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Creation Debate thoughts

February 5, 2014 Leave a comment

I never really intended this blog for remarkably personal thoughts, but I need a forum that is larger than Facebook or Twitters to discuss my thoughts. To start, here’s some honest background points of reference:

  • I am an unabashed and unashamed believer in Christ, God and the divine inspiration of the Bible. If that is a point of disagreement, I’m sorry, but I will never change my mind there.
  • After being a Christian, secondly, I am a physicist by training, mindset and by belief. I fully subscribe to the scientific method, theory and experimentation.
  • I have never found or seen anything scientifically proven to cause these previous two points to come into unresolvable conflict.
  • I love and respect Bill Nye, and his Science Guy show heavily influenced me in my desire to seek knowledge from science.

I am fascinated by the idea of an open debate on the origin of our universe, which basically is a debate about the existence of God in the first place. I also really think that any forum like this will usually do little change anyone’s beliefs, but what it can do is spark thoughts that can grow into a full fledged fire. I hope and pray that God does use this as a spark to show Himself to the people listening and participating in the debate.

So, where do I come down here… I have a really hard time with some of the statements that are made by Young Earth Creationists. Their hearts are in the right place and their beliefs are essentially the same as mine, except that I think they’re misrepresenting Christians as a whole. Making statements that sound completely insane is a waste of time in any debate. Most of the YE statements tend to come off, to non-believers and rational thinkers alike, as insane. They tend to discount a lot of the scientific progress that has come to pass and by doing that, or saying things that are absolute like “you cannot prove that” does not win an argument.

Science is the pursuit of knowledge and truth, and I believe the Bible is truth as well. The best part of this is that:

Truth cannot disprove truth!

So there must be a way for the science and the faith to coexist and, in fact, to encourage each other! When you take all these thoughts together, I find myself asking this question:

WHY AREN’T PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT OLD EARTH CREATIONISM???

Now, can Old Earth Creationism answer all the questions? No, of course not, but it just poses the question of “If the universe was created by the big bang, as science suggests, then what caused the big bang?” That question is the one that science will never answer, nor can it, but God did already in Genesis 1. The rest are details that all pull and push against each other, but neither breaks. One special note regarding evolution. This is not to say that God does/did not use some form of evolution in the creation of the Earth, however, I reject the unproven theory of evolution as the whole process of deriving all life from a single organism. This is the difference between “macro-evolution” and “micro-evolution” [more similar to adaptation than evolution].

One of my favorite authors and Christian thinkers, Glenn Packiam felt compelled to add his thoughts and I think it perfectly sums up the correct Christian response to entire discussion and a thorough discussion of the Genesis 1 text. Check it out: Glenn Packiam Blog

To read more of the science side of Old Earth Creationism, please check this article out: Old Earth Creationism

At the end of the day, the most important thing really is not how the Earth came to be, because frankly, does it even matter??? It is what we are going to do on this Earth to love each other and show God’s love and mercy to the world as ambassadors of Jesus Christ himself. Feel free to disagree about this, or not, but remember, we’re all on the same team!

Categories: Musings, Personal, Religion, Science

5 Incredible Years

November 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Well, I’ve officially been a consultant with my awesome company for over 5 years now, and with that comes the 5 year anniversary mark of my marriage to one of the most wonderful women in the world. I am blessed beyond belief to have such an amazing and wonderful partner to share this life with!

I had a message from a friend, and while we were chatting about work and the fact that he’s working on the healthcare.gov rescue project (another post on that coming another day), it came up that he’s been dating his girlfriend for a long time. Like 4+ years. I have no judgement on that, this is all in the way of backstory. He asked me “how do you know when you’re ready”, referring to proposing, this is what I said:

for me, there was a moment when I realized that I couldn’t see myself living without her. That I wanted to experience everything in life with her as my partner through and through. I then decided that I was willing to going to go all in on the relationship, to put her before me and to do everything I can forever to serve her and keep her happy. When I realized that doing that would bring me the utmost in joy and I didn’t want to live in a world where I wasn’t doing that every day, I had to make it happen

the conversation continued:

I can get a little religious with that, too – but from a straight up emotional prospective, I feel like that was what happened.

The key to my marriage, is that I make the decision to love her and serve her every single day, regardless of how I feel. And I think that is why life is so wonderful

He then asked me: “and she reciprocates that by doing the same for you?”

indeed. but even if she doesn’t, it won’t change the fact that I will.

and if you’re not ready for that, that’s totally fine, but make sure you are ready for it before you take things there

Anyway, I thought it was worth recording, and I hope you can be as blessed in your marriage as I am!

Categories: Musings, Personal

Personal Thoughts on an up and down week

September 13, 2013 1 comment

So, in an effort to stay sane, I’d like to MUSE some on my week, which has had remarkable highs and lows.

  • Past weekend: thought contract was going to be canceled.
  • Monday/Tuesday: contract extension agreed to, terms still outstanding.
  • Wednesday: best concert I’ve ever been to, by of my favorite bands of all time (MUSE).
  • Thursday: Bittersweet ending of one of my favorite TV shows, Burn Notice.
  • Friday: had to take my precious bulldog to the surgeon to have her torn ACL repaired.

Consulting Musings
Consulting is one of those professions that is always in flux. In fact, my current contract is one of my longest, but usually every 6-12 months I’m on the look out for new work. Its built into the rate and frankly, if you can stay on contract, its tolerable 95% of the time. The worst part is the uncertainty. Sometimes you can be the best consultant ever, get more work done for the money than your client could have dreamed, but you’re still a consultant which means you won’t stick around forever. Contracts end and you have to go find something else. I understand the business part of it, but when someone says things like “I want to keep you, but…” or “…budgetary constraints…” it stings and begins the uncertainty period which can be a few days to a few weeks. I don’t mind an impending end of a contract, in fact, I am reminded to enjoy the nuances of the client and try to relish the pros of working for them. I don’t mind short contracts either. I do mind being a week or three from an extension deadline and being uncertain as to what will happen to me. That’s the risk. At the end of the day, all I can do is work my hardest all the time and make sure there is little reason to not be extended!!

IMG_20130911_204835_362MUSE Musings
I’ve loved MUSE since 2003, honestly. The song Time is Running Out is probably my all time favorite song and opened my eyes to the wonderful world of “alternative” music. It was a ridiculously awesome concert, and I had floor tickets, so I got to stand up there for four hours, but was 8 feet from Matt Bellamy.

Burn Notice Musings
Its always sad when TV shows that you love and have spent years watching end. It now joins other shows that make me sad to think about missing still: (begin geekery) Seaquest DSV, Star Trek Voyager, Stargate SG-1 (and other SG iterations), LOST, Eureka, Chuck (end geekery) and soon to be HIMYM. It was a good ending to the show, I am satisfied, but hope they do more because I do love those characters.

Bulldog Surgery Musings2011-11-23_11-26-06_581

My bulldog is 3 years old, and she recently partially tore her ACL (in dogs, they don’t have ACLs, they often injure their CCL, but for illustrative purposes, we’ll just call it the ACL). We tried physical therapy, but she had ups and downs and it became obvious that she would not recover without surgery. It was really hard to leave her this morning at the vet, really hard. I just feel so sad thinking about her being locked up alone and said before surgery begins, though the vet tech said that she’d get lots of love today, which I believe. She’ll be at the vet for about 30 hours total before we take her home and its about a 3-4 month recovery time where we must restrict her immensely. No playing, stairs or being off leash ever. That will be hard, but supposedly they do heal quickly, we just have to ensure that she is fully healed before we let her be herself again. She will be okay in the end, and this is all for her own good. More PT and exercising will be necessary on the back side, but I hope and pray that she’s okay today :-/

So, I will be glad when this week is over officially, my dog is home and my contract is signed for the next 3 months. Happy Friday.

Categories: Consulting, Musings, Personal

ASP.Net dynamic control/postback/event-handler madness – Part 2

May 13, 2013 Leave a comment

As a continuation of the HOW I was able to deal with dynamically creating grids based on a query, I had a problem. The problem was that that the ItemCommand was NEVER firing on postback. If you already know where I am going with this, then I’m sorry, but this was a crazy problem that was having a tough time getting to the bottom of. None of my debug code would ever hit or do anything related to that generated command button click, even though the post back happened.

When testing, I also noticed that all of my grids were disappearing on the post back, which made sense, because I had done this is usual:

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
if (!IsPostBack)
{
BindData();
}
}

But, it appears that when the Page_Load fires on the postback and it does NOT create the control that caused the postback in the first place (my grid with a command button), it never fires the event handler! I was able to get it all to work by removing the IsPostBack check, but it seems silly to think that I am recreating the control from scratch in order to fire a button click. Almost like the button that ASP.Net is saying was clicked is gone forever and is replaced by another one which IT thinks was clicked. Kind of bizarre!!

Categories: .Net, Musings, Problems

ASP.Net dynamic control/postback/event-handler madness – Part 1

May 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Well, I recently had a difficult problem that I solved in a way that I don’t really like, but it works all the same. In the process I discovered something bizarre about ASP.Net. Here was the problem: I had a dataset coming out of a SQL stored procedure (that I had no control over or information about, except the output). The dataset needed to be grouped (1 – by period) and subgrouped (2 – by description) based on the properties, then displayed in a table for editing (3), if conditions permitted (4).

I solved these 4 problems with some interesting logic, first based on a container object that I populated out of the database. Then I did the following to solve problem 1:

HashSet periods = new HashSet();
List report = Helper.GetReport();
foreach (objContainer container in report)
{
periods.Add(container.Period);
}

Dictionary<string, List> periodDictionary = new Dictionary<string, List>();
//need to get periods and descriptions within them.
foreach (string period in periods)
{
periodDictionary.Add(period, report.FindAll(p => p.Period == period));
}

This gave me the values broken down into a dictionary of the containers grouped by their period property, but I had to do this again in order to group them again, and then I had to break it down again in order to output the information to the screen. Which, presented a problem, incidentally. I needed a way to display this information in an aspx. So, I just created a div tag with a server side ID value (grids) and then added controls to it, which you’ll see here:

foreach (KeyValuePair<string, List> kvp in periodDictionary)
{
//Okay, broken down by periods now.
//Now we need to break down each value list by description in the same way.

//print header
Label title = new Label();
title.Text = kvp.Key;
title.CssClass = “PeriodHeader”;

grids.Controls.Add(title);

HashSet descriptions = new HashSet();
foreach (objContainer container in kvp.Value)
{
descriptions.Add(container.Desc);
}

Dictionary<string, List> descDictionary = new Dictionary<string, List>();
foreach (string description in descriptions)
{
descDictionary.Add(description, kvp.Value.FindAll(p => p.Desc == description));
}

foreach (KeyValuePair<string, List> kvp2 in descDictionary)
{
Label subtitle = new Label();
subtitle.Text = kvp2.Key;
subtitle.CssClass = “DescHeader”;

grids.Controls.Add(subtitle);
DataGrid grid1 = BuildDataGrid(kvp2.Value);
grids.Controls.Add(grid1);
}
}

I’m sure anyone could pick out issues here, primarly the use of a DataGrid instead of a GridView. I like the DataGrid, okay?!? Get off my case!! Anyway, this worked and allowed me to just generate the information and group it with classes as needed in my BuildDataGrid() method. The specifics aren’t important, but here are a few examples of how I created the grid:

dataSource = dataSource.OrderByDescending(o => o.TransactionDate).ToList();
DataGrid grid = new DataGrid();
grid.DataSource = dataSource;
grid.ItemDataBound += new DataGridItemEventHandler(this.grid_ItemDataBound);
grid.ItemCommand += new DataGridCommandEventHandler(this.Grid_ItemCommand);

grid.AutoGenerateColumns = false;
grid.BorderStyle = BorderStyle.None;

BoundColumn column1 = new BoundColumn();
column1.DataField = “TransactionDate”;
column1.DataFormatString = “{0:MMM dd,yyyy}”;

ButtonColumn column4 = new ButtonColumn();
column4.ItemStyle.CssClass = “editButton”;
column4.DataTextField=”ShowEdit”;
column4.CommandName = “Edit”;
column4.ButtonType = ButtonColumnType.PushButton;

grid.Columns.Add(column1);
grid.Columns.Add(column4);
grid.DataBind();

return grid;

Okay, this long post is getting very long, but the point is that I was able to dynamically generate the columns and buttons and data all on the PageLoad() call and entirely server side. The bolded lines show how I was able to add the event handler code to the grid so that I could get in the way of the binding and the itemCommand events to adjust things as needed (styling, and dynamic commands like delete or edit based on the CommandName).

Categories: .Net, Musings, Problems

Quantum Entanglement – illustrated

April 9, 2013 2 comments

This is by far the most interesting of all natural phenomena, in my opinion, and unlocking the HOW in this bizarre situation could possibly get us into the distant future of science (ie, quantum computation/data transfer, faster than light travel or even teleportation). I’m fascinated by it, and wanted to share a great illustration! CAUTION: SCIENCE AHEAD! Quantum entanglement boggled Einstein, for good reason, because it makes no sense. The real question here is, how does the information about one particle get to the other particle, especially over long distances faster than the speed of light.

Scientists are working on a Bell experiment (a test of quantum mechanics principles) to send one half of an entangled pair to the space station, read more here: LiveScience article. I expect this to play out as the math predicts, which is that the pair will affect each other, even over distances larger than ever, but the question will become… “okay, so it’s true. Why and HOW and what now?” Scientists will need to theorize about the communication channel and how it exceeds the C barrier (speed of light). I say, lets make a communication device that will affect one half and then again in a manner like Morse Code so that we can communicate to places like Mars without any delays, even if its less information. You could have two pairs in the device that would allow for simultaneous back and forth and just need a program that translates information back to something useful. Seriously, this stuff is cool and the stuff of science fiction. Enough of my ramblings, see for yourself what happens:
Find out how quantum entanglement keeps particles linked even when widely separated, in this LiveScience infographic.
Source:LiveScience

Categories: Musings, Science

.Net vs Java

August 20, 2012 Leave a comment

I am sure that you are wondering, or have been brought here by trying to decide the merit or differences between Microsoft’s .Net and Sun/Oracle’s Java platforms.  There are a ton of sites that will give you the technical differences, ( Wikipedia has a few good ones: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_the_Java_and_.NET_platforms and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Java_and_C_Sharp) and I will touch on the differences, but here is the biggest and only substantial difference: personal preference.

 

About me, briefly: I learned VB.Net in college, right after it was released.  Many thanks to Dr. Jenny, who will likely never read this, but had the forethought to teach a class on this new technology, and it was a revelation to me and felt far superior (which it is, and I can defend that position easily) to C++ which I had studied previously.  I then entered the workforce doing a combination of VB.Net and C# depending on the project (see a future Musing for those practical differences).  After about 4-5 years of .Net work in various capacities, I took it upon myself to learn Java and try to expand my knowledge base.  I studied several books and took the SCJP certification test, which I passed handily.  Passing it handily was a result of study, but honestly was mainly a result of knowing C# and how to use it.

 

Throughout the years, Microsoft and Sun/Oracle have copied each other and the great ideas that they have respectively had: generics and collections, delegates, properties, foreach loops, anonymous things. There has been an almost constant convergence that  has started to reverse, but I believe will continue in the long term.  As one iteration of a language invents a new way of doing things, the other will inevitably follow, however, they will both attempt to stay ahead of the other.  Consider this similar to the great marketing rivalries in technology, Microsoft/Google vs. Apple, Microsoft vs Sony vs Nintendo.  Perhaps the biggest similarity is that Microsoft is always on one end of it!

 

Having gone from .Net to Java, specifically C# 3.5 to Java 6, it was very straightforward and easy to adjust.  Coming back from Java 6 to C# 4.0 was likewise easy, however one thing that is overlooked in the technical discussion is the IDE.  Microsoft’s Visual Studio is a great IDE.  Especially once you are used to it and finding everything, it works great.  Snippets and searching and managing projects is great, as well as integration with Visual Source Safe and/or Subversion for source control.  Oracle’s Eclipse is also a great IDE.  If you are ever trying to learn how to work with it, print out a cheat sheet of keyboard shortcuts!  (http://www.n0sl33p.org/dev/eclipse_keys.html)  I find myself missing the shortcuts like Cntl+Shift+R/T for quick class opening immensely.

 

If you are going from C# to Java, it will be as easy as getting used to Eclipse.  If you are going from Java to C#, I recommend reading a book to get used to Visual Studio and the Microsoft world as a whole.  If you are going to or coming from VB.Net, then you are in trouble, unless you have done some C-related coding in the past.  In that case, pick up an introductory book to VB.Net or Java to ensure you can grasp the syntax differences.  VB.Net reads like a book, Java and C# read like code, and you may need a translator to pull that off.  The general object oriented topics and abstraction will always be the same and at the end of the day any of these can meet your needs and they all have pluses and minuses, but it really just depends on what your coder likes the best.  Always put them in a position to give you the best code and you will [usually] get the best code.  Frameworks and platforms can be adjusted easily, but coders who are stuck in their ways cannot.

 

Personally, I miss Java right now, but I really missed .Net when I was working with Java, so that just means that they’re truly about the same!!

Categories: .Net, Java, Musings

How to [or not to] move forward in today’s technology market?

August 16, 2012 Leave a comment

I ended the title with a question mark because part of this sentiment is how can I best move forward, and also how I have managed to move forward to this point. I have had a successful career to date, mostly by working hard and taking the initiative to learn new technology and branch out in my experiences.

As a consultant, I’ve worked with people in all types of offices and I see people with and without ambition, drive and intelligence.  There are a remarkable number of people who are good at their jobs and have no desire to move forward in them.  That’s fine with me, of course, because these people are usually content to sit back and get things done without complicating things.  The problem I’ve seen, however, is when they are promoted because they’ve been around for a long time being good at their job.  Very few people will turn down a promotion because they usually come with more money and who ever says no to that?  I am reminded of Admiral Kirk when he says not to let them take you out of that chair where you belong: http://youtu.be/VrJiU9BOEBI
If you know you’re better off, say so! Your boss will understand and thank you for it!

Anyway, I want to make it to CIO one day, but I am still working on my technical prowess and experience. I add new skills almost daily and see how different companies and organizations work and use technology to better themselves. One day that will stop, and I’m not sure how to gauge when to move into a more direct management or permanant role… so, how should I move forward?

Today’s technology market is borderline insane. I think that there are far too many options and possibilities to really make the best choice every time. You could spend ages comparing COTS systems, or Java vs. .Net, Oracle vs SQL Server, Droopal vs Joomla! vs WordPress. At the end of the day, you need to jump on something and make it work. If you can’t make it work, then get something that can. I think the biggest thing that you can do on a daily basis is to just be flexible and open and always searching for that best possible solution. There will always be someone with a preference, and if they’re the ones solving your problems, then go with their preference and you’ll be fine.

Possible future musings:
-Augmented Intelligence
-Sharepoint
-Consulting

Categories: How-To, Musings Tags: , , ,