When Will this Airplane ever Take Off?

AA-S80-airplane.on-ground

WHEN WILL THIS AIRPLANE EVER TAKE OFF?

Our work’s done  —  time to head back,

But, our flight plan’s gotten off-track;

Does the airline care?

We’re going nowhere!

Belted in, we just wait, on the tarmac!

Scheduled departure time was 2:43 p.m., Monday, from Eppley Airport (code: OMA), in Omaha, Nebraska.  This limerick was written at about 4:15 p.m., Monday, while seated (and buckled in) in Seat 15F aboard Flight AA 1286, in a cramped-more-thank-justifiable S80 American Eagle “tin can” (full flight, of course):   supposedly bound for Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (in Texas), that is if, as, and when it ever departs from Omaha, Nebraska!

UPDATE:  the airplane finally lifted off at 4:19 p.m.  —  so we would get to D/FW, as they say “when we get there”, and not before!

Intentions and plans and schedules are one thing; if, as, and when they occur is quite another thing.  The New Testament epistle author James (half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh) wrote of this fact of life, almost 2000 years ago, when he said:

Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain; whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  For that ye ought to say, ‘If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that’.  (James 4:13-15)

In the meantime, we need to practice patience (James 5:11).

 

 

LITTLE GUYS (ALMOST) ALWAYS LOSE IN POLITICS

And Jonathan said to the young man who bare his armor, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us, because there is no restraint to the LORD to save, by many or by few. (1st Samuel 14:6)

LITTLE GUYS (ALMOST) ALWAYS LOSE IN POLITICS

Though you be tall and “big stuff”,
To City Hall you’re not-so-tough;
Remember this fact:
The card-deck is stacked
So you likely aren’t “tough enough”!

Of course, the example of Dr. Martin Luther, whose public protest in AD1517 — 500 years ago — (and whose subsequent battles thereafter), illustrates the providential exception to this general rule.  God directed Dr. Luther to challenge the ecclesiastical politics (and theological teachings) of his generation, triggering the Protestant Reformation movement that accomplished much more — for time and eternity — than merely defeating a “City Hall”.

luther-statute-with-bible

COMMENTARY: As 1st Samuel 14:6 reminds us, God can deliver a cause “by many or by few” – He is not restrained by material circumstances or politics. In general, however, it’s very hard to successfully “fight City Hall”, so ordinary prudence suggests that wise selection of “battles” be limited to those where a success is probable. Of course, sometimes a moral principle is at stake, such as when a Biblical priority requires fighting against the odds. In the end, of course, “the battle is the LORD’s” – a truth that David warned Goliath about just before David adjudicatively destroyed Goliath.

Then said David to the Philistine, you come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel — and all this assembly shall know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear, because the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands. (1st Samuel 17:45-47)

HOT DESERTS: LETHAL TO SOME, YET HOME TO OTHERS

HOT DESERTS: LETHAL TO SOME, YET HOME TO OTHERS

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. (ISAIAH 35:1)

In deserts the temps climb quite high,
With scarce rain, those lands get quite dry;
Such climes can be torrid,
For some that is horrid —
Yet yuccas can cope when it’s dry.

Yes, deserts are truly alive;
Harsh heat some critters survive;
Like cactus blooms brilliant,
And lizards resilient —
There sagebrush and rattlesnakes thrive.

COMMENTARY:  As Isaiah 35:1 indicates, the glory of the Lord is displayed even in desert places, where even cactus flowers blossom with bright colors and beauty, attracting pollinators, as their succulent tissues store water for desert birds such as Gila woodpeckers. God’s glory is displayed in the magnificent variety of creatures and habitats that He has decorated the earth with.   God designed Earth to be inhabited — to be “filled” with diverse creatures, artistically demonstrating His love of both life and variety.  It is the adventure and privilege of mankind, created in God’s own image – and redeemed by the blood of God incarnate — to learn of these treasures in God’s creation, and to appreciate God for showcasing His power and wisdom in such humbles creatures as such desert denizens, who daily brave the hot and arid extremes, living and in desert places.


PHOTO CREDITS:

Gila Woodpecker with nest-hole in Saguaro Cactus:  North Mountain Visitor Center (Phoenix, Arizona)

Gila Woodpecker sipping nectar form Saguaro Cactus Flower: Birding Information website ( BirdingInformation.com )

BEES NEED TO KNOW!

Bees Need to Know!

 Dr. James J. S. Johnson

And, behold, there was a swarm of bees [דְּבוֹרִ֛ים] and honey in the carcass of the lion. (Judges 14:8b)

The abilities of bees (a/k/a “bumblebees”  and “honeybees”) intrigue and amaze us, and they should astound us, because bees fly in ways that even the greatest aeronautical engineers cannot replicate, especially at the miniature scale that bees live and fly at.

Years ago, before the differences between fixed-wing flight and unfixed-wing flight were understood, it was light-heartedly said that bumblebee flight was physically “impossible” (because it mathematically defied the laws of physics that apply to fixed-wing flight motions by heavier-than-air objects).

Hence this limerick of mine, which I titled “HONEYBEES CAN’T FLY“:

Science teaches, ‘honeybees can’t fly’,

And yet they do; I can’t say why!

Using physics, and with math,

We can measure their flight path;

But Science says, those bees can’t fly!

Bees have fascinated me ever since I watched the Moody Institute of Science movie (presented in the mid- AD1970s by my youth pastor, Bob Webel), narrated by Moody Bible Institutes amazing Dr. Irwin Moon, called “City of the Bees”.(1)

Of course, real empirical science (exemplified by the Moody Institute of Science, and now by the Institute for Creation Research and others) focuses on real-world observations, in order to learn what is (or is not) true about nature (see DANIEL 1:8-16) — including how bees really live and behave.

Bees are amazingly active – and they display God’s power and genius in many detailed ways. But don’t think that bumblebees are limited to the six senses that humans use (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling physical contact) for observing the outside world. Humans need sensory information just to survive; so do beasts.

Bumblebees need to know what is happening around them and how to relate to it. Like us, bees need accurate data about the world around them—constantly provided by light sensors, chemoreceptors, temperature detectors, etc.—so they can react to threats and opportunities. Bees constantly interact with living and nonliving entities: terrestrial and airborne animals and plants, microbes and toxins, predators, parasites, and poisons. These encounters involve sensor and immune systems that blend as an integrated interface-management system for symbiotic activities that include preprogrammed responses that can be offensive, defensive, or mutualistic.(2)

Honeybee on honeycomb (credit: Richard Bartz )

For example, the eyesight of the humble bumblebee is amazing beyond human comprehension:

The brain of the bee is composed of a mere one million neurons (nerve cells), 0.01% of the neurons of a three-pound human brain. Using this tiny bee brain and associated vision, bees have been able to solve complicated color puzzles and even recognize human faces. They do this by using their 6,300 ommatidia that comprise the eye. Bees have also been created with the ability to distinguish up to 300 separate flashes of light per second, an attribute they use as they rapidly fly over the changing landscape.

The next time a busy bee buzzes by you on its way to a field, remember that it is designed to do and find things that our most sophisticated machines and computers cannot do, using vision and a brain that flies in the face (so to speak) of undirected evolution.(3)

Notice the sensory hairs on the honeybee eyes ( credit: Coxshoney.com )

In other words, like other animals, bees routinely need and get accurate and immediate visual information about their immediate (and not-so-immediate) surroundings — yet bumblebees also acquire data around themselves using another physical sense the existence of which we are just now learning about.

Bumblebees feed on nectar from flowers. It is thus advantageous for them to find flowers efficiently, expending as little energy as possible when searching for food.

It turns out that all living things, even flowers, have electrical fields. The student of [God’s] Creation will not be surprised to find that the body hairs of bumblebees possess a unique ability, in that they are sensitive to electrical fields, specifically, those produced by flowers.

In addition to other fine-tuned senses bumblebees possess, including the ability to see ultraviolet light, the body hairs of bumblebees move in response to electrical fields. These hairs, called “mechanosensory hairs”, are connected via nerve fibers to the bumblebee nervous system, and when they move, they activate the nerve cells. These sensory hairs allow bumblebees to forage for nectar more efficiently by enabling them to sense electrical charges on flowers.

Like every specialized physiological property, the unique connections between these body hairs and the bumblebee nervous system could not have developed by accident (chance) or in small [incremental] steps. A partial connection would not be useful to the organism [either for survival or for reproductive success]. This system had to work perfectly from day one [i.e., from Day #5 of Creation Week].(4)

Bee getting nectar, pollinating flower (credit: Wikipedia )

But what do bees do with all of the data they receive, all of which is highly quantified in detail? Interpreting all of the collected data — sights, sounds, even electrical field data – requires the equivalent of a super-computer to analyze, yet bees (as small as they are) have no difficulty with instantly processing math-loaded information as if their little lives depended upon it – which they do.

Bees can solve complex mathematical problems that would normally keep computers busy for days, according to a new report from UK researchers. Through careful observation, University of London scientists have determined that bees routinely solve the “traveling salesman problem,” in which a subject must determine the shortest route between multiple destinations in order to conserve energy. But the scientists don’t know how the bees do it with a brain the size of a grass seed.

“Bees learn to fly the shortest possible route between flowers even if they discover the flowers in a different order,” according to a Royal Holloway, University of London press release. Researchers watched as bees encountered “computer controlled artificial flowers” at random, then quickly calculated the shortest route before visiting them all again. Current computer programs that perform these kinds of calculations operate by totaling the lengths of each possible route and then comparing them to find the shortest one.

There is no way that such tiny brains, using such little energy, could arrive at the right answer so quickly and consistently using the same approach as these computers. So, the researchers speculated that the bees must be using an unknown shortcut algorithm. Such an algorithm could be a valuable assistance in solving traffic flow problems on roadways and in man-made data networks.

Also crowded into a bee’s tiny brain are other shortcut algorithms that enable bees to completely avoid crash landings. Research has also discovered advanced capabilities in other insects. For example, ants possess superior traffic flow instincts compared to man-made systems. And even slime mold can build more efficient transportation tracks than those devised by Japanese railway engineers. All of these algorithms, if they could be discovered or reinvented, have the potential for use in human designs.

Since not even humans with supercomputers could develop these clever algorithms, they must have been purposefully programmed into the insects by an intelligent programmer. Nature by itself could never put together such intricate programs. Even if it could, where would it obtain the power needed to insert them into the exact animals that require them? Bees, like ants and so many other creatures, clearly look as though they have been expertly designed. Further, it appears that their Designer is vastly more clever than humans, who have trouble understanding, much less duplicating, the abilities of these creatures.(5)

Honeybee on Aster flower (credit: statesymbolsusa.org )

Thus, bees do their personal research and analysis quickly, using brains so small that their behavior is inexplicably baffling – unless we keep in mind Who designed and constructed and maintains the bioengineering and life of each humble bumblebee: the Lord Jesus Christ, Who delights in confounding the supposedly “great” by what is “little”.

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the “foolish” things of the world to confound the “wise”; and God hath chosen the “weak” things of the world to confound the things which are “mighty”; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption — that, according as it is written, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord”. (1st Corinthians 1:26-31, following Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Honeybee by purple blossoms (credit: media-treehugger.com)

REFERENCES

(1) Irwin A. Moon, City of the Bees (Moody Science Classics movie, 1962), now available on DVD. Dr. Irwin Moon, who influenced Dr. Henry Morris, should be recognized as the “morning-star” of the Biblical creation revival movement.

(2) Compare similar text, applied to how freshwater fish need to know, in James J. S. Johnson, “Even Fish Need to Know!”, Acts & Facts, 45(1):21 (January 2016), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/even-fish-need-know .   This blogpost article, without the limerick (“Honeybees Can’t Fly”), first appeared  on BIBLEWORLD ADVENTURES  (posted September 13th AD2016), posted at https://bibleworldadventures.com/2016/09/13/bees-need-to-know/ .

(3) Quoting Frank J. Sherwin, “Un-Bee-lievable Vision”, Acts & Facts, vol. 35, issue #2 (February 2006), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/un-bee-lievable-vision/ .

(4) Quoting Jonathan C. O’Quinn, “Electric Bumblebees”, CREATION MATTERS, 21(4):12 (July-August 2016), citing G. P. Suttona, et al., “Mechanosensory Hairs in Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) Detect Weak Electric Fields”, PNAS [Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences], 113(26):7261-7265 (2016).

(5) Quoting Brian Thomas, “Bees Solve Math Problems Faster Than Computers”, ICR News (posted November 2nd AD2010), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/bees-solve-math-problems-faster-than .

><>  JJSJ

A TALE OF TWO VIKING KINGS: THE RIVALRY OF NORSE CO-KINGS MAGNUS OLAFSSON AND HARALD HARDRADA

A TALE OF TWO VIKING KINGS:
THE RIVALRY OF NORSE CO-KINGS MAGNUS OLAFSSON AND HARALD HARDRADA

James J. S. Johnson, JD, ThD, CNHG

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (PROVERBS 15:1)

King Magnus was Harald’s nephew,
But Harald claimed royal right, too;
Harald’s might was well-known,
So he soon shared the throne —
Thus, the co-kings of Norway were two.

Of the other, each king was jealous,
They both, for glory, were zealous;
Once, for a dock spot…
King Magnus got hot!
(At least, that’s what Snorri would tell us.)

“Weapons!” – Magnus’ men went to arm!
But Harald foresaw needless harm;
Harald yielded his space,
Found a new “parking” place,
And withdrew – with a diplomat’s charm.

‘Twas not that Harald feared, to fight,
Nor was timid, to cast a sound-bite;
Though Harald was strong,
The showdown was wrong —
So (for now) he backed down, from the slight.

“Harald parked first!” — someone prattles,
“Ja, let’s fight!” — a sword soon rattles;
But ignoring the nuisance,
King Harald used prudence;
Said Harald:  “you must pick your battles.”
><>  JJSJ

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (PROVERBS 16:32)

COMMENTARY: One of the tense moments, during the unesay co-kingship of Magnus and Harald Hardrada, occurred when Hardrada “parked” his boat in the best docking spot. Oalf insited that Hardrarad move his boat to allow Olaf to “park” there. Before a fight broke out Hardrada conceded to Olaf’s haughty demand – although, interestingly, Olaf died (maybe accidently) soon afterwards, leaving Harald Hardrada as sole king of Norway.

How did this situation arise? Norway’s King Magnus (“the Good”) Olafsson was the illegitimate son of Norway’s King Olaf II (“the Holy”), but he did not promptly ascend to the throne at his father’s death. Rather, Magnus then fled Norway — and the Norwegian kingdom was ruled by the powerful Knut the Great (a/k/a “Canute”, who ruled Norway, Denmark, and England, till he died in AD1035); Knut was himself son of Denmark’s King Sveyn Forkbeard, who was son of the famous Viking Harald Bluetooth, king of Denmark and Norway. After Knut died in AD1035, Magnus immediately became king of Norway – and in AD1042 added the kingdom of Denmark to his realm. However, during AD1046, the wealthy Norwegian Viking Harald Hardrada returned from his exploits in Russia (and in the Byzantine Empire, where he had also been adventuring, for years), and Hardrada demanded a rulership interest in Norway, considering his own claim to the Norwegian throne to be superior to that of King Magnus (Hardrada’s nephew). A co-kingship arrangement was negotiated, so that Norway was jointly ruled by King Magnus and (co-king) Harald Hardrada, with Olaf having first rank of the pair. Friction and jealousy routinely infected the relationship, or course, and – ironically – Magnus died in late AD1047, with the cause of his death still being questioned. King Harald Hardrada himself died in battle, at Stamford Bridge, on 25 September, AD1066, while trying to invade England. Harald Hardrada’s linear descendants include England’s King James I, sponsor of the KING JAMES BIBLE.  (See JJSJ’s “Impact of Norway’s King Harald Hardrada on the British Isles”, posted at https://www.norwegiansocietyoftexas.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Hardrada-Somerled.JJSJ-family-tree-CHART.pdf ), with further information on Hardrada’s family lineage (through King Somerled’s progeny) being reported within JJSJ’s “To Globally Sow His Word, Did God Use Vikings?”, posted at https://www.norwegiansocietyoftexas.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/VikingHistory-KingJames-ancestry.corrected-AD2012.pdf .)

For more on the Viking history of Norway’s co-kings Olaf and Harald Hardrada, see pages 67-77 of Snorri Sturluson’s KING HARALD’S SAGA: HARALD HARDRADI OF NORWAY (Penguin Classics, 1966, a translation by Magnus Magnusson & Hermann Pálsson, of part of Sturluson’s HEIMSKRINGLA: HISTORY OF THE KINGS OF NORWAY).   This episode form Viking history illustrates the timeless wisdom of PROVERBS 15:1 & 16:32, i.e.:  “Pick your battles” strategically;  don’t just fight over a parking spot!

THORBJORN, THE EMIGRANT, MAN OF FAITH AND ACTION

3000123_BVR_Vikingos en la Tierra Verde

THORBJORN,  THE  EMIGRANT,  MAN  OF  FAITH  AND ACTION

With good wealth Thorbjorn had been blessed,
But that changed — his lot was distressed;
Since change was a must,
In God he did trust
Shipped out, he and his, sailing west.

COMMENTARY: See Acts 17:11-12 (regarding demographic migrations). See also Ruth 1:1-2 & 1:6 (illustrating how necessities of life lead to family migrations). The adventures of Thorbjorn the Viking are reported in Snorri Sturluson, THE VINLAND SAGAS: THE NORSE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA (Penguin Classics, 1965; translated by Magnus Magnusson & Hermann Palsson), at pages 78-94.

SKEPTICS’ SCOFFING: DISHONEST ‘DOUBTS’ AND DEADEND DESTINIES

Atheist advertising campaign launched

“The fool has said in his heart ‘There is no God’.”  (Psalm 14:1)

[example of scoffing fool:  atheist Richard Dawkins, photo by The Spectator]

SKEPTICS’  SCOFFING:   DISHONEST ‘DOUBTS’ AND  DEADEND  DESTINIES

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Skeptics, with the “smarts” of a soph,

Read the Bible, only to scoff;

As they try to find “error”,

they haven’t a prayer,

So their lives, when they die, God writes off.

COMMENTARY:  See Jude’s Epistle, especially Jude 1:13 & Daniel 12:2b.

(This limerick is a sequel to “Dawkins’ Doom is as Harsh as Dawkins’ Atheism”, posted at https://rockdoveblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/dawkins-doom-is-as-harsh-as-dawkins-atheism/  — obviously, this applies to all who scoff at the Holy Bible, not just atheists like Richard Dawkins. — see Psalm 1:1 & 1:4-6.)