Archive for January, 2007

Global warming: the final verdict

 Global warming: the final verdict


Global warming is destined to have a far more destructive and earlier impact than previously estimated, the most authoritative report yet produced on climate change will warn next week.

A draft copy of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by The Observer, shows the frequency of devastating storms – like the ones that battered Britain last week – will increase dramatically. Sea levels will rise over the century by around half a metre; snow will disappear from all but the highest mountains; deserts will spread; oceans become acidic, leading to the destruction of coral reefs and atolls; and deadly heatwaves will become more prevalent.

Read the rest here.

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The decline of online conversation

 The decline of online conversation


A few years ago when I started blogging and joined the emerging church conversation interacting online was the only option.  Aside from Jordon Cooper, who could probably be credited with enlightening me to the conversation, there wasn’t anybody local talking about this stuff.  Eventually that changed and now I find myself having similar discussions with established church leaders.  As my local connections grew the need to interact  on the blogs and over IM/Skype has declined.

I was talking on the phone with a prominent emerging church Aussie blogger last night.  We were both reflecting on how little we post and interact online.  For him the local connections in many ways supplanted the online ones.  More and more I find people would rather call or Skype.  With my VOIP line it costs as much to call Australia as it does to call the town down the road so why not?

Very few people comment on my blog.  There are few comment wars and they don’t last as long.  Since I got married I’ve had less time and impulse to post.  When I’ve been involved in house church I was less interested in discussion and more interested in seeing if any of these theories could be tranlated in to reality.  After a few years of relatively positive church experiences a lot of the “detox” is done and there isn’t the impulse to vent online.

I’ve overestimated the power of the collaboration on the Internet in the past.  There are inherent weaknesses to blogging.  We often get trapped in futile verbal conflict in a medium where it is difficult to emotionally connect with people on the other side of an issue.  Add to this the abrasive trolls, the anonymous stalwart defenders of a particular brand of Christian orthodoxy, and the flame outs.  We haven’t found the best vehicle for fruitful discussion online.

Blogging is really good for keeping in touch with people you care about.  I’ve got some really cool friends because of blogging.  I still enjoy it but I’m much less concerned with it, and the traffic and the technorati ranking etc…  Watching my profile drop in the blogosphere has been a healthy thing.  Sometimes we can trick ourselves in to thinking we are making a difference by measuring frivolous things like how many people link to our blog.

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Rate of divorce among Christians

Rate of divorce among Christians


One of the things that has really challenged me is the results of surveys they discovered Christians get divorced as much as non-Christians.  Bradley Wright has analyzed some survey results that paints a different picture.

58%, non-frequent Black Protestants
54%, non-frequent Evangelicals
51%, no religion (e.g., atheists & agnostics)
48%, ALL NON-CHRISTIANS
48%, non-frequent, other religions
47%, frequent Black Protestants
42%, non-frequent, mainline Protestants
41%, ALL CHRISTIANS
41%, non-frequent Catholics
39%, Jews
38%, frequent other religions
34%, frequent Evangelicals
32%, ALL FREQUENT CHRISTIANS
32%, frequent mainline Protestants
23%, frequent Catholics

I’d say those numbers are a little more reassuring.  I’m particularly impressed with the rate of divorce among frequent attenders of RC churches. 

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Great Video of the Blizzard

 Great Video of the Blizzard


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It's time to hit the road Jack

It’s time to hit the road Jack


The federal NDP leader left agricultural producers looking at each other in wide-eyed wonder after a speech about farm issues in which he repeatedly referred to the “SARS” crisis which affected the Manitoba cattle industry.

“Another important issue is SARS,” said Layton.

“I was just talking to a cattle producer today who said the situation is worse now than when we were in the middle of SARS.”

Manitoba Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk loudly whispered, “it’s BSE, not SARS,” from her seat at the front of the audience.

BSE is the acronym for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, while SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the respiratory illness that paralyzed Toronto for several months in 2003.

Layton didn’t hear Wowchuk and kept going, saying SARS several more times.

The rest is here.

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An Inconvenient Truth

Carol and I watched An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s presentation
on global warming and climate change. I spent a little time researching
the other side of this issue. My initial findings are a lot of dead
links, poor arguments and an interesting story about Exxon. This huge
oil company has cut ties to the skeptics
and started debating solutions rather than debating the validity of
global warming. Now if we could only get our government to catch up
with Exxon.

If you haven’t seen An Inconvenient Truth you should. Any
of my friends are free to borrow it from me. I’ll even deliver it.

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My Adventure in the Blizzard

 My Adventure in the Blizzard


I started off the day relatively well prepared for what I was going to face:  Warm comfy socks, long underwear, big thick warm sweater, and winter hiking boots.  A buddy of mine had a car accident a few days ago and needed some wheels.  Carol and I had parked my Buick Regal in the backyard to save on insurance costs while she was on maternity leave.  I made arrangements to put my car to good use by giving it to my buddy until he could work things out. 

My buddy and I braved the city streets to pick up car insurance and other stuff.  We started digging out the car.  It was already under a mountain of snow.  Adding Saskatoon’s worst blizzard in a generation made it even trickier.  It took some digging, and some tire inflating but eventually the mighty chevy was back on the road again.

I set out to have lunch with some friends across town.  I headed up to circle drive and took what turned out to be the freeway to no-mans land.  Heading east I ran in to the full force of the blizzard reducing visibility to 5 or 10 metres depending on the gust.  The cars formed a slow moving line as we just followed each others blinking hazard lights.  Eventually we stopped behind a police car.  We waited, and waited, and waited.  I used my cell phone to call my wife and keep her updated.  Sometimes it took a few tries to get through but the system worked. I zipped up and got out side the car to see what lie ahead.  A semi had got stuck and the tow truck that had came to get him out was stuck too.  If we had tried earlier there would have been enough room to get around both but at that time the snow was too deep.  The drifts began to pile up around us.  After a few hours I was starting to feel some urgent pressure in the bladder region.  Thankfully we hadn’t cleaned up the car from our last trip to edmonton.  Note to kids: don’t drink the gatorade in the backseat!  When I got hungry I started thinking that it might be time to hike out to the big box mall at Preston Crossing.  Thankfully the wind was behind me. 

The kind folks at Burger King stayed open to feed the stranded.  While I’m not usually a fan of Burger King I was really happy to have their service.    I was offered a ride out by some other people in BK that had an SUV.  I declined and headed to Canadian tire to gear up and go back and help the 20 or so people still stuck on the freeway.  After buying some heavy mitts and a ski-mask I headed out.  It was dark and I was walking straight in to the wind.  I wasn’t going to make it like that.  So I headed back to Canadian Tire and picked up ski goggles and a big flashlight.  That did the trick.

I made it back and went to each car informing them that their was very little chance someone would clear the road ahead of us.  I went to the back of line and helped each vehicle turn around and head back the way they came.  The vehicles couldn’t do this on their own because they couldn’t see behind them.  With me and the big flashlight they could turn around without hitting anything.  I got a lot of people turned around.  Once I helped all the people I could I headed back to BK.  I found my socks were very wet and my feet were cold.  I headed over to Mark’s Work Warehouse but they were closed.  My next option was Old Navy.  They still had some stranded people and they were kind enough to give me socks as their tills were down for the night. 

I headed back to BK to hangout with some new friends with my new socks.  They gave me some food and we played monopoly as we waited for the storm and the streets to clear.  After landing on “Boardwalk” with a hotel I gave up.  The storm had lightened up considerably.   I went on another expedition to see if I could drive out.  This time I was very careful not to get this set of socks wet.  Between the snow drifts and the abandoned cars there was no way out.  I scouted out other options and returned to BK.  I found that the west bound lane of Attridge Drive was relatively free of snow.  I told my new friends at BK and half of us ventured out east bound in the west bound lane.  Once we made it out we called back to BK to tell everyone the way was clear and they could get out. 

A few things I learned

  • Ski goggles are great.  I’ve never used them before.  They really helped me see in the wind and snow.
  • SUVs sometimes make people overconfident, really overconfident.
  • There are great people who know how to help others.
  • Always pack emergency gear in your car in case you are stranded.  You may not always be able to hike to a Canadian Tire.
  • Make sure your gas tank is at least half full in a storm or severe cold.  Some people ran out.
  • High heels don’t work that well in a blizzard.

My many thanks to the staff at Burger King and Old Navy.  You people are great.

I think I will always remember the storm of 07. 

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CBC interviewed my

 CBC interviewed my “green” cousin


My cousin Lyle and his wife were interviewed on The Current. Lyle bought a house in a very cool environmentally friendly development in Okotokes, Alberta.  He is very active politically with the Green party and I must confess I’m tempted to buy a Green card now that my Red one expired.  

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I'm dumping Bourque

I’m dumping Bourque


For a long time I’ve been a pretty faithful reader of Bourque’s Newswatch.  I’ve grown tired of his creative headlines.  He is biased and often innaccurate.  Unlike a quality media outlet he mixes in ads as headlines.  I’ve moved on to the Daily Canuck.

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We must make Darfur and issue for our governments

We must make Darfur and issue for our governments


Don Cheadle weighs in here.
It is not too soon to learn lesson No. 1 from the pathetic international response to Darfur and Rwanda: Despite the almost ritualistic pledge of “never again,” no coherent international system or process is in place for responding to genocide and other atrocities. What does exist is chaotic and futile finger-pointing, while the slaughter goes on.

The situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate. A famine threatens to drive mortality rates above the current toll of 10,000 per month. The regime violates a cease-fire pact with impunity and obstructs humanitarian aid.

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