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Analyses of five random short stories.

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

1. “The White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewitt.

In “The White Heron,” Jewett contrasts the two main characters of Sylvia and the hunter regarding their relationship to their surroundings. For Sylvia, nature is a force to be respected and enjoyed. The text brings out how nature exhilarated her. “She waded on through the brook as the cow moved away, and listened to the thrushes with a heart that beat fast with pleasure” (1592). Not only did nature exhilarate the young lady, but she acted as if she was a natural extension of nature around her. The animals seemed at ease when she was near even to the point where she is able to observe the white heron from a few feet away while up in a tall pine tree.  The hunter, on the other hand, is portrayed as a destructive force to his surroundings. He shoots and traps game for sport and for food, even attempting to get Sylvia to betray her natural instinct to protect the forest for ten dollars. Sylvia, however, is true to herself and her love of nature in the end when she conceals the location of the hallowed white heron from the destructive force of the hunter.

 2. “An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce. 

The use of fantasy in “The Occurrence at Owl Creek” is used not only to keep the reader involved in the story, but also to bolster the feeling of excitement as Farquhar escapes from his captors. The entire story is based in a fantastical experience that occurs as the main character, Peyton Farquhar, is being executed on Owl Creek Bridge for attempting to sabotage the union army. Bierce tells the story from Farquhar’s point of view. As Farquhar is falling to his assured death by hanging, the rope breaks and he plummets into the river below the bridge. The reader is then led to believe that Farquhar has escaped capture by an amazing stroke of luck. The story continues to chronicle his fanciful escape from the army. Although, the reader is deliberately led to believe that Farquhar has evaded capture, there are several clues that foreshadow Farquhar’s true fate. As he is in the water looking up at the sharpshooters who are attempting to shoot him from either end of the bridge, Farquhar develops super human eyesight being able to see down the barrel of one of the shooter’s rifle all the way to discern the color of the man’s eyes. This is simply not possible. He even has time to ponder how a man with grey eyes is supposed to be the truest marksman. Also, as Farquhar escapes down the river, a company of infantry joins in on the attempt to cut him down with gunfire. As the company fired, Farquhar dove under the water. While under water, Farquhar notices that the bullets seem to lose all speed when they hit the water and begin to lazily float to the bottom. One bullet even becomes lodged between Farquhar’s neck and collar, which he quickly brushes it out because it is “uncomfortably warm.”  The clues continue to roll in as Farquhar finally gets back to his home, recovering from a delirium caused by his long journey, he sees his home and his wife just as he had left them. As Farquhar enters the gate of his home, he sees his wife who does not seem disturbed by the physical state that Farquhar is in with a bruised neck, a tongue pushed out due to unrelieved thirst, and his eyes being unable to close due to swelling. Farquhar then reaches out for his wife and feels a sharp pain in the back of his neck. That is when the fantasy ends and Farquhar’s fate is finally, obviously revealed to the reader. “Peyton Farquhar was dead; his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of Owl Creek Bridge” (1482).

 3. “The Storm” by Kate Chopin.

Kate Chopin was a daring author during her lifetime. She published local color stories that often times flirted with the society’s perceived edge of decency. In 1898, she wrote “The Storm,” which was a sequel to the short story “At the Cadian Ball.” In the prequel, Chopin hinted at scandal and flavored the story with an undercurrent of improper flirtation, but these concepts were still well within the limits of the perceived literary standards of the time. However, “The Storm” completely obliterated the line of decency that was established for literature at the time. Chopin valued her ability to publish, so she did not seek to have “The Storm” published as she would have been shunned from the contemporary literary society. The most startling thing about “The Storm” was not necessarily the steamy scene that Chopin adeptly painted in the reader’s mind. Rather, it was the unapologetic attitude of the adulterers that would have crossed the line. It was this displayed attitude that almost certainly kept Chopin from submitting this story for publication.

 4. “Desiree’s baby” by Kate Chopin.

In the story, “Desiree’s Baby,” a young woman is caught up in a destructive scheme organized by her self-serving husband. Desiree was a young woman with no name. Orphaned when she was just a toddler and taken in and cared for by a well to do woman, Madame Valmonde, and, although she was loved dearly by Valmonde, she was still a young lady with no defined past. This made her the perfect target for Armand Aubigny. Armand was a well to do planter with a secret so vile to him that he had never been able to admit this terrible revelation to anyone. Armand’s mother “belonged to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery” (1619), but she had died in France when Armand was eight. Armand knew of his mother’s ethnicity, but he had never revealed this to anyone else in his life. Armand also knew that any respectable southern plantation owner was to marry and raise a strong family, but how could he reproduce with his terrible secret? When he saw Desiree as she was leaning up against a stone pillar, an idea struck him. Desiree was beautiful, but most importantly, she was of an unknown origin. “It was no wonder, when she stood one day against the stone pillar in whose shadow she had lain asleep, eighteen years before, that Armand Aubigny riding by and seeing here there, had fallen in love with her. That was the way all the Aubignys fell in love. As if struck by a pistol shot” (1615). This is the first evidence of foreshadowing in the story. To describe falling in love as being struck by a pistol shot has very violent connotations and prepares the reader for the violent gut wrenching ending of the story. This even gives some insight to the type of man who Armand is, violent, quick to judge, and conniving. At this point Desiree and Armand were married and Desiree moved to Armand’s plantation. Before long, Desiree was to have a child. After the birth of the child, Madame Valmonde visited Desiree’s new homestead. When she walked into the room to view the child, she exclaimed “This is not the baby!” (1616). Desiree mistook her shock to be related to the fact that the child had grown. However, the source of Valmonde’s shock had little to do with the size of the child and all to do with the color of the baby’s skin. This was another instance of foreshadowing within the story. Whether Desiree was blinded by love or just ignorant to the ways of the world, she had not noticed the child’s mulatto skin tone. Slowly as the child aged, a change came over Armand. Everything that he despised about himself and his own Negro heritage was exemplified in his child. Fortunately for his reputation, he had duped Desiree, the girl with no past and now with no future. Armand declared that Desiree was not white and she departed the plantation with her baby into the swamp. Armand had every last vestige that reminded him of the child burned. The foreshadowing in the story led to the heart wrenching ending as Desiree walks into the bayou without changing her thin white garment and her slippers never to be heard from again. The irony, though, is expressed at the end of the story when Armand reads a letter from his mother to his father, which tells the reader that it was not Desiree whom had Negro heritage. Rather, it was Armand.

 5. “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner.

In an effective drama, it is imperative for the author to introduce an antagonist and protagonist to the reader.  The protagonist must be someone who the reader can identify with and support as the story progresses, while the antagonist represents the opposite of societal and moral norm. In the story “Barn Burning,” Faulkner introduces both of these character types. The first that we are introduced to is the antagonist, Abner Snopes. From the beginning, Snopes is painted in a villainous light. He is on trial for burning his neighbor’s barn after the neighbor did Snopes a favor of penning his pig so the animal would not be lost. Snopes is found not guilty due to a lack of evidence, but the Justice of the Peace demanded that the Snopes family leave town immediately. Snopes then relocates his family to a new plantation to begin sharecropping. Upon his arrival, Snopes barges into his new landlord’s home and tracks horse manure onto an expensive rug within their house. The landlord’s name is Major DeSpain. DeSpain is the moral and social opposite of Snopes. Where Snopes is a poor sharecropper, DeSpain is a wealthy land owner. DeSpain rides a gallant steed while Snopes rides a donkey. DeSpain is honest and shows integrity and strength of character. Snopes is a lying, cheating, low life who destroys those around him. In the end, Snopes attempts to repeat his delinquent activity and burn DeSpain’s barn after a civil dispute over Snopes’ idea of “cleaning” DeSpain’s Persian rug. While Snopes goes to the barn, his son (the story’s true protagonist) runs to Major DeSpain and betrays his amoral father, in essence finally being able to choose good over evil. DeSpain the goes to the barn and handles Abner Snopes. “Barn Burning” is an allegorical tale of the constant struggle between right and wrong, good and evil, and the characters of Abner Snopes and Major DeSpain represent the qualities of these two opposing sides.

Works Cited

The Norton Anthology: American Literature. Shorter 7th Edition. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: Norton Company, 2008.

Why has a woman never been elected President?

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Throughout the world, women have risen to prominence in politics in almost every corner of the globe. These women have served in offices from prime minister, to governor-general, to president. In most cases, these amazing women have performed their duties equally as well as their male counterparts. However, in a world of increasing political equality with women rising to the pinnacle positions of political leadership, one glaring exception remains: the United States. 

Why has a woman never achieved the office of President of the United States? This question has been pondered by many, but no singular, conclusive answer has been presented. Some have stated that women are not psychologically as strong as men or are incapable of taking decisive action in crises; however, this has been disproved the world over by leading women in their respective countries. If the reason for this anomaly is not linked to a psychological of physiological difference, then what is the real reason for the lack of a female United States President? 

The reason for this omission can be inferred from a simple survey of American history. America is a teenage country as it relates to the history of the world. Many of the countries where women have risen to leadership have been around for thousands of years or  gained independence and established a government in the modern era as women were rising to prominence. America was founded at a time when women were harshly subjugated. This plays a vital role in understanding why more women have not risen to political prominence in America. Women fought for hundreds of years in countries throughout the world to be seen in an equal standing to men. With America being so young, the fight for political equality is just now gaining steam. 

To put this in historical perspective, it is pertinent to examine the time line of the prominent feminist movements and achievements in American history. The first wave of feminism bubbled to the surface in regard to gaining suffrage. This feat was not accomplished until the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920. The second wave of feminism arose in the 1960s. Both of these movements have garnered women many rights that took hundreds or thousands of years for women to attain in other countries. These rights were achieved in two and a half centuries in this country. That is a great accomplishment. Instead of looking at the reasons that a woman has not risen to presidency, perhaps it would be more prudent to look at the reasons a woman would make a strong leader in the United States. To do this effectively, one can look into the resilience that women have portrayed throughout the history of the world. 

Adversity strikes every generation regardless of geography. Historically, women have been the glue that have held families together, doing whatever it takes to maintain the household from nursing wounds to entering the workforce. Often, these women place the needs of others in front of their personal needs. This is a rare quality in a leader, but an important one. This resilience and empathy can be seen every day when a single mother works one or more jobs in order to provide properly for her children. Sacrifice is a principle that women embody for the sake of others. 

Women have overcome destitution throughout history through hard work and determination. This ability remains with women today through the same means. However, in the United States’ economic system, poverty-stricken women have many more opportunities than their historical counterparts. The current crises that women face regarding health care, discrimination, parenting alone are different in name from the adversity that their historical counterparts faced, but the quality that maintained women during the plague is the same quality that maintains a woman who is facing gender discrimination today. A woman’s ability to rise above adversity is a very attractive quality on the resume for female leadership in the United States. 

It is only a matter of time before a woman is elected to the office of President of the United States. It will take a woman who is able to captivate the hearts and minds of the American people, as well as, presenting a strong leadership style. This country is ready for a female to lead, the only question that remains is, when will the right woman rise to the top and take the office?

Four months of doom…

January 22, 2010 1 comment

I have come to a conclusion about the next four months of my life.

PANIC! OH MY DEAR SWEET LORD, WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO!

Wait a second.

Deep breath in…

Deep breath out…

*Woosah*

There. That’s better. Let me rephrase in the interest of maintaining a positive outlook. It is going to be extremely challenging.

I am going to be up to my eyes in text. Between my History class and my four English classes I might just die from all of the reading that I am going to have to do. The thing is, though, I love to read and I love classic lit, so it shouldn’t be terribly depressing, but it is going to be extremely time intensive. Unfortunately, time is not a commodity with which I can be too liberal. It is going to take some serious time management to make this semester work.

There is a tough balancing act that comes with cramming so much into life. Grievously, I am not very good with managing my limited time; therefore, my balancing act ends up like a retarded clown trying to juggle flaming torches. I just end up burnt to a crisp with a red rubber nose melted to my face in the middle of an arena full of spectators pointing and laughing. Oh yeah…and still retarded. Not really the place that I want to be.

It is all good, though. I have great professors and my classes are going to be awesome. I am going to delve deeper into the scholastic passions that drive my academic life. It should be a lot of fun actually. I am just concerned that I am going to run out of the ever elusive, always in demand asset. Time.

The paradox with taking on too much is that you accomplish more, but you don’t do as well as you could have if you just eased the pace back a bit. So quality suffers for the sake of quantity. This is never a good trade-off, but I want to finish school so badly that I would have taken 100 credit hours if they would have allowed it. It is more than just school, however. Life is just coming at me full throttle right now and I guess that I’m not handling it well.

Meh. I have to get out of this funk today. Otherwise I am going to drive those around me to murder. To murder me, that is. That is another place that I don’t want to be. You know…

Dead.

Anyway…

I am excited about this weekend. I get to hang out with my girls and actually sit down and get some homework done. Should be fairly productive. Also, I’m out of scheduled writing so I’m going to have to really step up my posting. I might just become a blogger one of these days. Until then, you are stuck with my current incarnation. A sometimes poster who pokes fun at MR.

Man, I’m a douche.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Part two: Come as you are, but don’t leave as you came.

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I know, internet, I know.

I promised a follow-up post yesterday to my Tuesday post, but work and second work got the best of me yesterday. No excuses, I fail, but I figured I would offer a bit of explanation. In lieu of this unfortunate failure on my part, today, you are in for a rare treat!

DOUBLE POST DAY!

Yes, that’s right. Two posts…one day. This might be normal for some bloggers, but it is definitely a rarity for me. So enjoy, because I don’t know when (if ever) this will happen again.

If you missed part one of this installment, do me a favor. Go back and read it, so I don’t sound like a blithering idiot as I continue my discourse on what God is showing me through the statement which is the title of this post. Originally the comment appeared on a church sign that I happened to pass several days ago.

A quick recap…

*Insert wavy flashback lines*

I. Hate. Church. Sign. Messages.

Hate them. I think they are a blemish on the image of the church, but that really isn’t the point today, so…

*Dismounting soapbox*

God has once again decided to reveal himself to me in something for which I have a great disdain. This is not an uncommon occurence in my life. In fact, God uses these abhorrent instances quite often to show me how much I generally fail. This specific event was really no different.

Several days ago, I saw a message on a church sign that really caught my attention and has taken hold of my thought process since I read it. Usually, information comes into my brain, I process it, and discard the waste after removing and applying the meaningful pieces from the information presented. This one, however, has captured me a bit more than I expected. The statement was:

“Come as you are, but don’t leave as you came.”

*Insert wavy “coming out of the flashback” lines*

I discussed what the first part of that statement meant to me a couple days ago. I am not going to insult your intelligence. Feel free to read what I posted for the specifics. The first part of this statement affected me, but I really feel as that message is for those who have yet to find Christ or have turned their backs from his love. The second part of the statement, “but don’t leave as you came”, has interesting connotations for everyone, but, specifically, for the believer.

I started to think to myself, “Self, how many times have you graced the doors of the church and walked away wholly unaffected? How many events have you attended where the Holy Spirit has been at work where you have failed to connect with the Creator?” These instances in time began to play through my mind like an old black and white movie where I saw myself walking away from encounter after encounter with God completely the same as I entered. Intellectually, I know that it is not possible to walk away from a face-to-face with God and stay the same. You are either pulled closer or pushed further away. So how does one walk away unchanged?

God is the same today, yesterday, and will not change for eternity; therefore, he can’t be the problem. That leaves one culprit. The problem is me. The problem is you. The reason that these encounters with God don’t change us is because we get in the way. Our sin and flesh stop God from moving like he desires to in our lives. This is why Jesus calls us to deny our desires that get in the way of our relationship with Him.

The simple truth about humanity is that we are not good. The only good that exists in me is God in me. In my flesh, I am a broken lost soul-searching for meaning in a world where meaning is absent. This is why God changes us completely when we find him, so we can see the reason behind our creation.

It is so easy for us to exalt ourselves above God. Many times, we as “good Christians” appear to be walking in the light of God, but we are actually so far outside of the realm of what God wants for us that it makes Him want to upchuck. That’s right, our disobedience literally nauseates God. If that isn’t deflating, then I don’t know what catastrophe it might take to remove the wind from your sails.

It all boils down to selfishness and the casual attitude with which we approach sin. We see sin as a temporary problem for which we can just ask forgiveness. We forget that God is our Holy refiner desiring to make us more like him everyday. The hindrance to this process is the fact that we would have to give up things that we think make us happy in order to reconcile ourselves to his image. It is like two-year-old holding on to a leaf of poison ivy because he or she thinks that it is pretty, throwing a fit when the loving parent attempts to remove the leaf that is going to cause more suffering in the end.

It doesn’t make sense for us to throw a fit, but we do it anyway. It just shows how bratty we are in our relationship with God. On Earth, any parent worth their salt would do whatever it took to remove the leaf from the child’s hand, but that is what makes God entirely unique from us. He allows us to make choices. He tells us that the leaf is bad, but gives us the freedom to keep the leaf regardless of consequences. Then, when we are suffering from the rash that the leaf gave us, we curse God for allowing us to suffer. THAT IS REALLY STUPID, but we do it anyway.

The simple truth is that God desires us to look more and more like him every day and the only detractor from that is us. The time has arrived for the church to take a stand on the truth of the gospel and live out our faith every day in every instance. We will not recognize the vision that God has for us as a Church body until we are able to shove off the chains that bind us. The latch was unlocked when Christ died on the cross. All you have to do is shrug your shoulders and let the binding fall, step forward and let God take over.

When this happens, we will see revival break out because the world is looking for something real. They are looking for you to live out what you say you believe. I will leave you with one final thought that initiated the process of change that I feel taking over.

“Come as you are, but don’t leave as you came.”

Ten Random Astromony Questions

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

1. What are the steps in the scientific method?

The scientific method is the method used to explore observations and answer questions within the scientific community. It is a step by step process that has evolved since the earliest days of the analysis of observation. The first step in the scientific method is to ask a question about something that is observed. After a question is proposed, one must research in order to find the most appropriate process to find the answer and to ensure that mistakes that have been documented in the past are not repeated. Next, the researcher must propose a hypothesis, which is an educated guess constructed as an if-then statement, which can be easily measured and interpreted. Then the researcher must plan and implement a scientific experiment in order to test the hypothesis. After the experiment is concluded, the researcher must interpret the measurements and draw conclusions which either support or oppose the hypothesis. If the hypothesis is proven false, a new hypothesis must be formulated and the process continues from there; however, if the hypothesis is supported and methods are repeatable, the researcher must communicate his results to be verified by the rest of the scientific community.

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_scientific_method.shtml

2.   How is a light year defined?

A light year a unit a measure used in astronomy due to the vast distances between astronomical bodies. Our Sun, for example, is approximately 150 million km away from the Earth. It is impractical to define such large distances by miles or kilometers, so scientists developed several different units of measure for astronomy. One such measure is the light year. It is defined as the distance that light travels in one year. Light travels at 300,000 kilometers per second. So in a year, light travels 9,460,800,000,000 kilometers. What this means for astronomers is that if a star is 100 light years away, the light that we are seeing from the star represents what the star looked like 100 years ago not what it looks like at the present time.

http://www.howstuffworks.com/question94.htm

3.  Describe what happens during the two kinds of eclipses?

There are two categories of eclipses. These are solar and lunar. In a solar eclipse the moon passes directly between the Sun and the Earth obstructing the path of the Sun’s light to the Earth. Whether or not the viewer sees a partial or total eclipse depends on what part of the moon’s shadow falls on the Earth. The total eclipse in only visible in the umbra and this part of the shadow is very small on the Earth. A partial eclipse is observable in the penumbral shadow which covers a larger part of the Earth’s surface. The second eclipse category is called a lunar eclipse. This phenomenon occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon during a full moon and the moon passes with in the umbral shadow of the Earth.

http://www.mreclipse.com/Special/SEprimer.html

http://www.mreclipse.com/Special/LEprimer.html

4. What is surface gravity?

Surface gravity is defined as the gravitational acceleration on the surface of an astronomical object such as a planet or a star. It is measured in units of acceleration, which is meters per second squared. Each astronomical body has a unique surface gravity which is determined by the product of the gravitational constant, G, and the mass of the object divided by radius of the object squared. The relative surface gravity of the Earth is 9.81 m/s squared. This means, that the gravitational pull of Earth exerts enough force to pull every object that is caught in its gravitational field toward itself at a speed of 9.81 m/s squared. Further, two objects that are accelerating toward the Earth’s surface will do so at this speed barring any outside interference. This outside interference is measured by multiplying the gravitational constant or G. For example, an F-16 fighter can withstand up to nine Gs. Within the equation, the number nine becomes the coefficient to measure the final modified surface gravity when taking into account the outside interference.

5. What is the difference between reflecting and refracting telescopes?

Every optic telescope falls in to one of two classifications, either refracting or reflecting. The telescopes are classified according to the method that they use to focus the image into the viewing device.  A refracting telescope uses lenses to gather and focus light, while a reflecting telescope uses a mirror. The refractor telescope gathers a greater amount of light into the lens than is possible to gather with the naked eye. This presents the observer with a brighter, clearer, and magnified image of the object being observed. This is accomplished by focusing the parallel light onto a focal point while the peripheral light is focused onto a focal plane. A reflecting telescope uses a combination of curved mirrors that reflect light and form an image into a viewing device. A curved primary mirror is the basic optical element and creates an image at the focal plane. A viewing device such as film or a digital sensor may be located at the focal plane to record the image or an eyepiece might be present for viewing the image. The mirror in most modern telescopes is composed of solid glass that has been ground into a parabolic or spherical shape with a thin layer of aluminum deposited on the front which provides a highly reflective metal surface to reflect the images. The light from the image enters the end of the tube and reflects off the primary mirror, to the secondary mirror, and finally to the viewing device. Reflectors are not only useful for measuring visible light, but they can also detect shorter and longer wavelengths (e.g. ultraviolet and infrared light).

http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/reflecting_telescope.html

6. What are the Oort cloud and Kuiper Belt?

The Kuiper belt is a disk shaped region of icy debris about 30-50 AU from the Sun, which is outside the orbit of Neptune. It is similar in organization to the asteroid belt although it is far larger being 20 times as wide and 20-200 times as massive. Although similar in organization, the make up of the individual bodies is markedly different. The asteroid belt is similar to terrestrial planets being made mostly of rock and metal while the Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) share a similarity with the Jovian planets being made principally of frozen volatiles such as methane, ammonia, and water. The Kuiper belt is also the home of the dwarf planets Pluto, Haumea, and Makemake. Another organized structure of astronomical bodies has been theorized to exist called the Oort cloud, named for Jan Oort who originally theorized its existence in 1950. Light is so scarce in the far reaches of the proposed solar system that it is extremely difficult to identify the existence the cloud. The main evidence for the belt is the passage of long-period comets that pass through the inner solar system only once. The Oort cloud is home to astronomical bodies that vary in size from 50km to the size of Pluto. It has been theorized that there might be larger bodies within the Oort cloud as well, but no conclusive proof has yet been presented to confirm or deny this presumption.

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=OortCloud

7. What are the advantages of a telescope in space?

The main advantage of using a telescope that is based in space rather than on Earth is simply that the space telescope does not have to compete with the Earth’s atmosphere for light. The Earth’s atmosphere can distort the imaging ability of the earthbound telescope. It also blocks x-ray and infrared light so that those spectrums cannot be studied from Earth. Also, a telescope based in space does not have to deal with light pollution as do observatories on Earth.

8. What is a dwarf planet?

A dwarf planed it s a celestial body that is in orbit around the Sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium shape, has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite. The classification was created for objects that are not quite large enough to be considered planets, but are larger than asteroids. There are currently five celestial bodies that are defined as dwarf planets.

9. What is meant by the resolution of a telescope?

The resolution of a telescope is defined as how clearly a telescope is able to view objects. The higher resolution yields a better ability to make out fine details in the celestial bodies being observed. Resolution is based highly on the quality of the optical components within the telescope, but the aperture, the hole that the light enters the telescope, of the telescope is also critical when dealing with resolution. For this reason, astronomers build bigger telescopes to allow more light in the aperture, increase the resolution, and create a finer more precise picture.

10. What is the difference between the geocentric and heliocentric model of the solar system?

The difference between the geocentric and heliocentric models of the universe hinges on Earth’s role in universal organization. The earliest thinkers believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and all things revolved around it, which was the central idea in the geocentric model of universal organization. This was refuted in 1530 when Copernicus presented a mathematical model in his book De Revolutionibus. Copernicus’ theory upset the religious order of the time so his work was refuted and suppressed, but eventually, with the invention of the telescope, Copernicus’ theory of the heliocentric  model of universal organization became provable scientific fact.

Come as you are, but don’t leave as you came.

January 19, 2010 1 comment

I was driving…well, actually being towed down the road yesterday when I happened across this statement on one of those church signs with the removable letters. You know, the ones that normally say something “inspirational” like:

  • A family altar can alter a family.
  • A clean conscience makes a soft pillow.
  • Don’t Wait For 6 Strong Men to Carry you to Church.
  • Five minutes after you die you’ll know how you should have lived.
  • And so on… 

    Internet, I have a confession.

    There are times, as I drive down the road and see these signs that  I enter into a state of nearly uncontrollable rage. The steering wheel begins to shake as my grip tightens and my arms tense. Yes internet that’s right…

    I have a terrible case of church sign induced hulk-rage.

    While the statements on these signs are totally accurate most of the time, I abhor them. I think that they are completely unnecessary and most of the time idiotic, casting a very unfavorable and overly judgmental light on the church. There was even a message that I saw on one of my local church’s sign that was utterly condemning to people who had not yet found Christ. I wanted to rip the letters from their glass housing and stomp them into plastic oblivion. Obviously, this is something that is outside of the realm of possibility and practicality, nevermind human decency, but I can’t deny that the thought crossed my mind.

    As I have stated before, God is in the business of revealing himself whenever we open our eyes enough to see the subtle and not so subtle ways that he works. This was the case for me as I putted passed the sign that stated “Come as you are, but don’t leave as you came.”

    My concentration was on maintaining a taut tow-rope, so that I didn’t get a case of whiplash from the truck towing my little Saturn, but my mind wandered elsewhere as the towing process continued and I came to two conclusions about this particular statement. Surprisingly, neither stemmed from my normal sign induced hulk-rage.

    First, I think that this message is two-pronged. The first part, “Come as you are”, is directed toward people who have yet to find Christ.

    This is the call of Christ to us in the world today. He calls us to come into his love regardless of what we think might be holding us back. God’s love is sufficient and his grace is abundant. So many times, we think that we have to get our lives straightened out before we pursue a relationship with God. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

    If you are among the mistaken who believe this, I have access to some inside info in which you might be interested.

    He already knows.

    He already knows that you are a dirty, soiled creature and he is ok with that. He knows that you aren’t perfect. In fact, that is the point. He wants you to know that you need him and his forgiveness.

    Unfortunately, there is a huge stigma against Christianity in the world today due to the outrageous actions of some and the subtle failings of every day Christians. These failings are not unexpected as *gasp* even Christians aren’t perfect. The disconnect occurs when you try to judge our Creator by the created. The two just don’t line up because we are wretched sin-covered creatures. Even if one is fortunate enough to experience God’s grace, he or she is still prone to sin because the desires of the flesh never stop calling and tempting.

    The reason for this revolves around the fact that God’s people have been historically disobedient. Starting with the Israelites and persisting into today. The narcissistic truth is that we would rather pursue our personal prideful agenda than seek out what God’s intention is for the lives that he has blessed us with.

    The overarching theme for Christ’s love is grace-filled redemption at Christ’s expense. This is why we are to come to him as we are, regardless of our past transgressions.

    More tomorrow on what we are to do after we make the initial step of coming to Christ. Tomorrow’s message is for the believer, but all can benefit. Thanks for reading!

    Personal Responsibilty: A Value of Bygone Days?

    January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

    Personal responsibility is becoming more and more a value of bygone days as American society continues to progress and push forward into the twenty-first century. It seems as if the American dream is evolving from the idea that if one works hard enough, regardless of current social or economic status, he or she can achieve prosperity and wealth, to a mindset that touts mantras that support the removal of personal accountability such as: “If the market doesn’t favor the current direction in which a company is going, things will be fine.” Why will they be fine? Obviously because the government will bail the business out of bankruptcy in an effort to reestablish prosperity and the American dream for the company receiving the bailout at the cost of millions of other taxpayer’s American dream.

    In the essay “What You Eat is Your Business” by Radley Balko, he extends this idea into the realm of food. The main idea of the essay is that the government is moving in a stronger socialist direction than it has ever moved in the past. He breaks this down using food and the rising level of obesity in America in order to get his point across. The main thrust of Balko’s argument centers on the increasing amount of governmental control that is being exerted onto the food industry.  $200 million anti-obesity budgets and proposed fat taxes on high calorie food highlight some of the measures that have been discussed in order to contain the problem of rising American obesity.

    Balko believes that these measures are not the most productive way to quell obesity in America. He believes that the money that the government invests into this issue would be better spent on education programs and initiatives that foster a sense of personal responsibility. “This is the wrong way to approach obesity. Instead of manipulating or intervening in the array of food options available to American consumers, our government ought to be working to foster a sense of responsibility in and ownership of our own health and well-being. But we are doing just the opposite” (158).

    He goes on to expose the growing movement away from personal responsibility when he speaks about people being disqualified from juries for showing the “personal responsibility bias”. Balko believes the best way to alleviate the growing obesity “public health crisis” is to remove obesity from the realm of public health and simply into the realm of personal responsibility.

    I tend to agree with what Balko states within this article. It is assured that obesity is an important issue facing America today as our unhealthy lifestyles are leading to increasing incidences of heart disease, early death from cardiac problems, and a general state of unhealthiness for a very significant portion of our population. The question is, however, whose problem is it to fight?

    Certainly this should not be governed through directives coming down from the nation’s lawmakers. It has never been the government’s responsibility to legislate morality, but we are seeing an increasing incident of this as well. This falls squarely outside of the intentions that our founding fathers had for this nation.

    As America continues to push forward, the idea of personal responsibility is being pushed further and further into left field. No one wants to take responsibilities for their actions. If a child brings a gun to school and kills other students, is he held responsible? On the surface we say yes, but then in the same breath the news media will call the child a tragic product of society. Which is it? He or she can’t be personally responsible if he is a product of a corrupted society which led the child to kill.

    The time has come for America to awaken to what we are becoming. As the government begins to regulate more and more of our daily activities and moral standings, the more we begin to look like a socialist nation. The best way that we can fight obesity or change the direction that we are moving is by reestablishing the idea that we as people are completely responsible for the actions we take. Whether or not I choose to put a doughnut in my mouth or a carrot stick, is no business of the government. My health among other things are issues that are mine to change. This country will never attain the level of prosperity that we have enjoyed in the past until we decide to take responsibilities for our failures instead of just our successes. It is my hope that this day comes sooner rather than later. 

     

    Works Cited

    Graff, G., Birkenstein, C., & Durst, R. (2009). The Moves That Matter In Academic Writing: They say I say (, pp. 463-481). New York: W.W. Norton & Company .