Sydney Day One

I have safely arrived in Sydney for my visit to UNSW tomorrow.

Flight over was good, the plane before us was cancelled so we ended up with a 747 to take us over because of all the people.

Despite a few bumps leaving a very stormy Auckland everything went smoothly.

And even better I have free internet in my hotel room.

Thought for the morning

It is always a good morning when you wake up dreaming and singing the Newsboys song How Great Is Your Faithfulness.

If I rise on wings of dawn
Or drift in seas of doubt
Even there Your strong right hand
Has never failed to guide me out

Great is Your faithfulness
To carry on with a sinner like me
Great is Your faithfulness
Turning shame into victory
Your grace has never let me be
Your mercy’s waited patiently
Oh, so great is Your faithfulness
To carry on with a sinner like me

If I hide in dark and shadows
Fearful of each day
Even there Your blinding light
Illuminates my pathway

Goodness never
Never fails
It never fails me

Which instantly made me think of the following verse in Romans 8 (NIV):

Rom 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
Rom 8:39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Which is fantastic news to wake to in the morning.

Owning nothing, but having everything we ever need.

On Friday I got Rob Bell’s latest book Drops Like Stars.

So far I am 3/4 the way through it and loving every page and every image. The bit I was reading last night was to do with possessions and ownership and Rob Bell quotes 2 Corinthians 6. Here is the full version from the NLT.

2Cr 6:4 In everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.
2Cr 6:5 We have been beaten, been put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.
2Cr 6:6 We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
2Cr 6:7 We have faithfully preached the truth. God’s power has been working in us. We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves.
2Cr 6:8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors.
2Cr 6:9 We are well known, but we are treated as unknown. We live close to death, but here we are, still alive. We have been beaten within an inch of our lives.
2Cr 6:10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

I can’t claim to have experienced half the things that Paul and the early disciples experienced. But the words of these scriptures still hold true today. No matter what I pray that I would be able to show that I am a true minister of God in everything I do, and through that God will be able to give me the patience to endure troubles, hardships and calamities of all kinds. I pray that I won’t be beaten, put in jail for my beliefs. However if I ever do I pray that I will always know that God is right there by my side as my saviour and best friend.

Thought for Yesterday

I was meant to post this yesterday but I forgot. I made this up (but it may be subliminally a quote from somewhere).

Those of us who appear to be bulletproof on the outside are often the most shot to death on the inside.

Bus lane fine being challenged

It is interesting to read today that a person is challenging the fine they got for driving in a bus lane: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10595321

The $150 question of how far motorists can drive in a bus lane before making a turn goes to the Auckland District Court next week. Motorist John Foote says the law states it is the minimum distance necessary to safely make the manoeuvre. The Auckland City Council says 48m is a safe distance for a motor vehicle travelling at 50km/h. The council fines motorists $150 for travelling more than 50m in a bus lane. Mr Foote said this policy had resulted in the law being applied unlawfully and has sought a ruling.

Being a bit of a maths and science geek I decided to work out what is the minimum distance a car can stop in when traveling 50kmh. It turns out it is 24m if the car is in good shape, the road is dry, and the driver is fully aware (Stopping distances for cars – Road Safety Authority Rules of the Road) so say for instance it is a wet day this can affect things by a factor of two hence 2*24m = 48m. And this is the value that the Auckland City Council has set.

The major problem that I have with this is it is best case scenario maths. No consideration has been given to cars already stopped to turn within that 48m area, or the amount of distance required to change into the lane, or the fact that many cars travel faster than 50kmh, it may be the limit and the law but that does not mean people actually obey it. In the interests of safety it would be better to set it at a minimum of 65m which is the minimum distance at 60kmh on a wet day to stop.

None of this takes into account just how hard it is to judge precise distance when traveling at 50kmh or 13.8m/s while driving.

I hope the appeal succeeds, it is simply not safe with the number of factors involved to limit it at 48m. 100m would be a much more sensible solution.

There’s something deep inside, That keeps my faith alive

The past few weeks have been an interesting ride for me with some changes in my life. And the future does not look that clear either, all I see is smoke and mirrors. Anyway I have been finding a lot of reflection in Skillet’s back catalogue and latest album recently. Tonight’s song is collide. The lyrics below are only part of the song but it is the part that has spoken to me the most tonight.

We have fallen
We have fallen again tonight
Where do we go from here
When they’re tearing down our lives?
When all they want is
For us to live in fear
How long can we hold on?
Can we hold on?
Hold on

There’s something deep inside
That keeps my faith alive
When all you can do
Is hide from the fear
That’s deep inside of you
Something
To hold me close when I don’t know
There’s something deep inside
That keeps my faith alive

At the moment I have many fears in my life, mainly about the future. But it is that faith that is deep inside, that trust, that is keeping me going. Last night I was a bit of a train wreck but I spoke to a friend for over an hour and got a lot of it out. Being listened to is a really nice thing.

Satellite, Star or Planet?… It’s Jupiter

I ended up going to be very late last night thanks to assignments.

But the one positive thing to come of going to bed late was the fullness of the moon. I got a few photos of it and then noticed a very bright object to its right.

P1090933

At first I thought it may be a satellite and I tried to zoom up on it to get some good shots, most of them turned out blurred or weird because of the lack of light and long exposure time, but I did get a few good ones.

Panasonic DMC-FZ5 1/8s f/8.0 ISO: 100 12x Optical Zoom
Panasonic DMC-FZ5 1/8s f/8.0 ISO: 100 12x Optical Zoom

At this point I began to notice the odd colors coming off it, still convinced it was some form of satellite I zoomed up onto the digital zoom and changed the settings to TIFF format and ISO 400

P1090942

At this point I was thinking okay I have some really bright star, maybe Mars.

It wasn’t until this morning I decided to look up a star map. And what do you know?

Star Map for 00:00 Sep 3 2009 NZST, Look right next to the moon.

So off to the star dome website we go for confirmation.

http://www.ectoolset.com/func/Newsdetails.asp?sid=440&id=10033

Another planet visible at this time is Jupiter. High in the sky to the east, Jupiter is the brightest thing in the evening sky apart from the Moon, making it easily noticeable. A small telescope or good binoculars will reveal some or all of Jupiter’s four largest moons, named the Galilean moons after their 17th century discoverer, Galileo.

You can see the moons too? Okay time for some image correction, Increasing the shadows on the picture and we have a moon there (with a green tinge).

Moon on top of planet
Moon on top of planet

And I am loving the red-shift too.

Update the moon will be IO and it is green in real life it is not a camera trick http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Io_%28moon%29