Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Science and Religion are not necessarily contradictory!

I have always felt that Science and Religion compliment each other.  But it has always seemed that I live in a very small world of people who do so.

When I tell people that I can accept the idea of Evolution and the concept of Creation at the same time, I was always at risk of offending almost everyone around me.  The Scientists would look at Creation and say, "Balk, we don't need a God to explain how the universe came into existence.  God is only a part of those weak minds and poor souls who need something to believe in, because they can't accept reality."  And Churchites would look at Evolution, and say, "But, Genesis says that it was done in a week.  And Genesis says that God created us.  We are not evolved from Monkeys!"

I would try to keep my believes about both to myself, until I knew what type of person I was talking to.  It seemed to me that Genesis is a spiritual account of the Creation.  It tells the record of the people.  It was not meant to be an instruction manual on how to create or even a scientific pamphlet explaining what was done.  Rather it was meant to inspire God's Children to believe on His word and to worship Him and only Him.

The theory of Evolution does not rule out the hand of God, or rule out some intelligent designer ordering everything the way He wanted it to be.  Rather it is a theory that tries to explain natural facts about our world.

Now, the Theory of Evolution is a theory, and like all other scientific facts it can not be accepted as law until proven.  There are many scientific theories, like String Theory,  and others that are internally consistent, but haven't been proven.  That is the way science works.  Scientists find something in their world that they can't explain and try to explain it.  If the explanation seems to hold up against other findings, then it is a theory.  Other scientists will continue to examine the world around them, and occasionally a previous theory is replaced by a more modern theory.  And sometimes theories actually get proven and become Laws, like Newton's Laws of Motion.  But even these Laws of Motion were in time found not to explain everything, and we had to account for Einstein's Theory of Relativity.  Science changes over time, and gradually as a community we come closer and closer to explaining our world.

Now, as a Theory, Evolution makes lots of sense.  It explains what we have observed perfectly and no contradictions have thus far come into light.  Therefore, I have accepted it, and try to understand it.

I see God when I am doing mathematics and everything becomes beautiful.  I see God when I am observing the heavens (Astronomy is a weird science.  It is the only science that doesn't really have the ability for experimentation, because the distances involved are so big.  Rather it is a science of observation).  I see God when a ball drops to the ground and it's motion is perfectly described by Physics.  I see God when Chemicals react precisely with other Chemicals.  I have seen God during a tensile test, when I stretching steel to see when it would break.  The perfect descriptions of our world, that we call Science are also the building blocks of my testimony.

Now it seems that I am not alone in my quest to understand both Science and God at the same time, without contradicting myself.  Here is an interesting article about others and how they view the world in which they live.

Proof of God in a Photon

I think it is interesting that Galileo was the first to really separate Religion and Science.  He was trying to protect Science from an over-powerful church.  Now, the times have changed.  It seems that most churchs are now trying to protect Religion from an over-powerful scientific community.

Why is it that Science and God can't both explain our universe?  They aren't two separate ideas fighting for the right to exist.  Rather they are two different sides of the same coin.

Once I saw that, I see God in my science classes and science in my religious studies.  They are both good!

What would I give to know God?

King Lamoni said that he would give all his kingdom and all his sins to know God. It made me wonder if I would also be willing to give it all. In this video, we are taught that wickedness will bombard us. It will be all around us and everywhere.
I recently posted about how wonderful living in the information age is. It is wonderful to live in a world where I can literally carry around all of the standard works and an entire library as well as access to knowledge like never before on the internet.

However, this wonderful blessing sometimes becomes a stinging sword as well. With so much information available everywhere and always, I find myself distracted by things that don't really matter. Am I willing to give it up to know God? Can I tune into the right channel and listen to the Spirit?

I hope so. I pray for the strength to be able to do so.

With all of the distractions around me, I want to be able to always find time each day to contemplate my relationship with God, and how I can improve it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tender Mercy # 2853 (Just kidding, I never really counted, but I am sure that it is a really high number!)

I lost my cellphone. This is not something new, I seem to misplace it all the time. But after a call to , I almost always find it. But today I called it, and heard nothing. I looked around and moved things. Maybe it was hiding under something, but still I heard nothing. I even walked over to the Engineering Building, which was the last place I used it, and still I couldn't find it. My phone was as lost as it could be.

I ran some errands, did some homework, and came home. As I was leaving my bedroom to do something (can't remember what, it obviously wasn't important), my phone was sitting on the hallway floor right next to my bedroom, just waiting for me. I can't figure out how it got there. The only thing I can figure is that the Lord place it there for me (or somebody placed under the guidance of the hand of the Lord). I love tender mercies!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Information Age

We live in a world with so much knowledge and so much information available almost instantly.  Just think of it.  In five minutes you can figure out how to make a cheesecake, calculate the square root of 5879232, check the top stories in the news, and communicate with your family and friends.  Never before has this been possible.  

My generation rarely goes to the library for research. I mean, why go to a building to research what you can find quicker and easier in your own bedroom.  The access that we have to knowledge is remarkable.  I have been thinking about how wonderful this easy access to information is, since I have gotten my iPad.  I can literally look up anything I want almost anywhere.  

The invention of the printing press changed the world, and made access to information easier for the masses.  A similar change is taking place right now.  With the invention of portable tablets and smartphones, information is available to everyone at a rate that never before anyone could have imagined.  

No longer does every family have a Bible, and every town have a library, but soon.  Every person will have the complete standard works, past and current church magazines, church handbooks, Preach My Gospel, the hymnbook, manuals, and any other gospel tool available to them at almost all times.  Not only that, but each person will be able to carry a personal library and access to a global database of information with them at all times.

We have the ability to learn and study as never before.  As the First Presidency mentioned during their Christmas Devotional, they are giving a free gift to everyone in the form of Bible Videos.  They didn't mention (or I didn't hear it) that they are also developing a mobile app that appears to let you read and study the scriptures in an interactive, dive into the pages sort of way.  The app isn't available for download, but some of the screenshots showed me how remarkable the world I live in is (both in the physical, as I have mentioned before in my love of the great creations, but also in the digital or cyberspace).  

I have so many tools and so many resources available to me literally at the touch of a fingertip.  I am so thankful to be living in a time when I can learn anything I want to know and see anything I want to see almost instantly.  

But sometimes, I wonder if I don't take proper advantage of the resources available to me.  Sometimes something becomes so easy, that I often find myself saying, I don't need to do that today, when I can do it whenever and wherever I want.  

I want to change that and use the remarkable resources that have been given to me and this generation to keep the promises I made to myself before I left the Spirit World (alright, so I don't remember what they are, but I am sure that I am the type of person who would have made promises to myself in the preexistence).  I want to better the kingdom of God and do what God expects me to do.  

I need to realize when something is easy, I should do it more often instead of less often!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Power of One

I love looking at the cosmos and gazing into eternity! Every time I see a picture of the Hubble Deep Field, I think of my Creator and how majestic He must be to make something so magnificant and complete in perfection. Gazing into the heavens leaves me feeling like Moses, thinking that Man is nothing. As a practical statistician, I round decimals to zero when they get significantly small, and when you compare one person to all the billions of people on this earth, you start approaching zero. But even the earth's matter approaches zero as you compare it to all the stars in the galaxy. But even, then our galaxy is just one galaxy in a sea of thousands of galaxies. The percentage that man makes up in the cosmos is so small that it is zero. Man really is nothing compared to all the wonders all around him, but yet man is one.

This is the great paradox of God(alright, so I am not sure if this really qualifies as a paradox, but I can't think of a better word for it right now). Man is nothing, yet God's work and Glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (I checked at it is singular in Moses 1. I know that sometimes the term 'man' is a stand-in for maknkind, but I like to think of this verse as being singular. It applies specifically to an individual) Somehow, even though each of us is small and insignificant, every single one of us matters significantly to God. I do not know how this is possible. How can one entity keep track of the entire universe and pay significant attention to every single one of His creations? I just don't know, but I know it has something to do with the fact that God is infinite and eternal. (Try doing some infinite arthimetic sometime and then applying it to your relationship between yourself and God, and you will see some amazing metaphors!)

Anyways, I made some fudge over the Thanksgiving break. (It is all thanks to my Dad, that I can make fudge. He taught me everything I know). I made chocolate/vanilla swirl. I was super excited. I tried making two batches at the same time, but the Vanilla part was going really slow and i was getting impatient. I probably started stirring in the marshmellow cream too soon, and somehow the Vanilla came out grainy. Although, the chocolate fudge was as perfect as it is possible for me to get it. :) Now, grainy fudge is not really a bad thing. The fudge still tastes great, and some people actaully prefer the grainy texture to the smooth creamy texture. But, I always try to make my fudge as smooth as possible.

In order to make fudge, you have to create a supersaturated liquid. As the fudge cools it turns into a solid, but it starts life as a liquid. You heat up the liquid (melted butter and evaporated milkd) and dissolve sugar into it. More sugar is dissolved into the liquid than it should be able to hold at room temperature, but because it gets heated up, the liquid can hold more and more sugar crystals. As it cools, it remains a liquid and (hopefully) all of the sugar stays dissolved in the solution. This is what is it means to be super-saturated.

Super-saturated is a state that does not naturally occur. The fudge goo does not want to be super-saturated and if it is given any chance it would prefer to just be saturated and lose all of the extra dissolved sugar. In fact, it only takes one single undissolved particle and the whole pan of fudge goo will no longer be super-saturated. Add one seed to a super-saturated solution and you will get a whole bunch of particles coming out of it. Just one sugar crystal can turn a whole batch of fudge from being super-satured smooth and creamy goodness to being simply saturated with a whole bunch of grains (but still tasty) fudge.

This is what happened to my vanilla fudge. And when I mixed the vanilla fudge and the chocolate fudge together to get the swirl, the whole thing went grainy. One single crystal changed the entire existence of a double batch of fudge.

From the perspective of one of the sugar particles, it is nothing when compared to all of the rest of the ingredients in the fudge. There are 8 cups of sugar in the double batch of fudge. I don't know how many crystals total there are but, I would say that one crystal compared to the rest is essentially zero. You could remove one crystal from the recipe and it wouldn't change the finaly product in the slightest. It seems to the crystal that nothing they do will ever matter. If the sugar could feel, it would probably feel like it was going through the refiner's fire as it gets heated up to extreme heats and dissolved into the solution. Unlike, my Creator, I can not pay attention to every single particle of my creation. It was all I could do to pay attention to the whole pan of fudge. (But somehow, God really can pay attention to every single one of us!) Yet, through the actions of one sugar particle not getting dissolved into the supersaturated soluion (JUST ONE), the entire pan was changed. One single insignificant sugar crystal significantly changed its entire world.

How is that for the power of one? One small insignificant individual really can make a difference! I want to be like that crystal and change my world (hopefully for the better, unlike the crystal :D ) every single day. One person really does have power and influence. Next time you feel small and unworthy, think of that sugar crystal and realize that what you do really does matter.

One final thought, in order for the fudge to turn out perfectly creamy, every single particle of sugar has to remain dissolved in the solution. Maybe Zion will be something like my fudge. With every single person being of one heart and one mind, and every person significantly contributing to the world around them.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Birthday Wish List

It is that time of year again, when I get to ask for things and people actually give them to me. :D Anyways, below is a list of objects I would like for my birthday or Christmas. (please note that the or in the previous sentence is an exclusive or.)

  • Computer Engineering Barbie
  • Hair Dryer
  • Blender
  • Proof: a Play by David Auburn
  • Proof (2005 DVD adaptation)
  • Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (So this comes out on November 8th, and I don't think I can wait very long to read this. So if you are going to buy this for me, be sure to let me know, otherwise I will probably use Birthday $ to buy it on my birthday)
  • Lego Harry Potter for Wii years 5-7
  • New Tires for Kristy
  • New Battery charger for Q (Q is a COMPAQ Presario CQ60 windows laptop)
  • The Gift of the Night Fury (How to Train Your Dragon Bonus DVDs)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Fish Story

It all started when I went to get the p-card from the SWE desk in the dean's office. It was around 4 and the dean's office isn't supposed to slose until 5, so I thought that I had plenty of time. I got the p-card and went down to the 3rd floor to check how many cups we have. (We are going to have an awesome water social next week.) I went up to the dean's office and found that the door was locked and everyone had gone home. It was then that I realized that I had left my purse by the SWE desk. I went on a quest to find someone who had keys to the dean's office, but to no success. I am purseless until the dean's office opens up on Monday.

Taylor came over later, and I wanted to go buy fish to put in my new aquarium, but I have no money and no driver's license. I find a check book, and we realize that Cache Valley has a free bus system, so we decide to go. We take the bus to the transit center and from there to Petsmart.

Petsmart is in the same shopping center as Old Navy and Down East, so we decide to go window shopping. It's only 7:30 and we have until 10 to get on a bus. We walk around Old Navy. Buttons are in this year, and then go to Downeast which sells some of the most froofy clothes believable. Then we head to Petsmart.

We talk to the fish guy and tell him that I have a one-gallon tank and that I don't know what type of fish to get. He advises me to get any of the tropical community fish. I tell him that when I was researching fish on the internet it seemed that those fish had to stay in schools or they would be very lonely. Then I ask him how many fish I could keep in a one gallon tank. He says that as long as I keep it clean, I can keep as many as I want. One of his co-workers kept 60 fish in a one-gallon tank for a school project to see how many fish could survive, and they were fine. We look some more and he leaves us to look at the fish and decide which ones to get. I decide on a dalmation molly and two guppies.

By now the fish guy is talking with another customer about birds. I guess he is a bird guy too. So Taylor and I go and look at the birds and then the cats. We go back to the fish and another employee helps me get the fish that I chose. When she was getting the first guppy, we had a stowaway. A black guppy wanted to in on the fun. Eventually the stowaway is put back in the tank, and we get the orange guppy. I ask her what type of food I should get, and she says the tropical flakes. So we head over to the flakes and find some. I also get some greek ruins to put in the fish tank.

Then we head to the checkout, and I write a check. The only form of money I have because the rest of it is in my purse in the dean's office. Unfortunately they need a drivers license in order to use my check. I don't have a driver's license because it is trapped in the dean's office with everything else. I do have my student ID so she calls the manager. He asks me why I don't have my driver's license and I say that it is up at school. He asks me how I drive around without it, and I told him that we took the bus. He says oh, and makes the computer take my check.

We take my fish and walk to the bus stop. Eventually we get there. I think the closer one was right and we went left when we crossed the street. We are wIting by the bus stop Nd it gets darker and we are wondering when the bus will get here. It is about 8:40 and we think that we have plenty of time. Taylor decides to call the numver on the bus sign just to see when the bus will get here. Apparently the last bus left at 8:30.

We decide to start walking back. Then we decide to call Spencer and ask hi. If he would mind terribly to come get us. Taylor calls him and asks him where he is at and he responds, what do you need. She tells him that we are by A&W and that we are sruck in town without a bus. He comes and gets us. The whole time while we are waiting, we both feel incredibly sheepish. We are waiting outside A&W with fish at night. Spencer comes and gets us.

We drive back to campus, and float the bag inside the aquarium. The sunset guppy is named Pathagoras, the orange guppy is named Socrates, and the dalmation molly is named Archimedes. (Hence the greek ruins.) Archimedes really didn't want to leave his bag. Now they are all settled and happy. Archimedes stays near the bottom of the ta and thinks, while the two guppies swim all iver the pkace and have fun playing, though they stay near the top somw of the time. Right now Socrates is following Pathagoras whereve he goes. I think Pathagoras is a bit annoyed.

I am super excited for my new fish and they have a story about how they became part of my life!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Missionaries on a Mission

Today at the Space Center we had Missionaries come do a space mission.  I mean real LDS full-time 19 year old boys and 21 year old girls missionaries  serving here in Utah County.  It was one of the funniest things I have experienced in a long time.  The missionaries tried to convert the aliens.  It was hilarious.  Their mission was to find some people who were selling illegal drugs and arrest them.  So the aliens that they were talking to were also high.  They were trying to tell the high aliens about the plan of salvation.  One alien had died from doing too much drugs, and they were talking to his friend.  They were telling her that she would see him again, and about life after death, etc.  It was super fabulous.  Then there was a lot of radiation, so I started calling some of them down for radiation poisioning, and they wanted to give the "sick" elder a blessing.  Needless to say, he got well really fast, because I didn't think it would be appropriate to be giving blessings for pretend illnesses on an imaginary spaceship.  :)  Most of them had really cool accents as well, so it was super fun to listen to them talk.  It was a really fun day at the Space Center.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Post

Somebody who shall remain unanimous, but whom I refer to as my Space Center Little Brother, has informed me that I don't update my blog often enough.  He is very right, but I am very lazy when it comes to blog writing.  In order to please him, however, here are some updates on my life.

A few months ago, I decided to change my major from Mechanical Engineering to Computer Engineering.  It had been coming on for a while, and I was taking a computer science course for my Stats part of my education.  The final decision came when I was sitting in my Mechanical Engineering classes, Thermodynamics, to be specific, and I realized that I didn't really enjoy Mechanical Engineering.  Sure, I can do it, and I understand it just fine.  However, the ability to do something is not a good reason to major in it.  I decided on Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering because I love space and I want to be a rocket scientist someday.  But I really dislike Mechanical Engineering classes.

I realized that Aerospace Engineering is not the only way to work with rockets.  I also realized that I love the pure logic that computers grant me.  When it comes to computer software, everything is pure and utter logic, and I love that.  [I am the girl who waits anxiously for the daily sudoku puzzle in the newspaper, and when the Scotsman (the Utah State Newspaper) failed to deliver, I was forced to buy a book of sudoku puzzles to appease my logic thirst.]  I have always enjoyed logic, and I think this is why I have always been attracted to mathematics.  I realized through my very first introduction into computer programming, that I was really good at it, and that the pure logic of computer science is something I could enjoy doing for the rest of my life.

Now I am not majoring in Computer Science, which is almost entirely the software part of computers.  Rather I am majoring in Computer Engineering, which is a major that combines the software and hardware part of computers.  When it comes to hardware, you leave the realm of pure logic and have to deal with construction and mechanical and actual physical facts.  The reasons why I am majoring in Engineering and not Science, is because I couldn't bear to leave the College of Engineering behind.  I am also fascinated by new hardware that continues to come on the market, things like iPads, cameras, and bluetooth devices.  I want to develop my own computer hardware.

I want to work for Google when I grow up, or perhaps Pixar, or I could still work for rocket companies.  Rocketry needs computers just as much as anybody else these days.  In fact, it is easier to get a job at the Space Dynamics Lab (a research lab that is part of USU) if you are an electrical or computer engineer than it is if you are mechanical or aerospace.

I finished up my last semester at school very nicely.  I am very pleased with my grades, they are all what I refer to as good grades.  I even managed to get an A in differential equations.  I am not sure how I pulled that off.  I would have been completely happy with any sort of passing grade in that class.  I thought for sure that I was going to fail the final, because I don't understand series at all, and our final was completely testing on series and how they relate to differential equations.  Somehow, I got a 99 on that final.  I am not sure how I got a 99, because I still don't understand series, but apparently I can fake my way through it, and make it seem like I know and understand more than I actually do.  :)

I had amazing roommates last year, and it was super sad to leave them behind when the semester ended.  My room roommate is my best friend, and I don't know if we will ever be roommates again.  I was also fortunate enough to be rooming with one of my good friends from Junior High.  We had super amazing nerdy times, and I am sad to see them fade into the past.

Now I am living in Provo for the summer at some very cute apartments called Carriage Cove.  I have my own bedroom, and I only have to share the bathroom with one other person.  Gone are the days of waiting anxiously for your turn to shower.  My bedroom is really big, especially since there is only one person living in it.  And we have a kitchen, a dining room, and a living room.  The living room is huge.  I think it is probably the same size as or bigger than the living room at my parent's house at home.  And this is student housing.  I am loving how luxurious it is down here.  There is also a pool and a hot tub in my apartment complex.  (It will be strange to move into Moen Hall next year.  Moen Hall is right on campus at USU, but it is one of the smallest things there ever has been.  It will be a complete change from Carriage Cove.)

I am living in Provo, so that I can be closer to the Space Center.  I am learning to teach the classroom at the Space Center, and I love doing the starlabs.  I plan on spending every possible moment there this summer.  I have also been hired by iWorlds Training.  iWorlds is based on the Space Center, but is trying to make profit off of the idea, rather than just teach children.  It is located right next to the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving Point.  I am very excited to be making money, and I hope that when everything is said and done, I can break even this summer financially.

I am taking Computer Science 1410 online from UVU this summer.  Beginning CS classes at Utah State are taught in C++, but at UVU they are taught in C#, so right now I am doing a crash course in getting caught up in all of the C# language that I need to know.  I am excited for this class, and I just recently made my very first form program.  It was super exciting to move out of completely text based programs to something else.  I am so excited to be learning this, and I think it will be an awesome summer semester.

Anyways, that is the updates of my life right now.  Everything is super fabulous!
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