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 & the UMC



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

2.20.2019

Blown Opportunity

King Trapped


  • A common technique: Black bishop negated by White pieces on white spaces
  • White Pawn promoted to Queen in column H
  • Black King had limited options because of Knight protected F7 & G7
  • Also White King protects squares: G5 & G6
  • Queen move to A6 checkmated Black

2.16.2019

This Person Does Not Exist



This Person Does Not Exist Is the Best One-Off Website of 2019

Excerpt:

At a glance, the images featured on the website This Person Does Not Exist might seem like random high school portraits or vaguely inadvisable LinkedIn headshots. But every single photo on the site has been created by using a special kind of artificial intelligence algorithm called generative adversarial networks (GANs). Every time the site is refreshed, a shockingly realistic — but totally fake —picture of a person’s face appears. Uber software engineer Phillip Wang created the page to demonstrate what GANs are capable of, and then posted it to the public Facebook group “Artificial Intelligence & Deep Learning” on Tuesday
Comment: The website

2.15.2019

That "Green New Deal"


A few questions for Democrats about the Green New Deal ... Presidential debate moderators should ask: How soon do you plan to abolish airplanes? And cows? 


  • As you know, the original Green New Deal appeared to call for the end of cows. How do you envision this taking place? How will cattle owners be compensated? What will happen to the dairy industry? What’s the impact on the GDP and unemployment rate of wiping out cows? Is there a technological response to the “cow fart” problem identified in the Green New Deal? Can you describe it?
  • As you know, the Green New Deal called for an end to airplanes. Exactly how are people going to travel across oceans if planes are grounded? Wouldn’t this create a significant imbalance in military preparedness if the United States gives up its aviation sector? And how many people are employed by the aviation industry? What happens to them? And what about Davos?
  • As you know, the Green New Deal said those unwilling to work will be taken care of with full medical benefits and other subsidies. What’s the cost of this provision? How do you incline the able-bodied-and-healthy-but-lazy to work when they can receive money and enjoy the same health benefits as someone who enjoys working?
  • As you know, the Green New Deal included among its 15 “requirements”: “Obtain free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples.” What does that mean? When you endorsed the Green New Deal, did you have in mind written consent from the nearly 3 million Native Americans in the country? What would they be consenting to? Does each Native American have a veto over, say, the plan’s requirement to “upgrade or replace every building in the US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency?” Even if consent is obtained, what is that new, federal, supersized nationalized building code going to cost?
  • As you know, the original Green New Deal also included among its 15 requirements: “Ensure an economic environment free of monopolies and unfair competition.” Doesn’t the Green New Deal presume a level of governmental control over all of the economy - “every building,” after all, is in its scope, not to mention the entire bovine population - that dwarfs that of monopolies of the past? How is the level of mandatory and centralized government command-and-control authority it requires different from a Soviet-style five-year plan or Mao’s Great Leap Forward? What will happen to people who say, “No thanks. My new building is up to code” or “I like my cows”?
  • How would the Green New Deal oblige the United States to deal with countries devastated by socialism and fascism such as Venezuela, which the rebuilding of - indeed the feeding of the people of - requires sale of their vast petroleum reserves?
  • Do you regret endorsing the Green New Deal? If so, what does it say about your judgment that you were for the Green New Deal before you were against it?
Comment: The text of is here / Original here / The original FAQs:



Any large-scale transformation of society can create the risk of some people slipping through the cracks. That’s why the Green New Deal also calls for an upgrade to the basic economic securities enjoyed by all people in the US to ensure everybody benefits from the newly created wealth. It guarantees to everyone:
  • A job with family-sustaining wages, family and medical leave, vacations, and retirement security
  • High-quality education, including higher education and trade schools
  • High-quality health care
  • Clean air and water
  • Healthy food
  • Safe, affordable, adequate housing
  • An economic environment free of monopolies
  • Economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work

2.12.2019

The case for life


The Argument Against Abortion in 250 Words
By all means, preach a biblical view of human value. But students in local churches also need to know how to make an essential pro-life argument and convey it to non-Christians. The basic shape of that argument looks like this:

Premise #1: It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.

Premise #2: Abortion intentionally kills innocent human beings.

Conclusion: Therefore, abortion is morally wrong.

Pro-life advocates defend that argument with science and philosophy.

We argue from science that the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. You didn’t come from an embryo; you once were an embryo.

We argue from philosophy that there is no relevant difference between you the embryo and you the adult that justifies killing you at that earlier stage of development. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying you could be killed then but not now.
Comment: Compelling: Tweet thread 1, thread 2




2.07.2019

Elizabeth Warren: The Timeline of her Native American Controversy


Elizabeth Warren listed race as 'American Indian' in newly revealed Texas State Bar card from 1986

Excerpt:

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren indicated that her race was "American Indian" in a handwritten registration form filed in 1986 with the Texas State Bar, according to a new report on Tuesday that documents the presidential hopeful's efforts to identify as a minority during her earliest days as a law professor.

The revelation, initially reported by The Washington Post, is the first known instance of Warren claiming Native American ancestry in an official document or in her own handwriting.
The Timeline of Elizabeth Warren’s Native American Controversy

Excerpt:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) will announce Saturday she's officially running for president with a speech in Lawrence, Massachusetts, but she'll do it after another week of controversy surrounding her longtime claims of Native American ancestry.

The latest blow: The Washington Post reporting Warren wrote "American Indian" as her race for her State Bar of Texas registration card in 1986. It marked the first known example of Warren making such a claim in her own handwriting. She apologized Tuesday in response to the report for identifying herself with that race, both then and when she taught law at Harvard, the University of Texas, and the University of Pennsylvania.

This followed her widely panned DNA test release in October, which was intended to offset criticisms by President Donald Trump to prove her claims of Native ancestry. She wound up having to apologize to the Cherokee Nation for "causing confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship," according to a tribal spokeswoman.

Comment: 2nd article has the interesting timeline. I had intended to have a blog post on each of the announced but have fallen hopelessly behind.




2.05.2019

Pawn Standoff


  • No winning this one
  • Black (the computer) won't make a stupid move
  • There is no way that either King can penetrate the scrimmage line


2.01.2019

I almost lost this one


  • Note how weak I am on the left side
  • Had I not mated on this move ...
  • Black would have advanced ranks in columns A, B, C, & D
  • Black was up by 4 Pawns (6 to 2)
  • His next move would have been F3 to F2 (check)
  • My defense would have been to block with the Rook (G7 to G2)
  • Then Rook to Rook exchange