Blog: The absolute latest random thoughts

Kari Byron news

highlighted links:

When did the Fall happen?

The merging of the blogs...

Living in micromanaging

MNBlogCon 2017 musings

Bread and circus

Salvation vs. Kingdom

"In your anger, do not sin"

Envy and the Cross

What is Repentance? Really?

Living sacrifices

earlier posts:

09.2002   10.2002   11.2002   12.2002   01.2003   02.2003   03.2003   04.2003   05.2003   06.2003   07.2003   08.2003   09.2003   10.2003   11.2003   12.2003   01.2004   02.2004   03.2004   04.2004   05.2004   06.2004   07.2004   08.2004   09.2004   10.2004   11.2004   12.2004   01.2005   02.2005   03.2005   04.2005   05.2005   06.2005   07.2005   08.2005   09.2005   10.2005   11.2005   12.2005   01.2006   02.2006   03.2006   04.2006   05.2006   06.2006   07.2006   08.2006   09.2006   10.2006   11.2006   12.2006   04.2007   05.2007   06.2007   07.2007   08.2007   12.2007   01.2008   02.2008   05.2008   06.2008   07.2008   08.2008   12.2008   01.2009   02.2009   03.2009   04.2009   05.2009   06.2009   07.2009   09.2009   10.2009   11.2009   12.2009   01.2010   02.2010   03.2010   04.2010   05.2010   06.2010   07.2010   08.2010   09.2010   10.2010   11.2010   12.2010   01.2011   02.2011   03.2011   04.2011   05.2011   06.2011   07.2011   08.2011   09.2011   10.2011   11.2011   12.2011   01.2012   02.2012   03.2012   04.2012   06.2012   07.2012   10.2012   11.2012   12.2012   01.2013   02.2013   03.2013   04.2013   05.2013   07.2013   09.2013   10.2013   11.2013   12.2013   01.2014   03.2014   05.2014   06.2014   07.2014   08.2014   09.2014   10.2014   11.2014   12.2014   01.2015   02.2015   03.2015   04.2015   05.2015   06.2015   07.2015   08.2015   09.2015   10.2015   11.2015   12.2015   01.2016   02.2016   03.2016   04.2016   05.2016   06.2016   07.2016   11.2016   04.2017   05.2017   06.2017   09.2017   10.2017   06.2018   01.2019  


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

  1. uphold the rights of the known rights-holder despite restricting a possible rights-holder
  2. guard/defend/protect the basic rights of the possible rights-holder despite restricting 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 of a better word.)

How’s this cash out?

Animal welfare:  Dolphins or chimpanzees might deserve basic rights of life and liberty (nobody knows for sure) so we shouldn’t wantonly kill them even if someone says, “I captured those chimps on land I own” or “I have the right to fish these waters per international treaty and the dolphins are in my way,” etc.

Slavery:  People are people (and if you go back to the 1700s and 1800s that was in dispute, but you could make the argument, “Well, they sure look like people to me!”) and therefore shouldn’t be bought and sold.

Women’s rights at home and abroad:  Even if a culture says, “Around here, women are property,” we stand up and say that’s wrong and that they should be treated with human dignity.

With me so far?

Here’s where I ruffle feathers:

By any measure, a fetus sure seems to be a person.

An inconveniently located one, perhaps, but a person.

Looks like a person.

Comes from a person.

Has unique human DNA.

Let’s grant for the sake of argument that this particular fetus-person-thing is a horrendous physical and/or emotional burden on another person (the mother)…

Shouldnt the liberal position be that its right to life itself should be preserved?

“But my wife dishonored me and deserves to be stoned to death” isn’t an excuse.
“But freeing my slaves would have a terrible economic impact on my plantation” isn’t an excuse.
“But working around dolphins and chimpanzees is inconvenient and I don’t think they matter!” isn’t an excuse.

“My property, my choice” isn’t an acceptable reason for a government to ignore its obligation to protect the rights of those who can’t protect themselves.

But… “My body, my choice” is?

I honestly, truly don’t get it.

Yes, “my body” is a deeper, more core “right” than external property… but “life itself” of an aborted fetus is the deepest right of all, isn’t it?

For every argument I see about the physical, emotional and economic reasons for legalizing abortion, I can apply those same exact arguments to slavery or spousal abuse or environmental destruction.

Those things are very, very bad.  So abortion is too, right?

Why is it okay in some cases for the government to protect vulnerable populations from choices that might be harmful to others… but not okay in other cases?

Granted, we don’t “know” that a fetus is a person.  When dealing with risks and rights, there are lots of things we don’t “know”.

So, it comes back to our philosophical framework for making ethical decisions.

When we encounter a conflict between a known rights-holder and a possible rights-holder, we should

  1. uphold the rights of the known rights-holder despite restricting a possible rights-holder
  2. guard/defend/protect the basic rights of the possible rights-holder despite restricting a known rights-holder

Which side do you fall on?  Are you consistent in that belief?  If not, why not?



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 http://hypertracker.com/go/russbrun/exhacker/ (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" ...in 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, or if it says the same thing for everyone in the world (which would be odd to mention St. Paul, of all places, especially since a 123people.com search indicates she doesn't exist here.)

So the question is, if you're not in Minnesota, is the "testimonial" reference at the 18-minute mark different for you?

If you're geek enough to care about this, you're geek enough to have something like DownloadHelper that will let you grab the video and fast-forward to that mark, because I don't want to make you sit through 18 minutes of a Flash video that has no way fast-forward or rewind.

(If it _is_ dynamically generated, I've _got_ to find out what tool he's using to do that!  That kind of thing has been around on text-based websites -- all those "singles looking for fun in [your city name here]" ads that you see aren't really people in your city -- but I've never seen it done in video before...)

Thanks in advance!  :)


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."




emlarson.com:   Home | Blog | Work | Tech | Life | Lord | Play | Mail

Entire site contents Copyright © 2000-2005 Eric M. Larson

All rights reserved, please don't steal my stuff, etc. etc. etc.