Tuesday, February 28, 2006
It doesn't matter who owns our port operations: Nothing changes. Security is still done by the Coast Guard and Dept. of Homeland Security.
Granted, this deal has caused people to investigate how well freight is inspected, and how tight security is. The result: Security is probably more lax than it should be. But, this isn't the fault of the British and wouldn't be the fault of Dubai. It's just evidence of how lax we are in security in many areas (see the wide open Mexican border).
My only question about this deal is whether Dubai's important political alliance with us helped pull this deal off. Dubai is one of our only true "friends" in the Middle East. We use their ports more than any others in the region. They're a booming economy, and they are important to the transport of oil. "We'll scratch your back if you scratch ours," has been the unwritten rule with countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia for years. I wonder if the Dubai deal is the same type of proposition.
Monday, February 27, 2006
The cool thing is that there is a Baylor alum in the cast this season:
Roxanne graduated from Baylor with a bachelor's degree in Economics. That's right, folks. Another Baylor economist goes on to great fame. Now she's going to try and trump the Trump.
Seeing as how these private school folks seem to do much better than public school folks on this show, I'm starting to change my hypothesis that it doesn't matter where you get your degree from.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
The loss only dropped us to #39 in the Sagarin rating, and boosted our strength of schedule. We're helped out immensely by Arkansas beating Tennessee, who has moved up 7 spots to #23.
1. Glen Davis is just a beast. We knew we'd get hammered inside.
2. What was that cheap foul called on Ravi Moss with 11 seconds left? I dunno about that one.
3. I felt like we took some bad shots with less than 5 minutes left (and missed them). Stockton missed his last 3 badly. Sheray Thomas took an off-balance 3 with a few minutes left, and Joe Crawford missed a hurried one also. Rondo should have made the little 5-footer that he had (which Thomas was called for an over-the-back on). Those were costly.
4. We apparently ran the same play we ran twice last year where Chuck Hayes took the game-winning shot. If you remember, the first time it was a complete disaster at Florida. The second time, we beat LSU in the SEC tourny with it.
I'm not blaming Sheray Thomas for missing that shot. Glen Davis had already pitched his stuff one time. I'm just wondering if we couldn't have called a better play for a better scorer. I'm not a big fan of this play.
5. Sparks was hot and confident. Thanks for keeping us in it.
We have to win one next week. I'm putting all of my effort toward the Florida game. If you'd like Joakim Noah's email addresses, or his girlfriend's email address, just let me know.
Friday, February 24, 2006
In light of the recent discussion on the Bible, I've decided to post a current problem facing the International Mission Board of the SBC, and why it's our problem as well. There have been some new policy changes by the Board to determine who is fit and unfit to be an IMB missionary. Much of the debate has centered around the new Baptism regulations. I'll leave that to Dr. Hershael York's blog to fight about. At least one Pastor was willing to be fired(rather than resign) as a trustee in protest of the regulations. This debate is, to me, about what the Bible says. Should we just ignore certain verses or chapters? Pretend they don't exist? I would say not, and I know my friends Sok and Sears would agree with me.
My problem is with the following: The use of tongues (glossolalia) and a private "prayer language" disqualifying anyone from service. I'm just going to tackle the glossolalia issue for now.
As written on the IMB website:
1. The New Testament speaks of a gift of glossolalia that generally is considered to be a legitimate language of some people group.
2. The New Testament expression of glossolalia as a gift had specific uses and conditions for its exercise in public worship.
3. In term of worship practices, the majority of Southern Baptist churches do not practice glossolalia. Therefore, if glossolalia is a public part of his or her conviction and practice, the candidate has eliminated himself or herself from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC.
My own pastor put it best:
"If the majority of SBC churches don't believe in the virgin birth, should we just say you don't have to believe in it?"
These rules create a dangerous contradiction: 1) It acknowledges that these tongues do indeed exist in Scripture as a valid gift for use in worship. 2) It says that if you have that gift, or use that gift, then you're disqualified from being a missionary. You're unfit. Paul himself spoke in tongues. Guess what, this makes Paul disqualified to be an IMB missionary!
Look at 1 Corinthians (12 & 13, then) 14. Tell me we should just erase this from the Bible. We've pretty much erased it from our churches.
Now, there have been a lot of debates and discussions about tongues over the years. I've heard of SBC seminary professors that look upon them as evil. I think that perhaps we've not seen some valid uses of tongues in churches, or uses that exceed the clear guidelines Paul spells out.
I'm asking some people who read this blog weigh in. What do these regulations make you think about? What passages or experiences come to mind? I've heard most of you defend the authority of the Bible. Do you agree that this regulation implies we should use practice to determine Scripture rather than using Scripture to determine practice?
Thursday, February 23, 2006
When I was in high school, it was a social and fashion faux pas to wear your backpack with both straps on your shoulders. You had to 1-strap it. Pick a shoulder, and let the full weight of your books hang on it. If you didn't, you were:
1) Completely invisible to girls. Not one-strapping your backpack meant that you must have some sort of social disfunction or mental problems, and therefore girls were afraid to acknowledge your existence.
2). Picked on by guys. "Look at that loser, 2-strapping his backpack. What a wuss." Guys would typically come up behind you and swiftly plant a foot right up your behind, under your backpack.
3.) Generally just on the "out" side of social life.
I probably 1-strapped through most of college, after 4 years of 1-strapping through high school. This often hurt my shoulder and kneck. When in pain, just switch shoulders.
Now, I'm at Baylor, where everyone 2-straps. 1-strapping just doesn't exist here. It's like looking completely messy, you just can't do it here.
If you 1-strap your backpack at Baylor:
1) Girls will look at you like you're some kind of creep.
2) Guys will smirk. "Look at that messy poser 1-strapping his backpack."
3) You'll be on the "out" side of fashion sense and neatness.
Why these differences in culture?
Ole Miss was ranked #114 coming into the game. That's worse than Murray State. Plus, they were without their best player (really, their only good player). While this win was a given, this win tells us nothing.
I refuse to believe that this win gave the Cats their "mojo" back, or that the players are "finding out who they really are." This win might as well have been against High Point.
We've got 3 games left: #12 LSU, #10 Florida, #7 Tennessee. All 3 of these games we'll be underdogs.
Who we are will be determined with how we stand up to the pressure of playing tough teams in tough places. Refuse to lose!
Monday, February 20, 2006
Props to 5'9" Nate Robinson for showing love to Spud Webb and winning. I'm thankful for being able to watch these things on the Internet as it brightens my day.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
We're now a round #40 on the Sagarin chart, and are a lock to finish above .500 in the SEC. Ole Miss (#114!) will be a blowout for us that will prove nothing. Murray State (#91) is a better team than Ole Miss.
I would like to point out also that the Sagarin rating appears to be much more accurate in regards to Arizona. Arizona is 15-10 with only 2 wins against Top 30 teams. Their strength of schedule is very good, but they haven't won much. The RPI has Arizona at #20, above much better teams who have beaten a much higher selection of teams. This means they'll likely make the tourny. Sagarin, however has Arizona #43, a much better reflection of their record against weaker teams that have stomped them.
Almost every time Sparks plays well, and scores a lot of points, we win. I think I've only seen 1 game where that didn't happen.
Had to love how we were playing defense.
Tubby's point system in practice is something I was surprised to learn didn't exist before. I thought all of the great coaches used a points system to help motivate players. Dean Smith certainly used it at Carolina (check out The Carolina Way), Roy Williams, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino... Players, and people in general are NOT self-motivators. There are few exceptions to this rule: Michael Jordan.
From this article I learned:
Clark Kellogg was our supporter yesterday (he sounded like it on TV... like his old respect for us was back).
From this article I learned that:
Chris Lofton plays March Madness on his Playstation, and cares about it.
Former UK Athletics Director Larry Ivy is running Papa John's Russia! When I was overseas I was envious of friends I knew in Moscow who had access to Papa John's, when my access to said commercial pizza was slim to none. Maybe one day I'll take Larry Ivy's job.
Kentucky apparently digs their throw-back jerseys, even the knee socks. That's classic.
Friday, February 17, 2006
1. I've used Facebook to find long-lost classmates from high school and college that I've lost touch with.
2. I've used Facebook to connect with the diaspora of Azerbaijani students at colleges around the U.S. We all can look at each other's pictures from there and experiences and chat about it. I'm now a part of their network, which is totally cool. Nothing else in the world would have helped me do this.
Facebook provides almost perfect information:
You can look at pretty much every detail of EVERYONE on your campus. All of their pictures, all of their friends. Phone #'s, addresses, who their friends are. That's amazing.
What keeps guys from asking a girl out on a date? Usually, a lack of information. You sit next to her in class, she's pretty, but you have no idea what chances you have. The risk is too great. You want to calculate that risk: does she have a boyfriend, do we have anything in common? You don't know. Thus, you're home alone on Valentine's Day.
Facebook changes all of that. The game is now EASY! Now, you can look at how she spends all of her free time, who she spends it with, what her # and email address is and in some cases estimate her family income and background.
Back when Dave Blake was in school, you actually had to go UP TO a girl and ask her for her phone #! How did people ever hook up? When I was in school, if you were clever enough to get a girl's screename you could chat with her (Joni and I never would have become friends without AIM). You could also look up her phone # in the online directory.
Now you can go through the entire UK directory on Facebook and check out every single guy & girl. Figure out which ones you have common interests with, and then start a conversation with them. No girl or guy is out of your league. Even untouchable UK athletes have Facebook profiles. You just add them and then you can send Ravi Moss a "good game!" or Matt Walsh a "You're gay!"
Fellas, think about this. You can literally look at pictures of every single college girl in the entire USA, figure out which ones you'd like to learn more about, and add them as your "friend." Granted, they may write you and say "Um... do I know you?" but, they're highly likely to add you as a friend first, so you can at least start a conversation. When was this ever possible before?
Wiley, Troy where are you at in this game?
Here's a step-by-step process to use Facebook to exploit your advantage:
1. Put up several pictures of you doing cool things with groups of people. Pictures of you playing with your little nephews and nieces, and pictures of hiking in the gorge are good. This lets the girl know you have a social life, that you might have friends to hang out with.
The rest of it just flows from that, really. Put up some funny quotes, add some random friends to make yourself look popular. That is the name of the game. (This is just my 2 cents after seeing other peoples' profiles).
Facebook is an incredible flattener that delivers incredible amounts of information about individuals.
One warning: Professors are now creating Facebook accounts to monitor their students! If a student misses class and says "I had a doctor's appointment," I've seen professors that get on Facebook, read the kid's wall and see that he was invited to a party the night before, and the kid was absent because he was actually hung over.
Information is power.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
1. Sagarin said we'd win by 7. We won by 7.
2. CBS Sportsline.com says Tubby is likely leaving for the NBA. (I disagree with this article's evaluation of next year's talent, however).
3. John Clay's "Sidelines" blog shows statistically how much UK's defense has deteriorated from last year to this year.
4. Ramel Bradley apparently just doesn't care.
5. Sheray Thomas has yet another game of his life. Good job, Sheray.
6. I predict Kentucky will beat Ole Miss and Florida to finish 8-8 in the SEC. We're NCAA bound. ESPN has us as an 11 seed.
I open up the blog to your comments on these...
Hope everyone out there had a good Valentine's Day. Yeah, right. I hope you single folks found something creative to do and didn't turn to the bottle or pills to get you through it. Did anyone watch that Dr. Phil special on CBS? It almost turned into an episode of Jerry Springer, except without the fighting.
Gotta love Smitty's math.
I have to say, this is the first time ever I've had someone to be with on Valentine's Day for 2 consecutive years!! That's a pretty good feeling. (It was the same chick both years, and we got married in between there, so I'm truly blessed).
Oops... I promised myself I wouldn't write anything that might alienate single people. Sorry about that, fellas. Just remember when you turn 25 you need to hit the "panic" button.
The only thing more depressing for most folks than Valentine's Day is looking at UK's record. Cats favored by 7 tonight, virtual blowout.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
A woman walks by a KFC in Karachi, Pakistan that was burned in a riot targeting western businesses.
Apparently, Muslim extremists like their chicken extra crispy.
Colonel Sanders, where are you when we need you? Will you muster your troops and sally forth to defend Kentucky's great name and chicken tenders?
(Note: This post intends to make light of a troubling situation. The riots were apparently just as much sectarian [Sunni vs. Shia] as they were Muslims lashing out against westerners.)
Monday, February 13, 2006
Know any ugly people? You might want to forward this to them as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
--Using data from three waves of Add Health we find that being very attractive reduces a young adult's (ages 18-26) propensity for criminal activity and being unattractive increases it for a number of crimes, ranging from burglary to selling drugs. A variety of tests demonstrate that this result is not because beauty is acting as a proxy for socio-economic status. Being very attractive is also positively associated adult vocabulary test scores, which suggests the possibility that beauty may have an impact on human capital formation. We demonstrate that, especially for females, holding constant current beauty, high school beauty (pre-labor market beauty) has a separate impact on crime, and that high school beauty is correlated with variables that gauge various aspects of high school experience, such as GPA, suspension or having being expelled from school, and problems with teachers. These results suggest two handicaps faced by unattractive individuals. First, a labor market penalty provides a direct incentive for unattractive individuals toward criminal activity. Second, the level of beauty in high school has an effect on criminal propensity 7-8 years later, which seems to be due to the impact of the level of beauty in high school on human capital formation, although this second avenue seems to be effective for females only. --
I also love the term "pre-market beauty." Economics is the greatest social science there is.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Cats' Remaining Schedule (with current Sagarin ranking):
vs. Georgia (#76)
at South Carolina (#52)
vs. Ole Miss (#115)
at LSU (#14)
at Tennessee (#9)
We have to win 5 of 6 to get to 20 wins.
Georgia, South Carolina, and Ole Miss should be LOCKS. Beating teams ranked in from 50-115 shouldn't be hard for UK. Any guesses as to which 2 of the top 20 teams we'll beat?
1. I believe that the Scripture is the infallible, inerrant Word of God. I believe that God's Word is Truth (John 17:17).
I don't see how that is contradictory, however, to the statements I make in my post.
2. I don't attend an "emerging" church, nor have I read any of the "emerging" or "emergent" literature (lest anyone make any more assertions that I'm some sort of heretic).
My basic point was this: God is infinite, and therefore we cannot completely understand His ways. God tell us that in Job 38, Isaiah 55, to name a couple. Because we're finite, and sinful creatures. I believe that even in heaven, with new bodies, minds, and living in the presence of the living God we will still be learning. Because only God knows God, and we'll never be God or gods.
God gave us revelation, Scripture, Truth, which reveals who He is to us. It's revelation for humans, not for God. Even with this Scripture, we cannot know EVERYTHING that there is to know about God.
(I like Sok's quote from A.W. Pink "But the incomprehensibility of the Divine nature is not a reason why we should desist from reverent inquiry and prayerful strivings to apprehend what He has so graciously revealed of Himself in His Word.")
I know from Scripture that the earth spins on its axis, and that God made it do that. I know He "knit me in my mother's womb." HOW he did these things, I'm not sure about. Scripture doesn't exactly tell me.
There are several points in Scripture, several chapters and several verses that God-fearing, Scripture-memorizing Christians disagree about the meaning of. Go to any seminary and you'll find professors who agree on many points (the Bible is pretty clear that "God is love," for example, and that Jesus is the Son of God and the only way to heaven, for example). These professors also disagree on many points (eschatology, spiritual gifts, "difficult" passages of scripture, for example). They examine Scripture and come to their best conclusions of what the truth is. But, none of them can be sure, 100% sure, omnisciently sure like only GOD can be that their assertions are correct.
I'll agree that there is only 1 exact answer to these questions ("Truth," as I wrote in my post (y, the left-handed side of the regression equation)), but only God knows it.
Even if a person knows all of Scripture, He still cannot fathom how wide, how high and how deep is the love of Christ, or the mind of God, or how the Lord works in mysterious ways. Because he's still a finite sinful creature, and God is infinite.
I disagree with Chase that I'm diminishing the power of God in these words... I feel like I'm diminishing the presumptuousness of man that man knows everything there is to be known. I believe that God is glorified when we're humbled and acknowledge that we don't know everything.
Every day I pray from Psalm 25 "Make me know Your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation..."
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
The discussion is about what is knowable and unknowable about God, and what we can say for certain about God. Calvinists, Arminians and others make very dogmatic statements about who God is, or what doctrines we need to follow.
(In a couple of days I’m going to write about something happening currently in the SBC, and ask: What happens when we make conclusions about who God is and at the same time ignore or erase certain parts of Scripture (data) that might help us know who God is?)
All of these issues relate, so please read on.
In Econometrics we try to explain things about data. Maybe we want to know how random an observation is. Maybe we want to know how one thing affects another.
Example: How does the price of crude oil affect the price of retail gasoline?
(Y= B0 + B1x1+B2x2+...+BnXn+ u)
You hear this all the time on the news: If we pass (X) law, it will decrease our income by (B) amount…
1. In each case, we suppose that there is some “Truth” about the phenomena in question. The price of oil affects the price of gasoline somehow. Exactly how it does is what “Truth” is.
2. We can NEVER know for certain the exact “Truth” about the phenomenon.
Our job is to learn as much about the “Truth” as we can. We do this by collecting data to estimate things about the “Truth.” We can determine things about the data that tell us roughly how reliable and/or biased it is. These estimators help us to determine things about the “Truth,” given the data we get the estimators from. There are an infinite number of estimators for any given parameter.
Each of these estimators has a certain degree of variation, depending on the sample data. We measure this variation and use it to determine how precise our conclusions are.
We know that there are other things that affect the price of gas other than the price of oil. We have to take those things into account as best we can, too. There will also be other unknown or uncountable factors that affect the price of gasoline that we simply can never know given the data. We take these into account as well.
In the end, you put it all together and you’re able to make a conclusion about “Truth.” You’re able to show how reliable that conclusion is based on your estimators and their variations. But, your conclusion about “Truth” can NEVER be taken as absolutely correct. There is always a limit to the amount of data you have, and other unknown factors that are impossible to determine with absolute certainty. In Econometrics, it’s dangerous and irresponsible to say “From this sample of data I conclude that B (the exact effect of the price of oil) is absolutely, without question, B$.”
You can make a good estimate to what “Truth” is, or how the price of oil affects the price of retail gasoline. You can make some basic conclusions, but there is a finiteness to them because you’re doing the best you can with available data. But, only God (who is omniscient and has complete data) knows exactly what “Truth” is and what the exact effect is.
How does this relate to theology?
Consider that you have a limited amount of data (Scripture) from which you can draw conclusions about who God is and how He works (Truth). You can get a pretty good idea about certain aspects of God. Some of that data has variance, which make it less precise to determine absolutes from(think of some "difficult" passages or verses that scholars debate the exact meaning of).
You can draw good conclusions given the data and state who God is based on the calculations. But, you cannot say with absolute certainty exactly who God is, or every aspect of who God is, because only God (omniscient) has all of the data and can say that.
For certain aspects of theology and doctrine, it’s also dangerous and irresponsible to say “From this sample of data I conclude that B (exactly who God is and how He works) is absolutely, without question, B*.”
A Calvinist and an Arminian can look at the same data set and read the variances different ways. There’s a limit to how precise either one can be. Both can reach valid conclusions given the data. In the end, there’s a large bit of unknown variables (our limit to how much we know of God from Scripture) that affect their conclusions. Neither can be absolutely dogmatic about “Truth” because only God knows it exactly.
So, when Dave says “I’m not sure about either,” I think he’s simply acknowledging that nobody's system (or formula) can be known as absolutely correct, and I agree with him wholeheartedly.
(If you take this analogy deep enough, you eventually run into questions about the reliablility of the data set (Scripture), what observations (books, verses) do you include/exclude, etc. Just suffice it to say that I believe the amount of data we have is somewhat limited, but is very accurate).
Hopefully Sok and other deep thinkers have some thoughts on this.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
I just want to know why Bruce Pearl is getting all of the credit for Tennessee's resurgence. He's the new media darling. Did Pearl recruit and build this team? NO! Did he develop the guys on the team like Chris Lofton? NO.
Buzz Peterson did, and got a raw deal by getting fired last year. Tubby Smith and other SEC coaches came out and said he deserved another year. His team was undermanned due to injury last year, and lost some close games. They were clearly getting better. He instilled the Carolina Way into the team, and used his Carolina connections (like Michael Jordan) to build rapport with recruits. Insult to injury, he gets no love or mention from the Jerry Tiptons to the Dick Vitales of the world. What a shame.
I'm sure Pearl is a fine coach. He did good things at Indiana State. But, if you think that he's the sole reason behind this year's transformation, then I've got some land on top of Mount Smokey all covered with cheese that I'd like to sell you. If Peterson were still the coach UT would be ranked just as they are now without him.
Mr. Pearl says "Enjoy it while it lasts, suckers!"
Sagarin has Tennessee favored by about 2 tonight. I think there is NO WAY Kentucky will lose this game. I predict a quick start for Lofton, but then he has a drought in the 2nd half while Kentucky pulls away.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
I want them to win a Super Bowl. I want them to have something that no one can take from them.
Mike Holmgren already has a ring. Mike, good job. Though I thought that the Seahawks should have fired you last year, you turned them around and took them to the Super Bowl. You proved me wrong. Your wife is on a mission trip to the Congo right now. Good for y'all, Lord bless.
Shaun Alexander: You might be the 2nd best player Kentucky ever produced. I remember you dominating when I was in high school. You would gain 250 yards in the first half, and then sit the rest of the game. Then, you claimed that UK didn't even recruit you. (This might be true, it probably just means Bill Curry wouldn't pay you as much as Alabama paid you. This all leaves a bad taste in my mouth, so I can't root for you).
Troy Polamalu: I love your style. You're young and yet dominant at your position. You're a better USC athlete than Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart. Dominate today.
I'll take Pittsburgh to beat the spread, and win by 7. (Final score: 27-20 Pittsburgh).
Friday, February 03, 2006
This is the team that currently my hopes are pinned on: (They're 3-1 so far).
The best starting lineup I create is this (i've masked the years to avoid making it too easy for you):
C Wilt Chamberlain 37 pts 22 rebs per game
PF Jerry Lucas 18 pts 19 rebs per game
SF Larry Bird 19.5 pts, 8 rebs, 7.2 assists per game
SG Corey Gaines 9.1 assists, 1.5 turnovers in only 22.6 minutes.
PG Steve Kerr 50.7% from 3-point range, 3.2 assists, 0.9 turnovers in only 21 minutes
Why are the minutes important?
If I play Gaines 48 minutes, he's going to get 18-20 assists! BUT, he'll be too tired to play the next game. So, I bench him every other game. Same with Steve Kerr. He's going to get 18-20 points, hit 5 three-pointers, get 9 assists and be tired. The rest of my guys I can play 40-48 minutes every game without them getting tired. My frontcourt is going to dominate the glass, and score most of my points.
Some of My Bench:
SF '95-96 Mashburn. He only played 18 games, so he's cheap: 23 pts, 5 rebs, 34% from 3-point land.
PF Bill Bridges. 14 pts, 12 rebounds.
SF '04-05 Artest (very cheap) 24.6 pts, 6.4 rebs, 3.1 assists, 1.7 steals.
Another version of Steve Kerr: 51.6% from 3.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Okay, so I've found the coolest free sports thing ever: http://www.whatifsports.com. If you click on SimLeagues, then Basketball. You can sign up for a free pre-season simulation for NBA. You get $42,000,000 to draft players from all-time. You draft players from any season. So, you may have '87-88 Magic Johnson with '92-93 Michael Jordan in your backcourt. You can play Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain together. Just stay under the cap.
The key is to find guys who didn't play many games during their regular season. They're cheaper.
You can have fun, create an all-Kentucky team. Have Frank Ramsey, Tony Delk, Mashburn, Rick Robey, and Sam Bowie as your starting 5. Bring Antoine Walker and Kyle Macy off your bench. It's fun. You can create as many teams as you want, and it's FREE. The games play twice a day.
I propose getting into the same league and simulating against each other. Who's interested?