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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for our Thanksgiving mythology

It is no myth that the Wampanoag tribe had a feast with the Pilgrims. They could have wiped them out. Instead they broke bread with them at the Pilgrim's tables. The hosts were the guests. After that, the relationship got complicated. Eventually, the guests became invaders and land thieves and the hosts hit back violently and almost drove the guests all out during King Philip's War, see my previous report here. It's not our proudest moment. But what I like about this holiday of Thanksgiving is that we remember our neighborly time and not our victory. For all the accusations of belligerence made toward our country, the veracity of which I am not commenting on, one of our national, non-religious holidays is in honor of peace. It's non-religious in that even the non-religious can celebrate it without some counter expression and it is not derived from a feast on any religious calendar. Certainly, it's religious for me, and many other Americans. I'm thankful to God for all He has blessed me with. But I'm also thankful to be a citizen of a country that has a feast day to celebrate gratitude and hospitality.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

self-control is maturity

Tonight I started reading Blomberg and Kamell's commentary on James for a future book report. It's really good so far. But one part really stood out at me for what they said so succintly, something I tried to say over three blog posts last year about self-control as a marker of Christian growth. As part of the commentary on James 1:4, And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, they write,
James describes this work as "perfect" or "complete"...This expression can denote not only perfection but maturity, as frequently in the OT with the Hebrew equivalent tamim. Both meanings seem intended here: we can aspire to maturity in this lifetime, but we will ultimately attain perfection in the eschaton. As believers, we must constantly strive for perfection, even while knowing that we will never fully reach it until our resurrection and glorification. p. 50
Previously they wrote about endurance or steadfastness that "this is not a passive virtue but a steady clinging to the truth within any situation...In short, 'patience is faith stretched out.'" p.49

One of my struggles is pride. I am a proud man and frequently perceived as arrogant. That does not resemble Jesus. I need to repent frequently. I think progress for me is repenting sooner rather than later. But if I'm not controlling it, maybe I do once in awhile, but at least repenting of it sooner, I'm maturing, which is a good thing. Lord, help me grow up.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

inexpensive construction materials mash-up

Renaissance Ronin guest posts Green-Trust.org and combines two really great low construction methods at Can you REALLY live inside a steel shipping container? | Green-Trust.Org
As a shipping container guy, he starts with the container. But then talks about giving it wings using roofing and earthen walls, specifically earth bags, but why not compressed earth blocks or rammed earth? Alex gives his "elevator speech" below. His $10 e-book is worth every penny too.

Basic ISBU rules;

* You CANNOT bury a container!

You cannot just pile dirt on top of it, either. If you do, it’s called a coffin. That corrugated steel is just to keep weather and bugs out. It doesn’t have the strength required to take that kind of load.

* The insulation goes on the OUTSIDE of the container, unless you’re nuts.

That’s right, I said it. Think about it. WHY make a small place even smaller? Even if you connect ISBUs together to form larger rooms, why rob yourself of living space?

* Use SPF (Spray Foam Insulation) on the outside of the box.

… and then cover it with siding, hardiplank, veneers, bricks, whatever you can find. You’ll thank me later.

SPF Provides insulation, a vapor barrier and a moisture barrier too.

SPF is an acoustic barrier too. Nothing is worse than having to listen to the neighbor’s loud music, or an endless stream of traffic, trains and aircraft.

PLUS, SPF glues everything together stronger than duct tape. THAT helps with shear forces and lateral loads. Shearing and racking for those of you who know about construction.

* OVERINSULATE. Again… you’ll thank me later.

The energy you save will be your own.

* Don’t cantilever or “twist-stack” containers.

ALL the strength in an ISBU is in the end frames – not the side rails. You’ll create point loading disasters. Disasters cost money to fix. Sometimes they cost a LOT of money to fix.

Oh yeah, I know that some of us grew up in the seventies listening to loud music at concerts, (so we’re probably already deaf) but…

* Cutting on shipping containers with metal circular saws or a sawzall is just madness.

Go get a hammer.

Now, go get your piggybank.

Now smash the piggy till his/her guts fall out, collect the shiniest parts, and then go rent a plasma cutter from your local home improvement store., Not only is it much, much faster, it’s going to do a better job.

(And it’s ‘seriously fun’!)

Trying to build a shipping container home using a metal circular saw or a sawzall is done by people who don’t know any better.

* Can you combine ISBUs with other types of alternative home construction?

YES. In fact, we have several projects in the works right now that combine ISBUs with Earthbag technologies, in several different US geographic regions from the Gulf Coast to the High Country.

* Can this be done “affordably?”

Is $50 a square foot “affordable?” That’s typical of what people are paying to build small ISBU homes in the USA, all by their “onesies”.

On my blog we’re talking about a project proposal for Haitian families that suggests that (1) 40′ ISBU shipping container be placed in the center of a building site and then a family could live in it and “build off of it” as time and materials allowed.

This technique is very close to what we have been teaching families for years, In fact, one of our first ISBU homes in 1978 looked (and was built) in just this manner.

Replace those “materials” with earthbags and plaster and you’ve just built a ‘massive’ home with your own hands for pennies on the dollar. Dirt and poly bags aren’t that expensive. In fact, I bet you have dirt in your yard… right?

Teamed with really talented guys like Steve Spence and Owen Geiger, I intend to help families do just that.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

software review: Logos 4 Bible software

Software review: Logos 4
Back in the early 00's I bought a lot of Bible software from many providers but most of it came from Logos. I have great resources that run on their 2.0 and 3.0 software. But then I returned to the cult of the mac, and all those CD's sat neglected in a cardboard box for years. I considered buying Accordance, but I could not afford to buy the same digitized information formatted for another OS. The internet has narrowed the gap on many of these resources, I really like the NET Bible's site, but most of the material I have on these CD's is still copy write protected and not legally available for free. I did buy VMWare Fusion to emulate windows on my Macs, but it never really worked well, almost like dial up internet (slow as molasses), so I never really used all that good stuff except when I was desperate. Logos 4 is the newest version of their software and it works on Macs and Windows. Logos promises to always provide free software upgrades. So I did it. I downloaded the free version of Logos 4 and eventually figured out how to sync my licences and now I have all my stuff working on my Mac.

But there's more than just an abundance of resources at my finger tips. I was given a hand-me-down Dell laptop running Vista, and so I have Logos 4 on this one as well. The neat thing is that I can be studying something and clipping notes and building a file on one computer, close it, and if I resume working on the other computer, all those titles and notes are right there. Logos keeps my account synced, no matter which machine I work on. I love it.

But wait there's more. There is an app for the iPod Touch, that allows me to access many of those books and Bibles, but not all yet, online. And if I'm really in need of resources, but at a computer without Logos on it, I can read it those same books online at Biblia. This software has made me a happy Bible camper in both the Mac and Windows world. I'm still glad for the internet, I love Bible Study Tools website, but I also have on my PC, Bibleworks 5, which is on version 8 now, and the Zondervan Bible Reference System, which no longer exists. But they serve special purposes that Logos doesn't do for me. I also have the PC Study Bible, but it doesn't work well with Vista, so I can't use it.

On Logos, I have 177 books to look through when I am studying. And now I can do it on whichever computer is available. Thanks Logos.
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