On Loving Our Enemies

In honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems we need his wisdom more than ever. A friend posted part of this on Facebook, so I found this expanded version.

Why should we love our enemies?

The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. Mindful that hate is an evil and dangerous force, we too often think of what it does to the person hated. This is understandable, for hate brings irreparable damage to its victims.

But there is another side which we must never overlook. Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy be getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.

A great example of how the above is true can be seen in the media reports about the vitriol passing between the United States political parties over health care. The reactionary climate resulted in counter-productive posturing and slowing the process. Of course, no one physically assaulted others or shot them in a duel, so I guess things are civilized… Just full of hate. We all suffer because these people take opposition personally. That is easy to do when their best arguments are ad hominems.

Maybe 50%+ (House) and 60% (Senate filibuster proof) are too low of a threshold to get consensus. What about 66.7% like that for amendments or 75% or 80% as the necessary threshold? Even better? Since the issue here is the parties don’t work together, maybe the solution is passage requires 10% more votes over the membership of the majority party?

Watch Out For Sinkholes in Georgia

Back in 1994 a neighbor city, Albany, GA, experienced massive flooding. For a couple months after the waters receded, sinkholes opened up under houses and cars driving along roads in the formerly flooded areas. Waters filled underground caverns making them only stable with the water still in them. Without aboveground wanter coming down, these caverns dried and became unstable again.

Looks like in the Atlanta area sinkholes are starting to happen.

A sinkhole caused by the recent rain swallowed up a car and driver in Gwinnett County Saturday.
The sinkhole opened up at the intersection of West Liddell Road and Club Place earlier in the week.
Police blocked off the intersection, but someone moved the cones and the motorist drove right into the gaping hole early Saturday morning.
The driver suffered minor injuries, but the car is stuck in the deep hole.
Police have blocked off the intersection again.
– See more at: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/weather/sinkhole-swallows-car-in-gwinnett-county/

I wonder why news agencies are not warning people to expect these might happen? Maybe the ground under Atlanta doesn’t have as many caverns compared to Albany so the danger is not as great? Hopefully it won’t take several of these for people catch on to the possibility.

DNA For Everyone

So, 60 Minutes has broadcast a report on the tracing of DNA. Leslie made a statement, “The are just two bits of DNA which remain pure. The Y chromosome which passes directly from father to son. And something called mitochondrial DNA which passes unchanged from mother to child.” Logically speaking, if the mDNA really passes unchanged with every generation, then everyone has the exact same mDNA. However, that is not the case. A limited number of aberrations have occurred in the mDNA over time. Those changes are called markers and passed from mother to child. Identification of these markers and estimating when and which groups they occurred is the process behind identifying to whom an individual is related.

Leslie did make a really good point. As you trace back through the Y chromosome and mDNA, the further back one goes, the smaller the ratio of these markers can provide. So going back one generation, you can see info on both individuals. Going back to the second generation, you can only see 2 of 4 individuals, three see 2 of 8, eight see 2 of 256, etc.

Another fuzziness the report failed to explain is the testing really only matches individuals to currently living individuals who share similar markers. So, you don’t really see who your ancestors are. An African-American woman showcased, got back several matches to individuals belonging to tribes in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. I have first and second cousins all over the place. Is it right to assume only individuals taken from Africa and brought to the Americas are the ones who have left the tribe? It seems hard to believe family members left in Africa occupy the same huts as when we left.

A good book to read on Y chromosome and mDNA tracing to determine the origins of all the world’s population to common ancestors in Africa is The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells. That is a little further back.

My New Home?

OnlineAthens.com | News | Taliaferro’s night life a draw for stargazers 09/17/07:

“We like our darkness,” said Chris Hetlage, the developer of an unusual village taking shape on a hilltop about 40 miles southeast of Athens. “That’s really why we’re here.” Georgia’s least populous county leads the region in a tourist commodity that is as rare as it is unusual: dark skies. That’s how Hetlage and fellow stargazers from Atlanta ended up creating Deerlick Astronomy Village, a secluded subdivision of high-tech, private observatories sprouting from 96 acres.

Deerlick Astronomy Village:

1) Build a community that encourages individual ownership of land plots for observatories and home sites

2) Support the needs of amateur astronomers by leasing observatory/storage area sites,

3) Establish a large common observation area to support individual member access, as well as to support various public and private events and

4) Establish common sense covenants and rules to protect the site from light pollution, provide for the safely of observing members, and at the same time, provide a location that is both family friendly and educationally significant.

Would an hour commute be worth stargazing?

A Class of Cornell University Students Take Google as Gospel

PC World – Students Take Google as Gospel:

The experiment involved 22 undergraduate students (with various majors) from Cornell University in the U.S. It found that overall, the students had an inherent trust in Google’s ability to rank results by their true relevance to the query.

The news media has an inherent trust in studies involving a handful of college students. Can you really call a single classroom of undergraduate students representative of all students, aka including K-12 and graduate students, country or worldwide?

Misleading CNN Information

Yesterday, CNN’s Erica Hill was following a story about 2 pit bulls who got loose and killed a woman in while she slept. My first complaint is citing statistics without saying from where they originated. Only because the of rebuttal guest pointing out the study was based on media reporting incidents rather than police reporting am I able to guess this CDC study (PDF may require additional software) is the one.

The numbers cited by CNN sounded outrageous. Out of 238 deaths, pit bulls were supposedly responsible for 105 (over a 20 year period). It was so outrageous because german shepards, the next highest, were responsible for only 17. Well… the actual study says pit bulls were responsible for 66 deaths and rottweilers for 39 deaths and german shepards for 17 deaths.

Interestingly the authors of the study have these points about legislation for laws restricting the ownership of violent breeds:

  1. fatal attacks have been relatively stable over time (inconsistent with Erica’s question “Why have these attacks increased lately?”, funny given the study is based in large part on media coverage).
  2. different breeds were the dangerous dogs at different points of their study.

At least the mistake got me to read and understand the issue a little better.


The Athens NEWS: Athens’ Only Locally Owned Newspaper:

Ohio University would be safer with concealed weapons on campus if those gaining such a permit had to be subjected to a strict screening process that included an annual mental-health checkup; criminal background check; and training in said firearms use, marksmanship and safety, including an inspection of the weapon to be carried.

Ummmm… If background checks are so effective, then how did Seung-hui Cho get one? Last night, I was watching 20/20 where they discussed myths, one of which was on whether gun control reduces violent crime obviously spun towards it not.

The example of success? The Appalachian School of Law Shooting where a gunman killed three people before other students with guns stopped him. Many more people would have been killed had these other students not stopped him. Police cannot be everywhere at once, so its better to have a gun to save yourself. They don’t mention that it was after he was done killing that the students with guns got to him and apprehended him. Its not much different than police arriving at the scene.

There are no available numbers on how many mass murders are prevented by people who are not able to acquire a gun.

Its not like either side is going to point out where their side has failed in this issue. 🙁