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Everything posted by Vort

  1. Each of our children learned to read in our (primarily) Book of Mormon scripture study. To begin with, they would recognize words by shape, such as "God" and "Lord" and "Jesus". By that time, they knew their alphabet (could recognize letters), so we started teaching them phonics, attaching sounds to letters. My oldest did not read well until shortly after his fifth birthday; his younger siblings, having older brothers to teach them, each began reading at four years old. I went to one son's law school graduation six weeks or so back. He has taken what my wife and I have tried to do and has continued it, improving on it in many places. My older granddaughter was a week or two shy of her third birthday. During family scripture study, this still-two-year-old child read her verses mostly on her own. Not "read", but actually and in truth read, sounding out a couple of words she hadn't previously learned. Soon after we got home from that trip, my son sent me a short video of his now-barely-three-year-old girl reading Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. He said he had read it to her one time the week before, but other than that, she didn't know the book. She sat in his lap and read the whole thing to him out loud. The video is adorable, as she's clearly working out what the words are. Makes me chuckle just thinking about it. tl;dr: Scripture reading is an outstanding way to introduce your child to reading and comprehension. Children are a whole lot smarter than we often realize or give them credit for.
  2. The Korean is the most perfect creature ever to sanctify the earth with the imprint of his foot.
  3. Great question. Sitting here, I could probably do all or at least most of western Europe even without a map. Eastern Europe would be much harder for me. Same with SE Asia; I could name the major places, but even with a map I might not be able to tell Myanmar from Burma*. *(The answer to your question is "Yes".) Africa is where I would fall flat. I'd do okay with northern Africa, but subSaharan Africa is another story. Not sure I'd get half of them right, even with a map outlining the countries.
  4. I forgot Ontario. I mean, I knew that Toronto was in a province, but I couldn't remember the name. That's like forgetting California or New York.
  5. I just tried it and got about half, including the territories. Not impressive.
  6. I actually like the fact that it's not what I expected. If it's really a photograph of Joseph Smith, then he did not look much like I had envisioned, i.e. he didn't look all that much like the Church's visual media has portrayed him. I take some perverse pleasure in being challenged on trivial, unimportant points like this.
  7. Has the Book of Mormon ever been translated into contemporary English? No. Some have tried releasing "contemporary English" versions of the Book of Mormon, and some spellings/punctuation/grammar usage changes have been made, but today's Book of Mormon is essentially what came out of Joseph Smith's mouth. Do foreign language translations try to mimic the idea of using Jacobean English by using an older form of the target language? Not that I can tell. I believe the Spanish Book of Mormon quotes Biblical passages using the Reina-Valera translation, which was originally from the same time period (1602) as the KJV. I suspect the translators might have used a more modern version of the R-V translation, which was done in like 1960. The Italian Book of Mormon that I used on my mission made no obvious attempt to use old-timey-sounding language. I think the newer Italian translation follows the newer French and Spanish translations pretty closely, and it appears to be a much better and more fluid translation than what I used on my mission. I love the Book of Mormon. I love how it's written. I love the language it uses, though I'm not blind to the grammatical and other problems. "Thou" is used throughout, but it seems that "ye" or "you" is often used when "thou" is more appropriate, and on a couple of occasions it seems that "thou" is used when "ye" or "you" is meant. "Wherefore" means "why", e.g. when Shakespeare's version of Juliet says "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?", she means "Why are you Romeo?", and not "Where are you, Romeo?" Some Book of Mormon usage of "wherefore" seems to follow this, but most of the time it seems to mean something like "therefore". The "-eth" suffixes are simply a Jacobean-era pronunciation of the common English third-person singular present active "-s" suffix. Thus "eats" is "eateth", "has" is "hath", "cries" is "crieth", etc. It was used in the London area and was simply a variant lisping pronunciation, though to our modern ears it sounds like an affectation. Some hard-to-understand translations of Isaiah passages were retained in Joseph Smith's rendering. I don't know why, though I have some theories (which are worth approximately what you have paid for them). One I remember is: When speaking about the destruction among the wicked in Israel, Isaiah talks about "dragons in their pleasant palaces". I have come to understand that this means that jackals ("dragons") will prowl among the ruins of destroyed Israel's great public buildings ("pleasant palaces"). But that was hardly obvious to me, or I expect to almost any contemporary English-speaking reader. I do hope you give the Book of Mormon another chance to help you with feelings of despair, despite any linguistic irritation. Since I started taking the Book of Mormon seriously at about age 19 or 20, it has changed my life for the better. On that note, it's worth pointing out that the Book of Mormon is what classical scholars would call a tragedy. In the end, everyone dies, good is overthrown and the world descends into evil. I believe that one point the Book of Mormon makes is that we should not expect God's triumph to occur in our lifetimes. We may be witnesses to and recipients of great miracles, and may come even to have a personal witness or testimony of the power of God. But this wicked world will not repent. We are here to do God's will, develop and strengthen our faith, accomplish as much good as we can, and watch and learn. If we expect Zion to be established in our lifetimes, we will almost certainly be disappointed. Zion is real, much moreso than our shadow puppet show world, and Zion will be established. But those times are not our times. Ours is to navigate the waters we find ourselves in and teach our children to do likewise. God's rest, peace, and joy await us. For now, we deal with the conditions we experience.
  8. The current daguerreotype under discussion is newly discovered.
  9. So you are talking about "insecurity" as a feeling rather than a state. Yes, many people do indeed feel insecure. But it is not the government's job* to make people feel secure. It is the government's job to make sure people are secure. *Apparently, that's a politician's job. We can no more make everyone feel secure than we can make everyone feel loved or make everyone feel cold or make everyone feel drunken. So people's feelings of insecurity are of no immediate consequence.
  10. Most of the world's population would starve to death. As was famously observed in an academic paper in the late 1970s, modern agriculture is the science of turning petroleum into food. A pre-electric civilization would be incapable of sustaining 8 billion people in the world. Petroleum can be replaced, but only with a similar fuel or with electricity and better battery technology. This is the promise of nuclear power: virtually unlimited electricity. Frankly, I don't see any other possible way for us to move forward without losing most of the world's population. Petroleum is simply not sustainable, even if you disbelieve the global warming ideas. Contrary to popular media portrayals, we will not be able to build enough windmills to generate the power we need. Besides, so-called green technology really isn't green at all. Nuclear power is far safer, far cleaner, and a far more abundant energy source than literally anything else available to us.
  11. I assume that you mean you shaved your nose.
  12. I've told this politically incorrect joke before, and it's a stinker. You have been warned. A young man on an airplane sat next to a old man who, by his dress, looked to be Jewish. The old man looked askance at his young seatmate. The young man finally asked, "Is there something the matter?" The old man said, "I will never forgive you Chinese for what you did at Pearl Harbor." The young man thought about this, then replied, "First, I'm an American. Second, it was the Japanese who attacked Pearl Harbor, not the Chinese. Third, I'm neither Japanese nor Chinese; my parents are Korean." The reply: "Japanese, Chinese, Korean, what's the difference?" The young man considered this reply. After a while, he turned to the old man and said, "I will never forgive you Jews for what you did to the Titanic." The old man looked at him, confused, and said, "What are you talking about? We didn't do anything to the Titanic. It was sunk by an iceberg." The reply: "Goldberg, Spielberg, iceberg, what's the difference?"
  13. Yes, they were supposed to be reusable and thus save the US government a ton of money. The opposite occurred; each shuttle launch cost about half a billion dollars in today's money, far more expensive than simply launching an Atlas rocket to take something into space. To be honest, the shuttles were marvels of technology and engineering. But they were pushing the boundaries of engineering know-how. For example, the main shuttle rocket engine was one of the most efficient and powerful (for its size) rocket engines ever made to that time, but it cost a fortune to develop and construct it. The shuttle itself was very difficult to bring back down from orbit safely. A huge amount of effort and money was expended to figure out how to make the ceramic tiles stick to the shuttle or how to protect them from falling debris (mostly ice that formed on the cryogenic external fuel tank) during takeoff. The fact that they never really figured that one out was made clear when the Columbia was ripped apart on reentry because some tiles were damaged and missing due to takeoff debris strikes. The entire system was so vastly complicated that no single person could possibly understand it all, and it was exceedingly difficult for various teams to communicate effectively about every item that arose. This is important because when you're talking about manned rocket launches, even a minor-seeming issue or small complication can lead to vehicle failure and the death of the astronauts. There were also the inevitable political machinations. For example, the infamous o-rings that failed in Challenger (Discovery did not fail, and was retired at the end of the space shuttle program) were used because the enormous solid-fuel booster rockets strapped onto each side of the shuttle's external tank could not be manufactured and then shipped across the country in one piece. So they were made in two pieces (by Morton Thiokol in Brigham City, Utah), taken to Florida by rail, and stacked together, with an o-ring to seal the joint and provide limited articulation. Back in the early 1970s, it was clear that Apollo was not going to be an ongoing program. NASA was trying to figure out how to move forward with rocket usage. Many possible plans were proposed: A heavy-lift rocket to put large loads (like a space telescope) into low earth orbit A smaller, less expensive launch vehicle to put satellites into higher orbits and launch planetary probes throughout the solar system A program to put men into space on a long-term orbital platform A program to use a few Apollo-style rockets to establish a moonbase and keep astronauts there on a rotating basis The good old trip to Mars And so forth. The various proponents for each of these fought for his or her own idea. The moonbase people didn't think an orbital research platform would be either useful enough or sustainable. The heavy launch people worried that a lightweight satellite-launching rocket could not put important platforms into orbit. Blah, blah, blah. In reality, any of the individual proposals would have been useful and cost-efficient. Even the people who championed this or that idea admitted that anything was much better than nothing. What was needed was a leader, someone to take the reins and make the tough decisions. But leaders of that caliber just were not to be found at NASA in the early to mid-'70s. Instead, politics as usual played out, and the thing was decided by committee. Unsurprisingly, the committee went with the stupidest possible option. Instead of choosing just one of the ideas, they would build a platform that would allow all the ideas to happen! Everyone wins! What could possibly go wrong? Anyway, I'm older than most of this list's participants. I'm sure that few share my views on the matter, and those who do likely skew toward my age. For children of the 1970s and 1980s, the space shuttle represents the very pinnacle of technological sophistication. I don't see it that way; as with many '50s and '60s babies, I remember the Apollo moon landings and look at them as one of the transcendently amazing things the human race has ever accomplished. The STS represented a step backward in ambition. Rather than establish the foundation of a spacefaring infrastructure, it was an impediment to that foundation. Just an unfortunate and ultimately poor choice all the way around. And you have to admit, Apollo was waaaaaay cooler than the space shuttle. Just in looks alone, Apollo was a magnificent machine the size of a skyscraper that went to the moon, while the space shuttle was an ugly moth squatting on an ungainly triple-rocket-looking thing.
  14. I had had surgery on my ankles several weeks previously, so I was stumping around my parents' house in casts up to my knees. I remember the news programs repeatedly showing the "explosion". I thought it was rather gruesome to keep repeating the video clip. I think that was the beginning of my intense dislike of the space shuttle. I had previously been aware of many of its shortcomings—I am a child of the 1960s, and thus a space-age kid, so I have been interested in astronauts and rockets and space travel almost from birth—but watching the shuttle disintegrate and kill those on board brought to reality the idea that people had been getting paid to cut corners and approve a deadly system that was nothing more than a giant compromise, a jack-of-all-trades that most certainly was the master of none.
  15. As JAG mentioned, the fuel tank disintegrated rather than exploded. The fuel did burn and created an orange fireball of sorts, but it was not an explosion in the sense of a detonation, which by definition is supersonic.
  16. I didn't realize Soft Cell was still touring.
  17. Let me point out that the article's author used the rite spelling.
  18. Not sure that's true. God's condemnation consists of God allowing people to experience the consequences of their choices. If a woman electively aborts her child for selfish purposes, that murder affects her. It changes who she is. It alters her relationship with Deity and with her fellow man. She has literally become a different person. Is that not a mark of Satan? And will the woman not experience the condemnation she has brought upon herself? I think the answer to both questions is no. (Or maybe yes. Darn that negative phraseology!)
  19. As one political wag said, abortion is a sacred rite, if your god is Moloch.
  20. I believe there was no fire or explosion at all. The "explosion" was the fuel and liquid oxygen forming a cloud, which looked like smoke. Actual smoke from an explosion would have been black due to incomplete fuel combustion, and would have been accompanied by a tremendously bright flash. The so-called space shuttle was NASA's single worst decision ever. What a boondoggle. Even the Soviets never built a platform so deadly and failure-prone. Out of 355 people who flew on a space shuttle, fourteen of them, representing two complete crews, were killed. That is a deadly failure rate of almost 4%. FOUR PERCENT. The blood of the astronauts lost on the Challenger flight is spread on plenty of hands, most obviously the NASA managers who pushed the flight through despite record cold temperatures at take-off and warnings from engineers that it was foolish to attempt a launch. But plenty of that blood is on the hands of the politicians and bureaucrats whose desire for power and money led them to okay a fundamentally flawed, fatally compromised, vastly overpriced Swiss army knife of a vehicle that tried to do everything, and as a result did exactly nothing well.
  21. Mercy is a gift. Any gift must be given, of course, but it must also be received. If a gift is not received, then cannot be given. The Book of Mormon tells us that "salvation in sin" is a contradiction in terms. One cannot be "saved in sin", because sinfulness is the antithesis of salvation. I think the same holds true with mercy. We receive mercy on conditions that we open ourselves to receive it. If we will not receive it, then we will not get it, because we do not want it.
  22. I would suggest that our very existence as premortal sons and daughters of our Father is a mercy of infinite scope. I suspect that nothing we can ever do throughout eternity will, or can, earn us the right to have been created by our heavenly Parents. It's very much a pay-it-forward scenario. The same must be true for literally every blessing we receive from God's hand. We earn nothing, at least in the sense that we have paid the eternal price for something and thus can claim it as our own. All is a gift from God. Given the above, I think the whole discussion about various levels of mercy and what we deserve or earn or merit is probably not meaningful. Not to criticize A&A for bringing the topic up or anyone else for providing insights. It's an interesting discussion. I just suspect that it needs to be approached differently.
  23. Wait a minute. Is this the MGTOW thread?