Tuesday, October 31, 2006


In Galileo's time, the Copernican theory was believed to contradict the literal interpretation of the Bible. I knew that Galileo became involved in the controversy over Joshua:
12 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
"Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."

13 So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. (Joshua 10)
But there is another example:
Tell it out among the nations "The LORD is King! *
he has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity." (Psalm 96 verse 10)
What a strong image that must have been to people, that God made the world so firm that it cannot be moved.

I actually find it inspiring how churches change, for example Christianity outgrew its support of slavery. My husband and I both grew up being told not to waste food but to "think of the starving Armenians." We realized that the Armenians were starving not when we were children or when our mothers were children but when our grandmothers were children. I am thankful when faith doesn't get fossilized that way.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

parents' weekend

This weekend was my son's parents' weekend, and we had brief meetings today with all his teachers. A month ago we were very worried about how things were going--he was failing history because he hadn't handed in a major assignment and his roommate had moved out to room with someone more congenial.

Today things looked much better. The former roommate has left school because he was caught with drugs, so his moving out doesn't seem like such a bad thing any more. All the teachers, even the history teacher, spoke highly of my son's work. The geometry teacher told us that they do problems where there is a circle crossed by lots of lines (I think like this only more complicated) and the students have to figure out the value of as many angles as they can. The teacher thought this particular problem had been used at the school for at least six years. My son found the value of an angle that was marked in the answer key as one that could not be found. We heard he had the highest grade in his class on a chemistry test and is the best writer in his English class. A number of people also told us how impressed they were by the part he played in a skit his dorm put on. He is still isolating himself, but at least he is getting positive feedback when he does get out of his room.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


This is the first picture printed in our home darkroom. I had some equipment from 30 years ago (and the hardware hasn't changed a bit), and bought the rest on ebay. Darkroom equipment is going incredibly cheaply--I bought an Omega C700 enlarger for $27. Still a couple of questions to solve, such as whether I can make the old print washer work, but we have a useable darkroom.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Owen Gingerich

While my daughter and I were in Massashusetts last weekend,we went to hear my undergraduate thesis advisor give a talk at a bookstore. I learned from him that he was coming down to this area, so we are going to go hear him again today.

He has recently published a book on science and religion. At the bookstore, he explained that he grew up in the Mennonite tradition--his father's four great grandfathers were all Amish ministers. He went to an evangelical college, and was hesistant to go to graduate school in astronomy because how would that be serving the needs of the world? His chemistry professor advised him to study astronomy if he felt called, saying "We can't let the atheists take over any field." I love the thought that he has come full circle and is enriching the discussion of science and religion.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


It isn't about control and not making mistakes.
It is about flow and trust.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Las Vegas

I had been to Las Vegas once before, in the mid 1970s. What I hadn't fully understood is how completely it was transformed in the 1990s to a kind of giant amusement park. The Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower and Venetian canal and the like are quite a sight. It was fun to do an early morning run down the strip. The hotel we stayed at was somewhat of an exception to the amusement park approach, but has recently been sold and is expected to be torn down. A very strange place to hold a professional conference. The area of meeting rooms was fairly normal but to get to the elevators to the guest rooms, either from the meeting rooms or from the street, one has to walk through the middle of the casino.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon for a professional conference in Las Vegas, and I am just dreading it. The hotel is in the middle of things and sounds terribly noisy. I don't drink, have no interest in gambling, and like to go to bed early. I can't even figure out if the hotel pool is still open--the web site says seasonal but not what the season is. I have a roommate I don't know well and have never roomed with before. I am coming back very early Saturday (7 am flight) in order to go to the end of the series banquet for the triathlon series.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ride for the Raptors

I ride on parts of this route fairly often, and I always look forward to the organized ride. Two years ago I did it in 5 1/2 hours elapsed time, after riding 60+ miles several times beforehand in my training. I would have liked to do the 101 mile route instead of the 62 miles this time but I decided not to because I was less well trained for it this time--the longest I rode last month was 31 miles. So I was happy to do the 62 miles ride today in 5 hours 15 minutes elapsed time, 4 hours 38 minutes riding time (the course was one mile longer this year). Last year I was signed up for the ride but my father died the week before and I went to Massachusetts instead.

I raced the first 15 miles, which are somewhat flatter, and averaged 16 mph. I wanted to find a group to ride with, but I would push to catch up with someone and then find they were riding slower than I wanted to go. I did ride behind one man for 3 or 4 miles and was sorry he didn't keep up with me when I passed him because he kept a good steady pace. A fair number of people must have been doing the 25 mile route; there were a lot of people at the first rest area and I didn't see many after that.

Particulary after the second rest area I settled into riding alone, but I slowed down to more of a touring pace. The biggest hill, Maw Bridge Road, is at mile 29, and I hadn't ridden it in a long time (I usually avoid it when I am doing parts of the route). I still spent most of the hill pedaling slowly in my lowest gear, but I didn't get more and more out of breath the way I did two years ago. After that the route is pretty steadily up and down, but no other hills are as hard as that one. There was one group who I kept catching up with at rest stops--they stopped for longer than I did--but I couldn't quite hang in with them when they would pass me again.

It couldn't have been a nicer day--the temperature must have been below 60 when we started out and I wore a long sleeve running top over my short sleeved jersey. I took it off at the first rest area, as the sun was getting warm. But then dark clouds filled the sky about 11:30 am and it cooled off. It didn't rain; by the time I finished the sun was out again, but the high for the day was only 70.

My legs are tired but I wasn't exhausted at the end. Next year I want to do more organized rides; I need to learn to keep my pace up at this distance as I train towards doing the South Carolina Half Ironman a year from now. I'm excited about the new ironman in Kentucky--if I feel ready to do an ironman in 2008 I will have a convenient one.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

positive attitude

I picked up my son today to come home for his fall break. We talked some in the car and at one point I complemented him on his positive attitude and asked him if there was anyone at school he didn't like. He said there were a couple of people last year but they didn't bother him as much this year. I asked if that was because they had matured or he was more tolerant and he said they must have matured. He describes himself as not social and doesn't know how to make friends, but at least he has a positive attitude about people.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monthly totals and Hagley Museum

Training this month:
swimming: 11 workouts for 15 hours 30 min.
biking: 9 workouts for 162 miles in 12 hours 47 min.
running: 12 workouts for 52 miles in 12 hours 10 min.
And I've run a total of exactly 500 miles so far this year!

Last Thursday my daughter and I went to the Hagley Museum for the afternoon. It was a glorious early fall day:

We were both sorry we hadn't bought our good cameras.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Barnes Foundation

My daughter and I went to Philadelphia to visit Westtown school, and stayed an extra day to enjoy Philadelphia. We went to the Hagley, to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and, most interesting, to the Barnes Foundation (not all in one day--we had parts of three days). The Barnes Foundation is a private museum, which at present is still arranged the way its founder set it up. It has an incredible collection--according to one book it has 180 Renoirs, 69 Cezannes, 60 Matisses, 40 Picassos. There are striking works by Horace Pippin in addition to the famous artists. The art is arranged very differently from a modern museum, not just more crowded on the wall but also with artists and periods mixed together rather than separated. There are times when there are four pictures in a square (two over two) and one is medieval, one renaissance, one impressionist, and one modern. Most of the time there isn't an obvious relationship, though we did notice one arrangement of impressionist paintings of nude women bathing with medieval paintings of hell beneath.

It is an amazing experience, sometimes I just felt visual and mental overload from the juxtapositions. We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art the next day and it seemed so sterile. The Barnes Foundation is apparently going to move downtown, and assumably hang its collection in the modern manner, which would be a huge loss. Don't miss it if you know you are going anywhere near Philadelphia and beware--tickets usually need to be bought at least a month in advance.