Short People Just Got Scarier

Here is the story of how a judge just sentenced a man who sexually assaulted a child to probation since she thought he was too short to handle prison. First off, that is ridiculous. Second, if you weren't uncomfortable around short people before, think about how much worse things just got now that they have a get out of jail free card.


NFL Predictions

Here is a sign that my sport allegiance has switched: though the Stanley Cup Playoffs are still underway, all I can think about is the upcoming NFL season. This last week I have been examining the upcoming year's schedule and making my early picks. Here is my projection for the regular season (playoffs are still under consideration):

AFC NORTH . . . . . . . . . . NFC NORTH
Pittsburgh (13-3) . . . . . .Chicago (11-5)
Cincinnati (12-4) . . . . . .Minnesota (8-8)
Baltimore (7-9) . . . . . . .Detroit (5-11)
Cleveland (2-14) . . . . . .Green Bay (1-15)

AFC SOUTH . . . . . . . . . .NFC SOUTH
Indianapolis (14-2) . . . Carolina (13-3)
Jacksonville (13-3) . . . New Orleans (7-9)
Houston (4-12) . . . . . . Tampa Bay (7-9)
Tennessee (1-15) . . . . .Atlanta (3-13)

AFC EAST . . . . . . . . . . .NFC EAST
New England (10-6) . . Dallas (11-5)
Miami (10-6) . . . . . . . .New York (11-5)
New York (4-12) . . . . .Philadelphia (9-7)
Buffalo (4-12) . . . . . . . Washington (5-10)

AFC WEST . . . . . . . . . .NFC WEST
Denver (13-3) . . . . . . .Seattle (14-2)
Kansas City (12-4) . . .Arizona (10-6)
San Diego (8-8) . . . . . Saint Louis (5-11)
Oakland (5-11) . . . . . .San Francisco (1-15)

[I think that my lows are too low and I have too many highs, but it's the best I can do with my first attempt]

Two Movies

I recently took at short break from adding to my book library to get a couple of older movies. I picked up The Mission and Brother Sun Sister Moon, both of which are good to have in your collection. Watching The Mission again was particularly interesting since the aspects of the movie that I identify with have changed considerably since the first time I saw the movie, and even since subsequent viewings. It is a powerful movie that deals in part with the Christian reaction to aggression. I used to identify strongly with De Niro's character in taking up arms to defend the mission. Now I see the better course of action as the one taken by the other priest. Pacifism is a tricky issue and it is something that I want to spend more time studying this summer. That said, I would encourage you to check out these movies and perhaps discussion can ensue.


The Crew

7 months and already in a gang. They look innocent enough, but it is all a facade.

Inspired by the Code

It is no da Vinci, nor does it have a hidden code (either) -- don't tell Lesley, she is still searching -- but I took my first attempt ever at painting a quasi-mural to give Karis' room a little more fun. Now her room is lamb-tastic!

Friday's Quotables

"I have that, and crime deterrent."
- My current favorite ad.

I don't have a cell phone, but if I did, it would certainly have crime deterrent.
See it here: Crime Deterrent


Things Bugging Me

1. Why is the country spelled 'Philippines' and people from that country referred to as 'Filipino'?

2. Why are the colours of the lights on the pedestrian cross-walks orange and white? Why is the hand not red and the little man green?

3. Why are grapes classified as red or green, yet grapes are a typical example of something that is purple?


New Pictures

New pictures (200+) are up here.
The password is 'Karis'.

Also, if you create an account you can order 15 pictures for free.

Friday's Quotables

"Good and evil both increase at compound interest: that is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which a few months later you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible."
- C.S. Lewis

"[God] makes every snowflake different, we make ice cubes."
- D.A. Carson

"For the truth is that God in his wisdom, to make and keep us humble and to teach us to walk by faith, has hidden from us almost everything that we should like to know about the providential purposes which he is working out in the churches and in our own lives."
- J.I. Packer


More on Luck

I am really fascinated by the concept of luck and its applications in philosophy. However, I have realized that it is a difficult task to pin down exactly what luck is. Reading Duncan Pritchard's book Epistemic Luck has brought this out.

Here is Pritchard:
Using the notion of an 'accident' does not seem to work since some cases of luck are not accidents. It is a matter of luck that an individual wins the lottery, but it is not an accident in typical cases anyway.

Using the notion of 'chance' does not seem to work for similar reasons. A mudslide can occur by chance, yet if no one's life is affected by it we would not consider such an event lucky.

Using the notion of 'control' is problematic, since many things are out of our control (the sun's rising) yet such event are not considered lucky.

Pritchard offers the following 2 criteria:
(L1) If an event is lucky, then it is an event that occurs in the actual world but which does not occur in a wide class of the nearest possbile worlds where the relevant initial conditions for that event are the same as the actual world.
(L2) If an event is lucky, then it is an event that is significant to the agent concerned (or would be significant were the agent to be availed of the relevant facts).

Besides being very vague criteria (advantage?) Pritchard's criteria fail to account for the cases of epistemic luck that are his target (Gettier cases). Briefly, if the belief in question is a belief in a deep contingent fact which is true in all or most the nearest possible worlds, then that belief can still be Gettierized yet it will not be lucky on Pritchard's account. (Thanks to Rich and Trent for pointing this out)

Having said all that, I am looking for help in describing our concept of luck. Do any of the accounts seem right in certain ways? Here are some questions:
1) Is what we call lucky pragmatic? Could chance events really be lucky, it is just that we don't call them that?
2) Is there anything about foreseen consequences that ought to play into the concept?
3) Is the concept nothing but trouble and anything that appeals to luck would do better appealing to some other clearer concept?


When is praise deserved?

This question came up in conversation with a friend from school. It seems clear that praise is deserved when one goes above and beyond the call of duty (performs a superogatory act). The question is whether one deserves praise simply for fulfilling one's duty. In other words, if one does exactly what is required, do they deserve praise?

On the one hand it seems not. After all, they are just doing what they are supposed to do.
On the other hand, doing what you are supposed to do is no easy task or it is not a task that is accomplished by many, thus one does deserve praise for so doing.

I would appreciate feedback. I am pulled toward thinking that one deserves praise simply for fulfilling a duty but I am not super confident and I don't know what the common intuition is.


Here is a great online sudoku site. It even graphs your time to tell you how bad it is compared to others.


BBC Mixup

This is a pretty funny story/video of a BBC interview about the court case of Apple's itunes vs. the Beattles Apple Corps over the use of the apple symbol. The interview was supposed to be with a bearded white technology expert but was instead with a black cab driver with a French accent.


Working the Camera

Our Mother's Day

We had a great first Mother's Day with a trip to the Rochester Lilac Festival and planting flowers at home.

First Footnote

It's a small step, but I have made it into my first real footnote. It is in a Matt Weiner paper on knowledge. It is a pretty interesting paper where Matt claims that our concept of knowledge is actually incoherent, but the incoherence is pretty much harmless. Here is a link to the paper, check out footnote 65.


Friday's Quotables (student evaluation edition)

"he tried to make learning logic be fun."

"[logic] should not be a core course."

"how you grades . . . extremely fair."

"did not enjoy subject material, but Matheson made it tollerable."

"the book was bad, it was written in Brittish English not American English."

"I hate logic."

"the instructor was the man."


Good News About Injustice

I've started reading Gary Haugen's book and have really enjoyed and been challenged by what I have read thus far. Here are a couple appetizers:
- Just as children need to develop object permanence, Haugen writes that we Christian's must develop compassion permanence -- not just being moved by compassion when directly confronted with such a situation, but having genuine lasting compassion even apart from direct stimulus.

"the extent to which our compassion extends beyond our immediate circle is the extent to which we are loving more like God and less like our carnal selves."

- "unless seeking justice is a category of endeavor that is completely different from every other activity on earth that is important to God, the answer to the how question has something to do with what God's people do or don't do."

- "over time I have come to see questions about suffering in the world not so much as questions of God's character but as questions about the obedience and faith of God's people."

- "Jesus (the Creator of all things seen and unseen) no more needed those five loaves and two fish than my wife and I need our three-year-old's 'help' in baking cinnamon rolls for visitors. But what a wonderful life-changing day for that boy to be part of Jesus' miracle. How fun for the disciples to go among the grateful, joyful multitudes -- to be the hands dispensing Christ's supernatural power and love. How ridiculous, on the other hand, that they should imagine that the vast piles of bread and fish should be given to them for any reason other than to feed those who were in need."

Haugen imagines a take on the feeding of the 5000 where the disciples just kept the bread and fish for themselves saying 'Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for providing me food and for having my situation not be like those who are hungry and have nothing to eat' while all the while the disciples were complaining and wondering why God wasn't helping out the hungry multitude.

As such, we can say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for all the power, protection, freedom and justice you have granted us in sparing us from such fates." OR we can add, "what have you given me Father, that I might help those who don't have power, protection, who don't have freedom or justice?"

The International Justice Mission website is also worth checking out. Here is the link.


It is finished

School and work both finished today. Now it is all summer from here on out. As of now the plan is to let Lesley get a job and me to have just a refreshing summer. Beach trips, camping trips, landscaping, and a Christmas party are all on the schedule. The blogging should be back to a vigorous pace now that my grading and final papers are all finished up. The summer should also include a good deal of reading. If some of you wanted to join along it would be a lot of fun. I am open to some suggestions, but three things I want to get to right away are this paper on original sin, this book by Gary Haugen (president of international Justice Mission), and this book by C.S. Lewis (thanks Katie). After that I'm looking at getting into the Oxford University Press series of the interdisciplinary symposium of various topics of Christian theology. It looks like a great series. I already have The Trinity, The Incarnation, and The Resurrection, and am waiting for my copy of The Redemption to come in the mail. Any are welcome to join me on these journeys. Let me know if you are interested. Otherwise I'm sure to post things about the readings on the blog, so stay tuned.

Also, two new grilling capabilities have emerged:

8. Grilled Swordfish (in Italian dressing marinade)

8. Corn on the Cob (extra butter/salt/pepper)

(I figured I should continue the tradition of numbering everything after 7, 8.)


Fridays Quotables (bumper sticker edition)

'Fat people are harder to kidnap.'

'Never believe generalizations.'

'Dyslexics are teople poo.'

'Squirrels, natures little speedbumps.'

'I have the body of a god. Buddha.'

Additions welcome as always.


Signs of Growth

Before: 10/13/05 After: 05/04/06

Snuffed Out

Just days before I am set to become unemployed the Flames go ahead and get knocked out of the playoffs by team Disney! It is bad enough that living in the EST the Western Conference games go until 1am or later and that the only games I can watch on T.V. are between Eastern Conference teams that I have no desire to see play, but now this. At least now I can use my time to catch up on things that I have been getting behind on, like flossing.
With regard to Lord Stanley's Cup, I am now officially moving my allegiance to the New Jersey Devils. I have always liked the Devils in the past, but with their new found offensive style they are a lot of fun to watch when the networks get it right and put one of their games on. Sorry Brian, I just can't go for the Sabres even though they are so close by. Too many Hasek memories.