30 June 2008

Robotic snake in the water

A robotic snake? Oh yes, and it's a pretty clever design too. Each segment has it's own built-in logic, the segments communicate and co-operate to produce the necessary movement. The 'snake' is called 'ACM-R5' and can move on land and in water. Take a look at the article 'Amphibious snake-like robot' on Make: as well as a photo and article there's a fascinating video of this thing swimming.

29 June 2008

Great Doddington - A narrow life

< 20th March 2008 | Index | 3rd July 2008 >

Few notes were taken, but we did record one gem from Rachael who said, 'This new way of life is so narrow we cannot take ourselves into it, we have to leave ourselves behind.'

< 20th March 2008 | Index | 3rd July 2008 >

27 June 2008

Compass Direct

Compass Direct is a news website dedicated to reporting persecution of Christians around the world, it's almost like Amnesty International for believers. In the West we are used to the idea that a person's beliefs are their own business, but in many parts of the world this is simply not the case. In China, Iran, and dozens of other countries worldwide the state prohibits freedom of belief, and in other places individuals and gangs make it their business to persecute believers.

A recent example of state repression in Iran shows how shockingly bad it can become. A young couple in Tehran were imprisoned, physically abused, their four-year-old daughter was left alone in the empty house, possessions were confiscated, their livelihood threatened, and worse promised if they didn't return to Islam.

Often, all of this is in breach of international treaty committments, UN standards for basic human rights, and sometimes even a country's own national law.

26 June 2008

Eaton Ford - Hungry? Thirsty?

< 29th June 2008 | Index | 3rd July 2008 >

Only brief notes exist from this meeting.

We read Job 22 and Matthew 25:34-46. Job was falsely accused of the very same things that Jesus mentions. Isaiah 61:1 seems to be connected too.

Jesus came to do good and to bring life to us when we were dead, to bring us bread and wine (his body and blood) to sustain us, to clothe us in purity, to heal us. He expects us to do the same for one another and indeed to meet the needs of the world's needy as well. We are to bring good news, not indifference.

(No notes are available between 20th March and 26th June 2008, although the meetings continued.)

< 29th June 2008 | Index | 3rd July 2008 >

25 June 2008

China - the hidden churches

The Chinese government accepts the presence of churches - provided they are registered with the government. In practice this means they are controlled and managed centrally and are not fully free to follow the leading of the Spirit.

Understandably, many believers meet in groups (large and small) that are not approved by the state. In this way they are free to believe and behave as they feel right. But there is a price for this freedom - persecution. Particularly as the Beijing Olympics approach, the repression has grown harsher and more widespread, yet the hidden churches in China continue to flourish.

An article in the Chicago Tribune, 'Behind China's Underground Church', describes the situation as noted by an investigative journalist.

23 June 2008

Jesus in the prison cell

This example of Jesus dealing individually and personally with an Iranian Muslim is quite extraordinary.

Afshin was in prison, there was nobody to tell him about Jesus, he had no access to a Bible, articles, or books that might explain what it is to be a believer. There was no-one to answer his questions or bring the truth to him.

Here, in his own words, he explains how he came to believe. Nothing can prevent Jesus reaching you and changing you, not isolation, or ignorance, or lack of resources. However, like Afshin you need to recognise that nothing you can do for yourself is sufficient, that you cannot save yourself. You cannot lift yourself into the Presence of the Almighty. But he can lift you into his own presence if you are willing to know your need of him!

Greener, better, more convenient

Green PlugWe all know the current system is crazy. We all have a cupboard full of power adapters, leads tangled together, we all know how easy it is to mislay that essential adaptor for the mobile phone, the camera, or the laptop. Aarrggghhhh! But we accept it because there has been no alternative; but now there is.

Green Plug have a good solution whereby devices can communicate with a standard, 'intelligent' power supply. The device sends data on the voltage it requires and lets the supply know when it is fully charged (so the charger can stop sending power). Every compliant device can use the standard charger.

Simpler, more efficient in use, less clutter in the cupboard, less unnecessary manufacturing. It's better in so many ways.

18 June 2008

One-wheeled motorcycle

A what?!!

Yes - a one-wheeled motorcycle. It's electrically powered and strictly speaking it does have two wheels, but they're side-by-side. This machine is really a sort of souped-up Segway, but don't take my word for it. Read the original article and for much more information, an article in Motorcycle Mojo.

Riding this around the streets could be quite dangerous. Not because of losing control or falling off but simply because other road users would be so distracted they might simply drive into one another.

I'd love to see this in action, and I'd really enjoy trying it out myself. Surprisingly, the idea of a one-wheeled vehicle goes back at least to the 1950s when Frank Hampson imagined the world of Dan Dare. One-wheeled, gyroscopically balancing cars featured in his illustrations.

I wonder if these will be coming to a showroom near me any time soon?

07 June 2008

Musical advert - amazing!

This advert by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra is amazing. The musical staves become a... No! I'm not telling you what they become, you'll have to view the video for yourself. I emailed the link to a bunch of friends and some of the comments so far are, 'Raise a pint of beer to creativity! Incredible!', 'I felt quite sick by the end but agree it is fun.', and 'Thanks, Chris - made me quite giddy!'

06 June 2008

Posting to a blog from email

It's great to see that this is now a standard part of Blogger. I can just send an email to my blog address and it pops into the right place in seconds. It's a very easy way to update your blog, highly recommended.

Back to blogging

I'm getting back to this blog after a long, long absence. Blogger's management and editing systems have all changed so this is just a check to see how (if) it all works.


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