Interesting watching Olympics in Russia for the first time I can remember. What is more, you get quite a refresher in geography watching all the athletes from different countries march in. This is the first time Russia has hosted them since 1980, when they hosted the summer Olympics, but they were boycotted by most countries because of their invasion of Afghanistan. 1980 also had a winter Olympics which of course is famous for the miracle hockey game at which amtatur US hockey players beat the professional Russian team.
They really put a lot into these Olympics, albeit some of the behind the scenes stuff is not as great and unfinished and one of the Olympic rings failed to open from a snow flakes, but they have worked on putting forward their best art and cultural in the opening ceremonies. It is fascinating to see no matter the difference our countries may have.
Here is look at some of the treading images for this most recent doomsday prediction which are making the rounds of social media today. Many are quite funny, but it is also important to keep in mind that though it is fun to joke about how the end of the world didn’t come today, that this world will not last forever. We may not see the apocalypse in our life times, but we will all face judgement someday when we have completed our journey upon this world. On a day, which no one knows, God will Come again and the world will be judged. For this reason, I think the one about the boy who cried wolf is probably the most fitting, let’s not pretend that we can somehow know the when that day will be, but let’s never forget that it will be someday.
Many have suggested that the end of the world will come tomorrow when the Mayan long count calendar ends on December 21, 2012. However, many groups are also increasingly starting to hedge their bets, based on a more recently discovered Mayan calendar. Some are suggesting that they will simply receive greater power from the magnetic flux that will result from the astronomical alignment on this winter solstice.
Scholars have had very little written material to go on, and have had to piece together what history they have mostly from inscriptions on Mayan structures and monuments. That would be like trying to construct American history based on the national mall alone and without Smithsonian. There were only 4 Mayan books called codices (folding book) preserved (the Dresden Codex, Madrid Codex, Paris Codex, and Grolier Codex) because many of the Conquistadors and the Spanish priests viewed their writing as evil, in light of their practices of human sacrifice, and destroyed most of them. However, they did decide to save four, and of the four the Dresden Codex is the main one which is used for calculating the dates of the long calendar.
This newer calendar was found at the Mayan ruins site of Xultun, Guatemala shows a cycles that extends beyond that date to 126.96.36.199.0. The site first discovered in 1915 and previously mapped in the 1920s and 1970s. However, detailed archeological study and investigation of the area only began in earnest in 2008. The specific structure with the new calendar was identified in 2010 and was evacuated in 2010-2011 by William Saturno and his team. They published on their findings in May of 2012.
While many are still convinced most will simply be glad to have the hype over with or recalculate and pick another date for the end of the world after tomorrow. Nevertheless there are still people out there who have built arks, and prepared fantastically fancy shelters. Often times Christians get blamed for a lot of the hype as well because of the very prophetic nature of parts of the Bible. However, the Bible specific warns against the foolishness of attempting to set a date for the end of world, because it is not for man to know the date and time. However, it does warn us that the last day will come swift, like a thief in the night. Even though tomorrow in all likelihood will not be the end, it is important to always be prepared.
Horrible news today, very hard to watch the response to the elementary school in Newtown CT that was just too late to stop it. This is just too close to home. This is much too soon to be writing about another shooting, but yet the unthinkable has happened. 20 children and 7 adults were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. I really never thought and so wish that we were not be hearing about such another massive shooting like this again so soon.
Now of course the gun control debate has begun, and the questions of why, the psychologists, homeland security experts, news pundits, etc have all entered into the national debate. The gun control and policy issues are of course really just mitigation though. Mayor Giuliani explained it well to Piers Morgan when referencing some of the previous shooting in this nation:”If he doesn’t get the AR-15, he’ll go get a handgun. If he doesn’t do that, he’ll go get explosives. If he doesn’t get that, he’ll go get poison”
Another question that inevitable must be asked is why didn’t they have school resource officer in their school. One stations show the average income in the area to be something like $111,000 a year. Even if cost was a concern in that area or is for those looking to learn from this the other option which seem most practical and cost effective is training the physical education staff to carry firearms. They are probably the best candidates to double as armed guards at an elementary school like that, since they would probably be most likely to have the strength and ability to train in weapon retention and tactical response. Of course even with that there could be a delay in response time if an officer or guard happens to be engaged in some sort of administrative duties as well, so there is of course not a magic bullet approach in security. The key is a more layer approach. Once you get the school resource officer in there, then you have him train the physical education staff, and so on and so forth. Again nothing is 100% foolproof, but it could be a good step.
Beyond the mitigation, the real issue here is that there is real evil in this world. When we try and teach that everyone is just basically good, and there is no right and wrong, then people are not aware that something that starts out with so simple and seemingly innocent feelings of misery loves company, can quickly progress to the point where the guy thought he was already as good as dead, and then wanted to make others suffer and pay in the worst possible way.
One of the psychologists explained why this happened well when he said it was “the terrible sense that you are dis-empowered and spiritually dead.” This world is full of spiritually dead people, so anyone is capable of it and you would just never know by externals. What we do know is Jesus Christ that can make people spiritually alive, and while this instance may have been a lost battle the overall victory is already won.
Today is just another day, but for some it is more than that. Once a year for the past 11 years we have had a triplicate date, and I actually wrote about one of those days here, but have not tackled any of them since. In many ways 12 and 7 are similar. However, seven is often considered the number of spiritual perfection, but twelve is considered the number of governmental perfection (of course considering this looming fiscal climate we are further form that then we have ever been today). Seven is 3+4 whereas Twelve is 3×4; thus they are both complete in a different way. Three is considered a divine perfection number, such as in the Trinity, and four is considered an earth number as in the 4 cardinal directions of the compass and four seasons. Twelve multiples the two out, but seven adds them up.
Since this is the last triplicate date of this century I figured I would take a look at its significance, or perceived significance I should say because this set of numbers is in fact only another day on the calender. Accordingly, any significance or important association thought to be connected with these numbers is going to be highly subjective and open to multiple interpretations.
We will never have a complete understanding of the reasons behind why every number is used as it is and in most instances it will be hard to draw anything more than a simple correlation between numbers. For this reason, it is impractical to look at numbers as agents of change, or predictors. Numbers are really only good for looking back on time, chronicling or for organization. They are not in and of themselves prophetic, and are not for looking forward, except in the aggregate (i.e. we can know general time spans or generally what something should look like). It is not for us to know the specific future dates and times when things will happen.
That being said, twelve is a very interesting number. It seems to be a number of completion or perfection, and so that is why a lot of people have associated the end of the world with this number. Moreover, us normal people are not completely uninfluenced by these thoughts either. Why do we buy our eggs by the dozen, follow a 12 month calender, measure a foot by 12 inches, or eat lunch at 12 noon. Why do our juries and other official bodies have 12 members. Twevle is a number of significance in our society. There are 12 hours in each part of the day, there are 12 days of Christmas, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 disciples of Jesus, 12 knights of the round table, 12 Federal Reserve Districts, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 stations of the Moon and the Sun.
Nonetheless, it is important not to make too much of the number, it is a number a symbol, it holds no intrinsic important and is only used to point towards things of significant. Yet our math is a something of a universal language imbedded in our universe by God and certain numbers are used for things not because of random chance, but because they make a lot of sense and hold a degree of symmetry and divisibility that is useful. Some people will get married today, others will prepared for the end of the world, and others will just treat it as a normal day and go about normal business. There is no right or wrong way to approach this date, except to realize that it is a number that has a lot of uses and can at times in different context mean something important. However, in this context it does not mean anything more than a date on the calendar, unless you make it mean more. One example of people making it mean more is a group musicians putting on a benefit concert for the victims of Hurricane Sandy: you can read more about that here, and some about the weddings and such here.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Since the ancient times people have been keenly aware of a coming doomsday, whether it be the Mayans, Aztecs, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese or the Bible they all agree that this world will end someday. Science is now also in agreement that the world will end one day, although, many scientist still hold to incomprehensibly large times scales, the concept is still there nonetheless. Surely there is no doubt about it; The world will end someday.
However, the world will not end on December 21st, 2012. Yet for virtually everyone alive today that date is less than 100 years away. While that may not be the end of the ages, all of History, and the planet, it will be the end of our time in this world for each of us. Each one of us will die someday; that is certain, and all the physical doomsday prepping in the world will do nothing to stop it. The only answer to that is a spiritual rebirth.
Things are really no different today than they were in any other period of human history. While today we have a hit show on National Geographic entitled “Doomsday Preppers”, people have always been aware that there will be a final end, and a final reckoning., It is only common sense that there must be an ultimate justice out there somewhere. The concept of justice, fairness, and equity, is ingrained in every human being. There are many Doomsday Peppers prepping for the end of the world, but so few prepping for the end of their personal world. Prepping our defenses of physical assets seems to be all the rage these days, but why do we take so little time to prepare our souls for next life.
By no means should we stop preparing our tactical defenses, but we must all first think about our strategic (big picture) end game strategy. What happens when our physical defenses break down not due to an attack, but due to the natural forces of decay or aging of our bodies. While some of us may face the sudden terror attacks, and our physical preparations will likely pay off in those instances, we cannot forget that even when that happens there is still a larger battle that will take most of us out through attrition. The world death rate is after all still holding at 100%, except one who is Jesus Christ.
Recently the topic of “The Dark Knight Rises” movie was brought up in a devotional. It was brought up by young adult in an attempt to find common ground with some students. The movie seemed a poor introduction to a Bible study, because it was such a temporal thing, and that point was subsequently made. Recently a murderous attack at movie premiere in Aurora Colorado, has really driven that point home; that while we may enjoy such diversions as movies we can only find true peace in Christ. In Ephesians 5:16 the apostle Paul said that we should redeem the time for the days are evil.
In this world there is real evil. Evil is not just something we witness in the movies and on the television, it really happens. Don’t get me wrong, movies are a nice diversion, and it is great to imagine that such vigilante justice can prevail. However, the reality is that no Dark Knight can stop all the violence.
The only answer is a heart change, which can only be brought about by the power of Christ. The people that have committed massacres, such as this movie theater shooting have clearly been plagued by many demons, and no gun regulation or any other restriction will stop them.
In Aurora Colorado, at midnight premier of “The Dark Knight Rises”, James Holmes walked into a movie theater and then proceeded to exit the theater, propped open an emergency exit behind him. When he reentered he was clad in a gas mask, tactic bullet proof vest, throat and groin protection, and protective legging. He first set off tear gas and subsequently opened fire with a gun believed to be an AR-15 rifle with a 100 round drum magazine. He had three other guns, including two Glocks and a 12 gauge shotgun, although it is not clear if he also used them or not. In his rampage he killed 12 people, and injured 70 more. Many pundits already want to simply pass James Holmes off as being mentally unstable, but they really do not have any physical evidence or markers do for that.
This was a very capable and intelligent man, fully culpable for his actions, and even if you could say the devil made him do it; that is no excuse, as it would only augment his own evil desires. If we simply limit guns to government officials these people could easily work their way into where ever they can get the weapons, or find alternative weapons such as IEDs. The guy only had a speeding ticket on his record and was a Ph.D. candidate. In fact, his apartment was rigged with IEDs. Also it is clear that more education is not the answer either, more education only enables criminals to better plan their attacks.
Possibly some people could had fought back with less restrictive gun regulations. However, even those licensed to carry probably did not suspect a movie theater as a target and may not had even bothered to carry on such a causal night out. Moreover, he was clad in body armor, so the only thing that would had stopped him would had been telfon-coated bullets, which are illegal even for those licensed to carry. Also, the tactical entry with the tear gas would had made it very difficult to return fire inside the theater, and police response time was excellent, only 90 seconds, because they were already paroling another event. Perhaps the legal questions should not center around the guns, so much as the non-lethal gas, and if these gases are legal perhaps we should ask why police are not equipped with gas masks as standard issue.
It has also been purported that Holmes dyed his hair as the Joker in batman. Ironically, it has been widely speculated that Heath Ledger was driven to commit suicide or to an accidental drug overdose, at least in part because of the stress that came from immersing himself in the role of the Joker in a previous batman movie “The Dark Knight” and the fictional evil.
Mental insatiability does not lead to evil so much as it is the result of an immersion with evil. While it may cause a greater predisposition towards such acts it cannot explain the act, which was clearly perpetrated by a very smart and very evil man.
Let us take solace in the fact that God will someday defeat these forces of evil. I pray that God will be with the families that lost someone in this travesty, that they will be comforted, and that the victims will find peace and understanding in midst of this difficult time. Realize that while Holmes intended this for evil God can work this for good. Be assured of this by the words of Jesus in John 11:26
And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Believe you this?
There are a couple phone numbers to contact with or for information. The crime stoppers tip line is 1-720-913-STOP and the other, a general information line is 1-303-739-1862.
It has been said that those with the greatest genius also have the greatest demons. This is because they usually have an all or nothing approach, and much greater amplitude in all they do. The very drive that enabled them to reach the pinnacle also enables them to more easily sink into the abyss. Steve Jobs was no exemption to this rule. He was indeed a very interesting man to say the least, a bit tyrannical and megalomaniacal, but also very innovative. He didn’t do focus groups to pander to what people wanted, but just designed great products that were simple and intuitive. Then he of course used his reality distortion field to make people realize that it was what they had wanted all along, and that it was worth the premium price. Apple products were also works of art of course, and even sacred to some.
Steve Jobs said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Steve Jobs was in many ways an aberration; a seemingly impossible social phenomenon that was never supposed to exist. He had no qualifications as a computer programmer or a business leader; he was simply an idealist visionary who persevered in pursuit of transformative excellence. He raised the bar for how we now interact through media with his belief that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. While he may have lacked an eternal perspective, which is freely given through Christ; he certainly understood the brevity of life and made the most of the time he was allotted.
This is good, while the History Channel has gotten fairly entertaining lately, it seems like they have forgotten a lot about the ‘Hstory’ part. Don’t get me wrong I am all for making history enjoyable and entertaining, but watching some of these shows on the History Channel lately seems to yield nothing more than entertainment. I do enjoy watching them too, and often times do when there is nothing else on worth watch out of 100’s of channels, which is surprisingly often.
It seems even within the fictional genre considerations of character development, plots, and meaningful themes have really taken a back seat to just shear entertainment value or conveying a wow factor. Thus reality TV seems to be the easiest model for everyone to explore. Since they can then make a TV programs by simply following and chronicling a person’s life.
Thus History has become oblique at best in most of programs. This is especially sad because these are shows that are supposed to have history at their core, and they are addressing it only in an oblique fashion. Since it is so much easier to make TV in real time, than to actually dive in, deeply explore the past, and create quality depictions of it.
The latest talk on the bin Laden raid has been a supposedly new stealth helicopter that was use by the Navy Seals during the raid. While it is not all that surprising in many respects that we may have a new stealth helicopter. The surprising thing is that it has been kept a secret until now. Although, it has not really been kept a total secret, but a through misinformation campaigns that would have deflect the fact that development had continued on the stealth helicopter programs after the cancellation of the Comanche program.
I remember the Comanche helicopter was actually used in computer game probably about a decade ago, so the existence of these types of helicopters has not been unknown or secret, per se. We have know about the potential for stealth helicopters for quite a while. Since the first Comanche helicopter was developed in 1995 and I am not sure when exactly the Comanche program became public knowledge, but as far as I know it wasn’t a big secret , but just a somewhat lesser known and talked about program and ultimately lesser valued program, since it was canceled in 2004. Here is a report from the time:
February 23, 2004
Army to End Comanche Helicopter Program
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 12:34 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army has decided to cancel its Comanche helicopter program, a multi-billion project to build a new-generation chopper for armed reconnaissance missions, officials said Monday.
The contractors for Comanche are Boeing Co. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.
With about $8 billion already invested in the program, and the production line not yet started, the cancellation is one of the largest in the history of the Army. It follows the Pentagon’s decision in 2002 to cancel the Crusader artillery program — against the wishes of Army leaders.
Pentagon officials said a public announcement was planned for Monday afternoon.
Loren Thompson, who follows aviation and other defense issues for the Lexington Institute think tank, said he believes the Army under new chief of staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker favors ending the Comanche program, even though the service had been counting on it to provide a new reconnaissance capability.
“The Bush administration has now killed the two biggest Army weapons programs it inherited from the Clinton administration,” Thompson said, referring to the Crusader and Comanche.
Earlier this year the White House budget office asked the Pentagon to provide independent reviews of the Comanche and another expensive aviation program, the Air Force’s F/A-22 Raptor fighter.
Although killing the Comanche project would save tens of billion in future costs, the cancellation decision is expected to require the Army to pay at least $2 billion in contract termination fees.
The Comanche program was started in 1983 and had survived many reviews. Initial production was scheduled to begin in 2006.
Below are known facts about the Comanche:
Stealth characteristics. The Comanche incorporates more low-observable stealth features than any aircraft in Army history. The Comanche radar cross-section (RCS) is less than that of a Hellfire missile. To reduce radar cross-section, weapons can be carried internally, the gun can be rotated aft and stowed within a fairing behind the turret when not in use, and the landing gear are fully-retractable. The all-composite fuselage sides are flat and canted and rounded surfaces are avoided by use of faceted turret and engine covers. The Comanche’s head-on RCS is 360 times smaller than the AH-64 Apache, 250 times less than the smaller OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, and 32 times smaller than the OH-58D’s mast-mounted sight. This means the Comanche will be able to approach five times closer to an enemy radar than an Apache, or four times closer than an OH-58D, without being detected.
Noise suppression. The Comanche only radiates one-half the rotor noise of current helicopters. Noise is reduced by use of a five-bladed rotor, pioneered by the successful Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) MD-500 Defender series of light utility helicopters. The fantail eliminates interaction between main rotor and tail rotor wakes. The advanced rotor design permits operation at low speed, allowing the Comanche to sneak 40% closer to a target than an Apache, without being detected by an acoustical system.
Infrared (IR) suppression. The Comanche only radiates 25% of the engine heat of current helicopters, a critical survivability design concern in a low-flying tactical scout helicopter. The Comanche is the first helicopter in which the infrared (IR) suppression system is integrated into the airframe. This innovative Sikorsky design feature provides IR suppressors that are built into the tail-boom, providing ample length for complete and efficient mixing of engine exhaust and cooling air flowing through inlets above the tail. The mixed exhaust is discharged through slots built into an inverted shelf on the sides of the tail-boom. The gases are cooled so thoroughly that a heat-seeking missile cannot find and lock-on to the Comanche.
These characteristics combined with ground hugging (aka map of earth flying) are all in keeping with the reasons why the helicopter could had gotten in range without being seen on radar or heard by neighbors until it was overhead. So this really boiled down to three possibilities. One maybe they just took in a Comanche or a few Comanches, and found some other way to get the troops in either by conventional helicopter or some other means, two the most plausible possibility is they specific developed a sort of modified Black Hawk Comanche hybrid for this mission, which they had a year to plan, or third there could still be a black program going on which develops Comanche like helicopters on a limited scale for special forces missions.
Of course there are other possibles of similar helicopters currently in development that the Navy Seals could have used modifications of. One such helicopter is the Eurcopter X3 which can fly a plane like speeds and may also explain why they didn’t hear noise until the helicopter was right over top. Sikorsky also has a similar version the called the X2. While the neither of these specifically match the tail blade certain similar technologies could had been employed.
However, considering how bin Laden was such a high priority target it is very quie concivable that they did develop or at least modifiy something for this mission. Since there is not really any other convicable reason why we would have needed a year of planing for this mission, since we didn’t need to engage diplomatic channels with Pakiastan, but simply find ways around them.
However, considering how bin Laden was such a high priority target it is very quite conceivable that they did develop or at least modify something for this mission. Since there is not really any other conceivable reasons why we would have needed a year of planing for this mission, since we didn’t need to engage diplomatic channels with Pakistan, but simply find ways around them. Once we located bin Laden around that area it doesn’t seem feasible that we lost him (in fact the CIA even had a safe house in Abbottabad watching him), rather it seems the most likely scenario is that Pakistan has been shielding him. Thus the planing was needed to evade detection by Pakistan more than anything, and part of that planing was likely use of, not new or secret stealth technologies, but modified stealth technologies that are not widely used due to cost prohibitablity. Furthermore, it is clear the if the helicopter crashed the technologies did not work all that well, and were probably not widely developed under a large scale black program.
Now of course Obama may be trying to detract from this by meeting with “special operators” tomorrow. While it makes movies and such to have bin Laden killed in such a way, the ideal way really would be to of had him killed in the most indiscreet and insignificant way possible, which would had ddiminished his stature, now the fear becomes that it will be remembered that we used are best technology and everything we had to take him out. Nonetheless, the fact still remains we go him, so it will continue to be a rallying event. Now the best thing we can do is to forget him, because the terrorists would want for him to be remember as a martyr or something. Thus the best thing is to say we got him, and that is that.