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Comment: Re:Pat down, or molest? (Score 1) 642

by Micah (#34082056) Attached to: TSA To Make Pat-Downs More Embarrassing To Encourage Scanner Use

I just booked SAT ATL leaving Thursday before Christmas and coming back Sunday (Christmas is the Saturday) for $315. I had been concerned that it would be $500 or more, maybe I just got lucky.

Of course there's stupid checked bag fees which I may be able to avoid. Fares are often pretty low but the bag fees can help bring them back up to more historic levels.

Comment: Thoughts on Seekfind from a Christian perspective (Score 5, Interesting) 583

by Micah (#33571600) Attached to: The Advent of Religious Search Engines

(Based on its static pages. Haven't been able to search yet.)

A while ago I saw another Christian general search engine (I forget the URL). I tried a few searches on it, and it was absolutely pathetic. The results could not have been less relevant if they tried! That is deeply disturbing to me, as I believe that we as Christians should should aim for excellence in all that we do.

It looks like this Seekfind will be different in that it doesn't aim to be a general search engine. I could see some value in that, if you're looking for thoughts on specific Bible passages or whatnot from a Christian perspective. I suspect that users who use Seekfind for that would have no trouble using Google for everything else, so there is no need to claim that they are "sheltered".

However, what disturbs me about Seekfind is its apparent narrowness in what they deem as "Christian-enough." Apparently they will not index sites that describe end-times from an amillennial perspective -- which is the most widely held view in all of Christendom (not American fundamentalism), and they won't consider infant baptism (as we in the Presbyterian Church do) or even believers' baptism by sprinkling. What the? It would be much more valuable if I could find commentaries from various Christian perspectives.

I'm looking forward to searching them for creation apologist material. From a comment above it looks like they only cover the young earth think tanks. I bet there won't be any results from reasons.org, which IMHO has a much saner interpretation of Creation (they argue that the Big Bang is fully compatible with a literal reading of the Bible).

Comment: Re:Still doing that? (Score 1) 631

by Micah (#33020454) Attached to: Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

Yeah, good point. To our atheist colleagues here, who pride themselves in their thinking prowess, preaching Christ is indeed foolishness. It goes against everything they assume and believe to be true, and against common sense. How *could* it possibly be true?

Yet if it *is* true, then evidence, logic, and reason will ultimately reveal that if you dig deep enough. And I think that is precisely the case with Christ. There is plenty of historical evidence for His existence and crucifixion (virtually every serious scholar will admit that). And there are a number of facts, also nearly universally agreed upon, that strongly argue for the historicity of Christ's resurrection. (These are well documented in Gary Habermas' "The Historical Jesus".)

So that is the mystery of salvation. It is so clear that it is true to me, so how could virtually everyone else here miss it? I think the Bible has answers for that, but I won't go into it here.

Comment: Re:Still doing that? (Score 1, Informative) 631

by Micah (#33020120) Attached to: Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

> Buying into any religion does away with trust in your own mind and does away with uncorrupted critical thinking.

I would challenge that. It may be true if you buy into the religion blindly which, of course, many do. But a number of intellectuals, by applying critical thinking, have come to the conclusion that the God of the Bible really does exist. CS Lewis is an obvious example.

I believe that is the case for me. I like to think, and my thinking has led me to the conclusion that there must be something behind the universe, and that of all the religions vying the explain that Something, historic Christianity wins by a mile.

When you're convinced that Christianity is true, there is still a lot of room for critical thought. I like to think about theology and debate various theological positions.

Also, I can trust in my mind because I believe I am made in the image of God. It is God's nature to be rational and He has created us with rational minds. On the other hand, if matter is all there is and we are here only because of chance, how can we trust our minds?

Comment: Thank Goodness! (Score 1) 396

by Micah (#29882147) Attached to: Geocities Shutting Down Today

I've been wanting to take my Geocities page down for almost a decade, but haven't been able to access it since they merged with Yahoo. (Yes I know there was some scheme to do so; tried it, didn't work.)

Just reviewed it again, and it is a blast from the past. What the heck, I'll link to the links page: My "best places of the web" in the late 90's

Appreciate that Slashdot gave me the reminder. I just wget -r 'd my site for memory sake. :) wget even managed to not get the ads. Even better!

Comment: Conquer Club (Score 1) 460

by Micah (#29715717) Attached to: Linux Games For Non-Gamers?

If you like Risk, this is kind of similar but way better. Play online with others, on a wide variety of maps and variety of rules.

Shameless referral link

You can play free, but only 4 games at a time. Subscribe for unlimited. :)

Works great in Firefox on Linux. I have been utterly addicted to it for about 2 years now. I am yodermk on there, if anyone cares.

Comment: As someone who works in web server support (Score 1) 157

by Micah (#29089317) Attached to: Amazon Confirms EC2/S3 Not PCI Level 1 Compliant

PCI compliance is an absolute crock of crap. The scans produce an endless list of nitpicks, most of which don't matter a bit in terms of actual security. (If they did, Red Hat would ship it like that by default.) And they usually miss gaping-wide holes like old Joomla installations that cry out to be cracked. Oh and Apache should NEVER have write access to the filesystem, except maybe /tmp, something not picked up in scans.

Actually I would probably argue that any server that runs PHP should not be used to process credit cards. That thing has *so* many vulnerabilities. Not trying to troll, it's just true. Of all the web site exploits I've seen, I can't remember a single one that didn't somehow involve PHP or a misbehaving PHP application.

Website security is possible, it just takes some brains. For example, PCI argues that credit card information should never be stored on a server. I think it can be done securely. For example, have a database user for the web application. That user is allowed ONLY to insert CC information, not read it. Have a separate admin user that can read back the information, and that user should only be able to connect from a known-secure network, such as the office. NOT even the server itself (unless maybe you are already root, but certainly not the web server). This for example could be implemented with security definer functions in PostgreSQL. Obviously you want to lock down SSH, and turn off FTP and most other crap.

Comment: Re:People don't really believe in Noah's Flood (Score 1) 1306

by Micah (#27326429) Attached to: Texas Vote May Challenge Teaching of Evolution

> This is, by the way, one reason why most scientists reject Creationism (both young-Earth and old-Earth; the only difference between them is philosphical hair-splitting, anyway).

As an old earth creationist, I suggest you look a bit harder at the differences. YEC and OEC, while agreeing that God is ultimately the source of the matter and design of the universe, are worlds apart in many ways. OEC prides itself on following the evidence wherever it leads. Most of us do even accept evolution to an extent, though do not believe it has all the answers as to why and how humans exist.

Also as an OEC I believe that the Bible teaches explicitly that the record of nature is reliable, and we can learn from it to understand what God has actually done (Psalm 19:1-3, Romans 1:18-20).

Comment: Re:Working vs. Teaching (Score 1) 848

by Micah (#27286279) Attached to: Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

> I don't see how millions of years is compatible with creationism, while hundreds of millions of years isn't. God is omnipotent and immortal, so He could have decided to wait hundreds of millions of years before zapping life into existence.

True He could have, but the point of early life was to 1) transform the environment and 2) provide biodeposits as abundantly as possible. The Bible (Genesis 1:2) seems to imply that God was busy doing something valuable in the early oceans, and creating first life quickly is an obvious interpretation of that. Therefore, an old earth creationism model would reasonably predict life as soon as the earth could possibly sustain it.

I agree that hundreds of millions of years of nothing would not necessarily falsify creationism completely, but it would add more complex 'why' questions. Why would God wait so long?

> I don't see how this would be out of character for a deity who spent 1/7 of his creation time resting. (From an old earth perspective, that's hundreds of millions of years, right?)

For one thing the days are not necessarily the same length, for another thing, most OECs see the seventh day as being in progress now (Hebrews 4 implies that we are still in God's rest). This seems to be corroborated by the record. Throughout the last tens of millions of years, quite a few new unique species came into existence. But ever since modern humans arrived (which I would say began God's "rest"), there has been relatively little formation of new species, and those that have formed could probably be explained through evolutionary theory (which I do not entirely reject). In other words, while God was creating, new species that would have a hard time evolving were introduced; now that God is at rest, evolution is all we have to go on for new species.

And that is also something that can be studied and falsified. Will future studies show that during the last 100k years, the speciation rate was about the same as for the previous 10 million? If so, that poses a serious problem to a creation model. If future discoveries continue to back up what I said, the Biblical creation model gets stronger.

> In other words, hominids shouldn't share any of our DNA.

Actually, common DNA and other biology are about the same between humans and nonspiritual animals simply because this is the design that works. God doesn't have to do too many crazy things like that to prove His existence (I think He has already done more than should be necessary for that.

Comment: Re:Creationism... (Score 1) 848

by Micah (#27286235) Attached to: Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

> Your crucifixion example: you think it's true because people believe in it...

That's not at all what I said. I said it has been referenced by numerous sources of the day. There is at least as much historical evidence for it as there is for many other ancient events which no one doubts.

> If the part about god creating the world in 7 days in false, one wonders what else is.

It's not false, it's just that the "days" *can* mean eras of time. That is absolutely a literal definition of the word translated to 'day' in Genesis 1.

I believe absolutely that Genesis is literal history, but we have to dig into what is actually said. Most people stop after a cursory glance and figure they know the full meaning.

Porsche: there simply is no substitute. -- Risky Business