16 August 2018

God's Word for Thursday, 8/16/18

We'll be traveling to the Midwest for my mother's memorial service and wake. Please consider these passages, and talk amongst yourselves. 

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Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 MSG

15 August 2018

God's Word for Wednesday, 8/15/18

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
Romans 14:8 KJV

It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. 
Romans 14:8 MSG

14 August 2018

About That Guy Who Stole a Plane ...

‘Video games’? Pilots wonder how plane thief learned to do aerial acrobatics

  •  Author: Matt Day, The Seattle Times
  •  Updated: 2 hours ago
  •  Published 2 hours ago

The barrel roll that Richard Russell pulled off during his flight Friday evening looked sloppy to experienced pilots.
But the fact that the baggage handler completed the trick at all was evidence to some observers that Russell, who died when the Horizon Air plane he stole crashed into an island in South Puget Sound, may have taken lessons or otherwise prepared for his flight.
Stoking the speculation was Russell's response, captured in audio recordings posted online, to an air traffic controller asking if he was comfortable flying the twin-engine turboprop plane.
"I've played video games before," Russell said. "I know what I'm doing a little bit."
It's unclear whether the 29-year-old, a member of a generation that grew up around video games, was joking about his familiarity with a joystick, or leaving investigators a clue as to how he was able to start the aircraft, taxi onto a busy runway, take off and mix in aerial acrobatics for more than an hour before he went down.
Horizon Chief Executive Officer Gary Beck told reporters that Russell didn't appear to have a pilot's license. Yet aviation instructors, pilots and safety experts suspect that he had some sort of training, whether from a flight-simulator game or some form of lessons.
Mary Schiavo, an aviation attorney and former inspector general of the Department of Transportation, said video of some of his turns looked smooth, or "coordinated" in pilot parlance, keeping the plane's nose from veering to one side or the other.
"It looked like he had some skills," she said. "It looked like he had touched the controls of an airplane before."
Though Schiavo and other experts think Russell's flying prowess indicated prior experience in the cockpit, one longtime family friend, who works for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that he did not have any knowledge of Russell going to flight ground school in Alaska, where Russell lived before moving to Oregon and, later, Washington. He also never saw Russell use a flight simulator and did not know how he figured out how to fly the Bombardier Q400 plane.
"For us it was a shock that he would be able to take off in that," Mike Criss, a resident of Wasilla, Alaska, who has known Russell for more than two decades, told the Anchorage Daily News on Monday.
Criss said that his son, Zac, and Russell were boyhood friends, and that Russell had a personality like a magnet.
"He had such a sense of humor. It drew you in," Criss said. "Everybody wanted to be around him. I've never met anybody like that before or since."
A Horizon Q400 pilot, speaking on the condition of anonymity, listed some of the hurdles Russell would have encountered Friday. At the outset, the plane's controls would have been locked. Starting the engines requires a precise sequence of switches and levers. And during acceleration at takeoff, pilots steer left and right with rudder pedals, instead of the obvious control yoke in front of them.
Video games could have helped with some of that.
Games like Microsoft's Flight Simulator franchise, a favorite of computer desktop pilots for decades, are complex and realistic, rendering models of cockpits full of switches and instruments patterned after the real thing. Enthusiasts can add to the realism of that experience with hardware that replaces keyboards and mice with airplane-style controls such as rudder peddles or a steering-wheel-like yoke.
The main flight simulation games on the market don't feature the Canadian-built Q400 Russell flew among their default options for digital fliers, but a community of game developers has filled that gap. One modification, which makes the plane available for Microsoft Flight Simulator X, is listed online for $59.95, and YouTube videos offer tutorials on tasks like plane startup.
"You can learn procedures" from simulators, said Jim Grant, owner of Northway Aviation, which trains private pilots at Everett's Paine Field.
Beyond that, he said, their utility is limited.
Would-be pilots who come to Northway for training sometimes brag to instructors about familiarity with flight simulators, Grant said.
"We usually laugh at them," he said. "Flying an airplane is totally different than playing a game."
Russell may have picked up some knowledge of the aircraft over the course of his job.
In addition to baggage handling, his work as a gate-service agent included work on two-person tow crews responsible for moving aircraft around gates and maintenance areas. During that process, one gate-service agent sits in the cockpit as a second drives a tractor pulling the wheels below the plane's nose.
It's not uncommon in that environment, pilots and aviation experts say, for pilots to chat with ground-crew personnel curious about plane mechanics or cockpit controls.
Once airborne Friday, Russell showed off a basic familiarity with the cockpit, wearing the communications headset, watching the fuel gauge, and talking with an air traffic controller about how to pressurize the plane, a procedure he apparently did not know how to do.
He also pulled off a series of stunts, including the barrel roll, maneuvers that Beck, Horizon's CEO, called "incredible."
"On any other day that was windy, or that was cloudy, or had [bad] weather, I don't think he would've been able to pull a stunt like that," said Jeffrey A. Lustick, a Bellingham aviation lawyer and pilot.
Seattle Times staff reporters Hal Bernton, Lewis Kamb and Dominic Gates, and ADN reporter Zaz Hollander contributed to this story. 

God's Word for Tuesday, 8/14/18: A Message to the Church

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:14,20 KJV

Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says: “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. "
Revelation 3:14,20 MSG

13 August 2018

But Gun Sales Are Down, They Said...

July NICS Continues Trend of 2018
as Second Highest Year on Record


Click on images to enlarge.

By Dean Weingarten. August 11th, 2018
Article Original

The National Instant background Check System, NICS continues to record near record 
numbers for July of 2018. During the 2016 election cycle, the fear of a Hillary Clinton 
presidency pushed gun sales and, correspondingly, NICS background checks to an all time 
record high.

Many people thought the sales and NICS checks would tumble once President Trump 
was elected. But sales and NICS only fell back a small amount. 2017 was the second highest 
year on record for NICS checks.

Over half way through 2018, the 2018 NICS checks are trending higher than those in 2017. 
The July, 2018 NICS checks were 1,835,318. In 2017, at the end of July, the NICS checks 
to date were 14,343,658. In 2018, at the end of July, the NICS checks were 15,128,636.

In the all time record set in 2016, the NICS checks at the end of July were 16,026,660. The 2018 
number is 94% of record 2016 number, and the second highest for the period.

These near record NICS checks do not necessarily reflect near record gun sales.

More and more of NICS checks are being used for carry permits and carry permit renewals.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has been able to subtract out checks done 
for carry permits and carry permit re-checks. Using that information, checks done for firearm 
sales are down 9.5% from the 2017 figures.
The NSSF adjusted chart shows adjusted NICS checks for July close to the 2012 - 2014 levels.

The NICS checks have historically correlated one NICS check for about .6 firearms added to the 
private stock in the United States. NICS checks are done for sales of used firearms. One NICS 
check can be done for multiple firearms. In addition, in half the states, once a person receives a 
carry permit, the permit can serve in lieu of another NICS check for five years.

The number of carry permit holders in the United States is currently over 16 million people. This can 
be seen in the rising number of permit checks and permit re-checks done on the NICS system. 
But many of those permit holders do not have to use the NICS system for more gun purchases.

If the .6 number holds, the number of guns added to the private stock in July will be about 1.1 million. 
That would bring the total private stock to about 427 million firearms. If the trend continues, there will 
be about 432 million firearms in the United States private stock by the end of the year.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. 

God's Word for Monday, 8/13/18

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 KJV

[God] creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
Ephesians 2:10 MSG

12 August 2018

God's Word for Sunday, 8/12/18

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV

Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 MSG