“The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn't cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.” (The Atlantic)
Do you have a fake Starbucks name? I think I'll go with “Sermonator.”
Interesting NYT piece on America's Chinatowns, including extensive coverage of Austin's developing Chinatown for its developing Asian population: “6.5 percent of the total [Austin] population, far above the national 4.2 percent, with numbers expected to double by 2020.”
Sairam Gudiseva handed in a physics essay that turned out to be a Rick-roll:
'Him'–A clever twist on the movie 'Her'
I enjoyed this remembrance of Groundhog Day. It will get you ready for the start of our new sermon series, “Movie Messages.”
“Alcohol abuse causes 79,000 premature deaths annually. It’s one of the leading causes of morbidity, trailing closely behind tobacco, and it costs the economy more than $220 billion annually—that’s $1.90 for every serving of alcohol consumed in the United States. The government alone spends $94 billion dealing with the fallout from alcohol abuse. To put that in perspective, the federal government spends about $138 billion on education.” This is from an article about whether 12-Step groups or prescription drugs is better for addressing addiction.
Here's a piece from The Atlantic about an ancient Mesopotamian take on the story most of us know as Noah's ark. I expect these stories will multiply as the release of the new Noah film approaches. Proving I was a geek long before geekiness was, um, endearing, I did a comparison of global flood stories as my topic when the high school English department got around to showing us how to do research papers. There are actually flood stories around the world variously akin to the Noah story, which I found fascinating in 11th grade–and still do.
“Research indicates that lack of religion is a key reason why people in wealthy countries don't feel a sense of purpose….Even among countries with similar GDPs, the more religious ones reported higher levels of life meaning. For example, the U.S. and Ireland, relatively religious, wealthy nations, reported higher meaning than Japan and France, which were similarly wealthy, but less religious.” Interesting story in the Atlantic.
“Western activists and media have focused considerable outrage at Russia's laws against 'homosexual propaganda' in the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. It would only seem fitting that Westerners would also protest (or at the very least notice) laws [in other countries] that punish people with death for converting to Christianity….Western policy has helped shape this grim fate for Middle Eastern Christians — and Western silence allows it to continue.” (Sobering article by Michael Brendan Dougherty in The Week)