Christmas Eve, 1968: Apollo 8 mission

December 24, 2009

Earthrise from Apollo 8

Anyone who was alive then will remember Christmas Eve of 1968.  On that day, the Apollo 8 became the first manned mission to orbit the Moon.  The crew, Mission Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, launched on December 21, 1968 and reached lunar orbit on Christmas Eve.  Over a period of 20 hours the spacecraft orbited the Moon ten times.  On its fourth pass across the front of the Moon, Anders took the famous Earthrise photo pictured, later selected by Life as one of the hundred photos that changed the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Visit to Planetarium

February 28, 2009

In previous years, i’ve often used my birthday as an excuse to take a group up Bothmaskop in the Jonkershoek mountain range in Stellenbosch, where we’ve then enjoyed tea and coffee and breakfast while overlooking the Boland, False Bay and Table Bay.  It’s been a great way to welcome new students and acquaint them with some of the splendours of Stellenbosch and meet and mix with other Maties.

This year, we set out sights a bit higher, showing that the sky is not the limit. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy birthday, Charles Darwin! (Thoughts on the dialogue between science and Christianity)

February 13, 2009

February 12 was the two-hundredth anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, and 2009 marks the one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the publication of his seminal work, On the Origin of Species.  Perhaps no-one has influenced science more in the past century than has Darwin with his theory of evolution by natural selection.  Perhaps no-one since has been as misunderstood or maligned, or to such a degree been both hailed as a hero and condemned as a heretic.

But i don’t intend to discuss Darwin or evolutionary biology per se at any length.  i have long been concerned, frustrated, and angered at the attitude many Christians adopt among themselves and in public when discussing apparent conflicts between science and Christianity, especially in the area of creation and evolution.  i do not mean to say that Christians should not stand for truth – we must! – yet it does seem that so little debate in in this area has been edifying or served the gospel; indeed, much of the debate has been characteristically un-Christian: unloving, disrespectful, and antithetical to the gospel.

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“Praise the Source of faith and learning”: On science and Christianity

February 9, 2009

This Friday Thursday (apparently i can’t count) will mark the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and this year the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the publication of his On the Origin of SpeciesRead the rest of this entry »

Text-to-speech synthesis

November 21, 2006

Exams always seem to present far too much opportunity for distraction… Well, now that they’re past (and, i hope, passed), let me report on some text-to-speech synthesis software with which i’ve been playing.

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