How to Help ISIS Persecuted Christians #Charity365

The latest atrocities by the Muslim group, ISIS, includes a video of the shooting or beheading deaths of thirty Ethiopian Christians. In previous posts, Charity 360 and Charity 365, I laid out my experience in charitable giving. In the latter post I talked about expanding to include more global and humanitarian groups. If you don’t know how to help here’s a few organizations to support that are helping persecuted Christians in general or are in the Syria/Iraq area directly affected by ISIS…

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Secrets of iRacing

Okay, “secrets” is a little dramatic, but here are a few tips, tricks, and maybe just some lesser known things about iRacing that you might find valuable or interesting to know.

Update 2017-03-14: Added Tuning Car Setups main section to cover car setup basics and added the first two sub-sections Virtual Racing School Setups Academy Basics and The Simpit with Shaun Cole on Basic Setup Tips.

Update 2017-01-02: Added Performance > Unpark All CPU Cores to Reduce Stuttering tip. Added Force Feedback > Enable Simple Min Force to Reduce Wheel Chatter tip. Added Going Faster > Use All The Track (And Everything Else) tip.

Update 2016-09-12: Added Tweaks main section and Disable Head/View Rotation with Slip Angle sub-section.

Update 2016-07-04: Added The Schumacher Advantage tip in the Racing section.

Update 2016-06-26: Added Racing tip about practicing new week tracks early, cleaned up section headings.

Update 2016-05-14: Added video, “iRacing Road Racing Basics with Wyatt Gooden @ iRace4Life 2016,” a very well presented on-track demonstration about learning road tracks.

Update 2016-04-14: Added Incidents section.

Update 2016-03-20: Added Graphics section about iRacing’s new DirectX 11 (DX11) rendering mode and notes about how to use it.

Update 2016-01-01: Added Going Faster section discussing what you do besides practicing to improve your lap times.

Update 2015-07-12: Added Race Sessions and Time Trials sections

Update 2015-04-28: Added Graphics section

Update 2015-03-21: Added Racecraft section

Update 2014-12-29: Added a racing tip, clarified some points, fixed some typos

Update 2014-11-23: Organized the post a little by adding and separating sections by topic such as sales, racing, safety rating, etc.

Secrets of iRacing

Okay, “secrets” is a little dramatic, but here are a few tips, tricks, and maybe just some lesser known things about iRacing that you might find valuable or interesting to know. Let me know your own tips and tricks!

Sales and Deals

iracing-saleBlack Friday Sales

iRacing has an annual Black Friday sale where account renewals are typically half off. For example, a one year subscription usually costs $99 but during the sale it costs $49. You can renew for multiple years and the the code they give you can be used multiple times even on different accounts.

iRacing Dollars and Credits Sales

iRacing has a sale around March (Update: They did the same thing Christmas 2014) where you buy iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you extra iRacing Credits for free. For example, buy $20 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $5 iRacing Credits free, or buy $75 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $25 iRacing Credits free. iRacing Dollars and Credits have equal value and can be used to purchase cars and tracks exactly the same. It’s a good deal!

Tech Tracks

iracing-spa-tech-trackTech tracks are tracks currently undergoing development by iRacing. They cost $5 which is half or more off regular tracks. You only get to keep the track until it becomes an official track at which time you will receive iRacing credit for how much you paid for it and you will have to buy the track again at full price. But, hey, at least you got to enjoy it until then!

Any other sales or discounts?

Sorry, no, iRacing doesn’t seem to do sales like other online stores like Steam where games might be 50% off or more. iRacing doesn’t sell cars or tracks at a direct discount other than the iRacing Dollars/Credits sales mentioned above. So try to score when you can!

Racing

Never Qualify On New Track Days

New tracks typically launch on Mondays in the evenings (EST). If you qualify just after the switch you’ll likely be one of a few who did and you’ll be at the front of the grid. Unfortunately, most smart drivers know new track days are typically going to be pretty bad for racing incidences so they don’t qualify and start near the back to avoid first corner wrecks. So, save your SR, and just practice before the race. Enjoy the ride around the track while all the bad drivers crash out early. Qualify the next day.

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718 Days of Bible Verses

Congratulations to those who haven’t muted me yet for sharing bible verses, you’re very kind and patient! ;) For the record, since August 2012 when I started, you’ve witnessed about 718 days of bible readings, 453 verses shared, 52 books of the bible cited, 3 books shared from every chapter (Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon), and 2 complete bible read-throughs (sometimes sequential, sometimes alternating OT/NT).

Why would I do this? Because I believe “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) and I trust God when he says “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11).

These verses were shared primarily on Facebook and later ones simultaneously on Twitter (usually in shorter forms) on @Shovas .

Soli Deo Gloria

Without further adieu, 718 days of bible verses…

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Getting Things Done (In 15 Minutes)

I’ve always appreciated the simple, real life approach of Getting Things Done by David Allen. One read is a good introduction but after that I find I need to come back to it. So coming across this primer was a great way to remind myself of the high-level implementation: GTD in 15 minutes – A Pragmatic Guide to Getting Things Done

Here’s a taste of what GTD is all about,

GTD—or “Getting things done”—is a framework for organising and tracking your tasks and projects. Its aim is a bit higher than just “getting things done”, though. (It should have been called “Getting things done in a much better way than just letting things happen, which often turns out not to be very cool at all”.) Its aim is to make you have 100% trust in a system for collecting tasks, ideas, and projects—both vague things like “invent greatest thing ever” and concrete things like “call Ada 25 August to discuss cheesecake recipe”. Everything!

Sound like all other run-of-the-mill to-do list systems, you say? Well in many ways it is, but there is more to it, and it’s really simple. Promise! So please read on.

One of the basic assumptions of GTD is that you are dumb—or, rather, that your subconsciousness is quite dumb when it comes to thinking about things you should have done. For example knowing you need to fix your bike before next week, but instead of reminding you when you actually drive by the bicycle shop, it implants an incessant feeling of “I need to remember… something” in your brain.

A great part of the “magic” is to convert both tasks and whims into physical and visible actions as you soon will see.

Is Christmas a Pagan holiday?

Many people often ask if a given holiday, traditionally Christian, are actually originally from Pagan holidays. Christmas is one of those. If you’re wondering and carry some uneasy feelings, put your mind to rest. Take heart with an answer from the book The Bible has the Answer. It’s a great book on all kinds of questions about Christianity. Here’s an excerpt of the full answer

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The Creation Answers Book

Having just finished The Creation Answers Book, cover to cover, I strongly recommend it as a primary resource for those looking for answers to specific Creation/Evolution questions. It’s also a good read for creationist enthusiasts to build up your high level knowledge of all the most critical topics in the creation and evolution question.

The Chronicles of Narnia by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre

Focus on the Family may be many things but I will always be impressed by the quality, competence and passion poured into the Radio Theatre presentations of each of the seven books in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

When the first movie came out, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, I felt quite let down as someone who cherishes the books. When I found the complete “audio book” set (ISBN 1-58997-299-6), around the same time, I was delighted to find out I was getting much more than I bargained for. These things are the next best things to the books and, in some ways, they surpass the books. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t just readings of the book: They’re full blown professionally narrated, professionally acted, theatrically scored “full cast dramas.” They are exceptional.

If you were wishing a little more magic from the books after all the years, you won’t be disappointed hearing Lucy, once again, delighted as only a child could be at discovering the magic on the other side of the wardrobe.

Daniel didn’t Know

In the Book of Daniel, in the second chapter, is told the story of King Nebuchadnezzar, of his dream which his wise men and magicians could not tell him, and of Daniel, a captive from conquered Judah, whose God was a revealer of secrets.

In the Book of Daniel, in the second chapter, is told the story of King Nebuchadnezzar, of his dream which his wise men and magicians could not tell him, and of Daniel, a captive from conquered Judah, whose God was a revealer of secrets.

In the story, the king wanted his wise men to tell him his dream and its interpretation. They replied they could tell the interpretation of the dream if he would tell them the dream itself. As happens to many, when you wake up you may be troubled by a dream but sometimes you can’t remember specifics about the dream. Such was the case of the king. He couldn’t tell him his dream and he knew if he told his wise men anything they would also make up anything.

So, the king commands all the wise men and magicians of the land to be killed because they can’t tell him his dream.

Daniel hears this, however, and asks the king for some time. The time he asks for is to wait and trust that God will deliver him, his friends, and the wise men, by revealing the dream and its interpretation.

Daniel didn’t know.

Daniel didn’t even have a clue that God wanted him to be the one to find out the dream and its interpretation but Daniel had faith in his God.

Only later, in a vision, perhaps while sleeping, was Daniel shown the dream and its interpretation.

That is faith. Selah.

Nebuchadnezzar

Starlight, Time and the New Physics

Dr. John Hartnett’s 2007 book, Starlight, Time and thew New Physics, extends on Russel Humphrey’s intriquing Starlight and Time attempting to solve the problems of the original proposition. He does so with fascinating results.

Dr. John Hartnett’s 2007 book, Starlight, Time and thew New Physics, extends on Russel Humphrey’s intriquing Starlight and Time attempting to solve the problems of the original proposition. He does so with fascinating results.

The problem that both books try to do solve is that of a young creation being able to see the stars when they were created. Because even light from the nearest star, not our own, takes years to reach earth, it is not possible for the biblical account of creation to be correct: in that account, Adam, the first man, could already see the stars. If, in fact, they could see the stars that would imply creation is not young but very old and thus contradictory to the young creation the bible appears to talk about.

The question then is: How did Adam see starlight in the first week of creation?

As a poignant aside, note how christians differ from others when given a contradiction in their bible. The one who doesn’t believe the bible already sees an apparent contradiction and dismisses the entire thing. The one who does believe knows their bible and trusts it because they know it has told the truth a vast number of times before. Therefore, they give the bible the benefit of the doubt and go out and see if they can brainstorm how it might have come about according to God’s word. Many times in the past we’ve doubted the bible and then some years later it turns out it was quite right after all.

Christian cosmology effectively came out of nowhere to some pretty good ideas  in the past 30 years. Humphrey gave us all a kick in the rear by thinking outside the box and using Einstein’s theory of relativity to explain that time on earth may have proceeded slower than time out in the universe. It might sound like crazy talk but Einstein’s theory has been tested and found quite valid for a long time now. The key is a catalyst that would alter the time of clocks locally and remote.

Humphrey’s model was a good starting point but had problems. Hartnett attempts to solve those problems and he makes some decent sense of it. Definitely worth a read. Harnett’s writing is necessarily dense but not overladen beyond what the uninitiated can handle. I highly recommend this read.