July 19, 2010

Sun surges: Yet another apocalyptic theory to worry about In March 1989, six million Quebecers lost power for nine hours after a massive solar flare—an explosion of magnetic energy from the sun—created electric ground currents here on Earth, collapsing the power grid. Another geomagnetic storm, in 1921, brought ground currents 10 times as strong. But the fiercest one ever recorded, called the Carrington Event of 1859, electrified telegraph lines—even setting telegraph papers on fire—and created northern lights visible as far south as Cuba and Hawaii. If such a storm were to strike today, the consequences would be devastating. But NASA researchers say severe space weather could be on the way. Every 11 years, for reasons that aren’t completely understood, our sun hits what’s called its solar maximum: an especially active period when sun spots, solar flares and “coronal mass ejections—these clouds of plasma that flow out of the sun at millions of kilometres an hour,” as astronomer Sten Odenwald puts it, are more likely to occur. The resulting streams of particles and pulses of electromagnetic energy create what’s called space weather, which can have all sorts of impacts here, throwing the Earth’s magnetic field into disarray and disrupting everything from GPS systems to the power grid. We’re now coming out of a quiet period for the sun, as it wakes up and moves toward the next solar maximum, expected in 2013, and experts say we should be preparing for the worst.
Obama Moves away from ‘Freedom of Religion’ toward ‘Freedom of Worship’? The change in language was barely noticeable to the average citizen but political observers are raising red flags at the use of a new term “freedom of worship” by President Obama and Secretary Clinton as a replacement for the term freedom of religion. This shift happened between the President’s speech in Cairo where he showcased America’s freedom of religion and his appearance in November at a memorial for the victims of Fort Hood, where he specifically used the term “freedom of worship.” From that point on, it has become the term of choice for the president and Clinton. In her article for “First Things” magazine, Ashley Samelson, International Programs Director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, stated, “To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling: “The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don’t go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves-yet “freedom of worship” would protect none of these acts of faith.” In the administration’s defense, Carl Esbeck, professor of law at the University of Missouri, is quoted by Christianity Today as saying, “The softened message is probably meant for the Muslim world, said. Obama, seeking to repair relations fractured by 9/11, is telling Islamic countries that America is not interfering with their internal matters.”


I'm a watchman for Christ, looking on the horizon in expectation for the fulfillment of God's Word.

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