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Cowboys Stadium and wooden iPads

Visitors locker room, Cowboys StadiumDid you hear about the woman who bought a wooden iPad?  She paid $180 to a man in a McDonald's parking log in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  He gave her a Fedex envelope in which he had placed her purchase.  After he drove away, she opened it to discover a black piece of wood etched with the familiar Apple logo.

Meanwhile, a next-generation iPhone 5 prototype has gone missing.  It was apparently left by an Apple employee in a San Francisco bar named Cava 22.  You may remember that an iPhone 4 prototype was left in a Redwood City, California bar in April 2010.  Now another employee has committed a similar gaffe.

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Redeeming 9-11 on our knees

Relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center arrive at Ground Zero during the eighth anniversary commemoration ceremony in New York, September 11, 2009 (Credit: Reuters/Peter Foley)Are things getting worse in Afghanistan? August is now the deadliest month yet for U.S. forces fighting the longest war in our nation's history. Meanwhile, the Israeli army is arming Jewish settlers in the West Bank in preparation for Palestinian unrest and violence. And Libya's interim leaders have given pro-Gaddafi forces until Saturday to surrender or face military reprisal. Many are concerned that the uprising in Libya may lead to enhanced al Qaeda activity in the region.

Ten years ago, none of us imagined a "war on terror" that would consume our daily headlines. Then came the Tuesday morning that changed the world. In an hour and 18 minutes, 19 men killed more people than died at Pearl Harbor or D-Day. As we near the tenth anniversary of that tragic day, how can we find hope in horror?

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Why I appreciate Ramadan

Boats are seen as they wait to carry passengers ahead of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr during dusk on the Buriganga river in Dhaka August 25, 2011 (Credit: Reuters/Andrew Biraj)Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe that Muhammad received his first revelation from the angel Gabriel on the 17th day of this month in the year A.D. 610. The Qur'an (2:183-185) requires Muslims to fast during Ramadan, swallowing nothing from sunup to sundown.

At sunset, families gather for Iftar, their fast-breaking meal. The meal begins by eating three dates, a practice begun by Muhammad himself. Many Muslims read the entire Qur'an during this month. And they give to the poor, believing their charity to be rewarded 70 times more during Ramadan than at any other time. Tomorrow Muslims will observe Eid Al-Fitr, a special three-day celebration with new clothes and toys for children and a time for family gathering and feasting.

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Redeeming Hurricane Irene

Emergencies management officials remove trees from a road after Hurricane Irene hit the municipality of Loiza, August 22, 2011 (Credit: Reuters/Ana Martinez)The worst hurricane to strike the East Coast in a century has claimed more than 20 lives across eight states.  As of this morning, the U.S. government estimates that the cost from wind damage alone will exceed $1 billion.  Downed power lines have left more than four million people without electricity.

Such innocent suffering is the toughest theological issue Christians face.  Our King is all-knowing--he saw the storm before it began to form in the Atlantic.  He is all-powerful--the One who "rebuked the wind and waves, and it was completely calm" (Matthew 8:26) could have stilled Irene.  He is all-loving--he grieves every loss caused by this tragedy.  And yet he permitted the devastation he now mourns.

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Steve Jobs and the power of focus

Steve Jobs holding a MacBook Air at MacWorld Conference & Expo 2008 (Credit: Matthew Yohe via en.wikipedia.org)Steve Jobs was born in 1955 to two graduate students, one a Syrian and the other an American. He grew up with an adopted family in Silicon Valley. He was a high school summer employee at Hewlett-Packard when he met future Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in 1971. He enrolled at Reed College in Oregon, then dropped out after one semester.

After a trip to India, where he became a Buddhist, he returned to California. He and Wozniak formed their company in 1976 and unveiled their first computer, Apple 1. It was a do-it-yourself kit with a blank printed circuit board, a collection of parts, and 16 pages of instructions. You had to provide your own power supply, keyboard, and display.

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