Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Archive for November 2010

How to Never Pay for Overage Minutes on Your Cell Phone

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I hesitate to post this here for fear of the major carriers taking away this neat little loophole.  The key to it all is Google Voice.  Google Voice is a web-based phone routing system.

Here is how it works:

1. Get a GMail account if you don’t already have one

2.  Get a Google Voice account and phone number

3.  Familiarize yourself and optimize your Google Voice settings

4.  Add your Google Voice phone number to your AT&T A-List, T-Mobile myFaves, or Verizon/Alltel’s “My Circle” (not sure about a Sprint equivalent).

5.  Tell all or some certain group of people you have a new number and give them your Google Voice number.

6.  Make outbound calls through

Also, if you use the iPhone, Apple finally approved the official Google Voice app, which also runs on Blackberry and Android smartphone OS.

Written by Michael Graham

November 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Best Links of the Week

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NYT infographic on reducing our nations inflated bugdet.  While we are on the subject here are two proposals that inspired the aforementioned infographic:  Fiscal Commission’s Co-Chair Proposal and Illustrative Savings.

There is a fairly large controversy brewing over both the TSAs use of full-body scanners and their substantially more aggressive pat-downs.  I have actually had one of the full-body scans before and poked my head around to see the image (much to the dislike of TSA) and it was pretty invasive.  A man in California got a tape of his encounter with TSA after refusing the scan and getting the new ‘special’ patdown.  He gets arrested and faces substantial fines for warning the TSA employee not to “touch his junk.”

Doug Wilson has a nice piece entitled, “Populism and Common Sense.”

Besides the fact I think morality and atheism are completely incompatible, I like Christopher Hitchens.  Andrew Anthony has a very well-written piece on his current thoughts during his battle with stage-iv cancer.

Most Common Causes of Death in the United States

NY Post has an article on Hookers for Jesus, a ministry seeking to get sex-workers off the streets of Las Vegas.  An interesting read.

Facebook jumping into the email forray.  I wonder if this will end up being part of the ever-expanding wedge between younger and older web-users where younger generations employ Facebook over email to communicate.  Maybe I am a bit out of touch but I fail to see this being very successful for Facebook for anyone older than 22.  Their current message platform is horrendous to work with and often crashes after you have composed substantial portions of text – so much so that before I hit “send” I always copy all of my composed text because I have lost it so many time.

You Suck at PowerPoint.

Comical video which attempts to explain quantitative easing.  I should note there is some misinformation in the video.   The Fed regularly buys/sells assets to change the amount of base money.  However, in this case the amount is specified ($600,000,000,000.00) rather than dealing with overnight interest rates.  Given there are rather alarmingly high amounts of ties between Goldman Sachs and the Fed as well as Goldman Sachs and the Obama administration, it would be an alarming precedent for the Fed to buy its own treasuries from itself.

App of the week:  Google Voice by Google – after months of dragging its feet, apple finally let this app hit the iTunes store.

Ken Block, Ford Fiesta, Awesome:

Best Links of the Week

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Chuck DeGroat has one of the best pieces I have read in a long long time called, “What’s Wrong With Your Pastor?”  Orthodoxy without orthopathos is orthoworthless.

Tim Tebow writing a memoir about ‘faith, family, and football’ entitled Through My Eyes, and can be pre-ordered in hardcover and Kindle.

Marvin Olasky is resuming full-time duties at World Magazine.

Kansas State nutrition professor loses 27 pounds over two months while eating a diet of Twinkies and Nutty Buddy Bars, while lowering bad cholesterol by 20% and raising good cholesterol by 20%.

Company creating an app and cell phone plug-in device to test for STDs.  I am not sure if this is exceedingly strange or a good idea… or both.

iPhone app of the week:  MileBug – creates IRS compliant travel logs simply and easily and you can email yourself the reports in both Word or Excel formats.  If you don’t want to pay the $2.99 they have a Lite version that allows you to create 10 trip reports before having to email yourself.  Also, it allows you to take notes and add parking, toll, or food expenses to each mileage report.

Pretty crazy trick play in a Middle School football game:

Women solves Wheel of Fortune puzzle with just one letter:

On the “Massive Cheating Scandal at UCF”

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There is a “Massive Cheating Scandal at UCF business school.”  There are several noteworthy pieces to this story that merit further examination.

I know cheating is rampant everywhere.   I am not surprised at this given how dysfunctional the business community is at present.  The post-modern-pragmatists just don’t care because there is no transcendence to their worldview and hence no morality.  This is also a function of the denial of the Christian meta-narrative at the university.  You can blame the students who are culpable in and of themselves but you can also blame the university for their tacit reject of the one framework that makes sense of why there is any scandal at all.  There would never need to be courses on business ethics, or bioethics, or engineering ethics, or law ethics, or educational ethics if all truths where put into subjection of Christ.   These courses exist because there is no “UNI” left in the university… all that is left is “DIversity.”  If all is fractured and nothing is coherent, then where is the “scandal” in this story.  The snake eats its own tail.

Unity and diversity only truly exist in the Trinity.  Without the unity and diversity of the Godhead, unity and diversity make no sense.   At best Universities have become de facto trade schools where students learn one narrow subject focus.  Each different department or faculty teach diametrically opposite worldviews to each of the other departments/faculties.  Sometimes even within single departments there isn’t even a single worldview expressed.  Our universities aren’t even all that good at producing employable persons.

It also boggles my mind when people are shocked at the fallenness of humanity.  People are going to cheat because they are sinful.  Babies don’t have to be taught how to manipulate their parents.  Children don’t have to be taught how to not share or play well with others.  We are selfish and we will do whatever we wish whenever we wish.  If we can save three hours of study time so we can go get drunk and be stupid… many will.  Does this professor really think that humans are good natured.  I don’t know how you can look at the business community, history, your own children, or even yourself and conclude anything besides human depravity.  People don’t play fair – they lie, they cheat, and they steal to advance themselves at the detriment of others.  Yes, there is the common grace of the natural law and the civil law and the University rules that restrains such sin… but left to their own vices and the Adamic nature, chaos reigns.

Written by Michael Graham

November 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Best Links of the Week

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Makoto Fujimura has an excellent open letter to the churches in North America concerning Art and Christianity.

Interesting piece on how Google avoids the USA’s 35% corporate tax employing a “double irish” and “double sandwhich” strategy.

Top Ten Mistakes Made by n00b Car Buyers” – I might add a #11 to this list that says buying a new car instead of a quality used one.

John Muether has a provocative piece on social media over at the Ligonier Blog.  I think he is a bit out of touch at points but makes some excellent points as well.  A worthwhile read.

One of my seminary professors (Chuck Hill) pieces in the Huffington Post of all places – “The Conspiracy Theory of the Gospels.”  Also, Chuck has an important book coming out entitled, “Who Chose the Gospels.”

FED pumping $600,000,000,000.00 into the system for some “quantitative easing.”

Oxford, Rice, and Open University release a bunch of free ebooks on iTunesU.

Details on the new “Touchdown Jesus“… this is the Cincinnati, OH version and not the Notre Dame version.

Excellent Piece from 60 Minutes on how Wall Street and employers have used and abused 401ks to the detriment of the working man:

This commercial makes some good critiques of the smartphone age… not sure how it really connects to the actual smartphone it is promoting… but the critique is sound…  Really?

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