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04/06/21 12:53 PM #1336    

Tom Chavez

I would like to describe an ancient concept of religion. This is not intended for hypocritical, atheistic, dishonest, or faithless persons who are not humble. If you fall into these categories, please skip over this.

 

For those who adhere to a particular denomination or faith, this applies to any religion. In place of Kṛṣṇa you may use your own name or concept of God. The same one Supreme is differently named in different religions, but the essence is one. 

 

Conflict in this world is caused by people thinking that a particular group are my people, my clan, my countrymen, and those other people do not belong. This self-interested view ignores the unity of existence.

 

The following describes a different attitude that would remove the many problems of discrimination, conflict and hate based upon racial, sexual, ethnic, religious, national and class distinctions.

 

Kṛṣṇa tells Uddhava, “I shall describe bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion, by which a human conquers unconquerable death.”

 

“With pure heart one should see Me within all beings, pure and omnipresent, externally and internally, like space. One who sees Me in all living entities, and offers respect to everyone, is wise.”

 

“This process – using mind, words and body to realize Me within all living entities – is the best method of spiritual enlightenment.”

 

“In danger an ordinary person cries, fears and laments, although such useless emotions do not help. But activities offered to Me without selfish motive, even though externally useless, are the actual process of religion.”

 

“This process is the supreme intelligence of the intelligent and the cleverness of the most clever, for by this one makes use of the temporary and material to achieve Me, the eternal spiritual reality and Supreme Absolute Truth.” 

 

The highest intelligence is to focus consciousness on the Supreme consciousness, without desire or duplicity, sincerely acting to please that Supreme Person. (Consciousness implies personhood.) 

 

One who consciously seeks the Supreme, will realize God in proportion to their sincerity of devotion.

 


04/08/21 05:59 PM #1337    

 

Gregg Wilson


04/11/21 09:53 AM #1338    

Tom Chavez

From Mother Earth’s Perspective

 

Tiny mites and bacteria inhabit our human bodies without awareness that the entire body is owned by a human personality. Similarly, we inhabit planet Earth with little or no awareness of the conscious personality of Mother Earth.

 

Sukadeva told King Pariksit how Mother Earth views human beings:

 

Seeing the kings trying to conquer her, the Earth laughed and said, “These kings, playthings in the hands of death, desire to conquer me. Even those who are learned meet frustration and failure because of material lust. Driven by lust, they place great hope and faith in the body, even though it is as fleeting as foam on water.”

 

“Kings and politicians imagine: ‘First I will conquer my senses and mind; then I will subdue my ministers, citizens, friends and relatives, etc., and gradually conquer the entire earth.’ Because their hearts are full of expectations, they fail to see death waiting nearby.”

 

“After conquering all my land, they enter the ocean to conquer the sea. What is the use of self-control aimed at exploitation? The goal of self-control is liberation.”

 

    “To conquer me, materialists fight one another. Fathers fight sons, and brothers fight one another, for political power. Political leaders challenge one another: ‘All this land is mine! It’s not yours, you fool!’ Thus they attack one another and die.” 

 

    “Many great kings and demons who possessed great powers of control over others, were full of knowledge, heroic, all-conquering and unconquerable. Nevertheless, although they intensely tried to possess me, all were subject to time, which reduced them to mere historical accounts. None of them could permanently establish their rule.”

 

~ Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Canto 12, Chapter 3

 

 


04/12/21 10:22 PM #1339    

Tom Chavez

Mother Nature beautifies our nation's capitol…

…photos from this past weeked courtesy of the Washington Post.


04/15/21 03:38 PM #1340    

 

Bill Engelhardt

We have come a long way.


04/16/21 01:29 PM #1341    

 

Tim Jones (Jones)

Bill,

I recall when Tandy Corporation (Radio Shack) started selling home computers.  We'd get the catalogs; Gee, this model has 32K memory! Wow! This one has a whopping 64K memory.

I sensed that computers were going to be big and would take my oldest, Graeme to the school library to play Lemonade Stand and Oregon Trail on the schools floppy drive computers.

Then in 1989 I made the big jump.  Bought a used Macintosh 2X computer. It was about a year old and was the first really expandable color computer. Computer, 19 inch monitor and keyboard, $3500 !! Well, it was a leap of faith on my part.  I recall my middle son, Barry, locking me out of the computer.  This was before the days of the internet. We laugh about that today.  Wasn't funny at the time.

I belive in starting kids early in whatever interests them. Their brains are like sponges. Today Barry is in his 9th year at Apple, a software engineer. Yes, start them early.  That $3500 used Mac was one of the best investments I've ever made. Now we carry all that computer power around in our phone. What an amazing technical evolution.

 


04/16/21 06:06 PM #1342    

Tom Chavez

I’d like to thank Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tim Cook, Barry Jones and all the staff at Apple for their great products. I have to thank you, Tim, for making Barry’s contribution possible!

 

I never owned any computer other than an Apple, which I have used for for publishing, e-commerce, accounting, art design, etc. I'm an Apple fan(atic).

 

I also thank Claude Shannon, who jump-started digital circuit design. His work on information theory led to the digitalization of modern telecommunications.

 

Claude Shannon’s theory implies that the most efficient digital message uses a code which minimizes redundancy and approaches apparent randomness.

 

That means that the most succinct messages will appear as random nonsense to one who doesn’t know the message’s language. 

 

Which implies that what we see as meaningless random natural phenomena, like spontaneous radioactive decay or “junk DNA”, may be very meaningful.


04/19/21 12:19 PM #1343    

Tom Chavez

Imagine that technologically advanced aliens descended in their flying saucer and offered humanity a wondrous invention that would improve everyday life in almost every way. But it would also come with a cost. In exchange for bestowing this invention on society, the aliens would choose 1,000 young men and women and kill them.

 

Would you take the deal? Most of us would say, “Hell no!” 

 

 

But consider. The automobile kills about 40,000 people annually. We accept this toll, almost without thought, because we are accustomed to it.

 

Humans are irrational about risk. We underestimate large chronic dangers like cars, guns and pollution, and fixate on tiny risks like plane crashes or shark attacks.

 

Recent news is that about 5,800 fully vaccinated Americans have contracted Covid. That sounds bad, but it means a vaccinated person’s risk of Covid is about 1 in 11,000. The chance of getting a version worse than the common cold is far lower. 

 

About 100 persons are likely to die in car crashes today. The data suggests that the number of vaccinated persons dying from Covid today will be either 0 or 1.

 

But many people remain more worried about the risk of vaccination than the risk of contracting Covid. Counties that voted for Donald Trump have lower vaccination rates. It’s a poor gamble.


04/19/21 12:42 PM #1344    

Tom Chavez

PS Deaths from Covid are averaging over 700 per day now, versus averages well into the thousands during the past peak from December to February.


04/20/21 11:07 AM #1345    

 

Tim Jones (Jones)

Tom,

I took a double take and got a laugh from your alien invasion example.

Writer/producer Rod Serling covered this topic in his Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man".

Aliens come to earth in a flying saucer bearing gifts and good things for earthbound humanity.

Code breakers work feverishly on decifering the document the aliens brought. The code breakers finally decifer the title of the document: 'To Serve Man'.  Ah, wonderful! All sorts of promises are made to the earthlings about living the "really" good life from the knowledge, technology and gifts from the aliens.

Then the code breakers decifer the contents of the alien document.  "It's a COOK BOOK!"

I've had the good fortune to get acquainted with Rod's daughter, Anne Serling. Rod was a very gifted writer and a true humanitarian. Rod's Twilight Zone episodes were designed to get people to THINK! Rod was a brilliant man, way ahead of his time. 

Critical thinking skills seem to be in short supply here in the US. Yes, I agree with your piece on risk assessment. How true!  

 


04/21/21 07:55 AM #1346    

Tom Chavez

One of our classmates privately wrote to me: Here's a challenge for you. Log onto ____ and watch ALL his "Prophecy Vids" from January 10th on up to present day, and then see how anxious you are to let someone inject the poison into you that they're calling a "vaccine”. 

 

I will respect the privacy of our classmate. Nor will I give the website name. I don’t want to impugn anyone’s intentions or integrity. I prefer to simply address the actual claims or arguments being made. I can’t watch three months of videos, but a quick review reveals two claims.

 

If I have misunderstood please feel free to correct me. The first claim, as I understand it, is:

 

1. End times are coming, get your act together or you will miss the rapture and suffer eternally in hell.

 

There have been hundreds of predicted end times over the last 175 years. William Miller started the trend with his 1843/1844 prediction. More modern “prophets” includes Edgar C. Whisenant, Dr. Jack Van Impe, JD Farag, E Walvoord, Hal Lindsey, Irvin Baxter, etc.

 

The book, “The Day and the hour” by Francis X. Gumerlock, lists the dates that “prophets” have set for the end since the time of Christ. Other books in this regard are Gary DeMar’s “Last Days Madness,” and John Noe’s “Shattering the Left Behind Delusion.”

 

I’m all in favor of getting my act together and avoiding eternal damnation. But playing upon people’s fear with speculative prophecies, not so much. Unfortunately, much of modern Christianity seems to be drifting away from the original example and teachings of Jesus Christ.

 

On the other end of the spectrum we have Gregg Wilson’s speculation that the universe is eternal.

 

Both the idea of an eternal universe and the idea of an impending end to the universe ignore scientific cosmological evidence and, in Gregg’s case, the second law of thermodynamics. In my humble opinion, neither is realistic or rational. But that’s just me.

 

You may have run into the second claim, being promoted on social media:

 

2. The Covid vaccine is part of a “plandemic plot”, by Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci, and other “global players,” to control earth’s population by vaccinating everyone with microchips.

 

I’ll respond to this claim later.

 


04/21/21 05:06 PM #1347    

 

Gregg Wilson

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics applies only to the light carrying medium. It does not apply to the gravitational flux or assemblies of protons. Heat, temperature, light are properties of the light carrying medium.

The idea that energy passes only from a hot source to a cold source isn't even universally true. The Sun's surface temperature is roughly 10,000 degrees. The Sun's corona is roughly 1,000,000 degrees.

This entire idea does not recognize kinetic energy. Gravitons possess mass and incredibly high velocity. They push the light carrying medium up against proton assemblies. Which is the opposite of entropy.

With the gravitational flux being a push, the universe is stable. 


04/21/21 08:40 PM #1348    

Tom Chavez

What about the claim that: the Covid vaccine is part of a “plandemic plot”, by Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci, and other “global players,” to control earth’s population by vaccinating everyone with microchips?

 

A Christian “prophet” is expressing his opinion about a worldwide epidemic. When it comes to medical questions, I prefer to go to medical experts. They and medical institutions worldwide agree that the Covid pandemic is real, and that vaccines are needed.

 

America, China, India, Russia and the European Union have all developed different vaccines. The China vaccine appears to be less efficacious. Maybe it needs more microchips. (I’m kidding, of course!)

 

China, Russia and India are fiercely independent and each has their own vaccine production. Why would they cooperate with American plotters to inject microchips into their own citizens? That conspiracy theory has no supporting evidence and is irresponsible and foolish.

 

Regarding technical details, I’ll defer to the fact-checking site, Snopes.com: 

 

In sum, the contention that Gates is using COVID-19 as a pretense to inject monitoring devices into humans misrepresents the research he has funded, the methods those projects have employed, and what a “digital identity” seeks to achieve. 

 

Gates is a private citizen with no ability to mandate policy or govern health organizations. His ideas, though supported by many scientists, are not decrees. Instead, his focus has been on understanding the viability and efficacy of counter-pandemic strategies. 

 

These initiatives have been blended into a false narrative involving a COVID-19 vaccine combined with a made-up microchip device unlike anything Gates has ever been involved in. As such, the claim that Gates is planning to microchip you via a COVID-19 vaccination is false.

 

 


04/23/21 04:46 PM #1349    

Tom Chavez

A Question to Consider

 

How can different folks hold totally opposing views with complete conviction?

 

One classmate thinks that Covid vaccines are poison, and others think vaccines are key to conquering the pandemic.

 

Millions of Americans think the last presidential election was fraudulently stolen, and millions of others agree with election officials and courts that it was secure and fair.

 

One classmate holds that we don’t have free will, whereas many accept free will as integral to our systems of justice and religion.

 

One classmate is convinced that scientists worldwide are wrong about Einstein’s theories, and that he knows the real truth about physical laws.

 

Some Americans believe in Nazi ideology and white supremacy, while others believe that all humans should be treated with equal respect.

 

Truth is one; reality is one. But we may have accurate or illusory perceptions.

 

We make mistakes. We may accept a lie as truth, or illusion as reality.

 

We have a cheating propensity. The original police report attributed George Floyd’s death to “medical distress,” without mentioning that he was pinned to the ground by a knee on his neck. 

 

We may delude ourself due to willful selfish interest or out of involuntary fear.

 

We have imperfect limited senses. We perceive only part, and we may be mistaken in our perception.

 

Disagreement about truth and reality lead to quarrel, fighting and war.

 

How do we know that our perception and understanding actually correspond to truth and reality?

 


04/26/21 08:45 PM #1350    

Tom Chavez

The Primary Colors of Consciousness

 

How do conflicting perceptions arise if reality is one?

 

Our consciousness is influenced by material conditions, which cause us to perceive the same reality in different ways. How this happens can be compared to how primary colors combine to form a rainbow of colors.

 

Light contains a vast spectrum of color, but our computer screen cannot produce all those colors. Instead, it  combines just 3 colors to simulate millions of colors. 

 

To print color on paper, four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) are used to create full color spreads.

 

Similarly, the vast spectrum of consciousness can be analyzed in three ‘modes’, which are like the primary colors of consciousness. Just as colored glasses affect vision, the modes affect our consciousness and perceptions.

 

In different combinations the modes cause us to see the same reality in a vastly different ways. An ever evolving mixture of these three modes conditions our consciousness. 

 

The modes are goodness, passion and ignorance. The diagram gives a rough introductory idea of how goodness, passion and ignorance influence our perception of reality.

 

 


04/28/21 08:19 PM #1351    

 

Bill Engelhardt

We've come a long way.


04/29/21 04:57 PM #1352    

 

Tim Jones (Jones)

Bill and fellow classmates,

Yes, the telecommunications industry has seen a tremendous technological revolution in our lifetime.

I came across a 1950 edition of the Seattle and vicinity phone book at my brother's place. If you lived in the Seattle area in 1950, your parents phone number is probably listed in this book. You probably recall what these phone books looked like, Olive green and about an inch and a half thick. Population of Seattle in 1950= 467,000.  

I found my parents number, still a LOgan prefix.  Can't recall what year LOgan became CHerry 2 ? Probably about 1952 or 53....? Also found my Aunt and Uncle's number on Bainbridge Island.  Their number: 46-W.  A party line no doubt. 

I don't know if you did this or not, but my older brother, Jim and I used to go through the phone book looking for the weirdest names we could find.  ie.  Mr I.P. Freely, Mr Seymore Butts and Dr. E.W. Bumblebutt! All good clean fun!

The biggest surprises looking through this vintage phone book are the long distance rates which are published inside the front and back covers.  Virtually all long distance back then was 'Operator Assisted'. You'd call the operator and say you wanted to make a station-to-station call to Everett for example.  Most calls around Puget Sound were 30 to 50 cents for the first three minutes. Burien to Everett was 65 cents and you only got two minutes. 

A person-to-person call, weekday from Seattle to Miami was $3.50 for three minutes.  About $40 in today's US dollars. My dad had freinds in Wisconsin and he would call them once a year. Talk 20 minutes.  He was practically yelling into the phone.  Well, it WAS long distance you know.  Those 20 minute person-to-person calls would cost in 2021 dollars about $100 !!  

So, yeah, we've experienced a major revolution in telephone technology in our lifetime.  You can call pretty much anywhere in the world FROM anywhere in the world for CHEAP! Amazing.  I remember my first cell phone. It was a love-hate relationship. But it did revolutionize my business. Later, I had the first Nextel phone in the San Juan Islands.  That thing was great!  Could process credit cards on the water from anywhere.

Now, if I could just get my adult children to call me once or twice a year on this amazing technology. That would be great !! 


 

 


05/02/21 03:11 PM #1353    

Tom Chavez

The Case Against Gradual Evolution

 

Darwin argued that an unguided process could, over time, imitate purposeful design. He believed that life evolved in small steps, from chemicals to tiny creatures and, by random variation and survival of the fittest over millions of years, branched out into the variety of life that we see today. 

 

Evolution predicts a gradual increase in the varieties of living creatures. But that did not happen. Graph A shows how Darwinian theory predicts the varieties of life to evolve over time in terms of the number of phyla. 

 

For most of earth’s history there were only one-celled organisms, like bacteria. Graph B shows that suddenly, during the Cambrian period about 600 million years ago, complex multicellular species sprang up within a blink of an eye, in geological terms. This is called the “Cambrian Explosion.”


 

Instead of gradual change over long periods, multicellular life appeared abruptly during the Cambrian explosion, exhibiting more variety at that point in the history of earth than at any later time. 

 

In 1979 the paleontologist David Raup stated: “We are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has greatly expanded … ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time.”

 

In 1995 paleontologist Niles Eldredge wrote: “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seems to happen.… Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist.”

 

American paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould: “History includes two features inconsistent with gradualism: 1. Most species exhibit no change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking pretty much the same as when they disappear. 2. A species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’”.

 

We don’t see radically new features and functions appearing by gradual evolutionary process. We see only small adaptive changes like brown bears evolving a line of polar bears. And it turns out that most such adaptive changes involve devolution, not evolution.



05/03/21 04:01 PM #1354    

Tom Chavez

The Incredible Intricacy of Life

 

Back in the 1800s Charles Darwin knew of the cell only as a tiny blip of protoplasmic jelly. One could easily imagine cells changing shape and size, or a chimpanzee brain morphing into a human brain, like a cloud changing shape.

 

Since the mid-1950s, science has gradually revealed inconceivable complexity in the simplest units of life. Life is based on machines—incredible machines made of molecules!

 

Molecular machines haul cargo from one place in the cell to another along ‘highways’ made of other molecules. Molecules act as filaments and pulleys to hold the cell in shape. 

 

Electrical machines allow current to flow through nerves. Manufacturing machines build other molecular machines, as well as themselves. Cells move with machinery, ingest food or fuel with machinery, and copy themselves with machinery.

 

The machines are made of proteins. There are about 10,000 different kinds of proteins present in most cells, some in great quantity. A simple cell altogether contains over 40 million protein molecules.

 

The proteins are based upon blueprints encoded in DNA. According to Bill Gates, “Human DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.”

 

Below is a simplified diagram of a cell. In a human body there are hundreds of different kinds of cells. Trillions of cells cooperate together as one huge complex system to form one human body.

 

Is it reasonable to believe that all this enormous functional complexity evolved accidentally in nature?

 


05/03/21 06:20 PM #1355    

 

Bill Engelhardt


05/03/21 06:39 PM #1356    

 

Gregg Wilson

Tom,

No particular argument. Without a doubt, brought to Earth by sentient species.

However, "accidental" is forever.

 


05/04/21 07:53 AM #1357    

 

Virginia Wolfe (Scheffer)

Bill, the green stamps sign brings back a lot of good family memories.  I think every small appliance my Mom had was compliments of green stamps.  In fact somewhere in a box of family mementos are probably some of those gadgets that probably still work!  Gads, I am ancient!  However, I can still remember.  Good Day to all!


05/05/21 07:21 AM #1358    

Tom Chavez

Virginia, we all feel a bit ancient, and it’s true in a sense, because we are eternal spirit souls. Youth has faded, our bodies are aged, but we are not our bodies. We remember a little and forget a lot; this reality is temporary, like a dream. Soon we will awaken to a higher reality.

 

After we leave our old bodies, we get new ones, either subtle or gross, spiritual or physical. Many people don’t understand, being blinded by worldly attachments. An intelligent sober person is not bewildered, but prepares now for a better future.

 

How to prepare? Being in the mode of pure goodness, free of ignorance and passion, liberates one from the cycle of birth and death.  But the attractions and illusions of this world are more powerful than we are.

 

Therefore we need help. Christians worship Jesus, and he saves them. Others pray and chant the names of the Lord, according to their own faiths. Without help from above, no one escapes samsara, the wheel of birth and death.

 

 

We desire to enjoy material life and exploit material resources. Selfish desire binds us to this world. Self realization means to understand that I am part of a vastly greater whole, and that it is the duty of the part to serve the Whole.

 

We are not God, nor can we become God. We are all servants of the Lord. When we act on this realization, we can regain our original position in a pure and eternal realm where life is full of knowledge and bliss. 

 

In that transcendental realm, each word is song, each step is dance, and each day is a festival of love and joy. That should be the aim of our desires and consciousness.

 


 


05/05/21 12:16 PM #1359    

 

Linda Pompeo (Worden)

We have one of those signs hanging on the wall of the back deck.  While cleaning out my folks home we found green stamps along with lots of other memorabilia. Childhood memories...hopefully we have passed on good ones to our kids and grandkids so they can talk about the 'good old days' in years to come.


05/05/21 05:00 PM #1360    

 

Bill Engelhardt


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