Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

May 2007

Faith & Religion and Found on the webWednesday, May 30th, 2007, (4:19 am)

How come Christians, or more broadly ‘Christian culture’, seems to spend a lot of time, money, and resources creating Gody, and often times gaudy, imitations of things found in mainstream culture? Why does Christian culture constantly strive to be utterly unoriginal?

The question about the lack of originality in Christian culture came to mind when I received some spam proudly announcing the arrival of a new Christian video sharing service called GodTube.

“You may have heard of youTube where you can upload and view videos for free – well now there is GodTube” Announced the spam that was presumably aimed at the woefully uninformed folk of faith who have somehow never heard of YouTube, the video sharing service recently sold to Google for a gajillion dollars or something.

“GodTube is where you can upload, share & watch videos in a Christian environment.” And there’s the special key phrase that assures them an audience. “Christian environment” meaning free from all that other stuff you might come across on YouTube like a video of Jesus getting run over by a bus or a mock commercial for the Jesus action figure.

The wording of the heavenly spam seemed to suggest that Christians are perhaps largely unaware of social developments. The reader is told “Technology is an amazing part of life” and that “More & more people are online searching for ‘stuff’.”

Ah yes, “stuff.” Who knows what things could posses our minds if we should happen upon some “stuff.”

Mocking aside GodTube isn’t an altogether bogus idea. Christianity has it’s own community and culture just like say, the gay community have their own community and culture, so why not have a GodTube?

My problem with things like GodTube is that far from being something that is unique and original and therefore set aside from mainstream culture, they’re just rip offs and no matter how great they might be, they’ll always be seen as a cheap imitation of the real thing.

In a rallying call to all Christians connected to the interwebs, GodTube writes “We are called by Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of the nations. Our goal is to help people be connected with Jesus Christ and experience the gift of eternal life.” Stirring stuff indeed, but then I have to ask, is creating Christian culture cocoons really the most effective way of communicating the message? Surely the tactic should be inclusive, not exclusive. Wouldn’t using the original YouTube to share a Christian videos be a far better idea if your goal is to “connect people with Jesus Christ”?

GodTube stands a good chance of being a big hit within the bounds of its intended community. One possible bump in the road might come when Google’s lawyers find that GodTube have mercilessly ripped off some of YouTube’s original graphics. That might lead to an internet battle worth watching on either service. God vs Google, a true clash of the titans. I’m off to sell tickets to that fight on eBay… and GodBay of course!

Me on GodTube inviting them to respond to this post
Sunday Times article about GodTube
Porno’s X-Tube (Original site design tho!)
What would Jesus do? By Walter Kim

Environment and PhotographySaturday, May 26th, 2007, (10:15 pm)

I wonder what it is that draws us to sunsets? As I went to a nearby beach to watch the sun drop into the Irish Sea once more, there were as ever, a collection of cars lined up facing out toward the water. Their occupants were of all ages, some couples, some groups, some alone, but all gathered to watch the spectacle that is an assured crowd pleaser.

Some years ago, when my finances were tighter, friends and I used to go and watch the sunset several times a week. It was the cheapest form of entertainment for us all, and we never grew tired of it. We would goof around writing our names in the sand or throwing stones into the waves counting how many times we could make them hop on the surface before they sank. And sometimes we would just sit on the sand or the wave breakers and watch the sun disappear from view and listening to the waves without saying a word to one another.

On the horizon tonight there were some new additions. Wind turbines under construction as part of the new Burbo offshore wind farm. When complete there will be 25 such turbines just outside the mouth of the River Mersey on the Burbo Flats four and a half miles off New Brighton in the Liverpool Bay.

Some people might feel that such a wind farm would spoil an otherwise undisturbed scene, but I actually think these wind turbines could add something to the experience of watching a sunset.

To me they are symbols of optimistic forward thinking representing a more responsible way of living. Upon it’s completion the Burbo offshore wind farm will provide clean renewable energy for somewhere in the region of 75,000 homes.

It won’t be the only wind farm you can see from the beaches where I live though. Just off the North Wales coast is the North Hoyle offshore wind farm. Built in 2003 it was the UK’s first major offshore wind farm. On clear days it’s visible from beaches around the Wirral Peninsula, including New Brighton. There are six wind turbines at the Royal Seaforth Dock, Liverpool, and just a few miles north, but out of site from the beaches where I live, is the Barrow offshore wind farm.

The new Burbo offshore wind farm will be in commission for 20 years at which point its status will be reviewed. If decommissioned the turbines can be disassembled and removed in a relatively short amount of time, returning the coastal horizon to its state. It’s hard to imagine a coal, oil, or nuclear power station being able to make that same claim.

I can’t imagine that the windmills will detract from my enjoyment of any future sunsets. If anything they might offer new photographic challenges. But really, when it comes down to it as good as any photograph of a sunset might be, there really is only one way to best enjoy them, and that’s to actually be there. I plan to do more of that.

Burbo offshore wind farm
North Hoyle wind farm (off North Wales coast)
Embrace Wind Energy
Yes 2 Wind
[Movie] North Hoyle wind farm
[Movie] Sunset (a very short movie I made)

GeneralThursday, May 24th, 2007, (5:24 pm)

So here’s a question for the scientifically minded out there… How come when you sleep in your clothes you wake up with a funny taste in your mouth, but when you sleep in your bed at night the same doesn’t happen?

Maybe that doesn’t happen to you. But I’ve noticed that if I take a nap while I am wearing clothes I always awake with a funny taste in my mouth, but the same doesn’t happen after a full nights sleep in my bed. How come?

I decided to do a quick Google around to see if I could learn the answer to this question, but I couldn’t find anything quickly. What I did learn though, is that sleep itself is still something that we apparently know little about. Some scientists theorize that we sleep in order to collate and process things we recently learned and experienced. But that’s just one theory of quite a few it would seem.

It appears though, that for all the sleep studies that are being done, no one seems to be researching why sleeping in your clothes leaves that funny taste in your mouth, while sleeping without clothes on doesn’t. So either this is something that only happens to me, or scientists have better and far more important things to be getting on with. Which reminds me, I really must get back to work!

[Podcast] Why we sleep
Wake Up, Little Susie. By David Plotz
Why Do We Sleep? By Amanda Schaffer
Learning while we sleep and dream

GeneralMonday, May 21st, 2007, (11:36 pm)

If I didn’t know better I might think that this CNN news report (video below) was a gag along the same lines as the Donnie Davies ‘God hates a fag‘ music video.

Richard Cohen is a ‘conversion therapist.’ An unlicensed therapist in the United States who helps gay people ‘straighten up’ and become ‘healed’ of their same sex attraction in a controversial practice called ‘sexual reorientation therapy’ or ‘reparative therapy’.

Among Cohen’s controversial methods is ‘touch therapy.’ This involves Cohen basically cradling the gay person in a ‘loving parental embrace’ (pictured right and seen in the above video). This enables the gay person to relate to healthy non-sexual same sex intimacy.

Another bizarre technique Cohen employs is bio-energetics whereby the gay person smacks the crap out of an object while shouting at it at the top of their voice. Apparently this releases anger from the muscles and thereby aids the gay person to become ‘normal.’

Coming from a somewhat checkered past, Cohen is himself a former homosexual. Unsurprisingly Cohen has strong religious connections. One of his former churches, The Wesleyan Christian Community Church, was ejected from the United Methodist Church for practicing nude psychotherapy, which Cohen described as being “like paradise.”

But while it’s easy to look at Cohen and dismiss him as being just another crack-pot, the idea that homosexuality as some kind of mental disorder or consequence of a previous experience is not that uncommon, despite the fact that most health and mental health professionals have concluded that homosexuality is not a disorder and therefore cannot be ‘cured.’ The American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder way back in 1973.

I can’t imagine the misery it must be to live your life in denial of a major part of what makes you who you are. For those who see their homosexuality as ‘sinful’ and ‘wrong’ it is perhaps understandable how they might turn to some kind therapy to make them straight and therefore more acceptable to others, to God, and most importantly of all, to themselves.

To me the whole idea that a persons sexuality can be reversed by therapy is utterly absurd. I’m quite sure that no amount of therapy would make me want to get down and get funky with another guy. Therefore I can’t apply any credit to notion that therapy in any form could change a persons sexual orientation.

I’m doubtful that Cohen, and others like him, have cured anybody. Instead I think they have simply taught individuals trapped in a cycle of self loathing how to behave in order to find a level of social acceptance that all of us desire.

Wiki : Richard Cohen, Reparative Therapist
Reparative Therapy success estimates
Ex-Gay Reparative Therapy

GeneralSunday, May 20th, 2007, (3:39 am)

I saw this National Geographic video today and was totally grossed out. It shows maggots being placed into an open wound on a woman in an American hospital as part of medical treatment. At several points I actually put my hands over my face and shuddered at the grossness of it!

According to the National Geographic website only a few species of fly larvae, primarily blowflies, are suitable for such duty. Five to ten maggots are placed on each square centimeter (0.2 square inch) of a wound, which is then covered with a protective dressing that allows the maggots to breath. For the next 48 to 72 hours, the maggots dissolve dead tissue by secreting digestive juices and then ingesting the liquefied tissue and bacteria. The maggots grow from about two millimeters (0.08 inch) to nearly ten millimeters (0.4 inch) in the process.


Medical Maggots Treat As They Eat
Maggot medicine gains popularity
Unwelcome maggot grows in womans head!
More YouTube maggot grossness

Found on the webFriday, May 18th, 2007, (8:54 am)

It’s often hard for guys to know what to buy that special girl in their life. But I think I might have just found something that might fit the bill. The ultimate swiss army knife for girls, including lipstick, hairdryer, big make-up brush wotsit and one of those eyelash thingys!

I found the picture of this female friendly swiss army knife on a website the other day while looking for a new telephone headset (go figure?). Unfortunately the link to the website that would allow me to tell you everything about this fine invention was no longer working.

However, while trying to find more information about the girly gizmo I actually did find a swiss army knife aimed a the female market. The Miss Army Knife comes equipped with a flashlight, perfume bottle, mirror, pill box, nail file, scissors, safety pin, tweezers, knife, and a needle and thread! However with all this functionality costing just 20 bucks I’m thinking that some quality corners may have been cut along the way?

However, not to be outdone, a new version of the classic Swiss Army Knife is now available for the manly man who wants to be equipped for anything. Pictured below is the Wenger Giant knife complete with its 85 devices that perform 110 different functions!

The Wenger Giant knife weighs a manly chest thumping 2lb and costs $1,200 (£607.189), though unfortunately at the time of writing this, Wenger were out of stock of this particular knife.

Miss Army Knife
Wenger Swiss Giant knife
Call that a knife?
Swiss sex toy knife

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