Travelling to Japan – JTB Australia

Some things that I would recommend to everyone: Going to Japan, getting a JR Pass for unlimited travel between cities on bullet trains (since bullet trains can be as expensive as domestic flights) 

Tours to Japan from JTB Australia

Other websites of interest

There is a wealth of information available, and weather you want a luxury trip or you are on a tight budget, there are products and services for any budget.

There is a common misconception that Japan and especially Tokyo is expensive, but food and general expenses can be cheaper than Sydney Australia.

Some Google products and services you may have never heard of

Google does so many things, it’s hard to keep up.. Some of these things may be useful ~ 

  • Google Bookmarks – add through a javascript bookmark, tag/ comment and search the list.
  • Google Chart API – add HTML5 charts built by live data feeds
  • Google Safe Browsing – check to see if a website has malware or is suspicious (Chrome uses this automatically) 
  • Google Maps Engine – If you work with data sets including locations, you can import an XLS or CSV document with addresses or geocodes and insert them into a map

How many pages are there on the internet?

I was looking through this shiny infographic from Google, on how search works, and thought I’d calculate how many internet pages there are per person on the web. The infographic said there were 30 trillion pages, and there are about 7 billion people, so that’s about 4,286 internet pages per person. Whoa.

A huge portion of the world isn’t even on the web, so I wonder how many pages will never be visited.. so sad.. 

Well I thank you kind reader for visiting this one ~ Feel free to leave your mark in the form of a comment below, to reassure me that I’m not yelling into the void in vain..

If Jupiter replaced the moon

There was a blog post about a space artist, replacing the moon with the 8 planets, and like others, I was thinking that Jupiter would be a lot bigger, so I tried to make my own version to confirm.

Diameter of moon = 3 474.8 kilometers
Diameter of Jupiter = 139,822 kilometers (just over 40 times the diameter)
In this image, the moon is 15 pixels across, so Jupiter would be roughly 600px, if their centres were in the same point in space.
moon
jupiter
Luna is there for the lulz. Although Jupiter would not be orbiting the earth – we would probably fall into it’s gassy depths/ be smooshed into solid dark matter. Turns out the moon is pretty far away…

Letter of de-membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Dear Michael Worker, or whomever it may concern;

My name is Pushka Gib’en, current registered member of 3am SDA Church and currently studying Information Technology at Macquarie University.

I would like my name to be taken off the Seventh-day Adventist Church register, and this is why:

Having never really doubted or questioned the existence of God, or the truthfulness of the Bible, since being indoctrinated into Christianity as a child, I was having a series of conversations with a friend of mine at uni about religion, and he was asking for any evidence that God exists, that Jesus is the son of God, and that the Bible is 100% true. I was starting on some topics such as prophecy and archaeology, but he wasn’t satisfied, saying it didn’t really prove anything.

I was asked how I could have a philosophy which demanded my death (since I’m a homosexual man) and though I found many things wrong with the question, I simply responded with: “I don’t want to choose a philosophy that brings me the most pleasure, I want to follow the truth.”

At a later date, after again demanding evidence, he said: “if you want to follow the truth, then why are you a Christian based on faith alone and not evidence?” And he was right. All religions assert that they have much evidence rendering them valid, but actually have none at all.

One virtue I learned from the Seventh-day Adventist church was that of truth and honesty, and if I’m honest, I’ll say that I don’t know many things; weather God exists, what happens after you die, and so forth. I am going to live in the real world, and having studied elementary planetary autonomy and human evolution, I am appalled by the propagation of ignorance promoted by the church, such as the recent creation seminars by Walter Veith in Hornsby RSL, which were filled with lies, misrepresentation, and fallacies.

Please send me confirmation when I have been removed from the register.

~ Pushka Gib’en

The Response 

7 SEVENTH’DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH (GREATER SYDNEY CONFERENCE) LIMITED

Mr Pushka Gib’en 

Dear Pushka

l was saddened to receive your letter requesting that your name be removed from the membership of the 3AM SDA Church.

You are correct in that it is impossible to absolutely prove that God does exist but I believe there are very strong evidences for the fact that He does exist. I have a particular interest in the area of origins and have done a significant amount of reading and discovered that there are many brilliant scientists both Christian and non-Christian who have weighed up the evidence both for and against God and for and against evolution and have come to the conclusion that evolution cannot and does not adequately explain the origin of life.

You mentioned that topics such as prophecy and archaeology do not prove the existence of God and again i would agree with you. However, what human being can accurately predict an event that is going to take place 500 years or more in advance. The Bible does that on many occasions and those predictions have come true. Would that not indicate there is something operating outside the sphere of human influence?

I look at things like evidence from design, how life began, why is it that the universe is so finely tuned and the earth is incredibly minutely tuned for life? Why is it that Christianity has so impacted our world in areas such as art, architecture, sculpture, music, even the holidays we celebrate such as Christmas and Easter? If God doesn’t exist and if Christianity is just a myth why is it that these things have had such a global impact?

You mentioned about the issue of homosexuality. It is true that the Bible records God’s strong disapproval of homosexual activity. However, it does not condemn a person with homosexual orientation. Every human being on the planet struggles with issues of sin and temptation. It is only by God’s grace and the victory of Jesus that we overcome.

We have no choice but to act on your request and remove your name from the membership of the 3AM Seventh-day Adventist Church. As mentioned l am sorry that you have come to this conclusion and would just hope that God would put in your path people who can help to provide answers to the questions that have been raised.

I would like to wish you all the very best for your future and for your university studies at Macquarie.

Yours sincerely,

Adrian J Raethel General Secretary

[ Conference details ]

letter-demembership-sda

4chan Survey

There was a survey posted around 4chan for a long while which many people filled out. I don’t think I actually did, but one thing I found really interesting was the data on user sexual orientation.

Click here to see a copy of the data 

6481 responses
 
What is your SEX?
 
Female   786 12%
Male   5199 80%
Transsexual   420 6%
None of the above   76 1%
What is your SEXUAL PREFERENCE?
 
 
Straight   4759 73%
Gay / Lesbian   239 4%
Bisexual   1262 19%
None of the above   220

3%

Violet Blue says: this is a preserved archive of the data from Dec 26th 2010, 5:09pm
 

My coming out story

This is the story of my coming out as gay (2012).

After this I made three YouTube videos talking about my sexuality etc. for the world to see, and coming out completely led to me making friends with a guy that was a catalyst to me becoming an atheist… awkward…
Anyway – I wrote the following as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian:

Here’s my story:

Until I was 19, I was asexual – I wasn’t attracted to anyone – so it made for some really awkward ‘relationships’ in high school,, then in 2nd year of uni, I realised I was only attracted to guys, not girls…

all my life, I have been going to church each Saturday, learning a lot through Bible study, and wanting to follow God’s will for my life, so it was strange and confusing.. But finding GCN (Googling those two magical words “Gay Christian”) I was comforted knowing there were others in my shoes..

I instantly made a decision not to tell anyone in the real world, (paranoid that everyone would know, word would leak, even if I told a stranger..) and decided not to go out with anyone or get married… I thought that maybe that when I was dead, someone might look through some computer files or browsing history and say “hmm, he was gay all along.” Being a socially awkward penguin, and not very claustrophobic, I thought that a closet would be a nice way to spend a lifetime, as long as there was an Internet connection in there…

Four years later, I heard an inspiring sermon at a Youth Conference (AYC Adventist Youth for Christ – February 2nd – 5th) about Jacob (whose name meant ‘Deceiver’) whose name was changed to Israel ‘Over-comer.’
He had problems with living a life of deception, and sexual immorality – having children with 4 women, 2 wives…
But when he wrestled with God, his name and character was changed. I wanted to be like the hundred forty four of God’s people written in Revelation that stand on the mountain of God, no deceit found on their lips, and sexually pure,

So I decided to come out to my parents, after around 4 years 3 months and 24 days in the closet. There were two people that I had remembered actually asking directly if I was gay, having lied to them, to live a life of truth. It was the scariest and most awkward conversation/moment of my life. I took 3 days to pluck up the courage to tell them, being Thursday the 9th of February. I eased them into it saying “I have disappointing news” (my mum made some empathetic whimpering noise, as my heart sank into my stomach..) and told them I decided not to get married, and that I was gay.

there was a huge time of silence, but I was just happy I didn’t need to talk and it could just process in them…
My mum said, choked up with tears, that I had made the right decision, and shockingly my dad said it was my life, and I had responsibility, and that even if I brought a boyfriend home, he would still accept me.

I had gone through the conversation in my head, and I was expecting that maybe they would yell, or cry, or throw something at me, or grab a knife, or kick my out of the house, but – I should have known that they would react with their true Christian love (crazy how Christians are known for hating gay people…)

And for the future…
I don’t know about tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand.

Write a letter to your “Future Me”

FutureMe.org

I was going through the lists of passwords and accounts I have, updating them, since I’m deleting two old email addresses of mine, and stumbled across this account I completely forgot about (luckily the email address it’s sending to is not being closed)

It’s a website where you can send an email to yourself some distant time in the future, like a time capsule.

I’m not going to read mine early, but here’s the details:

Hello future pushka~
to: email@address [edit]
status: private [make "public, but anonymous"]
January 12th, 2011 January 11th, 2015 delete

I know that my life has changed so much since then, so it will be like getting an email from another person – so interesting ~

Learning Languages with Lang 8

I have always been involved with languages other than English ~

My parents are from the Czech Republic, and I grew up speaking Czech and listening to Czech every day. When I was very young, I spoke Czech beautifully, but alas, my sister who had already been going to school and who was learning English, started speaking with me in English, and so it became more than second nature to me…

I then later wanted to learn French for some reason.. I don’t really know why, I just did, but never did.

Then in year 8 in high school, I became interested in Asian culture.

A friend in my class by the name of Jenny was reading Japanese comic books, and drawing that style of art. I was fascinated by the artwork, and also wanted to learn what she could do. I bought a comic book, and started trying to copy the pictures. It was a shaky start, but after some years I could draw pretty much anything that I wanted. I also, through reading the comic, was exposed for the first time to the Japanese culture, which was so different from the European and Australian Western culture I had always known…

I started becoming more and more interested in both modern and traditional Japanese culture, cooking, food, clothes, music, art, etc.etc. ~ and taught myself Japanese from a $10 CD for my senior years, learning a few grammar points, vocabulary, the 2 alphabets and some Chinese characters, (also used in the language.)

I then learned Japanese intensely in Macquarie University, and also traveled there~

I am now going to a church near Macquarie University that has many Chinese international students, so I have also started learning about Chinese culture and geography etc. I would love to learn Chinese, since I have so many people I could practice with, but I find it so much harder to get than Japanese  ~

One tool I discovered from a video on YouTube, Lang-8.com

It is a website where you can write a journal, essay, letter etc.etc. – in the language you are learning, and other users who are native speakers of that language can correct your written work. Then in turn, you can help people who are learning your native tongue.

Best of luck in your language endeavours !! Even if you only know one ~ ^__^