"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Whale Evolution 1

Whale Evolution 2

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hubble Images

In Physical Science this module is on Astronomy and I always am in awe at the wonders of
the universe. (But if you go to hubblesite.org and type "eye of God" in the search engine
you will get no results. NASA has no imagination. That is "helix nebula" (NGC 7293 to be
precise). I note that it is okay to call NGC 2392 the "Eskimo Nebula though. sighs.
And I think the "eye" looks much more like an eye than the other does an eskimo though it
is lovely. Oh well.
The 3rd photo - I always love to show those and there are a multitude of those on the Hubble
site - is what is called a "deep field" shot. A wide angle photo shoot if you wish. Those are not stars - well, they ARE stars but not individual stars - those are GALAXIES. Each of those dots are individual galaxies. Care to try to figure out how many stars there might be? Me neither.
And every time Hubble does a deep field shot it finds more galaxies. Care to try to guess where
the end of the universe might be. Me neither.
Big universe. Bigger God.
smiles, Pax

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Most Beautiful System...

"This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being."

"Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system, I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance."

Sir Isaac Newton


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Having a Good Crisis?


"A hedge fund manager who predicted the global credit crunch has said the financial crisis has been 'stimulating' and the culmination of his life's work.
George Soros, who predicted the global financial crisis twice before, was one of the few people to anticipate and prepare for the current economic collapse.
Mr Soros said his prediction meant he was better able to brace his Quantum investment fund against the global storm.
But other investors failed to take notice of his prediction and his decision to come out of retirement in 2007 to manage the fund made him $US2.9 billion. "

Um, since he helped engineer the crisis am I the only one who smells something
fishy here?

Friday, March 20, 2009

What Would You Do?

You are a pilot in the south of Africa. You fly with a number of medicines to a far away hospital, and take a short break for a fast lunch and a refreshing drink. It is over 100 degrees outside and you would really like to fly high in the air in your plane, where it is a bit cooler. Going to your plane you discover suddenly that the only place with shade in the full surroundings have been grabbed. You start calculate the distance to the door of your plane and you find yourself despairing - How do I get out of Africa?

(Photo from Kenya)

My Great Grandmother and Me

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Willie Mae Austin

Long ago now, my mother asked me, "Why do you have a photo of
your Great-grandmother on your blog?".

Well, as many of us do - we have boxes of photos given to us by various
family members and many, if not most, are not labeled so we have NO idea
WHO the people in the photos might be. I had found this photo long ago and
loved it. I knew she had to be related to me (why else would I have her photo)
but had no idea who she was. I simply thought she looked very elegant and

Then my mother told me her name. Yes, we ARE from the Deep South. Only in
the Deep South does one name a girl child "Willie Mae". (this name does NOT go
with the photo well imo). Her daughter was my grandmother Mary Lou - known
by all the grandchildren as Lucy because that is what *I* (the oldest grandchild)
called her. It wasn't until her funeral that some of my cousins discovered that her
name wasn't Lucy. I felt a bit bad about that. I loved my grandmother (so her
mother must have given her an elegant upbringing. I can still imagine!). She wanted
to be buried (according to my Aunt Janice) with a fork - because the best is yet to come.
(Everyone in the South knows to keep your fork - because dessert is coming!).
I wish I had known Willie Mae. I can't wait to meet her!

PS My other dear beloved grandmother's name was Daisy Myrtle. She used to
threaten me if I named a daughter after her. Old names are making a comeback so
who knows! Maybe a great-great granddaughter will yet come..

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break at McWane

The da Vinci Machines in Motion exhibit is at the McWane Center right now
- some 40 interactive machines. da Vinci was quite the inventor!
And the Itty Bitty Magic City is once more open - for ages five and under a child can
play at being almost any job in the Magic City (B'ham's nickname for blog visitors not
in the area).
We spent over 3 hours there and left tired but satisfied.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Weekend

Everyone enjoyed strawberries (and even Kitty wanted to try some).
Jacob finally announced he was going to bed - and he did. But he was awakened
some time later and didn't like it at all (see final photo - brother Jeremiah is
patting him on the back while Grandma holds him.)
Nice visit with Matthew, Nicole, Matthew and Amy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Veterans Object to Paying for Service Related Injuries


Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance…”

This has GOT to be the most ludicrous thing I've yet heard (okay, no the
trillion dollars thing is maybe but it's only been 100 days).
And yes, the Veterans (gee, I wonder why) are objecting.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Science Fair 2009

Photos from our Science Fair - I didn't get all the students and for that I

apologize! There were many very good ones that I managed not to photograph for

some reason or other (much to my regret and shame!)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Climb that Mountain but Don't Bother...

answering your cell phone if it rings on your way down!
My husband called yesterday to say he had called Michael to talk and Michael said,
"Dad, can I call you back. I'm climbing a mountain right now". (Then I find the photo on
Heather's blog to prove it!). My thought immediately was WHY did he answer the phone
to begin with. Unless it was the President calling (and maybe not then!) I wouldn't have
answered the phone (but then I would not be hanging on the side of the mountain either).
Yes, I still pray a lot.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Physical Science- Water Rocket Launch and Egg Launch Too

We are up to Newton's Laws and finally have great weather here! SO, to illustrate
Newton's 3rd Law and to enjoy the weather we launched water bottle rockets during
class time Weds. Varying the water height in the bottle varies the altitude the "rocket"
attains but all went pretty high.
The 2nd idea was one I had not tried before. You hold a raw egg on top of a bouncy ball
(I had a dodge ball - any big ball aka Basketball size should work). It must be directly atop
the bigger ball. And you must drop BOTH at the same time.
They hit - the bigger ball bounces back and so does the egg - only the egg has not
only it's bouncing power (such as it is) but it has the bouncy ball's power as well.
As you can see in the 2nd photo the boys are watching the egg but it is NOT in the photo -
it went way up (and then, of course, came down but I cleaned up the mess!).
We're going to repeat with a tennis ball and basketball next week (this is in illustration
of a 2 stage rocket. It is leading up to our end of the year Model Rocket launches!)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Pascal's Wager

"If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is....
..."God is, or He is not." But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
Do not, then, reprove for error those who have made a choice; for you know nothing about it. "No, but I blame them for having made, not this choice, but a choice; for again both he who chooses heads and he who chooses tails are equally at fault, they are both in the wrong. The true course is not to wager at all."
Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose. This is one point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.
"That is very fine. Yes, I must wager; but I may perhaps wager too much." Let us see. Since there is an equal risk of gain and of loss, if you had only to gain two lives, instead of one, you might still wager. But if there were three lives to gain, you would have to play (since you are under the necessity of playing), and you would be imprudent, when you are forced to play, not to chance your life to gain three at a game where there is an equal risk of loss and gain. But there is an eternity of life and happiness. And this being so, if there were an infinity of chances, of which one only would be for you, you would still be right in wagering one to win two, and you would act stupidly, being obliged to play, by refusing to stake one life against three at a game in which out of an infinity of chances there is one for you, if there were an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain. But there is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite."

Blaise Pascal, from Pensees


As for his "quote" that there is a God shaped hole in every human heart - well, it is a
rephrasing of:

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there once was in man a true happiness of which now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present. But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.

We are now studying Pascal's laws in Chemistry (gas laws) and somewhat in Physical
Science (force). Since his math is far beyond high school science we only touch on
Pascal. We will also look at Pascal's Triangle in Advanced Math this week (I'll make it
Pascal week!). But Blaise Pascal turned to Christ at age 31 and retired from science (I believe
that was his age - I'd have to stop and look it up). He spent the rest of his fairly short life
writing on the Bible and apologetics. (He knew that his "wager" was a weak way of winning
an agnostic to Christ but it fit with the philosophy of the day....and with his math.).

(read above for more)