Saturday, November 11, 2006

Christian Student of Science

I've been following this story about the American and British scientific team that has been able to bend electromagnetic waves so as to conceal an object from detection, at least by a microwave sensor.

Something I have had to give a lot of thought to lately is whether or not I as a Christian should even be concerned with this.

Christ pleads our case at the right hand of the Almighty Himself and that is really all I ever need to know. I have no eternal need to understand tsunamis or cancer or why we still cannot cure the common cold. In the end it does not matter because it has nothing to due with my eternal destiny, absolutely nothing.

So why bother? If your hope is found nowhere in this world, but in the house prepared by the Lord that awaits us in the next, why should you bother with science? (For that matter, if you have no hope at all after the grave, why bother with that or anything at all?)

I have come to realize that the reason we are compelled to study science is because the Lord provides. Christians get up and go to work everyday, fully aware that money does not matter and will never get us into heaven. Yet still we get up and go to work every day. We do it because that is one of the means by which the Lord provides. He provides what we need, when we need it, and in whatever manner He sees fit to give it to us. So as long as we do not delude ourselves into thinking there is any greater hope in science than how to build a better light bulb or alleviate sickness (or maybe, just perhaps, space travel and a cure for cancer), we are on the right track. Scientific advances are kind of like dollar bills. They do not get you into heaven, but they sure help out down here. And nobody understands the how's and why's of that better than our Redeemer does.

There, I am done blabbing. Now back to some equations. Woo-hoo!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Voting by Approval

Following is an email from a Libertairan email list I am on. Neil puts forward some great ideas, and so, I am sharing those ideas.

------


Thank you, Lorenzo, for your encouraging words. And thank you Kevin
for making your run and giving it your all. I appreciated being able
to cast a vote for you.

I would really like to take this opportunity to propose to all
"alternative" parties to consider making it a long term goal to press
for a very easy but very significant change in the voting system. I
think this would do more for us than anything else we could realistically
imagine. It's Approval Voting. It requires no modification of any
paper ballots except to erase the printed "vote for 1" and similar
phrases preprinted on them, and very little modification to any vote
counting tools.

I mentioned it before but to recap, Approval Voting is different from
the current system only in that it allows people to grant a vote for as
many candidates as they want no matter how many seats are open, thus
"approving" or disapproving of each candidate. All votes for all
candidates are tallied and the highest vote-getter wins. A voter might
vote for all candidates, but the effect is the same as voting for none.
A vote for all but one would effectively be a vote against that one
candidate, or the person might choose to only approve of one like they
do now. There are no run-off elections, instant or otherwise, and no
complicated ranking of candidates to confuse simple minded voters.
Approval voting is simple and allows voters to express opinions about
all the candidates and not just one.

The current one-vote system is very restrictive and thereby promotes
the 2-party duopoly via the "wasted vote syndrome" which, in spite of
our campaigns, IS a very real obstical. Approval voting, on the other
hand, grants 3rd party candidates true viability. Stated another way,
multiple candidates for a single seat are no longer competing against
other candidates for each voter's vote, but instead are competing alone
for each voter's approval. When voters understand this, they will then
have a reason to turn to consider "third" parties.

Given the merits and ease of which approval voting could be implimented,
it should be considered an insult for voters to be restricted to
expressing their views on only a single candidate, which the current
system does. In all likelihood it is an archaic system simply left over
from the days when people voted by placing cards with hidden names written
on them in a box -- obviously it wouldn't do then for someone to stick 2
cards into the box as they might be for the same candidate, so they were
resticted to one.

But there is NO reason this archaic system should have been brought into
the 20th century (much less the 21st). We have the technology. We can
make it better that it was. And we should.

We really need to wake up, smell the coffee and see the reality of what's
plaguing us and promoting this duopoly, and frankly, understand that unless
and until this diseased system (I'll call it that) is cured, we will continue
to struggle against not just the media but the very voting system itself.
We can (and certainly will, in my case) continue to rattle the cages of the
republicrat voting base of the futility of voting either democrat or
republican, but I fear that the best large scale benefit to that will be
stirring some people academically.

Consider further this. How many of us who have arrived to our third
party homes have done so with the realistic expectation that we can win,
without first realizing that we *can't* truely win in either of the big
two. Is there any among us that still holds on to some substantial degree
of allegience to the R or D? I think the answer is "no" because anyone
of us holding such such allegiences would simply not be here. You'd
still be an R or D where you believe your vote "still counts".

... which tells us what we're really waiting for, which is nothing less
than for existing Joe Sixpack and Susy Soccermom republicrats to also
come to this same realization. But it never quite happens on any real
scale. They just flip flop from R to D and back again looking for integrity
and common sense and they don't stop hoping.

I really think we need to focus on the voting system. I think all of us
in all parties should give some formal consideration to approval voting
and push for it. It probably wouldn't be easy to get it legislated but
the mainstream parties might go for it if they think it would let them
gain third party votes for their candidates...... and dang, we could even
bill it to them as our wanting to vote for one of them while still staying
loyal to our own affectionate puppy-dog 3rd parties and they might be stupid
enough to believe it. There were a few races where the difference between
the R & D candidates was less than the independent/3rd party vote.

This might also be something that mainstream voters actively support.
Unlike just about every other measure like lowering sig requirements
for candidates and such, anyone who's even moderately fed up with the
R&D parties would have a reason to support it. They'd not be favoring
it just on the principles, they'd favor it because it actually gives
them a stronger voice.

If there's an effort to be made for 3rd party legislation wise, I raelly
think Approval Voting is where that effort is best spent. I dare say
even at the expense of party recognition, if need be. Could this be made
into a Constitutional Amendment ballot initiative?

I'm very serious about this.

Neil

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election is Over, Now What?

I thought I would share my opinions on the election results thus far.

First, I am disappointed, though not surprised that not one real independent was elected in any major race. Americans continue to get what the deserve, by sending the same quality of people back to office over and over.

Second, while I tend to support Democrat positions less than I do Republican ones, there are some positions I would be excited about with the Democrats victory, except that I know that Democrats are hypocrites just like Republicans. I thought I would present a short list of good Democrat positions anyway, for posterity, not that I actually expect Democrats to do what they say they will, anymore than I expect it from Republicans.

1. Repeal the Patriot Act(s)
2. Repeal the DMCA
3. Fight against and get rid of Bush's Military Commissions Act
4. Reaffirm rules of engagement that do not include torture as acceptable
5. Get to the bottom of our spy agencies' programs that may violate our rights and sort it out
6. Put an end to federal capital punishment (death penalty)

Its hard to find much else that the Democrats are right about, I will be hoping they actually do something about the issues I list, but I am not going to hold my breath.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A really moving pro-life music video

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3858369431186397914&q=Flipsyde

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Maryland Election Endorsements

There are tons of races, I tried to break down the important statewide races, and then some of the local ones around where I live. Feel free to email me or comment if there are other candidates around the country you believe deserve attention.

U.S. Senate
Michael Steele, by a mile.

Governor
John Simmins (write-in), by a mile.

Maryland Comptroller
No good candidate

US House of Representatives
District 1
none acceptable
District 2
none acceptable
District 3
John White (R)
District 4
none acceptable
District 5
none acceptable
District 6
Roscoe Bartlett (R)
District 7
none acceptable
District 8
Jeffrey Stein (R)

Maryland General Assembly
Way too many options for me to list. Go to this voter guide for a fairly good voter guide on some of the more important issues facing our civilization today. Just for your reference, I looked at the League of Women Voter's voter guide and questionnaire and found it pretty worthless.

Maryland State Senate District 2
Donald Munson (R)
As of this writing there is no registered write-in. The main problem with him is he supports the death penalty, other than that he seems acceptable.

House of Delegates 2B
Christopher Shank (R)
As of this writing there is no registered write-in. The main problem with him is he supports the death penalty, other than that he seems acceptable.

Washington County States Attorney
Jerry Joyce (D), he is running against an incumbent that isn't even running any sort of campaign as far as I can tell.