Monday, August 30, 2010

The Park51 Controversy

Today as I was walking through the library I picked up one of the mainstream newsweeklies (TIME). The cover was asking if America was anti-Muslim. Inside, I read a poll that claimed about 61% of Americans oppose the Park51 Project. This was a real bummer. I had supposed that the people who were loudly complaining about this were just a fringe. I'm puzzled how so many Americans can take this position. I like what Juan Cole wrote about this issue. I think he has it right. So does Scott Kurashige.

I just don't know what to say. I guess I'll say I'm frightened a bit by it. I happen to believe that Mohammad was a Prophet of God. The Angel Gabriel gave Him the Sacred Verses. It wasn't a standard hallucination or a fabrication. God's Will became manifest in the Qur'an. Islam is a beautiful religion, and a path toward Truth. How on earth can people really believe that the Taliban and the Wahhabi/Salafi represent Islam? It's like my agnostic or atheist friends who think that snake handlers and the Christian Identity Movement represent Christianity, never caring about what people like Reinhold Neibuhr or Hans Kung or Matthew Fox have said.

Happy Ramadan! Eid al-Fitr will be here in a couple weeks (sunset Thursday the 9th of September in North America).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Just took a short personality test.

I just took a short personality test. The results were pretty much a confirmation of what I think about myself. Here is a link to the results: I'm a O65-C13-E59-A83-N32 Big Five!! I'm pretty low in one dimension (13th percentile, meaning 87% of the population is likely to score higher than I did), and it's related to how organized I am. The interpretive blurb says, " Low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable, negligent." I guess my colleagues in my department at work are in for a treat in having me as their department chair now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photographs from drive west are up.

I've finished the last page in the summer photograph series (of nine pages). This one mainly features photographs from the four-day drive I took to reach my sister's new home in Salem Oregon. I was driving her car and bringing along her family's bird and dog and hermit crabs. I didn't really have the ability to stop and do much sight-seeing, but I did take short breaks at several state capitol buildings, and even left the animals in the car for very short (ten minute or so) quick peeks inside a few of the capitol buildings.

I left Saint Louis around 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday the 17th and reached Lincoln, Nebraska at about 8:30 p.m., where I spent the night with my cousin Lesa and her family (Joe, Jake, and Logan). I saw the Nebraska state capitol on the morning of the 18th and headed out of Lincoln around 9:30 a.m., and arrived in Laramie, Wyoming around 6:30 p.m. There I spent the night in the home of my friend Mike Brotherton. On the 19th I left Laramie around 11:00 a.m. and arrived at my motel in Boise, Idaho around 10:30 p.m. Friday the 20th I departed Boise around 11:00 a.m. and arrived in Portland, Oregon around 5:30 p.m. I visited some friends and family before finally arriving at my sister's home in Salem around 10:00 p.m. The total expenses for this trip were about $440.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cream Soda showdown

Last night Arthur and I had a taste test between four Cream Sodas. We compared Shasta, IBC, Sioux City, and Jones Cream Sodas. It would have been a blind taste test, but Jones Cream Soda is clear, while the other three had a honey color to them. I closed my eyes as Arthur randomly served me, so I was unable to use my eyes to distinguish the Jones soda from the others.

Both Arthur and I preferred Jones Cream Soda to the other three brands. It wasn't really a close contest. For me, Shasta was the runner-up, with IBC and Sioux City clearly in third and fourth place. Arthur, however, liked Sioux City as his second-best sodas. Arthur liked all four brands, but I clearly preferred Jones and Shasta, and I wasn't too crazy about IBC or Sioux City.

The problem with this taste test is that we were missing two very good brands that I think I would have liked. Sprecher's and A&W Cream Soda weren't in the mix. I think these might be comparable to Jones and Shasta, but I won't know until we've tested them. And of course, I know that how well people like a food or drink in a taste test isn't really an indicator of what they will like if they are sitting and sipping a drink or eating a food over an extended time. Some foods that make a good initial taste impression in a taste test have flavors or other qualities that make them less enjoyable if you're taking your time and consuming them over a longer period.

We actually very rarely drink any soda. In our family we drink water mostly, and milk as well. Our family goes through about a gallon of milk each day. We sometimes have orange juice, grape juice, or apple juice, and on special occasions we'll get some other sort of juice like berry juice or one of the blends that has pineapple or mango in it. I'd estimate we might have an average of two soda cans or bottles per month, if even that much.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Childhood Poverty in the United States

I recently prepared some materials related to childhood poverty in the United States. I've uploaded a Powerpoint presentation to go along with all that. Go ahead and have a look.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gross Domestic Income

I think I'll start using the Gross Domestic Income instead of the Gross Domestic Product from now on, and I'll question the competence of economists or journalists who continue to rely on the GNP rather than the GNI when the GNI is available. But it isn't widely available yet. And, the official figures are all very suspect anyway.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Summer photographs are up.

I've finished most of pages of photographs from the summer. It was hard to choose just a few to put up on the web. Anyway, the seven pages are up.
First page, Shanghai World Expo.
Second page, Shanghai Museum and more Shanghai.
Third page, more Shanghai, and also photos from Hong Kong.
Fourth page, photos from Taiwan.
Fifth page, photos from Taiwan and summer camp at Camp Bunn
Sixth page, photos from the trip to Ontario.
Seventh page, more photos from Ontario.
Eighth page, more photos from around the Midwest and home.
Ninth page, I haven't done yet.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Updated some web pages

I've updated my web page about my favorite music. There are four categories with 16 musicians or bands or composers or music-related links for each category. There is a new category for "recent" bands (mostly formed since 2002, and some formed only in the past year. There were many dead links I had to prune and replace. Everything seems to be working now.

And I've finished five of the eventual nine summer vacation web pages. Pages one, two, three, six, and seven are complete.