Showing posts from November, 2015

New page, please

Editing is a great gig. A person doesn't have to write a thing, but has the power to change what others have written by permitting or not permitting a line, a headline, or even a paragraph. Spin is the word many use to discuss the news media today. When I was a young man in the US, Walter Cronkite or Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were the go-to men whose reporting was objective and reliable. On radio it was Paul Harvey who told us the news and it was the truth. Here in Australia, the ABC was the most reliable, certainly without neo-spin. But now things are different.

The editor has power to change the language and the meaning of a report. The crumbled paper shown here represents the attempts of the author to get it right, and yet this is all meaningless if the editor chooses 'an angle' that the report should carry. And the sad thing is that so many media outlets nowadays are choosing a flank, a particular ideology rather than what some would characterise as fair and bal…

Is there really hope?

Mention the words Columbine or Colorado Springs, Sandy Hook, Port Arthur, Paris' Bataclan Theatre, and 9-11 and immediately images of terror and pain, mass murder and head-shaking fill your mind. The world is bad and getting worse. When the G-20 gathers, when Congress or Parliament in Australia or the UK conduct talks and seek answers, most thinking people simply wish them well, but doubt any real substantive changes will occur. Where is there hope?

Last summer I stood in Amsterdam, in the shelter/ home of Anne Frank. If anyone knows daily fear and chronicled it well enough to become the journalist of the new world, it was this mature teenager. She wrote in her diary, “Where there's hope, there's life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” Hope gives life, to be sure, and real hope is even deeper. But in light of recent and continuing terror, I ponder the question, "Is there such a thing as false hope?"

William Ruddick writes in Bioethics, …

For US folks... a Thanksgiving poem

My Thanksgiving

The autumn-time has come; on woods that dream of bloom,
And over purpling vines, the low sun fainter shines.
The aster-flower is failing, the hazel’s gold is paling;
Yet overhead more near the eternal Star appears!

And present gratitude insures the future’s good,
And for the things I see I trust the things to be;
That in the paths untrod, and the long days of God,
My feet shall still be led, my heart be comforted.

O living friends who love me! O dear ones gone above me!
Careless of other fame, I leave to you my name.
Hide it from idle praises, save it from evil phrases:
Why, when dear lips that spake it are dumb, should strangers wake it?

Let the thick curtain fall; I better know than all
How little I have gained, how vast the unattained.
Not by the page word-painted let life be banned or sainted:
Deeper than written scroll the colors of the soul.

Sweeter than any sung my songs that found no tongue;
Nobler than any fact my wish that fa…

Distance from here to there

Distances are hard to measure in the skies. To measure distances in the universe, a person would need to construct what is commonly referred to as a "cosmic distance ladder". In other words, astronomers use different methods to determine the distances to objects; the specific method which is used depends on how far away the object is. But all of the methods are wonderful combinations of science and mathematics!

I travel a fair bit and enjoy seeing the world through my camera and my own eyes. If you are familiar with Flickr, and even my Flickr site, you know I have thousands of shots of nature and enjoy seeing what God made.

When I'm close to a flower or the beach, the distance is fairly easy to determine. When I'm on an airplane and see the clouds or this rainbow which I saw from the golf course on Monday, I cannot so easily figure out how to measure the items. Of course, as a former mathematics teacher, I could use angles and radii and approximately measure items …

World Trade Centre and seeing forever

Last week I ascended 102 stories of the new One World Trade Center in downtown New York City. The elevator took 47 seconds, and thus traveled 22 miles per hour to get me there. I was not alone. The queue outside was not too long on that Tuesday, and I was happy to exit the lift at the top. The view was blocked by a video screen which quickly ran a history of the development of the area and of the building itself. Then the screen lifted and voila there was the world outside From above as the sun set across the City.

I was delighted with the views. As I walked forward, the path took us past the restaurant/ cafe and then we paraded onto the 100th floor where the expanses were visible in all 360 degrees. I remembered the Twin Towers had a similar view, but this one was clearer on this day. No clouds; just New Jersey in the distant background as the sun kept setting.

The theme of the show was 'see forever' and the company that sells photographs of you superimposed on the scenery (…