How to Write

Excerpts from the style sheet of the Kansas City Star, where Ernest Hemingway worked as a reporter in 1917:

  • Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative.
  • Eliminate every superfluous word, as "Funeral services will be at 2 o'clock Tuesday," not "The funeral services will be held at the hour of 2 o'clock on Tuesday." "He said" is better than "He said in the course of conversation."
  • Avoid the use of adjectives, especially such extravagant ones as "splendid," "gorgeous," "grand," "magnificent," etc.
  • Be careful of the word "also." It usually modifies the word it follows closest. "He, also, went" means "He, too, went." "He went also" means he went in addition to taking some other action.
  • Be careful of the word "only." "He only had $10'' means he alone was the possessor of such wealth; "He had only $10'' means the ten was all the cash he possessed.
  • A long quotation without introducing the speaker makes a poor lead especially and is bad at any time. Break into the quotation as soon as you can, thus: "'I should prefer,' the speaker said, 'to let the reader know who I am as soon as possible.'"

"Those were the best rules I ever learned for the business of writing," Hemingway told a reporter in 1940. "I've never forgotten them. No man with any talent, who feels and writes truly about the thing he is trying to say, can fail to write well if he abides with them."

via Futility Closet.

Oct 21, 2011

Sanitizing User Input in PHP

if ($_GET['name']) { $name = filter_input(INPUT_POST | INPUT_GET, 'name', FILTER_SANITIZE_SPECIAL_CHARS); }

via Keeping Web Users Safe By Sanitizing Input Data.

Oct 20, 2011

Fundamentalism vs. Reformed Theology


Fundamentalism and its Similarities with Reformed Theology

  1. The inspiration and verbal inerrancy of Scripture

  2. The Deity of Christ and the virgin Birth

  3. The substitutionary atonement

  4. Justification by faith

  5. The physical resurrection

  6. The bodily return of Christ at the end of the age. 

  7. Christ performed miracles

Fundamentalism (and its Differences with Reformed Theology)

  1. The absence of historical perspective;

  2. Ignores the Scriptures highly diverse literary genres;

  3. The lack of appreciation of scholarship; aversion toward any secondary theological training; anti-intellectual;

  4. The substitution of brief, skeletal, superficial creeds for the historic confessions;

  5. The lack of concern with precise formulation of Christian doctrine; highly averse to theology;

  6. Pietistic, perfectionist tendencies, often moralistic (i.e., major upon "issues" such as protesting Harry Potter movies; separating with Christians who are not KJV only);Guilt-Centered (Fundamentalism) Vs. Gospel Centered (Reformed) Sanctification 

  7. One-sided other-worldliness - reclusive: church separate from the culture - the holy huddle (i.e., a lack of effort to impact their communities & transform culture);

  8. A penchant for futuristic chiliasm (or: dispensational pre-millennialism);

  9. They embrace some form of Manicheanism (or Greek dualism); 

  10. Often demonize their opposition and are reactionary;

  11. Envy modernist cultural/political hegemony and try to overturn the powers that be through political brute force rather than persuasion; Thus are often viewed by outsiders more like a political lobby than representatives of Christ;

  12. Arminian tendency in theology (synergistic)

Oct 16, 2011

Richard Baxter's Invocation

Eternal, Almighty, and Most Gracious God! Heaven is your throne, and earth is your footstool; holy and reverend is your name. You are praised by the heavenly hosts, and in the congregation of your saints on earth, and are glorified by all who draw near to you. We are sinful and unworthy dust; but, invited by you, we are bold, through our blessed Mediator, to present ourselves and our supplications before you.

Receive us in your grace; renew us by your Spirit; recall us to your word, and grant that we may receive it with attentive, reverent, and obedient minds. Make it to us the savor of life unto life. Cause us to be fervent in prayer, joyful in your praise, and diligent in your service. May we find that a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere, and that it is good for us to draw near to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Invocation is adapted from the Savoy Liturgy (1660) of Richard Baxter (1615-1691), composed for nonconforming Christians following the restoration of the British monarchy after the demise of the Puritan Commonwealth.

Oct 15, 2011

My Startup Story

I've just posted the true story of how I accidentally became a professional blogger. If you're interested in how I got started, this is the post for you.

May 03, 2011

Christ Community Bible Church

Christ Community Bible Church is Oakhurst, California has a website. The url is

Yes, I had something to do with it.

May 01, 2011

Toddler Heresy

Best thread ever!

Correcting Heresy in Your Toddler:

I have started to catechize our 2 1/2 year old, by using the Children's Catechism

We're now on Question 15 and I believe I have uncovered a heinous unorthodoxy in our toddler!

Q. Who wrote the Bible?

A: Holy men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Joseph's Answer: Holy men who were in spiders by the Holy Spirit.

Feb 12, 2011

Average Weather Data for Mariposa, California vs Ceres, California

I've overlaid the average weather from from Ceres, California with the averages from Mariposa, California. Ceres's numbers are the greyscale numbers and the lower rainfall measurements.

I find it interesting that the temperature in Ceres typically falls off in August while the weather in Mariposa stays about the same.

Jan 13, 2011

Average Weather Data for Mariposa, California vs Ceres, California

I've overlaid the average weather from from Ceres, California with the averages from Mariposa, California. Ceres's numbers are the greyscale numbers and the lower rainfall measurements.

I find it interesting that the temperature in Ceres typically falls off in August while the weather in Mariposa stays about the same.

Jan 13, 2011

God's Secrets Are His Own

Deuteronomy 29:29

The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.

Jan 06, 2011

Video and the Bible

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's wondered what it would have been like if Jesus Christ had been on Earth during the age of mass media. It's easy imagine that more people would have believed, if only they'd been able to see his miracles on the television news or on the internet.

Unfortunately, three different factors make this seemingly logical statement false. The first two come from the Bible, and third from the world.

First, the Bible tells us in the Gospel of John that

But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. (John 12:37)

Paul writing in Romans, quoting the book of Psalms, said

No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. Romans 3:11

Finally, special affects have progressed to such a stage that it is impossible to believe anything you see with your eyes on a screen. The video below highlights some of ways in which one television show digitally creates an entire world for its actors to inhabit.

Jan 06, 2011

YellowBook Videos

The two videos I did for YellowBook in New York are online now.

I like my bio from the site:

Dane Carlson lives and breathes small business ideas and opportunities. While some people watch birds, Dane observes and catalogs unique small businesses. In 2001, while looking for interesting and profitable small business opportunities, he created Dane Carlson's Business Opportunities Weblog to chronicle, catalog and share his collection.

Dane believes that small business entrepreneurship is a lifestyle choice and has published over 18,000 different ideas, opportunities and insights that have inspired thousands of entrepreneurs, inventors and small-scale capitalists towards their dream of running their own business.

Dane also runs a free-range chicken farm just outside of Yosemite National Park in California and has very slow internet access.

Jan 04, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Pseudoscorpions, Oh My!

Last night, Angie found a tiny, dead, pseudoscorpion on her pillow.

Pseudoscorpions are generally beneficial to humans since they prey on clothes moth larvae, carpet beetle larvae, booklice, ants, mites, and small flies. They are small and inoffensive, and are rarely seen due to their size.

Although they're beneficial, try telling that to you sleepy wife as she furiously searches the rest of the bed for creepy crawlies.

Jan 04, 2011