Friday, July 31, 2015

Atoms and the Universe

I was watching a NOVA program on PBS that showed us an electron microscope that was so strong they could see atoms in brass and distinguish the different atoms of copper and tin. We have come a long way since Democritus of Adbera in northern Greece first described the atom in 400 BC. He said, “That all material things are composed of extremely small irreducible particles called atoms and that nothing exist except atoms and empty space.”

I saw this Nova episode during a time when I am rereading “The Nature of the Universe” by Lucretius a Roman gentleman about 55 BC. In this book he describes among other things the nature of the atom in great detail.

Without the aid of electron microscopes they both did an amazing job of thinking about something they could not see and could only imagine using logic. We also now have great space telescopes that can show us the atom like nature of the universe beyond the scop of the human eye. As the scope of our knowledge increases so does the ability of the human mind to think about new discoveries.

How far will we go in the next hundred or a thousand years?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Criticism - Critique or Evaluation

Most of us don’t like to be criticized and we feel bad when it happens. We have to admit that sometimes we deserve it and sometimes we don’t and I am not sure which hurts the most. My personal problem is that I tend to respond much too quickly when I should take the time to cool down and evaluate my part of it.

There are some differences between Criticism, Critique, and Evaluation. Criticism is usually sharp and says, “I don’t like what you did or said.” It is an expression of displeasure from one person to the other. It is most often received badly and even feels like "I don't like you." Criticism does little good and in fact it is often counter productive.

A Critique is a step up from criticism though the two words stem from the same root. A critique can be either positive or negative and often both at the same time. It too can say something went wrong so let’s discuss the possibilities for correction. This is an approach that is often lost in our society.

As a Toastmaster I am very into evaluation as a tool to help one another improve our lives, work and progress. It usually starts with here is what went well and is followed with here is one way to improve on this. Always it is followed up with appreciation for the effort.

As a mayor of a small city I am in a position of no matter what I do some people will be happy and some will be very unhappy by the same action. Some of those who are unhappy will remember for a long time but that is just the way it is. What I have to constantly work on myself about is how do I respond? Sometimes even when I try to have a cool down period the other party is impatient and demands an immediate response. When I fall for that I am usually not going to give a good well thought out answer.

We are still a work in progress. Lord help me!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Question the Polls

In 2008 my senior Senator from Kentucky was shocked that Obama was elected. He stated even before Obama took office that he would make sure that Obama would be a one term president. Our senior Senator is well known here in Kentucky for his political dirty tricks and he began his anti-Obama campaign with gusto leading the Republican party in opposing anything that the Democrats presented. He failed but has kept up the vitriol anyway.

Way back when I was an undergraduate I took a class in statists at Texas Christian University. What an eye opener for public polling. Looking for stats? What stats do you want? It is all in how you ask the questions and who you ask. Most national pollsters today like Pew Research do a good job of random polling to get a good sample of what people think. But even they sometimes get it really wrong. Governor Romney had so many polls that showed him winning that he only wrote a victory speech.

My senior Senator is continuing his argument over health care and the polls are all over the place and it all depends on who you ask what question. If you ask about the “Affordable Care Act” you get a positive set of results but if you ask the same people about “Obamacare” you get a negative set of answers. It is all in how you phrase the questions.

I am skeptical when a politician says, “The American people want …. [You can fill in the blank]! Of course they will state that the American people want what the speaker wants. Americans are a diverse people and we don’t all want the exact same thing and we all need to wake up to that fact.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Choosing A Study Bible

I have often been asked about: "How do a choose the right bible to study?" That is an important question. Some people think that the "King James Version" is the only authorized version and there for is the only true bible. That is just not the case! The KJV was "authorize" for printing in England in 1611 by King James of England. For a long time it was the only version that could be printed in England.

Unless you are competent in reading Hebrew and Greek you need to choose a good study bible in your native language. Choosing one is not as easy as it sounds. We need to realize that EVERY translation is the translators’ opinion of the meaning. You just have to look at the variety of English translations to know the truth of that statement. So how do we know which translation will be best for us to use?

First is it a direct translation from the Hebrew and Greek? Some bibles are translations from translations in other languages or versions of the same language. There are also paraphrase versions like “The Living Bible” that are meant for easy reading not study.

Second is it a translation by a committee or by one person. A single translator can not help but provide you with that person’s opinion. Translations done by committees have the added values of all their opinions being discussed and consensus being reached. It is still opinion but the chances of the opinion being a better choice is greater.

Third is, "What year was the translation completed?" This is more important than you might think. What year was YOUR language skill set? For High School graduates it is the year of your graduation. For University graduates you choose that year of graduation. Then choose a translation completed close to that year for the language YOU best understand.

NOTE about margin notes: There is a difference in what is in the “text” of the bible and what is written in the margins. Information in margins and footnotes are OPINIONS! That doesn’t mean they are wrong but they could be so check them out. We all have opinions and I believe mine are correct or I would not hold them. So choose your bible translation for you to study very carefully.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Life is About to Change

Life is about to change at the Odom-Groh household. My darling wife is going to be retired at the end of the month and we will both need to learn new routines.

For the past fourteen years every week day she has left the house before I woke up to catch the buss for her job downtown. She developed a routine that worked for her and moved ther through the day. I also developed my own routine for doing household chores and having supper ready when she arrived home. Starting Friday July 31 all that is going to be disturbed.

Mind you I am looking forward to it but a change is a change none the less. I will enjoy waking up to her sweet smile every day and sharing the day with her, taking day trips with her and being able to chat about things we are reading. We are going to go back to our old cooking routine of many years ago. We both love to cook and she has been cooking on her week-end and I have been cooking on her work day. Starting in August we will be taking turns a week at a time and the one who is cooking will also do the shopping.

We will also revisit old patterns for cleaning house and taking care of the yard. Yes life is about to change in the Odom-Groh Household for the better.
Praise the Lord.