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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Albert May Have Been Right

 – It Appears God Doesn't Play Dice With the Universe
by Tom King (c) 2010

In order for Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity to work, he had to force the equations a bit to fit what physicists believed about the universe at the time. To do this Einstein added a factor he called the cosmic constant represented by the Greek capital letter “lambda”. He later abandoned the idea of the cosmological constant and called it the biggest blunder of his life. Scientists have lately returned to the useful idea of the cosmological constant to explain what they are calling “dark energy”. Dark energy is the the unexplained force that is causing the increasingly rapid expansion of the universe.

Big Bang Theory predicted that the force of gravity would cause the expansion caused by the original big bang to slow and eventually reverse itself. When scientist Brian Schmidt of the Australian National University in Canberra and astrophysicist Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins surveyed distant galaxies to find out the rate at which the universe was slowing, they discovered to their immense discomfort that the speed at which the universe was expanding, in point of fact.

In the absence of a plausible reason for this expansion, the team “discovered” dark energy in 1998. Dark energy is a name for the force that is increasing the speed of expansion of the universe. Like the cosmological constant, dark energy is a name for something cosmologists don't understand. The more researchers looked at the data, the more it proved that what they were seeing was true. Something was pushing apart the universe faster and faster. A key expected consequence of the Big Bang Theory was missing in action.

Scientists, in an effort to resolve the problem, have retreated to Einstein's discarded idea that the vacuum of space has energy that acts repulsively – the cosmological constant. The multi-verse believers call it an accidental condition unique to our peculiar universe that probably doesn't exist in other parallel universes as though that somehow explains things. Either way, the point is the universe is being pushed apart at a steady rate – not too ffast and not too slow – and physicists and cosmologists don't know why.

I think do.

I can only think of one force in the universe powerful enough to be responsible for pushing apart galaxies.
Unfortunately, the scientific community has a bit of a blind spot there. Carl Sagan once complained that if God existed, he would give us irrefutable evidence of his existent. What if he has and we're just ignoring it because it's not the sort of evidence we expected?

As CS Lewis said in his classic Chronicles of Narnia, “He's not a tame lion.”

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


(c) 2010 by Tom King

Reach for the sky
When the moment rambles by.
Wrap your fingers 'round a cloud
And squeeze it till the rain comes out.

Dance upon the water,
Grinning till your face hurts.
Fling some sand.
Kick a wave.

When we get old
We start to forget.
What it means
To dance on the beach

What did it mean
To wring life that way
From a handful of sky
And a forkful of sand?

I wish that I
Could remember
How to reach that high
And laugh that loud.

Perhaps if I actually
Went to the beach sometime....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

No Reason for Heaven - the Mercenary Personality

"Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire." -C.S. Lewis

 Writers love to break the world down into categories. There was the big 4 Humors kick where everybody was trying to determine if they were melancholy, phelgmatic, choleric or sanquine. Later a fifth type was added called the "supine". There are the Myers-Briggs classification pairs based on the work of Carl Jung- extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judgement/perception. And we all probably think of ourselves as either Type A or Type B personalities.

At the risk of adding to the general confusion, I'd like to add a another way of classifying people. I'd call it mercenary vs selfless or givers versus takers or even, to put it more bluntly - good versus evil. The classification gets to motivation. It's why we think we are here on Earth.

Are we here to server ourselves and our own needs or are we here to help others. Are we on Earth to take what we can get for ourselves or to give to those who need what we have to offer? It's a pretty fundamental difference and it pretty clearly identifies who you can trust and who you can't.

Even many people who pretend to be great givers, show themselves to be mercenaries in the end. They give to cover their efforts to acquire power, possessions or influence. It is the flaw of the progressive socialist. Under cover of universal charity, the leaders of the movement frantically acquire power and influence and work tirelessly to convince people to trade their liberty for the illusion of security.

Many of the capitalist persuasion hide greed and self-serving behind a facade of protecting liberty and freedom.

Liberal versus Conservative is a false dichotomy when you come down to it. Mercenary versus selfless is a far better way to clarify the motives of an individual.

C.S. Lewis' comment that heaven has no attraction for a mercenary heart gets at the great choice each human being must make. That choice is one we make inevitably. It is the final choice that determines the great "who we will serve" question that Joshua posed to the Israelites.

You will find mercenaries among Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians. Some of them are even, until the moment of truth, true-believers in their ideology. It's why the power-hungry are found among the churches. It's why good and kind men and women are found walking the halls of power, running political parties and leading men into battle. Whatever motivation brought them there, who they are will eventually be revealed - if not to man, then to God.

The great question is who are you? What do you believe is your ultimate purpose. On that question rests the eternal puzzle. Why am I here? What should I be doing while I'm here?

If you are here yourself, enjoy your time here, grab all you can get, because this is all you get. The world means all to you and your time here is the most important thing.

If you are here for others, you do what is right, suffer patiently and take no advantage. The world is only a means to an end and what comes after is the most important thing.

As someone told Indiana Jones once, "Choose wisely!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beware the Frumnious Koobface Worm!


Watch out for a fresh round of the Koobface worm on Facebook. You'll get a message from someone you trust that offers a link to a youtube video. It sends you to a fake youtube site.

A popup opens saying you need the latest version of Flash Player to play the video. DO NOT CLICK ON THE FAKE FLASH PLAYER LINK.

Do that and you won't get infected.  If you did click on the fake Flash Player link, you have the Koobface worm.  Here's how I cleaned it off my computer.  You can also watch a Youtube video that tells how to get rid of it.  I got to it done quickly before it brutalized my system, so all I had to do was run Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware software.  If you have had it for a while, watch the video for some extra steps you might need to take.

I cleaned it off my computer within hours. If it stays any time at all, it will harvest your name and some private info. If it stays long enough it will harvest your passwords and send it to the hacker.

Here's what I did:
  1. Go to and download the TDSS Rootkit removal tool. It comes as a zip file. Save it on your desktop. Extract the file to your desktop. Don't put the TDSS Killer program in a folder on the desktop. Just extract it to the desktop.
  2. Run the tool, clean and repair following the prompts and then restart the computer.
  3. Go to and download the Norman Malware Cleanter and place it on your desktop.
  4. Run Norman Malware Cleaner and clean any installed malware from your computer. Follow the cleaning prompts and then reboot your computer.
  5. Go to
  6. Download "Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware program (it's free).
  7. Install Anti-Malware, check for and download the latest updates and run the full scan. It will take a while. When it's done it will list the infected files.
  8. Leave the boxes checked and click on the repair link.
  9. Now go away for 15-20 minutes (don't mess with it). The program may appear to freeze. Just cut off the power and reboot when you come back.
  10. Rerun the Anti-Malware software. A scan should show you free of the worm. Check the last log file and it will show what was found and deleted.
  11. First time you open your Firefox browser, don't go anywhere. Click on Tools > Options > Advanced > Network > Settings. Then change the settings to "No Proxy" and you should be okay. This worm hijacks the proxy settings on your computer. If you don't do this, it will still redirect you to a bogus website and make your life miserable.
  12. The first time you open your I.E. browser, click on Tools > Internet Options > Connections > LAN settings. Uncheck the "Proxy Server" option and check "Automatically check settings". I had to close I.E. the first time because it wouldn't let me select Internet Options, but the second time I opened it, I was able to fix it. Don't know why - possibly because I hadn't used IE since I contracted the Koobface worm. (Doesn't "Koobface Worm" sound just like something you'd pick up on a trip to a bordertown restaurant).
Anyway, this ought to get you back up and running and keep your system clean.


They have some very knowledgeable folk on the site who can talk you through a thorough cleanup.  You may encounter recommendations to use a program called "Combofix" on other websites.  Do not use this program without getting help from the Bleeping Computer folks. It fools around with key parts of the computer's operating system and if you don't know what you are doing, you can get really screwed up.

You'll need to set up an Account on "Bleeping Computer" and post a topic for your specific problem.  There is a list of preparatory steps you'll have to take to get ready and the process may take a little time to work through.  It's either that or pay some computer tech several hundred bucks to wipe and rebuild your hard drive and you still may lose data in the process. 

One more note.  If you try to search "Koobface Worm Removal" you will get links to a lot of sites that will actually give you the Koobface worm.  Make sure you have a tool like "Web of Trust" or your anti-malware software running to warn you about untrustworthy sites. Try the above process and "Bleeping Computer" before you go stepping into that minefield.  Doing a Google search to correct a "google redirect" virus that you have on your computer is asking for a trip through the looking glass. 

Hackers who create these kinds of things are thugs and bullies and no better than the punks who used to give them wedgies back in junior high school. I personally think we should catch them and hang them publicly in the town square -- by the back of their Fruit-of-the-Looms! Just let 'em dangle there for a while! Then we should put them all on a deserted island somewhere well north of the tropics where it gets really cold in the winter. Leave them no computers or electricity - nothing but farm tools and bags of turnip seeds.

Good luck.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In Denial......With the Crocodiles!

It's already started - the pundits have hit the airwaves busily trying to explain how the Tea Party effect really wasn't what it looked like and that it was merely a repudiation of Democrats or savvy political maneuvering by Republicans or something; anything but a sincere manifestation of the public will. They talk about us as though we were cattle to be herded by cowboy politicians; as though we were the sheep in some sheep dog contest and not independent thinking people.   Sadly, I hear some of the old line Republicans still trying to minimize what happened in this past election. Too many veteran politicians, Democrat or Republican, see themselves as having all this well-earned political "expertise". Their expertise is viewed as essential to proper government. Their expertise defines them.

So, like the proverbial man that "all he has is a hammer", they see every problem as a political nail to be driven with the particular hammer that they clutch tightly in their tiny little hands.

The very idea that, solving the country's problems may require other tools and other craftsmen, cannot occur to them. That sort of solution would require the "experienced" politician to willingly step aside - something utterly unthinkable to an old-line politico.

The sad truth is, politicians too long in Washington, soon join the great game of politics. They learn the rules, the nuances of play and how to keep score. Once they're hooked on the game, they are useless for real work.

I'm just telling you what I think.


Friday, November 05, 2010

The Pot and the Kettles - A Parable

Once upon a time there was a great iron stew pot that sat on the edge of the village in the camp of the outcasts. You see it was an iron rule in the village that only the eldest child in each family could inherit the wealth of the family.  In the old days, each house kept an iron kettle on the hearth of each great house. These kettles became the symbols for the bounty kept and bestowed by the house and the kettle
was passed on from fathers to sons as the symbol of the transfer of the new house master's hereditary rights and privileges.  

Children who were not able to inherit, became servants in the village.  Those, whose temperaments were unsuited to servitude, left the village to live in the camp of the outcasts.  Those who lived in the camp soon learned skills they needed to survive and taught others in the camp to do so.  They gleaned the leftovers from the surrounding fields after the harvests, saved the seeds and soon planted fields of their own around the camp, trading their goods for livestock and land.  They taught each other crafts and skills needed to survive and to give the newly outcast something useful to contribute to the camp.  Some new outcasts brought skills with them that they had learned in the village. They worked hard and soon, the camp of the outcasts grew to a vibrant community that rivaled and in many ways exceeded the village in size and wealth.

The iron stew pot, at first, was where the outcasts shared the food they were able to find and where they took their meals together.  Later it became the place where the outcasts pooled a tithe of all their goods and purchased weapons to defend their camp, organizing a defense force and electing a sheriff, a judge and mayor of their own.

In the village, the lords of the great houses with their armies of servants laughed at the pretensions of the outcasts. They exploited their servants; labors and amassed huge fortunes until the burden the great house masters necessarily placed on their servants became so onerous that the servants rebelled. The rebellions in some cases were crushed; in others the houses changed hands and a new master took control.  A very vew houses fell into the hands of the servants who copied the outcasts in reordering their houses. Some of the most tyrannical masters picked fights with other houses in the village in order to distract their servants from their unhappiness and to bind their loyalties to their own houses through outside conflict.  While the village lord and masters hacked away at each other, the outcasts grew in power and wealth until the outcast camp was greater than all the village houses.

When chaos in the village became unbearable, some of the great houses invited the outcasts to send their soldiers to quell the violence.  After things settled down and the outcasts had helped repair the damage, the houses reluctantly formed a village council and invited the outcasts to sit on it.

Years passed. The outcasts helped provide security for the village as well as the outcast camp. The council met and fussed and fumed and tried to cling to what they perceived as their ancients rights and privileges. They finally organized a special council to determine why people were not happy in the villages.  They brought their kettles to the special council as a symbol of their ancient power.  The outcasts brought their great iron stew pot.  Because it was larger than all the kettles, the village houses complained that the outcasts should get a smaller pot or leave it at home so as not to upset the village house masters.

So they left the pot at home when they went to the meetings.

The special council then complained that the outcasts were not playing fair and that they had too much wealth and too much power and blamed it on their having a larger pot.  Some of the biggest troublemakers among the village house masters accused the outcasts of being somehow responsible for all the problems in the village.  The special council voted finally to issue a decree condemning the outcasts for having a bigger pot and demanded that the pot be given to the special council as a symbol of the council's superior position.  They further decreed that the outcasts should get a decent sized kettle like everybody else.

They all felt better then.

Some of the outcasts wanted to give away their pot, buy a more modest kettle and rejoin the village, hoping the villagers would all like them again.

The rest of the outcasts went, "You've got to be kidding!" and promptly ignored the decree and the silly people among them who cared anything at all about the special council's decree.  They tossed out a few of the troublesome goofs in the camp council who had neogtiated the terms of the decree with the special council in the first place.

Then everybody went back to work and a whole bunch of smart villagers, sick of the mess in the village, defected to the outcast camp bringing their energy, wealth and skills with them... 

Or at least that's how it ought to end.....

(c) 2010 by Tom King                                      .

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

California Declares for Governor Moonbeam!

California has definitely proved it is the land of fantasy.  As business and people who actually want to work for a living by choice flee the land of pixie dust politics, the rats rejoice as the ship goes down. The only thing that would have made it perfect would be if Prop 19 had passed.  The resulting mass immigration of pot-heads would have been spectacular and sent the state into an even more massive downward spiral, if such a thing can be imagined.

If you have recently fled to Texas from California, welcome.  You have found your weblog in Texas!

I'm just sayin'

Tom King - Tyler, TX