How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?

An interesting discussion by comedian (and atheist) Penn Jillette. For me, personally, many times I hold my tongue out of a desire to make sure the timing and the words are right. Maybe I should leave it up to the Holy Spirit? I don’t know.

Hat tip: Custardy

Anthropic global warming theory = junk science

An unfalsifiable theory is, by definition, junk science. Anthropic global warming is unfalsifiable, as can be seen with the recent rise to prevalence of the term “climate change” in place of global warming. Sure, the global temperatures have not risen for the past 15 years, but if you say “climate change,” you can have it both ways. If it gets hotter, it’s our fault. If it gets colder, it’s our fault. The climate has been changing since the beginning of time, but now somehow climate change is the result of human activities. I’m not buying it. For one thing, the faces of the green movement are hypocrites like Al Gore who preach one thing for the masses while doing the exact opposite themselves. And then there’s the fact that the scientists pushing the theory have to resort to falsifying data. If the evidence is clear, there should be no need for that.

Require basic test to vote

Filed under Politics

I wonder whether it might be better if there was a basic test required before people were allowed to vote. If a basic knowledge of civics and economics was required before people could vote, I don’t think we’d be in the state we are in today. It’s probably unconstitutional, but perhaps we could make an amendment? I mean, do we really want uninformed people voting?

Two articles I read recently got me thinking about this. The first was an opinion piece by Jane Chastain called “We the Ignorant.” In it, she states,

One can only imagine how our founders would feel if they could see our attempts to chase people down, who have demonstrated no interest in the political process, in order to get them to register to vote. That is what was accomplished when Congress passed the motor-voter bill which was signed into law by President Clinton. Motor-voter required that anyone applying for a driver’s license be offered a voter registration form. As a result, we put more politically ignorant people on our voting roles and we have continued to add more each and every year.

It would be unthinkable to give someone a license to drive an automobile without first requiring the applicant to pass a basic driving test. The results would be disastrous. Likewise, it is equally disastrous to register people to vote without making sure they understand the political rules of the road and are otherwise qualified.

The second was a story about a report that found that most college students failed a basic civics test. What do people go to college for, anyway? I agree with the writer’s observation that

…while our nation’s most elite colleges are not imbuing our children with a knowledge of our history and our government, the study makes it clear that those universities are becoming round the clock factories churning out poorly instructed liberals with little civic knowledge and even less faith and less devotion to principles of liberty than those Americans who didn’t go to college.

Incidentally, you can take the test yourself here. It’s scary to think that 71% of those surveyed failed it.

Pop-up notifications for new mail on the iPhone

Filed under iPhone

Okay, I promise this will be the last iPhone post for at least a little while.

After successfully getting push e-mail working on my iPhone, I got greedy and wanted to have a pop-up notification and sound alert when I got a new message. So here’s what I did:

1) Grabbed a copy of IMAProwl from here and put it in /home/IMAProwl on my server.

2) Installed Ruby 1.9.0 with the OpenSSL module

3) Installed the Prowl gem for Ruby (via WebhostManager after installing Ruby)

4) Created an account at Prowl

5) Purchased the Prowl app in the AppStore

6) Created a file named .imaprowl.conf in the IMAProwl directory with the following contents:

## -*- encoding: utf-8 -*-
##
## example configuration (version >= 1.2)
##
## if undefine LogDir, Debug mode is forcefully enabled.
LogDir: /home/IMAProwl/logs/
Debug: false
Daemon: true

## API Key can be defined up to 5-keys with comma separated values.
Prowl:
APIKey: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

## IMAP Accounts.
Accounts:
-
Application: MyEmail
User: a@aa.com
Pass: mYpAsSwOrD
Host: server.aa.com
BodyLength: 100
SubjectLength: 20
Priority: 0
Format: "%{subject} (%{name} <%{addr}>)"
Timeout: 7    # Timeout for NoResponse during IDLE. Recommend you set 6-7 for GMail. (in minutes)
Enable: True

The host will vary depending on what your server name is. Might even be mail.domain.com. Of course, you will need to put your own e-mail address and password in there and insert your APIKey from the Prowl website.

7) Ran the command

ruby imaprowl.rb -c .imaprowl.conf

8) Configured the sounds in my Prowl app on my iPhone and sent myself a message. It worked!

I imagine this might be possible even if you don’t have your own server. You might want to check with your webhost and see if they have Ruby and if they will install the Prowl gem for you.

Dovecot and iPhone push

Filed under iPhone

I don’t know how many of you out there have your own webserver and an iPhone, but I just found the thing I’ve been looking for ever since I got my iPhone: push e-mail!

I have a webserver running cPanel, Dovecot and suPHP. Here’s what I did:

1) Download z-push from here.

2) Upload z-push to /usr/local/apache/htdocs

3) Change ownership to nobody (it fails if you leave it as root)

4) Modify index.php (if you are using suPHP)

Comment out $requestheaders = apache_request_headers(); and replace it with

    function getHeaders()
{
$headers = array();
foreach ($_SERVER as $k => $v)
{
if (substr($k, 0, 5) == "HTTP_")
{
$k = str_replace('_', ' ', substr($k, 5));
$k = str_replace(' ', '-', ucwords(strtolower($k)));
$headers[$k] = $v;
}
}
return $headers;
}
$requestheaders = getHeaders();

5) Modify config.php

Change $BACKEND_PROVIDER = “BackendICS”; to $BACKEND_PROVIDER = “BackendIMAP”;

6) Add the alias to httpd. conf (as explained in the config file, but use /usr/local/apache/htdocs instead of /var/ www)

7) Restart Apache

8) Go to your iPhone and set up your e-mail account as a Microsoft Exchange account. (Be sure to sync “All messages” or else you’ll be deleting things twice.)

9) Voila! You now have push mail on your iPhone with your Dovecot IMAP server!

Update:

10) You may need to modify backend/diffbackend.php to make it delete properly.

Find the following code:

        function ImportMessageMove($id, $newfolder) {
return true;
}

Change that to

function ImportMessageMove($id, $newfolder) {
//do nothing if it is in a dummy folder
if ($this->_folderid == SYNC_FOLDER_TYPE_DUMMY)
return true;

// See if there's a conflict
$conflict = $this->isConflict("move", $this->_folderid, $id);

// Update client state
$change = array();
$change["id"] = $id;
$change["newfolder"] = $newfolder;
$this->updateState("move", $change);

P.S. I am not the author of any of the above fixes. These were all found in the z-push.net forums.

Merry Christmas!

I guess this will be my last post this year. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

christmas_cake

Ridiculous Scrooges

It happens every year: All over the United States, scrooges take schools and other public institutions to court to challenge Christmas celebrations. Stores remove Christmas displays in favor of more generic displays of “season’s greetings.” Public spaces are cleared of manger scenes. The list goes on and on. It’s already started this year. Anyone who thinks there is no war on Christmas has their head in the sand.

I understand being indifferent, but I really do not understand why someone would want to prevent public celebrations of Christmas. What is so offensive about the holiday? How ridiculous is it to try to clear the air of Christmas songs and pretend that no one is celebrating? How bitter do you have to be to want to eliminate tradition?

I’ve lived in Japan for almost eight years now, and what do I hear in the background at stores and banks after around the third week of November? What do I see plastered about everywhere from train stations to department stores? Yes, Christmas music and signs wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. You know what percentage of Japanese people are Christians? Less than one percent. What are they thinking, right? Don’t they know they’re supposed to be offended by the words to “Silent Night” and signs that say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Season’s Greetings”?

I said it last year, and I’ll say it again:

The point is, if you don’t like Christmas, then don’t celebrate it. Why do you want to ruin it for everyone else? As a Christian in Japan, I’m a part of a minority. It has never occurred to me nor to any of my friends, however, that we should protest the Buddhist and Shintoist festivals that the municipalities here hold. I don’t participate in them, but I’m not going to go out and tell everyone else that they can’t because I don’t. Why would I? Because the message at these events “offends” me? Boo hoo. Suck it up, people.

Japanese bowing etiquette

bowing

President Obama’s recent trip to Japan caused a stir when he greeted the Emperor with a 90-degree bow. The President’s supporters are claiming that it was protocol, but it most certainly was not. Bowing between equals involves a 45-degree bow. Never does a party on equal terms with the other perform a 90-degree bow (unless the other is reciprocating, of course). These deep bows are performed by people in inferior positions, for example you will see car salesmen bowing deeply to customers leaving their parking lot. You also see clerks giving deep bows to customers in department stores and students giving deep bows to their teachers. Yes, it is a sign of respect, but it is a sign of respect given by a person in an inferior position to someone else who is in a superior position. Moreover, you do not perform such a bow while shaking someone’s hand. As far as I’m aware, there is nothing offensive about doing so, it’s just not done.

Personally, I do not think any American, much less the President, should be greeting foreign dignitaries with deep bows (all men are created equally and all that jazz, you know?). I think it just shows that Obama is inexperienced and lacks a proper understanding of how he should handle himself as President (much as his failing to cover his heart during the National Anthem did during the primaries).

On the other hand, the Emperor has no real power and is only a figurehead, so the goof did not really symbolize anything like his bow to the Saudi King did. From what I’ve seen on Japanese websites, the Japanese people are simply treating it as a goof. No one here thinks the United States has lost face because of the bow. I’m just glad he didn’t get down on the ground and do a dogeza (to sit with your feet folded under you and bow so that your face pretty much touches the ground). All in all, I think goofs like this are the least of our concerns when it comes to what the Obama administration might do to the future of the US.

All is well

Filed under Blogging

In case anyone is wondering, nothing is wrong. If you didn’t already know, I am a professional translator. Lately I just don’t have the energy to blog after translating/writing all day. I’ll be taking a break from blogging for a while (although I might post something from time to time). Maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months, possibly even a year or more, but I’ll be back eventually. I’ll still be making the rounds to my favorite blogs, so if you’re a fellow blogger, you’ll hear from me occasionally. If not, keep me in your favorite blog reader and you’ll see some new posts sooner or later.

The [Expanded] Bible

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Hope you’ll bear with me for another review.

I recently got a copy of The [Expanded] Bible, a hardback study Bible, through the Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program. The tagline for the product is “Study the Bible While You Read, ” but I don’t think you can really do that with this Bible. The notes are inline, which makes it incredibly difficult to read–at least for me. Perhaps some people will find that helpful and not distracting, but I think it would be much better to have the notes placed in footnotes at the bottom of the page instead. I mean, I think the notes are actually helpful, especially if you can’t read Greek, but as an example, I find it difficult to concentrate while reading the following:

In the beginning [Gen. 1:1] there was the Word [the Word already existed; the Word refers to Christ, God's revelation of himself]. The word was with [in the presence of; in intimate relationship with] God [the Father], and the word was [fully] God. (John 1:1)

The text (New Century Version) is in bold, which I think is their attempt to make it more readable, but the notes make it so choppy you can’t really read through it. I think it’s great as a reference, but not for daily reading. It would probably be a great tool online. The words could be underlined instead of using brackets, and then the notes could pop up when you place the mouse over the word. I give it three stars out of five.