Thursday, September 24, 2015

Favorite news sites to visit with ad blocker in IOS 9.

I installed the ad-blocking extension "Purify" for Safari and then visited several news sites.  The following wouldn't play nicely with an ad-blocker: Time magazine, The Times of London, and Forbes.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

On Pastor Tullian's MP3's

You may have heard that Pastor Tullian Tchividjian has resigned from his position at Coral Ridge Presbyterian due to adultery.

Here are my thoughts:

I wish for closure for the unnamed persons alleged to be involved in adultery.

I wish closure for Pastor Tullian's family.

I wish closure for Pastor Tullian.

I wish closure for Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.

By closure I mean getting to a point where healing, forgiveness, peace, and getting on with life where there is no more fear of new, temporal consequences for any old actions that took place this year. Walking in grace.

I wish a modest level of financial comfort for Pastor Tullian so that he can get back to making new sermons available to the public. 

I wish that God would continue to bless and prosper the ministry of CRPC.

I wish that God would continue to raise up preachers with an understanding of the Gospel as Tullian has had. Sometimes I've wondered, even been asked by a friend, if I'm too obsessed with Tullian, the man. But I think the exact reason that his preaching struck a chord with me is the vocabulary. He reminded us of the exact meaning and scope of grace.

The above are all my sincerely held convictions that I am praying for. They are also my nicer thoughts. 

Here are my less-nice thoughts.

Did Tullian need to travel so much?

Are the mentors, close friends, and employers of any theological genius necessarily going to be as profound or even "listenable" as the genius? Do we need to pretend that if a gift in preaching were given to one, that all four get it equally? I will admit that when I hear the other guys on the podcast of CRPC sermons, I would often fast forward to the end. Let me ask, are all four pastors afforded an equal share of writing chapters in any books written from this group?

I understand that Tim Keller is pastor of a multi-pastor congregation, yet there is an iTunes podcast feed with sermons only by himself. Is this dangerous rock-star treatment of Tim, or an acknowledgment of the gift? I don't wish anything bad for the other pastors, but I bet I wouldn't go to great lengths to get their MP3's.

Now we come to the most recent developments in the case. CRPC used to have a podcast feed and a website featuring the sermons of all its pastors. Tullian's sermons have been removed from this view.  There used to be podcast feeds and websites for and pastor, but these have been removed from view. CRPC out an explanation on their site saying that this was done to protect Tullian and his family.

Here I have two objections:

1) Does this make any sense -- cannot damage to Tullian and his family, is such a thing were possible, be done using his books, sermons on YouTube, or the MP3's folks already have on their hard drives? The enemies would have plenty of ammo elsewhere.

2) If the answer were, but look at all the other sermons we have made available by these four other pastors. This is where I have to say no, gifts in preaching are not given out equally to everyone at a particular site.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tip for driving traffic to a blog

I have a blog where I post three very interesting videos about the ocean every day. I've got them post-dated so the machine keeps going every day. Of course, I provide curation, in making sure that the selected posts are high quality, etc.

I am using to auto-generate tweets announcing each new post.  This twitterfeed engine is running 24/7, making a constant stream of tweets.  

The two graphs below represent hits to the blog, The graphs represent hits over the past week and past month, respectively. Note that there is a long flat baseline to the curve: this is a measure of success for the twitter stream.

 I also, Friday morning during breakfast and before retiring, used to add about four posts each time. Stumbleupon allows you to "Add a Page" to their stream of pages that users who are interested in a particular topic will see. It is a sort of "captive audience".

The two spikes in the week's curve represent my two sessions of adding pages to stumbleupon.  The month's chart show the success if thus approach compared to that of the steady twitterfeed. There's been a completely steady stream of posts every day, just a big difference in the effectiveness.

Granted, the stumbleupon process is manual and limits you to about ten pages per day, but it is effective.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Why are your Google Adsense "ad impressions" counts lower than your page hits?

I read with respect these earlier defenses of why Adsense impressions could be different from other counter impressions.!topic/adsense/2frvdOVxz2g
Neither arguments were entirely satisfying to me. I for example was seeing, in the Blogger Stats for my Ocean Videos site, more than 30 hits PER DAY, whereas Google Adsense only saw 28/WEEK. I was even more puzzled, based on studying the difference in page hits between various posts. I had been sending out tweets for each new posting, and tweets that I knew were more-well-written and/or to more-interesting pages were getting a 3-5X higher number of hits. This seemed to be proof that Adsense was messed up. (I didn't think Google was scamming us but that perhaps there were some laziness or lack of clarity about the policy for "activating" ads).

I noticed that the minimum number of hits was 3 for a tweet. So I tested the "tweet interestingness" theory by using a junk, alternative Twitter account with only 32 followers. I put in four nonsense-letters, followed by a link. It got at least 3 hits. This made me wonder if there were THREE bots scanning twitter, and hitting on every URL posted.

So I did some math. I took the top ten page hits according to the Blogger stats, and subtracted three from every page. The total was 25. Google Adsense's performance report over the same period said I had 28 impressions.

Mystery solved. There are three bots harvesting (my) Twitter-posted URL's. Adsense ignores the bots.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Causal understanding of water displacement by a crow

Fascinating study of crow intelligence. Various experiments where they show they can understand the concept of water displacement.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Do Dogs Make Counterproductive Choices Because They Are Sensitive to Hum...

Researchers try to find a way to get dogs to make the "wrong" choice. Diet tips for dog owners.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Getty Images are now free

Just searched for semiconductor and grabbed first image:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Two views on Phil Robertson

A lot of ink has been spilled on Phil Robertson, from condemnation in totum to praising his Christian witness. Here are two differing perspectives I endorse:

1) A good exercise at separating the baby of traditional ethics from he bath water of being couched in an unloving reduction of people (gay and straight) to body parts.

2) A no-holds-barred look at how deadly racism really was in Robertson's Louisiana.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013