Typewriter of the moment: Linowriter

April 4, 2008

Linowriter, in the collection of International Printing Museum, Carson, CA

This curious machine is in the collection of the International Museum of Printing in Carson, California. I’ve never been to the museum myself.

The museum’s website describes the machine:

Linowriter, Circa 1920

This typewriter with a linotype keyboard arrangement was sold by the Empire Typefoundry, Buffalo. Very few of these machines were made and today their exact purpose is obscure. Possibly this kind of typewriter was intended for the small newspaper office where the editorial staff also operated the linotype.
(9.5 inches high)

The Linotype machine was the device that mechanically set the type to print the newspaper, generally a very large, noisy machine that mechanically assembled lead slugs of letters, and then cast a lead plate that could be used to print the page.

I wonder:  Do you know of any linotype machines still in use?

Monument to brevity: William Henry Harrison

April 4, 2008

William Henry Harrison died on April 4, 1841, 31 days after his inauguration as president of the United States.

Perhaps during the cold and rainy inauguration, perhaps from a well-wisher, Harrison caught a cold. The cold developed into pneumonia. The pneumonia killed him.

William Henry Harrison, White House portrait Harrison, a Whig, was the first president to die in office. His vice president, John Tyler, was a converted Democrat who abandoned the Whig platform as president.

Harrison won fame pushing Indians off of lands coveted by white settlers in the Northwest Territories. Harrison defeated Tecumseh’s Shawnee tribe without Tecumseh at the Battle of Tippecanoe, then beat Tecumseh in a battle with the English in which Tecumseh died in the War of 1812.

Schoolchildren of my era learned Harrison’s election slogan: “Tippecanoe, and Tyler, too!”

Congress voted Harrison’s widow a payment of $25,000 since he had died nearly penniless. This may be the first example of a president or his survivors getting a payment from the government after leaving office.

In the annals of brief presidencies, there is likely to be none shorter than Harrison’s for a long time. As you toast him today, you can honestly say he did not overstay his White House tenure. Others could have learned from his example.

Pomposity squared: Ben Stein and R. C. Sproul

April 4, 2008

Via Heart of Flesh, a half-hour conversation between Ben Stein and the often-pompous R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries. Sproul had Stein in the studio to promote the mockumentary film Stein stars in, “Expelled!”

Stein continues to reveal the religious nature of intelligent design advocacy, all the time complaining science doesn’t pay enough attention.

At what point does irony veer into hypocrisy? I think that point’s long past for these guys.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from heartofflesh.wordpress.com posted with vodpod


Anyone vaguely familiar with the science of astronomy, or cosmology, or physics, or biology, may want to get a bullet to chew on before clicking “play.” It’s that bad.

But what is this? Sproul disowns the movie? It may be that the movie, devoid of science as it is, is still too sciency for Sproul. Here’s how Sproul’s writers put it in his blog:

As our readers may already know, Dr. Sproul frequently challenges the unbiblical and irrational theories of Darwinian evolution in print and through lectures. While we were waiting for Mr. Stein to arrive for the interview, Dr. Sproul mentioned to the crew that he took some time in between book projects back in the early 90s. He was doing some recreational reading and ended up writing another book, Not A Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology.

It is important to note that during this free exchange of ideas, not all of the opinions expressed by Mr. Stein in the interview are the views of Ligonier Ministries. Christians should recognize that the argument from design does not necessarily prove the Genesis view of creation. We are not part of the Intelligent Design movement, but certainly share similar concerns for freedom of speech and inquiries into cosmology. Our foremost concern is to uphold the inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible and the authority of our Creator.

Don’t you love it? Super Sproul figures out the laws of chance in physics and chemistry in his spare time, probably in his game room between foosball challenges from the grandkids.

Sproul’s blog also reveals there is another part to this interview.

R. C. Sproul should do a public service some day. He ought to interview P. Z. Myers for an hour, and then interview Ken Miller for an hour (he can disclaim science later in his blog, if he chooses). Better yet, Sproul should have Myers and Miller each spend a week at Ligonier Ministries teaching theologians about biology.

I wager Sproul doesn’t have the fortitude to do something like that. Rants can’t stand the facts. Sproul’s genius is making his rants in a quieter voice, so they don’t sound as irrational as they are.

At about 14:40 into the interview, Stein says “There are very few places where more nonsense is spoken than universities.” First, one wonders why Stein and the movie’s producers want so badly to be seen as part of that university community?

Second, this interview demonstrates Stein’s error — there are lots of places more nonsense is spoken, including anywhere Sproul’s interview with Stein is aired.

In the universities, at least they strive for accuracy and honesty.

ID expelled? No.  Flunked.  Yes.
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Creationism puts faith at risk?

April 4, 2008

Interesting view:  A homeschooler argues that homeschooling parents can do a disservice to the faith of their children by misteaching creationism instead of evolution.  At The Upside Down World.

Those who are teaching their children using creationist curriculum are in particular danger of setting their children up for this fall. To see why, I’d like to offer a challenge. Take your child’s creationist materials and look at whatever footnotes and references are provided. Now take an evening and look up the names of the authors cited. Odds are excellent that virtually all of the authors are creationist scientists. Now, take the names of any mainstream scientists who are quoted or whose work is referenced and attempt to track down their work. Specifically, see if you can find the particular quotes used in your child’s materials. Google books can be a great way of doing this. Now, read through whatever you can find with an eye towards evaluating the accuracy of the quotes provided (ie are words changed, relevant sections replaced by “. . .”). Also try and honestly evaluate if the author of your child’s materials has accurately conveyed the substance of what the author is saying.

If you drink, you may want to keep some strong drink nearby to sustain yourself during this process, because I promise you, you will not be happy with what you find. Unfortunately, the only way creationist materials are able to create the appearance of validity is by only referring to the work of “creation scientists” (who don’t do research, BTW. Their work is limited to analyzing the work of others to look for potential holes which might be able to be seen as supporting a creationist perspective. This is not science.). When creationist materials do refer to the work of mainstream scientists, conducting actual research, they almost uniformly misquote and misrepresent them. If you do not believe me, then take a weekend or two and do the research yourself. The internet is a wonderful tool.

In a later report, it comes out that the biggest problem a Christian mother has raising science-literate kids is opposition from creationists who claim that knowledge is somehow evil.  They just can’t keep their agendas hidden — and there is some ripe stuff in the comments.

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