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Friday, October 14, 2011

The speed of light, and other constants that maybe arenít

EisMCsquared.jpg
 

Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared." Albert Einstein

We all know that famous equation E=mc2 where c=speed of light.

This was proposed by Einstein in the early 1900s. They measured the speed of light to be 299,792,458 meters per second or 299 792 km/hr.

This was the speed that light moved forward in a vacuum and we have considered this to be something that is always the same and that nothing could move faster than light for many years now.

But is it?

Here is a quote from Wikipedia suggesting it may not be “In late September 2011, physicists working at the OPERA experiment published results that seemed to suggest beams of neutrinos had travelled from CERN (in Geneva, Switzerland) to LNGS (at the Gran Sasso, Italy) faster than the speed of light, arriving (60.7 ± 6.9 (stat.) ± 7.4 (sys.)) nanoseconds early (corresponding to about 18 metres in a total distance of 730 kilometres”

Let me put that into everyday English. That neutrino from CERN arrived before people would have seen it leave if they could see that far.

This is the light equivalent of hearing a bullet after it hits something near you (because sound travels slower than bullets).

Whether neutrinos do in fact travel faster than light is still to be determined since it could be a measurement error but it is sure a very interesting consideration.

What does it mean to you and I?

Not a huge amount!

But it will influence us! For example, how many of us know about quantum mechanics, but we live along very well without it. However, do you know we couldn’t enjoy life without it as it is a fundamental part of the transistor which revolutionized radios and electronics. No iPod or iPad or modern radio without scientists understanding quantum mechanics.

So, we need to have somebody take note of these things and they build up many aspects of our universe.

So why are people so worried about the speed of light being exceeded? It is because the speed of light is the constant that ties together space and time and matter.

 So suddenly our view of ourselves as the great “understanders” of life and the universe comes into question again.

Just as we get to be little god’s the basis if our self worship is shaking.

We may smile at the scientists worry, but let me suggest each of us puts our faith in ourselves more than we should. We consider certain things about ourselves as unchanging and “us”. We are totally like this or that! We never change in this area.

Sometimes it’s fitness, other times its beauty, other times its our wealth, or our humor or our wit, wisdom or ability to think clearly.

Let us realize that one incident can change all self-confidence and bring out self-delusions to a shaky self-doubt.

I have seen this with men who when they loose their jobs, start questioning whether they are worth anything. Or women who when their children leave home cannot be consoled as they have lost their meaning in life.

I prefer to understand constants can change, but know there is one that will not. It is best described by that old, old song by Keith Ward;

“On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand, …”

Trusting in this one unchanging constant that will never fail or change is where true confidence can rest.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Jesus is the one we can trust, his grace is sure, his promises true and he will be the one who extracts us from life’s difficulties and deaths danger.

So today, I am not concerned whether they prove or disprove the speed of light can be exceeded, but I am concerned that I walk in the eternal way that is constant and to be trusted.

What about you?
Fri, October 14, 2011 | link          Comments

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What is better my plans or the ultimate plan?
   
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Every day we get faced with having to plan.

I am a project manager in the software business dealing with large corporations and muti-million dollar projects. Without planning millions of dollars are lost.

Just last week I heard of a bank that had been running a team of over 100 people at over $800 per person per day for two years cancelled their project because the planning failed. That’s about 220 days x $800 x 100 =$17,6 million that was wasted!

Millions wasted every year because people who should know better, plan badly.

Today I have to explain to someone that they have planned badly and their trusted employee planned even worse.

So what about how we plan our lives?

Can we know what to do?

Do we know how to make the best decisions?

It isn’t always easy! One thing I know is that we must have God’s input on our plans if they are to be successful. I am not looking for strange voices from the ether, but rather the solid application of the truths found in God’s words.

When we take to heart what the bible says, our decisions are based on god’s truth. We don’t lie, we love others and try and do what is best for them, we serve rather that autocratically rule, and yes, sometimes in times where we are doing all this and seem to still have indecision, Holy spirit prompts us and guides us in a quiet gentle way.

I like what Jeremiah says;

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

These I have found to be true and good words. These are words that encourage me as I move through my day together with all the uncertainties and bad decisions of others.

Prayer is a deep resource that brings peace and guidance.

I trust today if you need to plan you will allow God to be your wisdom and guide in these decisions. He wants to prosper us!

Thu, October 13, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Variation! Why were are not all identical! It was Godís plan!
Variation! Why were are not all identical! It was God’s plan!  
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Are variations are in God’s plan?

 
Yes!

 Not all variations in genes produce horrible weird creatures like the science fiction movies tell us. Sometimes they just change something simple! In fact, most variations are part of the normal flow of life. We humans come in all shapes and sizes, colors and characteristics, don’t we?

Same with many other living creatures!

Generally, we as males and females mix up our genetic material when we reproduce.

The mix-up of the two people creates a third.

The new little person gets 23 chromosomes from mom, and 23 from dad. Let’s say one parent has straight hair and another has curly hair, then they can be understood as having different alleles for hair. (Different genes of the same characteristic are called an “allele”).

So there is a hair characteristic from my mom and one from my dad. All this is part of the same chromosome pair (called a “homologous” pair) in my body. Any different characteristic, freckles and lack of them, may be another allele group on my DNA, etc.

So we get our attributes from our biological mothers and fathers.
 
We don’t have them all from both mom and dad, we end up with characteristics selected from one or from the other. On the same chromosome pair, one chromosome (mom’s) may be straight hair, and the other chromosome of the pair(dad’s) may be curly. What we actually get may be curly hair! In other words, we may get that characteristic selected from dad, not mom. The same sorts of choices are made in similar ways for every characteristic of each human.

The sex cells take a copy of our own chromosomes. We have 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs but sex cells only have 23 chromosomes and they are not in pairs.

These combine with another sex cell when our parents get together to form us, one half (23 chromosomes) from our own mom, and the other half (23 chromosomes) from our own dad.
 
For simplicity let’s call our own mom, “grandma” to our child, and our dad, “grandpa”.

When our own sex cells form, they take half of our chromosomes into the sex cell (sperm for guys and ova for girls). So Grandma and grandpa’s chromosomes are selected randomly to build up 23 chromosomes in a new sex cell. Some of the 23 will have originally come from Grandma and some from Grandpa.

Now Mom’s ova (sex cell -23 chromosomes) and Dads sperm(sex cell-23 chromosomes) combine into the child’s 46 chromosomes. So really, the child is getting a selection of chromosomes from two sets of grandparents randomly selected and this produces their own unique set.

I know it’s complicated, but hey, God never said everything was going to be simple did he?

Stay with me, it will get simpler soon, but before that we need to do a bit of statistical thinking.

Since there are 23 chromosomes from Mom in the child, there is about 223 different options on what she could pass across. Dad has 223 different options on what he could pass across. [That’s what probability theory tells us]

Now, 223  is  2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2

or

about 8388608 different options!

However, since there are two parents the number of ways that those original chromosomes could be arranged is 246


This is 70368744177664 different ways our parents can pass on their characteristics.

So we are 1 out of 70 368 744 177 664 children types that mom and dad could have produced!  

Our world will reach 7 billion people this year[2011], i.e. 7 000 000 000.

Notice that if one pair of parents could produce all the children on this earth(all different), it would still be less by a factor of 10 000 than the total number of different children than one parent could produce and have each one of them different!

Amazing isn’t it?

Makes us feel rather unique and special doesn’t it?

God wanted us to be different from each other, or he wouldn’t have set up this mechanism to ensure we would be different.

Let’s remember that when he says we should love our neighbour as ourselves, he wants us to do exactly that!

Differences are part of God’s plan! Others are not expected to be the same, or do the same as ourselves. We need to love others despite the variations and variability that comes from the way God chose to have them put together.

Let’s remember how special each person is as we deal with people today!

As we head out to interact with others today, let us each realise every person we meet is a unique creation.

By respecting that, we respect our creator don’t we?

 Have a wonderful variation filled day!
Wed, October 12, 2011 | link          Comments

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

'Do not have sex with any of your close relatives. I am the Lord.í


 
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"Men are pigs. [They will] pretty much have sex with anyone, fat, skinny, married, single, complete strangers, relatives."
~Hugh Laurie as Dr. Greg House

 Wow! Cynical right!

We know that today our laws forbid having sex with close relatives.


This is perhaps a reflection of the laws in the bible found in Leviticus 18, but even people who do not trust the bible or believe in different god’s know this is an important rule.



Scientists tell us we need to be careful of disobeying this rule because it could have nasty repercussions!

For many years people just noticed that if this guideline was disobeyed, then people ended up with illnesses and weird things happening to their children.

Then science got involved and we started to find out why.

If you read a previous blog entitled “Wonderfully made! The gene’s, chromosomes, and the DNA miracle!” you will have found out that we are programmed to look certain ways and have certain abilities by strands of DNA that exist in our cells.

In this blog I pointed out that these are represented by “base pairs” that I explained were a bit like having a long path of two types of couples all mixed up.

One girl molecule type  called ”Adenine”(A), only wants to hold hands with guy partner molecules types called  “Thymine”(T). The other girl molecule type is “Cytosine”(C) who holds hands with “Guanine”(G), the other guy moleculetype.

These are not really guys and girls, but these “base pairs” combine to give each living thing uniqueness.

Hereditary depends on DNA.

The copying of genes occurs when the DNA strand of one of the chromosome pairs split and one half goes into sex cells ready to combine with another’s sex cells as a result of the coming together of two people of opposite sex as they have sexual intercourse. There are two types of sex chromosomes. (In the previous blog I explained a chromosome is a long twisted DNA strand)

There are  X types and Y types of chromosomes. Women have XX and men have XY types as sex chromosome pairs.

Now genetic disorders are disorders that happen when a specific coding of DNA allows certain things to vary from that of a “normal” person. Sometimes these variations do nothing, but sometimes they are a program for a disease. However, often the defective coding isn’t present on the DNA of both parents and so the person is unaware they have the disorder in their DNA code. The illness never happens.

If both DNA strands (one from each parent) have the same disorder pair the likelyhood of the disease is changed to be almost certain.

This means that since close relatives have very similar DNA, the chances of both parents having the same disorder code in their DNA is greatly increased.

That is why it is important not to have sex with a close relative.

Now, consider this. .  . we found out about this DNA helix of genes in April 1953. The bible provided the warnings below about 1400B.C. A subset of these warnings from Leviticus 18 below shows God understood we needed to know this about 3500 years ago. (PS: The Egyptians didn't get this so Moses was not simply repeating Egyptian learning). Here are some of the guidelines. . .

“"’You must obey my laws. You must be careful to follow my rules. I am the Lord your God. Keep my rules and laws. The one who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.

" 'Do not have sex with any of your close relatives. I am the Lord.

" 'Do not bring shame on your father by having sex with your mother. Do not have sex with her. She is your mother.

" 'Do not have sex with any other wife of your father. That would bring shame on your father.

" 'Do not have sex with your sister. It does not matter whether she is your father's daughter or your mother's daughter. It does not matter whether she was born in the same home as you were or somewhere else.

" 'Do not have sex with your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter. That would bring shame on you.

" 'Do not have sex with the daughter of your father's wife. She was born to your father. She is your sister.”

Words of wisdom that have taken centuries to understand!

 Now we know why in more detail than ever before. For centuries people protected themselves simply by following God’s advice from the bible.



This shows that sometimes, we don’t have to know the complex detail to follow God with wisdom. However, knowing the details sure helps a little and it increases our understanding of how amazing our God is, doesn’t it?



So today, I want to have compassion for those that simply follow God’s word without having to know why. I want to give them space to believe, because sometimes that’s the best way to be wise.

 What about you?
Tue, October 11, 2011 | link          Comments

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wonderfully made! The geneís, chromosomes, and the DNA miracle!
  
Base_Pair_couples.jpg
 
Have you ever considered that every living thing we know is created by the simple combinations of 4 different things!

 
Everything living has them!

There is nothing living that does not

.
What am I talking about?

 Well, every living creature has chains of gene’s linked together in chromosomes. These chromosomes live in our cells in something called a nuclei. (The home environment of the chromosomes!)

Now for that explosion of information!



The group of gene’s in chromosomes that define a living thing is called the genome. In humans, the genome has 23 pairs of chromosomes. Humans are considered (as far as we know) to have somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 genes. That’s a lot isn’t it?



Now that is not really the amazing part, what is amazing is what a gene is made of!



A gene is made up what is termed “base pairs” in a “DNA strand”. We will consider DNA in a shortly, but let us concentrate on base pairs for now. Think of them kind of like guys and girls holding hands, standing alongside each other in parallel lines up a long twisting path. Guys and girls mixed up in any order of pairs, but always holding hands with only the opposite sex couple they have chosen.

Consider that in the DNA world there are only two types guys and two types girls. These always wanted to hold hands with their specific partner type.

Let us say one girl type  is called ”Adenine”(A), and this girl type only wants to hold hands with guy partner types called  “Thymine”(T). The other girl type is “Cytosine”(C) who holds hands with “Guanine”(G), the other guy type. So now I have set up the base pair idea analogy.

Now just imagine thousands to millions of these couples all standing on a long twisting path holding hands. We could represent this as:

A G T G G A T G C T A C …etc.
T C A C C T  A C G A T G …etc.

 Notice that A only holds hands with T, C only holds hands with G. (Boy and girls are allowed to be on either side of the path, but one is on the left and the other on the right)



In reality, the length of the path of DNA that makes up a chromosome is about 22 000 000 base pairs long.



So if these base pairs were people squished together, with each person using only 1ft of path, the chromosome would be represented by a path 6700km long or about 4200miles long. To put this into perspective the distance from San Francisco (close to western most California in U.S.A.) to Lubec, Maine (eastern most point of U.S.A.) is reported to be 3,452 miles. So this is quite a long path and a lot of “base pairs” right?



Considering we get 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 chromosomes) in a human nuclei which is in a human cell, isn’t it incredible God has even given us the ability to understand this?



This grouping of A-T and G-C base pairs grouped into this line-up represents what in biology terms is called a DNA string. A Deoxyribonucleic acid string.


The reality is of course more complex compared to my simple set of letters above, but the diagram from Wikipedia gives us a basic idea of what it is.
 
See this DNA helix
which is computer generated view of DNA.
 
DNA1.jpg


The pairs are the rungs of this ladder shape.

Now see the detail of this view. . .

DNA2.jpg
Exploded into detail …

This shows one side of the base pair “Adenine” holding hands with “Thymine” right up at the top. G-C is at the bottom. [See Wikipedia for detail]

The way that these parallel lines arrange themselves in the DNA is the code that describes how we are made up. It is the building blocks or “code” of each living thing. The combinations in these rows are always Adenosine-Thyamine(A-T) or Guanine-Cytosine(G-C) “couples”, but they can be in reverse order as well (T-A) and (C-G).

Now why am I even discussing this?

Firstly, it is very cool knowledge and may help some of us get up to date on some science discoveries of our recent past. However, more than this it gives us an opportunity to really understand what Psalm 139:13-14 NIRV is saying when it says. . .

You created the deepest parts of my being.
      You put me together inside my mother's body.
 How you made me is amazing and wonderful.
      I praise you for that.
   What you have done is wonderful.
      I know that very well.  

 What is incredibly amazing is that God created every living thing out of only two types of “couples” or more correctly “base pairs”. All the diversity and differences of life, all the amazing complexity we see around us, was created from these two simple items.

What a plan?


[For those interested the P in the diagram it is phosphorus, N=nitrogen, H=hydrogen, O=oxygen and we can see the base pairs are made of these elements]



We are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Isn’t our designer amazing?

Who could have imagined the complexity and wonder of what God has designed?



Let’s just be amazed by God’s design and how he miniaturized this complexity and placed it into all of the approximately 50 trillion cells we have in our bodies.

Wow! What a God!
Mon, October 10, 2011 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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  • Published: September, 2010
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