5.18.2019

When Turkey Destroyed Its Christians



From 1894 to 1924, a staggered campaign of genocide targeted not just the region’s Armenians but its Greek and Assyrian communities as well​

Excerpt:

Between 1894 and 1924, the number of Christians in Asia Minor fell from some 3-4 million to just tens of thousands—from 20% of the area’s population to under 2%. Turkey has long attributed this decline to wars and the general chaos of the period, which claimed many Muslim lives as well. But the descendants of Turkey’s Christians, many of them dispersed around the world since the 1920s, maintain that the Turks murdered about half of their forebears and expelled the rest.

The Christians are correct. Our research verifies their claims: Turkey’s Armenian, Greek and Assyrian (or Syriac) communities disappeared as a result of a staggered campaign of genocide beginning in 1894, perpetrated against them by their Muslim neighbors. By 1924, the Christian communities of Turkey and its adjacent territories had been destroyed.

Over the past decade, we have sifted through the Turkish, U.S., British and French archives, as well as some Greek materials and the papers of the German and Austro-Hungarian foreign ministries. This research has made it possible to document a strikingly consistent pattern of ethno-religious atrocity over three decades, perpetrated by the Turkish government, army, police and populace.

The concentrated slaughter of Turkey’s Armenians in 1915-16, commonly known as the Armenian genocide, is well documented and acknowledged (outside of Turkey, which still bitterly objects to the charge). But the Armenian genocide was only a part, albeit the centerpiece, of a larger span of elimination that lasted some 30 years. Our work provides the first detailed description and analysis of the 1894-96 massacres and the destruction of the region’s Greek and remaining Armenian communities in 1919-24 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish republic.

The bloodshed was importantly fueled throughout by religious animus. Muslim Turks—aided by fellow Muslims, including Kurds, Circassians, Chechens and Arabs—murdered about two million Christians in bouts of slaughter immediately before, during and after World War I. These massacres were organized by three successive governments, those of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II, the Young Turks and, finally, Atatürk. These governments also expelled between 1.5 and 2 million Christians, mostly to Greece.
Comment: When a country is majority Muslim - Christians die!

5.17.2019

The Vacuous Promise of Living in Outer Space





Enjoy Outer Space! I’ll Stay on Earth.
Excerpt:

Are we really all going to go live in outer space? Budding space Wonka Jeff Bezos had a big event last week to say it’s coming, that his rocket company Blue Origin will help make it possible, but—not to sound like an intergalactic wet blanket—I’m on the fence about abandoning Earth, and schlepping off to the stars. Yes, I know I may not have a choice: that overpopulation, climate change and cable news may eventually make our current planet an impossible place to live. What I’m asking is: What if it’s optional? What if living in outer space is a choice? I’m not sure I need to go.
Comment: Images: 1st, 2nd

5.15.2019

4270 Cottonwood

4270 Cottonwood

My neighbor's house goes on the market soon (I think next week)


Comments:
  • Predict that it goes on the market for $ 379K (prediction date = 5/15/19)
  • And that it sells for $ 360K

5.06.2019

Heroes



Lori Kaye, 60, Who ‘Thought of Others Before Herself’ - she took bullet to save her rabbi’s life

Excerpt:

Lori Kaye loved greeting cards; she had one for nearly any occasion. Whether a birthday, anniversary or condolence, someone leaving on a trip or returning from one, Kaye pulled one out from her vast collection, wrote a message and delivered the card.

“She knew what everyone was up to, what was happening in their lives, and she cared to make them feel special,” shares her longtime friend, Teresa Lampert. “She was an incredible person.”

Kaye was killed on Shabbat morning, the last of the eight days of Passover, during the anti-Semitic shooting attack at Chabad-Lubavitch of Poway that shocked the nation. She had just stepped out into the lobby to check on the children’s group in the playground when the attacker burst into the building and shot her. Kaye, a woman remembered for her kindness, sensitivity, enthusiasm and generosity, spent her last minutes on earth in the lobby of the synagogue and community center she had done so much to see into reality.


The UNCC student who died charging a gunman received military honors




Excerpt:



The University of North Carolina at Charlotte student who died after tackling the gunman in last week's campus shooting was remembered at a memorial service with military honors on Sunday, where close friends and family recalled a humble young man who loved the outdoors and was kind to everyone he met.

Authorities have said that Riley Howell, a 21-year-old ROTC cadet at UNCC, charged the shooter after he opened fire with a pistol in a classroom last Tuesday, saving the lives of others.

Howell was killed, along with 19-year-old Reed Parlier of Midland, North Carolina. Four others were injured.

"Maybe it was God that moved the levers, that put Riley in that classroom on that day, at the exact time for the purpose of saving others," said Kevin Westmoreland, the father of Howell's girlfriend, Lauren.

"It was not out of character for him," he said, "and maybe someone in that room is here for a greater purpose, and it was Riley's destiny to sacrifice himself for them."




5.05.2019

Minesweeper - Addictive


  • I bought for my Mac when Kathee went out of town last week
  • I played it hundreds of times
  • Remember when it was in Windows 3.1?

5.02.2019

Tactics for Atheists



Tactics for Atheists

Excerpt:

Consider this scenario. An atheist engages two Christians on a sidewalk and begins to gently and genially engage them about their beliefs. Their initial, breezy assurance begins to fade, however, as they falter in the face of carefully-worded questions about the things they think they know “by faith.” The atheist gives no evidence for atheism. He gives no evidence against Christianity. Instead, he only does one thing. He asks questions about “faith” as a way of knowing. He remains calm and friendly as the discussion closes, but by that time one of the Christians is visibly uncomfortable.
Comment: Good read

4.17.2019

Draw


  • I made a critical mistake and lost my Queen early in a Knight fork
  • At this juncture in the game, Black is up by:
    • 1 Pawn (8 to 7)
    • And the Black Queen to my White Knight (6 points)
    • 7 Points total!
    • There's no way White can win
    • But I have a very good defense. Eg 
      • The Black Bishop is locked in
      • All of the White Pawns are on Black spaces (impervious to attack)
      • My White Bishop is really mis-positioned but is protected by my Knight
    • For the last two dozen moves, I have moved my King: G1 to G2 ... G2 to G1
  • It's a draw
  • If I were Black:
    • I would have maneuvered the Black Bishop to a position to attack and exchange with the White Bishop
    • And then tried to open up the H column

4.12.2019

Lost Rook to foolish mistake - come from behind


  • Kathee out grocery shopping - played a nice game of chess
  • As the title indicates, I lost a Rook midway through the game but managed to struggle back
  • At the time I lost the Rook, Black had 2 Rooks, White 1 Rook + 2 Knights. 
  • Two Knights and King played defense while remaining Rook picked away and protected Pawn to Queen advance.
  • I didn't need two Queens to win, but sometimes I'm merciless

4.05.2019

Will never be Won


  • I play about 4-5 games of chess a day. 
  • My win rate is about 20%
  • One has to be completely error free against a computer because a computer will never make a mistake
  • (one of the joys of playing against the average human, it that they will make a mistake and one can "blow it open")
  • The above is an error free game. Tit for Tat
  • If I had a Knight ...
  • Last game of the day!

4.02.2019

On Mutual Fund Expenses


  • One might think that 1.19% is reasonable (and perhaps it is). But consider this ...
  • If one has $ 100,000 invested in this ... it's $ 1,190 every year!
  • GGBZX is a classic "fund of funds"
  • And what are the components of GGBZX?

  • For a true expense ratio of 2.02%
  • Contrast the expenses of SPY
The Oracle of Omaha made a very public bet with Protégé Partners on December 19, 2007, that over the following 10 years, an unmanaged S&P 500 index fund would outperform a collection of five high-profile fund-of-funds. Buffett won the bet... and it wasn’t even close. The S&P 500 returned a cumulative 125.8% (or 8.5% per year). The hedge funds delivered cumulative returns ranging from just 2.8% to 87.7% (0.3% to 6.5% per year). And remember, this time period includes the 2008 meltdown.

4.01.2019

Blitz



3.29.2019

Fell behind but Won


  • On points, Black was ahead:
  • Equal on Pawns (6)
  • But Black had 2 Rooks to my 1 Rook & 1 Knight
  • Nice protected defense for the White King at A2

The Grandparents I Never Knew


  • Yesterday - just yesterday! - was the first time I had ever seen this photo. I'm not exactly sure why I had never seen this photo. It was in my mother's collection and now in my sister's.
  • This is the only known photo of my grandparents
  • Charles Peet (d 1946)
  • DeEtta Peet (d 1950)

Victory at Dawn

3.25.2019

Checkmate by Pawn


  • Pawn: G2 to G3
  • For whatever reason, perhaps because I am right handed, I most often work the right flank
  • Black King unwisely ventured into risk
  • White King protected Pawns at F3 and G3

3.09.2019

The Bull Market a Decade on ... Running with the Bull



The Bull Market Began 10 Years Ago.

Excerpt:

The financial system had nearly collapsed. The deepest recession in decades was devouring over 700,000 jobs a month. Roughly $13 trillion in stock market wealth, slowly rebuilt since the dot-com bust, had again been incinerated. It was March 2009. And it was one of the best times in a generation to buy stocks. A decade later, the bull market that began back then ranks among the great rallies in stock-market history. The 305 percent surge in the S&P 500 is the index’s second-best run ever. The rise has generated more than $30 trillion in wealth. Adjusted for inflation, that is the most created during any bull run on record, edging out the $25 trillion in gains during the epic streak from December 1987 to March 2000, which ended with the bursting of the dot-com bubble, according to Federal Reserve data.
Mark Haines Calls the Stock Market Bottom, March 10, 2009

Excerpt:

In this clip from the March 10, 2009 edition of CNBC's Squawk on the Street, the late Mark Haines tells Erin Burnett, "I think we're at a bottom. I really do." As the credit crisis continued to swirl, the Dow had closed the day before at 6,547.05, a staggering 54 percent plunge from its all-time closing high above 14,000 in October of 2007.

Mark Haines Calls the Stock Market Bottom, March 10, 2009 from CNBC.

2/20/2009 is the day I started individual investing. I called a broker and bought 1,000 shares of FITB for just above $ 1,000. I later sold for about $ 10,000.

From there:
  • I opened a Wells Trade account enabling me to have 100 free trades a year (I'm grandfathered into this deal ... no longer offered)
  • Shortly thereafter we paid our mortgage off and I began to invest $ 2,000 per month 
  • After a bit, we were at the point that we lived in one salary and invested the other
  • We continue to invest. Recently buying IBM and CSCO

3.04.2019

Disabusing the 97% claim




Fact Checking The Claim Of 97% Consensus On Anthropogenic Climate Change

Excerpt:

The 97% figure has been disputed and vigorously defended, with emotional arguments and counterarguments published in a number of papers. Although the degree of consensus is only one of several arguments for anthropogenic climate change – the statements of professional societies and evidence presented in reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are others – there is data to suggest that support is lower. In this post, I attempt to determine whether the 97% consensus is fact or fiction.

The 97% number was popularized by two articles, the first by Naomi Oreskes, now Professor of Science History and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, and the second by a group of authors led by John Cook, the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland. Both papers were based on analyses of earlier publications. Other analyses and surveys arrive at different, often lower, numbers depending in part on how support for the concept was defined and on the population surveyed.

This public discussion was started by Oreskes’ brief 2004 article, which included an analysis of 928 papers containing the keywords “global climate change.” The article says “none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position” of anthropogenic global warming. Although this article makes no claim to a specific number, it is routinely described as indicating 100% agreement and used as support for the 97% figure.

In a 2007 book chapter, Oreskes infers that the lack of expressed dissent “demonstrates that any remaining professional dissent is now exceedingly minor.” The chapter revealed that there were about 235 papers in the 2004 article, or 25%, that endorsed the position. An additional 50% were interpreted to have implicitly endorsed, primarily on the basis that they discussed evaluation of impacts. Authors addressing impacts might believe that the Earth is warming without believing it is anthropogenic. In the article, Oreskes said some authors she counted "might believe that current climate change is natural." It is impossible to tell from this analysis how many actually believed it. On that basis, I find that this study does not support the 97% number.

The most influential and most debated article was the 2013 paper by Cook, et al., which popularized the 97% figure. The authors used methodology similar to Oreskes but based their analysis on abstracts rather than full content. I do not intend to reopen the debate over this paper. Instead, let’s consider it along with some of the numerous other surveys available.

Reviews of published surveys were published in 2016 by Cook and his collaborators and by Richard S. J. Tol, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex. The 2016 Cook paper, which reviews 14 published analyses and includes among its authors Oreskes and several authors of the papers shown in the chart below, concludes that the scientific consensus “is robust, with a range of 90%–100% depending on the exact question, timing and sampling methodology.” The chart shows the post-2000 opinions summarized in Table 1 of the paper. Dates given are those of the survey, not the publication date. I’ve added a 2016 survey of meteorologists from George Mason University and omitted the Oreskes article.

... Despite the difficulty in defining a precise number and the opinion that the exact number is not important, 97% continues to be widely publicized and defended. One might ask why 97% is important. Perhaps it’s because 97% has marketing value. It sounds precise and says that only 3% disagree. By implication, that small number who disagree must be out of the mainstream: cranks, chronic naysayers, or shills of the fossil fuel industry. They are frequently described as a “tiny minority.” It’s not as easy to discount dissenters if the number is 10 or 15 percent.

Comment: It's repeated so much ...

From 1989:



3.03.2019

The problem with the "Hell" sign


The problem with the "Hell" sign:
  • It is prideful. It cries out ... "I'm better than you!"
  • It is dishonest. Paul saw himself as a sinner. The sign carrier should say the same. My name should be on the list (I'm saved by grace!)
  • Wrong categorizations: Christ-rejecting baptists should be on the list too!
  • God's wrath is portrayed but not His love
The correct balance here:

2.28.2019

Mengel dresser




Mengel Company

Excerpt:

From its beginning in 1877 as a lumber manufacturer profiting from the demand for whisky barrels and tobacco boxes in Kentucky, the Mengel Company expanded its reach to become an international producer of lumber products over its 83 years. The company went on to produce wooden car frames and furniture along with other items like toys, windows and doors. Its proximity to hardwood and the strategic railroad network in Louisville facilitated its growth regionally and eventually its ability to include a fleet of ships for exporting overseas.
Comment: For guest bedroom remodel ($ 110)


Measures 34 1/2 inches wide, 19 inches deep, and 32 inches tall. The top drawer measures 34 inches wide and 5 inches tall. The bottom 3 drawers each measure 34 inches wide and 6 inches tall. The drawers all glide easily and quietly.

2.27.2019

On Moral Relativism



Who decides what is good and what is not?


Abraham Edel Ethical Judgment: The Use of Science in Ethics

Article on 

Updated: On the UMC debate in the news:

The official UMC position : "The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."



Here are remarks of Dr. Jerry P. Kulah, Dean of Gbarnga School of Theology, United Methodist University in Liberia, to the Reform and Renewal Coalition Breakfast at the United Methodist Church Special General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri, Saturday, 23 February 2019
Friends, please hear me, we Africans are not afraid of our sisters and brothers who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, questioning, or queer. We love them and we hope the best for them. But we know of no compelling arguments for forsaking our church’s understanding of Scripture and the teachings of the church universal.

And then please hear me when I say as graciously as I can: we Africans are not children in need of western enlightenment when it comes to the church’s sexual ethics. We do not need to hear a progressive U.S. bishop lecture us about our need to “grow up.”

Let me assure you, we Africans, whether we have liked it or not, have had to engage in this debate for many years now. We stand with the global church, not a culturally liberal, church elite, in the U.S.

We stand with our Filipino friends! We stand with our sisters and brothers in Europe and Russia! And yes, we stand with our allies in America.

We stand with farmers in Zambia, tech workers in Nairobi, Sunday School teachers in Nigeria, biblical scholars in Liberia, pastors in the Congo, United Methodist Women in Cote d’Ivoire, and thousands of other United Methodists all across Africa who have heard no compelling reasons for changing our sexual ethics, our teachings on marriage, and our ordination standards!

We are grounded in God’s word and the gracious and clear teachings of our church. On that we will not yield! We will not take a road that leads us from the truth! We will take the road that leads to the making of disciples of Jesus Christ for transformation of the world!

Hot corner

2.26.2019

The Antinatalist Eschatology of the Left



Is It Cruel to Have Kids in the Era of Climate Change? - Some argue that bringing children into a decaying world is immoral.


Excerpt:

In one of his early works, the nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche relayed an Ancient Greek legend about King Midas pursuing the satyr Silenus, a wise companion of the god Dionysus. When Midas finally captures Silenus, he asks him what “the best thing of all for men” is. “The very best thing for you is totally unreachable,” Silenus replies: “not to have been born, not to exist, to be nothing.”

Raphael Samuel, a 27-year-old from Mumbai, offered an echo of this argument to the BBC this month. Samuel plans to sue his parents for bringing him into a world of suffering without his consent. “Why should I suffer? Why must I be stuck in traffic? Why must I work? Why must I face wars? Why must I feel pain or depression? Why should I do anything when I don’t want to? Many questions. One answer,” Samuel wrote on his Facebook page: “Someone had you for their ‘pleasure.’”

Once, such thoughts might have seemed far-fetched or even self-indulgent. Today, however, similar reasoning—known as “antinatalism—seems to be spreading as potential future parents contemplate bringing children into a world climate change is likely to devastate. “Why did you have me?” Samuel asked his parents as a child. If the bleak scenarios about the planet’s future come to fruition, will parents have a satisfying answer to such questions?

The basic antinatalist argument is simple, albeit easily misunderstood. As philosopher David Benatar argued in a 2006 antinatalist treatise, life is full of suffering and strife, the moments of pleasure and happiness few, transitory, and elusive, and ultimately it all ends in death. This is not the same as saying that life is not worth living, if you happen to be alive—for one thing, living and then facing death can involve its own physical and emotional pain. The argument is rather that it would have been better never to have been born in the first place. Some lives can indeed be rather satisfactory, even rewarding. But as a potential future parent, you are taking a risk on your child’s behalf, because, Benatar kindly reminds us, “there is a wide range of appalling fates that can befall any child that is brought into existence: starvation, rape, abuse, assault, serious mental illness, infectious disease, malignancy, paralysis.”

Which brings us to a risk unique to the twenty-first century: climate change. According to the 2018 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, humanity has only 12 years left to prevent global warming from reaching levels that would result in the poverty of millions and the greatest displacement of people in the history of humanity as they flee extreme drought and floods. Such events also tend to involve violent conflict. The political community’s tepid response to climate change so far, with world leaders like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsanaro refusing to acknowledge global warming as real, let alone as urgent, makes it hard to be optimistic. Given the very real possibility that life will be much worse for the next generation as a result of the global instability, some, recent trend pieces report, are thinking twice about becoming parents.

One might argue that, like Benatar’s catalogue of human suffering, this response is overly pessimistic. Hardship is nothing new. Life can be meaningful despite it, and sometimes even because of it. Strife gives you something to work towards, purpose; it’s what gives life meaning, not what makes it meaningless.

But if climate change causes wars to break out, would one still choose to birth children into a high likelihood of violent death? And if the looming 12-year deadline is missed, and further temperature increases become statistically inevitable, what purpose could life have in the face of an unavoidable, collective downfall? At least people living today still have the agency to change things. But bringing children into a decaying world, without even the opportunity to do something about it, seems a cruel fate to inflict on someone, especially your own child.

The great question is whether that fate is inevitable. During the Cold War, there was an existential fear about a possible nuclear war between America and the USSR, which would have brought about mass death and suffering. Instead, political history and fortune took a turn that made nuclear annihilation less likely—even though the risk of a nuclear war may since have risen. Going further back, around the turn of the nineteenth century, the English economist Thomas Malthus was warning that the pending overpopulation of the planet would lead to inevitable food shortages. That didn’t happen either. Technological advances have allowed the planet to feed a population many times its nineteenth-century tally of one billion. So, even if we can’t see it from our current vantage point, there is hope that politics, technology, or a combination of the two might retrospectively render our current anxieties exaggerated. But, of course, there is no guarantee of that—hope comes with its own risks.

Having children, some could argue, is a way of making that hope more realistic. While some environmentalists have suggested lowering birth rates to reduce greenhouse emissions for those who remain, there is also another side to the issue: Young people today care deeply about the environment and their activism is needed as political pressure. Young people will also be the future scientists and engineers that we need in order to come up with technological solutions to global warming that are still unavailable. Both these “greater good” arguments for and against procreation, unfortunately, amount to using future children as a means to an end, thinking about how they can contribute to our overall welfare, rather than thinking of their own individual well-being.
Comment: 50 years ago it was The Population Bomb. Article that rebuts.

Hot corner


  • The key was the Knight at F5
  • Enabled Pawn pickup at H6 and then
  • Rook advancement to mate
  • Note how Black Bishop was hemmed in
  • My experience is that:
    • A Knight is very valuable in the center zone ... not so much in a corner
    • And that a hemmed in Bishop - is near worthless

Below: Two in one day!


2.25.2019

Jammed



  • The key was Pawn promotion in column H
  • Also: kept Black Bishop off guard by Pawns in White squares

2.22.2019

The Brain ≠ the Mind: Material Brains are Easy to Explain

Five Ways Your Brain Is Different From Your Mind And Why That Matters

  1. Brains are physical and can be measured … the mind is immeasurable
  2. Brains can be publicly accessed … mental entities cannot be publicly accessed
  3. “Is-ness” verses “about-ness”: Mental entities are about something else: There is a difference between “the thing” … and the thoughts about “the thing”. Thoughts are dependent upon the entity (about “the thing”). Illustration of the burglar outside of the house (the entity) vs the thoughts about the burglar. Physical entities “are” … mental entities are “about”. Philosophers call this “intentionality”
  4. Disputable: Physical entities can be disputed … mental entities cannot be disputed. The illustration of the bugler: He may or may not exist (can be disputed) but one’s thoughts about it cannot be disputed.
  5. Physical entities are impersonal (objective)… mental entities are personal (subjective)
Comment: Full video (9 mins) - worthy of your time! Also see The Mind-body problem and Intentionality



2.21.2019

Tie -

Pinned at A5


  • Note nice use of double Knights - each protecting the other plus dominating the top middle
  • King at C4 protected Pawn at B3 and restrained Black Pawn advance
  • Key to win was advancing Pawn to Queen promotion