Archive for category Current Events

Movie Review: Exodus Gods and Kings

Yesterday morning I caught the early bird showing of the new movie “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” directed by Ridley Scott. Regular readers of Funmurphys: the Blog already know that I have written and published a new book about the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt, focusing specifically on crossing the Red Sea. The book is titled: Between Migdol and the Sea: Crossing the Red Sea with Faith and Science (2014), by Carl Drews. This review is written from a book author’s perspective.

Spectacle and Grandeur

A good biblical epic should provide jaw-dropping spectacle and majestic grandeur. Exodus: Gods and Kings provides these in abundance! Some of the earlier scenes show the great sweep of the Nile delta, with pyramids rising along the banks of the great river, while Bronze Age citizens bustle about under the stern watch of the Pharaoh’s foremen. Ancient Egypt was a marvelous place! This movie really brings out the grandeur of the New Kingdom in all its glory.

Ten Plagues

The Ten Plagues are depicted graphically in the film, and the result is disturbing. A week ago I would have not imagined an infestation of frogs to be all that bad, but I just about jumped out of my theater seat to see all those slimy amphibians crawling over everything! Yuck! Then there came all manner of flies, more flies than I have ever seen even in Alaska. We saw the movie in 3-D, and we were recoiling and trying to get out of the swarm. The plagues are very well done by the cinematographer.

Exodus: Gods and Kings brings out a theological point: During the Ten Plagues, a lot of people suffered greatly. According to the narrative in Exodus, Pharaoh suffered because he refused to let the Israelites go. Ridley Scott makes the point that many common Egyptians suffered as well, through no fault of their own. What kind of god would strike dead all the first-born sons? Modern Christians continue to feel uncomfortable about these episodes, and we debate various resolutions. Generally we conclude that Jesus doesn’t do things that way any more, and we follow Jesus.

God as a Petulant British Boy

God Almighty is portrayed in Exodus: Gods and Kings as a boy about 8 years old with a British accent. I can accept God speaking to Elijah as a “still, small voice” in 1 Kings 19. I believe that God became incarnate in the baby Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem. But the surly attitude of the God-boy in this movie was jarring, and I was left wondering why Moses would accept the commands from such a manifestation of the Almighty. At least the boy should have had more gravitas, and should have spoken to Moses with graceful majesty. Was Morgan Freeman not available?

Goblins and Chariots

There is a scene in The Hobbitt: An Unexpected Journey where Gandalf and the dwarves kill the Great Goblin and escape from the underground goblin kingdom. When my family watches this sequence at home, we usually keep a body count of goblins, yelling out the numbers as they fall. Our total usually comes out to about 140.

During the pursuit of Moses by the Egyptian army, Rameses II charges with all his chariots down a narrow mountain road after the fleeing Israelites. Naturally some careless chariot driver careens off the edge and tumbles down the mountain. Then another chariot hits a rock, and within a few moments there is a huge landslide about 30 chariots behind Pharaoh, and all the remaining vehicles in the column either tumble to their tragic and untimely deaths, or are blocked by the now-impassable road. So – Rameses is left with about 30 chariots out of the 1,000 that departed the Egyptian capital. 400,000 Israelites ought to be able to make quick work of them.

But when Pharaoh reaches the beach somehow all his 1,000 chariots have miraculously re-appeared. Someone was not counting properly! Yeah, I know it’s just a movie. But I was chuckling over the movie’s continuity error while still enjoying the action. And the action in Exodus: Gods and Kings is superb!

Crossing the Red Sea at Nuweiba, not the Straits of Tiran

At one point Moses brings out a hand-written map showing his planned route from Egypt back to his wife Zipporah in Midian. Maybe nobody else in the audience cared, but I instantly recognized the route after studying that geography for five years. Moses, generations of biblical scholars would gladly trade several chapters of Leviticus for just one glance at your map! The traditional route of the Exodus is generally agreed, but there are other proposals.

Between Migdol and the Sea (Drews 2014) Figure 11-1 with lines added in cyan showing routes from the movie Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014). Copyright 2014 by Carl Drews.

My book Between Migdol and the Sea (Drews, 2014) provides a map of the Sinai peninsula in Chapter 11 (right). The traditional route is marked here in red and green. In Ridley Scott’s Exodus, Moses plans to take the cyan (light blue) route down the west coast of Sinai and cross the Straits of Tiran (dotted cyan). But he takes a detour through the Sinai mountains and gets stuck at Nuweiba instead (solid cyan). In the movie the Israelites cross the Red Sea from Nuweiba over to modern Saudi Arabia.

There are a couple of problems with this scenario. An earlier scene shows Moses splashing across the “Straits of Tiran” on his way to meet Zipporah. But this strait in real life is not like Adam’s Bridge across the Palk Strait from India to Sri Lanka, oh no! The Enterprise Passage in the Straits of Tiran today is 250 meters (820 feet) deep.[Between Migdol and the Sea, page 179] Nobody will be splashing across there.

The underwater ridge at Nuweiba is 765 meters (2,510 feet) deep.[Migdol, page 179] That would be quite a hike.

How Not to Communicate Science

This little vignette was actually pretty funny, especially for me. Rameses is getting understandably tired of the Plagues, and he calls in various advisors to learn how to stop the plagues, or at least to predict when they will end. Bad advice results in immediate execution. One of these advisors is a Scientist who has not taken the seminar on How to Communicate Science. He gleefully launches into a technical discussion of how the crocodiles churned up the water and made it turn red, how all that extra sediment caused the fish to die and the frogs to multiply. Rameses knows this already and scowls at Scientist, wondering when he’s going to come to the point. “And what comes next?” asks the Scientist happily. “Flies!” retorts Rameses in disgust, swatting at the hundreds of flies swarming around him. “Yes!” answers the Scientist, obviously pleased that his students are following the lecture.

The next shot shows the Scientist on the scaffold about to be executed.

In science communication we talk about Framing the Message. Framing means to go beyond the facts; your audience wants to know why these facts matter and how they are relevant to their own concerns. In climate science, a government audience wants to know how society will be affected, not just how many degrees the temperature will increase.

Meteorite and Tsunami

In Exodus: Gods and Kings, the parting of the Red Sea is accomplished by a flaming meteorite that falls into the sea beyond the horizon. This impact causes a tsunami in which the sea draws back for the Israelites to cross, then returns in a giant wave while the Egyptian chariots pursue. In the movie God sends the meteorite at the right place and time for Moses to lead his people across, so of course this is full-on theistic astronomy. Ridley Scott does not fall into the “God of the Gaps” fallacy that seems to plague certain atheist bloggers! Good for him.

The Bible says the east wind drove back the water all night long (Exodus 14:20-21). But would a meteorite impact also work? The answer is: not likely. For the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that struck Indonesia, there were three huge waves over 1.5 hours. The wave period from drawback through the return surge was about 30 minutes. There have been some tsunamis with a longer wave period, but the basic wave cycle is measured in tens of minutes, not hours. At the Nuweiba crossing Moses and the Israelites would have to descend 2,500 vertical feet and then crank up the other side back to sea level, all in 30 minutes. The Colorado Mountain Club uses 1,000 feet per hour as a rule of thumb when climbing fourteeners (Between Migdol and the Sea, page 166). A tsunami simply does not provide enough time to make the crossing.

But the wave action is spectacular! Exodus: Gods and Kings does action very well.

Go see it!

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God’s role in crossing the Red Sea

Certain bloggers have begun to misrepresent my religious views on how God works through science and the natural forces. It’s time to post a clear statement.

Exodus 14:20-21 states:

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
(Exodus 14:21 ESV)

We may summarize the Exodus passage as follows:
1. God sent the east wind.
2. The wind moved the water.

Part 1 is the realm of Theology since it involves Divine action. I would love to know if God used a low-pressure system here, but without further description I cannot tell.

Part 2 is the realm of Science. Wind moving water is what the COAWST ocean model calculates, and this is what I published in PLoS ONE in 2010.

If anyone wishes to replace Part 1 with a scientific statement and hypothesize how Moses knew where to stand at just the right time, they are free to submit a manuscript to their favorite scientific journal. Since the Bible says God sent the wind, I’ll stick with Part 1 as stated.

For readers of Funmurphys: the Blog who wish to know how God works through science, I recommend the following books:

“Finding Darwin’s God” by Kenneth Miller.
“The Language of God” by Francis Collins.
Anything by Karl Giberson.

These three Christians (and others) receive harsh criticism from Young-Earth Creationists and New Atheists alike. I am proud to be in their august company in one small way.

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Kindle e-book: Between Migdol and the Sea

The Kindle version of Between Migdol and the Sea is complete! Book readers who prefer electronic viewing to print can now learn all about Crossing the Red Sea with Faith and Science on their Kindle readers.

Alert followers of Funmurphys: the Blog will note that almost two months have passed since the print version of Migdol was published. You may correctly infer that preparing the Kindle version of Migdol was challenging. There are several reasons for this. A technical book is not a romance novel. It was not a problem to include my numbered citations in the text, and place a list of published references at the end of the e-book. But three scientific aspects of Between Migdol and the Sea gave me some trouble:

  • Figures
  • Tables
  • Formulas

Figures

Exodus route from Egypt to Canaan

Between Migdol and the Sea: Chapter 11 Figure 1. Traditional route of the Exodus from Egypt into Canaan. Copyright 2014 by Carl Drews.

I included a number of illustrations in my book, some in color and some in black and white. These figures help the reader to understand the science and geography of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt. The problem is that the various Kindle readers have different displays. Some are high resolution (lots of pixels per inch), and some are in black-and-white. The reader can also select a huge font or a tiny font.

I want readers of Between Migdol and the Sea to have a good reader experience, no matter what device they are using. Amazon provides a preview application that simulates what the book draft will look like on various Kindle models. After a lot of fiddling, I decided to set the width of images to 800 pixels and let the Kindle determine how to lay out the page based on its internal algorithms.

Tables

There are various online forums discussing e-book formats, and some of the comments state that certain formats don’t even support tables. Ugh! Scientific writing sometimes requires the presentation of a group of numbers. Do you really want to read a long series of declarative sentences? No, and I don’t want to write repetitive prose either. Fortunately the Kindle models really do support tables. There is a five-column table in Chapter 7 (Following the Trail) that looks best if you rotate your device into landscape orientation.

Formulas

In Chapter 8 (Counting the Israelites) I present a revised estimate for the number of men, women, and children who crossed the Red Sea with Moses: 35,750. I really wanted to nail down the number of escaping Hebrews and refute the long-standing canard that there were “millions of Israelites” departing from Egypt during the reign of Rameses II. That huge number was simply messing up everything else, especially archaeology. I included a set of calculations to explain and support my estimate. Here is an example:

Formula 8-4

Between Migdol and the Sea: Chapter 8, formula 4.

If you don’t like to read all these numbers, you can get the idea just from the plots. Formulas don’t flow and re-size as well as plain text does in an electronic book. I converted my formulas to images, and the result is satisfactory.

Flames of Desire

Flames of Desire represents the archetypal romance novel. I just made up that title, but there is an actual romance novel by that name if you care to search for it. As a scientific writer I have this idea that the most difficult part of formatting and printing a romance novel is to get a good photo of Fabio and Megan Fox for the front cover. Famous models are expensive, and so are long wispy evening gowns; plus you have to put some Medieval castle into the background. Maybe they just green-screen those looming thunderclouds. But the text of the book interior is just text; it flows from page to page when the reader changes the font size or uses a larger device. There are no figures, no tables, and no formulas in Flames of Desire. The Kindle version should be easier to produce than the print version.

But I could be wrong. For all you romance novelists out there, please feel free to let us know in the comments section below what challenges you encounter in preparing Flames of Desire for print and electronic readers. Tell us about your craft! Here at funmurphys we are happy to hear and learn from your different perspective.

Boulder Book Store

For book buyers who prefer to shop locally, Between Migdol and the Sea is now available at the Boulder Book Store on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

The new movie by director Ridley Scott will be released to U.S. audiences on December 12, 2014. I am posting a humorous series of blogs that evaluate the movie with respect to science and history. To read more about Exodus, please visit Carl Drews at Google Plus.

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Heavy Rain and Flooding in Colorado

I am safe and dry at home, and I expect to stay that way. But the rain is still coming down in buckets. I hope that any readers who live in Colorado are safe as well. We received over 6 inches of rain last night, which is very unusual:

NCAR Foothills Lab Weather Station

Here is a story at CNN.com about the rainstorm:

Colorado floods: 3 dead, 1 missing, rescue efforts continue amid rain

I forgot to check the Emergency Closure before I headed out to the bus this morning. Imagine my surprise when I headed down the last street to my lab and beheld a lake where the road should have been! That’s the first time I’ve ever had to take off my shoes and wade in to my office. Yes, the facilities were closed for the day.

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Why Not Require Photo ID to Vote?

I sometimes make the mistake of reading the editorials in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch when I scan the letters to the editor.  I made that mistake last month and it cost me the time to write a letter (OK, email) about one of many on Missouri’s inching towards requiring a government issued photo ID in order to vote, which strikes me as an eminently sane idea.  You have to have a photo ID to do a lot of things these days – although if you are willing to have a more thorough physical exam than any medical doctor will perform, you can fly on a commercial flight which I happen to know from personal experience.  The paper ran the letter, and edited it as usual.  I’m providing the original, in all its glory:

I keep reading Post editorials about how discriminatory requiring photo ID for voting is.  The latest one notes that not every one can get a drivers license, which while true is meaningless.  Several years ago my father passed away and I took my mother to their bank to square away the accounts.  The bank would have nothing to do with her because she had no photo ID  – she hadn’t driven in years and had no drivers license.  So we returned to her house, picked up the necessary documents, went to the nearby Dept. of Revenue office and obtained a government issued photo ID, and returned to the bank where she was cordially welcomed – all in the same afternoon.  It actually isn’t that hard.

Backing up my anecdote with data, several studies of voter turnout in Indiana in Georgia show that after voter photo ID laws were passed, minority turnout increased, not decreased.  Lawsuits against the Indiana and Georgia laws could not find a single person in either state who was stopped from voting because of photo ID laws. So the idea that photo ID laws are burdensome and suppress minority voter turnout is just another groundless fear of the Post editorial board.

The other argument is that requiring photo ID for voting is a solution in search of a problem – no such fraud occurs I’m told.  The undetectable crime doesn’t go undetected, it goes uncommitted according to this argument. Oddly enough, this very paper is filled with stories everyday of lawbreaking of every sort.  Why even that paragon of virtue and good government, Professor Jeff Smith, was convicted of violating election law and sentenced to a year in prison.  Yet I am to believe lesser men don’t commit voter fraud despite the clear advantage it provides and the complete lack of risk they would run.  I don’t even admire such faith in my fellow man, let alone share it.

Not unexpectedly one of the edits was to remove my citation of Jeff Smith.  (State) Senator Smith really was a good guy – wanted to improve schools even if it meant crossing teachers unions, worked well with Republicans, and clearly was a bright guy with a bright future in front of him.  My point wasn’t to take a swipe at him, but an honest assessment that if you couldn’t trust him, you shouldn’t trust anyone – so verify!

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Improper use of Scripture by Senator James Inhofe

Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma) says that the Bible refutes climate change. From Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, March 9, 2012:

On a radio show yesterday, Inhofe explained: “Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

Senator Inhofe’s comments were in reference to his recently published book: The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.

What we have here is a politician using the Bible to make a political point. Unfortunately, Senator Inhofe is wrong. He claims that since God controls the earth’s climate, we human beings cannot possibly change the climate, and it’s arrogance to think that we can. But Genesis 8:22 does not say that.

This verse occurs at the end of the Flood story. Here is Genesis 8:20-22 in the English Standard Version:

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

God’s covenant here refers to what God has promised to do, not what mankind can do. God will not send another Flood that destroys civilization. Verse 22 is not a guarantee that God will preserve the earth from the consequences of man’s poor stewardship.

Suppose we were to take this covenant as some kind of “assurance of stability” as James Inhofe wants us to do. What exactly does verse 22 say? And what does it mean? Here are the points God makes about the earth’s climate and weather system:

  • seedtime and harvest: There will always be seasons.
  • cold and heat: There will always be variation in temperature.
  • summer and winter: There will always be seasons.
  • day and night: The earth will continue to rotate.

No climate scientist anywhere is suggesting that seasons will cease. This is a straw-man argument by Senator Inhofe. No climate scientist anywhere is suggesting that temperature variation will cease. Scientists are suggesting that there will be more heat and less cold. Genesis 8:22 does not contradict that.

Is there any indication in the Bible that humans can drastically affect the earth? Yes, there is. Consider Genesis 1:28:

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God’s command in Genesis 1:28 to “subdue the earth” is meaningless if mankind cannot possibly accomplish this. But God does not give meaningless commands. According to the Bible, we are capable of changing what’s going on here. Our actions have effects and consequences.

Stewardship of the earth

We are stewards of the earth. We are supposed to take care of this planet. But that relationship as stewards is not for our benefit, contrary to what Rick Santorum has suggested. Consider the Parable of the Wicked Vineyard Tenants in Luke 20:

13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

The tenants don’t own the vineyard. The vineyard is not for their benefit! The Master owns the vineyard. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,” (Psalm 24:1, ESV) We really can mess up the earth through poor and sinful stewardship, and if we do, we really won’t like what happens when the Master returns.

Christology, not climatology

Senator James Inhofe would do much better to read the Bible not from a climatological viewpoint, but from a Christological viewpoint. All Scripture points to Jesus Christ. The Flood was an early attempt by God to rid the earth of sin. The human race was re-started with a righteous man (Noah), but fell back into sin again. The Law was given at Mt. Sinai, but that too failed to make mankind righteous (Romans 3:19-20). But Jesus Christ came, and Christ succeeded in making mankind righteous. (Romans 10:4)

Genesis 8:22 does not point to climate science. Genesis 8:22 points to Jesus Christ.

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Mississippi Flooding and the Atchafalaya spillway

News sources are quoting a figure of 1.5 million cubic feet per second for the current flow of the Mississippi River at the Morganza spillway. That is a lot of water!

 

http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/morganza-spillway-consequences_2011-05-11

http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/spillways-lower-mississippi-louisiana_2011-05-10?page=3

 

To get a visceral idea of how much water that is, my brother Mike from Sandy, Utah sent me some calculations describing how the flow at Morganza (above Baton Rouge) compares to the flow of the Colorado River. 1.5 million cfs is equal to 34.43526 acre feet / second. By comparison, the total capacity of Lake Powell is 24,322,000 acre feet; currently 53.99% full, available capacity 11,205,145 acre feet. The Upper Colorado Basin is supposed to provide an average of 7.5 million acre feet each year past Lees Ferry, Arizona. On Wednesday (May 11, 2011) the flow into Lake Powell was 31,862 cfs, and outflow was 14,791 cfs. Little Cottonwood Creek flood stage is around 500 cfs (coming down into Sandy from Alta and Snowbird).

 

Lake Powell capacity and percent full numbers are taken from http://lakepowell.water-data.com/. Lake Mead capacity and percent full numbers are taken from from http://lakemead.water-data.com/.

 

So at 1.5 million cfs, the Mississippi would deliver the annual flow past Lees Ferry in 2.52 days, would fill the currently available storage in Lake Powell in 3.77 days, and would then fill the available capacity in Lake Mead in another 4.96 days. That’s a lot of water! If I could somehow capture and store 1 second of the current Mississippi flow, I could easily water my yard for the rest of my life. And they would never miss it!

 

You can read more about this at “The Control of Nature: Atchafalaya”: (February 23, 1987):

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1987/02/23/1987_02_23_039_TNY_CARDS_000347146

That link is an old article by John McPhee about attempts to control nature, which is probably getting a lot of web traffic these days. If the Old River Control Structure were to fail, most of the flow of the Mississippi would flow down the Atchafalaya River, taking a much shorter route to the sea and leaving New Orleans and Baton Rouge along a backwater channel.

 

The interesting thing to Mike is that in the long term, the Mississippi Delta is eroding and subsiding while most of the sediment is funneled into deeper waters in the Gulf of Mexico. He further observes that to prevent the loss of the Delta and associated flooding from the ocean (especially during hurricanes), they should allow flooding from the Mississippi River to deposit sediment (mud) on the land, and probably need to let the Mississippi River take new channels to the Gulf every few hundred years.

 

And he’s right. That long lobe of the Mississippi delta past New Orleans is called a “bird’s-foot delta” because it looks like one. It’s unnatural for a delta to form like that, and it’s a consequence of 100 years of levees upriver and in the delta itself. He’s right – all the sediment is going to exactly the wrong place.

 

There is a way to fix this.

 

The Morganza diversion needs to be a sediment trap:

http://www.funmurphys.com/blog/?p=882

We need clean water to flow down the Mississippi to New Orleans (thereby eroding and deepening the built-up channel), and muddy water to pass down the Atchafalaya (thereby building up that lower-elevation lobe). How can we separate the muddy water from the clean water? Build a sediment trap!

 

The Army Corps of Engineers needs to create a small lake at the point of the diversion. When muddy water flows into a lake, the mud settles to the bottom as sediment. Clear water flows beyond that inflow delta, and eventually flows out of the lake. This is why Lake Powell is getting filled up with sediment in its upper reaches, and why the Grand Canyon is sediment-starved. The lake should have two major outflow pipes: one positioned at the lake bottom close to the inflow, and the second positioned near the lake surface at the downstream end of the lake. The “bottom near the inflow” pipe feeds sediment-laden water down the Atchafalaya river. The “surface downstream” pipe feeds clear water down the Mississippi. After decades, and some big floods like the current one, the Atchafalaya lobe will build up and the New Orleans bird’s-foot will erode away.

 

The Morganza spillway already has a stilling basin, but that’s designed to dissipate energy, not separate out the sediment.

 

Yes, it will cost a lot of money to build the sediment trap, but the alternatives are a lot more expensive. What is the cost of relocating New Orleans and Baton Rouge? We are hoping to accomplish here a controlled stream capture and relocation of the sediment load. By the way, the natural event when a river distributary carves a new channel is called a “crevasse event.” The river catastrophically breaks through the natural levee and forms a crevasse where the new channel pours out. A lot of people in the John McPhee article were terrified of a crevasse event happening on its own.

 

We need a sediment trap and decades of patience to let it work.

 

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Colorado Joins the Pac-10

In sports news, we learn that the University of Colorado at Boulder has joined the Pacific-10 Conference. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a Master of Science degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado. This means that my two alma maters will now be playing each other on a regular basis. Yay! This is cool!

This is a good move for Colorado. The Pac-10 is a great conference! In college football, the Pac-10 has a lot of great west coast teams, with exciting offenses and tough defensive squads. UC-Berkeley was always a great game, UCLA is tough to get by, Washington usually has lots of talent, and the Arizona fans in Sun Devil Stadium made for a deafening contest whenever Stanford played there. USC was always tough (sometime too tough), but Stanford football has earned some wins and ties against Southern California. The other athletic programs provide worthy competition, too – baseball, basketball, water polo, tennis, and so on. It will also be good for CU to join the stellar academics of the Pac-10 schools (Stanford, Berkeley, University of Washington, UCLA, etc.).

For Colorado sports fans, the Pac-10 schools are wonderful places to visit. Oregon is the most beautiful state in the country when the sun’s out. Seattle is a kick! Southern California is a fun place to spend a few extra days visiting Disneyland or going surfing. When in the Bay Area during fall, head to San Francisco and on to the wine country! San Francisco is the first big city I ever enjoyed.

During my senior year at Stanford, before I had ever visited Boulder, I remember a guy from the Stanford radio station telling me what an amazing place Boulder is when he traveled here for a rare Stanford-CU football game. So I came. I’m still here.

I don’t even know who I should root for! Undergraduate ties to the school’s athletic program are usually stronger, but I have been steeped in local football enthusiasm for decades now. I’ll go to the first Boulder game and just let the competitive juices flow where they will.

To all those Pac-10 students, fans, and alumni I have this to say: Come out and see us! Boulder is a great place to visit in the fall. Spend a few extra days in the mountains, hang out on the Pearl Street Mall, drive over the Trail Ridge Road before the snow flies, go skiing after the snow flies, have a meal at the Dushanbe Tea House and ask some local to tell you the real history of the place, or bag a Fourteener!

We’ll give you a good football game and send you on home, tired but happy.

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Self-Loathing Americans

It’s now clear that Maj. Nidal Hasan was someone who went Jihadi, and showed plenty of warning signs. And yet those signs were ignored. And in the aftermath, we were treated to this weird display of anything but jihadism.

Why?

Over and over, we we are told not to even paint at all lest we paint with too broad a brush. If somebody puts on a hockey mask, revs up a chain saw, and threatens people, do I dismiss it because Jason is, after all, only a fictional character?  Or do I respect the person enough to take them at their word and take action?  I vote for taking action.  Clearly others vote for dismissing it as fiction.

Why?

You want answers? You can’t handle the truth!”

——– Col. Nathan Jessup

I think Leonard Pitts gives the reason away in his column where he commits one of the fallacies I hate worst – pick the most extreme view and paint it as the entirety of your opponents views.  He tells us, if we tell you the truth America, you’ll put moslems into internment camps or hang them from the nearest lightpost, because that’s who you are.

How else do you interpret the statement:

And it ought to leave you impatient with the shrill, intolerant voices who would have us believe Nidal Malik Hasan is every Muslim in America.

For what it’s worth, those same voices sang out when Japanese-American soldiers left internment camps to fight for freedom. And when African-American soldiers went abroad to defend democracy, then came home and were lynched still wearing their uniforms.

It leaves me impatient with shrill, intolerant voices who would have me believe a couple of quotes off the internet is representative of every American.

I think we see this again and again from certain people on the left – we can’t tell the truth, or America will go medieval on some minority group’s heiney like we always have in the past.   And that’s what makes them self-loathing Americans.  America is always wrong, and can never be trusted to do the right thing, or learn from past mistakes.   The irony that they are the ones painting with too broad a brush is, of course, completely lost on them.

Actually, Leonard et al, we can handle the truth, what drives people crazy is being lied to.  If you lie to people, don’t complain when they become paranoid.

Department of Odd Coincidences

I’m reading Instapundit when I come across this story about a black bear attacking a boy in the Smokey Mountains:

The incident began about 7:30 p.m. when the boy, Evan Pala of Boca Raton, Fla., was playing in a creek about 300 yards from the trailhead of Rainbow Falls Trail, which is near the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Miller said.

Wow – just last Thursday we (AKA the Murphy Family) parked at the Rainbow Falls trailhead and hiked up to Rainbow Falls. I did prep us by reading the blurb on the map on what to do if a bear attacks (don’t approach or run away, but if attacked fight back) although I think only I paid much attention. I have to admit after reading about the 2 bears per square mile density I was nervous with all the smellables we were taking on the hike, including lunch.

We didn’t see hide nor scat of bear on our hike (thankfully), although when we got back to the van someone had written “Go Patriots!” in the dust of the back window. This really weirded out the Murphy women since somebody figured out what school the funDaughter goes to with just a PS sticker and Missouri plates to go by.

Anyway, here’s a picture of the falls:

Rainbow Falls
RAINBOW FALLS

Our hearts go out to the Pala family and we hope and pray they make a full recovery.