Christians and Indians (and the Creation)

I was struck the other day at how both of these groups respond to the idea that their idea of the creation may not be scientifically accurate.

The Christians are dealing with the rejection of the idea that an all-powerful being made the earth in 7 earth days, 6000 years ago. The Religious Indians are dealing with a variety of beliefs, for instance, that they lived in an underworld, and climbed up a large bamboo or a pine tree or ... through a hole in the ground, to the American Southwest. Or perhaps, we are all living on the back of a giant turtle.

I am intensely curious as to what the average creationist American would have to say concerning the religious beliefs of the Native Americans. Would they scoff and point out the DNA evidence that shows they came from Asia? Would they accept their stories as true and factual?

Most religious groups will be defending their standpoint against "Science" to their last breath. And, "Science" will be putting forth their ideas as well. The difference between science and other systems of belief is Science loves to change, to find more truth! And most of the others are trying to keep their old ideas firmly established. Hopefully they will remember that their version of the story is really no more factual than any religion (well, maybe a *little* more factual), we still have a long way to go before any of us really understands what happened in the beginning of the universe, the beginning of this galaxy or the beginning of the human race.

Free Rice

I'd like to let everyone know about this great site! For every vocabulary word you can define, 20 grains of rice are donated to hungry people around the globe! It's an addicting game, and even more so when you know that your high scores help people!

I've created 20,000 grains of rice with a vocabulary level of 44. How about you?

Let's play 'Guess that State'!

Can you guess which states these are? The images are based off of the private land area in that state.

No? How about the next one?

Here's a hint, the next one isn't Utah.

How many did you guess?

Are you curious about what the rest of the United States looks like?

Huh ... What happened to the western half of the USA?

If you want to look at more detailed maps, check out this page: The National Atlas

The Constitution states in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17:
[The congress shall have power] To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

In other words, the federal government only has the right to own a ten-mile square piece of land for the above specific purposes. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 declared that new states entering the union would have equal footing with the already existing 13 states - all land would belong to the state, and the federal government would need to buy any tract of land it needed for its purposes (listed above).

Well, as you can see by the map, they did pretty well at first, and most of the eastern states remain intact. When the federal government began buying or conquesting land, and creating territories - a new policy came into place. When Ohio was made a state in 1803, the government kept possession of any land not privately owned, rather than turning it over to the state. They promised to sell the land to private parties as quickly as possible, and they would use the proceeds to pay off the national debt. At first, this worked - the states eventually gained possession of the land, and the federal government got a bit of cash. Most of the Louisiana purchase was dealt with in this way (I wonder how much the US Government got back from it's investment?). When Northern Mexico was conquered, and eventually made into states, this policy was not followed (as you can see from the map).

The federal government owns aproximatly:
  • 90% of Alaska
  • 45% of Arizona
  • 45% of California
  • 36% of Colorado
  • 64% of Idaho
  • 30% of Montana
  • 87% of Nevada
  • 35% of New Mexico
  • 52% of Oregon
  • 66% of Utah
  • 30% of Washington, and
  • 48% of wyoming
Coming to a total average of 52% of each state involved. This is a far cry from the limits stated in the constitution. Maybe we should ask why this is true, what they are gaining from the land (as they could sell most of it for a fair profit if they wished).

There is a lot of talk from Native Americans saying how the white-men stole the land .. etc etc. Well, we don't own it either.

With the presidential elections coming up, I wonder how many of them even know (or care) that half of the land in the western USA isn't under the people's care or control? Would the states make better use of the land? Maybe so, but we'll never know.

Import and Export

In economics class, it is taught that it is preferable for a country to export more than it import. This allows you to have some international leverage, and make some money too.

In light of that concept, It does not matter where the country you reside in stands in this matter, nor your state, province or even city, if you, as an individual or a household do not also follow this pattern of exporting more than you import.

Where do you stand? Do you create more resources than you consume? Energy, food, materials, instruction and entertainment? What do you export that is of an equal value? They do not have to be the same type of resources, that is the point of trading, but are they of equal value to those around you? I would not include money as a resource, for, if something were to happen to its financial backers, money would become practically worthless.

I would encourage everyone to think about what they're import/export ratio is - write a list if you need to, and then find solutions that will bring that ratio up to or above the equilibrium.

NPCs, Quakers and Pawns

Through a confluence of events, I spent about half an hour yesterday thinking about the roles of heroes, Quakers and chess. I was wondering what a quaker chess set would look like, since they promote the idea that we are all on an equal playing ground - that the king is no better than the peasant and vice-versa. At first, I considered that the whole set would be pawns. But, that wouldn't be really true, just because everyone is "equal" doesn't mean we are all at the lowest common denominator, or even that we are all the SAME. A lot of people confuse equal with same.

I think equality truly means that we all have an equal chance to become whatever type of chess piece we want to become. Some people will be pawns - just going through life, getting in the way, good luck, bad luck ... being Non-Player-Characters (to use an RPG term) to be used and thrown away when they are through. This may seem harsh, especially since there are people like this - but, I believe it is through their own choice. The alternative to being a pawn, would to be one of the "heroic" pieces, the ones that have more choices open to them about how to act, what they want to achieve and so on.

One could argue that there is a social and economic bar placed over a portion of the population that keeps them from being able to be more than a pawn in life. But, I would argue that this is not true! This is because there are numerous examples of rich people who have lived and died and have only been well educated and comfortable pawns, but pawns none the less. You must also remember that you don't have to be Gandhi, or the president of the united states in order to move away from being a pawn. Anyone who can change the world about them (for good or ill) in a way that will last (hopefully) beyond their own life has moved from being a pawn to being something that has made a difference. And, isn't that one of the reasons we are here? If we do not make a difference, what difference did it make that we were born?