Archive | May, 2010

On Pastorial Pay and Going Afoul

25 May

Since??seminary costs so much money, and really only trains pastors for one job, leaving them without many options,??THEN church should cost a lot of money and pastors should MAKE a lot of money.

SINCE medical school costs are absurd and outrageous and really only trains dcotrs for one job, leaving them without many options, THEN healthcare should cost a lot of money and doctors should MAKE a lot of money.

Something to think about….

Ideas and some text taken from What Med School can Tell us about Pastors??

Subject 2, on going afoul

The blog autheor makes some really good points though, especially as concerns the need to tow the party line, not run afoul of the congregation, and especially not run afoul of denominational guidelines.A pastor friend left his church after 20 some years in the pulpit, as he just couldnt tow the denominational party line anymore… Another pastor friend left his church, as he could not in good conscience not run afoul of a whacked congregation who only wanted ear tickling.


Workflow Efficiency and System Knowledge

22 May

From lrd via the oil drum comments

...The concept of workflows is that understanding detailed sequences of work, together with the resources required for each step, allows efficiency to be improved by doing everything according to a standardized workflow. In a repetitive process, such as manufacturing or distribution, this can improve efficiency, reliability and safety, because nothing unexpected happens, and what’s more costs are lower because each person in the operation only has to know one part of the workflow. Knowing how to implement the workflow becomes much more important than knowing why each step is carried out.

The problem when such concepts are applied to drilling is that every well is different. The standard workflow may be neither the cheapest method nor the safest method in a particular well. The risks are heightened by having fewer people around who really understand what is happening when something starts to go wrong.

I think the guy nailed part of the underlying human factors…few understand the system as a whole, so when SOP’s replace knowledge, and the system goes beyond the SOP’s things go south really fast.

The reduction of system knowledge is also an interesting way to bypass engineering ethics… Ie, if you segregate things enough, there wont be enough of a knowledge base for an isolated engineering team to know how their judgment calls impact public health, safety, and welfare. Case in point, tell engineers they are designing water flow controls, rather than also for phosgene gas, and simply pass the design off for another team to copy… the cost will be much lower, but no engineer in their right mind would sign off on it.


Notes on Rebound Effect

22 May

Increased consumption that results from actions that increase efficiency and reduce cost… in effect such reduces the value of change, but rarely nullifies it completely.

In traffic and driving??

For example, strategies that increase fuel efficiency or reduce traffic congestion, and therefore reduce the per-mile cost of driving, tend to increase total vehicle mileage. Similarly, strategies that make driving seem safer tend to encourage somewhat more ???intensive??? driving (i.e., faster, closer spacing between vehicles, more distractions) than what would occur if vehicle use appears riskier to drivers.??

In energy efficiency

A home insulation program that reduces heat losses by 50% does not usually result in a full 50% reduction in energy consumption, because residents of insulated homes find that they can afford to keep their homes warmer.

UKERC??(2007),??The Rebound Effect: An Assessment Of The Evidence For Economy-Wide Energy Savings From Improved Energy Efficiency, The Technology And Policy Assessment Function Of The UK Energy Research Centre (; at??


Babies in cages… Is society wacked?

21 May

If one thinks a bit… putting a baby in a crib is in effect putting them in a cage. Another view of such a practice is putting them in jail, as perhaps best exemplified by a young uncle joey in the move Back to the Future. The thing is, as society, we find it normal to put a baby in such cages. We then are outraged when they get injured or killed by the bars/mattress gaps. We also run into things where in if the baby rolls over on a soft surface, they could potentially suffocate. Apart from that… why on earth is the baby only a couple feet off the floor, resulting in parents having to repeatedly bend over in the worst ergonomic way to pick up their child. The thing is… folks look at such, and no one questions it… and it repeats over and over and over.

On the other hand, whoa to those who upset the status quo. A fellow came up with a better solution decades ago… and it was not well received at all. Even today, blog commentors bring up perceptions of horror… but stepping aside, the horror seems much more the status quo.

Some interesting links on air cribs,9171,909996,00.html


Minor Dreamers and Incrementalism… Why?

15 May

Incrementalism rather than innovation seems to be modus operandi for society today. This seems to mirror itself across a multitude of arenas, even the church. Professor of Evangelism @lensweet tweeted this morning “Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a time when the world’s major dreamers are champions of minor dreams”.

Some might look to the internet and tech innovations as new, but not really, most concepts were developed in the 50’s. Some might look at cars, especially something like Ford’s upcoming ecoboost motor, but much of that was theorized and partially implemented during WWII. Another case is 3d MRI as used in medicine…So much of the underlying knowledge base of nearly everything we do is old school, very old school. In the case of the church, I think of folks like CT Studd… what would he have done, had he had the tools that the church has at hand today.

Most certainly folks who developed, or theorized the underlying knowledge base were working at a technical disadvantage. For the most part, there were no models, and simulation was exceedingly crude. There was virtually no ability to design in the morning, and have parts on the desk before the end of the day, albeit some guys probably could sit down at a mill and crank out parts off a napkin napkin drawing. Instead, it was tedious design to the max, and failure was pretty much everywhere.

Somehow I wonder if society has exchanged technical disadvantage for a psychological one. We have lots of round hole folks, working in square hole occupations, Our educational system focuses on conformity. If you want to see something scary… look up Carnegie units. In aviation… we focus on hours of education, not necessarily the quality of said hours. In medicine protocols dominate, so much so, its as if science was thrown out the window much of the time. Society also has distraction to the max, single issue focus is a rarity indeed…

I dont know if and how much any of the above contribute to the illness of incrementalism, the lack of fire in the gut, and a general malaise across most fields… but most certainly there is a problem, and I think its one that must be looked at, rather than congratulating one another over incremental advances.

COREXIT Dispersants EC9527A and EC9500A

14 May

Apparently both Corexit products are being used in the gulf spill, so I’ve linked to both MSDS sheets from the EPA listing


Its interesting to note, EC9527A was originally listed in 1975, and apart from the proprietary ingredients, lists as solvents, water, and a main ingredient of the cleaner Simple Green and another of stick deodorant. It also has a much higher concentration of heavy metals than does the apparently newer dispersant EC9500A.

Do bear in mind, the MSDS sheets are for the material in concentrated form, such as a worker might encounter, rather than the dilute form of a few gallons/acre. Also bear in mind when it says non-hazardous, it is specifically referring to flammability during transport such as what law enforcement or firemen might encounter, not necessarily when actually deployed at sea. Ie, it would be bad to swim in the deployed stuff. Otoh, I must admit I personally find no qualms about using 2-Butoxyethanol (Simple Green) in my parts washer when I do brake jobs and engine work on my personal car, but then again, exposure is very much time limited, and happens only once or twice a year.

That being said, the LC50 (lethal concentration) of both materials, while being better than fuel oil, is not that much better. Worse, however was the combination of the dispersant and the fuel oil. A lower LC50 is more toxic. On the other hand, they only publish test data on a couple marine invertibrates, an Atlantic/Inland Silverside (sort of a large minnow creature) and a Americamys bahia??(a tiny odd looking shrimp like creature) so much is unknown, at least from the MSDS.

I did find another paper on COREXIT dispersant toxicity,?? while there is more data, the paper concludes there is great variabiity depending upon conditions, and that live data under actual conditions of particular use is really the only way to go…

Sadly that means we have to rely on either A Nalco’s word, B, the govt, or C some enterprising individual could run some tests on whatever washes up on shore. Granted, C, unless a university backs them would likely not have much credibiity… but hard data, even if captured by a 14 year old would seem of value in this age of trying to cover up, hide this or that, or deny, if it came up with similar readings as to what others were saying.


Swapping the essentials…. skubalon happens

11 May


Some notes… the “thing” or “it” ends up becoming the main deal, rather than Christ in far too ministries… These are my notes for a blog posting down the road on my theo blog.

From Frank Viola (he is referencing the house church movement… but the Jesus as footnote deal transcends a multitude of ministry arenas)

Most house churches, in my experience, have no concept of how to live by an indwelling Lord, nor are they consumed with Jesus Christ. He???s but a footnote to some other ???thing??? or ???it,??? as is the case with much of contemporary Christianity (just count how many times He???s mentioned in the typical sermon or gathering). Few know what it means to pursue the Lord Jesus with one another. I???ve maintained this observation for the last 13 years. Thankfully, more and more Christians outside the institutional church today are beginning to understand thatekklesia??is all about discovering and displaying Christ together and that the engine, drive, and motive is to fulfill God???s eternal purpose ??? which is not centered on human needs.


From Glass*Soul (She is referencing local church signs… and while praise to God is a good thing.. the witness to the community at large misses the point).…

I am sometimes mystified by the church signs around my town.
Church #!: The fool says in his heart there is no God.

Church #2: Praise God. No rain on our parade.



Here are my thoughts. Church #2 is, on a weekend that saw 22 people killed in flooding south of us (and not far south) directing us to praise God for holding off the rain for the purpose of our little springtime parade we have each year.So, who is the fool here?

We have a God who honors the self-centered prayers of a small town yearning to see its leading citizens’ daughters wearing cheap tiaras while they wave from tissue bedecked flatbeds, while dismissing the desperate prayers of those drowning or watching their school buildings floating away and breaking into splinters.

I suppose if God is as unpredictible in his responses to prayer as this, then it makes sense to attempt to train him by praising even the smallest tendency toward the good. This is effective with animals and small children.

I find it very human and forgivable that we tend to fret over our little parades and such while those just beyond the horizon struggle for life and livelihood.

Nature itself has no intentions and is not an object of forgiveness.

If there is a God, there is no forgiveness, at least not from me.

I have yet to encounter a God concept that scans. Call me a fool.


From Ms Stewart’s blog… and her class of 6th graders. What is important, and how to find out what it is.??


K piped up, ???Ms. Stewart, How do we know what???s important? Isn???t it all important if it???s written down????

This felt manageable. ???Ok, imagine you???re leaving your house in the morning. There are certain items of clothing that are essential. There are some items that are still important but not essential. When you???re underlining or highlighting, look for the essential parts. Look for the pants.??? (Sixth graders are still innocent enough for this kind of metaphor to be silly but not out of control.)

K again. ???But Ms. Stewart,??what if we don???t know what the pants are? If you gave me a paragraph describing [our school], I would know to highlight information about the Middle School and the Fine Arts building, but not the information about the fish bowl (our name for the small windowless meeting rooms). But I don???t know anything about the World War I peace settlement, so how am I supposed to know what to highlight????


Twitter interaction on Mary as the mother of God… most folks didnt see this as a big deal, it was not considered essential. It parallels thesixth graders question...????


I don???t know anything about the World War I peace settlement, so how am I supposed to know what to highlight????








From Mrs Stewart?????We???ve got two choices. Never read about anything we haven???t personally experienced or figure out ways to determine what???s essential without maybe totally understanding what we???re reading, at least not in the way you understand the school. I can tell you that first option probably isn???t going to work for you or me in the rest of school or life, so let???s see if we can read this together and find ways to identify the essential parts.???


One problem in the church… is many havent studied, and very few really understand the trinity. (Just ask folks to come up with a trinity analogy without any heresies, and it becomes very apparent that much is lacking for many). Part of this I think is fear… no one wants to talk back to the sunday school teacher, to the pastor/priest etc, and ask the hard questions. And of course there are many out there who will go ballistic if even asked the hard questions too. Worse, its often not just the teacher, but the peer group who also make for unsafe environments… how dare you ask… what if it causes doubt, etc etc ect

The end result… rather than essentials, like the salvation, like discipleship, like service, like gifts of the spirit, like loving God, and loving others… more graspable things like works ie political lobbying, abortion, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, can easily become the essentials.