Showing posts from 2011

Now featuring Kari "Cannonball" Byron!

Years ago (when the series was new) we played with posts related to Kari Byron (of MythBuster's fame) here on the "educating eric" blog because, having mentioned her in passing once, we started getting tons and tons of related hits from people looking for more information about her. I moved all that conversation over to the blog but every once in awhile something comes up that's just too interesting to pass up. From the blog which is having all sorts of loading problems right now (I wonder why?), here you go... Why is this a big story right now? Because: Related articles ArtsBeat Blog: 'MythBusters' Turns Into House Buster With Wayward Cannonball ( MythBusters Bust House ( 'MythBusters' misfire sends cannonball through neighborhood ( MythBusters Accidently Hits Dublin Home With Cannonball ( Cannonball misfires for 'MythBusters

Office Noise!

X??4 Every few minutes, the radiator in my office is making this sound – I flipped on a recording app in the background so I could capture how bad it is.  It starts with a flat tone like your usual “bars and tone” calibration audio, which gives warning to that you should plug your ears for the high-pitched buzz that’s coming. It didn’t do this last year; here’s hoping it stops once the heating season is in full swing…

Just what is a "college education"...?

At 38 minutes in or so there's an interestong discussion of "open universities" via an audience member... Podcast Title: EDUCAUSE | Podcasts Episode: EDU11: Chronicle Tech Trends Media URL: if (FlashDetect.installed) { $('flash_embed-GBAdJfHeFl').show(); $('quicktime_embed-GBAdJfHeFl').hide(); } else { $('quicktime_embed-GBAdJfHeFl').show(); $('flash_embed-GBAdJfHeFl').hide(); } Podcast feed URL:

What's a Sabbath?

Yesterday I started pondering the idea of a weekly "sabbath" with the self-convicting question of whether two half-sabbaths (a few hours on Saturday, a few hours on Sunday) could "count" as a sabbath day -- bearing in mind that the Sabbath was created not for God but for us (Mark 2:27). Long story short, I don't think ".5 + .5 = 1" will cut it. This morning, a friend of mine reminded me that the original Jewish Sabbath "day" was defined as sundown to sundown. Hmmm. Sundown on Saturday to sundown on Sunday wouldn't help get past the work involved in administration of our Adult Sunday School (which is the thing that keeps Sundays from being as "restful" as they might be otherwise)... but sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday just might work. That only makes sense when a "sabbath" is defined not as a legalistic absence of any sort of labor or exertion and is taken instead as a focus on personal renewal. The decidi

Is Geotoko a scam?

When I made a regular visit and checked in last month I saw a reference to the "Bruegger's Foursquare Promotion" through Geotoko. I carefully read the rules posted at: Those rules clearly say: 6. HOW TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE: Contest Potential Winner(s) will be published on the Contest Winner(s) page, available at . The Contest Potential Winner(s) will have to click on the ???CLAIM PRIZE??? button beside their name, authorize themselves using the Location Based Service used to enter, and then submit their contact details. The Contest Potential Winner will then be contacted (using the contact details provided during the prize claim) by the sponsor for details on how to redeem their prize... But that promotion page still touts the contest, which ended October 19th. I've been checking daily, waiting for the results to be post

What's God's standard?

Question: Is it wise to keep your husband on a short leash that's long enough for him to hang himself?

Trebuchet vs. Washing Machine

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Tweet from: @GordonMarcy

From: @GordonMarcy Sent: Oct 11, 2011 1:32p God favors collaboration. Unified for His purpose and glory, seemingly impossible feats will be accomplished. sent via TweetDeck On Twitter:

Faith in a good future... or a bad one?

You do have "faith"; the question is, do you have faith that something good is going to happen, or that something bad is going to happen?  The latter is called "fear" and you can choose something different.  For my Christian friends. here's a good listen: Podcast Title: Joel Osteen Audio Podcast Episode: #512 - Meditate On What God Says About You Media URL: if (FlashDetect.installed) { $('flash_embed-JhEDwusvGB').show(); $('quicktime_embed-JhEDwusvGB').hide(); } else { $('quicktime_embed-JhEDwusvGB').show(); $('flash_embed-JhEDwusvGB').hide(); } Podcast feed URL: (Yes, I listen to Joel Osteen and think he's a great motivational speaker.  Most Ch

Learning with Video is as Effective as the Classroom - And that's a Problem | Disrupt Education | Big Think

NT tithing affirmed?

Matthew 23:23 NIV ""Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices???mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law???justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." See it at

Introversion and Spirituality

A rare cross-post against both my sites, but I want to be sure I can keep track of and follow up on these articles on introversion…

Introversion and Spirituality

A rare cross-post against both my sites, but I want to be sure I can keep track of and follow up on these articles on introversion…

In the heart of the city, Scene II

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In the heart of the city...

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A random person...

I have no idea where I came across Meggin McIntosh, but I had a link to her bio sitting in  a “note to self” folder and as I look over it again it sure looks interesting…

Cataphatic Prayer

A young minister I respect mentioned cataphatic prayer in passing, which caused me to Google it, which caused me to find a bunch of conservative sites complaining about it, which caused me to think there's probably something good and valuable about it. Here's some background, from "Seeing is Believing promotes ???cataphatic prayer,???48 a version of mysticism that involves using mental images of the human imagination to supposedly help a person experience God more profoundly. The following is a definition of cataphatic prayer published in a Creighton University article:" Another form of prayer, called cataphatic, honors and reverences images and feelings and goes through them to God. This form of prayer also has an ancient and well-attested history in the world of religions. Any sort of prayer that highlights the mediation of creation can be called cataphatic. So, praying before icons or images of saints; the mediatio

Creation and Destruction

A thought occurred to me this morning and figured I'd pop it in here because 1) it relates to spirituality in some ways and 2) none of my friends will see it because nobody reads this. I've been participating in an online conference/webinar the past couple days and it's not as engaging as the same series has been in past years. But I've still really enjoyed it. Why? Because I'm working really hard to glean useful information from it. And that's a choice. Being analytical is good -- it's an important (and, it seems at times, rare) skill. But the danger of "analysis" is that it turns to "criticism" (in the most negative sense of the word) no matter what you do. I heard somewhere recently: It's harder to create than to destroy. So, in the spirit of "appreciative inquiry" or keeping an "attitude of positive regard," let's make sure we're using our critical minds to improve the world around us -- and not to


Maybe this is my ticket to Moab? :)

Pondering Demas

Pondering Lonergan again

"Put Your Arms Around Me" lyrics

I heard a hauntingly pretty song by some nameless young woman on the Muzack in the coffee shop and wanted to look it up. But what was that lyric? "You put your arms around me and hold"? "You put your arms around me and fall"? I couldn't make it out, and there sure are a lot of songs out there about arms doing hugging-like things... but I got lucky: It's Christina Perry singing "Arms" and the lyric is: "You put your arms around me and I'm home." Which is beautifully poetic... but since she turns "and I'm home" into one melodic syllable it's really hard to figure out what she's singing. Now you can Google "Christina Perry Arms" and see what you can come up with. You're welcome. :)

Making you the center of a personal network of technology resources?

Citing the mission/vision/founding statement of the IT @ Illinois organization ( ): "IT@Illinois is dedicated to advancing research, education, and public service by making every potential contributor the center of an unbounded personal network of social and technical resources." Sally Jackson spoke at EDUCAUSE about this "new" idea of support. (Details at ) I love, love, love this. I've got to ponder it more and see how it fits into a notion of a health technology support paradigm. And I thought I documented it somewhere before but can't find it for the life of me, so apologies to my readers if this is redundant...


[ ]Eric M. Larson (@emlarson) 7/19/11 9:50 AM "Create a community of inquiry" per @jrhode at #USTblended - wise, but volatile and hard if the environment isn't truly safe. I think every community has a set of unchallenged assumptions that are taboo to question. What kind of ostracism do participants face when they start to wrestle with those openly? Workplace? Sunday School? Family?

Another thing in the "to read" pile...

...and that fact alone might tell me something. "10 Things That Hold You Back from Outrageous Success - Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life"

When comments go bad

I'm so angry at the comment process, I could spit. That's what I get for bothering to engage on their site. It was Paul Walsh's story about the Farmers Airship arriving in the Twin Cities (lifted from the press release) that got me interested in watching the landing with my daughters. In the article, Walsh wrote that "In a nod to its sponsor, the airship is scheduled to pass over the Farmers Insurance regional headquarters in Bloomington." If you don't know where that is, Google the phrase and you'll find: That office is easy to find; it's at the corner of 494 and 100 which, to my non-local readers, is a major intersection north of the Flying Cloud airport where the airship was heading. We watched the tracking site from our home in Eagan and I left with my girls at what seemed like a reasonable time, and saw the ship in the distant sky to our south-west

Mashup waiting to happen

???Good Life??? by OneRepublic plus "Am I Wrong" by Love Spit Love would work well.

Introverts and conferences usually don't mix...

But I'm hoping that this article helps me...

Ah, the joys of SPAM...

I feel bad for Elena and think that, if someone were able to coordinate the release of her fund, she might be able to go to school to improve her English skills. Who's with me? :) From: elena Baltacha Date: Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 10:39 PM Subject: Message via your Google Profile: From: Elena Baltach From: Elena Baltach Honey, I was forced to write to you on humanitarian ground. My name is Elena Baltacha. I was born in Camilla, Georgia, USA. I am married to Mr. Ron Baltacha. We were married for 36 years without a child, my husband died after a heart operation arteries. Recently, my doctor told me that I would not last for the next six months due to my cancer problem (cancer of the liver and stroke). Before my husband died last year, this amount Est $ 4 million U.S. dollars Uniform State, which he deposited with a local bank here in Lome, Togo. Currently, this money is still in the bank. Knowing my condition I decided to donate this fund to no good God fearing brother or sister who

What is "god"?

Theologically incorrect (dramatically so) but very interesting:

Online ministry teams..

I think this advice applies to lots of other areas of life, too...

Christian discouragement?

I'm not sure this is right: "Those who are truly regenerate know that the more they consider themselves, the more discouraged they get." From "Critical Issues Commentary: Monvee???The New Evangelicalism about Me"

Rascal T. Peppercorn... gonna be big... And I wonder if I'm still ranked in Google. :)


I'm not sure if this is what Paul meant? Communion, a Sacrament That Can Kill You

From the 1662 Book of Common Prayer

"We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, have committed by word, thought and deed, against thy Divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us."

Data behind the spark

A post on the topic of that "looking-more-hopeless attraction project" I keep pondering:

So what's that parable really mean?

I've heard the "eye of the needle" one a lot. Did Jesus mean it's impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven? Urban Legends: The Preacher???s Edition

I wish I could develop this discipline...

Four Reasons to Keep a Work Diary

More on the "sousveillance" topic...

I hadn't yet heard the term "privacy-progressive"... Apple Filed a Patent Application in 2009 for What It's Now Calling a 'Bug'

This is my early, early childhood

Minneapolis St Paul in the Seventies: Stephen Cysewski

A logical structure in the abortion debate

Granted, questions of abortion are rarely grounded in logic which makes political debate difficult, but here's a tool for the rare cases where they are:

The mind-body problem...

An article approaching one of my favorite topics... Dreams of Meaning: Where Religion and Neuroscience Can???t Compete

More Rob Bell thoughts

From "Trace's Studies in Grace Blog"

Artificial Intelligence improves

My gut reaction to this story was, "yeah, computers should be able to do that..." Robot Journalist??? writes a better story than human sports reporter ?? TNW Media

Really? A song?

When Ruth starts quoting lyrics at me, I pay attention... ________________________________ [ ] "Graduation Day" Lyrics [edit] by Kenny Marks | from the album Another Friday Night Share Graduation day, there were tears in their eyes, Photographs and promises; they threw their hats goodbye, Graduation day, and the sun was shining bright, A piece of paper and a heart full of dreams, It was the best day of their life. On their wedding day there were tears in their eyes, Words of love and promises, They threw the rice and waved goodbye, It was the best day of their life. Oh, we search for a moment to cling to, but there seems to be too few to find, In the span of one life, in the dimness of night, we search for the meaning in life. It was an ordinary day and there were tears in their eyes, God's word of love and promises took them by su

Amen, Jakob Nielsen!

Life-Long Computer Skills (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

Fiber Cement Siding - GAF WeatherSide is a great idea for people who want to maintain a "mid-century modern" house. Not me, at the moment...

A model for motivation?

This looks really interesting, from the article "Self Motivation: Let It Flow?" end Typed by fingertip and sent from my iPad

Speaking of 3D printing...

"The next Napster? Copyright questions as 3D printing comes of age":

3 tricks for solving problems faster and better | Daniel Pink I wonder if this is true for me? Hmmm... Points to ponder...

letterly? seems like an interesting idea...

I've got to clean...

This past weekend I was working on some de-duping of old backup files... because I can't throw anything away "just in case" I need it later or in case I want to explore and ponder some part of my history... So the next-best-thing is to reduce the clutter and make sure I'm hoarding just one copy of things. (As an aside, that can really mess things up if the copy you delete is out of a folder that was a set... but that's the risk you run...) Anyway, I was thinking that I also need to declutter my office spaces. I'm not an inherently organized "I-love-to-maintain-structure" person, but at some point that turns from a non-strength into a weakness (as Buckingham would put it via Now Discover Your Strengths). Next steps: continue the scanning project to get the paper notes into convenient digital form, and work on better bookcases in the den. To consider: better book organization with the help of LibraryThing -- maybe getting as fancy as LC categories

Thoughts on Sanctification

I just found a found a reference to this show and, while I don’t remember exactly what was going on in my head when I first heard it, I trust my past judgment that it was worth noting (and, as I replay it, it sounds good…) Anderson asks:  “Compare yourself to a house for sale ‘as is.’ God purchased you at a very high cost – the life of his son. Now he owns you and it’s time to begin the work of claiming and cleaning up what he has bought. .. How’s it going in your life? Which rooms are started and which ones are done? Are there still some rooms you are keeping locked and guarded? Or have you opened up everything so that God can sanctify you through and through?”

A "contradiction" infographic

Here's a discussion of an infographic that was circulating, which covered supposed "contradictions" in the Bible.  A very pretty chart (you can find it elsewhere), but the text on it sure doesn't say a whole lot -- things like the number of angels at Jesus' tomb and such.

Different faith?

At 17:30 into this Joel Osteen podcast you hear the distinction between "delivering" faith (where God gets you out of something bad) vs. "sustaining" faith (where God helps you cope with something bad). Interestingly concise summary. I like it. Podcast Title: Joel Osteen Audio Podcast Episode: Hold On To Your Peace Media URL: Podcast feed URL:

My CrashPlan Fail

I love CrashPlan and recommend it whenever and wherever I can, but tonight I've experienced my first "CrashPlan fail" and don't know what to think of it: Dad was missing a document -- we knew the filename so restoring would be no problem.  He backs up to my computer at my house (he has Comcast, I've got Qwest).  We got that one without any problem. Then we discovered that a second one was missing.  When I went back into CrashPlan on his computer, I get this message: "Unable to restore because destination is offline" What? It was just online.  What's up? I can connect to my computer at home from his computer via LogMeIn just fine, so there's nothing inherently broken with our overall connection right now. Launching CrashPlan at home via LogMeIn, I can see that my work Macintosh has a green dot and is "Waiting for backup"... but Dad's has a grey dot and is "Waiting for connection"... But I'm sitting right here!  I'm

Social DRM and Watermarking

Just heard a reference to "social DRM" (Digital Rights Management) and wondered what it was. Turns out its a new word for watermarking (either visible, invisible or both) as described in the aptly-named article "What the Heck is 'Social??DRM'?" by Dennis D. McDonald: When I was reading through back in '98 or so, pondering the art and science of PDFs as e-books, I was thinking through the very same things. I wonder what the next year or two will bring...

The conviction of being a "functional universalist"...

From T. Elliott Welsh's blog post about Rob Bell comes this convicting commentary: We show we are functioning universalists when we do not share the Gospel with our unsaved friends, family members, co-workers, or neighbors. My response there? Great insights! Just came across this from a reference at the article and you've hit the nail on the head for something I've found personally convicting for a long time. It's like the old metaphor of, "If you _knew_ you had the cure for cancer, wouldn't you tell everyone you knew and do everything in your power to make them listen?" The reality is, we don't live that way when it comes to Jesus. Why? What variation of "lack of faith" does that come from?

Abortion Philosophy

It’s a super-volatile topic, I know… and I’m really not trying to antagonize anyone or stir up trouble.  I just want to throw out, in easily referenced fashion, how I frame the “abortion debate” in philosophical terms and why I find the political side of it (in the United States, at least) really oddly positioned. Here are two contrasting principles: When we encounter a conflict between a known rights-holder and a possible rights-holder, we should … u phold the rights of the known rights-holder despite restricting a possible rights-holder guard/defend/protect the basic rights of the possible rights-holder despite restric ting a known rights-holder In most things, the “libertarian” position is A) above and the “liberal” position is B) above.  (Feel free to commend with improved terminology for me here; the Democrat party in the U.S. would usually be identified with “liberal” but the Republican party has a mix that runs from “libertarian” to almost “paternalistic,” for lack o

Analytics webinar

Quote on analytics: "We can ask good questions, immediately get answers, and turn around and implement change at the institution."

Community-building or Sect-making?

Was asked my opinion of the first paragraph and… I just don’t know what to think. How’s that for commitment?

Dynamic geo-targeted video? Or is Saint Paul really that popular?

UPDATE: Thanks to Matt and Tod on the west coast, it seems that the video does still say that Joanna Everett is in St. Paul... so that must be hard-coded into the video and I happen to live in the lucky city that was chosen.  If the rest of you want to keep watching and double-check their work, feel free... but I think it was "coincidence" rather than "extremely advanced dynamic video programming"... I need a favor from any non-Minnesota geek friend: When I view it, the get-rich-quick video at (which I swear I'm not trying to SPAM to you guys -- please do NOT waste your $47 buying "Commission Crusher"!!!) at exactly 18 minutes in makes a reference to "Joanna Everett" of "St. Paul, MN" both the video AND audio track. I'm wondering if that's a dynamic geo-targeted reference based on my IP address and that the location of "Joanna" changes when viewed from elsewhere,

A different kind of Bible study

A random thing for me to research in my free time: a missions pastor spotted my Bible cover and said he believes it's a very typical African woven pattern and from Ghana in particular. He also said he thinks it's especially common in the Kumasi region and may be the Kente cloth of the Asante people (or Ghan). Wow. And I just thought it looked cool. The cover itself was a gift that happened to be identical to one I'd seen in Red Wing, Minnesota in 1995 but passed up because it was too expensive to splurge on. Then I had that non-buyer's remorse feeling of, "Oh, I should have gotten that when I had the chance..." ...and then it turned up as a Christmas/birthday/etc. present months later. So, I think it'll be fun to learn more about its background...

Infographics for Social Media

These are really, really good.  You need to be something of a “social media geek” to really get the most out of all of them… but even if you take a poor, dim glance at them they’ll help explain what all this “social media stuff” really is…

Email as the center of one's universe...

Here's a weird synergy of "customer service intake" for me in the past few days: 1) My exasperated Tweet last week about service-request emails going to less-than-optimal contacts: 2) My Quora question last night about an Ignite talk I'd seen that might hold a solution: 3) The resulting find: 4) Coincidentally (I had no idea this was in the works!), Patrick Rhone's podcast from today: 5) And, as a point of trivia, Patrick's reference to emails as "pebbles" is a variation of the "heap of wheat" that the Greeks pondered: Wow. All that might not mean much to you as you're reading this... But, trust me, it's quite a collection in my brain.

At the car wash!

[wpvideo rytdtr0J] Chloe is now singing: "Fluffy towels, fluffy towels"...

Back on the topic of 3D printing...

It's been a few months but a link from @sborsch to this post got me thinking about 3D printing again: 3D printing: The printed world | The Economist

Christian radio as virtual community?

Another article for "spare time reading" (which I feel like I'm falling more and more behind on, but that's a topic for another day)... Web Giants Encroaching on Local Christian Media Territory | Christian Media 2.0

Hint... Hint...

- - - - - - Typed by thumb and sent from my St. Thomas BlackBerry Wireless Device

Old photos are cool...

I hope this works from an off-campus connection. Otherwise, you'll have to figure out how to browse and drill down to the excellent "University Archives Photograph Collection":

Recommended by the CIO

When your VP suggests reading something... It's probably good: Solitude and Leadership: an article by William Deresiewicz | The American Scholar

Life's not always what it seems...

...And people are clever: Clive Thompson on Secret Messages in the Digital Age | Magazine

John 13:35 in context of Titus 3?

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Using "User Voice"?

Just heard about via Blackboard Inc. and am wondering if it's just for technology tools/sites or if its engine would make sense for other community-building activities? Need to look into it...

Some random reading

Watching a progress-bar march along and came across Arloa Sutter's blog -- some interesting reading here:


I'll admit I'm behind the curve on this one: I need to read up on PLNs. In 2005 I was trying to raise awareness of PLEs (Personal Learning Environments) as contrasted with LMSes (Learning Management Systems) which are more "instructor driven." Not many listened. It looks like the PLN is what happens when you expose your PLE among friendly like-minded people? Facebook as a Professional Learning Network (PLN) | Profesorbaker's Blog

What's "Active Learning"

Saw this posted on a faculty member's bulletin board -- the title implies that it would be an interesting read? "AAUP: Why "Active Learning" Can Be Perilous to the Profession"

The meaning of life...

I post this with full knowledge that it's an unfairly incomplete picture of academic life... But I was struck by this collection of dissertations, which represents thousands and thousands of hours of work. I know that work came to more than this, but when pictured this way it seems awfully empty.

On "A Perspective on iPad???s Impact on Your Mind"

I'm debating "multitasking fatigue" vs. "unitasking tunnel-vision" and need to read Steve's latest: