WordPop!

As some of you know, I use my copious free time (ha!) to work for Smart Box Design. We make casual games for mobile devices. We’ve primarily been focused on Palm and Windows Mobile devices and smart phones. That is, until now. As of January 2, we now have our first iPhone application available on the Apple AppStore called WordPop! If you have iTunes installed, this link will take you to the WordPop! page on the store.

We’re very excited about deploying our games on a much richer device with a much wider audience. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, please try it out. We think you’ll love it!

Brrrr

Wow, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted. It’s been a combination of end-of-the-year rushing around, hard work on a new iPhone application (details to come later), and the last week of weather. We’re now a week into a winter storm that may not really thaw out until after Christmas. It’s been a combination of snow, cold temperatures, and then some freezing rain. As we now sit, we have about seven inches of snow topped with a half inch of ice with another inch of snow on top of that.

We’re locked in today and church was canceled, but we’re praying it’ll let up enough to go to Christmas Eve service. We’ll see.

More pictures of the fun we’ve been having are in the gallery here.

Hope you all are safe and warm.

Merry Christmas!

Undeniable

It’s undeniable. Infinite thanks to the men and women of the US Armed Forces that made this happen. We couldn’t be more proud of you all and we will never forget the sacrifice of those heroes that didn’t come home.

 

Baffled

This may be a very geeky cultural reference, but I’ll go with it anyway. In the movie Highlander, there’s a quick scene where the cops trying to find the hero and the villain are buying a hot dog at a street vendor. The vendor is ribbing the cops for their lack of success as he reads the newspaper by mockingly asking them to help him understand words from the story like, “What does ‘baffled’ mean?” followed by a laugh or, “What does ‘incompetent’ mean?” with another cackle.

I’m reminded of that scene when I read stories like this one about scientists being “baffled” about some new atmospheric data and how it doesn’t fit the models. Here’s the lede:

Scientists at MIT have recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels. This is the first increase in ten years, and what baffles science is that this data contradicts theories stating man is the primary source of increase for this greenhouse gas. It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. However, since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, it is now believed this may be part of a natural cycle in mother nature – and not the direct result of man’s contributions.

Huh. So, the natural cycle of the earth has produced a dramatically noticeable change in the atmosphere that we couldn’t predict nor could we stop? Who would have thunk it?

We cannot afford to attempt to remake the economy of the world based on the current climate models. They clearly aren’t ready for prime time and, I suspect, the truth is that we have much less control over the climate than we think.

Are We Having Fun, Now?

I know I am. We had FiOS Internet and TV installed this afternoon. I’m truly amazed at how fast the Internet speed is and how clean the interface is for the TV services. This is a thoroughly impressive upgrade. My previous Internet speeds were roughly 1500kbps downlaod and about 740kbps upload. Tonight, I got this result:

Wow.

Skepticism for Anthropogenic Global Warming is Snowballing

Okay, that was a long way to go for a clever title, but you get my drift.

I thought it was just me, but apparently one Lorne Gunter of Canada’s National Post has noticed the same thing I have. Namely that there have been a string of stories about new skeptics of the AGW theory. These seem to have synced up with a string of stories about record low temperatures, record snowfall, and other indications that Global Warming is cooling off. Read the article for the details, but he leads in with this:

Still, the number of climate change skeptics is growing rapidly. Because a funny thing is happening to global temperatures — they’re going down, not up.

I’ve heard this and seen some small graphs to imply this to be the case, but the graph included in the article is the clearest yet. I’ve included it here to reinforce the point.

Troposphere Global Temperature: 1979-2008

So, tell me again, folks. What exactly were we supposed to be worried about? Is it time for me to sell my SPF 100 lotion and buy a parka?

A Poke in the Eye

Uneven Eyes

On August 25th, David had a bit of a scare. While drumming he turned his head at the same time he was on the upstroke with his left hand. His timing was just right (or wrong) such that he poked himself in the left eye with some decent force. According to David, his first fear was that he’d hit his nose, too, and may have started it bleeding. There was no blood, but in the seconds thereafter, the vision in his left eye quickly clouded up. Stefanie and I were having lunch, so he quickly called us and Stef ran home to pick him up. A trip to the urgent care led to a trip to the optometrist which then led to a trip to a cornea specialist.

The end result was that he had not scratched his eye, which is very common in situations like this. The doctors hypothesized that he blinked just as he hit the eye (which is supported by the fact that his lower eyelid had bruising for days afterward). However, he did cause some internal bleeding in the eye. The leaking red blood cells is what caused the cloudy vision. In the hours after the injury, he couldn’t read the first line of an eye chart with his left eye.

The prescription was to keep the eye dilated for several days to let the internal injury heal, which it appears to be doing. So, the good news is that he will make a full recovery. He’ll go in for a normal eye exam in a couple of weeks to see if his prescription changed, but there appears to be no permanent damage.

During the week of the dilation, though, we found him a little odd to look at. The picture above was one of those nights when it was just strange having a face-to-face conversation.

David has also taken to wearing eye protection when he uses his full size drum kit. He tells us that his first day back on the kit, he wore his chemistry goggles. I wanted a picture of that, too!

Anyway, we offer up praise for God’s healing and an odd picture to remember it by.

The Endless Setlist

On Tuesday, August 19, David and two friends he had never met in person before began the odyssey known as The Endless Setlist.

First, you should know the players. David is our son. That’s the easy one. Ian is a friend David met playing games online and, it just so happens, also lives in the Portland area. He hitched a ride with his mom and was ready to roll. Lucas is another friend David met playing games online. Lucas, however, took a longer ride. He arranged for a bus ticket and a hotel so he could visit from Calgary, Alberta. Even better, he showed up on our doorstep after walking the 4.5 miles from the hotel. That’s a dedicated gamer!


David, Lucas, and Ian pound through The Endless Setlist

The game in question is “Rock Band”. The point of the game is to use guitar, microphone, and drum kit controllers to play familiar songs. The guitar controller is simpler than the real thing, but that doesn’t make it simple at all. It’s quite hard to keep up. The drum kit is very similar to the real thing. While there is a microphone, nobody wanted that part, so they just played three pieces: David on drums, Ian on Bass, and Lucas on Guitar.

Now, the normal style of this game is to play setlists. Some are one song in length, others are three or four or five. There are a few setlists with ten or more. However, when you have done well enough, you have a chance to play The Endless Setlist. This is 58 songs long and uses every song sold with the game. While you can pause the game, you cannot save your place to come back later. It’s meant to be played in marathon fashion.

With a few breaks between the tougher songs, these guys finished it in a little over five hours. Wow.

Congratulations, dudes! That was impressive!

There are a few more pictures here.

Not Saying Goodbye

 Jack and Cari Orr 

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since my mother passed away. It's even more difficult to think that my dad has now been gone over three years. During that time, other family members have passed on and our lives have been a little more empty because of it. As I look back over the last few years, the Lord has really been working on how I see things. Do we really say “Goodbye”, or, for believers, is it just, “I will see you again soon”?

There's a hole left in my heart by the passing of my parents. I always thought there would be more time and that they would both be in their eighties and just fall asleep and never wake up. To have one gone at 67 and the other at 73 seems too soon. This last year has brought around many stages of grief that I had not even thought existed. I was never angry at God. I do believe that each hair on our heads is numbered and days of our life are known by God, so one can't be angry at Him. I did not realize I could get angry at other things, though.

I started out numb and just kept moving on. Since then, there has been anger. Yes, I was angry at my folks for not taking better care of themselves. That anger just turned into sadness. How does one process this kind of thing when you aren't ready for it. I then had to start talking with the Lord. I was not ready. I needed more time. It was all that stuff we talk with Him about. Then, it comes back to this: It is not about me or my plan, it is about Him. The journey of losing my parents was not about my adventure, but theirs as well. How one ends their life is as important as how one lives it. As I look back on the days leading up to my parents' passing, I have to look at how I dealt with things. What would I change if that had been me facing the end of my life? What do I want to change now so that people see the Lord and not me? Death is something that should not scare me. I should take great joy in knowing that the Lord has it all planned out. That the end of life is really not the end of it all. We say that while living. But, when faced with the end, even that of a loved one, do we really get it? In our hearts, do we really believe that the Lord has each moment of every day planned? If so, then watching loved ones pass away should not be so hard. Then again, I am human.:-) 

We do miss those that we love on a daily basis. If we didn't, we did not love them as much as we thought. We should talk about them, embrace all the good and bad, and remember both the wonderful and the ugly memories that we shared with them. I think we then need to look and see what the Lord has planned for us in our lives which they were a part of. We can't not talk about them. We are here, so they are still here, too. I have to look at myself and decide: Do I want to see them again or live a life outside that of the one the Lord has planned for me? I was blessed with two wonderful parents. To think that the Lord had not planned all of this would be turning my back on Him. That would hurt even more then losing my parents. Embrace each and every day that you have with your loved ones. Even if those days are hard, they are the days that the Lord wanted you to have. And do remember that, for believers, it isn't “Goodbye”, just “See you later”.

zp8497586rq

Missing Signature

I am thankful for scientists with integrity that are willing to state the truth. I worry about those who bend and dissemble when the truth becomes inconvenient. This article from one Dr. David Evans sounds like the result of the integrity we should be applauding in the scientific community. No doubt, he will be called names and cast out. However, I doubt anyone will challenge him on his science. He was a believer in anthropogenic global warming, but he has since changed his mind due to the lack of evidence.

My title here refers to one of the basic reasons why AGW should not be believed:

The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.

Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

If the science that predicts catastrophe also predicts this hot spot, what should it do when the hot spot cannot be found? Is it sane to act like the science is still correct? Maybe a reevaluation is in order?

He also reiterates my favorite evidence that it’s time to step back and consider the consequences of any further actions to abate CO2: The fact that the warming trend that scared everyone to death actually stopped seven years ago.

The satellites that measure the world’s temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the “urban heat island” effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.

What would you call those who disguise or ignore the truth and tell the public something contrary to it? Should we choose to turn our economy and lifestyle upside-down to accommodate the predictions of these prophets without evidence? Is it politically incorrect to at least request a clean analysis of climate change based on currently known data and not just predictions from the last decade or two?

Why does anyone listen to these people anymore?

Dr. Evans comes to the very same conclusion in regards to his home country of Australia that I do in regards to the United States:

The onus should be on those who want to change things to provide evidence for why the changes are necessary. The Australian public is eventually going to have to be told the evidence anyway, so it might as well be told before wrecking the economy.

Still think AGW is real? Prove it.