Thursday, 27 February 2014
One movie which gained quite a lot of attention back in 1982 was The Jupiter Menace. According to the film, great disasters have destroyed civilizations for millennia. Even the poles of the earth have shifted as recently as a few thousand years ago, according to the documentary.
The movie producers claimed that Jupiter has an eleven-year cycle, just like the sun has high and low sun spot activity each eleven years. In December of 1982, the planets were in the same quarter of their orbits around the sun. The producers of The Jupiter Menace thought this alignment would create gravitational strain on the earth, causing it to wobble on its axis. A further conjunction in the year 2000 would spawn even more cataclysmic earthquakes.
Using computer models, the movie producers showed what would happen in a magnitude twelve quake. The Richter scale only goes up to ten but they wanted to show the total destruction which would occur if a quake a thousand times worse than a ten happened.
The film makers brought in psychics and scientists to back up their claim of the earth's impending doom. Survivalists were also featured to make the point that people needed to prepare for the total collapse of society. Even the Bible was co-opted to show that the world would undergo cataclysmic events in the next twenty years.
May 5, 2000 has come and gone, yet the super conjunction never caused the utter devastation claimed by the movie. In the past thirty-one years, earthquakes and tsunamis have occurred but at nowhere near the colossal levels predicted by this sensationalistic documentary.
Knowing the Bible well, I can tell that the verses cited were taken far out of their contexts and apocalyptic language was interpreted by the film makers in a wooden, literal way. This is a common practice among end times prognosticators when they sell their alarmist books and videos. It makes money as well because people want to know the future. I'm glad I know my future lies in God's hands, not in my stockpile of food or weaponry in some remote location.
I described how I once believed such wild claims of the end times in How I Was Razed. In this memoir, I showed how I came to learn about the providence of God and how to properly read the Bible. Check out my new book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
These dedicated radio enthusiasts are able to set up emergency radio communication centres quickly and efficiently. During emergency simulation exercises, they travel to rural locations and set up battery-powered equipment. Then they pass on simulated emergency messages from the field to medical staff and government agencies.
But this isn't all hams do. They report the results of cycling races, car rallies, and skiing tournaments so that the organizers can know the progress of the participants. Some amateurs visit schools and set up a time when children can ask their questions to astronauts on The International Space and Science Centre space station. To keep in practice for passing on emergency messages, hams relay questions and answers from family members to their scattered members around the world.
Though the regulations have been relaxed since the amateur radio service was first officially recognized by governments around the globe, new students still need to learn many things. One of these is radio etiquette. Meetings called nets are set up by various amateur radio clubs to relay messages and to brief members on club events. Some nets are held for casual conversations between amateurs while others are strictly structured as practice sessions for emergency training.
Having been a ham since 1987, I haven't had much experience in relaying messages and helping out in practices for emergencies such as ice storms and floods. Even so, I've enjoyed speaking with people on the air across North America and one man in Ireland. I also made contact with a cosmonaut aboard the MIR space station during December of 1988.
In the event of an emergency, I would be proud to help in whatever way I could. This is because of the service-oriented nature of the hobby. Hams aren't allowed to accept any remuneration for what they do. I'm glad this is so because it means that only dedicated men and women leap into action when duty calls.
I mentioned a few of my ham radio hobby activities in How I Was Razed. This e-book and paperback is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Thursday, 20 February 2014
When I opened the monitor, I found several sheets of frosted plastic behind the plastic panel containing the LCD pixels. Then I found a rectangle of Plexiglas. At the bottom and top of it were a set of two miniature fluorescent tubes. These were what lit up the screen. I could tell they were fluorescent tubes because they glowed when held near the Lightning Ball gadget that creates static electricity.
Behind the rectangle of Plexiglas was a white sheet of plastic. I believe this and the frosted sheets reflected and defused the light so the screen would look evenly lit. This arrangement amazed me. I had assumed that all monitors were back-lit with LEDs. In fact, most are lit differently.
I also found the circuit board which directed the signals from the computer's video card to each pixel on the screen. Since it had no reusable parts, I tossed it out. I kept the plastic sheets since they might be useful for something someday.
I kept the blue power indicator LED since it can work without any other electronic part. With a nickel-sized battery from my security system's door sensor, I can make it light up. I've made simple night lights from these discarded LEDs since they consume so little power. This helps me get more life out of old cells.
About a month ago, I bought a new monitor which is back-lit by LEDs. I'm sure that taking it apart a few years from now will be as interesting as when I took apart the old monitor. I might even be able to make an emergency light out of the panel. Since I plan to do that with the scanning light from a dead print scanner, I can try that experiment at some future date.
Science and electronics have been favourite topics of mine since childhood. I mention my passion for discovery in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School and How I was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. The latter e-book and paperback can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
Rebelmouse first came to my attention a few months ago on Twitter. I kept reading about that front-page aggregator site but it didn't interest me at first. When I did do some research, I read complaints about various aggregator pages. Fortunately, none of those were about Rebelmouse. So I decided to give it a try and see what happened.
Setting it up was easier than I thought. With the site's tutorials and intuitive lay-out, I was able to make my online posts look professional and pleasant to the eye.
I like the feature of the page which lets a person make separate pages for different subjects. On my rabbit page, I have photos of my departed bunnies and of Deborah who lives in my kitchen. People who viewed the page had nothing but positive comments about it.
Then there's my music page. On it are my YouTube videos and some Soundcloud upload links.
My book page is one I'm quite proud of. I have links to four YouTube book trailers and ones to the sites where my paperbacks, as well as my new e-book, are available.
The main page is a snapshot of my Facebook and Twitter activities. I've even set up the page to display my Blogspot and Wordpress posts. Though much of the site is automated, I still enjoy looking at all the content on it. At times I even post pictures and links which it didn't catch. I can put photos on the pages whenever I like too.
Since I haven't had any problems thus far, I feel safe in recommending Rebelmouse to anybody who would like a page where their assorted posts and likes can be displayed. It makes life a lot easier to give out one link instead of half a dozen. Click here to get to the Rebelmouse sign-in or log-in page.
If you'd rather go directly to my How I Was Razed book page, click Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Virtual Bookworm Publishers to read more about it. My previous books are at the Bruce Atchison's books link.
Thursday, 13 February 2014
If only people would give bunnies a chance. The first thing they need to do is to learn the proper way to litter train, feed, and rabbit-proof the room where the bunny is kept. The House Rabbit Society website has all the information a novice rabbit owner needs to know to care for a bunny. Though there are other sites claiming to have credible information, the data is often wrong and based on opinion rather than empiracle observation.
What I love about bunnies is their inquisitive natures. Once a person wins a rabbit's trust, a precious gift in itself, they become outgoing and affectionate. All the rabbits I've had in my house quickly warmed up to me once I got down to their level and showed them I wasn't dangerous. I let them make the first moves rather than grabbing them up like a stuffed toy. Being prey animals, rabbits instinctively fear being picked up.
Like dogs and cats, rabbits need proper veterinary care. This is often expensive because they're only seen by exotic specialists. But if somebody truly loves their long-eared companion, the expense of a proper vet is worth it.
Bunnies can live up to ten years with proper care and correct nutrition. I've heard of some who have lived to thirteen but they were quite frail by the time they died. Since this is so, potential rabbit owners need to be committed to their pet for the long haul. Vidulence is also required as bunnies tend to hide their illnesses from the prying eyes of predators. I've taken my rabbits to the vet when they exhibited some odd behaviour and usually discovered that they had a serious illness. I've also made the mistake of ignoring subtle signs of discomfort and ended up losing my beloved fur friends.
Back in 2006, I published my debut memoir called When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. It shows how I came to live with these amazing and amusing members of God's awesome creation. I also pass along the lessons I learned during the eight years covered by the book. For more information about it, check the Bruce Atchison's books link.
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
One morning as we were eating breakfast, I heard a hollow pop noise from the direction of the kitchen counter. "What was that noise, Mom?" I asked.
She explained that it was the paper lid being forced out of the milk bottle by expanding air pressure. "When air is warmed, it gets bigger. It pushes against the milk bottle lid until it lets go of the top of the bottle."
I felt amazed. "Put the lid back in and let's hear it pop again?" I begged. It didn't pop the second time as the air had warmed inside the bottle. Even so, the thrill of discovery engraved the memory of the popping top in my mind.
Mom also taught Diane and me how to make balloons stick to the wall by rubbing them against our hair. She said they were held there by static electricity. That was news to me since I only knew of the power in wall plugs and the batteries in my toys.
Mom also showed us how ice floats and forms on the top of the water. One winter evening, she took a glass of water and set it on the outside steps of the house for ten minutes. When she took it in, she showed me the thin layer of ice which had only formed on the top surface.
When she defrosted our old fridge, she let us play with the chunks of ice which came off the freezer compartment. I remember one summer day when Diane and I put the ice in a sink filled with water and pretended they were icebergs.
Of course Mom didn't know everything. I felt disappointed when she couldn't explain how the power in our plug in sockets was made. Neither could she explain how radios and TVs worked. Even so, I gave her the gift of my delight whenever I learned something new.
I wrote about my love of science in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School. I also passed on a good tip regarding Christian students writing about evolution in my newest book called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Read more about this amazing testimony of God's providence at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Thursday, 6 February 2014
The 100 Huntley Street TV show first aired across Canada in February of 1980. I made a point of watching it each weekday morning when I came home from my security guard job. After interviewing various people about the miracles Christ did in their lives, Pastor David Maines told the viewers about a one-year Bible study published each month in the show's New Directions magazine.
Being an avid attendee of a house church's Bible study, the offer of a free Bible course appealed to me. I subscribed to the magazine as soon as I could.
From the first lesson onward, I learned the fascinating background to events in Exodus. After each assigned Bible passage, descriptions of what happened and why were printed in the magazine by the Huntley Street staff. I began to realize that the blood sacrifices God required of the Israelites was a foretelling of Christ's blameless life, crucifixion, and resurrection. Even incidents such as God asking Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac was a forecast of how God gave Jesus Christ to be sacrificed in payment of our sins. The blood on the door posts at the time of the Passover demonstrated how the Lamb of God would atone for whosoever believed in him.
Though I filtered everything through the theological glasses of the house church leader, I still remember much of what I studied during the breaks on my security guard rounds.
I understand now that God used that course to expand my understanding of himself and his purposes. Since those days, I've ditched the nonsense I was taught at that aberrant house church and doing so has made me feel much better.
Instead of being a capricious deity who sent his son to a brutal death, I now know God as my heavenly Father. Whatever happens to me is for my own long-term good and for his glory. Even my poor vision serves his eternal plan. The cult's leader taught that we could get what we wanted if we had enough faith. Now I know that God is sovereign and our puny faith can't thwart his purposes. Knowing this has given me a great deal of freedom and personal satisfaction.
In How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, I proclaim the greatness of the heavenly Father in rescuing me from error. You can read more about this awesome act of his grace at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Tuesday, 4 February 2014
I believe Pastor Conrad Mbewe is correct regarding the comparison of today's faith healers and African witch doctors. In his talk called "Are We Preachers or Witch Doctors," he said that both groups practiced their arts in similar ways. The only difference between the two is that charismatic preachers, often seen on TBN, use Christian terminology.
There was a time in my life when I would have objected strenuously to Pastor Mbewe and the rest of the Strange Fire speakers. I attended an independent house church led by a lay minister. He took many aberrant doctrines from a variety of cults and merged them into his theology.
Worse yet, he claimed that his teachings were on par with Scripture and nobody should oppose him. He even had the audacity to claim that he had the power to turn his opponents over to Satan. Like a fool, I believed him and his teaching for more than fifteen years.
What led me to finally reject his church and its beliefs? The elders kept criticizing me for lacking the faith to be healed. They also accused me of lusting for sight and having hidden sins that I needed to confess. Never did it enter their minds that they and their ideas might be the problem.
The reason I keep blogging on this topic is to warn people about these frauds who claim to be working for God. I've learned during the past seventeen years that God is sovereign and that he often works through disabilities. For those who trust completely in him, he works out all things to his glory and for our betterment. Therefore, thinking that ailments, disabilities, misfortunes and the like are punishments for lack of faith is at best absurd and at worst cruel.
My How I Was Razed book is an object lesson for pastors who neglect to disciple new believers. It's also a testimony of God's providential guidance. Read more about this remarkable story at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.