Friday, December 14, 2007

Surveillance

Apparently the average Londoner is captured around 300 times a day on CCTV. I don't think my figure would be that high, since (a) I don't work in the City, and (b) I don't use public transport very much. It's still quite an interesting statistic though, and thinking about organisations knowing who I am, what I look like and where I live is a bit worrying.

But really, anyone who wants to know about me should go to Google. Since September 2005 I have made 1,615 Google searches which have been tracked to my account. This doesn't include the searches I've made using other people's computers, at uni, internet caf├ęs, hostels, and so on. I have 4,590 Gmails in my inbox, which Google have indexed and provide relevant advertising next to. Why delete emails when you have 5GB of storage? Picasa (Google's photo application) has 13,500 travel photos taken by me all over the world. Not to mention the raft of personal information you could harvest on facebook!

For the moment I'm not too worried about all this, but it could be a very real problem in the future if I need to go somewhere 'under the radar'. Governments, organisations or even people I've never met could quite easily find out a lot about who I am without my knowing.

Ironically, I have chosen to voice my concern on my Google-hosted blog, which will be indexed and searchable for decades to come.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rejoicing

The past week has been one of those fantastic ones where everything seemingly goes well. After a stressful interview for a graduate scheme last Wednesday, I suddenly had plenty of free time, and started to up my daily Bible reading, starting in Genesis 1 and aiming to finish Revelation in something like 6 months. I got through Genesis in 6 days (how ironic) and am ready to hit Exodus tomorrow morning. The word seems vibrant, living and powerful, and praying is a joy - praise God!

One stress leading up to my interview was not being able to find my A-Level certificates, which could have thrown a spanner in the application process. Thankfully the recruiters were happy to see them at some point later, and I was getting resigned to paying £106 for replacements.

Yesterday I'd booked a dentist appointment back in Reading (for which I'd paid £225), so headed back on the train and turned up. After an x-ray and a poke around, he said that I didn't need the root canal after all! Walking back from there, I thought that this was one of those situations where I see options A and B (finding my certificates or paying for new ones) but God plans option Q - returning £225 so I could afford the £106 for replacements. I got home and started filling in the forms to send off, and then thought I'd just check with my old school. There was, I thought, no reason for the school to have them... but they did! So in the space of a few hours I recouped £331. It's almost enough to believe in the prosperity gospel...

Well, not really. Then I had a call from a recruitment agency, asking me what I was planning to do after I finish my course next year. He said that I would have a multitude of options for jobs across the country and indeed abroad. Reassuring stuff for a geography graduate...

And then today, over a week after the interview, I had an email saying I'm through to the last stage of recruitment! Rejoice.

Monday, December 03, 2007

More new translation

Here's another exclusive preview of the upcoming PHV; this section is the rendering of Acts 2.
"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

When the people heard this, they were largely unmoved, and said "Brothers, it's great that you feel so strongly about your faith - we really respect that aspect of your character."

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."

At this, the people were struck with apathy, and muttered "well, it's a little awkward to be preaching like that. We're pretty happy with how Roman religion is panning out, to tell the truth. Imposing your religion on us is not going to happen."

With many other words Peter warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Those who were interested in his message filled out response cards, and three signed up for an Alpha course.