25 June 2006

The 4th Dimension

I'm going on a centering prayer retreat this week at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama. It is called an 8-day intensive in centering prayer. I have practiced this ancient form of Christian prayer for the past two years and have found it to be transformative.

Here is a quote from a source book for centering prayer, Thomas Keating's book, Open Mind, Open Heart:

The union established during prayer has to be integrated with the rest of reality. The presence of God should become a kind of fourth dimension to all of life. Our threedimensional world is not the real world because the most important dimension is missing; namely, that from which everything that exists is emerging and returning in each micro-cosmic moment of time. It is like adding a sound tract to a silent movie. The picture is the same, but the sound track makes it more alive. The contemplative state is established when contemplative prayer moves from being an experience or series of experiences to an abiding state of consciousness. The contemplative state enables one to rest and act at the same time because one is rooted in the source of both rest and action.

20 June 2006

Youth Advisory Delegates (YADs)

Meredith Carlson sent this photo of the Youth Advisory Delegates at the 2006 General Assembly. Ginny Monteith is towards the top in the center.
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18 June 2006

Implementation trumps Ideas

Technology Usage Stats

gsiemens in elearnspace wites:

Reading the most recent BusinessWeek, I encountered some intriguing statistics:

* Last year we produced more transistors than grains of rice (and surprisingly, we can produce a transistor at a lower cost than a grain of rice)

* Over 2 billion mobile phones are in use worldwide, compared with 820 million PC's

* Online activity is fairly level until the 65+ age category, where it drops from 74% to 32% (the highest is the 19-29 age group, at 88%)

* In the US, the size of the blog-reading audience is at 20% of the size of the audience of newspaper readers.

1:01 PM, Sunday Jun 18 2006 links ? BozPage River

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15 June 2006

PC(USA) receives historic $150 million gift for church growth

A Colorado businessman and elder has contributed a historic $150 million gift to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) aimed at helping presbyteries start new churches, transform struggling congregations and develop new racial-ethic congregations. The money from Stanley W. Anderson of Denver, CO, for the new Loaves and Fishes Church Growth Fund will be distributed to presbyteries through grants ranging from $250,000 to $1 million each. Presbyteries will be required to apply for the grants and will have to match a portion of it. [Read more]

PC(USA) - 217th General Assembly (2006)

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New Way to Fight Cancer


Nanoparticles armed to combat cancer

April 11th, 2006

Ultra-small particles loaded with medicine - and aimed with the precision of a rifle - are offering a promising new way to strike at cancer, according to researchers working at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

In a paper to appear the week of April 10 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team reports a way to custom design nanoparticles so they home in on dangerous cancer cells, then enter the cells to deliver lethal doses of chemotherapy. Normal, healthy cells remain unscathed.

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Take out the trash

Yes, I do.
Spring Picnic at Batesville Presbyterian Church June 4, 2006 Posted by Picasa

14 June 2006

Google Earth version 4 Released

From KurzweilAI.net

Google Earth version 4 is a terrific program. In this newer version I was finally able to see my own house. This is an amazing tool that combines recent satellite imagery with a good map. See where you are. Locate yourself. See where you want to go. Click a button and fly there. Get written directions. Print the directions along with a map. This is good stuff. I highly recommend it.


Jon B.


Google Earth v4 Released

KurzweilAI.net, June 13, 2006

A new beta version of Google Earth features 3D textured buildings, better user interface, and higher resolution images.

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Solar Powered Scooters Are Coming

Solar Powered Scooters Are Coming : Gina Hughes : Yahoo! Tech

Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:15AM EDT

With soaring gas prices and increasing environmental concerns, it wasn't long before someone created a solar-powered scooter as the perfect alternative. Treehugger reports on the Solarin Turtle that can travel at a speed of 55 mph, and comes with a helmet fitted with hands-free technology.

So not only is this scooter good for the environment and your pocket, but it's also fitted with techie goodness. Although we're ready to see this type of transportation options in the market right now, Malaysians and the rest of the world will have to wait until May of next year.

Several countries including Europe, United States, Japan and China have already expressed great interest in the scooter, and the company views these demands as an encouraging sign. According to the article, the price may be around RM 3,000 ($820).


OK. This is what I want for Father's Day.


Jon B.

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Photos & Videos on the Web

Here are some links to the latest photo and video sites on the web from MIT's Technology Review.


Jon B.

Amateur Hour on the Web

Say good-bye to 500 cable channels -- the Internet has thousands of video producers. But is there anything on?

By Wade Roush

If there's room for one startup in a particular niche on the Web, there's room for 15 or 20. At least that seems to be the Net's resurrected credo.

And in some niches, it may even be true. When it comes to online photo storage and community photo sharing, for instance, the burgeoning population of amateur digital photographers is supporting many more sites than might be apparent at first, especially given all the media attention focused on one site: Yahoo's Flickr. There's also Bubbleshare, Fotki, Fotolog, Funtigo, Parazz, Phanfare, Photobucket, PhotoShow, PicPix, Picturecloud, Picturetrail, Pixagogo, Riya, Shutterfly, Smugmug, Snapfish, Tabblo, Webshots, and Zooomr, to name a few.

Now the boom in photo sharing has spread to the area of video sharing. New sites have been appearing every month, creating additional outlets and content choices for consumers who are snapping up -- and using -- increasingly affordable digital camcorders, video-recording cell phones, and portable media players. Most of these sites are free, to boot, and offer members the ability to upload their own digital videos to personal accounts, browse and search other members' videos, and download video files to hard drives or watch streaming-media versions.

A partial list of new entrants: AOL UnCut Video, blip.tv, Buzznet, CastPost, ClipShack, Dailymotion, Google Video, Jumpcut, Ourmedia, Revver, Streamload, Veoh, VideoEgg, Vimeo, vpod.tv, vSocial, the just-refurbished Yahoo Video, and, most popular, YouTube. And more video sites are in the works, but haven't officially launched, including Motionbox and Wallop. (Some of these sites also store photos, and vice-versa.

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Google Does Shakespeare

Google does Shakespeare

In support of New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park event, Google Books has created a nice landing page aggregating the complete works of the author. What better use could there be for Google Booksearch? What could better improve the PR of the controversial opt-out system for in-copyright books that Google has set up? To be fair, its search results won’t display the full text of books unless they are out of copyright. [For clarification on this, see the comment below from Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch.]

The forthcoming Windows Live Booksearch announced last week a partnership with the Universities of California and Toronto and that program will take an opt-in approach to indexing copyrighted works, meaning that most rights holders will have to submit the works before they are included in the Live.com database.

These two big players will be competing soon for all your book-searching needs. Expect Google to come up with more themed offerings and simple, elegant project pages.

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Google Execs Hint at Voice Recognition Services and Devices

This would be a handy development. It would make Google search available to millions of people who do not have or computers with web connections since Google search could be accessed via cell phone.

Google Execs Hint at Voice Recognition Services and Devices: "Senior Google executives are dropping big hints that the company's future growth will come not just from PCs but from voice recognition services over mobile cellular phones and cars.

For starters, consider this quote on page 153 in the World is Flat from Google CEO Eric Schmidt:

'We do discriminate only to the degree that if you can't use a computer or don't have access to one, you can't use Google, but other than that if you can type you can use Google...there will be no discrimination in accessing knowledge....Let's imagine a group with a Google iPod one day and you tell it to search by voice - that would take care of the people who can't use a computer - and then [Google access] just becomes about the rate at which we can get cheap devices into people's hands.'

Now add in this recent lecture given at Stanford by Google VP Marissa Mayer. When pondering the future of search, she said (around the 38:00 mark):

"I think that voice technology is going to become advanced along in five years where you will be able to talk to search engines...Computers are going to show up in strange and useful places. BMW come September will have computers on board every single one of its cars...imagine driving on a road and saying 'I need to find the nearest fast food restaurant.' There's a lot of interesting things that can happen."

Finally, Google recently filed a patent to put more beef behind a prototype they have had up since the early 2000s.

Expect Google to make a run at making its search services available in places we can't even think about now. There are billions of people, particularly in developing nations, that have cars and cell phones but don't use computers. That's a huge market for Google and these comments certainly make it seem like they are serious about reaching these pockets. So serious, in fact, that they may even launch their own cheap devices to do so.

08 June 2006

Congress is selling out the Internet

Petition Signers 770,792
Coalition Groups 746
Blog Links 5,410
MySpace Friends 10,223

Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an iPod? Everything we do online will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law next week that gives giant corporations more control over what we do and see on the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality--the Internet's First Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. BarnesandNoble.com doesn't have to outbid Amazon for the right to work properly on your computer.

If Net Neutrality is gutted, many sites--including Google, eBay, and iTunes--must either pay protection money to companies like AT&T or risk having their websites process slowly. That why these high-tech pioneers, plus diverse groups ranging from MoveOn to Gun Owners of America, are opposing Congress' effort to gut Internet freedom.

You can do your part today--can you sign this petition telling your member of Congress to preserve Internet freedom? Click here:


I signed this petition, along with over 750,000 others so far. This petiton will be delivered to Congress before the House of Representatives votes next week. When you sign, you'll be kept informed of the next steps we can take to keep the heat on Congress.

If companies like AT&T have their way, Web sites ranging from Google to eBay to iTunes either pay protection money to get into the "fast lane" or risk opening slowly on your computer. We can't let the Internet--this incredible medium which has been such a revolutionary force for democratic participation, economic innovation, and free speech--become captive to large corporations. 

Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Together, we do care about preserving the free and open Internet.

Please sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Internet freedom. Click here:



Jon B.

"Christians" by Maya Angelou

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04 June 2006

The Age of AIDS

Tonight I finished watching a very powerful documentary called The Age of AIDS produced by Frontline. The film is complemented by an informative website from which I have copied some highlights below.

We hear much ado about the bird flu these days and we all pray that humanity may be spared from this pandemic. Yet, humanity is already suffering from another pandemic that will likely remain with us for another generation. AIDS is a problem in Mississippi and around the world.

You may watch the film or explore the website from here. I respect Frontline for the thoughtful documentaries they produce and this one is an another excellent effort.

Jon B.

The first photo ever taken of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

On the 25th anniversary of the first diagnosed cases of AIDS, FRONTLINE examines one of the worst pandemics the world has ever known in "The Age of AIDS." After a quarter century of political denial and social stigma, of stunning scientific breakthroughs, bitter policy battles and inadequate prevention campaigns, HIV/AIDS continues to spread rapidly throughout much of the world, particularly in developing nations. To date, some 30 million people worldwide have already died of AIDS.

Positive Psychology :: Harvard

Go ahead and indulge your secret fantasies about being a student at Harvard University. Check out this free online course called "Positive Psychology" with Professor Tal D. Ben-Shahar. Here is the home page for the course. You may want to start by watching the video lectures. The best thing about the course (other than the price / which is free) is you don't have to take one single test. No grades. No papers. No pressure. What a wonderfully productive way to spend some "free time" studying at Harvard University online.

Jon B.

Our Purpose is Goal Alignment

"The purpose of a team is not goal attainment but goal alignment."

Taken from Peopleware : Productive Projects and Teams, 2nd Ed. (Paperback) by Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister

Jaron Lanier quote

The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots.

Jackson Pollock-a-sketch

Here is a free artwork tool that will help you paint with your mouse on your computer screen in a style reminiscent of Jackson Pollock. Click your mouse button to change colors. Move your mouse to paint. Go ahead and get creative. And there is no mess to clean up. I'll paste my source below.

Jon B.

In 2003, Miltos Manetas
created used someone else's work to make a site to create your own Jackson Pollock-esque "painting." Link |permalink