affert's assorted observations

i'm affert. this is my blog.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's the world coming to?

The title is a genuine question.

The video series "Crash Course" by Chris Martenson ( got me thinking a lot about the future. There are a lot of things in this world that have the potential to radically restructure how life works, seemingly in a short amount of time.

"How it all ends" is another, very well thought out, very well researched video series about Global Climate Destabilization. ( is the initial video in the series). I'm about half way through the series.

Beyond his main point (that Global Climate Destabilization is worthy of very intense attention and action), he makes many good points about how we can know things. Throughout his videos, he challenges his viewers to not take his word for it, to go look it up and think for yourself. Critiquing the credibility of sources is very important in his mind.

And there's the rub.

When it comes to science, we do have generally accepted sources that exist without large amounts to gain through deceiving us. (If you want to discuss with me about "scientists are biased because they want grant money" leave a comment: I'm not trying to avoid that issue, I'm just trying to make another point right now). The debate is either about "what is going on in the real, very complex real world." or "should we act given that we can only be 100% certain of GCD in the rear-view mirror?" In either case, the choices for action are pretty apparent (emit far less or zero CO2 vs keep doing what we're doing now).

When it comes to a topic like Peak Oil, everyone (at least that I've ever seen) agrees what is going on (that oil will peak, then decrease in available supply). The disagreement is about what the implications are, how fast it will happen, and what should we be doing about it. And in this case, we don't have any ice cores to look at to see what happens last time the planet ran out of oil.

And almost everybody in the conversation has vested interest in their idea being right.

So I ask the question: where is credible discussion about what the effect of PO will be?

Also, the bail out package that was recently voted down, probably to be voted on again soon. In this topic, it is even worse: the most powerful people in the country also happen to be the richest. Which mean they have the most to gain (for them and their buddies) if $700 billion are spent helping the rich.

Credibility is further damaged by so many refrains of "the economy is fine" jumping right to "if you don't pass this right now, the whole economy will disappear!"

All of these topic (economy, PO, GCD) are topics where there is no realistic option to decide later. When the choice is "what should we do now" "nothing" is a choice in and of itself, with real rewards and consequences.

One other video to throw into the mix
( is a general look at exponential functions and how they play out in the real world.

Anyway, please comment with your thoughts (preferably backed up by sources).

Monday, March 20, 2006


This looks like an interesting book, with a very close to the heart topic for myself, and probably most of you. The transition to adulthood is hard. The premise of the book is that it is much harder to make the transition these days. I read the introduction (under 'exerpts' on the website). While I'm sure that is it is harder in some ways, I can't help but wonder if part of it is a vast improvement of what is the standard of living that is demanded. He talks about the rising costs of college, but doesn't talk about where that money is going. He talks about the rising costs of housing, but doesn't address the average size of houses or apartments.

I can't help but believe that at least part of the problem is the unreasonable ideas that our generation has about how we should be living. How many people bike to work every day? (My dad did this for several years). How many people don't have a cell phone? (our parent's all lived without them fine for years) Or an internet connection? (Most public libraries provide free internet service). Is a cup of coffee really worth $5+? And do you really need it every day? ($5 every weekday is over $1700 a year).

He says in his intro that young adults believe that they can't count on help from the government, and as such simply try to get by by themselves. I obviously have this view, since I think the solution lies largely with changing our explectations about how we can live. I think that the bigger issues of injustice and wealth distribution need to be addressed. Clearly there need to be broad changes in our culture. But as we await these, we can do our part by not giving into the cultural pressure of our 'rights' that are being created by ads and media about how we are to live.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

You scored as Sociology. You should be a Sociology major!





























What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
created with

This survey seems to have summed up my interests fairly well, given that I'm a social worker with a degree in Computer Engineering.

The other day, the staff here at Emmaus took a MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Inventory). This time, I was rated a INFP. Out of a possible 30, I was a 10 introvert, 23 intuitive, 3 feeling, and 24 perceiving person. Last time I took the results were very simalar, although I was just on the other side of F/T (thinking vs feeling).

A guy named Rog came and talked with us about the results. One thing he had us do was neat. He'd written out questions on large peices of paper around the room. Then, without telling us what it was about, he assigned each of us to a paper. KT and I were assigned to paper #4, which asked us to describe how we would make a photocopy. We were a bit confused as to what this could have to do with anything, but went along with it anyway. "Open the lid, Put the paper on the glass (face down), make sure the settings are right, including selecting the number of copies we want to make, close the lid, press 'start', check to make sure the copier doesn't jam, the end" was pretty much what we wrote. After a few minutes, he called us all back together. He then had groups 1 and 2 bring their answers up to the front. Apperently, each pair of groups was given the same question. Each question was to bring some element to light of each other the types. Our question was focused on Intuitive vs Sensing. KT and I are both strong intuitive personalities. The other group had a much shorter answer to how to make copies. (Something along the lines of 'put the paper in the copier, press copy'). He pointed out that this task is more of a sensing oriented task. Intuitive people need to train themselves to notice things like copier settings, so when they think about making a copy, checking settings is a conscious part of the task. Sensing oriented people do that subconsciously, and so don't bother listing that in instructions.

We had some very good staff discussion time about how the different types can relate better to each other. Especially the introverts and extroverts, we talked through some good stuff about how to communicate better with each other.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

News from 11/12/05

On Saturday the 12th, I got engaged :). Here is the story as Ann and I wrote it out after the fact. The name at the beginning of the paragraph tells who wrote that paragraph.

Ann: One Saturday, November 12, 2005 we had arranged to have an extended phone datea as we always did each month since we started dating long distance. I was suspicious about this 'phone date' because David doesn't usually plan stuff in advance and because he was specific that he would call me at 5pm. Usually, we leave it hanging more than that. But I wasn't sure at the time
David: The night before, my parents had given me a ride back from Emmaus' banquet to Michigan. Saturday morning, I drove down to Taylor, stopping in Kokomo at a florist to get some flowers. They were celebrating 100 years of being open, and thus had free munchies :). Another neat thing was praying with Dad before I left. We were standing in the kitchen, next to the breakfast table. While he prayed for safe travel and for my relationship with Ann, he got choked up. We were both very exited :) I got there a bit early and just hung out at Brent and Sara's place until 5 rolled around. As I drove over to Gerig Hall, I blocked traffic to talk with Kelly. After putting the flowers on the front desk, I called Ann
Ann: The call came at about 5:10 and woke me up from my much needed nap. I had just been in a concert at the Honeywell center the night before, and then up at 7am that morning to take the biology GRE that I needed to pass to graduate. Hence the need for a nap. I remember being very groggy when David called and incoherent and having a hard time putting sensible sentences together. But, we talked for a bit until David said somehting like "So I take it that, since you didn't mention it, you didn't see the flowers I left for you at the front desk..." I of course hadn't seen them, thinking it was because I'd been sleeping for the past few hours.
David: As I was planning and preparing, many things worked out very well. When I asked Ann what time I should call, she said 5 without thinking about dinner. This allowed us to go out to dinner together later. The fact that she was taking a nap meant that she would be in her room up to that point, so I didn't have to worry about seeing her beforehand. The weather was beautiful that day (68 and sunny!). The fact that I could borrow my parents car for the trip. The fact that the weekend fell near the 10th of the month was a good excuse to plan the phone date. All of these were ways God was watching out for small details :)
Ann: So then David asked me to go downstairs, get the flowers, and come back upstairs to call him back. I got dressed and went down to pick them up. About 5 steps before acutally seeing David, a friend (that didn't know it was a suprise) said "Someone is here to see you!" as I walked by. That was when I knew for sure that David was here to surprise me. I turned the corner, and there of course was David :) with the flowers at the desk. We hugged and I was very excited, suddenly not tired at all. David asked me if I would like to go for a walk. Since I love going on walks, I said of course! I went upstairs to bring the flowers up, put on tennis shoes, and pull my hair back. I came downstairs and we left Gerig...
David: We left Gerig and I walked us down to Taylor Lake. I was trying to keep the conversation from akward silences, since I knew Ann was probably wondering if this was it. I was still nervous and trying to figure out ohw to say everything I was thinking and feeling and hoping. We sat down on one of the picnic benches by the lake. The sun was setting on the other side of the woods, painting that corner of the sky beautiful red.
Ann: We're having a hard time remembering whwat we talked about for the next half hour. I asked David about the suprise logistics and he asked me more about how the GRE went, but we can't remember what else we talked about because our minds were most certainly elsewhere! I was of course consumed by the question - "Is this it? Is he about to propose?" After about 20 minutes of talking by the lake, David put his hand in left pocket... and... kept it there for about 7 min, (which seems like an eternity) while we kept talking. David then steered the conversation to more of a relational theme. He told me that he was excited about what God had done in each of us through the other and excited about what God can do through us together. He said to me "I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you." Then he got off of the picnic bench and onto one knee and he asked "Will you be my wife?" after he opened the box with the ring. I don't actually remember noticing the ring box until after the question was asked. Right away, no hesitation, I said "Yes" As for the emotions of it all, I remember intense anticipation suddenly being replaced by a surreal feeling of "this is it! Wow!" to incredible excitement and joy. We hugged lots and lots and lots x10 and talked about our excitement and all of the things and details each of us had been wondering about for so long! It was wonderful to be able to finally talk about all of it! No more big elephant in the room!
David: After talking for a while, we started walking back toward Gerig, but stopped to pray. We sat down on the grass overlooking the lake. It was very neat. Ann teared up a bit and we were both very happy. We thanked God for what he had done. We prayed that God would use this time in our lives to grow us closer to Him and each other. Also, we asked that he would show us how to point others toward him and be an example of a healthy relationship to people that see us. We wanted to have some more alone time, so we went out to dinner at Sunshine Cafe. On the drive down, we mostly just reveled in our joy and exuberance. Ann especially wanted to have time along before breaking the news to the world.
Ann: I remember looking at the ring a lot while we were in the car. I'd never seen it before or really had any idea what it looked like, since it is David's Grandma's engagement ring that I'm wearing now. At Sunshine Cafe, we sat in the front corner booth, since our usual booth in the back corner was full. We split a BLT after a while of trying to focus on the menu - it was incredibly difficult! We talked more, drvoe back to Taylor and went to Brent and Sara's. We shared the news with them, then went to call my folks (though only my Mom was home, we told Dad on Sunday) and then called David's folks. They were all excited for us. What an incredible evening :)

Since then, we've chosen a date: June 17th. We are getting married in Saint Joseph, MI at my home church. Ann got to meet a fair bit of my extended family over Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Emmaus Broadcast, High School Band, and South Korea

Focus on the Family did a broadcast about Emmaus Ministries this past weekend. It is a much better description about what we do here that I've ever gotten around to including in my blog. Here is a link to their website archive. It goes back a month. The title is "Serving the Least of These" (parts 1 and 2) on the 3rd and 4th of November. You should all check it out.

On an unrelated note, this past Saturday was the MCBA (Michigan Competing Bands' Association) state final competition. Ann and I went for the weekend to go. It was a lot of fun! Lakeshore (where I went and my brother goes) got 3rd place. The way it works is that the top 10 bands from each flight get invited to the State Competition. The point difference between them and the band placing first was 1.2 points. The difference between them and that band placing right behind them was about 7 points. All that to say, it was really close. I'm pretty convinced that the marching that they were doing at the end of the show was the best and cleanest marching that Lakeshore has ever done. It was amazing. Also, our football team won, so we advance the next step into the playoffs.

Also this weekend, we got to talk with my other brother who is doing his student teaching in South Korea. He's been over there for a couple weeks at this point. He's doing well and really loving it. He likes the teacher he is under and is getting to know the students. I could keep talking, but it would be more effective to just link to his blog and let him tell you.

And as so often is the case, I'm off to bed!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Electronic pacifier

I'm still working on moving past electric entertainment as a default action upon arriving back from work. Still trying to figure out how to keep my self using a computer as purely a communication tool rather than an electronic pacifier. It is such a great way to communicate. And communicating with friends is such a valuable thing. Yet, it [the computer] can lead to such waste of life.

I was writing an email to one of my best friends earlier tonight, and that paragraph came out. I think it really summed up what I've been how I've been trying to grow recently. I know that my life will be more healthy, better organized and more fun if I don't waste so much time. But I'm a slow learner.

This is coming on a night where I spent too much time just browsing around internet forums.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Roommate clarification

I thought I should clarify. Jessica doesn't actually live in my room. We both live in the apartment that all interns and a few other people have lived.

Today I get to spend being a nerd. I'm working on adding a wireless access point to our network and a booster antenna so that John (our boss) can get access to our network from his basement office. He lives across a courtyard from our building. Right now, I'm getting advice from Brent Gerig about how to set up the new hardware so that it won't interfere with our current network. Thanks Brent!!

Anyway, back to work