Nov 302005
 

Lee referred to a recent WSJ (Wall Street Journal) article, The New White Flight (cf. Thomas Sowell’s commentary about it at capmag.com) and the Asian Week editorial about it, Diversity is NOT Black and White. [ht: Musings of an Urban Christian] For those of you who are skimmers and scanners, here’s the quick read summary: In Cupertino, California, a growing Asian American student population is causing rising academic standards — and causing many white parents to withdraw their children from the school and some to move out of the community.

Compare and contrast with this excerpt from this GMA (Good Morning America on ABC) piece [ht: Peter Ong] : Are Asian Children Smarter? Authors Explain How Their Parents Motivated Them to Learn

Asian-Americans comprise only 4 percent of the United States’ population, yet they make up 20 percent of the Ivy League. The daughters of Korean immigrants and authors of “Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers ? and How You Can Too“, Dr. Soo Kim Abboud and Jane Kim, say their parents raised them to be successful. Abboud is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jane Kim is a lawyer who specializes in immigration issues.

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Nov 292005
 

This little text ad showed up in a recent newsletter I get:

Because God Doesn’t Always Fit into a Church-Shaped Space.
In 2000, the church was the focal point of faith activity for over 65% of American believers. Current trends indicate that by 2025, this will drop to 35% or less. At the same time, a new mixture of spiritual activity, community, and new forms of Christian leadership are appearing. For a taste of what God is doing, get Revolution, by George Barna.

And, a friend gave me a CD with a condensed reading of a portion of this new Barna book, with the inscription: “Please pass this on to a fellow revolutionary.” I’ve contacted Barna Group about passing this along online, via MP3 audio here, but haven’t heard back yet. So, this is at risk of doing it prematurely, and taking it literally, here is my passing it along for now (72 minutes; 68MB).

You can also read Chapter 1 online (PDF), hear an excerpt, and read chapter 14 online. You can buy Revolution by George Barna at amazon.com.

One blogger is doing a chapter by chapter review. Jollyblogger didn’t like the book at all. And, this blog post had a great comment: Christainity [sic] without church is like marriage without sex–it only lasts one generation. Other blog posts about this book: Is THIS the Church of the New Millennium?, We are failing as Christian Churches in the world of Cyberspace; So You Say You Want a Revolution?

[update 12/28/05: CT posts its review of Barna's book - No Church? No Problem: George Barna wants commitment to the local congregation to sink lower than ever. 1/23/06: Tod Bolsinger begins an extended response from his pastoral and theological perspective.]

2 tech notes

 internet  Comments Off
Nov 282005
 

When I use my preferred Firefox browser (1.07) to view certain websites, like timetales.com, I get extra pop-under(?) windows that go to ilead.itrack.it and sometimes wind up at redorbit.com. Some video starts playing in the background and I hear sound bites about cancer or diabetes or some other medical condition. I don’t keep a detailed track of what websites I’m surfing, but I do know when a video starts playing in a background tab window.

Rumor has it that a web statistics tracker at webstats4u.com, formerly NedStats Basic, triggers this. One other blogger at j-walkblog.com mentioned this unwanted behavior too.

Supposedly, AdBlock extension can help, but I’ve had problems with that extension in the past. Setting tighter Javascript controls (i.e. Tools > Options > Web Features > Enable Javascript > Advanced, click off most of those options) helps. But what really gives you (obsessive) control over Javascript is the NoScript extension. This extension keeps Javascripts from going bonkers, or from doing anything at all, until you grant permission, whether temporarily or permanently on a site by site basis. No more popup windows gone wild!

2ndly, NYT offers a hot lead: A Novel Repair Concept: Replace Battery, Not iPod. Go directly to the vendor’s page, get yourself an iPod battery that lasts longer than the original. Note: warranty will be voided. Use at your own risk. Not for the risk averse or faint of heart.

thankful for a truck

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Nov 262005
 

The deed is done, the papers are signed. We got ourselves a new 2005 Nissan Xterra! (specs: 4WD + S trim package + Solar Yellow color). Not to be confused with happy face yellow. Photos here.

My car buying history has been 1 used + 4 new, since graduating from college in 1988. While people say that one can save a lot by buying used, I didn’t see the lots of savings on the listed price of used cars. Plus, I didn’t want to spend that much time checking out a used car to make sure everything was okay. With a new car, one has the reassurance that you’re the first driver (not counting a few test drives). As for comparison shopping and negotiating, we are not much for playing those games. I did do some online research, we did buy the Xterra at invoice price, and we’re happy with the special manufacturer’s financing and the customer rebate. No need to second-guess ourselves on whether we could have gotten a better deal if we did this or that. Now, time for a ride!

bus warfare

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Nov 232005
 

WaPo piece today: Some Low-Fare ‘Chinatown’ Buses Told to Halt Over Safety. Would Angry Asian Man call this article racist? :) Note his distinct and broader use of the term racist; yet he does also acknowledge Asian racism too:

As much as I focus all this energy on pointing out racism and hate directed towards Asians in this country, I will also be the first to admit that Asians are also quite capable of racism?hell, they excel at it. I’m afraid racism is a human condition, and Asians are not immune. Especially when it comes to hating on fellow Asians.

WaPo had profiled Angry Asian Man, aka Phil Yu, a few weeks back.

Nov 222005
 

It’s not often that I get into a conversation about Asian culture with a fellow Asian, as much as I seek it. Perhaps b/c it is not a comfortable kind of topic, not easy like small talk about weather, sports, or food. Listen in on this excerpt from an IM session today, about a tension between Asian culture and Christian faith — used with permission + reformatted for legibility >>
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Google Analyticator

 internet  Comments Off
Nov 212005
 

Now that Google has unleashed the web statistics tracker tool formerly known as Urchin to the masses for free, the coolest companion WordPress plugin followed just a few days later: Google Analyticator.

The initial release was a nice drop in, so WordPress users didn’t have to risk messing up the blog template via theme editor, not that it’s all that hard anyways. Here where it gets good: by my special request (and probably a few others), the plugin author has also added outbound tracking! Now that’s hot! Thank you Ron!! (and I can remove the other 3 javascript trackers I had embedded that slowed down my website visitors.. if only Google Analytics can email me a weekly report, it’d make many of us even more happier.)

brain games

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Nov 202005
 

Dropped in for half a day at the Academy of American Religion annual meeting. It’s a very large convention, a joint event with the Society for Biblical Literature, with maybe 20,000 8,500 academic types in attendance. That’s the whole population of my hometown!

With sociology of religion and interdisciplinary studies being the hottest thing in academia these days, perhaps also affected by globalization and multiculturalism, this is an elite event for intellectual candy with innumerable sessions of perspectives and theories about religion, sociology, philosophy, history, theology, metaphysics.

I took a train up (and back, same day) for one session on Constructing Asian American Evangelical Theologies. A historic gathering, first of its kind, and wildly popular– standing room only. 4 able and articulate presentations by Young Lee Hertig, Elizabeth Sung, Cat Ngoc Jonathan Tran, and Amos Yong. (No decision yet if these papers will get published or made available.)
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Nov 192005
 

Today we (me, my wifey, and my son) went test driving cars, being in the market for a new car, since our 2nd car gave up its last gasp a few weeks ago with a notable last passenger. Since we already have a Honda Civic, we’d like a 2nd car to accommodate our mobile road warrior lifestyle, and something different. We like sitting a little higher on the road for visibility and ground clearance, flexible room to haul cargo, with fun to drive and low price a bonus. We took the following on a spin: Saturn VUE (beautiful decor + most luxurious + safety of OnStar built-in + enticing incentive like a $500 Target gift card), Honda CR-V (nice ride + great feel), Honda Element (styling + built to take a beating + seats fold down or fold up sideways + engine revved like it could), Nissan Xterra (highest road visibility + great trucky kind of ride + seats folded down so easily even my 8 year old figured it out), Toyota RAV4 (solid ride + tricky folding seats). Initially we considered the Scion xB, but it was too long a wait for the color of our choice (black cherry), and a very low ride. So now we’re on the verge of spending a bit more. Stay tuned for our chosen new car, anticipated for purchase by next weekend.

Tomorrow, I’m taking a train up and back to Philadelphia to drop in at the Annual meeting of the Academy of American Religion, where there’ll be a historic session with a panel discussion about Asian North American evangelical theology. Should meetup with some old friends and hope to make some new friends.