Tuesday, November 23, 2010
In our physics class, I mentioned one day that there are two different types of impulses. One type involves a gradual change, where a small force is applied for a long time -- or fΔT. The other type of impulse would be a quick, "painful" change, involving a large force exerted for a relatively short amount of time -- or FΔt. This would be the difference between catching a hockey puck gently by sliding back your stick as you catch it, versus leaving your stick still. I remember the scene in Mighty Ducks where they practiced this with eggs on the court, and many eggs were broken.
All this got me thinking that God tends to exert changes on us and often these changes take one of two different methods. At times, God has changed me with big events -- namely my mothers death, the birth of my baby girl, and a huge bout of depression that came about requiring medical attention when I was a senior in high school. Each of these have had a noticeable change in character. But God has also shaped me through many small ideas for a long time. The constant shaping of Christian schooling, and the loving example of my father, over 12 and 29 years respectively, have brought me to a trusting knowledge of God, and developed a loving character in me that, for the most part, desires to meet others needs above my own.
How has God impulsed (impacted?) your life? Has it been through big events, or a more gradual change?
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
To make things easier, I'll take away some of the nuances of the game of backgammon--rolling doubles, or the fact that pieces have to be moved in certain ways--and just ask the crucial question:
If we take turns rolling dice and I have to accumulate 100 points and you have to accumulate 100 points, what's the probability that I get there first and "win"? Assume you roll 2 dice at a time, and its my turn.
An alternate question is how many turns will it take to accumulate 100 points. Answering this question suggests that the game should be over in 100 / 7 or probably 15 turns. But it could end as soon as 100/12 or 9 turns, or could take as long as 100/2 or 50 turns. What's the probability that it ends in 9 turns, 10 turns, 11 turns, etc....
But would knowing those probabilities help answer the original question--The probability that I get there before my opponent?
I'll say that these are questions I don't know how to answer, even though I love probability and have worked out many difficult calculations before -- perhaps a little more research will help.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Click on the title to watch.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
- They occur also in the south, called Aurora Australis
- They occur on other planets.
- They can be seen from space - the international space station has taken many beautiful pictures of it.
- The collisions occur about 50 miles above the earth, or roughly 1% of the radius of the earth above the earths surface.
- The auroras reach furthest toward the equators around midnight, so on any given day that would be the best time to try to observe them.
- Solar Flares, or "zit poppings" occur often -- once a week or so during good times and several a day during rough solar complexion. This varies in an 11 year cycle (why 11 years?!) and we are approaching a peak, 2013 should be a year of a lot of flares, and likely a lot more auroras visible. Perhaps the sun just ate a bunch of pepperoni pizza?
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Got a new phone number today. I'm now using Google Voice, an application provided by the omnipotent Google. Basically, you sign up and pick a phone number (its a local 616 area code) and you can have it forward any calls to that number to any of several phones you have. So I have two phone numbers now -- my personal number and this new (616) 799-ROER.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
The foundation of my beliefs is that this world was created by God. God is eternal, which means he has always existed and always will. God is all-powerful, and all-knowing, and deserving of all our worship. I believe God created mankind with that purpose in mind, that the things we do and say would glorify him.
I also believe that God is holy – he is pure and perfect, true love, truth and just. Man was created in that image, but man chose to live apart from God. As a consequence, there is evil, pain, and suffering in the world, and everyone now is born corrupted by sin and inherently living against God. Thankfully God loves us too much to let us stay apart from him, and he sent his son Jesus to save us and restore us to relationship with him. God calls us to know and live with him using two methods. First he uses general revelation, which is the nature all around us that points to him as creator. Second, he uses the special revelation that is his word, the Bible.
My role as a Christian educator is to help share this story, and reveal God to others, specifically to my students. As a math and science teacher, I tend to focus on general revelation, showing how the patterns and beauty and order we see in the world exhibits the properties of its creator. I use a lot of technology to do that. I show pictures of things I cannot physically bring into the classroom. I use microscopes and telescopes to see details in things that would otherwise be less glorious. I use databases and graphs to help show patterns. I even use technology like calculators to help teach other technologies like solving equations and quantifying things with numbers, all with the goal of describing the world as we see it.
There are lots of technologies that help teach via special revelation as well. The simple book binding machines that bring us our Bibles in the first place are a technology. More advanced tools are presentation tools like PowerPoint or word processors like Word that help present the ideas and stories of the Bible more effectively. There are videos that inspire us and instruments that help us sing the words of truth we get from the Bible. There are computers that help us communicate with others around the world and share our beliefs and discuss what the Bible teaches.
However, many of these technologies is also used by enemies of God to keep us away from him. Atheists can make presentations and propaganda using the same tools we can. Instruments can be used to sing songs that speak lies instead of the truth. Pornographers can create pictures and videos that tempt us to live for self instead of God. Telescopes used under the wrong assumptions can even lead some to believe this world is not created at all, but is itself eternal and infinite.
Technology is amoral – neither holy nor evil. It is similar to money, food, or even words for that matter. God has allowed us to have all these things and given us the choice in how to use them. We can either use them to honor him, or dishonor him. We can use them to help tell others about him to give him praise, or use them to communicate lies. We can even use them to glorify ourselves, or satisfy our own sinful desires, such as greed, pride, lust, or sloth. It is up to us to use the gifts and technologies he’s given us correctly.
And many times, just discerning the correct way to use our words, money, or technologies is an educational goal of its own.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
A worldview is a system of beliefs and assumptions one makes, either consciously or unconsciously, which shapes how they act. It has been described as a set of glasses or filters through which you look at the world around you. There are as many worldviews as there are people, though many common themes exist. As a teacher seeking to interact with many people and try to teach them, it is of utmost importance to be aware of your own worldview, but also those of your students, colleagues, and coworkers. What follows is my description of the beliefs and assumptions I live by, and how I believe they impact my role as a teacher. My belief in and relationship with God is the primary lens my worldview is built around.
Since man, like everything else, was created, the most important question to ask is why? I believe the name Adonai provides the answer. Adonai is translated “Lord” in the Bible. A lord deserves honor. A lord deserves obedience. A lord owns the land, and the people who work on it. Likewise, our heavenly Father deserves all the honor, glory, praise, and obedience that we his people can give.
I believe there was an initial pair of humans, Adam and Eve, into whom God breathed life. This pair worshiped God freely until one day when they chose to disobey him, eating fruit from a forbidden tree. This first act of disobedience, also called sin, ushered in a curse. The perfect life they had enjoyed was now riddled with pain, suffering, and finally would result in their death. This is evil: the natural consequence of disobeying God, of which the ultimate penalty is death.
Fortunately, there is life after death, both spiritually and physically. God’s son Jesus lived a perfectly obedient, sinless life. So complete was his obedience, and his love for mankind, that his unwarranted death on a cross paid the penalty that we each deserved. This act restores spiritual life in us. This act reconciles us with our holy creator, removing the guilt of our sin. No longer are we dead to sin, but we can once again choose freely to obey God, and do the works he has called us to do. This is the abundant life that Jesus came to give to us all.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
The topic of our first real discussion in my "Issues in Education" class was what role behaviourism should have in education. Behavioursim is the psychological approach of controlling behavior through the use of conditioning, or using reinforcemnt -- or as I define it: "drool-training." The classic example described is Pavlov's dog experiment. By ringing a bell when presenting food to his dogs, the dogs learned to associate the ringing of a bell with food, and would drool when the bell rings -- even if no food was around. This sort of behavior-training is the heart of behaviorism.
The articles we read - one pro-behaviorism by none other than B.F. Skinner himself - and another emphasizing the role of human choice, seemed to demonize behaviorists as manipulative, controlling tyrants. The beginning of the discussion seemed to center on this, and lean against the use of any sort of reinforcement training - i.e. the use of punishments, rewards, etc.
I felt alone in believing that behavioristic methods had some merit. I argued that behaviorism is quite natural -- we use it to train our cats and dogs -- even our young children. Some argued that students should be make their own choices, free from any external rewards or punishments.
The thing is, no choices are free from rewards or punishments -- ultimately, every choice we make has a consequence. I think the role of behaviorism in school is for students who haven't yet learned the consequences of their actions. So, for very young students, behaviorism in the form of gold stars and otherwise is certainly appropriate. Once students have learned that there are other rewards to doing right and consequences for doing bad, then behaviorism techniques should wane. It probably would not be appropriate in say a senior level class. For freshman -- possibly? Some freshman are already good at choosing wisely. Others are further behind.
Monday, July 12, 2010
While attending my first class at Cornerstone today, we were doing a get-to-know you activity where we had to list one thing that "we never told our parents we did". I did very few secret things, and so thought it was a stupid question -- but only one thing came to mind.
Sometime early in high school -- maybe even middle school, I went to see an R-rated movie with my older cousin and some of his friends. I was not old enough. I can't remember what the movie was, or even how I managed to get in, being significantly younger than 17, but I did. I didn't want to go to see this movie -- but did and was told not to tell my parents. I never did.
The only thing I remember about the movie is that there was a sex scene. Thankfully, I don't remember the details -- but it did have a lasting effect on me. Throughout my high school and college years, I struggled with my thought life and my view of women. Was this directly a result of my cousin making me go to this movie -- of course not. But it was one of several initial encounters I had that lead me down a battle I wish I hadn't had to fight.
Needless to say, nowadays I take a strong stance on watching movies. My wife and I don't watch anything without "previewing" it first -- by reviews, or by looking at websites like Plugged In Movie Review to learn what's in it. I believe strongly that what you input into your system controls what comes out, and movies is one big influence on me, and many others. Carrie and I have found other things to do many times when a movie night was suggested for a movie we either hadn't previewed, or knew contained questionable material. Have I missed out on some good movies because of it? Possibly -- but I'm ok with that.
So next time you suggest a movie to me and I have something else to do -- don't be offended.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Microsoft Outlook is telling me it's been three days since I last wrote in my blog, so I am writing again. I haven't been living as intentionally as I've wanted, so I am trying something new.
There are certain things I want to do consistently -- so I've used Microsoft Outlook to help hold me a little more accountable. For instance -- I want to "do devotions" everyday. So I set that as a task that recurs every day -- and so every morning when I turn on the computer it tells me that I need to do that.
Well, writing in the blog is something I want to do more consistently too, so I have it set to remind me every three days to write something. If I write before that -- great! If I write after that, no big deal, but it will continue to show up on my to do list until it gets done. Then it will move to three days later.
Other things on the list -- clean Ninja litter box every other day. (Not sure why I'm still doing this -- thought it was a temporary thing while Carrie was pregnant cause "pregnant women can't touch cat poop!") Doing dishes every other day. Take trash out, every thursday.
Not exactly sure how I feel about having devotions relegated to a task on my to do list - but I'd rather it be something I feel like I need to do just to get it done then not do them at all, which is what I had been doing. I suppose that's a philosohpical discussion to include in my next post, three days from now.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I've been waiting and waiting to write anything because I wanted it to be the most deep profound thoughts on being a new papa, but I can't think of anything.