Monday, April 30, 2007

A brave young man

Every so often, we have a Sunday at church where the pastor doesn't preach. Instead it is a time for an 'open mike', where members of the church get up and tell about what God is doing in their life. I usually don't like this service as it is very emotionally charged with crying women and sometimes crying men. Emotions suck. This time I felt different. There was one woman who stood up to tell about her brain scans, the doctors told her that stroke damage was visible. After the church had prayed for her for a short time she got a second scan that showed her brain was clear.

One young man and his young girlfriend had quite an effect. He stood up in front of the church and said that he had a confession and a prayer request. That was something I hadn't seen before. He said that some months ago they had made a bad decision and now they were going to have a baby. He asked for forgiveness, and for people to pray for them. I think that was a very brave thing to do. I can't imagine the shame they felt. I don't know what motivated them to stand up in front of several hundred and admit what they had done. Even though everyone was going to find out anyway. I'm afraid I would not have done the same thing if I were in his shoes. I might have just avoided the church altogether. It is a lot easier to stand up and tell about a way that God has blessed you, instead of telling about how you've disappointed him. At any rate, it struck me that I was in no position to look down on him, and that many times I've done things that disappointed God. I suppose I'll still have to give an accounting for those things, but I thank God for his mercy and grace.

I hope that God will take the consequences of this young couples sin and transform it into a blessing for their new family. I don't know her name, but if you want to, say a prayer for Ricky.

Friday, April 27, 2007


A Joseph Farah on wingnut daily put in his latest article."

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The education of Pale Horse

Equus Pallidus asked my why a compound bow of a given draw weight shoots a faster arrow than a traditional bow of the same weight. The pulleys provide mechanical advantage making it easier to pull, but you should be losing energy due to friction, he says. And there is where you went wrong, EP.

A compound does lose energy due to friction in the wheels. But, the cables and pulleys on a compound bow aren't there to provide mechanical advantage. The pulleys are actually eccentric wheels. Picture a wheelbarrow with an oval shaped wheel. The resistance is hard, easy, hard, easy, hard, easy, when you push it. It is the same with a compound bow. The draw starts easy, hits a peak draw weight and then begins the let-off. Let off is a measure of the percentage of the draw weight at full draw compared to the peak weight. I have a 70 pound bow with 65% letoff. At full draw I only hold back 35% of the peak, or about 25 lbs. Equus Pallidus thinks that this is the great attraction to compound bows. You can hold the bow back for a longer time, due to the let off. It is a nice feature, but the main attraction is greater arrow speed.

The key to the greater speed of the compound is the draw force curve. Area under the curve is the energy stored by the bow. A compound is less efficient than a traditional bow. It just stores more energy, providing more energy to accelerate the arrow to a higher speed. A traditional bow typically uses wood arrows. I was told never to shoot wood arrows in a compound bow because it would blow them apart with the acceleration.

So what do you say EP?

The gun law that we need.

Slate, proposed a gun law that will supposedly "make a difference" I am doubtful. He proposes that background checks should be done for gun sales between individuals.

The law we need doesn't address a narrow class of guns, and it relies on the principles of a law we already have: the Brady Law. Brady mandates a federal background check before the sale of a gun by any seller who holds a federal firearms license. It applies to Internet gun deals, gun-shop purchases, and sales by FFL sellers at gun shows. It does not apply, however, to the estimated 40 percent of gun transfers that take place between individuals: non-FFL sellers at those same gun shows, and person-to-person sales made through personal contacts or Internet and print classified ads. That's a far larger volume of guns and gun sales than HR 1022 would affect. As our law stands now, anyone may sell a gun to anyone else; the FFL is required only of those who do so as a commercial venture. Sellers without an FFL may not buy and sell new guns for retail, but may trade in used guns—without background checks—to their heart's content. The bill we need would address that large loophole by requiring that every transfer of ownership be preceded by a Brady background check.
Would this have prevented the VTU shootings? No, he bought the gun legally, presumably passed the background check.

Would this have prevented the Columbine shootings? No, they obtained those guns illegally.

Criminals, by definition, don't follow the law. The Brady law is at best just a nuisance for law abiding citizens. At worst, the records are being illegally kept for a future confiscation effort.

I was happy to see the results of this poll.