Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Don't judge a book....

So, I'm at church again for the first time in months. Not sure how it's going to go. Came to a location that is similar in size (number of members) to White's Chapel, but already it doesn't feel like WC. I'm reminding myself over and over and over again that you can't judge a book by its cover. I don't know, though.
Don't judge.
Don't judge.
Don't judge.....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Fastest Rising Population in the US (Originally Published on 12-22-2008)

Well, it's official. I heard today that Utah, my state of origin, is officially the fastest growing state in population in the United States. It's population grew 2.5% between July of '07 and July of '08. Nevada, the state that grew the most last year, was only at 1.8% this year.

California remains the most populous state, although it also had the highest shift of population - or people leaving California to move to other states. Also, Michigan and Rhode Island were the only two states to decrease their total population.

So, why do I care about this? First, it's one of those random things that is fun to claim - "I'm from the fastest growing state in the US!". Second, Electoral Numbers are NOT static. The amount of votes a state gets in the Electoral College are based on their population, and there are great changes afoot. You would think, with Texas gaining this highest number of people (don't get "number" mixed up with "percentage", which is what Utah has), that conservatives near and far would be celebrating. However, the demographic of people that are moving so rapidly into the Lone Star State are NOT a demographic that strongly supported Republics. In fact, it is quite the opposite. So, come 2010, things could get real interesting. And, in order for them to survive, Republicans are going to have to figure out exactly what they want their message to be and how they are going to deliver it without alienating even more people. And they are going to have to do it quickly, because we are not a sedentary nation!

Genetic Pasta (Originally Published on 1-22-2009)

Okay - the following paragraph is from my great friend Dr. Jamie O'Rourke, PhD. She basically looks at a ton of gene information all day long, and was emailing me earlier using terms I've never heard. Being the curious person, I asked her what the pasta words were ("Bonferroni" sounds like a pasta type name!), and she sent the following explanation:

A parser is a program that goes through a file and pulls out the relevent information you've told it to get. You just have to spell out the format of the document you're intending to parse and make sure it's uniform. Bonferroni statistics is a statistical test to determine what is present more often than would be expected. I'm running the statistics on GO #'s, which are gene ontology terms - a defined set of universal terms to explain the function of gene products.

Major Ed Freeman - a True Hero (Originally Published on 7/21/2009)

A recent email has been re-circulated, stating that Ed Freeman died the same day as Michael Jackson, and that we should not be honoring pop stars when such more obvious heroes deserve recognition. It is unfortunate that Ed Freeman's memory is being manipulated this way, and I thought it was important to make sure everyone knew the real story. Maj. Freeman actually passed away in August of 2008, and the following is what happened when he received the Medal of Honor.

At a White House ceremony in July 2001, Ed Freeman was presented with the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush. President Bush said of Freeman on that occasion:

By all rights, another president from Texas should have had the honor of conferring this medal. It was in the second year of Lyndon Johnson's presidency that Army Captain Ed Freeman did something that the men of the 7th Calvary have never forgotten. Years passed, even decades, but the memory of what happened on November 14, 1965 has always stayed with them. For his actions that day, Captain Freeman was awarded the distinguished Flying Cross, but the men who were there, including the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Crandall, felt a still higher honor was called for. Through the unremitting efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Crandall and many others and the persuasive weight from Senator John McCain, the story now comes to its rightful conclusion.
That story began with a battalion surrounded by the enemy in one of Vietnam's fiercest battles. The survivors remember the desperate fear of almost certain death. They remember gunfire that one witness described as the most intense he had ever seen, and they remember the sight of an unarmed helicopter coming to their aid. The man with the controls flew through the gunfire not once, not 10 times, but at least 21 times. That single helicopter brought the water, ammunition and supplies that saved many lives on the ground, and the same pilot flew more than 70 wounded soldiers to safety.
General Eisenhower once observed that when you hear a Medal of Honor citation, you practically assume that the man in question didn't make it out alive. In fact, about 1 in 6 never did, and the other five, men just like you all here, probably didn't expect to. Citations are also written in the most simple of language, needing no embellishment or techniques of rhetoric. They record places and names and events that describe themselves. The medal itself bears only one word and needs only one, valor.
As a boy of 13, Ed Freeman saw thousands of men on maneuvers pass by his home in Mississippi. He decided then and there that he would be a soldier. A lifetime later the Congress has now decided that he's even more than a soldier because he did more than his duty. He served his country and his comrades to the fullest, rising above and beyond anything the Army or the nation could have ever asked. It's been some years now, since he left the service and was last saluted. But from this day, wherever he goes, by military tradition, Ed Freeman will merit a salute from any enlisted personnel or officer of rank.
Commander Seevers, I'll now ask you to read this citation of the newest member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and it'll be my honor to give him his first salute. Ed Freeman's Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:
Captain Ed W. Freeman, United States Army, distinguished himself by numerous acts of
conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary intrepidity on 14 November 1965 while serving with
Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). As a flight
leader and second in command of a 16-helicopter lift unit, he supported a heavily engaged
American infantry battalion at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley, Republic of
Vietnam. The unit was almost out of ammunition after taking some of the heaviest casualties
of the war, fighting off a relentless attack from a highly motivated, heavily armed enemy force.
When the infantry commander closed the helicopter landing zone due to intense direct enemy
fire, Captain Freeman risked his own life by flying his unarmed helicopter through a gauntlet
of enemy fire time after time, delivering critically needed ammunition, water and medical
supplies to the besieged battalion. His flights had a direct impact on the battle's outcome by
providing the engaged units with timely supplies of ammunition critical to their survival,
without which they would almost surely have gone down, with much greater loss of life. After
medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly into the area due to intense enemy fire, Captain
Freeman flew 14 separate rescue missions, providing life-saving evacuation of an estimated
30 seriously wounded soldiers — some of whom would not have survived had he not acted. All
flights were made into a small emergency landing zone within 100 to 200 meters of the
defensive perimeter where heavily committed units were perilously holding off the attacking
elements. Captain Freeman's selfless acts of great valor, extraordinary perseverance and
intrepidity were far above and beyond the call of duty or mission and set a superb example of
leadership and courage for all of his peers. Captain Freeman's extraordinary heroism and
devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great
credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

~ Mel's Movie of The Week ~

The movie this week is The Holiday, staring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black.
This is one of those amazing romantic comedies that isn't so heavy that you can't get some fun out of it, but it also isn't so light that you have felt you wasted two hours of your life (or in my case, many many more!!).
First off - I know everyone hates Jude Law, because he's all annoying and stuff, but man, those eyes. And then, when he puts on the glasses, well, I could honestly care less about his real-life personality! One of the most touching scenes in this movie is when he is trying to explain how hard it is for him to find a life outside being a single parent, and not be totally unfair to those he meets or, most importantly, his children.
My other favorite in this movie is Jack Black. Before I saw the film I had some serious doubts. I mean, seriously, could the master of The Pick of Destiny really pull off a role like this, without it becoming a total farce?? The answer is a resounding YES. Thankfully, though, we still get some great "classic Jack" in the Blockbuster scene, with him enthusiasticaly singing theme songs from movie classics to a quite embarrassed Kate Winslet.
All in all, I could watch this movie over and over and over again, each time wishing that I had the movie guy in my head narrating my life too, so I could have some clue as to what I should do next!
Rent it now, because you won't be sorry, and enjoy!!