Family Newsletter 2006

2006 Dec 20

Christmas Greetings and a wonderful New Year!

family portrait

Lindsey, Alan, Jessica, Andrew, Melanie, Larry, Austin, Janae


I don't know why I keep thinking that life will slow down. This year has been another full one.

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Power: A Big Wind Storm

2006 Dec 15

Last night there was a storm that may surpass the big one from Jan 1993. Our power was out this time for a couple of hours. That previous storm, our power was out for a week!

I had thought about getting a generator. Instead when I added on to our house, I put in a furnace-quality gas fireplace that works without electricity. The fireplace was hundreds of dollars more expensive than the cheapest ones. Maybe even the price of a generator! However, we have it used every year with enjoyment, and the money was better spent.

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Performance Appraisals at Work

2006 Dec 13

Tis the season of year for performance appraisals (PAs). This means I get to think of what I did during the year.

  • What were my key areas of responsibility?
  • What were my objectives? Did I meet them?
  • How did I do on my leadership competencies?
  • What are my development goals?

As you can see from this blog, I enjoy some introspection. However this PA process is something I find somewhat difficult. It requires me to grade myself on a scale, but for some reason I have always had difficulty classifying things.

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My Uncle Stan's Passing

2006 Dec 6

I went up to Canada for the funeral of my uncle on last Monday. The funeral was a good time. There were a lot of happy faces (with some sad) as people talked and remembered Stan.

My uncle Stan was an interesting man. He was my dad's brother, one of nine siblings. The three youngest ones were boys, very close in age and were constant playmates. Their father died when the youngest (my dad) was 4, during the great depression. This left them very poor on a farm in Northern Alberta, Canada.

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Christian Response to AIDs

2006 Nov 18

This week's cover article on the Seattle Weekly is a surprisingly good piece on the work that World Vision is doing to help combat AIDS.

AIDS has become a poster-child popular disease that is over hyped. Sometimes it seems that every do-good pop star takes a part helping in the AIDS issue just because it gives them good publicity. My natural response is a little bit cynical.

However, AIDS genuinely is a disease that needs a compassionate response. This article gives very fair coverage of World Vision's work as they try to achieve that. The article is long, but was thought-provoking - especially to me as a Christian.

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Global Warming Decided?

2006 Nov 7

Our world's climate is changing! But why is it changing, and what are the implications?

I have long been a skeptic of anthropogenic global warming. I am also an optimist and a steward. That means the doom and gloom of the warming crowd offends me. But, I want to take care of the world I live in. So when there is data about climate change in the media, I check it to see if it makes sense.

I make a living measuring stuff (diagnostic medical ultrasound equipment). Therefore I know that measurements are harder than they look. And I know that your point of view and the assumptions you use to interpret the measurements are critically important. They control what data you accept and the decisions you make about adjustments to your data.

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Seattle Correctness

2006 Nov 2

There is a local free paper called the Seattle Weekly that I like to read. It has a specific leftward political slant that doesn't mirror my views. However it is interesting and it helps me to understand that part of politics.

They have started a new column called "Ask an Uptight Seattlite" that is funny because it satirizes the strong Political Correctness of Seattle. I thought this week's entry was particularly good. It gave instruction in how to be considerate (PC style), and explained the hierarchy of Transportation Righteousness.

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What is Vacation?

2006 Aug 6

I have heard it said of Americans that they work hard and play hard as well. They are accused of not knowing how to relax. Is a vacation's purpose for relaxation? Sometimes that may be true. And sometimes a vacation is just an opportunity to to do something different, something out of the ordinary.

Lately I had been very busy at work. Then I started renovation of an old bathroom in our house. And then I also started work on a significant project at our church replacing a rainwater drainage system.

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Summer is Busy

2006 Aug 6

It seems like most summers are busy. As I look toward summer each year I think of things I would like to do and each time when summer arrives, there seems to be many other things that must be done.

This summer there has been a major project at work for which I have been responsible. In addition I have been renovating a bathroom in our house. And I have been involved in a project to replace a rainwater drainage system at our church.

So much to do, so little time, I need a vacation! :-)

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Alan going to Clarkston

2006 Jun 4

This fall, Alan will be going to Clarkston University in up-state New York (Potsdam). It will be hard to see him go, but we are excited for him.

Clarkston is a good school. His major will be Aeronautical Engineering although his real interests are in super-cars (the Ferrari & Lamborgini type). High performance cars like this actually have a lot in common with airplanes. There weren't any schools that had majors in super-car making, so this course of study is probably the best. And Alan will also be able to work on a car while he is there too.

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Austin's character doodle

2006 Apr 20

We have a game that we occasionally like to play in group. Everyone takes an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and folds it in thirds along the short dimension. Draw a head on the top third, turn the paper so the drawing is hidden then pass the paper to the next person. They draw a torso, turn the paper and pass it on. Then the last one draws the waist & feet. Only the connecting marks are seen between participants.

The result is very often hugely entertaining and sometimes amazing. We did this in the car on a trip last weekend. I was impressed with Austin's three separate character parts. They merged well, so I scanned them and made them into a composite!

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Book of Matthew summary

2006 Apr 10

Summary notes about the book of Matthew:

There is a repeating pattern to what the Bible teaches about Jesus' good news (gospel). There is a part to believe and a part to do. The book of Matthew illustrates this pattern.

The book asks a major question to set up the first main point: Who is Jesus? (16:13-20, 22:41-46)

  • We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the King. (1:1, 2:11, 3:17)
    • His kingdom is not of this world. (3:3, 4:8-10, 4:17)
    • His kingdom does not extend Israel, but replaces it.
    • His kingdom operates alongside the kingdoms of this world. (22:15-22)
    • The kingdom was established through death and resurrection. (16:21-27)
    • The kingdom does not operate by the rules of this world. (5:1-12)
  • We must adopt the king's value system to be in His kingdom.
    • We must change the heart. (5:20, 15:1-20, 22:1-14)
    • We must extend the kingdom through our suffering and death. (10:17-42)
    • We must serve to be great. (20:20-28)

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Luther College Orchestra

2006 Mar 29

This evening the Inglemoor HS Orchestra opened for the Luther College Orchestra at the Northshore Performing Arts Center. Alan played in the Inglemoor French Horn section. Wow, what a show!

Both orchestras were very good. Inglemoor played Nimrod from the Enigma Variations and Dances. Luther had a full program that they reduced slightly. To try and fit it in without ending too late, they skipped the intermission. This was OK for me, but I see how an intermission aids not only the comfort of the body, but sustains the interest of the audience as well.

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Lake Quinault

2006 Mar 19

We stayed at Lake Quinault for a couple of days. It is in the Washington rain forest and gets several yards (meters) of rain every year. It only rained a bit of the time that we were there, so we were able to get out and walk a few trails.

The lake was beautiful.

Lawn and view of lake

There was still quite a bit of snow at higher elevations.

Snow in trees on hill

Problems in the World of Science

2006 Mar 9

A faculty member at Purdue University was doing experiments with a form of "cold fusion". His work came under review by the school after a journal questioned its credibility. (Seattle Times)

Cold fusion became public at a press conference in 1989 put on by Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann. They claimed to have produced atomic fusion - the process that drives the furnaces of the sun - but inside a beaker on the desktop. It was exciting at first. However, when other researchers couldn't duplicate the advertised results, Pons and Fleischmann were sharply criticized. Their work had been publicized too early, before it was repeatable, and in a sensationalistic manner. The rest of the scientific community became incensed and rejected cold fusion as debunked junk science.

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View of Mt. Rainier

2006 Mar 4

It was very clear today and Mt. Rainier was fantastic. We can see it out of our living room window through a gap in some trees. However this shot was from the school yard across from our house.

Clear view of Mount Rainier

The view from our house is more restricted, but still pretty good. This shot was taken December 2005.

Mount Rainier in sunset

Granite Carvings

2006 Feb 24

I visited Bucknell University with my son. They have an art gallery on campus with works in it by William Lasansky, one of their faculty. He works with granite that he finds on an island off the coast of Maine. There used to be a large granite industry there, and he is able to find loose pieces of quarried rock for raw materials.

Vertical spike

Very interesting combination of angularity and curves, polish & rough, finished & raw.

Horizontal block with circle motifs

Competitive Origins World Views

2006 Feb 9

Christians have a world view that includes allegiance to a Creator. They are a subset of those people who have a world view that our physical reality was designed. Those in the Intelligent Design (ID) group think this way because the world shows the hallmarks of good design: durable, adaptive and complex systems working in harmony.

Darwin imagined a way that complex organisms could be "designed" without a designer. He did so because he desired a world without responsibility to a designer and needed a way to make it rational. So because of his prejudiced world view, he conceived a theory to validate it.

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The Answers of Science

2006 Feb 7

Science answers very limited questions.

Science is not in the business of answering "why". If "science" claims to answer "why", it is most likely not science! "Why" answers are the realm of philosophy or religion.

Science's main answer is to the question of "what". "What is the acceleration of a falling object?" "What is the effect of sunlight on a leaf?"

If science answers "how", then the answer is limited to inside the world of a scientific model. A model is a simplification of the real world and therefore it is an imperfect representation of the real world. In fact I think we can question whether the model's mechanisms are reality. Even though the model might make an excellent simulation of the real world, does the model actually describe "how" the real world does it?

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Regarding virus emails

2006 Feb 4

This was written to a friend regarding a chain email that they forwarded to me. The chain email warned about some other email out on the Internet that claimed to contain pictures, but instead would contain a computer virus:


"I think the real issue of virus emails is fear and control.

"The world of computers and email is complicated. It is confusing to many - to me also sometimes. In this case, the world of computer viruses in emails is a particular mysterious unknown. We have heard that the most insidious kind of viruses can infect your computer just by innocent opening of mail. And they usually come hidden in something else. The highly technical people might be able to recognize which emails carry bad stuff, but most people don't have that confidence. This creates a fear that we could be hit any time without being aware.

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What is Science?

2006 Feb 3

In the wake of struggles over origins instruction in schools (evolution vs intelligent design) a new definition of science has been promoted by Judge Jones of US District Court in Pennsylvania. On page 64 of his opinion he said that "science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena".

That is not what I was taught in school. And that is not what I find when I research for the definition of science:

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