Archive for October, 2004

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So, Where Do They Stand?

October 31, 2004
Issue President Bush Senator Kerry
Passage of a Federal Marriage Protection Amendment Supports Opposes
Permanent Extension of the $1,000 Per-Child Tax Credit Supports Opposes
Educational Choice for Parents (School Vouchers) Supports Opposes
Unrestricted Abortion on Demand Opposes No Response
Federal Funding for Faith-Based Charitable Organizations Supports No Response
Permanent Elimination of the “Marriage Penalty” Tax Supports Opposes
Permananet Elimination of the Death (Inheritance) Tax Supports Opposes
Partial Birth Abortion Ban Supports Opposes
Public Financing of Abortions Opposes Supports
Adoption of Children by Homosexuals Opposes No Response
Placing US Troops under UN Control Opposes No Reponse (but you’ve heard his speeches)
Affirmative Action Programs that Promote Preferential Treatment Opposes Supports
Allowing Younger Workers to Invest a Portion of Their Social Security Tax in a Private Account Supports Opposes
Unborn Victims of Violence Act Supports Opposes
Appointing Pro-Life Judges Supports Opposes
Prohibiting Distributing “Morning After” Pills to Children in Schools Supports Opposes
Requring Parental Notification for a Minor Daugher’s Abortion Supports Opposes
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Why President Bush Is Opposed to Federal Spending on Stem Cell Research

October 31, 2004

This weekend, for the first time ever, I actually heard a newscast (a Webcast, actually) that included the words, “the destruction of embryos,” in conjunction with President Bush’s stance on Federal funding of stem cell reseach.

On October 21, I had the privilege of attending a lecture by Lisa Boucher Clark, Ph.D., from the University of New Hampshire, entitled “Stem Cells and Cloning: The Perils and the Promise.” The issue was fascinating, and Dr. Clark presented this extremely controversial topic in a factual context, attempting to avoid editorializing or taking a side on the issues, and, in general, succeeding in doing so. (The topic needs a BLOG entry of its own; despite Dr. Clark’s efforts, there were outbursts and arguments that erupted from the audience.) One of the things she discussed is the promise of using stem cells in therapeutic medicine. For example, we are nearing the technological point at which it would be possible to combine somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning) with stem cell harvesting to produce stem cells that would later be coaxed to differentiate into heart cells—or just about any other tissue—that perfectly match the donor-recipient to replace damaged heart muscle. (This is something of an oversimplification: Although the basic technologies have already been proven, they are not yet very reliable, and to date, SCNT has not been successful with human cells.)

This is the promise of cloning and stem cell research. But it comes at a price. Assuming the SCNT procedure works, the stem cells produced would be removed from an embryo at its blastocyst stage, thus killing the developing embryo. Those stem cells could then be cultured into entire cell lines. Note that current stem cell lines are produced using discarded embryos from in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics, not from cloning via SCNT.

Our President does not want to give federal money toward stem cell research that destroys embryos. He has allowed for federal funding for stem cell research in cultured stem cell lines that are already in existence, and has done nothing to prohibit or outlaw privately-funded stem cell research. He is not trying to stop the progress of science in a potentially helpful area. He is living up to his beliefs, and his promises, by not putting tax dollars to use in killing the unborn.

The media have done a poor job of presenting the technology and the subject matter as it actually exists, although it is not entirely their fault. Former President Reagan’s son Ron is an outspoken advocate of stem cell research, but he carefully avoids talking about the fact that embryos are destroyed in the current process. More proponents of embryonic stem cell research should come clean on what the full implications of such research are.

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62,000 versus 3.4 Million—What Does This Show about the US Technology “Edge”?

October 28, 2004

Dean Kamen (the inventor of the Segway) “noted that last year the U.S. graduated just 62,000 engineers (there were more Sports Management graduates) as compared to the 3.4 million technology grads coming out of universities in India. Kamen says we have only ourselves to blame. ‘You get what you celebrate…we celebrate sports and movies.’”

See this article at PC Magazine online for a more complete story about his speech at the FIRST robotics competition.

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Doug, the Haiku Master

October 26, 2004

Stream unvisited—
An update is required.
I wait forever.

Okay, the above title is an exagerration, but let me explain. We are using a new version of the source control system in place at Kronos. (We switched to this new system—which is not a Kronos product—about six months ago, from VSS, which sometimes produced catastrophic problems, and was not living up to our needs). The latest release of this new product promised some highly beneficial new features, but, primarily because Kronos is pushing the product well beyond its typical implementation, there have been some “performance issues.”

After receiving a notice last week that performance was really slow, but the system was not locked up, instead of a whine, I posted back a quick Haiku. Haiku, at least as we learned it in high school, is Japanese poetry consisting of three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. There are variations on the definition, especially when working in English, but the format tends to produce poetry that appears to be deeply insightful at best, and pithy at worst.

I received quite a few compliments on the e-mail, but didn’t realize how notorious I’d become until a co-worker who I do not believe I’ve ever even seen stopped me in the stairwell and asked, “You’re the guy who wrote that Haiku, aren’t you?”

Here are a few of the other comments:

  • This is most masterful.
  • Thanks Doug. This helps make the pain of [the source control product] more bearable.
  • Very nice!
  • {:-)
  • This is great. (-:
    I’m sure you've seen all those “error message haiku” that have been circulating for years. Some of them are very funny as well. My favorite was:

    With searching comes loss
    And the presence of absence:
    “My Novel” not found.

  • Congratulations tovarisch Doug Wilcox: you are now awarded the “Udarnik of the Month” title. Now write more haikus “sverx plana” before the end of October. (“sverx plana” means something like “above the required quota”).
  • bravo!
  • Excellent haiku of the day. Thank you!
  • Excellent!
  • LOL!!!

    How about:

    Jboss starting up,
    Machine useless for all tasks.
    Gaze at screen saver.

    To which I responded:

    JBoss now better;
    Standards can be pleasant:
    One Gig of RAM.

    OK, that one made my cat wake up when I laughed!

So am I popular, or notorious?

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New Hampshire Residents Choose to Die

October 26, 2004

Co-worker Josh Ain penned this amusing article at BBSpot, inspired by the New Hampshire motto, “Live Free or Die.”

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Digitizing the Star Wars Trilogy

October 25, 2004

My team leader, Brian Cortez, contributed this link from the BBC: Macs do Star Wars Dirty Work: Behind the scenes, painstaking effort and computing power has gone into cleaning up George Lucas’s original Star Wars trilogy for its DVD release.

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David and Salvation

October 18, 2004

On October 12, I was standing in the living room when David came upstairs after he got changed into his play clothes after school. He says to me, “I want to ask Jesus to be my Savior.” It took just a moment to register, but what a joy it was to hear those words come out of his mouth. So we went off to my room together and I asked him many questions about why he wanted to do that and shared verses with him as well.

After all that was said and done, he understood why he needed to be saved and wanted to do it right away. How awesome that was.

As I shared scripture with him, he would reach over and give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. It was so very precious and special. David prayed and got saved that afternoon.

The next day he asked about baptism, we haven't gotten into that yet though.

Another wonderful thing is that David's best friend is named David (who was born just 2 days before him), talked to his mother that same evening and he too got saved. Neither boy knew of this happening for both David's mom and I gave testimony at church about what took place with our children. Some time on Thursday, Cindy LaVoie told her son David his friend David got saved, too, the other day. His eyes got wide and bright and he just had this great big smile on his face. I also told David what took place with his friend and his reaction was nearly the same. God is awesome!!! Praise Him for the salvation of these little ones.

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Naomi’s First Year

October 15, 2004

Naomi celebrated her first birthday on Oct. 13. I wanted to do something for her and also for our family and friends to celebrate her first year. Doug showed me (very patiently) how to get the photos entered into our family photo gallery and all of the editing that went along with it. Amazingly, I did it, to my surprise. This is the first set for Naomi there will be a second part as well, but that'll be for another night.

We do love our little girl and am very thankful to God for giving her to us. She is truly a precious and sweet gift from our Heavenly Father (I must also point out that our boys are gifts (just as precious and sweet, but boyishly (lol), as well).

Things that she’s doing now: climbing up onto our loveseat to the top over the loveseat onto the stairs and back over again, but not before letting go and falling down to the cushions laughing. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera ready for that one. She’s been taking steps now for about a month on her own…not running yet, which is perfectly fine. 😉

Words she says: I would have to say that her first word was: Isaac (sounding like “Aye-yah”; now it's clearer, but not with the c ending. She also said “Mum,” but that was only a few times. She does say “Mama” and “Dada” now. Other words are “up” and “hi” (from time to time).

She already loves to have her hair done. I give her a container with her barrettes in them, and she plays as I do her hair. Once I’m done, she gets a turn and does mine. She loves the phone, especially being able to play with our cell phone. She enjoys opening it and playing with the buttons and pretending to talk into it. It’s charming. Hmmm, now that I remember that I don't think I had any photos of that either…need to get with it, I know.

The great thing about getting these entered myself is that I can do more now without bugging Doug—so our boys will have a place on in the photo gallery, too. Enjoy the pictures.

Love,
Nichelle

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Skunks Do Not Always Spray When Surprised

October 14, 2004

[doug]Skunks don’t bother me. Really. I actually find the complex smell of the skunk scent to be pleasant, except when it is exceptionally strong. The other night (or morning, I have no idea of the actual time), Nichelle was conducting a late-night grocery procurement operation, and had the nerve to wake me up to help bring the groceries in.

As I walked down our back steps, I surprised a skunk, who made a fast retreat in the other direction; I was so sleepy I was already three steps away from the skunk before I processed exactly what had happened.

Now, I know it's possible to “tail” a skunk—pick one up by the tail—which will prevent it from spraying. It’s a risky business, especially as I have no idea how to put one down again. Maybe I can get my kids to try it.