Kintsukuroi (Original Image c/o Wikipedia Commons)

Kintsukuroi (Original Image c/o Wikipedia Commons)

2014-06-16 @ 06:10 CDT

With any grace, the above photograph and caption – which I found on Facebook – will be the perfect summary of my life as I portray it on this blog. (Wikipedia’s article on the Japanese aesthetic philosophy itself is well worth reading.)

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Daily Life | Tags: | 1 Comment


John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

An essay which I’ve needed to write for a very long time… here brought to wider public exposure.

Originally posted on The Music of the Bible Revealed:

Psalms 29:1 (Accents Only)

Psalms 29:1 (Accents Only)

2014-12-22 @ 12:00 CST

In my promotion of Suzanne Haik-Vantoura’s (SHV’s) awe-inspiring discovery – the “canonically inspired” music to which Hebrew Scripture was sung in antiquity – I inadvertently, and all too frequently, create a misunderstanding in my hearer’s minds. Here I’ll try to set the matter straight once and for all. Then, when the misunderstanding arises again, I can point them to this essay.

My title focuses on the Psalms, but what I discuss in fact covers the entirety of Hebrew-Christian Scripture. All of it – in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek – was meant to be read aloud in public or in private study, and all of it may be sung aloud. There are two special notations which made this possible, and together, they comprise the most important part of the “canonically inspired reading tradition” of the original-language texts.

In Hebrew Scripture, there are…

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Categories: Bible, Church of God, Culture, Music, Personality Type, Psychology | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment


Inside the Boeing Clipper

Inside the Boeing Clipper

2014-12-21 @ 12:00 CST

The following text comes from an email forwarded to me by a friend. A slideshow of the accompanying photos is here on Photobucket. I add to the text references to the photos, as it’s just too time-consuming for me to insert every photo here (sorry, truly).



PHOTO 01: Every once in a while, it’s good to look back. If you thought air travel was luxurious in the 1970s, check out what it was like aboard the 1938-40’s WW2-Era Boeing Clipper.

PHOTO 02: Clipper passengers took their meals at real tables, not their seats. For most travelers in the 21st century, flying is a dreary experience, full of inconvenience, indignity, and discomfort. That wasn’t the case in the late 1930s, when those with the money to afford a transoceanic flight got to take the Boeing Model 314, better known as the Clipper. Even Franklin Roosevelt used the plane, celebrating his 61st birthday on board.

Between 1938 and 1941, Boeing built 12 of the jumbo planes for Pan American World Airways.

The 314 offered a range of 3,500 miles — enough to cross either the Atlantic or Pacific — and room for 74 passengers on board.

Of course, modern aviation offers an amazing first class experience (and it’s a whole lot safer), but nothing in the air today matches the romanticism of crossing the ocean in the famed Clipper. Thanks to the Pan Am Historical Foundation for sharing its photos. The foundation is currently working on a documentary about Pan American World Airways and the adventure of the flying boat age. Find out more here [the link is missing].

The Model 314’s nickname Clipper came from an especially fast type of sailing ship, used in the 19th century.

PHOTO 03: The ship analogy was appropriate, as the Clipper landed on the water, not runways.

PHOTO 04: Here’s a diagram of the different areas of the plane.

PHOTO 05: On Pan Am flights, passengers had access to dressing rooms and a dining salon that
could be converted into a lounge or bridal suite.

PHOTO 06: The galley served up meals catered from four-star hotels. If you want to sit at a table to eat with other people these days, you have to fly in a private jet.

PHOTO 07: There was room for a crew of 10 to serve as many as 74 passengers.

PHOTO 08: On overnight flights, the 74 seats could be turned into 40 bunks for comfortable sleeping.

PHOTO 09: The bunk beds came with curtains for privacy.

PHOTO 10: On the 24-hour flights across the Atlantic, crew members could conk out on these less luxurious cots.

PHOTO 11: Unlike some modern jets that come with joysticks, the Clipper had controls that resembled car steering wheels.

PHOTO 12: Navigating across the ocean used to require more manpower in the air.

PHOTO 13: The lavatory wasn’t too fancy, but it did have a urinal — something you never see in today’s commercial jets, where space is at a premium.

PHOTO 14: The ladies’ lounge had stools where female passengers could sit and do their makeup.

PHOTO 15: The Clipper made its maiden Trans-Atlantic voyage on June 28, 1939.

But once the US entered World War II, the Clipper was pressed into service to transport materials and personnel. In 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt celebrated his 61st birthday on board.

Check out this video: The Boeing 314 Clipper.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment


John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

The first brick in the edifice of what I hope to illustrate over time about how our human thoughts, emotions and actions work together…

Originally posted on Island, Sea, and Sky:

The Temperament Wheel

The Temperament Wheel

2014-12-15 @ 18:00 CST

There is a great deal of misunderstanding, misinformation and even disinformation out there on what personality type psychology involves. Understandably, such confusion leads to skepticism on the part of many – just as the sheer religious confusion in the world understandably breeds skepticism on religion and even on the existence of God.

Disconcertingly, people fall into definable categories of skepticism in both fields of study. What makes this disconcerting is that by their very brands of skepticism, people confirm both the essential veracity and the predictive power of the very models of reality about which they are skeptical.

Consider the following: Since at least the time of ancient Greece, and from indirect evidence even in Semitic antiquity before that, there have been concepts of “temperament“. The idea that their are four distinct temperaments – no more, no less –…

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John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

Something worth sending on to a broader audience…

Originally posted on Scribal Habit:

Grumpy Cat: Two Things She Doesn't Like

Grumpy Cat: Two Things She Doesn’t Like

2014-12-15 @ 12:00 CST

N.B.: This is a submission to the LCG Commentary page, as yet unpublished there. Should it be published, I will alter this page accordingly and link to the published version.

If you live in the English-speaking world and have access to the Internet, then you’re probably all too familiar with Grumpy Cat. This mild-mannered feline, thanks to her profoundly pessimistic-looking countenance, has inspired an ever-expanding array of cynical comments bearing her likeness.

What does it say about our society that so much of it finds such humor necessary? I believe it’s a sign of great stress on the part of many people. This present evil world is unjust. People get stressed because of its injustice. And for good or ill, many people find relief through such humor as gets attached to Grumpy Cat’s face, with or without the…

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Categories: Church of God, Culture, Grumpy Cat, Humor | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Brain Inflammation in Autism – new study via Medical News Today

John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

Another piece of the puzzle…

Originally posted on Raising Rob:

Via medicalnewstoday.com:

Brains of autistic individuals show “inflammation response genes” are turned on…

After analyzing the brains, the researchers discovered that in the brains of individuals with autism, the microglia were constantly activated and their inflammation response genes were turned on.

Though this type of inflammation is not yet well understood, the researchers say it shines a light on the current lack of understanding regarding how immunity affects neural circuits.

“What we don’t know is whether this immune response is making things better in the short term and worse in the long term,” says Prof. Arking, who adds that this is “a downstream consequence of upstream gene mutation.”

By that, he means that given what they already know about genetic contributions to autism, inflammation is unlikely to be the root cause of the condition.

For further research, the team now wants to determine whether treating the inflammation could mitigate autism symptoms.

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Categories: Psychology, Science | Tags: , | 1 Comment


John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

Worth a repost for the sake of public notice…

Originally posted on The Music of the Bible Revealed:

"I Am" (Exodus 20:2, With "Double Accentuation")

“I Am” (Exodus 20:2, With “Double Accentuation”)

2014-12-10 @ 10:15 CST

It’s taken so long to post a new video on my dedicated YouTube channel because I’m redoing all my old videos to include consonants, accents, vowels and other relevant markings from the Hebrew Masoretic Text. Also, in distinction from the above test video of Psalm 23 (which has a slight error or two in the pointing anyway), every slide will have one and only one Hebrew word on it, just as the graphic on top illustrates.

It is worth taking this time and care because these videos are meant to be teaching tools as well as for public demonstration. It is much easier for an audience which doesn’t know Hebrew or is learning it to follow word for word like this. Those who are musicians may be able to infer how the accents’ underlying musical system works from…

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Categories: Bible, Hebrew, Internet, Language, Music, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

New study could provide new diagnostic tool for autism – Yahoo.com

John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

Thanks to new research, we may be able to see autism in the same way we see a broken ankle on an X-ray. (Photo by Getty Images)

Originally posted on Raising Rob:



Thanks to new research, we may be able to see autism in the same way we see a broken ankle on an X-ray. (Photo by Getty Images)

Psychiatric disorders – including autism – are currently diagnosed based on a clinical behavioral assessment, a process that’s highly nuanced and highly subjective.

To assess for autism in toddlers include, parents are asked: “If you point at something across the room, does your child look at it,” and “does your child play pretend or make-believe?” Anyone with a young child knows that these types of general questions are very difficult to conclusively answer.

But now, Carnegie Mellow University researchers have created a potentially decisive way to diagnose autism— and other psychiatric disorders — with 97 percent accuracy: By examining how our brains respond to the thought of a hug.

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Categories: So Nice I Blogged It Twice | Tags: | 2 Comments


John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

This historical and pragmatic subject is worth reblogging for a wider audience… :)

Originally posted on The Music of the Bible Revealed:

2014-11-27 @ 11:15 CST

In the first post of this series, I discussed the coincidence – I say again, the coincidence – between what may be known of the “tonic pitch” used by ancient Israel and the referent called “Verdi’s A”: A = 432Hz. So far as I’m aware, Verdi recommended this pitch for vocalists for purely pragmatic reasons and used it himself for the same reasons. It is the arbitrary attachment of that pitch to conspiracy-theorist ideology on the one hand and to New Age philosophy on the other which may rightly be challenged.

A = 432Hz happens to be a Pythagorean major sixth above the referent for the “scientific just tuning” used by physicists, C = 256Hz. Somehow this is supposed to have some universal cosmic significance, even if in modern Western music – thanks to our “equal-tempered” scale – we can’t take advantage of the full…

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So, have they really found a “gay gene”?

John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

This is a most interesting blog of itself, and reblogging it here will allow one of the respondents to continue a conversation with me, if he wishes. :)

Originally posted on Thoughts En Route:

DNA (square)New Scientist this week published a report on the ongoing search for a “gay gene” focusing on what is seen as the most promising candidates for such a thing in men: gene markers in the Xq28 region of the X chromosome and in the 8q12 region of chromosome 8.

As is to be expected of such writing when so much completely unscientific concerns are riding on it, the reporting is full of self-contradiction. For instance, compare statements in the magazine:

“A genetic analysis of 409 pairs of gay brothers, including sets of twins, has provided the strongest evidence yet that gay people are born gay.”

Ah! So, they have found evidence that people are actually born homosexual! Or have they? Well, no, they haven’t. From the same article, further down:

“Whatever the results, [study leader Alan] Sanders stresses that complex traits such as sexual orientation depend on multiple factors, both environmental and genetic…

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Rosetta Gallery (c/o ESA, NASA & Slate.com)

Rosetta Gallery (c/o ESA, NASA & Slate.com)

2014-11-23 @ 15:00 CST

During my busy Sunday, I’m taking enough time to watch a PBS episode, “To Catch a Comet“, on the extraordinary mission of the Rosetta/Philae probes to a short-period comet. The “navcam” of Rosetta took the above sequence of photos as the probe approached its target.

Philae – the lander – has successfully landed and sent telemetry before it shut down for lack of power. It is due to reawaken in August 2015, when there is enough solar power for it to operate. The lander is named after the Philae obelisk which bears a bilingual inscription, and which was used along with the Rosetta Stone to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The scientists running the mission hope that the comet will serve as a sort of “Rosetta Stone” itself, not just for the early history of the Sol system, but for how life appeared on Earth. But as I watch the PBS episode on the mission, I have to ask myself: has anyone among them “done the math” on how truly trans-astronomical the odds are against even the simplest forms of life possible evolving by chance, anywhere in the Universe, even were the Universe three times older than it appears to be, and (if you really want to make the game interesting) 10 to the 100th power times larger in volume than the Universe we can observe directly?

I find this kind of mission exciting. It will undoubtedly reveal fascinating things about the natural history of Sol system. But will it reveal anything about the origins of life on earth, even if – as NASA’s Stardust mission suggests – amino acids are found in time on the comet being studied? No, it will not. Forming organic molecules in this Universe is easy. Coming up with organic life – that’s hard! In fact, it’s so hard that only a transcendent Supreme Intelligence could do it, ever, by any reasonable standard mankind can apply to the question.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Internet, Science, So Nice I Blogged It Twice | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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