Potent Portfolio Diversifier: Managed Futures Funds Went Up When Both Stocks and Bonds Went Down

This post is to share some observations that may be helpful to readers who, like me, depend to some degree on their investments and who were rudely surprised by the simultaneous steep decline in both bonds and stocks in the past year.

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“Five Talents” Microfinance NGO Helps the Poorest of the Poor to Start Their Own Businesses

It is a pleasure to be able to report on a successful microfinance outfit that helps the poorest of the poor. I heard a talk recently from Dale Stanton-Hoyle, CEO of the Five Talents organization. (He is as nice in person as he looks in this photo).

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Modern Physics and the Human Person (Arnold Sikkema, ASA 2022)

I was not able to attend the American Scientific Affiliation 2022 meeting in person, but I signed up for access to the talks on line. Here I will summarize a talk by Arnold Sikkema, titled “Modern Physics and the Human Person.”  Dr. Sikkema is a professor of physics and chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Trinity Western University, near Vancouver.

His outline notes the three major themes of this talk:

Composition is more than physical

Coherence across the multiple aspects of composition


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Posted in American Scientific Affliliation, Natural Theology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The “Wave Razor” May Explain Why Some Unconformities in Rock Layers Are So Flat


In many exposures of sedimentary rock layers there is a significant gap in age (“unconformity”) between two adjacent layers. This indicates that after the lower layer had been deposited and turned into solid rock, it was raised above water level and exposed to millions of years of erosion, and then sank again below water level to allow the deposition of further sediments which became the upper layer of this interface. Normally we think of erosion creating highly furrowed surfaces. It is therefore somewhat puzzling that the surface between old (lower) and younger (upper) rock layers is often so smooth and flat that it is not obvious that there is an eroded interface there at all.

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Posted in Age of Earth, Geology, Grand Canyon Geology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Treatments for Rusted Metal: Rust Bullet, Cosmoline RP-342, and Others

This past month I had to deal with a hole rusted through the body of my old but serviceable car. A local body shop told me it might cost more than the car is worth to replace the rusted parts. The rust does not look like it has compromised the vehicle’s mechanical integrity (a real concern, since today’s cars rely on the body sheet metal for strength), but I don’t want it to go further.

Being a (retired) chemical engineer, I read up on ways to deal with rusting metal – especially how to arrest the progress of rust. Here I will share what I have learned about several types of coatings. I hope this information is of use to some readers.

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Posted in Economics, Technology | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Fr. Gregory Pine on the Hiddenness of God

As a scientist and as a Christian, I have pondered the question of why God does not make his existence and his purposes more visually obvious to us humans.  I can understand why scientists who are agnostics stay agnostics: where is the physical proof that a Being, who is in some sense personal, created and sustains the universe or has some particular purposes for my life? I (naively) think that if I were the Supreme Being that I might maintain flaming letters over every national capital saying “Seek God”. Or something like that.

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Posted in Apologetics, Natural Theology | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Bill Johnson’s Talk at Bethel Church After His Wife Beni Died

Although we live a continent away from Bethel Church in Redding, California, we feel an ongoing connection there. We have attended talks on the East coast when Bethel staff members have traveled out this way, and we benefit from their ongoing presentations on podcasts and YouTube.

We made a month-long pilgrimage to Redding in 2018 to check the church out in more detail. I tend to be somewhat skeptical (“Is this too good to be true?”), so I made a point while I was there to schmooze with lower-level staffers to try to get the inside scoop. I found a consistent picture of integrity and good-willed service at all levels. I wrote up my 2018 visit on this blog here:   Prayer for Healing at Bethel Church.   

One thing that Bethel is known for is a hopefulness about supernatural healing. Managing expectations for answers to prayers for healing is tricky. I do not claim to have found the perfect balance here. In most churches, when prayers are offered for someone’s healing, there is a (spoken or unspoken) caveat clause of, “If it be thy will.” That lowers expectations, which in turn mitigates disappointment when (as so often happens), the ailment simply runs its natural course.  I think that is reasonable theology, and as a practical matter everyone, even the holiest saint, eventually dies of something; that seems to be just the way things are.

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Posted in Church, Health, Suffering | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Logarithmic Map of the Observable Universe, From Earth to Edge

Pablo Budassi has created a logarithmic map of the entire known universe, that shows the distances and relative sizes of objects above the earth’s surface. I think you will find it a worthwhile use of your 30 seconds of attention to click on the link below, scroll to the bottom to start down at the earth’s surface (the image quality at the link is much better than I can convey in these snips here):

And  then scroll your way up and up, through planets and stars to galaxies (not every star and every galaxy is shown, of course) and galaxy clusters:

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Posted in Natural Theology, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Raspberry Pi 400 Review: A $100 Desktop PC?

The Raspberry Pi 400 is billed as a complete desktop PC for under $100 ($99.99). Is this for real, considering the cheapest regular computers are around $300, not including paying for Word and Excel? I am interested in low-cost technology which might benefit less-developed countries, so I decided to look into this.

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Posted in Sustainability, Technology | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

New Finds from Tanis Fossil Site Shed Light on the Demise of Dinosaurs and Vindicate “Amateur” Fossil-Hunter

Three years ago the world of paleontology was rocked by the claim of a brash young maverick to have found a site which captured a physical record of events from the very day 66 million years ago that a giant meteorite impacted the earth and (eventually) killed off all the dinosaurs. Robert DePalma had the perseverance and the insight to realize that the initially unpromising location (just some crumbly fish fossils in mudstone) that he took over from another fossil hunter was a unique paleontological site. DePalma and co-workers published a PNAS paper proposing that the Chicxulub meteorite which struck near what is now the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico caused an earthquake which in turn caused massive waves of water to surge up a creek at the so-called Tanis site in what is now western North Dakota.

The surges deposited several feet of mud onto sandbars in the creek. It also deposited a number of hapless fish onto the sandbars, where the fish eventually perished. The meteorite impact blasted tons of melted rock into the air; little glassy congealed blobs (“tektites”) rained down across western North America for the next several hours. As it happened, some of those glassy pellets were falling in North Dakota just as the mud layers were being deposited on the sandbars from the water surges. Finding these pellets, and even their little impact holes, in the middle of these mud layers confirmed that these layers were in fact deposited a few hours after the meteorite impact. We described these 2019 findings in Tanis Site: The Day the Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Hit, and discussed how they support the mainstream science view that the earth is billions of years old and that dinosaurs died out millions of years ago.

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Posted in Age of Earth, Dinosaurs, Fossils, Geology | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments