Thursday, February 28, 2008

Misunderstanding Science, 101

This is just silly. On year erases a 100 year trend? Learn to read a graph before trying to interpret it, please. The graph in question shows monthly global temperatures from the HadCRUT data set for the last 250 months--or, from 1988 to January of this year. The temperature anomaly decreases to about where it was at 100 months from the beginning of 1988, or about 150 months ago. For those who are counting, that means global average temperatures are today about what they were in 1996 or '97. Yep, a whole decade. For even better graphs that show exactly how unremarkable this year is for the last 30 years, see this or read the original and follow-up posts that started the whole brew-ha-ha.

If you're going to deny the science, please at least understand what you're saying.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Listen, Mr. Bilbo

I learn something new every day. I just learned from the comments to this thoughtful, well-written, and itself informative editorial that illegal immigration is a civil offense, not a criminal one. Therefore, the statement that illegal immigrants are criminals is false. They can be fined or imprisoned for evading immigration, but it's a civil statute, not a criminal one.

The responses to the editorial are about as virulent and bigoted as you'd expect--people in Utah are no better at treating undocumented immigrants with respect than people in the rest of the country, the pleas of our leaders notwithstanding. What's sad is that people seem to have no idea that they are acting in just as bigoted a manner as their predecessors 150 years ago.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I've decided that my motivation must be something like El Nino--periodically I get motivated, work hard, get things done, and feel much satisfaction with my job, leading to even more motivation and hard work. (During an El Nino year the East Pacific warms, shutting down upwelling and causing stronger easterlies, which push more warm water into the East Pacific.) Nice example of positive feedback. Unfortunately, there's also positive feedback for the opposite motivation state, in which I lack motivation, don't work hard, don't accomplish much, and find my scarce motivation slipping further and further. Wish I knew how to get into the other motivation state more easily.

Pure Morning

My grandma Mimi sent me the coolest thing last week--a bag with "Well-behaved women seldom make history" emblazoned across it. I took it with me to church and only a couple of people noticed it, but both thought it was great. The phrase is the title of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's newest book, which I lent to Mimi after reading it myself. I bought the book after listening to her on the Diane Rehm show, which I was directed to by a blog post on this post at times and seasons. Listening to her speak was fascinating--her voice has the cadence of a General Relief Society President speaking in General Conference, but her words were definitely not those of your typical RS president. I loved the book, especially the last chapter, where Ulrich talks about her involvement in the Exponent II and the women's movement in the 70's. It's a pretty easy read and full of women who are definitely worthy of remembrance, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich especially!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I know that my Redeemer lives

I don't usually cry over people I've never met, but today, right now, I can't stop the tears streaming down my cheeks, nor do I want to. I am glad I'm watching President Hinkley's funeral alone.

President Hinkley was a great man. Still is, though in spirit form, of course. He, over his lifetime, has done so much to shape the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints into what it is today. I have been touched by the many tributes to his accomplishments, from his first assignment after his mission, rewriting missionary materials, and later work updating teaching and publicity materials; establishment of the Perpetual Education Fund to interrupt the cycle of poverty for those members living in third-world nations; the establishment of 124 functioning temples across the world (the 125 to be dedicated this month), and the acquisition and restoration of many sites important in church history; to his many writings and his eternal optimism. He has done so much, so tirelessly, and with such humility that I know I didn't comprehend how much of an impact he's had.

Just a few reactions while watching the coverage of the funeral and graveside service--I love the story Elder Tingey just told about Pres. Hinkley taking the stairs--that's classic! Walking down the hall, cane clicking along, and right past the open elevator to climb the stairs to his office. I'm glad he's shared the sentiment Pres. Hinkley shared with him, asking, Have you remembered the person who is struggling?

It's an amazingly beautiful day in Salt Lake, with a clear blue sky and clean white snow dusting the ground. Very appropriate.

I will just quote this one statement among many that I think encapsulates the message of Pres. Hinkley's Earthly life.

“The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
( Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 95.)

Go with peace, President Hinkley. We love you and will miss you.