hordes of handwringers, I don’t think it will even be close.

Below is one of the best presidential election videos I’ve seen; it elaborates on what should be the fundamental nonpartisan issue of this election for most voters, and on this issue Obama is a miserable failure. Obama was correct in calling Bush a failure on this issue, but then Obama exponentially increased the rate of failure, despite controlling Congress for two years.

This video also “calls out” that the debt and other ills that are stifling job growth are part of a much larger social ill, which well predates this presidency.  The political solution or cure is conservatism, a simple and tested concept that is relatively unknown and untaught in the vast majority of our public schools and universities.

President Obama should be and I believe will be held accountable.  Accountable.  Fitting.

Regardless, our hope is neither conservatism nor socialism, since all politics ultimately rely upon  institutions of fallen man.  Our hope should and must be in Christ.  Win our lose, we must fix our gaze on Him and praise him for giving us life and giving us eternal life.

November 3, 2012

Reasons for Evangelicals to Support Romney

Filed under: politics, economy, etc., video — Anthony Biller @ 8:31 am

During the primaries, I did not support Romney, but that was due to my belief that his fiscal and economic policies in general, and his plan to reduce the deficit in particular, were too timid.  I am more confident now after following his general election. Regardless, you could hardly do worse for the deficit and small business than President Obama did in his first term.  I also said that from a political perspective, evangelicals have much more in common with Romney than they do with President Obama, who’s progressive social policies are fueled by his progressive (low view of scripture) Christian beliefs, whose social gospel resembles evangelical beliefs hardly at all.  The following video makes the same points, but more powerfully and goes one step further, to articulate a belief that a second Obama term would not just be an economic catastrophe, but that evangelicals would also have concerns about our civil liberties.

The opening sequence in the video brings tears to my eyes and reminds me of what motivated me years ago to be politically outspoken – the Supreme Court’s decision in Stenberg v Carhart.  I had followed the case closely and knew the details, still, Scalia’s dissent had me in tears; the majority opinion was and remains morally repugnant and a jurisprudential fraud (but still “good” law).

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