Showing posts from January, 2008

Church security for pacifists

This isn't a joke but a legitimate issue. Christians want to balance "turning the other cheek" with protecting the weak and vulnerable. After the recent Colorado shootings some of us supported the church security guard using bullets and some of us were appalled and thought volunteers should absorb all bullets. One force is active and one is passive. What if a combined response was possible? Is there something that could actively hinder a shooter while also capable of taking on some lead? There is something that police departments are already using. And they are expensive. Guns are cheap. Humans lives are priceless. What about trained guard dogs? They are trained to subdue identified threats non-lethally, some wear body armor, and if they die to save a life it would be a worthwhile trade. There are plenty of retired, cheaper police dogs for smaller churches.

Australia to apologize to its aboriginal people

I found the announcement in a state newspaper. A google news search turns up more.
The Rudd Labor government will formally say sorry to members of the indigenous stolen generation when federal parliament resumes in Canberra next month.Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will deliver the apology on February 13, more than 10 years since the Bringing Them Home human rights report recommended the government say sorry for the policy of removing indigenous children from their parents.It will be the first item of business for the new parliament.An Aboriginal welcome to country ceremony will take place as part of the opening proceedings for parliament the day before. -The AgeFor background information I recommend watching Rabbit Proof Fence which I reviewed two years ago..

Love on Spring Break: Song of Songs 2:8-17

This is a continuation of the Song of Songs series. This is a look at 2:8-17, Lover takes Beloved with him on spring break for physical and emotional love making. Italics indicate the NET Bible assumption of who is talking. All Bible quotes from the NET.

The Beloved about Her Lover:
2:8 Listen! My lover is approaching!
Look! Here he comes,
leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills!
2:9 My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the window,
peering through the lattice.

In the previous verse Beloved warns the maidens not to awaken love until it so desires. It seems that Lover has desired and is coming to visit. There is a sound he makes that excites her. It probably isn’t a gastro-intestinal sound either. Perhaps it is the sound of his royal chariot. He is undeterred by the obstacles that hinder his goal of her company. She has waited for him and he comes to find her at full throttle. As mentioned earlier, gazelles and young stags a…

Christian Apologetics Search

A cool Google mash up by my friend Anton, . It currently searches 13 apologetic sites with more coming.

3000 year old guide on love and romance: Songs 2:4-7

This is a continuation of the Song of Songs series. This is a look at 2:4-7, Beloved's amazing time with Lover and her exhortation to the maidens of Jerusalem. Italics indicate the NET Bible assumption of who is talking. All Bible quotes from the NET.

The Beloved about Her Lover:

2:4 He brought me into the banquet hall,
and he looked at me lovingly.

Lover is at work in his romancing. "Banquet hall" is a translation option. As the NET Bible notes a literal translation is “house if wine.” Now “house of wine” can refer to a vineyard. Back in 1:14 she referred to the vineyards in the oasis of En Gedi and this location has provided a source of the recent foliage and flower poetry. Thus, perhaps, we are not at a new location but still in the vineyard. She could be saying, “He brought me to the vineyard…” which fits in with the metaphorical activity before these verses and the explicit activity forthcoming. Regardless of location her husband is gazing at her with love. The traditio…

Yurts and domes

I've been thinking how all the yurts top out at 30' diameters. That must be approaching their strength limit. But I know domes can be much larger. So I searched for portable dome homes and found Pacific Domes. The website isn't too helpful but their blog is better. They offer a 44' diameter dome with more headroom. It can be built in a day. Cool.

3000 year old guide on love and romance

This is a continuation of the Song of Songs series. This is a look at 2:1-3, a short interchange between Beloved and her Lover. The entire series can be found here. Italics indicate the NET Bible assumption of who is talking. All Bible quotes from the NET.

The previous verses left them laying together intimately under the cedars. As she adores the nature around them she notices the flowers…

The Beloved to Her Lover:
2:1 I am a meadow flower from Sharon,
a lily from the valleys.

Remember her self-confidence? She believes her Lover’s compliments and abides in them. Yet she doesn’t overshoot and step into vanity. She considers herself one flower among a meadow. Not that a flower is any less beautiful because it keeps company with a million others. Sharon is a well watered area and vegetation including flower meadows would be found there. The NET Bible notes a proposal for the sole member of the lily family that grows in Palestine, Israel’s chamomile.
There is a neat photography blog called the…

interesting Huckabee quotes

A visit to is probably worth your time.

Yurt and Cinema review: Cave of the Yellow Dog

This is a great Mongolian story filmed by a German. It is subtitled. It is about a family's life in their yurt on the Mongolian steppe as they tend their ponies and sheep and hybrid wolf/dog puppy discovered by the young daughter. My family and I watched it last spring but I didn't think of reviewing it until my dear wife noted the connection to my yurt post. Towards the end of the movie the family disassembles their yurt for the move to greener pastures. It is all very fascinating. The interview with the director on the DVD is great. This isn't filmed with actors. It's a Mongolian family who let her film their real lives but also pretend with some dramatic elements to make a story arc. The film's website in english is here. There is also a wiki entry
Not related to the movie, but I have friends who lived in a yurt with their 3 children for a year while they built their house. They own a small local farm and call the yurt their future farm stand. After they moved …

Alternative housing research rundown

As this blog demonstrates, I have researched many many alternative construction methods and techniques. Since land around here is so expensive I've been looking at ways to bring the cost of construction down. Here's the list

Straw bales.
Good: bales are cheap and renewable and DIY
Bad: Humid summers might be a problem. Plastering 3 layers inside and out is a 2nd job. Eventually, the per square foot cost vs. benefits is about the same as a regular house. Mice sometimes move into the walls.

Good: great insulation
Bad: steep learning curve for builders. sometimes the skin, which is strustural, gets wet and delaminates. Quality control by mfrs has been hit-or-miss. per square foot cost vs. benefits is about the same as a regular house. Mice sometimes move into the walls.

Good: External disaster proof. Quiet. Very insulated.
Bad: Fires turn house into crematorium. Concrete and rebar are expensive. Concrete production makes too much greenhouse gas. Additions and adaptations are …

Iriquois communists in the 17th century America

This quote from The Ambiguous Iroquois Empire by Francis Jennings, 1984 shows the contrast in the economic cultures of the native americans and the invaders.
In European cultures, wealth could be transformed into capital and so breed more wealth. But Indian cultures resisted formation of capital because of their strong sharing ethic. Among Indians, wealth was accumulated only briefly by individuals, and quickly passed on. Indians of the early trading era did not become rich. (80) As an aside, Jennings illustrates this contrast elsewhere with the picture of tribal chiefs sharing in his people's poverty and going without as much as his people are without unlike any "civilized" king across the Atlantic. Imagine, a servant-king.

The net effect of Indian appetites for European implements, weapons, cloth, and that luxury firewater was to make Indians dependent on trade and therefore on European trading partners. Of late there have been efforts to psychoanalyze those Indians to …

cinema review: Cloverfield

I saw a fun movie last night, Cloverfield. It is rightly rated PG-13. The frights and carnage are a little tough at times. But it was like a great roller coaster ride. It was a 90 minute ride with a 15-20 minute climb to introduce the characters then it started to pick up speed then it plunged at 5g's and we were gripping our seats. It was also like a roller coaster ride because it is viewed through a character's personal video camera. I sat toward the back of the theater so that I wouldn't get seasick as some reviewers warned about. When you are in a panic because a giant monster is destroying your city you aren't very steady with your camera. The monster is similar to the insect in Men In Black, but 10 times bigger, and like the better fright movies, you mostly glimpse it. The best frights are unknown, where the audiences' imagination does most of the heavy lifting. One of my favorite monster movies is the first Alien because the viewer is as clueless as the char…

book report: The Shack by William Young

I read a pretty good book the other night in one sitting. The Shack is more novella than novel. It attempts to address the problem of evil in a dialog between a grieving father and God as Trinity at the site of his daughter's murder, a shack, hence the title. It's opening and ending are gripping but the middle gets bogged down a bit. There are some flashes of really great writing. My favorite is As the word echoed in the chamber, panic rose inside Mack like a swelling tide and slowly he sank into his chair. Instantly he felt guilty, as memories spilled through his mind like rats fleeing the rising flood. (157) I have one more. This is more of a theologically appealing passage. Mack's chest and muscles instinctively tightened. He didn't like remembering Josh and the canoe, and the sense of panic that suddenly rushed back from the memory.
"It's extremely hard to rescue someone unless they are willing to trust you."
"Yes, it sure is."

French approach to mixed marriages in 1600s Americas

This quote from The Ambiguous Iroquois Empire by Francis Jennings, 1984 provides wonderful insight on how the French could pull tremendous resources from North America with a small population of French. The secret is dropping racist thinking.

With a very small resource of ethnically French population, the French colonies amplified their manpower by tolerating and assimilating the children of intersocial liaisons. These offspring of mixed unions became especially valuable in the basic French strategy of controlling large native populations by planting a network of forts and trading posts among them. By the end of the seventeenth century the French had created and mastered a politico-economic empire extending over the vast regions of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes environs, precisely the territories where the bulk of commercial peltry originated. (79)

MLK day 2008

See my 2006 and 2007 posts.
Here's a round up of MLK posts from my favorite blogs.
St. Paul's has a few videos and another one and another one.
John Piper notes King's most powerful words in Letter from a Birmingham JailPerhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dart of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six- year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is close…

Top 10 posts 3rd week Jan 2008

These posts are my favorites from my travels around the blogs. They appear in the shared feeds section all week here at the Umblog, or you can bookmark this page, or add it to your feeds with the RSS link.

1-The Tall Skinny Kiwi broke down the 5 models of the emerging church back in the last century and now he's reposting his analysis, which is good fun. Enjoy.

2-A widow describes her painful transition with and without the church's help at Christianity Today.

3-The white wife of a bi-racial couple describes the racism her husband lives with constantly, in the context of Obama's pastor's Afro-centrist stand.

4-I blogged about induction stoves before. Here is one person's new and pleasant experience with his own.

5-A Canadian journalist defends his right before a government agent to publish the controversial Mohammed cartoons.

6-A conversation with the boys on their bikes by a Christian who wants to know what the good news is that they are restoring.

7-A yurt kit that can …

Book report: The Ambiguous Iroquois Empire by Francis Jennings 1984

This is the best opening paragraphs on the invasion of America I've ever read from The Ambiguous Iroquois Empire by Francis Jennings, 1984.

The first massive fact about the European invasion of America is that physical contact between the societies of the two continents took place almost wholly on American soil. Only a handful of visitors traveled from the Americas to Europe, and most of those went involuntarily. Europe had the initiative, and Europeans never had to worry about retaliatory invasion from America.
The North and South American frontiers differed significantly therefore from the engagement of peoples in the Old World, where Christian Europeans faced Muslim Asiatics and Africans who could and did send massive invasions into Europe. The Spaniards who sailed with Columbus had inherited the seven hundred-year tradition of the Reconquest of Spain from the Moors. The implications of the difference between Old World frontiers and those of the New World have never been …

Why does Huck support the confederate flag in SC?

Here's one article, and a quote
"Governor Huckabee understands that all the average guy with a Confederate flag on his pickup truck is saying is he's proud to be a Southerner," the ad states. "Mike Huckabee understands we value our heritage and why."The flag, long seen as a symbol of racism by some and as an emblem of Southern pride by others, once flew atop the Capitol in South Carolina. A 2000 compromise removed it from the dome, though it remains on the Statehouse grounds and flies next to a Confederate soldier memorial.Campaigning in South Carolina on Thursday, Huckabee said the government should stay out of disputes over the Confederate flag."You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag," Huckabee told supporters in Myrtle Beach, S.C. "In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell 'em what to do with the pole, that's what we'd d…

Song of Songs 1:12-17 The idiot's guide to flirting with your spouse

I'm using the NET Bible. Their headings are in italics.
The Beloved about Her Lover:
1:12 While the king was at his banqueting table,
my nard gave forth its fragrance.
Perhaps Beloved is relating a past experience. She reveals her method of non-contact, long-acting foreplay. It helps to understand what “nard” is. The NET note indicates it is an aromatic drug from a Himalayan plant used as a perfume of seductive charms. So this was an imported perfume with erotic implications. She spent her money on the good stuff and then she left at his dinner table a suggestive fragrance to distract him the entire banquet. She is creative and determined in her goal of sleeping with him. Remember, competition exists to get in Solomon’s bedtime schedule, and she is playing to win.

1:13 My beloved is like a fragrant pouch of myrrh
spending the night between my breasts.
Again, the NET notes are big help here.
It was an expensive luxury item, which had to be imported into Israel. In liquid form it could be c…

Now this is what a bike should be...Green Machine

Flevobike is an outfit in the Netherlands. It has come up with a fully suspended, short wheelbase recumbent bicycle with disc brakes and an internal chain and an internal gear hub. Unfortunately, it costs 3400 euros and is not available on this side of the Atlantic ocean yet. What a beauty though.

I've been biking on my upright Trek while my recumbent is getting a tune-up and my rear end is so sore. It's hard to go back once you've experienced a recumbent. Nevertheless, my recumbent can not handle the ice on part of ride but what skinny tire road bike could. But there are recumbent trikes....

building houses in Alaska

Alaska has an extreme sub-Arctic rainforest climate. It's a tough place to build a house. What is learned in Alaska will be helpful to other cold climates. Turns out there is a Cold Climate Housing Research Center associated with the University of Alaska. They even developed a wall system, dubbed REMOTE (pdf), which is a stick-built system. There is more info than I can digest in one sitting. Enjoy.

See my other posts on conservation and houses.

Illegal immigration

Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.
- Robert Orben

Song of Songs 1:5-11 - Erotic Poetry in the Bible

(New English Translation- Song of Songs chapter 1 - italics are NET suggestions)

The Beloved to the Maidens:

1:5 I am dark but lovely, O maidens of Jerusalem,

dark like the tents of Qedar,

lovely like the tent curtains of Salmah.

1:6 Do not stare at me because I am dark,

for the sun has burned my skin.

My brothers were angry with me;

they made me the keeper of the vineyards.

Alas, my own vineyard I could not keep!
After deflecting the compliments of the maidens toward Solomon, Beloved, puts her attention on these city girls. Solomon’s first wife was an Egyptian princess (1 Kings 3:1). According to 1 Kings 11:1 his “love” extended to women of many nations, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and perhaps Sheba. Perhaps he liked variety, and surely the selcted came from upper class if not royalty, but Beloved feels the need to assert her skin color and difficult family history and she comes out swinging. “Yes I am dark, but my darkness is lovely, so quit staring!” Presumably their staring was the …

Awesome adult-scale treehouses

'From a sphere to a 6000 sf empire with a 120 seat restaurant here.

See my other posts onhouses.

awesome house builders

This couple was committed to the extreme to be as ecologically considerate as they could and they explain most of their choices. I also like that they built a round house from Deltec Homes. Visit the Round House of Millerton now. Read a short article about their philosophy and round house here.

See my other posts on conservation and houses.

Song of songs: Erotic poetry in the Bible, introduction

1:1 Solomon’s Most Excellent Love Song.
The Desire for LoveThe Beloved to Her Lover:
1:2 Oh, how I wish you would kiss me passionately!
For your lovemaking is more delightful than wine.
1:3 The fragrance of your colognes is delightful;
your name is like the finest perfume.
No wonder the young women adore you!
1:4 Draw me after you; let us hurry!
May the king bring me into his bedroom chambers!

The Maidens to the Lover:
We will rejoice and delight in you;
we will praise your love more than wine.

The Beloved to Her Lover:
How rightly the young women adore you!

(NET) (italicized parts are editorial additions)

I don’t know if this is foreshadowing, aspiration, or flashback, but it is intense. The intensity of it suggests experience. Can someone assume the exceptional lovemaking of another? She doesn’t compare his abilities to another man, but to wine.*

This love story starts with Beloved’s longing. She violates so many conservative Christian dating guides. It’s almost as if she is initiating. That rocks …

New series for January: erotic poetry in the Bible

Only a month left until Valentine's Day so I'm going to look at the erotic poetry of the Bible found in The Song of Songs. Many people worship sex, but I worship the God who invented intimacy in all its dimensions emotional, spiritual, and physical. It gets pretty steamy in those eight chapters but some stuff can be hard to understand in the 21st century. Is it compliment to compare your husband to an apple tree (2:3)? Was he scoring points when he compared her hair to a flock of goats (4:1)? Hopefully, we will figure some of these things out.

Forgiveness and reconciliation at New Life Church, Colorado

Great news at CNN, Killer's parents hug, cry with parents of 2 slain teens
The pastor said he invited the Murrays to visit the New Life campus after praying over the holidays. The family immediately accepted his invitation and was given a guided "step-by-step" tour of where the rampage took place and shown where their son died. "It was extremely emotional. They wanted to hear the details. I kept telling them I would stop with details, but they wanted to hear them," he told CNN in a phone interview this week. At one point, the parents also met with security guard Jeanne Assam, who shot their son in the leg before he turned his gun on himself. The parents thanked Assam for her swift action and for helping save more lives, said Casey Nikoloric, a Murray family spokeswoman and long-time friend. "They told Assam that they were so deeply sorry she had to do what she did," said Nikoloric. "There were tears, lots of embraces, prayers."The visit, she…

last quote from The Last Days of the Incas

This last quote from The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie makes a connection for me to Kiernan's Blood and Soil (see those book reports and quotes) whose thesis was that conquerors justified genocide on the need to return the conquered society to an agricultural idyll. MacQuarrie adds to this the thought that economics drove this idyll. Conquerors need a peasant class to provide abundant tribute without complaint. As Kiernan pointed out though, an agricultural society wasn't worth keeping if it was subsistence based and content with their lives (Irish or native American), which disqualify it from being "civilized." Peasants are subservient, and the conquered cultures who weren't subservient were crushed. This is what Pizarro did to the Incas.

The behavior of Pizarro and his entourage had thus far followed standard conquest procedure. First, evidence of a native empire had to be discovered. First, evidence of a native empire had to be discovered, one civil…

uprising because of depredations

One last quote from MacQuarrie's The Last Days of the Incas. I highly recommend this book. It has received positive reviews on Amazon for good reason.

The context for this quote is the plea of the Incan people to throw off the yoke of the Spaniards, Manco was their king. 

“We cannot spend out entire lives in such great misery and subjection [while being] treated even worse than the Spaniards’ black slaves,” they told Manco. “Let us rebel once and for all and die for our liberty, and for our children and wives, who every day they take from us and abuse.” (178)

The amazing thing about this quote is its timelessness. Hence the non-specific title for this post. This could be said by native americans or irish or palestinians.

See my other posts on atrocities, human rights, genocide, history and book reports.

Hesco wall house

Remember gabions? Hesco walls are gabions for the 21st century. They were developed for protection in Iraq or Afghanistan. Basically they are steel mesh boxes with heavy duty fabric. But the cool thing is that they can be used for housing. Perhaps not in the luxurious sense, but what is intended for disaster shelters could be made into something more permanent. They call it the R-house. It has a translucent tent for a roof, to let in light, since there are no windows in this design, which is great for warm climate life.
The walls are 18" thick and filled with local dirt and rocks. With a real roof, they claim it is a 30 year structure. If nothing else, it would make a great garage or workshop.
See other posts on houses and conservation.

cinema review: Super Size Me

I really don't mind being late to trendy things. Time lets those trends percolate and refine and determine if the hype was worth it. Four years after this documentary's release, Super Size Me, is still a great view. Turns out I could have watched it a long time ago because it is entirely on-line at Google Video. However, I decided against embedding it as there are some inappropriate segments and language for all ages. In case you forgot or never heard, a healthy guy with a vegan chef girlfriend is intrigued by a lawsuit filed against McDonalds by two overweight, adolescent girls. He was intrigued and wondered if McDonalds was actually damaging their customers' health for a profit. Since the restaurants offer breakfast, lunch and dinner he figured he'd eat all three meals there every day for thirty days. In short, it was physically disastrous for his body. He gained 16 pounds in 30 days that took 9 months to lose. His physician begged him to stop early because his live…

Book report: The Last Days of the Incas by MacQuarrie

This is a great anecdote about contrasting missionary approaches in Kim MacQuarrie's book, The Last Days of the Incas.

…when Friar Garcia learned that the emporer had more than one wife, “the servant of God castigated him [Titu Cusi] with apostolic zeal.” Apparently, the zeal of the apostles not only went unappreciated by the emperor, but greatly annoyed him as well.
Friar Diego Ortiz, by contrast, was much more relaxed in his missionary style and, as a consequence, Titu Cusi is said to have taken an immediate liking to him. Unlike his compatriot, Ortiz was affable and flexible and generally more congenial. Within a short while, two tiny Christian churches began to operate in the Incas’ hidden kingdom… (360)

Later on the two priests set ablaze an Inca shrine, which got the zealous friar kicked out of the Inca capitol, but the more congenial, Ortiz, was allowed to stay. However, Ortiz died a martyr’s death shortly thereafter in retribution for the offense. There must be a lesson in th…

Resolution report: Read your Bible

Last year, I resolved to read my Bible through 4 times. In the first quarter, I borrowed a copy of Reese's Chronological Bible, divided the number of pages by 90, and read 18 pages a day, in King James english no less. It went really well. In the second quarter I divided the number of pages in my NET bible by 90 and read 22 pages a day. That also went well. I spiced the 3rd quarter up a bit by reading the Old Testament through in the Jewish traditional order and the new Testament through in an author-clustered order. In the fourth quarter, I read the NET bible for the third time. I read 12 chapters a day, enough to get through the entire book in 90 days. But, instead of waiting 2 months to get through the OT before reaching the NT I interleaved the NT after the Pentateuch. Then some more OT, then some more NT, then the wheels came off the bus. I didn't finish it a fourth time. I got really, really busy. I recommend everyone read through the Bible. I'm following through the

Earth Sheltered Home research

As I was reading Phelan's Homesteading Neophyte blog I found her links to earth sheltered houses and ended up at this woman's site who has tons of research links. Cool stuff.

Weight loss and the New Year

Can a picky eater slow down weight gain? Well not if the eatings picked are full of fat and sugar. However, this past year, since Lent, I tried a reduced animal protein diet. Specifically, for Lent, I gave up meat. This was something all new for me. I never practiced a Lenten fast before. Yet, I had never been old enough before to see higher cholesterol levels in my physical. I run barefoot and I didn't have my recumbent bike then, see my ice bike story.
I didn't give up fish or dairy products (or insects). So that makes me an icthy-ovo-lacto-ento-vegetarian. In the beginning, I ate rice and beans at dinner almost every night and a whole grain cereal for breakfast such as Ezekiel 4:9 brand with almond or rice milk. I learned how to use my pressure cooker and tried all sorts of spices to provide variety. I also practiced eating when I was hungry, but only small portions at a time. I lost weight. I kept the fast for the most part after Lent, except for the roasted lamb on Easter.…

Common threads in genocide

Two quotes MacQuarrie uses in The Last Days of the Incas that pretty much explain all genocides.

As God and my conscience are my witnesses, it was evident to all concerned that it was only because of this maltreatment that the peoples of Peru were finally provoked into revolt and took up arms against the Spanish, as, indeed, they had every cause to do. For the Spanish never treated them squarely, never honored any of the undertakings they gave, but rather set about destroying the entire territory, for no good reason and without any justification, and eventually the people decided that they would rather die fighting than put up any longer with what was being done to them. Friar Marcos de Niza, Order of the Franciscans, 1535, in Bartolome de Las Casas A short account of the destruction of the Indies (165)

Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed, for it you merely offend them they take vengeance, but if you injure them greatly they are unable to retaliate, so that the injury d…

book report: The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie

Last summer I tried reading William Prescott's The Conquest of Peru (published in 1847) and almost made it halfway through before my lending period from the library ended. I decided not to renew, not that it was a bad account, but there was so much more to read at the library. Little did I know that a new account of the Incas had come out at that very time, and, it turns out, it is quite an engrossing read.

The Last Days of the Incas, Kim MacQuarrie, 2007, has almost everything I want out of a history book except for more maps and a table of maps. One of my favorite features in his book is the opening of chapters with fantastic quotes, some of which I will share over the next couple days. This first quote explains why religion has very little influence on conquerors, even Christian ones, in my opinion.

For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretenses – either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong …

Solar garden shed heats your house

Perhaps you fear going solar will make your house stand out like a geek's sore thumb. But what if you only geeked out your shed? Gary Reysa lives in Montana and heats his house at night with water heated up in his solar garden shed, and the shed even holds tools and gardening junk. Here is a nice article in Mother Earth News, and the dirty details at his web site, Build It Solar.
See other posts on houses and conservation.