Gapminder: Statistics for a Fact-Based World View

So it’s been a while, and I’m not going to promise a whole lot of regular posts (pretty busy at the moment!), but I thought I’d share this really cool website with you. I’ve been going along to Engineers Without Borders, a society at Glasgow Uni that looks to use engineering to overcome some of the issues facing developing nations, and at the meeting yesterday they showed a TED talk by a guy called Hans Rosling. He’s a statistician, and has made a phenomenal site which compares statistic data from just about every country in the world. I realise that description makes it sound pretty dull, but check out the TED video, and it’ll be explained much better.

Anyhow, here’s the link: Gapminder. Hope you find it interesting!

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Become an Armchair Scientist and Help Save the World

The world’s an absolute mess, it’s true, but there are some problems which we can help to fix. We can tackle homelessness by volunteering at shelters, for example, or petition companies for fairer trade.

Some global issues, however, require a bit more knowledge, way beyond the scope of the average human being. Anyone have a clue how to develop ‘flu medication to tackle drug resistant strains? Because hundreds of thousands of people are dying from it every year. When faced with huge problems as life-threatening as this, can we, as complete non-experts, do anything to aid scientists as they push towards a solution?

As it happens, yes we can.

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A Glitch in the Matrix.

Last week, due to some *cough* harmless digital tinkering on my part, my computer completely died. But, thanks to a Linux Live Disk on a handy USB stick, I was able to completely resurrect it, just as good as it ever was. I was in the clear. Or so I thought.

As it turns out, however, my computing prowess isn’t all I cracked it up to be, and my genius solution turned out to be nothing more than digital duct-tape, loosely holding the remnant of a stable operating system together. Well, maybe that’s a slightly dramatized version, but the point is my laptop is now a shell of its former usefulness. Won’t let me log on as me, won’t let me open most programs, and I’m 6000 miles from anything I could use to fix it. Great.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. The home computer here has almost everything I need for work, and I’m currently downloading a  fresh Windows 7 .iso, so yeah, in, ooooohhhh… 2 days and 10 hours (according to the ‘time remaining’), my computer should be working as usual. Hopefully. Probably. Ok, I really don’t have a clue. I’ll let you know… [UPDATE: It’s aaaallliiiiivvvee!!]

The Copernican Revolution, Part 1.

The other day Chris (my flatmate) showed me a YouTube comment by a particularly enlightened individual. See, this [sarcasm] thoughtful, considerate and well-researched [/sarcasm] commenter claimed that the moon being described as a light (Genesis 1:16) was absolute proof the Bible was wrong, and seemed pretty convinced the argument was watertight, even after Chris showed him otherwise. So, even though I’ve touched on the issue before, I’d quite like to revisit it…

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Indiana Stickleback and the Raiders of the Lost… Meaning?

[Yup, this intro was shamelessly cut and pasted from the last post…]

In the fullest sense of the phrase, I have absolutely no idea how God made the universe. I know that he made it, without a doubt. I know that it’s fashioned for humans, who he created to be in relationship with. I know that humans screwed up the relationship, and I know that the purpose of history was the restoration of that relationship, to God’s glory, by what Jesus did on the cross. But exactly how the world was made, exactly how humans came to be here, I’m very unsure. This creates an issue, because, like Paul said, we need to be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have, and sometimes the question is about creation.*

So, I’m going to look into it. The thing is though, I want to do this properly. I want to approach it systematically and logically, following lines of evidence wherever they lead me, and hopefully ending up with a decent sort of idea about what went on back then. I want to look at books, websites, talk to people who know more than me, look at the context and language of the original passage, and in short do a serious bit of digging to uncover something at least vaguely resembling the truth. I was watching Agatha Christie on TV yesterday, so that could have something to do with the new found desire to sleuth…

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Review: BioLogos

What is it?

BioLogos is a phrase coined by the geneticist Francis Collins (leader of the Human Genome Project and Director of the American National Institute of Health). He received a lot of questions following the publication of ‘The Language of God’, and realising that he couldn’t answer them all by email, he set-up the BioLogos foundation. Its purpose, in the site’s own words, is to ‘[help] the church – and students, in particular – [to] develop worldviews that embrace both of these complex belief structures [Biblical Christianity and modern scientific thought], and that allow science and faith to co-exist peacefully.’ As most of you reading this are probably students, it’s worth a look!

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