Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Ozarks

So today we're off for a long weekend in the Arkansas Ozarks with my family.

I really don't remember what the Ozarks look like (haven't been through that part of the country in a LONG time), and so it should be a fun experience. It will at least make for an interesting drive down as we pass through rural Missouri and Arkansas on the way to our destination near the Wal-Mart headquarters. We don't have a lot of plans as to what we'll be doing, but we're hoping to have a nice relaxing long weekend and see some good scenery.

And so, everyone, have a great weekend. I'll be back next week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Chicago Skyscraper

The home to the world's first skyscraper may soon be home to another mammoth one. Plans are being made for the nation's tallest skyscraper to be built across Lakeshore Drive from Navy Pier.
The building is being created by Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish 'starchitect', for Christopher Carley, a Chicago developer. As can be seen, it's a pretty cool building.

A lot would need to be done before the building actually began, and it's likely it wouldn't be unopposed. It does seem a little out of scale to the buildings around it, and I wouldn't be surprised if Chicago tries to scale it down a bit. The funniest part of this whole thing is the war of words between Donald Trump, who's also building a new tower in Chicago, and Carley. Trump said:

In this climate, I would not want to build that building. Nor would I want to live in that building. Nobody is going to want to live in a building that's a target.

Any bank that would put up money to build a building like that would be insane.

Carley responded, referring to Trump's building,
I wonder where the insanity limit is? It must be just over 1,360 feet.

I hope the building happens, however. Chicago is one of the world's premier cities, full of works by great architects, and this would only add to that.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Today was the hottest day in Chicago since I moved here. It was hot!
We reached over 100 degrees, and I have to admit, I spent the afternoon indoors as it was a bad day to be out and about.
Let's hope that the rest of the summer is a little cooler--right now we're mired in a drought and the summer has been hotter than normal. It would be nice to get some cooler days.

Friday, July 22, 2005


In a world our size, we can easily lose perspective on our place in it. An article I read yesterday reminded me again that we live in a blessed country.
The article describes a visit by some NBA players, as a part of the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program, to a poor part of China. The program has taken players to Africa, South America, and Europe, besides Asia. The author notes that if every NBA player were required to take part in a trip like this, many of the game's off-the-court problems would be helped. The players involved say that they get more from the trip than they could ever give. It truly is a great reminder of what one can learn from engaging a society less well-off than our own.
It reminded me of another set of articles from 2003 by ESPN's Chad Ford describing the first year's program in Africa, also well worth reading (if they were accessible-- I can't see that they are). This might give you a taste.
My wife and I last spring had the chance to take a similar trip to Bolivia and Peru. We helped some Quechuans in Cochabamba, Bolivia build their church before hiking the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu. It was an experience that, like the NBA players in the articles above, moved both of us. Despite living in circumstances less than what we felt were adequate (1 outhouse for the entire neighborhood), the people we worked alongside were so excited to welcome us and befriend us that they bent over backwards to serve us with what little physical means they could.
I would encourage anyone who has not had the chance to go on a short term outreach or missions trip, such as one of these, to go and help wherever needed, wherever it is you feel called to go.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


So what do you do when you realize that your campus needs some newly upgraded dorms?

Iowa State decided they would do this.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Link of the Day -- Wikipedia

If you haven't found it yet, I'd encourage you to check out the awesome new open-source online encyclopedia called Wikipedia.
The name comes from the web page concept known as a 'wiki', whereby any person can change what's shown on the site.
Basically this is an online encyclopedia that you can contribute to. If you know more than is in an entry, log in and edit it.
The site has become massive, and thus, very useful.
There's lots of room to explore. I could spend hours jumping from page to page.
There's lots cool you can find, and the best part is you can add to it if something is lacking. Say for instance, you want to contribute to Chicago's entry, you can do so here.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Recently I have kind of gotten into outlining my family tree. As an American, I am kind of a motley mix of ancestral origins, and so that was my impetus. I have researched all my grandparents' ancestors back to their country of origin and have done two of my wife's as well.

I have determined that I am 3/8 Norwegian, 1/4 Finnish, 1/4 German, and 1/8 Danish; so largely Scandinavian.

I use the Family Tree Maker software to enter in all my data, which enables me to be able to produce some great printouts and other various producibles showing my family history.

My next step is to take this further. Recently, National Geographic in conjunction with IBM, geneticist Spencer Wells, and the Waitt Family Foundation has launched the National Genographic Project. This project seeks to map the movement (through testing of either your paternal or maternal genograph) of humans through history. They aim to test every people group and produce a full report on the paths of human interaction in our past. For $99, you can sign up to participate by providing your own DNA. This cost helps sponsor the project and will give them a data set while providing you with your genographic history. While I have not yet signed up myself, I have to admit that this is something that I would think would be very cool to know.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

One Smart Parrot

So, I never realized that parrots are as smart as they are. Apparently, a parrot has been shown to possibly understand the concept of 'zero'. That's pretty amazing considering you're dealing with an animal with a brain the size of a walnut.
The other interesting thing is just how hard the concept of zero is. Kids don't get it until around age 4 and many of our ancestors didn't have a word for it until the 1600's. Cool to think that with a bit of calculus, we can now handle indeterminate forms, infinity, and zero functions.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


So it appears the term yuppie was coined right here in Chicago. As in: Lincoln Park is home to many of Chicago's yuppies.
A yuppie for those who don't know is a y-oung u-rban p-rofessional.
Pretty cool, another random Chicago claim to fame.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Emerging Church

Today I thought I'd take the chance to point you towards an interesting summary listing some of the tension points felt as the culture of 'church' changes in our era.

Much has been made of the "emerging church" as evangelical Christianity continues to grow in this new century. The tension arises as members of the "traditional church" bristle at the change occurring around them. A good synopsis of this movement (some have called it a mood) is available in the first couple pages of a book called Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation In Postmodern Times. Also check here for another resource on what the emerging church is.

What will become of this 'movement' remains to be seen, but it will certainly be interesting to watch the shifts in religious cultural norms over the next twenty years.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Last week the G8 summit met in Scotland mainly to discuss aid to countries stuck in poverty, especially in Africa. The global impact on our climate was also discussed, but the biggest issue was the potential to help those countries who need it. Many around the world campaigned for drastic changes.
Much of the focus has been on Africa and the struggles with poverty and AIDS its residents face. The fate of our fellow members of humanity is certainly our responsibility. However, it is a two-way street. Throwing money at a corrupt government will not solve the problems they face; there needs to be some work done from within. I thought this article in Newsweek provided a good summary.
The G8 summit did conclude with some encouraging results, although not as many as some had hoped. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of these issues.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Tragedy

Today another terror attack has grabbed the world's attention.
Our hearts and prayers go out to those in London.

This sort of event only serves to remind us of the risks within our own daily path.
But, I firmly believe that we are not to live lives of fear and I would encourage us to continue on as each day will take us.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

What is the universe made of?

Have you ever found yourself asking the 'big' questions of science? Are there answers to many of the toughest ones out there?
Science magazine is tackling these and more in their latest issue. They attempt to answer the top 25 questions currently outstanding in science as a way of celebrating their 125th anniversary. It makes for absolutely fascinating reading and so I encourage you to check it out.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Independence Day!

Here's hoping everyone had an absolutely great 4th of July.
In honor of our country's Independence Day, here's a little trivia:
What year was the Constitution, that source of our country's law, written?
And here's a hint, it wasn't 1776.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

A Church-State Solution?

Amongst Americans, even amongst evangelicals, there is often no consensus on exactly what role religion, especially Christianity, should play in government. This issue is becoming one of the forefront ones facing us today and has impact on many of the other issues as well.

The debate comes down to what one thinks the nonestablishment clause in the Constitution means and whether one thinks that defines a clear 'separation of church and state' (a phrase not found in the Constitution). I have a hard time believing that many of the founding fathers would have approved of this enforcement of that clause.

This weekend in the NYT Magazine, a potential solution (so defined by the author) is offered. Methinks the author was a bit too ambitious in his attempt to rewrite a few decades of law in order to come up with something that is 'potentially' less divisive. The article provides an interesting synopsis of the issue, however, and thus for someone interested in living by God's moral code rather than our country's, it was interesting.

Personally, I bet the future will tend towards even more schismatic politics. And I'm not sure where that leaves us.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Link of the Day -- craigslist

If you haven't been there before, check out the world's largest classifieds.

Craigslist was begun by (imagine this) a guy named Craig in the SanFran area and has grown into the best place to buy/sell stuff (outside of an auction format like EBay) in cities.
For some good browsing, check it out.