Lamp Post: May 3, 2014

The original Narnian lamp post drawn by Pauline Baynes

The original Narnian lamp post drawn by Pauline Baynes

Christianity Today: Searching for the Sound of Silence

As a writer, I completely resonate with the difficulty of turning your mind off when you are trying to spend “quiet time” with God and how it seems to border on a mental illness.

I thought this happened because I was spiritually weak or—to be honest—because I was mad. Turns out, this happens because I’m a writer. (The other two options may still be true.) Researchers found writers “cannot focus on one thing quite like the average person. Essentially, their stream of ideas is always running — the tap does not shut off — and, as a result, creative people show schizophrenic, borderline manic-depressive tendencies.”

Vox: Your Atheism Isn’t Going to Keep Your Kids From Believing in God

The failure of churches to retain their younger members garners significant press, but it turns out that atheists have just as many, if not more, problems holding on to those raised in the no-faith.

atheism retention

Mere Orthodoxy: The Politics of Tolkien

What political theory could you deduce from Tolkien’s writings? George RR Martin, author of the book series that inspired the hit HBO show Game of Thrones, believes the Lord of the Rings author had a simplistic view of ruling. 

That said, I think he sells Tolkien a bit short as well. It’s actually not as hard to deduce Tolkien’s politics as is sometimes said. To take one example, consider Aragorn’s decree about the Shire after the Ring has been destroyed. He decrees that the Shire will be kept for the Hobbits alone, with no “Big People” being allowed in. In fact, Tolkien points out in one of the appendices that Aragorn himself never entered the Shire again after making that decree. That suggests that Tolkien believed a just king is a king who respects the way of life of other places and, as much as he can, attempts to protect it from outside forces, including himself.

Twitter: Interesting U.S. population density map using elevation

population map

Neiman Lab: How Facebook Rumors Spread

We’ve all seen this on Facebook. In fact, after seeing one rumor going viral among my friends, I wrote one of my most viewed post ever – Did Pope Francis Say All Religions are True?

It appears that false rumors thrive on Facebook: In the entire Snopes database of rumors, 45 percent are flat-out false, while 26 percent turned out to be true; in contrast, 62 percent of rumors on Facebook are false and only 9 percent prove to be true. Interestingly, the authors note, “true rumors are more viral — in the sense that they result in larger cascades — achieving on average 163 shares per upload whereas false rumors only have an average of 108 shares per upload.” Some rumors are shared hundreds of thousands of times. Even when people discover the falsity of a rumor and delete their reshare, it does not appear to affect the unfolding cascade.

Twitter: Twitter Reacts to NBA’s Ban of Donald Sterling

This map shows how quickly the news of Sterling’s ban spread across social media.

Reformedish: Experts: “Wanna Read Faster? Read More.”

The more you read on a particular subject, the quicker your brain is able to process new information on the same subject. The more you read, the faster you read.

I’ll say, as I read this description for myself, I can recognize the claims Roediger and McDaniels are claiming in my own reading habits. This chunking and deep knowledge is what allows you to read the 10th book on a given subject, even if it’s much harder than the first you read, at a much quicker speed. 

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About Author

Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.