Pseudorandom Bits

A backwater in the vast ocean of thought

  • Pseudorandom?

    The Web is made of bits. Here are some of my bits, added to those other bits. Bits of information, bits of my thoughts, bits of others' thoughts. Maybe they seem a bit random, but, who knows?

    "There must be some bits here somewhere."

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  • Recent Comments

    Scruff on Multiplication with lines
    Mike on Closer to the record
    jeff on Closer to the record
    Mike on Multiplication with lines
    acook on Multiplication with lines
  • About blogging

    "If you have a computer and can fog a mirror, you can post anything on the Internet." - Lars Mahinske
  • "You can see by my outfit that I am a blogger. If you buy an outfit, you can be a blogger, too!" (With not many apologies to "The Cowboy's Lament" and The Smothers Brothers.)
  • "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." - Robert Silensky
  • Link-by date

    Links to sites were good at the time they were posted, but they may have gone stale. If a link is broken, you might try searching the appropriate web site or using a web search engine.
  • Viewer caution

    Since some links are to news, commentary, or other sites, some content may not be appropriate for younger audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.
  • You should know

    Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." John 14:6 (NASB)
  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NASB)
  • "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Mark 8:36

Posts Tagged ‘Musings’

Lost Cities and Vanished Civilizations – in North America!

Posted by Mike on March 20, 2008

In my previous post, I mentioned the book Lost Cities and Vanished Civilizations. I don’t recall what civilizations he wrote about, but I don’t remember any in what is now the United States.

Can you think of some lost cities and vanished civilizations in North America? I’m sure something having to do with Indians comes to mind. But what came to my mind first was the “lost” colony on Roanoke Island off the coast of what would become North Carolina.

The word “CROATOAN” carved into a tree seemed to be the last sign of the group of 115 men, women, and children, a group that seemed to vanish without a trace.

What happened to them? They could have been the first permanent settlement in the future United States, beating Jamestown by 20 years.

Lee Miller explores what might have happened in her book Roanoke : solving the mystery of England’s lost colony. She gathers some evidence and draws some conclusions. Some of the evidence is tenuous, and some of the conclusions are stretched in their details, but I think she gives a good general idea of what probably happened. They didn’t all die at once by disease or starvation. They weren’t swept out to sea by a hurricane. Many web sites give some ideas about this mystery, but Miller’s book is fun and interesting reading.

Before reading it, I didn’t realize that Sir Walter Raleigh was involved, or Elizabeth I, either. Politics, personal ambition, the English, the Spanish, and of course, the weather are all involved. Read more about it!

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Peru! Lost Civilizations! God’s Creation!

Posted by Mike on March 19, 2008

Have you been to Peru? Me neither.

However, my daughter recently returned from a children’s ministry trip to Peru. The team that she was on went to Lima and Cusco. You may also visit her site for pictures from the trip as she posts in the upcoming days. Don’t miss the ones of Machu Pichu! Even though Wikipedia isn’t the last word on everything, the site has a picture very similar to one of Amy’s. What a wonderful example of God’s Creation and man’s use of it.

As a boy, I liked to read about mysterious things. One book in particular stood out in its presentation of Lost Cities and Vanished Civilizations. It was written by Robert Silverberg, who was also a science fiction writer. His writing in this book was captivating. I became more interested in the Incas than the Mayans or Aztecs because of this book. Machu Pichu sounded like a terrific place to see. I haven’t, but at least one of my children has.

What became of the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs? Did they mysteriously disappear, as some believe? What happened to the Mayans after the collapse of their civilization? I think, along with a lot of other folks, that they were assimilated into surrounding peoples or relocated. They didn’t disappear; they just moved and resettled.

The scenery in part of Peru is stunning. And Amy was able to share the gospel of Christ with many young people there.

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Arthur C. Clarke

Posted by Mike on March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke has died at the age of 90. Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein were much of my non-fiction reading list in my youth. His science writing was exciting to read, too. Lots of ideas presented to a youngster. These three writers have influenced 2 or 3 generations of scientists, writers, and others. Many reminiscences can be found on the Internet, among them is this one. Although I haven’t read much science fiction in the last 15 years or so, I can still remember many of the stories. I also remember watching 2001: A Space Odyssey in Cinerama. End of an era.

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Tired of Snow?

Posted by Mike on March 15, 2008

With the recent warmer days, it can be hard to remember the very cold and snowy days just passed.

Here are two cartoons for your enjoyment.

Who’s tired of snow?

At least…

Are your memories of the winter fading fast? Time to read a story of polar explorations…

Mawson’s Will: The Greatest Survival Story Ever Written, by Lennard Bickel. I’m suspicious of titles with “greatest ever” and the like, but this one could be. If Hollywood wrote the story, it would be dismissed as hokey. Unbelievable.

The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, by Caroline Alexander. They just keep going and going… They also made one of the world’s all-time most difficult boat trips.

Four against the Arctic, by David Roberts. Six years stranded on an arctic island after your ship unexpectedly disappears while you’re on a short excursion. What do you do with the few items you have in your possession? (Skip the small section where the author meets 2 drunks in Russia while doing research;  contains profanity.)

These and many other accounts of great explorations await you.  Investigate Robert Scott, Roald Amundson, the Franklin Expedition, USS Polaris (not the submarine), Richard Byrd, Captain Cook (who once held the record for the highest northerly and southerly journeys), and many more not-so-well-known explorers.

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Time and Tide Wait for No Man

Posted by Mike on March 1, 2008

…and neither do blogs. It has been 18 days since I posted last, and I think I’ve pretty much lost most of my small audience. Time, outlook, and circumstances have slowed me down, but I plan to post some things this morning.

For those of you who have kept checking for new postings, thanks for not giving up.

There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on. — Robert Byrne

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Habits “R” Us

Posted by Mike on February 12, 2008

Quite some time ago, I had a thought for a business. It would be a shop that sold, say, candy (especially chocolate stuff), crackers of various kinds, soda pop, energy drinks, miscellaneous common food items, magazines, newspapers, car oil, and so on. It would also sell cigarettes (“lowest allowed state prices”), beer (“coldest allowed by state regulations”), lottery tickets, ice, fish bait, etc. There would be aspirin, ibuprophen, energy pills, and cute trinkets on the check-out counter. Oh, and gasoline. All the items in the store would be hot sellers because of our various habits for things that aren’t so good for us. OK, some of the things would be good for you (e.g. newspapers) when taken in appropriate amounts, just to make you feel better about the other stuff you bought. Almost everything would have a price sticker (“highest prices supply and demand allows, for your shopping convenience”).

The store would be called “Habits ‘R’ Us” (where the ‘R’ would be backwards, you know). It would become a chain in no time flat.

Then I realized that I had been beaten to the job. Over the years, gas stations had become “Convenience” stores, with all the stuff (and more) I’ve named.

There goes that idea, beaten to the punch.

What does all this tell about us? Nothing that the Bible hasn’t already said.

“My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.” Proverb 1:10 (NKJV) Many other passages warn us about our actions.

We all have habits. Would my store fit your needs?

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izod

Posted by Mike on January 19, 2008

Over the past several years, many new business and product names have been given an ‘e’ or an ‘i’ prefix to indicate that they’re part of the new communications revolution.

The ‘e’ prefix (eBay, eMachines, email, etc.) comes from “Edison”, the father of modern electricity. So, thanks Tom, for spuring us to start names with a letter we might not have used otherwise.

The ‘i’ prefix was made popular with iPod/iTunes, IBM, integral calculus, ipso facto, and so on. The ‘i’ does not derive from the “Me” generation, contrary to some thinking.

The ‘i’ and ‘e’ really get together for some terrific work with “i.e.”!

But have you realized that izod used the ‘i’ prefix before the ipod did? Sometimes those fashion folks really are in front of the curve (at least they’re in front of something)!

Something to think about, eh?

(This posting brought to you by the letters ‘I’ and ‘E’.)

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Talking

Posted by Mike on January 7, 2008

A thought came to me today. Actually, more than one thought. But the one I’ll post about is this: How many times have you heard people talking to themselves in stores only to discover that they’re talking on a cell phone, probably with one of those ear pod things?

So, now you can talk to yourself anytime and get away with it! I mean, how great is that? This is way better than writing a blog that no one else reads.

It used to be that folks would look at you funny if you talked to yourself, but now they’ll think you’re really talking to someone else. They may wonder where your cell phone microphone is, but they won’t think twice about it! Ain’t modern technology grand!

Let me know how it works for you!

Peanuts 1

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What’s on my iPod?

Posted by Mike on December 31, 2007

Nothing!

I don’t have an iPod, or any other portable mp3/audio player.

Not that I’m asking for one, either; I just don’t have a desire for one (yet).

If I did have one, I would probably load it with audio books from a local library. I would check-out an audio book on CD, then “rip” it at home, load it into the mp3 player, listen to it to/from work and elsewhere, then delete it and return the CD to the library.

I would probably download some public domain audio books and other collections from the Internet. Project Gutenberg has some human read audio books available. Some sites also have (I believe) some computer generated “reading” materials. I’m not sure I’m up to listening to a computer generated voice!

I might also put some actual music on my audio player, say, Christmas music at that time of year.

What I don’t understand is the tremendous popularity for “music” among younger folks. I’m astonished at how much money is spent on music CDs and downloaded songs. Music certainly has a strong attraction, and listeners need to have more discretion in what they listen to. Maybe folks of a certain age just don’t get it.

I’m also amazed at the attraction and identification that younger folks have to certain music groups and individuals. Musicians who are making hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars each year (and who dress like they’re wearing their last t-shirt and pair of jeans) can’t conceivably feel an identification with their audience’s everyday needs and lives. But the listeners apparently believe it, anyway.

So, be careful little ears what you hear.

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