Journal

I am KF5UDQ

Since I was a kid I dreamed of having my Amateur Radio License, or Ham radio license.  My fascination with radios is part of why I got a degree in electrical engineering. But, I could never get very proficient as Morse Code, despite trying for years. In 2006 they dropped the Morse code requirement for licensing, and since then I’ve been meaning to give it a try. I finally did.

At the end of last month I passed the test for the Technician class license and got my call sign, KF5UDQ.  Then last weekend I took the test for the General Class license and passed it as well.

I still don’t have a transceiver, or radio.  But I’ve kinda sorta made a deal for one and I’m excited about getting on the air with it as soon as the deal is complete.  There are several amateur radio satellites that it is possible to communicate through and I want to try that. The idea of talking to satellites is something I find appealing.

What To Do?

What to do? What to do?

My parents did a lot for me when I was growing up as a young man, but one thing above all made whatever success I had possible. They made me believe that if I set my mind to any task I could accomplish it. It might take a long time. It might mean overcoming challenges I did not expect. But they made me believe, truly believe, that with enough hard work and determination anything was possible.

Success might not come at first. The price may be higher than you want to pay. But never think you can’t do it, because you can. My parents taught me that from the beginning and I could never thank them enough for it.

If you believe you can do anything you want to do, it begs the questions, “what do you want to do?” That to me was always a big question. You might say, that was always THE question.

You’ve been given a life. You’ve been given talents, things you can do well, things you like doing. What do you do with this life? How do you spend your time and your talents?

This last Sunday the Reverend Capri Grimes gave a sermon on service at the Magnolia United Methodist Church. Service in a Christian context means service to God, as it is for many religions. But as Bob Dylan sang, “You gotta serve somebody. It might be the Devil. It might be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody”. But how to figure out what to do to serve, ways in which to serve? She says it’s easy to figure that stuff out, and I believe her.

Ask someone what your talents are. Make sure it’s someone who likes you, but they can tell you. Or deep down you know it yourself. You know, you really know what you are good at. You probably like doing it. What things do you like to do?

You can hear Reverend Grimes sermon HERE.

Years ago I had a short conversation with a friend around the first of the year. He said for the next year he was going to focus on a few things he didn’t do very well and try to improve on them. I told him while that idea sounded good on the surface I didn’t think it was a good idea. I thought he may not do those things very well because he didn’t like doing them. I told him I thought he should find some things he was good at and try to be the very best at those things. I told him I thought I would try to spend my time improving things I was good at, because usually I enjoyed doing those things more. And maybe I could grow to be the best at something.

The end of this year is coming, and with it many will be making New Year’s resolutions. I’m always struck by the resolutions, and I’ve made them, to stop doing something. Wouldn’t it be better to START doing something? Wouldn’t it be better to start doing something you’re good at, that you enjoy doing, and might somehow improve even a corner of your world?

It’s easier for me to not do something I shouldn’t if I’m busy doing things I should. Now back to the original question, what to do?

Faster Than the Speed of Light

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1

You may have been told that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. That’s not true.

I’ve been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be father or step-father to a bunch of amazing gentlemen. One of them recently asked me about his understanding that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light. It led to an interesting discussion.

According to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity matter gets heavier as it approaches the speed of light, and time experienced by the matter relative to a ‘fixed’ point slows down. Just looking at the first part of that you see it means as something, say a ball, approaches the speed of light it gets so heavy that pushing on it harder doesn’t speed it up much more than it’s already going. At the speed of light it’s mass would be infinite. It would be heavier than Jupiter.  Time on the ball would slow down until it stood still. You could never get the ball to go faster than the speed of light.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

You know that information can travel on  radio waves.  You listen to a radio and hear what is being broadcast on the high frequency waves of the radio.  You are aware of fiver optics. Information travels on a light beam. The information may be a YouTube video or a conversation between cousins, but is still information.  The light is behaving as a very high frequency radio wave.

It can be shown that the information traveling on a light beam is traveling faster than the beam. That is to say information can travel faster than the speed of light.

If gets more interesting than that. Light is described as both a wave and a set of particles. It behaves as both. Imagine a tennis ball gun shooting tennis balls. Each time it shoots a ball it recoils a little because of the weight of the balls being shot out. When you turn on a flashlight there is an imperceptible “kick” to it as the light particles start shooting out of the flashlight. It’s as if the light is made up of little particles each with mass, at the same time it is behaving as a wave. L:ight is both matter (particles) and information (waves).

According to the Book of Genesis what did God create on the first day? Light. By the first verse of the first chapter of the book of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”.  Before there could be matter; before there could be air and water and plants and animals there had to be a transition from the Word (Information) to physical matter.  Light is that transition.  It is both information and physical matter. That is why God had to create light first.

 

Houston Texans and the NFL 2012 Season Starting Soon

Houston Texans Helmet

This morning I was able to get free tickets to the Houston Texans training camp. We went last year and I’m really excited about it this year.

If you remember, last year the training season was shorted by the “lockout” or labor dispute between the players and owners. Also, last year was the first year of our new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, along with a couple of high profile defensive backs we obtained through free agency. Our defense, nicknamed Bulls-on-Parade went from the bottom of the NFL to second in rankings.

You get a different view of things on the practice field. For one thing you are a lot closer to the players than even being in the cheap seats at Reliant Stadium.  From that vantage point you see a lot of things about the players you don’t see on television.

After winning the division championship last year there are a lot of new Texans fans this year. Getting the training camp tickets were easy last year. This year the website was clogged with a digital waiting line.

But wait I did, and the NFL excitement for this year is almost upon us. Come on Houston Texans.

 

 

Ameritopia – by Mark Levin – a Review

Ameritopia by Mark Levin

Sometimes when you take a bite from a meal you get more wonderful flavors than you expected. As I mentioned I started the year trying to catch up on reading, and with “Ameritopia” I knocked out several pieces I may not have gotten around to. I found it to be an excellent primer on basic political philosophy.

Author Mark Levin spends the first half of the book covering the history of political thought, through an examination of Plato’s “Republic”, Thomas More’s “Utopia”, Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan”, and Karl Marx “Communist Manefesto”. He covers the basic tenets of each of these and contrasts the between them the political and social structure they envision. He focuses on how each approach the rights of the individual based on the political and governmental structure they recommend.

After a treatment of this history, Levin turns to the writings of John Locke and his formidable influence on our Founding Fathers. He illustrates how Locke’s writings were quoted and referenced in the documents that formed the basis for our country and our government. He also examines the writings of Charles de Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville for how they described and magnified the reasons for America’s success. He related those writings again to the basis from John Locke for a structure in the rights of an individual for this country and it’s departure from the suppositions of the earlier writings by Plato et. all.

After a exhausting journey through political and social philosophy Levin starts to cover where we are in our own history and the forces at work as well as the choices we have to make for our country. After slogging through the difficult and sometimes tedious subject matter of abstract philosophy you are rewarded with a climax at the end of the book rivaling any page turner of a novel. He draws no conclusions about what future choices we will make. He only describes the forces at work in shaping our decisions to come.

No doubt the coverage of the early philosophers are presented in such a way as to make the political points Mark Levin sets out to make in “Ameritopia”. However, it’s a wonderful journey through several classic writings I had wanted to make time for and a rewarding read. While it is not a light read and requires some dedication and patience to work your way through the more involved concepts, I highly recommend this book, whether you are an American, or not.

Madman

“The only difference between me and a madman is that I’m not mad.”
~ Salvador Dali

County LIbrary

I just got a note today from the Branch Manager of the local county library. Ms. Barbara Appleby told me my novel, “Downtown and Dirty” would “be a fine addition to our adult fiction collection.” I’ll be meeting with her soon to officially donate a signed copy for the Montgomery County (Texas) Memorial Library System. All I could think of was that scene from the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” where Paul Varjak takes Holly Golightly to the public library and shows her his book is there. WooHoo!!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!!Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download