Month: January 2010

Events week 2010

This coming week is Reading University Christian Union’s events week. This is a week in which we plan to host loads of events, talk to as many people as possible, and share the message of the Bible with them. I won’t post a full schedule here (it can be found at http://www.freedom-project.com if you want to see one) but I would ask any Christians reading this to pray for it. I will be a panellist in a ‘grill a Christian’ event on Wednesday lunchtime, answering any and every question which people can think of to ask me and the rest of the panel. I’ve not done anything of the sort before, but I trust God to give me the words to say.

Starving to death on pleasure

A scientific study which I’d come across before was mentioned in my bionics lecture today. A scientist called James Olds managed to locate the ‘pleasure centre’ in rats’ brains. This is an area which, when electrically stimulated, produces a feeling of pleasure. Olds attached electrodes to the pleasure centre of some rats, and wired them to a button to which the rats had access. They quickly learnt that they could induce pleasure in themselves by pressing this button, as would be expected, but more interestingly when given the choice between immediate pleasure and food the rats starved themselves to death in favour of the short term pleasure.

It struck me that people are no better. The rats died because they didn’t consider the long-term consequences of their choices, but do people? Certainly not! Most people consider only the short-term, physical effects of their behaviour, missing out the eternal spiritual effects. They too starve themselves to death, feeding themselves on extremely temporary pleasure rather than the living bread which lasts forever. Small wonder that they’re spiritually dead!

True Christian unity

True Christian unity is not something we build. True Christian unity is something that already exists.

There is an essential unity between the Lord’s people. We are all united to Christ.

Jonathan Northern, in this sermon at Baldock Baptist Church (2008)

Taken from Ephesians 4:3, in which Paul exhorts believers to keep, not create, the unity of the Holy Spirit.

More touch typing

This touch typing lark is slow going but still rewarding. This post is typed using my new found skills, but whenever I male a mistake I re-type the whole word. It’s especially irritating knowing that my primary motivation for learning is that the increased accuracy will lead to increased efficiency, but of course while I’m still learning my accuracy is way down. Still, if it was easy I wouldn’t put as much effort in, and I expect it’s the effort which is so valuable.

For reference, the title and the above paragraph took 5 minutes and 18 seconds to type and correct.

A missing 20%

Having just been reading some of the mark sheets for my final year project, I have come across an interesting mark scheme. I had naively assumed the mark which I received would be somewhere in the range 0-100% (inclusive). While this is true, I have found it is impossible to score outside of the (again inclusive) range 15-95%. And there was I thinking that daft marking procedures were left behind at school to be replaced by sensible people at university. Apparently not.

J C Ryle on zeal

Another gem from J. C. Ryle quotes:

I have but one request to make, and that is that you will persevere. I implore you to maintain your zeal and never let it go. I urge you never to stop doing the things you did at first, never to leave your first love, never let it be said of you that the things that you did in the first part of your Christian life were better than the things you did in your latter years. Beware of cooling down. All you have to do is to be lazy, and to sit still, and you will soon lose all your zeal. You will soon become another person from what you are now. Oh, don’t think that this is a needless exhortation!

A very satisfying ‘thock’ noise

As I blogged yesterday I have recently purchased a new computer keyboard. So far, my usage has revealed one good feature and one bad feature. It doesn’t have a number keypad, so it has a button which turns some other keys into the number pad. Annoyingly this is switched on whenever the computer boots up, and I invariably forget to switch it off before typing my password so I invariably fail my first logon attempt each day. On the plus side the keys (and the ‘Enter’ key in particular) make a very satisfying ‘thock’ noise when pressed hard.

Thock!

A type of touch

I came back to university on Saturday and the wireless keyboard I use on my computer died soon after I started using it. I assumed that the batteries were flat, but that soon turned out not to be the case. I took it apart to check for loose wires and the like, but (as expected) couldn’t find the problem. I finished off what I was doing using the windows on-screen keyboard and dealt with emails from my mobile phone. The keyboard now lies dead next to my desk waiting to be thrown out (I’m not just being lazy, the outside bin is full and the second bin is the other side of lots of snow).

The keyboard is dead.

Long live the keyboard!

It wasn’t realistic for me to work without a keyboard, so I purchased one pronto and it arrived on Monday. It’s an ergonomic keyboard, which serves to highlight that I can’t type properly. I can manage a reasonable speed, but I’m still really just a two finger typist (though depending on where the key I want is I might use any finger or thumb).

Touch typing is virtually always faster than typing like I do, but it takes time and effort to learn. As I googled for a website that would teach me I came across one which also listed some extra benefits I’d not previously considered. Touch typing is more efficient once you’re proficient at it, because you can have confidence that what you type is the same as what you mean to type. This allows you to avoid wasting time looking at the keyboard or screen when typing something from a paper document, and means you don’t have to break your train of thought if you’re authoring the content as you type. The typing should not only be fast, but accurate.

Typing tests take both into account, measuring speed (measured in words per minute, wpm, in which a ‘word’ is defined as 5 key presses) and accuracy (reporting the number of mistakes). Using my usual typing style I took a typing test and was asked to type this:

“My name is O’Kelly, I’ve heard the Revelly From Birr to Bareilly, from Leeds to Lahore, Hong-Kong and Peshawur, Lucknow and Etawah, And fifty-five more all endin’ in “pore”. Black Death and his quickness, the depth and the thickness, Of sorrow and sickness I’ve known on my way, But I’m old and I’m nervis, I’m cast from the Service, And all I deserve is a shillin’ a day. Shillin’ a day, Bloomin’ good pay, Lucky to touch it, a shillin’ a day!”

My result was 53wpm, with 3 mistakes (though I could only find one, even though they were highlighted in bold – two looked to me like they were identical to the desired words!). The challenge now is to invest the effort to learn to touch type and see how much I can improve.