Begin forwarded message:
Subject: Political Correctness
There is an annual contest at Texas A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. This year's term was
The winner wrote:
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."
Thursday, October 29, 2009
is survived, rectified, and not repeated.
Date: Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 2:42 PM
Subject: Re: Fall pay
The second paycheck just was deposited today, so everything's caught up now. THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your work on this!!!!
If it weren't for you, I be making tomato soup out of ketchup right about now!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 9:57 PM
Subject: Re: Fall pay
I am so glad that your pay has finally arrived! There is really no excuse why it took so long to get this done. I hope you would come in to get an emergency loan before making ketchup soup! When I was in grad school, I had a few friends who ate from the free crackers and pickles and other condiments at the student cafeteria. Not pretty!
Let me know if you have any more problems.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
In Orwell's description, Winston and other drones had to continually "update" books and newspapers to conform to the current Party narrative.
But in our day, such effort is not nearly as necessary. In these days of the Internet, it's easier than ever to change content at will, and it's not as if there's 300,000 incriminating copies of the original in print that you have to track down and destroy! In fact, much of the Internet's content exists only as bits and bytes -- there's no paper trail at all!
And, as Google has handily shown in China, censorship doesn't even have to be a matter of destroying content.
It can be a matter of manipulated search results, or outright denied access.
This point arose poignantly in my mind when I saw a clip from the 2008 presidential election where Bill-the-Impeached-Clinton told an audience about content that B.O. had removed from his website. It struck me all of the sudden how little accountability there is in an Internet-based-world where content can be continually morphed or deleted. Can a single pdf screenshot of a website that's since been changed hold up in a court of law? Even if it can, who's going to spend their life archiving websites to preserve material that may later become incriminating?
As a follow-up, I think it is very important for Americans to realize the amount of oppression brought on by Communism. Recently I asked a Chinese friend if his country had an equivalent of India's Bollywood and America's Hollywood. He said no, that he avoids the theaters when he goes home. Why? I asked, dumbfounded. He said it was because all the movies kowtow to the Party.
We must not only think about what might happen in our country if Marxism takes over. We must also work to free those who are currently oppressed body-and-soul by Marxism.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Ain't it great? Our campus is free, clear, and ethical now. I feel better. Don't you feel better?
Hmm... I wonder what they're doing now... doing time? Retreating to a South American country? Writing a tell-all?
It seems that we just can't get rid of 'em.
Which brings me to a question that's haunted me for years: what is the politically unpardonable sin?
White and Herman demonstrate that ethical violations aren't it. Bill Clinton amply demonstrated that perjury ain't it. B.O. demonstrated that sitting under a hate-spewer for two decades ain't it. But Dan Quayle showed that spelling "potato" wrong is. Huh?
"White, who teaches about ethics and leadership, will remain at the university as a business professor earning about $300,000 a year, as allowed in his contract. White also will continue to work on a fundraising campaign that was among his major initiatives." (From a September 23 article).
Lesson to students: if you get caught, cover your tail as long as possible. If that fails, resign. But don't leave! If your papers are in order, we'll pay you to stay on campus as a faculty member!
What about Mr. Herman? Surely he's history!
Oh no. "After serving as a special assistant to the president, Herman will become a math education professor at $244,000 a year and will have an office at the College of Education." (See the full article for more details).
We wouldn't want these two blokes to feel overly responsible for their past decisions, now would we? We want them to continue educating, now don't we?
Notice that in his letter to all us students Herman says that he "regrets the circumstances." What about regretting your actions, sir?
Lesson to students: if you get caught and are force to apologize, wring your hands -- not over your violations -- over being caught. Then brag on yourself, and most of all, stay close to the scene of your crimes.
Too bad the annual, required UIUC ethics training didn't cover admissions protocol.
Or would it have mattered? After all, they were issued by Blagojevich's office!
What a state!
But why should I be surprised? After all, we have a former? terrorist -- Bill Ayers -- on faculty in Chicago!
(P.S. So just who benefitted from Herman's improprieties? Well, a relative of Tony Rezko, for one. When I googled Tony's name, I turned over a rather ugly rock. It turns out that he jumpstarted the Senate campaign of none other than -- drumroll, please! -- Barack Obama!!!!
But, of course, I know that B.O. never has committed any improprieties in his life, and far be it from me to question the ethics of anyone tied to someone as illustrious as Tony Rezko!)
From: Chancellor Richard Herman <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 12:30 PM
Subject: MASSMAIL - Message to Campus Community
To: All Faculty & All Academic Professionals & All Civil Service Staff & All Undergrad Students & All Grad Students <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
As you likely know, I have given the Board of Trustees my resignation.
It has been the great privilege of my life to serve for 11 years as your
Provost and Chancellor. I will not reiterate the complicated and agonizing
steps that have brought us to this place, except to say that I regret the
circumstances. I'm confident that Illinois will be stronger for all that
we have learned from the controversy. Ours is a great university--great
because of its distinguished history; its brilliant, dedicated and
hardworking faculty and staff; and its smart and idealistic students.
I am proud that many initiatives launched during my time will continue:
the 100 new faculty excellence professors, the ethnic and multiracial
studies programs, the Institute for Genomic Biology, and the Illinois
Promise Program that has brought 700 students from low income families to
campus with the promise that they will graduate debt-free. Yet I did none
of this alone. We did it all together. We achieved great things on our
watch because greatness is built into the bone and sinew of Illinois.
Never doubt it. Always strive for it. And remember that great aspirations
must always precede great achievements. The excellence and creativity long
embedded in our university was always the source of my inspiration.
I thank all of you for helping to make Illinois better. I prepare to step
down as Chancellor knowing that my contributions are left behind for
others to build upon, as I built upon the contributions of those before
me. It would be disingenuous for me not to acknowledge that my resignation
pains me deeply. But I do not worry about the University of Illinois.
Great institutions are stronger than any one person who leads them. And
Illinois is a great institution. As I return to become a member of the
faculty, I plan to do my small part to continue to contribute, and I know
all of you will do the same.
At Illinois, as always, we will go onward and upward.
This mailing approved by:
The Office of the Chancellor
This Message sent via MASSMAIL. < http://www.cites.illinois.edu/services/massmail/ >
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
From: CMDA <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 9:14 AM
Subject: CMDA Weekly Devotion - Healthcare Reform
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" Ps 56:3-4
As Christian doctors, under God, we need to:
As our country is caught up in a swirling political debate over health care reform, it is not at all clear how to reach all of these goals. The process often seems chaotic and self serving. In such a time as this, Christian doctors need to focus on three levels of responsibility that will honor God.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Case in point: it mentions the bubonic plague! I'd always loved the story of Dagon falling on his face in front of God's ark, but the next chapter is just as loaded with interesting material. The Philistines get the bubonic plague! No wonder they're so freaked out! Rats invade their country, and they start getting tumors. When they finally decide to send the ark of the covenant away, they send five gold tumors and five gold rats with it. (That must have been an interesting project!)
Boy, is this cool.
(And as a side note, has anyone out there ever seen a good book that gives details on the diseases/conditions mentioned in the Bible? I've heard bits and pieces about research people have done into this, but I've never read a good, solid book on the subject. The little bit I've heard is that people with a condition analogous to Nebuchadnezzer ("I am animal") have been clinically observed, that people have been known to sweat blood when under extreme stress, that the water and blood that flowed out of Jesus' pierced side was a sign that his pericardium had been punctured, and now I see that the bubonic plague was in the Bible too. Anyway, if you know of any book that goes into more detail on this, let me know!)
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
"[M]any of the odd turns of phrase we read in the KJV were just as odd to the English reading public introduced to the version in 1611. Shakespeare's England was arguably more perplexed by some of the KJV's phraseology than we may be, since many of the Hebraic idioms and other strict translations have become part of our language due to the KJV's cultural penetration over the centuries. We are used to expressions such as these coined by the KJV's attempts at literalness: 'fall flat on his face,' 'a man after his own heart,' 'to pour out one's heart,' 'the land of the living,' 'from time to time,' 'the skin of my teeth,' 'to put words in his mouth,' and 'like a lamb to the slaughter.'"
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Friday, October 02, 2009
But polymerases? Yep. They are crying out right now.
When describing T7 RNA polymerase and Taq DNA polymerase, Keefe and Cload have this to say: "these polymerases are generally specific for their substrates; therefore, it is often a challenge to get them to incorporate nucleotides containing modifications. As a consequence, considerable efforts have been made to discover variants of wild-type polymerases that are more able to accept modified nucleotides." Keefe, A.; Cload, S. "SELEX with Modified Nucleotides." Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 2008, 12, 448-456."
I believe that if the veil covering evolutionary biologists' eyes could be removed, they would see the incredible Divine design of biological systems.
I use the SELEX technique (Systematic Evolution by EXponential Enrichment), and from the beginning I've been amazed at how artificial it is. This is not mimicking evolution in nature by any stretch: we have the ability to create a pool on the order of 10^14 different DNA sequences, then send them through a series of flaming hula-hoops to screen them for preferred activity. This simply isn't how things are out in nature, for at least two reasons:
1) We can rapidly produce a pool of sequences to choose from. SELEX literature repeatedly emphasizes the fact that pool preparation step is seminal. If you don't start out with a good chunk of sequence space, you are substantially weakening your odds of finding a desired result. You want to have as many sequences to choose from as possible. So, we pay a company to sequence a random template, and then have ourselves some fun with PCR. Here's the problem: the last time I checked, the cells in my body didn't have an account with this company. They're pretty much "stuck" with the template of my genome, neatly folded away in the nucleus of my cells. (And you thought I wasn't good at folding!) We don't have to work against the Divinely-instilled conservatism of the cell. The cell does. Oh, not to worry, you might tell me. The cell can get creative with mutations. Excuse me? Are you forgetting the number of checks, doublechecks, triplechecks, and quadrillionchecks that the cell has to protect itself against mutations? Can mutations happen? Yes. Can mutations in the cell come anywhere near close to the pool of DNA sequences I can produce to start the SELEX process? No. Mutations are typically small changes: point mutations (single changes in a nucleotide), insertions (adding a new base), and deletions (removing a base). My SELEX template has a 50-base random region. That means I'm varying 50 bases at a pop. The cell can't come anywhere near that kind of variation, but it would need that kind of change to see the kind of variety evolutionists would want.
In short, the cell is conservative. And that's a good thing. That's why we don't all have xeroderma pigmentosum. Even small variations in our genome can cause devastating diseases if they're not abruptly rectified, but those small variations can't bring about the sea of change that separate mollusks from frogs, chimps from humans.
All variances in a "kind" of animal just produces a bell-shaped curve. (Statistics is coming in all shapes and forms this week, eh?) Too many mutations in a cat doesn't produce a dog. It just produces a dead cat.
You can look at this as God putting His thumb on genetic variation in a living organism, or you can look at it as God mercifully giving every living creature a definite identity, and providing boundaries to ensure that even over 6,000 years of reproduction those creatures would still have identities.
2) We can nurse our sequences up to a robust end result. In short, we're nannies for these nanosequences. We place them in a nuclease-free environment, provide them with only the purest of water, and carefully monitor all fluctuations in temperature and buffer. If we though nanoIVs might help our little newborns, we'd start them on those. Everything is done to protect them from the hostile world we'll *sigh* have to release them into someday. This simply isn't how it is in nature. In nature, from the beginning, and at each intermediate step, the design of the organism/cell/molecule must be functional, because it is inside a hostile environment without any intervention from an obsessive grad student.
To sum up, I think I'm not blown away enough. I don't let myself be amazed when I think about the four building blocks that God's used to make each person distinctive, unique. I don't let myself be amazed by the fact that every kind of living organism we've ever studies uses the same four building blocks, but is genetically distinct from every other kind of living organism. I don't let myself be amazed when I think about the reproduction path God designed so that from two people would come a new person, genetically distinct, of the same kind, with each parent equally responsible for its genetic information, and equally on the Lord's mercy to have the development progress on schedule. I don't let myself be amazed by the dynamic turnover God designed so that RNA and DNA do not last forever in a cell, but are systematically degraded so that they cannot give rise to defective copies once they've begun to age. I don't let myself be amazed at the Divine recycling program, where God put a finite number of atoms into our sandbox, and He's ensured enough overlap between all the living organisms of the earth that we can share the same atoms, and yet have enough to go around. I don't allow myself to be amazed by the alternately delicate and forceful processes that enable the complete digestion of almost anything we put into our mouths, allowing for the extraction of amino acids, nucleotides, water, and lipids without even the aid of a solvent still, a mortar and pestle, or a sep. funnel. I don't let myself be amazed by the mystery of life, the fact that "animation" is so key to life, but so completely inexplicable to the intelligent, but self-limiting materialist. I don't let myself be amazed by the number of things God balanced out to make a world predictable enough that we can actually find scientific laws, but variable enough that for 6,000 years of sin even those who devote their lives to hate haven't found a way to annihilate it. I don't let myself be amazed that the machinations of my larynx produces vibrations that reproducibly communicate something to the person across from me. I don't let myself be amazed that there are constants in this world. I don't let myself be amazed that God wrote a book. I don't let myself be amazed that a God like God would take any interest in a person like me. I don't let myself be amazed that in spite of who I am, Jesus Christ loves me, longs to spend time with me, and gave me His life so I could be with Him forever.
If I don't let myself be amazed, if I just walk out the door each morning (like I have), grumbling about the rush, and not even noticing that the world's still there, that cats are still cats, that dogs are still dogs, that the letter "a" hasn't morphed overnight into a pink feather boa, I think I'll die.
I think I'm going to let myself be amazed.