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keeping an eye on the tree and the forest

Dave's Exegesis is my eclectic site of exegesis on pretty much everything I can think of, whether biblical studies, theology, music, movies, culture, food, drink, sports, or the internet.

Nature and Nurture

11.18.07

Just got finished watching a fascinating NOVA program entitled, “Ghost in Your Genes” which was about epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of genetic modifiers called “epigenomes” that are instrumental in turning on and off the varied features of any given genome. The Human Genome Project of the early 90’s was monumental as it mainly purposed to identify all of the genomes or “genes” in the DNA make-up of humans. In 2000 they reported that they had found 22,000-23,000 genomes, which was surprisingly less than they had anticipated. That’s roughly the same that can be found in worms, rats, and frogs. Since it has been thought that humans are more genetically complex, it left many questions about what causes some genes to appear and others not to appear. The salient example of this question is how identical twins which have the exact same DNA structure can develop differently. The answer that has been found in the past few years is the discovery of “epigenomes” which can attach themselves to certain genes or gene sequences and turn them on or off depending on the circumstances. Moreover, they are finding that epigenomes can be influenced early in development, showing that although we inherit genes and epigenomes naturally through our parents, it is how we are nurtured that can determine which traits develop in us. That is certainly a simplification of very complex research, but nonetheless very compelling. They have now launched the Human Epigenome Project to try to identify what could be millions of epigenomes influencing genetic development. This is very exciting, and they have already benefited from this kind of research in cancer treatment.

Here is the TV Program Description
Here is the Program Manuscript
Here is the Program Preview
Here are some links and resources
Here is the Wikipedia entry for Epigenetics

Open Source Mobile OS

11.08.07

The Open Handset Alliance released Monday that it has been working together to provide an open source mobile operating system (dubbed “Android“) that is far more user friendly and customizable than standard mobile OS’s. I am proud to say that my company is part of the alliance which has contributors that range from mobile operators (like Sprint, T-Mobile), to handset manufacturers (like LG, Samsung, Motorola), to software companies (like Google, EBay, NMS), and to mobile component manufacturers (like Broadcom, Intel, NVIDIA). The OS is based on the Linux OS kernel which is also open source. For those who have smart phones and other internet enabled phones, this will add some spice to the currently small variety of mobile OS’s available now on the many phones being sold (Mac, Windows, & Blackberry are the only ones that I know of right now). The development kit (SDK) will be released on 11/12, so forms of this OS will probably not be seen on phones for another year perhaps.

I was excited that my favorite NPR (WBUR) program “On Point” was discussing this news yesterday, but I was quickly turned off by the fact that the host, Tom Ashbrook, got quite carried away by his misunderstandings of the project. He was calling it the G-phone or Google phone, which is a radical misnomer because there are over 30 companies involved in the alliance, and was very concerned that Google’s agenda with the OS would be to make money by planting ads in phones. Also, he raised the question about security and privacy because he thought that since it is open source it could be tampered with. He had at least 3 field experts on his panel for discussion, and I thought they did a good job talking about the possibilities of the project. However, they also had some of the same misinformation which was also furthered by some of the callers, and I think many people walked away from the discussion thinking falsely that Google has become a phone developer with a few partners putting out an insecure phone that invades peoples privacy. The discussion really missed most of the goals of the alliance in developing “Android” and I hope that in the coming weeks and months that Tom updates this story with a clearer apprehension of the significance of the alliance and it’s project(s).

Piper’s Latest Finally Availabe

11.05.07

John Piper’s new book The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright has finally been released by Crossway. To be honest, I found his Counted Righteous in Christ to be lacking because of the brevity and because he was responding only to Robert Gundry. Thus, I am very glad he has taken the time to extend his previous writings on the subject with about 4 years of questions he has been bombarded with in between. I trust his book will serve as a great help to us all on a variety of levels. You can browse the entire book at Crossway’s site for free, and and you can now download it for free from the Desiring God site. I’d love to hear what you all think…

If you feel you are out of the loop with regards to the recent discussions about the doctrine of justification in Pauline theology, particularly the writings of E.P. Sanders, James Dunn, and N.T. Wright I would suggest checking out thepaulpage.com and Monergism.com‘s “New Perspective” section. For many N.T. Wright sources there is also the ntwrightpage.com.

Click here to browse the book or here for the PDF.

Park Street Redesign

11.02.07

Last week Kalila and I had the pleasure of attending the Tori Amos concert at the Orpheum in Boston.  Park Street Church is literally right across the street from the theater, so we had to walk by it each way coming from and getting to our car parked around the block.  I’ve had a class there before with Dr. Gordon Hugenberger (Senior Minister at Park Street), so I’m always curious as to what is going on whenever I’m around the Common or the Capitol.  So last week we noticed that Park Street is under construction all around the outside and we wondered what exactly they were doing.  We didn’t know if there were structural problems or if they were just doing a face lift.  I went to check the Park Street website, and I was pleasantly surprised that they had redesigned their website.  It is much more visually stimulating than their previous layout and far easier to navigate.  They also have a mini-site that describes their plans to renovate the building leading up to their 200th anniversary in 2009.  Take a peak over at their new site and learn about one of the most important evangelical churches in Boston: www.parkstreet.org.