Things I Think…

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24 Responses

  1. LInn says:

    Michael,
    If I was upset with everything with a pride theme I wouldn’t be able to leave the house in the morning. There are more important things to get upset about. Now, if I were required to post pride anything (like at school), I’d be out the door and gone forever. But, so far, no one has insisted on that. “All are welcome” is not a problem.

    My school is piloting some AI projects. I can see it as a time-saver for general informational items and possibly a great aid for those who cannot speak for themselves (ALS, autistic, stroke victims, etc). I can also see great danger in it (I get those phone calls for seniors…). I think we will eventually learn to live with it, as we have with many other technologies. Almost anything we find good can also be bad-a baseball bat can be a device for a fun game or a lethal weapon; a beneficial pain remedy can also become addictive. It’s part of living with evil in the world.

    Finally, I do not like the Captain No-Funs of the world. They totally miss Timothy’s statement that God has given us all good things to enjoy. I love music, cats, kids, sunny days, teaching, friends who “get” me, worship, Spanish, helping others…I’m not much for sports, but I respect those who enjoy them. Years ago I worked for a non-profit where a local benefactor gave us tickets, ride wrist bands and snack funds for the county fair. The kids just loved it, and I loved the fact that they were so happy. Their parents never had money for the fair. One of my volunteers thought it was a big waste of money. I said that it was good to have fun, and that God had blessed us in a special way. She then told me that her family went to the fair every year in her home town, but her parents refused to spend any money on anything because it was wasteful. I encouraged her to think about God’s blessings, and sometimes they are to bring us joy. I’m not sure I won her over, but I tried.

  2. Phil says:

    Hey Michael,

    AI is interesting on multiple levels, but it’s incredibly biased and rarely accurate. It’s starting to creep into the media realm at an alarming pace, and I’m not sure how good it is.

    There’s my .02 cents, I’ll pay at the door.

  3. Xenia says:

    First!

    Let me see if I can come up with ten of my own:

    1. I am very glad that Lent is over. I had a tough time with it this year. Pascha (Easter) was wonderful as always. After the all-night Liturgy we went home, slept a few hours, and then went to Fr. G’s house for a feast.

    2. After Pascha my husband and I usually spend a few days down at Morro Bay. He plays golf and I noodle around the thrift shops looking for little bits of junk to feed my numerous hobbies. I got some good stuff.

    3. When we got home and picked up the dog from the dog hotel, neither she nor the cat would speak to us for several days. The guinea pigs were very happy to see us, however.

    4. Anybody here familiar with the Wheel of Time series? (The books, not the TV show.) Anyone up for a discussion?

    5. I have been laboring through Isaiah. I usually speed-read the prophets but this time I am reading slowly, trying to milk the text for all it’s worth.

    6. A little boy at church from a family we are close to just lost a kidney to cancer. He’s a sweet little guy and I wish you all would pray for little A.

    7. We are all of us being funneled into buying just about everything from Amazon. I just can’t help but see something sinister in this.

    8. There was a police-involved shooting in town today. A policeman was talking with someone who was getting hostile and his friend began launching rocks at the police with a slingshot, hitting them in the head. The police shot him, not fatally.

    9. I am trying to think of two edifying things to say to wrap up my list but I am stuck….

  4. Xenia says:

    Third!

  5. Captain Kevin says:

    Xenia, praying for Little A.

  6. Captain Kevin says:

    Complaining about lots of Northern Lights pictures. Sheesh! What is there to complain about? Not interested? Just scroll on and let the rest of us enjoy.

  7. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    The thing partisans of AI seem to not get is that if you use AI to make art and save labor and toil you’re missing out on the very things that draw people into music and keep them making music, the labor and toil! For any and every musician you hear there could be a dozen or more people who tried it out and gave up after a few weeks or months because they couldn’t understand this instrument or couldn’t master how to play that song they like or just felt drained by the labor involved in developing slow, incremental mastery of a musical discipline.

    Making music has been one of the joys of my life for a bit more than 30 years. The work itself is fun (most of the time).

    For 10, those kinds of people don’t want to even see my anime and manga collection. 🙂

  8. Alex says:

    Some thoughts of my own on some of your thoughts:
    1. I won’t display pride symbols just as I don’t display Christian symbols. Those are exterior to me. I am trying harder to display the things I hold most precious and most important from an interior place inside myself, practicing and putting into action those things. I no longer believe that homosexuality is against God’s law (as if we really know what God’s law is). It is enough for me to try to practice the one things that I can unequivocally champion as God’s law and that is the law of love. To love is far harder for me to do than to be against; I seem to be a natural againster and not a natural lover.

    2. AI can serve us well if it remains our servant. It is already saving people I know hundreds of hours of coding time; it is fast and accurate. We will need to boundary it; we aren’t even good wit putting up healthy boundaries with other humans so I’m concerned about our ability to do that with intelligent machines.

    4. Technology brought us together, Michael. That and my need for a handful of friends I believed I could trust to hold my heart in my hardest of times. I thank the Holy Spirit for bringing you to me.

    5. “… imperfection” – and this is why AI must be boundaried and why we must be wise in its usage. Are we wise? Hmmm.

    6. I want very little to do with perfect people, or those with all the answers, or guru-types, or leaders who covet to lead, or the falsely humble, or the self-righteous… Give me sinners all day long. That’s where you’ll find Jesus.

    8.9. Life is wonderful and horrible, and sinners know this. And they speak about this. Write music and poetry and stories about this. Create art and invent dances and drumbeats and jazz notes about this. I am done with Christian perfectionism and those that think that everything happens for a reason and is part of God’s plan. No. Terrible awful evil destruction happens, things that are not a part of God’s plan at all, but are a result of either sin or just the simple nature of our world. Most sinners live in this real world of hardness and softness, in this real world of joy and pain, and I count myself amongst them.

    10. I wonder sometimes if my definition of love coincides with many of the Christians I know or read of and their definition of love — the acts I see and the behaviors I notice often belie their words re love, and point to the fact that we are operating on differing definitions of love.
    My current understanding of love, and my attempts to demonstrate it to the people and in the ways that Jesus did is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

    Michael, I love to read your thoughts. Keep doing them, please.

  9. Everstudy says:

    “Complaining about lots of Northern Lights pictures.”

    My only complaint was that we couldn’t see them in So. Cal. Friday was too cloudy and then Saturday I wasn’t in the mood to drive the 2 hours to the high desert.

  10. Dan from Georgia says:

    Northern Lights….saw them alot when I live in Minnesota…so vivid you didn’t need anything more than the naked eye. Just saw them for the first time (my time) here in Dixie. Wonderful. Beautiful. The complainers are just Crabby Christians (if they claim Christ).

    Biographies…last thing I want to read is a biography of some Christian who never struggled, or their only struggle was that they didn’t pray “enough”, never suffered, and they had all the right answers. How boring.

    AI and art…I have a few friends that dabble in AI art. Some of it is cool, but something also doesn’t feel right.

  11. Muff Potter says:

    There will come a time when they rue the day they hatched AI.

  12. Eric says:

    I studied AI as part of computer science in 1999. Back then, AI referred to a wide range of things that today might just be called advanced problem solving. When people talk about AI now it mostly means things involving neural networks, which were about two lectures and one assignment out of that semester.

    That’s right, the basic software ideas behind today’s scary AI existed in 1999 (actually in some form since the 1950s!), but computers weren’t powerful enough to make it into a monster. But by 10 years ago, with more powerful hardware, those systems were able to do much more. With the continuing improvement in hardware and plenty of extra software tricks & tuning, it’s become far more than we students 25 years ago imagined.

    It’s both fun and dismaying to see AI tools write code for me.

  13. R'as al Ghul says:

    Muff Potter @ 8:29 PM,

    I think I saw that in a movie by James Cameron. While we are at it, I should ask for a “Phased Plasma rifle in the 40 watt range.”

  14. Michael says:

    Alex,

    “To love is far harder for me to do than to be against; I seem to be a natural againster and not a natural lover.”
    I struggle mightily with this…or at least I should…

    “I thank the Holy Spirit for bringing you to me.”

    I thank the Spirit for you as well…it seems like I’ve known you a very long time…There are a couple of other folks that I’ve only known here or on Facebook that honestly feel like family to me…

    “Most sinners live in this real world of hardness and softness, in this real world of joy and pain, and I count myself amongst them.”

    If I had money, I would bribe you to write for us…your whole response has been leagues better than what you had to work from…

    ” I wonder sometimes if my definition of love coincides with many of the Christians I know or read of and their definition of love — the acts I see and the behaviors I notice often belie their words re love, and point to the fact that we are operating on differing definitions of love.
    My current understanding of love, and my attempts to demonstrate it to the people and in the ways that Jesus did is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

    This pretty much sums up everything we’re about here, both on the bewilderment and the hope…

    Thank you!

  15. Michael says:

    Dan,

    “Biographies…last thing I want to read is a biography of some Christian who never struggled, or their only struggle was that they didn’t pray “enough”, never suffered, and they had all the right answers. How boring.”

    Not just boring…I will not waste my time reading a long lie…

  16. Michael says:

    Linn,

    “Finally, I do not like the Captain No-Funs of the world. They totally miss Timothy’s statement that God has given us all good things to enjoy.”

    Worse than those folks to me are the ones who have a bunch of hobbies themselves…they just think theirs are holy. They want to tell you what you should like and how to spend your time…and I want to tell them where to go.

  17. Reuben says:

    I think Mother’s Day was the hardest day yet since my wife’s passing. She was an excellent mother. I can’t lie, I contemplated drinking the day away, but I didn’t. I was not nearly as good a father. I hope to be some day.

  18. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    It had to be tough for you.
    You took a big step toward becoming the dad you want to be by staying sober.
    You will be a great father…

  19. Reuben says:

    I think AI is scary. More so than nukes or vaccine zombies. AI could well see how badly we handle ourselves and turn on the problem with force.

  20. Reuben says:

    Thanks Michael

  21. filistine says:

    You bring up some very good thoughts about AI. What “artificial” is better than the real deal? Artificial flavors? Sweeteners? Turf? Body parts? Your thoughts regarding art and music are spot on.

    I feel pretty privileged to have seen both northern lights and total eclipse in the same season. We drove a few miles out of town onto a dark country road for an uninhibited view. Surprisingly, there were quite a few other cars along the same stretch. A state policeman pulled up next to me as I was standing outside my car and he asked, “What is everybody looking at?” He’d been so busy patrolling he’d completely overlooked the phenomena. I was happy he pulled over and spent a few minutes watching.

    Generally, I’m a non-fiction guy and prefer biography, autobios, and history. Lately I’ve read a wide range of fiction books & loved each one–finishing with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy last week. It’s such a long book, one feels like they’ve journeyed along. By the way, every biography is about a sinner. 🙂

  22. R'as al Ghul says:

    Thing thing is “artificial” when used to describe alternative to “natural” or “real” can be a bit of misnomer.

    For example, isoamyl acetate is one of the organic compounds found in bananas that give its scent and flavor. Isoamyl acetate can be prepared by the acid-catalyzed reaction (Fischer esterification) between isoamyl alcohol and glacial acetic acid. When this lab made chemical is added to ethanol to make a solution, it becomes the banana oil artificial flavor.

    Diamonds are another thing. A lab-grown (aka artificial) diamond is exactly the same chemically and structurally as one dug out of the earth. In fact it is a whole lot cheaper and more consistent.
    And no worries about blood diamonds, etc. So yes, “artificial” diamonds are better than the real deal.

  23. Linn says:

    Reuben-my dad had a lot of the issues similar to yours when I was growing up. After I became a Christian, I realized that I am very much like him. I made different choices because of having God in my life, but it also made me more sympathetic towards him. We started having a great relationship (he wasn’t too interested before then) when I was in my mid-40s based on our mutual love of current events, film noir, crossword puzzles, trivia, and puns. He’s not Christian yet (which concerns me because he is almost 92), but we get along well. Keep working hard for your kids…God will bless you for it.

  24. Reuben says:

    Thank you Linn. My father and I only corresponded when discipline was necessary. He was a violent man. I vowed never to be that way with my son. I have never hit him. I did not know how to be a “father”. His mother was above and beyond amazing. She cared for him in ways I didn’t even understand. They were very close.

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