Monthly Archives: June 2007

Home Alone

Malia pictureI’m playing hooky from church this morning. Friday, at the pool, I got a really bad sunburn and I am unable to wear a vital piece of underclothing…know what I mean? Yeah, it’s that bad! I’m well versed in the benefits of and need for sunscreen, believe me. I just made a stupid decision on Friday morning since I was late in arriving for the water aerobics class (outdoors) that I wanted to participate in. Apparently, by the time I got around to applying sunscreen, the damage had already been done.

So hear I sit, all by myself (but not all broken hearted). I honestly can’t remember the last time I was at home all alone. Several weeks ago, David and I had the kids spend the night with their grandparents and we were home alone. But just me (and the dog – who I let out)? I’m not sure what to do with myself! I’m hoping to get some “stuff” done, get laundry started, dishwasher emptied, table cleared off, etc. But for now it’s nice to sit in a quiet house, finish my coffee and read and write without interruption!

What do you do when you get “alone” time?

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Filed under by Malia, life as a domestic goddess

Science Primer

I haven’t done one of these in a while. It doesn’t ever seem to really help, but it makes me feel better.  Please pardon the interruption for these few words…

Science. What is science and what can it do for you? The goal of science is to understand and share understanding of the natural world. Science is a pathway to obtain truth. The scientific method is used to achieve this goal.* Since there are plenty of places to find out what science and the scientific method are, I will focus on what they are not, since that seems to have many people confused. Science uses many of the same terms as other fields, but the definitions of those words is not always the same. Let me see if I can explain:

1. Science does not “prove” anything.

Proof is for mathematics, logic, or the law. Science, on the other hand, attempts to understand and model the natural world to the extent that humans are able to observe phenomena. Science can reliably and repeatedly test hypotheses, but that does not prove anything. If something is measurable enough and universal enough, it can be a physical law.

2. “Facts” are the basic building blocks of science, not the end result.

Facts (or observations) are foundational to science. For example, someone may note that my shirt is red and then see that my wife’s shirt is red. A hypothesis (or theory) can then be tested regarding shirts: “All shirts are red”. An experiment is conducted to collect more data regarding this hypothesis at a local clothing store. It is determined by observation of shirts at the store that, indeed, all shirts are not red. The facts in this study began with two observed red shirts, which led to a hypothesis, which led to a conclusion.

3. Saying “it is just a theory” is not disparaging nor does it in any way diminish what it is you are talking about.

The model of the atom is the best illustration of this that I can think of. Do you remember this one:

or this: or this:

Maybe not, especially the last one, but they are all “true” theoretical representations of the structure of an atom. As the ability of science to observe has improved, so have the models of the natural world (note how the models are refined through time from left to right). This does not make the first one false, just superceded by a more accurate model of the same thing. Science is extremely rigid in its definitions, and most everything “only” has a maximum potential to be a well-tested theory. I would venture to guess that the structure of the atom will always be a theory and not governed/defined as a physical law.

4. Science has no “-ism”s or Science does not “believe” in anything, excepting its empirical methodology.

While scientists are certainly passionate about what they do, they do not “believe” in what they study beyond the bounds of what is shown through the scientific method. It is not a belief system. The world we live in today would be radically different without the scientific method to help us uncover how the natural world works and how we humans can manipulate the mechanisms of the world to our benefit (eg. medicine, air travel, etc.). While we can appreciate those contributions, there are few that would claim that science is the end of knowledge.

5. Science is not the only pathway to obtain truth.

The rigorous framework of the scientific method is both the greatest strength and the greatest limitation to science. Science does not intend to be able to discover all truth**. There is truth in art, literature, philosophy, religion, etc. that are all (I argue) beyond the capabilities of science to discover. Even within scientific fields, there are theories of phenomena that can not be tested by any currently known method (eg. string theory). Those theories, since they do not meet the criteria of testability/falsifiability, are not scientific theories, but philosophical until such time as they can be tested and reliably observed.

Hopefully, this post will help clear up confusion when it comes to talking about science and what it can “prove” and what it “claims as fact” and in quelling accusations that scientists are rabid believers in some scientific religion. We now return this blog to its regularly scheduled programming.

*As wonky as Wikipedia is, this is actually a very nicely detailed explanation of the scientific method.

**Some would argue with this point. All I can say is, there is more to those chemical reactions in your head when you appreciate fine art or a nice jazz piece than the sum of its parts. Good luck quantifying it.

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Filed under by DB

Bubble Ballet

A boy and his dog and a bubble machine.

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Filed under by Malia, doggie diva, The GMan

Pssst…it’s someone’s birthday today.

I won’t name any names but he sort of looks like this….

::whispers:: happy birthday, david! ::whispers::

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Filed under by Malia, love & marriage

A Sad Day For Nashville

Malia pictureThe girl with the job that a million bloggers would kill for resigned today. And without Brittney, we don’t know what the future of Nashville is Talking will be. I can’t really explain why that is. If you’re part of the “community” you understand what I mean but for those of you not involved with the NiT community, suffice to say there’s been a lot of drama the past several weeks. But I wanted to take a moment to say what Nashville is Talking has meant to me.

On April 19, 2005, I started my own blog and a few months later, I started noticing some commercials for Nashville is Talking and some links to/references to Nashville is Talking on blogs that I read. I decided to check it out and as I am prone to do, I lurked for awhile, getting a feel for how things worked, who everyone was, etc before testing the waters and actually, you know…commenting. And once I did start commenting things started to get really interesting. A post of mine was eventually linked to and I was “blogrolled”, i.e. added to the aggregator. Over time, I started to “meet” other bloggers online by reading their blogs, commenting, e-mailing, etc. Badbadivy and I were “introduced” when I railed on her about a check-writing post she put up that Brittney linked to.

I saw amazing things happen at Nashville is Talking. I saw pets get adopted out. I saw an online community come together to defend one of their own (that was pre-JL Kirk incident). I saw conservative/liberal bloggers debate each other but still be civil and friendly. Then in March of 2006, I attended by first blogger meet-up at a little coffee shop in Smyrna. I met the infamous Badbadivy, Aunt B., Brittney, Big Orange Michael, as well as others. And I felt so welcome and so well…at home!

Over the almost two years that I’ve been apart of the Nashville is Talking community, Nashville has been opened up to me. Before NiT, pretty much the only people I knew in Nashville were my family and the people I went to church with. It was pathetic. Now I have friends from Murfreesboro to Hendersonville. And it didn’t stop with Middle Tennessee! I know bloggers in West Tennessee and I read blogs written by people living on the eastern side of state, too. In many ways, the NiT community has become an extended family for me. It’s a community that really gets what “community” is all about and I’m proud to be apart of it.

Brittney, thank you. Thank you for being willing to step out on a limb and do a job that no one had ever done before. You did your job very well! I’m sad to see you go and as much as I’d like to beg you to stay, I know you’re already happier than you have been in quite awhile! You will be missed but I know we haven’t “seen” the last of you. You are talented and beautiful and intelligent and someone, somewhere will be very fortunate to have you work for them!

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Filed under by Malia, I blog they blog wouldn't you like to be a blogger too?

Weather Dunce

I am clueless about the whys and hows of weather. Fortunately, I married a weather “nerd” who is kind and patient enough to explain things to me. Sometimes, I even get graphics!

img_1251.jpg

This is a drawing done on our back porch (using sidewalk chalk) of the Bermuda High syndrome.

Let’s see if I learned anything…there’s an area of high pressure that sits in the Atlantic ocean over Bermuda (Bermuda is that “dot” by the big “H”). The high pressure area turns clockwise. When storms (low pressure areas) head our direction, they are turning counter clockwise. When the low pressure area meets the Bermuda High pressure area, the low pressure area sort of “bounces off” the high pressure and moves over it sending storms (rain) above us, to the north and east. So areas like Missouri (the “box” next to the big “L”) get lots of rain and lots of flooding, while we get nothin’.

(Yes, that’s my toe, somewhere down near Honduras…I think. I’m also really bad with geography!)

Update: I e-mailed this graphic to the News2 weather blog, Nashville WX, last night. That cutie patootie, Justin Bruce, put it up on a post over there today!

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Filed under by Malia, random

News du jour

David picture On April 16, 2007, some dude murdered 32 people at Virginia Tech.  As an aside, I call him “some dude” because his name does not bear remembering.  Now that proper time has been given to mourn and grieve, I wanted to go back to a post at Nashville is Talking that drew my ire.

Admittedly, on that day, I was not looking at NiT, but was trying to work.  However, when I came home early to be with my wife, I happened to look at this NiT post in which the comments were already in flagrante. I commented on that post because I was frankly surprised that there was such a lack of respect for the dead simply because of distance and supposed disconnection with the event.

The replies to me indicated that there was no internal control in some people and they would only respect the authority of the owner of the blog (Brittney).  This was odd, since these are such staunch advocates of individual freedom who were, in my opinion, not demonstrating the requisite self-government necessary to possess such freedoms.

Individual freedom in the absence of self-government is not a republic, it is anarchy.  I respect these folks that stand for individual freedom.  However, when there is no internal control over their own freedom but only a bristling exertion of self, it makes me wonder whether they are advocates for liberty or just self.

So, now to what I really wanted to talk about.  I made the comment that “There will be plenty of time for not fixing the problem later.”  That comment actually had nothing to do with guns per se.*  It was a general comment to the fact that bloggers like to fixate on the news du jour and never actually do anything about what they write about.  Bloggers are the biggest bunch of myopic popguns there ever were** who sit and wait to jump on their pet issue(s) and then rant about them and comment war over them until the aggregate blood pressure of the whole community is beyond the ability of Lasix to control.

I say we all take a chill pill and relax.  After all, the only two items necessary to sustain life are coconut milk and sunshine.

*I couldn’t care less about guns or gun laws.  Criminals who are determined will always find a way around any gun law out there.  The problem is never at the point in time when the gun is used in crime, the problem always occurs well before that, whether it is poverty, mental illness, drugs, etc.  Make all the laws you want and blather about them all you want, they won’t make a difference.

**me included

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Filed under by DB, link love, Politics, random, Virginia Tech