A scientist finds God

I really enjoyed this article about Francis Collins.  I was impressed once again by the beautiful creations of God, and how scientific discovery can help build, rather than hinder, our faith in Him.  I really enjoyed Brother Johnson’s talk in General Conference, in which he spoke about science.  He said that scientist do not create the laws they observe, they only discover them.  Science helps us reach a new level of living, much as religion helps us rise to a higher spiritual level.

Whatever your beliefs are, I think you have to respect Dr. Collins on some level.  He has helped revolutionize our understanding of the human Genome, as the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute.  He has also found God in his life.  I look forward to reading his book!  I’ll let you guys know if it’s any good.

Dr. Francis Collins Finds God

The Journey of Life

As you might have seen in Kjirsti’s lovely photo mosaic, we went to Houston.  I found the trip so inspiring, as I think texans really do a good job at trying to enjoy life.  I had a great talk with a fellow in the library, who’s retired, and studies “drilling mechanics” in his free time.  Many people in houston gave me the impression that they were happy with life. And then, this morning, I came across a lovely little animation, that I hope you all like.  It’s a age-old lesson, but one I always have to remind myself of. Enjoy! 



A lot of people have been asking about podcasts lately. They are completely FREE and a great way to fill commutes. They work on ipods, as well as other mp3 players (though I have an iPod, so I can’t help you with other stuff.)

The idea is that you subscribe to the podcast with a computer program which checks for new episodes. I use iTunes. If you have an mp3 player, you can update your podcasts every time you plug your player in. The problem with iTunes is that it only syncs with iPods. If you have another brand, I’ve heard that Juice is your best bet: Juice . Then, all you need are podcast feeds. Here are the ones I’m subscribed to:

quirks and quarks: Canadian show on recent scientific findings Website || Subscribe

the economist A good analysis of what’s going on in the world Website || Subscribe

lds voices Church Talks Website || Subscribe

linux reality The show that taught me linux Website || Subscribe

lsat logic A princeton review podcast on analyzing a current event’s logical qualities. Not advanced stuff, but still interesting. Website || Subscribe

mclaughlin group You may have already heard of this. A weekly bantering between four- five pundits. Pat Buchanon is a regular. Website || (not sure if this will work) Subscribe

NPR car talk call of the week these guys are hilarious Website || Subscribe

NPR intelligence squared Oxford styled debates about different topics Website || Subscribe

NPR movies cause I never have time to actually go to the movies Website || Subscribe

NPR Satire from the unger report Pretty funny satirical essays not sure about this link: Website || Subscribe

NPR science friday Website || Subscribe

NPR wait, wait don’t tell me game show about current events Website || Subscribe

President’s Weekly Radio Address Actually listening to the president over the last year has actually made me like him more. I think more Americans should try listening to this. Website || Subscribe

Security Now A great show on network/computer security Website || Subscribe

Short Cummings Audio Funny essayist on just the normal things of every day life. A lot like Dave Barry. Website || Subscribe

60-Second Science Website || Subscribe

podiobooks website full of new, free audiobooks released in individual chapters Website

I’m a sci-fi geek, and some of my podiobook sci-fi favorites have been:

Quartershare: A sort of horatio hornblower for a freight ship of the future

Singularity: American secret service tries to stop a russian plot (which involves a singularity) to retake their place of honor.

Badge of Infamy: An medical doctor becomes a pariah because of saving a man’s life against the Medical Boards wishes (He’s sent to mars)

How to succeed in evil: Reveals the idiocy behind all of those super villians we are often entertained by.

Dance Away Your Worries

I came across this blog post on President Bush’s impressive dancing abilities. After hearing, and often pronouncing criticism of him, I have to say that I’ve actually grown to like the man. Though I can’t say I agree with all of his decisions and view points, I don’t agree with the demonizing of the man I’ve witnessed recently. I think what really tipped the scale was realizing that HE CAN DANCE! For all of you who have thought of bush as a stuffy sort of guy, check out this video:

Okay, I didn’t say he could dance well!So when you’re the president of something, and it is financially failing, outstretched in resources, and your approval rating is ~19%, the best medicine, is doing the rumba!


We had a fun time this afternoon going through Kjirsti’s photojournals of her childhood.  It’s incredible to me how little I actually know about her.  She’s full of stories, surprises and hidden talents.  It caused me to wonder how little I really know about all the people around me, even though I spend time with the same people everyday.

I attended a priesthood leadership meeting this evening, and was really inspired to alleviate my utter lack of leadership skills.  I really enjoyed the emphasis the counselor made on helping people set their own goals, rather than setting goals for them.  Kjirsti and I often set personal goals, and sometimes, set goals together.  Often, I try to set goals for her (such as making cookies more often, or watching more movies with me) but her personal goals are nearly always more helpful to her.  I think a good leader helps a person recognize their own potential, and support that increase in effort, rather than enforcing the leader’s standards.

For all those LDS readers, check out new.familysearch.org It’s incredible! You need your membership number and confirmation date.  They have linked the historic sites in our ancestors lives to google maps, and you can track where our great-great-great grandparents were born, got married, and died.  They really did a great job.

Did you know that the italian prime minister lost a no-confidence vote last week?  Italy no longer has a prime minister!

I’ve been following the primaries in my free time lately.  I am not really completely satisfied with any candidate in particular.  Here’s my current views on the republican candidates:


Pros: Good example of family life (I know, Nixon was tauted the same way).  I agree with his moderate view on pro-life, and can understand his flip-flopping.  I agree with him on many moral issues.  If we really are in a recession, he has demonstrated economic prowess.

Cons:He seems a little too slick.  I know that is superficial, but he seems more like a CEO than a  president.  He wants to place bugs in american, islamic mosques.  He wants to expand Guantanamo.  He has spoken out on expanding citizen surveillance.


Cons: He seems like a thug.


Pros: McCain believes in making the treatment of prisoners’s more humane.  He does not support Bushs runaway increase in citizen surveillance.  He’s got an amazing life story.  I feel like he’s the only candidate that represents himself honestly.  It seems like I know what I’m getting with him.

Cons: The world is changing, and I’m not sure he is keeping up. He supports the expansion of the death penalty.

I’ll do my views on the democrats later on.  I’d love to hear your views, which you can add in the comments.  It is an exciting year for elections.  My prediction is that it’s going to be a Romney, Clinton, Ron Paul race.  First mormon, first woman, or first libertarian for president.  I think Obama and McCain still have a shot though, we’ll see how things go on super tuesday.

Tom’s still alive!

I know, I haven’t blogged on here in a while; Kjirsti is doing such
a great job keeping everyone updated, I haven’t felt like I had much to
add. However, much to my loss, she is out of town for the week visiting
the fam, so it’s my turn.

The biggest news for me is I just presented my first poster. Kinda silly really, but it was an interesting way to present everything I’ve been doing for six months on a 3 foot by 4 foot poster. They printed me off 2 accidentally, so I guess I have one to ….ummm…. I don’t know what to do with an extra poster. Any ideas?

Here it is:

Not bad, eh?

So, I woke this morning with a list of ~50 items. It’s Saturday, and I didn’t want to have one of those terrible satrudays that is more stressful than weekdays. So, per my mom’s advice, I made a game of it. I know, sounds childish, but I used dice from the game “settlers”, and used the dice to decide what I did next. You roll between a barbarian and a castle; on barbarian I did something I didn’t want to do; on castle, I did something I liked. I’ve scrubbed the toilet, fixed a doorhandle, emailed my PhD committee, but I’ve also completed a nytimes crossword puzzle (with help; those are hard!) played a game of computer chess, went for a run in 10 degree weather, and went to the library. Turns out, it was a wonderful day. All comes down to the mindset I guess.

My friend Steve got me hooked on Inspector Morse, a british mini-series. Not sure if any one else out there has seen it, but it is really good! Our public library has nearly every one.

I also started the Wicked audiobook. Some of it is quite crude, not what I expected, but it is starting to shape into quite an interesting story. Hopefully it will continue on this new vein. Just wanted to warn any of you who wanted to start listening to it.


Kjirsti has been doing such a good job at this blog, I thought it was about time I added my own thoughts.

My work has been going quite well, I’ve been working with monkeys and computers, a hysterical mix. It is surprising how smart they are. You just need to be two steps ahead of them in everything. I love feeding them bananas and apples. They sometimes store the food in their cheeks when they are satisfied, and want to save it for later.

Oberlin is still a lovely place to live. As you’ve probably already read, we’ve been having a great time cooking, decorating, and setting up this website. We like how our sister in-law changes her theme every season, and we’d like to try the same.

I met an astronaut a few weeks ago, and it really inspired me. I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut, and though it’s more likely I’ll become the next tsar of Russia than become an astronaut, it inspired me to not write off my dreams that easily. Did you know the average astronaut candidate is ~40? I was surprised. My friend Brady informed I’ll probably have to part with my appendix and spleen. I say, “Good Riddance!”

tutalemmaI’ll try to add a picture to each entry. This comes from the Astronomy Picture of the Day . It is an annalemma; a picture of the sun taken every few weeks at the same time at the same place. This one was made in Turkey, and if you look closely, you can see an eclipse. Pretty cool!

I love you all!