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Author Archives: MisterX55547
Posted: January 14, 2017 at 8:56 pm
Ray Kurzweil is a genius. One of the greatest hucksters of the age. Thats the only way I can explain how his nonsense gets so much press and has such a following. Now he has the cover of Time magazine, and an article called 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal. It certainly couldnt be taken seriously anywhere else; once again, Kurzweil wiggles his fingers and mumbles a few catchphrases and upchucks a remarkable prediction, that in 35 years (a number dredged out of his compendium of biased estimates), Man (one, a few, many? How? He doesnt know) will finally achieve immortality (seems to me youd need to wait a few years beyond that goal to know if it was true). Now weve even got a name for the Kurzweil delusion: Singularitarianism.
Theres room inside Singularitarianism for considerable diversity of opinion about what the Singularity means and when and how it will or wont happen. But Singularitarians share a worldview. They think in terms of deep time, they believe in the power of technology to shape history, they have little interest in the conventional wisdom about anything, and they cannot believe youre walking around living your life and watching TV as if the artificial-intelligence revolution were not about to erupt and change absolutely everything. They have no fear of sounding ridiculous; your ordinary citizens distaste for apparently absurd ideas is just an example of irrational bias, and Singularitarians have no truck with irrationality. When you enter their mind-space you pass through an extreme gradient in worldview, a hard ontological shear that separates Singularitarians from the common run of humanity. Expect turbulence.
Wow. Sounds just like the Raelians, or Hercolubians, or Scientologists, or any of the modern New Age pseudosciences that appropriate a bit of jargon and blow it up into a huge mythology. Nice hyperbole there, though. Too bad the whole movement is empty of evidence.
One of the things I do really despise about the Kurzweil approach is their dishonest management of critics, and Kurzweil is the master. He loves to tell everyone whats wrong with his critics, but he doesnt actually address the criticisms.
Take the question of whether computers can replicate the biochemical complexity of an organic brain. Kurzweil yields no ground there whatsoever. He does not see any fundamental difference between flesh and silicon that would prevent the latter from thinking. He defies biologists to come up with a neurological mechanism that could not be modeled or at least matched in power and flexibility by software running on a computer. He refuses to fall on his knees before the mystery of the human brain. Generally speaking, he says, the core of a disagreement Ill have with a critic is, theyll say, Oh, Kurzweil is underestimating the complexity of reverse-engineering of the human brain or the complexity of biology. But I dont believe Im underestimating the challenge. I think theyre underestimating the power of exponential growth.
This is wrong. For instance, I think reverse-engineering the general principles of a human brain might well be doable in a few or several decades, and I do suspect that well be able to do things in ten years, 20 years, a century that I cant even imagine. I dont find Kurzweil silly because Im blind to the power of exponential growth, but because:
Kurzweil hasnt demonstrated that there is exponential growth at play here. Ive read his absurd book, and his data is phony and fudged to fit his conclusion. He cheerfully makes stuff up or drops data that goes against his desires to invent these ridiculous charts.
Im not claiming he underestimates the complexity of the brain, Im saying he doesnt understand biology, period. Handwaving is not enough if hes going to make fairly specific claims of immortality in 35 years, there had better be some understanding of the path that will be taken.
There is a vast difference between grasping a principle and implementing the specifics. If we understand how the brain works, if we can create a computer simulation that replicates and improves upon the function of our brain, that does not in any way imply that my identity and experiences can be translated into the digital realm. Again, Kurzweil doesnt have even a hint of a path that can be taken to do that, so he has no basis for making the prediction.
Smooth curves that climb upward into infinity can exist in mathematics (although Kurzweils predictions dont live in state of rigor that would justify calling them mathematical), but they dont work in the real world. There are limits. Weve been building better and more powerful power plants for aircraft for a century, but they havent gotten to a size and efficiency to allow me to fly off with a personal jetpack. I have no reason to expect that they will, either.
While I dont doubt that science will advance rapidly, I also expect that the directions it takes will be unpredictable. Kurzweil confuses engineering, where you build something to fit a predetermined set of specifications, with science, in which you follow the evidence wherever it leads. Look at the so-called war on cancer: it isnt won, no one expects that it will be, but what it has accomplished is to provide limited success in improving health and quality of life, extending survival times, and developing new tools for earlier diagnosis thats reality, and understanding reality is achieved incrementally, not by sudden surges in technology independent of human effort. It also generates unexpected spinoffs in deeper knowledge about cell cycles, signaling, gene regulation, etc. The problems get more interesting and diverse, and its awfully silly of one non-biologist in 2011 to try to predict what surprises will pop out.
Kurzweil is a typical technocrat with limited breadth of knowledge. Imagine what happens IF we actually converge on some kind of immortality. Who gets it? If its restricted, what makes Kurzweil think he, and not Senator Dumbbum who controls federal spending on health, or Tycoon Greedo the trillionaire, gets it? How would the world react if such a capability were available, and they (or their dying mother, or their sick child) dont have access? What if its cheap and easy, and everyone gets it? Kurzweil is talking about a technology that would almost certainly destroy every human society on the planet, and he treats it as blithely as the prospect of getting new options for his cell phone. In case he hadnt noticed, human sociology and politics shows no sign of being on an exponential trend towards greater wisdom. Yeah, expect turbulence.
Hes guilty of a very weird form of reductionism that considers a human life can be reduced to patterns in a computer. I have no stock in spiritualism or dualism, but we are very much a product of our crude and messy biology we percieve the world through imprecise chemical reactions, our brains send signals by shuffling ions in salt water, our attitudes and reactions are shaped by chemicals secreted by glands in our guts. Replicating the lightning while ignoring the clouds and rain and pressure changes will not give you a copy of the storm. It will give you something different, which would be interesting still, but its not the same.
Kurzweil shows other signs of kookery. Two hundred pills a day? Weekly intravenous transfusions? Drinking alkalized water because hes afraid of acidosis? The man is an intelligent engineer, but hes also an obsessive crackpot.
Oh, well. Ill make my own predictions. Magazines will continue to praise Kurzweils techno-religion in sporadic bursts, and followers will continue to gullibly accept what he says because it is what they wish would happen. Kurzweil will die while brain-uploading and immortality are still vague dreams; he will be frozen in liquid nitrogen, which will so thoroughly disrupt his cells that even if we discover how to cure whatever kills him, there will be no hope of recovering the mind and personality of Kurzweil from the scrambled chaos of his dead brain. 2045 will come, and those of us who are alive to see it, will look back and realize it is very, very different from what life was like in 2011, and also very different from what we expected life to be like. At some point, I expect artificial intelligences to be part of our culture, if we persist; theyll work in radically different ways than human brains, and they will revolutionize society, but I have no way of guessing how. Ray Kurzweil will be forgotten, mostly, but records of the existence of a strange shaman of the circuitry from the late 20th and early 21st century will be tucked away in whatever the future databases are like, and people and machines will sometimes stumble across them and laugh or zotigrate and say, How quaint and amusing!, or whatever the equivalent in the frangitwidian language of the trans-entity circumsolar ansible network might be.
And thatll be kinda cool. I wish I could live to see it.
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Posted: January 13, 2017 at 6:56 am
Preventive & Predictive Maintenance
A computerized maintenance management system helps keep assets running and assists with meeting food safety audit requirements.
A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can help food and beverage facility owners plan and schedule assets and labor to optimize overall plant efficiency and minimize downtime.
Remember the early days of data acquisition/collection systems?
Industrial security specialists will monitor industrial facilities around the world.
The company has joint locations in Europe and the US.
Better safe than sorry since “sorry” could cost you downtime, product quality or safety and/or your brands reputation.
According to the ICS-CERT (Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team) fiscal year 2015 final incident response statistics, the food and agriculture segment reported only two cyberattacks last year.
Pumped production lines can prove difficult for traditional inspection systems.
Installing a robust, reliable pipeline X-ray system can help.
Attracting more than 80,000 high school students, the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition began earlier this month.
As partners of FIRST, the Automation Federation and ISA are encouraging their members to support the range of FIRST education programs.
The technology connecting people, machines, suppliers and processors is rapidly changing the manufacturing industry.
The concepts and technologies encompassed by the term Internet of Things are rapidly changing the world.
Tech Update: Collaborative Robots
Some robots find new freedom as they become aware of their surroundings and act accordingly.
For good reasons, robots have been kept behind safety fences as they perform jobs that are potentially dangerous and back-breaking to humans.
Once your product leaves the shipping dock, what happens in the supply chain could negate all your efforts to make it food safe and the high-quality brand leader it is.
Its 3:00 a.m. Do you know where your trailer of strawberries is?
Butterballs Corporate Project Manager Matt Giroux discusses line efficiency, technological advancements of line design, automation of lines and robotics on packaging lines.
Posted: January 10, 2017 at 11:56 pm
Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound.
The simplest form of virtual reality is a 3-D image that can be explored interactively at a personal computer, usually by manipulating keys or the mouse so that the content of the image moves in some direction or zooms in or out. More sophisticated efforts involve such approaches as wrap-around display screens, actual rooms augmented with wearable computers, and haptics devices that let you feel the display images.
Virtual reality can be divided into:
The Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) allows the creator to specify images and the rules for their display and interaction using textual language statements.
See also: augmented reality
See a video introduction to virtual reality:
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Posted: at 2:58 am
“Domotics/Domotica” redirects here. It is not to be confused with Demotic.
Home automation or smart home (also known as domotics or domotica) is the residential extension of building automation and involves the control and automation of lighting, heating (such as smart thermostats), ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and security, as well as home appliances such as washer/dryers, ovens or refrigerators/freezers that use WiFi for remote monitoring. Modern systems generally consist of switches and sensors connected to a central hub sometimes called a “gateway” from which the system is controlled with a user interface that is interacted either with a wall-mounted terminal, mobile phone software, tablet computer or a web interface, often but not always via internet cloud services.
While there are many competing vendors, there are very few world-wide accepted industry standards and the smart home space is heavily fragmented. Popular communications protocol for products include X10, Ethernet, RS-485, 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth LE (BLE), ZigBee and Z-Wave, or other proprietary protocols all of which are incompatible with each other. Manufacturers often prevent independent implementations by withholding documentation and by suing people.
The home automation market was worth US$5.77 billion in 2015, predicted to have a market value over US$10 billion by the year 2020.
The word “domotics” (and “domotica” when used as a verb) is a contraction of the Latin word for a home “domus” and the words/fields informatics, telematics and robotics.
Early home automation began with labor-saving machines. Self-contained electric or gas powered home appliances became viable in the 1900s with the introduction of electric power distribution and led to the introduction of washing machines (1904), water heaters (1889), refrigerators, sewing machines, dishwashers, and clothes dryers.
In 1975, the first general purpose home automation network technology, X10, was developed. It is a communication protocol for electronic devices. It primarily uses electric power transmission wiring for signalling and control, where the signals involve brief radio frequency bursts of digital data, and remains the most widely available. By 1978, X10 products included a 16 channel command console, a lamp module, and an appliance module. Soon after came the wall switch module and the first X10 timer.
By 2012, in the United States, according to ABI Research, 1.5 million home automation systems were installed.
According to Li et. al. (2016) there are three generations of home automation:
In a review of home automation devices, Consumer Reports found two main concerns for consumers:
Microsoft Research found in 2011, that home automation could involve high cost of ownership, inflexibility of interconnected devices, and poor manageability.
Historically systems have been sold as complete systems where the consumer relies on one vendor for the entire system including the hardware, the communications protocol, the central hub, and the user interface. However, there are now open source software systems which can be used with proprietary hardware.
There are a wide variety of technology platforms, or protocols, on which a smart home can be built. Each one is, essentially, its own language. Each language speaks to the various connected devices and instructs them to perform a function.
The automation protocol transport has involved direct wire connectivity, powerline (UPB) and wireless hybrid and wireless.
Most of the protocols below are not open. All have an API.
Home automation suffers from platform fragmentation and lack of technical standards a situation where the variety of home automation devices, in terms of both hardware variations and differences in the software running on them, makes the task of developing applications that work consistently between different inconsistent technology ecosystems hard. Customers may be hesitant to bet their IoT future on proprietary software or hardware devices that use proprietary protocols that may fade or become difficult to customize and interconnect.
Home automation devices amorphous computing nature is also a problem for security, since patches to bugs found in the core operating system often do not reach users of older and lower-price devices. One set of researchers say that the failure of vendors to support older devices with patches and updates leaves more than 87% of active devices vulnerable.
Domestic patch panel, unstructured.
Laptop controller for automated sprinkler system
Well and booster pump automation
An ad for the Kitchen Computer in 1969.
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Posted: January 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm
The Turks and Caicos Islands ( and / / ), or TCI for short, are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean and northern West Indies.
They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. The resident population is 31,458 as of 2012[update] of whom 23,769 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in the Bahamas island chain and north of the island of Hispaniola and the other Antilles archipelago islands. Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is situated on Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States. The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometres (170sqmi).[b]
The first recorded European sighting of the islands now known as the Turks and Caicos occurred in 1512. In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers with the British Empire eventually gaining control. For many years the islands were governed indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor, and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since. In August 2009, the United Kingdom suspended the Turks and Caicos Islands’ self-government after allegations of ministerial corruption. Home rule was restored in the islands after the November 2012 elections.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk’s cap cactus (Melocactus intortus), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning ‘string of islands’.
The first inhabitants of the islands were Arawakan-speaking Tano people, who crossed over from Hispaniola sometime from AD 500 to 800. Together with Taino who migrated from Cuba to the southern Bahamas around the same time, these people developed as the Lucayan. Around 1200, the Turks and Caicos Islands were resettled by Classical Tanos from Hispaniola.
Soon after the Spanish arrived in the islands in 1512, they began capturing the Tano of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Lucayan as slaves (technically, as workers in the encomienda system) to replace the largely depleted native population of Hispaniola. The southern Bahama Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands were completely depopulated by about 1513, and remained so until the 17th century.
The first European documented to sight the islands was Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Len, who did so in 1512. During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the islands passed from Spanish, to French, to British control, but none of the three powers ever established any settlements.
Bermudian salt collectors settled the Turks Islands around 1680. For several decades around the turn of the 18th century, the islands became popular pirate hideouts. From 17651783, the islands were under French occupation, and again after the French captured the archipelago in 1783.
After the American War of Independence (17751783), many Loyalists fled to British Caribbean colonies; in 1783, they were the first settlers on the Caicos Islands. They developed cotton as an important cash crop, but it was superseded by the development of the salt industry.
In 1799, both the Turks and the Caicos island groups were annexed by Britain as part of the Bahamas. The processing of sea salt was developed as a highly important export product from the West Indies, with the labour done by African slaves. Salt continued to be a major export product into the nineteenth century.
In 1807, Britain prohibited the slave trade and, in 1833, abolished slavery in its colonies. British ships sometimes intercepted slave traders in the Caribbean, and some ships were wrecked off the coast of these islands. In 1837, the Esperanza, a Portuguese slaver, was wrecked off East Caicos, one of the larger islands. While the crew and 220 captive Africans survived the shipwreck, 18 Africans died before the survivors were taken to Nassau. Africans from this ship may have been among the 189 liberated Africans whom the British colonists settled in the Turks and Caicos from 1833 to 1840.
In 1841, the Trouvadore, an illegal Spanish slave ship, was wrecked off the coast of East Caicos. All the 20-man crew and 192 captive Africans survived the sinking. Officials freed the Africans and arranged for 168 persons to be apprenticed to island proprietors on Grand Turk Island for one year. They increased the small population of the colony by seven percent. Numerous descendants have come from those free Africans. The remaining 24 were resettled in Nassau. The Spanish crew were also taken there, to be turned over to the custody of the Cuban consul and taken to Cuba for prosecution. An 1878 letter documents the “Trouvadore Africans” and their descendants as constituting an essential part of the “labouring population” on the islands.
In 2004, marine archaeologists affiliated with the Turks and Caicos National Museum discovered a wreck, called the “Black Rock Ship”, that subsequent research has suggested may be that of the Trouvadore. In November 2008, a cooperative marine archaeology expedition, funded by the United States NOAA, confirmed that the wreck has artefacts whose style and date of manufacture link them to the Trouvadore.
In 1848, Britain designated the Turks and Caicos as a separate colony under a council president. In 1873, the islands were made part of the Jamaica colony; in 1894, the chief colonial official was restyled commissioner. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden suggested that the Turks and Caicos join Canada, but this suggestion was rejected by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. The islands remained a dependency of Jamaica into 1959.
On 4 July 1959, the islands were again designated as a separate colony, the last commissioner being restyled administrator. The governor of Jamaica also continued as the governor of the islands. When Jamaica was granted independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks and Caicos Islands became a Crown colony. From 1965, the governor of the Bahamas also was governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and oversaw affairs for the islands.
When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the Turks and Caicos received their own governor (the last administrator was restyled). In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tried to use his Private Member’s Bill for legislation to annex the islands to Canada, but it did not pass in the Canadian House of Commons.
Since August 1976, the islands have had their own government headed by a chief minister, the first of whom was James Alexander George Smith McCartney.
The islands’ political troubles in the early 21st century resulted in a rewritten constitution promulgated in 2006. The UK took over direction of the government in 2009.
In 2013 and 2014, interest in annexing Turks and Caicos to Canada was renewed as Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring met with the Turks and Caicos’ premier Rufus Ewing in a reception at Torontos Westin Harbour Castle hotel.
The two island groups are in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, northwest of Puerto Rico, north of Hispaniola, and about 1,000 kilometres (620mi) from Miami in the United States, at 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583Coordinates: 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583. The territory is geographically contiguous to the Bahamas, both comprising the Lucayan Archipelago, but is politically a separate entity. The Caicos Islands are separated by the Caicos Passage from the closest Bahamian islands, Mayaguana and Great Inagua.
The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres (238.0 square miles),[b] consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres (128sqmi) of beach front. The weather is usually sunny (it is generally regarded that the islands receive 350 days of sun each year) and relatively dry, but suffers frequent hurricanes. The islands have limited natural fresh water resources; private cisterns collect rainwater for drinking. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch, and other shellfish.
The two distinct island groups are separated by the Turks Islands Passage.
The Turks Islands are separated from the Caicos Islands by Turks Island Passage, which is more than 2,200m or 7,200ft deep, The islands form a chain that stretches northsouth. The 2012 Census population was 4,939 on the two main islands, the only inhabited islands of the group:
Together with nearby islands, all on Turks Bank, those two main islands form the two of the six administrative districts of the territory that fall within the Turks Islands. Turks Bank, which is smaller than Caicos Bank, has a total area of about 324km2 (125sqmi).
25 kilometres (16mi) east of the Turks Islands and separated from them by Mouchoir Passage is the Mouchoir Bank. Although it has no emergent cays or islets, some parts are very shallow and the water breaks on them. Mouchoir Bank is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands and falls within its Exclusive Economic Zone. It measures 960 square kilometres (370sqmi) in area. Two banks further east, Silver Bank and Navidad Bank, are geographically a continuation, but belong politically to the Dominican Republic.
The largest island in the Caicos archipelago is the sparsely-inhabited Middle Caicos, which measures 144 square kilometres (56sqmi) in area, but has a population of only 168 at the 2012 Census. The most populated island is Providenciales, with 23,769 inhabitants in 2012, and an area of 122 square kilometres (47sqmi). North Caicos (116 square kilometres (45sqmi) in area) had 1,312 inhabitants. South Caicos (21 square kilometres (8.1sqmi) in area) had 1,139 inhabitants, and Parrot Cay (6 square kilometres (2.3sqmi) in area) had 131 inhabitants. East Caicos (which is administered as part of South Caicos District) is uninhabited, while the only permanent inhabitants of West Caicos (administered as part of Providenciales District) are resort staff.
The Turks and Caicos Islands feature a relatively dry and sunny marine tropical climate with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year. Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 33C (91F) and winter nighttime temperatures rarely fall below 18C (64F).
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory. As a British territory, its sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, represented by a governor appointed by the monarch, on the advice of the Foreign Office. The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization includes the territory on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
With the election of the territory’s first Chief Minister, J.A.G.S. McCartney, the islands adopted a constitution on 30 August 1976, which is Constitution Day, the national holiday.
The constitution was suspended in 1986, but restored and revised 5 March 1988. In the interim two Advisory Councils took over with members from the Progressive National Party (PNP), People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which was a splinter group from the PNP:
A new constitution came into force on 9 August 2006, but was in parts suspended and amended in 2009. The territory’s legal system is based on English common law, with a small number of laws adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. Suffrage is universal for those over 18 years of age. English is the official language. Grand Turk is the administrative and political capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cockburn Town has been the seat of government since 1766.
Under the suspended 2006 constitution, the head of government was the premier, filled by the leader of the elected party. The cabinet consisted of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the House of Assembly. The unicameral House of Assembly consisted of 21 seats, of which 15 were popularly elected; members serve four-year terms. Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands were held on 24 April 2003 and again on 9 February 2007. The Progressive National Party, led by Michael Misick, held thirteen seats, and the People’s Democratic Movement, led by Floyd Seymour, held two seats.
Under the new constitution that came into effect in October 2012, legislative power is held by a unicameral House of Assembly, consisting of 19 seats, 15 elected and 4 appointed by the governor; of elected members, five are elected at large and 10 from single member districts for four-year terms. After the 2012 elections, Rufus Ewing of the Progressive National Party won a narrow majority of the elected seats and was appointed premier.
The Turks and Caicos Islands participates in the Caribbean Development Bank, is an associate in CARICOM, member of the Universal Postal Union and maintains an Interpol sub-bureau. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.
The winning party of Turks and Caicos’ first general election in 1976, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) under “Jags” McCartney, sought to establish a framework and accompanying infrastructure in the pursuit of an eventual policy of full independence for the islands. However, with the early death of McCartney, confidence in the country’s leadership waned. In 1980, the PDM agreed with the British government that independence would be granted in 1982 if the PDM was re-elected in the elections of that year. That election was effectively a referendum on the independence issue and was won by the pro-dependency Progressive National Party (PNP), which claimed victory again four years later. With these developments, the independence issue largely faded from the political scene.
However, in the mid-2000s, the issue of independence for the islands was again raised. In April 2006, PNP Premier Michael Misick reaffirmed that his party saw independence from Britain as the “ultimate goal” for the islands, but not at the present time.
In 2008, opponents of Misick accused him of moving toward independence for the islands to dodge a commission of inquiry, which examined reports of corruption by the Misick Administration.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into six administrative districts (two in the Turks Islands and four in the Caicos Islands), headed by district commissioners. For the House of Assembly, the Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into 15 electoral districts (four in the Turks Islands and eleven in the Caicos Islands).
A great number of tourists who visit the Turks and Caicos Islands are Canadian. In 2011 arrivals from Canada were about 42,000 out of a total from all countries of about 354,000. Owing to this, the islands’ status as a British colony, and historical trade links, some politicians in Canada and the Turks and Caicos have suggested some form of union between Canada and the British territory. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden attempted to persuade the British government to annex the islands, and the idea has been discussed several times over the last century. In 1974, the government of the islands sent Canada a “serious offer” to join the country, however at the time the Canadian government was focusing on their free trade agreement with the United States.
In 2013, Rufus Ewing, the Premier of the islands, rejected the idea of the islands joining Canada, however the following year he stated that he wasn’t “closing the door completely” on the possibility.
In April 2016, it was reported that the New Democratic Party, one of the three major political parties in Canada, was considering a resolution at an upcoming national convention to discuss the possibility of working with lawmakers and citizens of Turks and Caicos Islands to have it join Canada as the eleventh Canadian province.
In 2008, after members of the British parliament conducting a routine review of the administration received several reports of high-level official corruption in the Turks and Caicos, then-Governor Richard Tauwhare announced the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into corruption. The same year, Premier Michael Misick himself became the focus of a criminal investigation after a woman identified by news outlets as an American citizen residing in Puerto Rico accused him of sexually assaulting her, although he strongly denies the charge.
On Monday, 16 March 2009, the UK threatened to suspend self-government in the islands and transfer power to the new governor, Gordon Wetherell, over systemic corruption.
On 18 March 2009, on the advice of her UK ministers, Queen Elizabeth II issued an Order in Council giving the Governor the power to suspend those parts of the 2006 Constitution that deal with ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and to exercise the powers of government himself. The order, which would also establish an Advisory Council and Consultative Forum in place of the House of Assembly, would come into force on a date to be announced by the governor, and remain in force for two years unless extended or revoked.
On 23 March 2009, after the enquiry found evidence of “high probability of systemic corruption or other serious dishonesty”, Misick resigned as Premier to make way for a new, unified government. Politicians were accused of selling crown land for personal gain and misusing public funds. The following day, Galmo Williams was sworn in as his replacement. Misick denied all charges, and referred to the British government’s debate on whether to remove the territory’s sovereignty as “tantamount to being re-colonised. It is a backwards step completely contrary to the whole movement of history.”
On 14 August 2009 after Misick’s last appeals failed, the Governor, on the instructions of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands by authority of the 18 March 2009 Order in Council issued by the Queen. The islands’ administration was suspended for up to two years, with possible extensions, and power was transferred to the Governor, with the United Kingdom also stationing a supply vessel in between Turks and Caicos. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Chris Bryant said of the decision to impose rule, “This is a serious constitutional step which the UK Government has not taken lightly but these measures are essential in order to restore good governance and sound financial management.”
The move was met with vehement opposition by the former Turks and Caicos government, with Misick’s successor Williams calling it a “coup”, and stating that, “Our country is being invaded and re-colonised by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one-man dictatorship, akin to that of the old Red China, all in the name of good governance.” Despite this, the civilian populace was reported to be largely welcoming of the enforced rule. The British government stated that they intended to keep true to their word that the country would regain home rule in two years or less, and Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said that elections would be held in 2011, “or sooner”. Governor Wetherell stated that he would aim to “make a clean break from the mistakes of the past” and create “a durable path towards good governance, sound financial management and sustainable development”. Wetherell added: “In the meantime we must all learn to foster a quality of public spirit, listen to all those who have the long-term interests of these islands at heart, and safeguard the fundamental assets of the Territory for future generations… Our guiding principles will be those of transparency, accountability and responsibility. I believe that most people in the Turks and Caicos will welcome these changes.”
On 12 June 2012 British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that fresh elections would be held in November 2012, stating that there had been “significant progress with an ambitious reform programme” and that there had been “sufficient progress, on the milestones and on putting in place robust financial controls” A new constitution was approved on 15 October 2012. The terms of the election are specified in the constitution.
The judicial branch of government is headed by a Supreme Court; appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal and final appeals by the United Kingdom’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. There are three justices of the Supreme Court, a Chief Justice and two others. The Court of Appeal consists of a president and at least two justices of appeal.
Magistrates’ Courts are the lower courts and appeals from Magistrates’ Courts are sent to the Supreme Court.
As of September 2014, the Chief Justice is Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale.
Eight of the thirty islands in the territory are inhabited, with a total population estimated from preliminary results of the census of 25 January 2012 (released on 12 August 2012) of 31,458 inhabitants, an increase of 58.2% from the population of 19,886 reported in the 2001 census. One-third of the population is under 15 years old, and only 4% are 65 or older. In 2000 the population was growing at a rate of 3.55% per year. The infant mortality rate was 18.66 deaths per 1,000 live births and the life expectancy at birth was 73.28 years (71.15 years for males, 75.51 years for females). The total fertility rate was 3.25 children born per woman. The annual population growth rate is 2.82%.
The adult population is composed of 57.5% immigrants (“non-belongers”). The CIA World Factbook describes the islanders’ ethnicity as African 87%, European 7.9%, Mixed 2.5.%, East Indian 1.3% and Other 0.7% 
Vital statistics related to the population are:
The official language of the islands is English and the population also speaks Turks and Caicos Islands Creole which is similar to Bahamian Creole. Due to its close proximity to Cuba and Hispaniola, large Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking communities have developed in the territory due to immigration, both legal and illegal, from Creole-speaking Haiti and from Spanish-speaking Cuba and Dominican Republic.
72.8% of the population of Turks and Caicos are Christian (Baptists 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Roman Catholics 11.4%, Anglicans 10%, Methodists 9.3%, Seventh-Day Adventists 6%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.8% and Others 14%).
Catholics are served by the Mission “Sui Iuris” for Turks and Caicos, which was erected in 1984 with territory taken from the then Diocese of Nassau.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are most well known for ripsaw music. The islands are known for their annual Music and Cultural Festival showcasing many local talents and other dynamic performances by many music celebrities from around the Caribbean and United States.
Women continue traditional crafts of using straw to make baskets and hats on the larger Caicos islands. It is possible that this continued tradition is related to the liberated Africans who joined the population directly from Africa in the 1830s and 1841 from shipwrecked slavers; they brought cultural craft skills with them.
The island’s most popular sports are fishing, sailing, football (soccer) and cricket (which is the national sport).
Turks and Caicos cuisine is based primarily around seafood, especially conch. Two common dishes, whilst not traditionally ‘local’, are conch fritters and conch salad.
Because the Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory and not an independent country, they, at one time, could not confer citizenship. Instead, people with close ties to Britain’s Overseas Territories all held the same nationality: British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981 and subsequent amendments. BOTC, however, does not confer any right to live in any British Overseas Territory, including the territory from which it is derived. Instead, the rights normally associated with citizenship derive from what is called Belonger status and island natives or descendants from natives are said to be Belongers.
In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act restored full British citizenship status to all citizens of British Overseas Territories, including the Turks and Caicos. See British Overseas Territories citizen#Access to British citizenship.
Public Education is supported by taxation, and is mandatory for children aged five to sixteen. Primary education lasts for six years and secondary education lasts for five years. In the 1990s, the island nation launched the Primary In-Service Teacher Education Project (PINSTEP) in an effort to increase the skills of its primary school teachers, nearly one-quarter of whom were unqualified. Turks and Caicos also worked to refurbish its primary schools, reduce textbook costs, and increase equipment and supplies given to schools. For example, in September 1993, each primary school was given enough books to allow teachers to establish in-class libraries. In 2001, the studentteacher ratio at the primary level was roughly 15:1. The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College offers free higher education to students who have successfully completed their secondary education. The community college also oversees an adult literacy program. The Ministry of Health, Education, Youth, Sports, and Women’s Affairs oversees education in Turks and Caicos. Once a student completes their education at The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, they are allowed to further their education at a university in The United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom for free. They have to commit to working in The Turks and Caicos Islands for four years to receive this additional education.
The Turks and Caicos established a National Health System in 2010. Residents contribute to a National Health Insurance Plan through salary deduction and nominal user fees. Majority of care is provided by the private-public-partnership hospitals in Providenciales and Grand Turk. In addition there are a number of government clinics and private clinics. The hospital opened in 2010 is administered by Interhealth Canada and has been accredited by Accreditation Canada in 2012 and 2015.
In 2009, GDP contributions were as follows: Hotels & Restaurants 34.67%, Financial Services 13.12%, Construction 7.83%, Transport, Storage & Communication 9.90%, and Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 9.56%.[clarification needed] Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported.
In 2010/2011, major sources of government revenue included Import Duties (43.31%), Stamp Duty on Land Transaction (8.82%), Work Permits and Residency Fees (10.03%) and Accommodation Tax (24.95%). The territory’s gross domestic product as of late 2009 is approximately US$795 million (per capita $24,273).
The labour force totalled 27,595 workers in 2008. The labour force distribution in 2006 is as follows:
The unemployment rate in 2008 was 8.3%. In 20072008, the territory took in revenues of $206.79 million against expenditures of $235.85 million. In 1995, the island received economic aid worth $5.7 million. The territory’s currency is the United States dollar, with a few government fines (such as airport infractions) being payable in pounds sterling. Most commemorative coin issues are denominated in crowns.
The primary agricultural products include limited amounts of maize, beans, cassava (tapioca) and citrus fruits. Fish and conch are the only significant export, with some $169.2 million of lobster, dried and fresh conch, and conch shells exported in 2000, primarily to the United Kingdom and the United States. In recent years, however, the catch has been declining. The territory used to be an important trans-shipment point for South American narcotics destined for the United States, but due to the ongoing pressure of a combined American, Bahamian and Turks and Caicos effort this trade has been greatly reduced.
The islands import food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufacture and construction materials, primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom. Imports totalled $581 million in 2007.
The islands produce and consume about 5 GWh of electricity, per year, all of which comes from fossil fuels.
The United States was the leading source of tourists in 1996, accounting for more than half of the 87,000 visitors; another major source of tourists is Canada. Tourist arrivals had risen to 264,887 in 2007 and to 351,498 by 2009. In 2010, a total of 245 cruise ships arrived at the Grand Turk Cruise Terminal, carrying a total of 617,863 visitors.
The government is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to increase tourism. Upscale resorts are aimed at the wealthy, while a large new cruise ship port and recreation centre has been built for the masses visiting Grand Turk. Turks and Caicos Islands has one of the longest coral reefs in the world and the world’s only conch farm.
The French vacation village company of Club Mediterannee (Club Med) has an all-inclusive adult resort called ‘Turkoise’ on one of the main islands.
Several Hollywood stars have built homes in the Turks and Caicos, including Dick Clark and Bruce Willis. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner married on Parrot Cay in 2005. Actress Eva Longoria and her ex-husband Tony Parker went to the islands for their honeymoon in July 2007 and High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens went for a vacation there. In 2013 Hollywood writer/director Rob Margolies and actress Kristen Ruhlin vacationed here. Musician Nile Rodgers has a vacation home on the island.
To boost tourism during the Caribbean low season of late summer, since 2003 the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have organised and hosted an annual series of concerts during this season called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival. Held in a temporary bandshell at The Turtle Cove Marina in The Bight on Providenciales, this festival lasts about a week and has featured several notable international recording artists, such as Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men. More than 10,000 people attend annually.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a biodiversity hotspot. The islands have many endemic species and others of international importance, due to the conditions created by the oldest established salt-pan development in the Caribbean. The variety of species includes a number of endemic species of lizards, snakes, insects and plants, and marine organisms; in addition to being an important breeding area for seabirds.
The UK and Turks and Caicos Islands Governments have joint responsibility for the conservation and preservation to meet obligations under international environmental conventions.
Due to this significance, the islands are on the United Kingdom’s tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Providenciales International Airport is the main entry point for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Altogether, there are seven airports, located on each of the inhabited islands. Five have paved runways (three of which are approximately 2,000m (6,600ft) long and one is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft) long), and the remaining two have unpaved runways (one of which is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft)s long and the other is significantly shorter).
The islands have 121 kilometres (75 miles) of highway, 24km (15mi) paved and 97km (60mi) unpaved. Like the United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands drive on the left, but use left-hand-drive vehicles that are imported from the United States.
The territory’s main international ports and harbours are on Grand Turk and Providenciales.
The islands have no significant railways. In the early twentieth century East Caicos operated a horse-drawn railway to transport Sisal from the plantation to the port. The 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) route was removed after sisal trading ceased.
There is no postal delivery in the Turks and Caicos; mail is picked up at one of four post offices on each of the major islands. Mail is transported three or seven times a week, depending on the destination. The Post Office is part of the territory’s government and reports to the Minister of Government Support Services.
Mobile phone service is provided by Cable & Wireless Worldwide, using GSM 850 and TDMA, and Digicel, using GSM 900 and 1900 and Islandcom Wireless, using 3G 850. Cable & Wireless provides CDMA mobile phone service in Providenciales and Grand Turk. The system is connected to the mainland by two submarine cables and an Intelsat earth station. There were three AM radio stations (one inactive) and six FM stations (no shortwave) in 1998. The most popular station is Power 92.5 FM which plays Top 100 hits. Over 8000 radio receivers are owned across the territory.
West Indies Video (WIV) has been the sole cable television provider for the Turks and Caicos Islands for over two decades and WIV4 (a subsidiary of WIV) has been the only broadcast station in the islands for over 15 years; broadcasts from the Bahamas can also be received. The territory has two internet service providers and its country code top level domain (ccTLD) is “.tc”. Amateur radio callsigns begin with “VP5” and visiting operators frequently work from the islands.
WIV introduced Channel 4 News in 2002 broadcasting local news and infotainment programs across the country. Channel 4 was re-launched as WIV4 in November 2007 and began providing reliable daily online Turks and Caicos news with the WIV4 News blog, an online forum connecting TCI residents with others interested in the islands, while keeping users updated on the TCI’s daily news.
Since 2013 4NEWS has become the Islands HD Cable News service with Television Studios in Grace Bay, Providenciales. DigicelPlay is the local cable provider.
Turks and Caicos’s newspapers include the Turks and Caicos Weekly News, the Turks and Caicos SUN and the Turks and Caicos Free Press. All three publications are weekly. The Weekly News and the Sun both have supplement magazines. Other local magazines Times of the Islands,s3 Magazine,Real Life Magazine, Baller Magazine, and Unleashed Magazine.
From 1950 to 1981, the United States had a missile tracking station on Grand Turk. In the early days of the American space program, NASA used it. After his three earth orbits in 1962, American astronaut John Glenn successfully landed in the nearby ocean and was brought back ashore to Grand Turk island.
Cricket is the islands’ national sport. The national team takes part in regional tournaments in the ICC Americas Championship, as well as having played one Twenty20 match as part of the 2008 Standford 20/20. Two domestic leagues exist, one on Grand Turk with three teams and another on Providenciales.
As of 4 July 2012, Turks and Caicos Islands’ football team shared the position of the lowest ranking national men’s football team in the world at the rank of 207th.
Because the territory is not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Turks and Caicos Islanders compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.
Articles relating to the Turks and Caicos Islands
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Posted: at 10:44 pm
What can I do about eczema and atopic dermatitis?
Eczema and atopic dermatitis cant be cured, but they can be managed, and you can learn to avoid the things that trigger them.
Some things that may irritate your skin include household cleansers, detergents, aftershave lotions, soap, gasoline, turpentine and other solvents. Try to avoid contact with things that make you break out with eczema. Soaps and wetness can cause skin irritation. Wash your hands only when necessary and use a mild unscented soap such as Dove, Basis or Oil of Olay, especially if you have eczema on your hands. Dry your hands completely after you wash them.
Wear vinyl or plastic gloves for work that requires you to have your hands in water. Also, wear gloves when your hands will be exposed to anything that can irritate your skin. Wear cotton gloves under plastic gloves to soak up sweat from your hands. Take occasional breaks and remove your gloves to prevent a buildup of sweat inside your gloves.
Wear gloves when you go outside during the winter. Cold air and low humidity can dry your skin, and dryness can make your eczema worse.
Wool and some synthetic fabrics can irritate your skin.
Bathe only with a mild unscented soap, such as Dove, Basis or Oil of Olay. Use a small amount of soap. Keep the water temperature cool or warm, not hot. Soaking in the tub for a short time can be good for your skin because the skins outer layer can absorb water and become less dry. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Then use a soft towel to pat your skin dry without rubbing. Immediately after drying, apply a moisturizer to your skin. This helps seal in the moisture.
Moisturizers help keep your skin soft and flexible. They prevent skin cracks. A plain moisturizer is best. Avoid moisturizers with fragrances (perfume) and a lot of extra ingredients. A good, cheap moisturizer is plain petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline). Use moisturizers that are more greasy than creamy, because creams usually have more preservatives in them.
Regular use of a moisturizer can help prevent the dry skin that is common in winter.
Too much heat and sweat can make your skin more irritated and itchy. Try to avoid activities that make you hot and sweaty.
Eczema can flare up when you are under stress. Learn how to recognize and cope with stress. Stress reduction techniques can help. Changing your activities to reduce daily stress can also be helpful.
The area where you had the eczema may easily get irritated again, so it needs special care. Continue to follow the tips in this handout even after your skin has healed.
Posted: at 10:40 pm
The approach to interpreting the book of Revelation which has gained perhaps the widest exposure of all systems of interpretation in recent times is the futurist interpretation. This is a result of a number of seminaries in the recent past which have championed a literal interpretative approach to all of Scripture within a framework which understands related Old Testament passages and promises involving Israel, and which distinguishes between Israel and the Church. The futurist interpretation is the basic interpretive framework behind the hugely popular Left Behind series of novels by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.1
Futurism derives from the consistent application of literal hermeneutics, the Golden Rule of Interpretation, across the entire body of Scripture, including the book of Revelation. Contrary to the claims of many of its critics, it is not an a priori view which is imposed on the text.2 As evidenced by the testimony of the early Church, futurism is the most natural result of a plain reading of the text and the way that most unbiased readers would understand the book on their first reading.
Futurism gets its label from its refusal to see unfulfilled passages as having been fulfilled by approximately similar events in the past. Hence, it holds that many of the events in the book of Revelation await future fulfillment:
The futurist generally believes that all of the visions from Revelation Rev. 4:1+ to the end of the book are yet to be fulfilled in the period immediately preceding and following the second advent of Christ. The reason for the view is found in the comparison of Revelation Rev. 1:1+, Rev. 1:19+ and Rev. 4:1+.3
Futurists see eschatological passages being fulfilled during a future time, primarily during the seventieth week of Daniel, at the second coming of Christ, and during the millennium. While all dispensationalists are futurists, not all futurists are dispensationalists. Futurists are also the most literal in their interpretation of prophecy passages. Dr. Tenney says: The more literal an interpretation that one adopts, the more strongly will he be construed to be a futurist.4
There are two forms of this approach, dispensationalism and what has been called classic premillennialism. Dispensationalists believe that God has brought about his plan of salvation in a series of dispensations or stages centering on his election of Israel to be his covenant people. Therefore, the church age is a parenthesis in this plan, as God turned to the Gentiles until the Jewish people find national revival (Rom. Rom. 11:1;25-32). At the end of that period, the church will be raptured, inaugurating a seven-year tribulation period in the middle of which the Antichrist will make himself known (Rev. Rev. 13:1+) and instigate the great tribulation . . . At the end of that period . . . Christ returns in judgment, followed by a literal millennium (Rev. Rev. 20:1-10+), great white throne judgment (Rev. Rev. 20:11-15+), and the beginning of eternity . . . Classical premillennialism is similar but does not hold to dispensations. Thus there is only one return of Christ, after the tribulation period (Mtt. Mat. 24:29-31; cf. Rev. Rev. 19:11-21+) and it is the whole church, not just the nation of Israel, that passes through the tribulation period.6
When Knowles deals with the next major contributorsIrenaeus (130-200) and his disciple Hippolytus (170-236)he describes their views as undoubtedly the forerunners of the modern dispensational interpreters of the Seventy Weeks. Knowles draws the following conclusion about Irenaeus and Hippolytus: . . .we may say that Irenaeus presented the seed of an idea that found its full growth in the writings of Hippolytus. In the works of these fathers, we can find most of the basic concepts of the modern futuristic view of the seventieth week of Daniel ix. That they were dependent to some extent upon earlier material is no doubt true. Certainly we can see the influence of pre-Christian Jewish exegesis at times, but, by and large, we must regard them as the founders of the school of interpretation, and in this lies their significance for the history of exegesis.9
[Justin Martyr] asserts that it teaches a literal Millennial Kingdom of the saints to be established in Jerusalem, and after the thousand years the general resurrection and judgment. . . . Irenaeus . . . finds in the book the doctrine of chiliasm, that is, of an earthly Millennial Kingdom. . . . Hippolytus is a chiliast . . . identifies . . . Antichrist, who was represented by Antiochus Epiphanes and who will come out of the tribe of Dan, will reign 3 1/2 years, persecuting the Church and putting to death the two Witnesses, the forerunners of the parousia (held to be Elijah and Enoch). . . . Victorinus . . . understands the Revelation in a literal, chiliastic, sense . . . The two witnesses are Elijah and Jeremiah; the 144,000 are Jews who in the last days will be converted by the preaching of Elijah . . . the false prophet, will cause the image of Antichrist to be set up in the temple at Jerusalem.11
Unfortunately, with the rise of allegorical interpretation and the opposition of the heresy of Montanism (which utilized an extravagant form of millennial teaching drawn from the book of Revelation),12 the futurist view fell into disfavor, not to be seen in a favorable light again for over a thousand years.13
During the Reformation, literal interpretation flourished in response to the allegorical methods employed throughout the Middle Ages by the Roman Church. However, the Reformers never fully extended literalism to prophetic passages and key Reformers did not fully appreciate the book of Revelation.
The primary fork in the road between futurism and all other systems of interpretation concerning the book of Revelation comes in the refusal of the futurist to be imprecise with the details of Gods revelation.14 For example, when a passage states that a man Rev. 13:13+), the futurist expects fulfillment to involve: (1) a man; (2) performing great signs in a similar way that great signs were performed in the OT and by Christ in the gospels; (3) who calls down literal fire from literal heaven as was done in the OT; (4) viewed by other men. He then asks the simple question: Is there any reliable historic record of such an event since the time of Johns writing? The obvious answer is, No! Hence this event awaits future fulfillment. It really is that simple!
There is a strong connection between literal interpretation and futurism: The more literal an interpretation that one adopts, the more strongly will he be construed to be a futurist.15 Literal interpretation allows the text to speak for itself:16
Critics frequently misrepresent futurism as if it places its entire emphasis on understanding the book of Revelation as applying to the future: The futurist position especially encounters the difficulty that the book would have had no significant relevance for a first-century readership. [emphasis added]17
This is a major misunderstanding of the futurist position which holds that the early chapters of the book are specifically addressed to the then-existing churches in Asia Minor and fully appreciates the historical setting and contents of these passages. Moreover, futurism concurs with Swete that the events of the book of Revelation are relevant in every age as a great source of blessing and security for persecuted believers:
In the Epistle of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons, written in 177 to their brethren in Asia and Phrygia, which bears many signs of the use of the Apocalypse by the Christian societies of South Gaul during the troubles in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. . . . It is impossible to doubt that the roll which contained St Johns great letter to the parent Churches in Asia was often in the hands of the daughter Churches in Gaul, and perhaps accompanied the confessors to the prisons where they awaited the martyrs crown.18
The mistake being made is constraining the book of Revelation as if it had only a single purpose. No matter which view is taken, if one fails to understand the many purposes of the book, the interpretive result will be the lacking. Preterist Chilton remarks: No Biblical writer ever revealed the future merely for the sake of satisfying curiosity: The goal was always to direct Gods people toward right action in the present. . . . The prophets told of the future only in order to stimulate godly living. [emphasis added]19 If Chilton were correct, then there would be little reason for prophecy to be predictive. The fact is, the prophets gave prophecy for more reasons than merely the stimulation of godly living. This was indeed an important reason, but not the only reason. The many fulfilled prophecies testifying to the identity of Jesus at His First Coming provide an abundant counter example to Chiltons claim.
It is a misrepresentation of the futurist interpretation to assert that it denies the relevance of the text to the first-century readership. This is tantamount to saying that appreciating the prophetic predictions throughout Scripture essentially denies the relevance of the same passages to those who originally received them. The pattern of prophetic passages throughout Scripture is clearly one of both immediate local application and future prediction. Even in cases where there is no immediate local application by way of historical events (e.g., Isa. Isa. 53:1), the passages still contain inestimable worth to the original recipients in setting forth the will of God as well as inspirational value in the sure hope of what God will do in the future (Rom. Rom. 8:24-25). In the Apocalypse, this dual application of prophetic Scripture (both immediate/local and future/remote) is made explicit in the organizational framework set forth by Christ (Rev. Rev. 1:19+) and in the setting off of the seven epistles from the remaining material.
Other criticisms of futurism are manifestly silly. Gregg denies futurists the right to use the analogy of Scripture (Scripture interprets Scripture):
A major feature of the Tribulation expected by futurists is its seven-year duration, divided in the middle by the Antichrists violating a treaty he had made with Israel and setting up an image of himself in the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Yet none of these elements can be discovered from a literal interpretation of any passage in Revelation. . . . The futurist believes that Revelation Rev. 20:1+ describes a period of world peace and justice with Christ reigning on earth from Jerusalem, though no part of this description can be found in the chapter itself, taken literally. This observation does not mean that this futurist scenario cannot be true. But it must be derived by reading into the passages in Revelation features that are not plainly stated.20
Obviously, care needs to be exercised when connecting passages which seem to have related aspects, but if a good case can be made for a correlation, then the interpreter who fails in this synthesis is failing in his task before God. Chiding futurists who correlate the little horn of Daniel (Dan. Dan. 7:8), the man of sin of Paul (2Th. 2Th. 2:3), and the Beast of Revelation (Rev. Rev. 13:1+) because of obvious and intentional similarities given in Scripture, but providing no sensible or profitable synthesis in its place is a pattern frequently demonstrated by critics. This is the primary reason why futurists can offer a systematic and detailed outline of eschatological events while the other systems fail to provide anything even remotely similar. It almost seems that the critics of futurism dislike the certainty and coherence it offers in its interpretation of prophecy. But if God supernaturally gave the inspired Scriptures through a single author (the Holy Spirit), why shouldnt such coherence and correlation be expected?
To the futurist, the book of Revelation has relevancy to John, to the seven churches of Asia, to the Church throughout history, and to the saints all the way through the Second Coming of Christ and into the eternal state. Now thats relevancy!
The book of Revelation is important to us because it portrays the world as a global village. Entering the twenty-first century, no better expression describes our earth and its people. Besides a mushrooming population, other factors are pushing all humanity together, such as an interlinking economy, jet age transportation, and satellite communications.21
1 Dr. Tim LaHaye is a noted futurist theologian having published numerous works on prophecy, some of which we draw on in this work. See the bibliography.
2 We can offer our own experience in support of this claim. Having been born-again and taught for five years within a Church which embraced preterism, it was our own careful study of the details of Scripture across the entire span of books which caused us to reject preterism in favor of what we only later came to understand was called futurism.
3 Merrill C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1957), 139.
4 Thomas Ice, What Is Preterism?, in Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, eds., The End Times Controversy (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 21.
5 There is also a form of extreme futurism in which even the first three chapters of the book of Revelation are seen as yet future. [E. W. Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984, 1935)]
6 Grant R. Osborne, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 20-21.
7 Alan F. Johnson, Revelation: The Expositors Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 12.
8 In two places, Jerome stated clearly that John was banished under Domitian. First, in his Against Jovinianum (A.D. 393), Jerome wrote that John was a prophet, for he saw in the island of Patmos, to which he had been banished by the Emperor Domitian as a martyr for the Lord, an Apocalypse containing boundless mysteries of the future. Mark Hitchcock, The Stake in the HeartThe A.D. 95 Date of Revelation, in Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, eds., The End Times Controversy (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 135.
9 Thomas Ice, The 70 Weeks of Daniel, in Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, eds., The End Times Controversy (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 350.
10 The early church fathers believed in a literal, thousand-year, earthly reign of Christ because they interpreted the teachings of Revelation in a normal rather than mystical way.Larry V. Crutchfield, Revelation in the New Testament, in Mal Couch, ed., A Bible Handbook to Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 25.
11 Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), 320.
12 The opposition to the heresy of Montanism, which made great use of the Apocalypse and gave extravagant form to its millennial teaching, caused it to be either rejected or differently interpreted.Ibid., 323.
13 This was the method employed by some of the earliest fathers (e.g., Justin, Irenaeus, Hippolytus), but with the triumph of the allegorical method . . . after Origen and of the amillennial view after Augustine and Ticonius, the futurist method (and chiliasm) was not seen again for over a thousand years.Osborne, Revelation, 20.
14 As we noted earlier, this is one reason why many who are trained in the sciences and engineering tend toward this view of Scripture. Being trained in logic and the analysis of details, we reject the approximate fulfillments and interpretations of the other systems in favor of a God Who fulfills His predictions down to the gnats eyelash.
15 Tenney, Interpreting Revelation, 142.
16 Dispensationalism is actually built on the idea of letting the Bible speak for itself with a normal, literal hermeneutic. If simple rules of grammar and observation are put into place, the Scriptures will begin to make sense, from Genesis to Revelation.Mal Couch, Why is Revelation Important?, in Mal Couch, ed., A Bible Handbook to Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 41.
17 Gregory K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 47.
18 Henry Barclay Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998, 1906), xciii.
19 David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance (Tyler, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 27.
20 Steve Gregg, Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 41.
21 Couch, Why is Revelation Important?, 17.
Posted: January 5, 2017 at 10:54 am
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Posted: January 4, 2017 at 6:03 pm
Amrit (Sanskrit, IAST: amta) or Amata (Pali) is a word that literally means “immortality” and is often referred to in texts as nectar. Amta is etymologically related to the Greek ambrosia and carries the same meaning. The word’s earliest occurrence is in the Rigveda, where it is one of several synonyms for soma, the drink which confers immortality upon the gods.
Amrit has varying significance in different Indian religions.
Amrit is also a common first name for Hindus; the feminine form is Amrit.
Amrit is repeatedly referred to as the drink of the devas which grants them immortality.
Amrit features in the samudra manthan legend, which describes how the devas, because of a curse from the sage Durvasa, begin to lose their immortality. Assisted by their mortal enemies, the asuras, they churn the ocean and release (among other auspicious object and beings) amrit, the nectar of immortality.
Amrit is sometimes said to miraculously form on, or flow from, statues of Hindu gods. The substance is consumed by worshippers and is alleged to be sweet-tasting and not at all similar to honey or sugar water.
Amrit was the last of the fourteen treasure jewels that emerged from the churning of the ocean and contained in a pot borne by Dhanvantari, the physician of the Gods.
Amrit (Punjabi: ) is the name of the holy water used in the baptism ceremony or Amrit Sanchar in Sikhism. This ceremony is observed to initiate the Sikhs into the Khalsa and requires drinking amrit. This is created by mixing a number of soluble ingredients, including sugar, and is then rolled with a khanda with the accompaniment of scriptural recitation of five sacred verses.
Metaphorically, God’s name is also referred to as a nectar:
Amrit sabad amrit har bai. The Shabda is Amrit; the Lord’s bani is Amrit. Satgur seviai ridai sami. Serving the True Guru, it permeates the heart. Nnak amrit nm sad sukhdta pi amrit sabh bhukh lh jvaia. O Nanak, the Ambrosial Naam is forever the Giver of peace; drinking in this Amrit, all hunger is satisfied.
According to Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “the deathless” refers to the deathless dimension of the mind which is dwelled in permanently after nibbana.
In the Amata Sutta, the Buddha advises monks to stay with the four Satipatthana: “Monks, remain with your minds well-established in these four establishings of mindfulness. Don’t let the deathless be lost to you.”
In the questions for Nagasena, King Milinda asks for evidence that the Buddha once lived, wherein Nagasena describes evidence of the Dhamma in a simile:
“Revered Nagasena, what is the nectar shop of the Buddha, the Blessed One?”
“Nectar, sire, has been pointed out by the Blessed One. With this nectar the Blessed One sprinkles the world with the devas; when the devas and the humans have been sprinkled with this nectar, they are set free from birth, aging, disease, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. What is this nectar? It is mindfulness occupied with the body. And this too, sire, was said by the Blessed One: ‘Monks, they partake of nectar (the deathless) who partake of mindfulness that is occupied with the body.’ This, sire, is called the Blessed One’s nectar shop.”
Amrit (Wylie: bdud rtsi, THL: dtsi) also plays a significant role in Vajrayana Buddhism as a sacramental drink which is consumed at the beginning of all important rituals such as the abhisheka, ganachakra, and homa. In the Tibetan tradition, dtsi is made during drubchens – lengthy ceremonies involving many high lamas. It usually takes the form of small, dark-brown grains that are taken with water, or dissolved in very weak solutions of alcohol and is said to improve physical and spiritual well-being.
The foundational text of traditional Tibetan medicine, the Four Tantras, is also known by the name The Heart of Amrita (Wylie: snying po bsdus pa).
The Immaculate Crystal Garland (Wylie: dri med zhal phreng) describes the origin of amrita in a version of the samudra manthan legend retold in Buddhist terms. In this Vajrayana version, the monster Rahu steals the amrita and is blasted by Vajrapani’s thunderbolt. As Rahu has already drunk the amrita he cannot die, but his blood, dripping onto the surface of this earth, causes all kinds of medicinal plants to grow. At the behest of all the Buddhas, Vajrapani reassembles Rahu who eventually becomes a protector of Buddhism according to the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Chinese Buddhism describes Amrita (Chinese: ; pinyin: gnl) as blessed water, food, or other consumable objects often produced through merits of chanting mantras.