Weekly Reading Roundup by Stephen Hale

What I’ve been reading from around the Interwebs this week:

Science Stuff:
NASA has found amino acids on a space rock that crashed in the Nubian desert (Sudan). Contamination from Earth has been ruled out. This seems much more significant than the controversial arsenic thing they announced a couple weeks ago.

A Christian scientist (Not a Christian Scientist–that’s different) who is not a creationist, but has serious questions about Evolution, just might have been genuinely descriminated against, unlike many of the professors in Ben Stein’s Expelled (which was half nonsense and propaganda).

Culture:
If you don’t know anything about Google Books, they’re trying to scan literally every single book and pamphlet ever published. Ever. Things which are copyrighted are available to be searched, though views are limited. At any rate, since they’ve got about 14 bajillion volumes done already, searching Google books is a reasonable approximation of searching everything ever written. This website lets you do that, to see how discussions of random things have spiked. I’m not sure if it compensates for the fact that way more is published today than in the past, so that’s an interesting question, but data is available for download. I’m sure that if one cared ,they could model this w/ Excel and/or SPSS. The search this link opens up with is fun, too!

A Reconstruction of the first six weeks of wikipedia (around 10,000 articles):

A map showing global Facebook connections: (No seriously. Click this)

Also, Twitter’s DUMBEST celebrities, judging (somewhat mathematically) by their posts:

Political Stuff:
Foreign Affairs is THE journal for American thinkers who debate foreign relations. Since foreign relations has been fairly nonpartisan since the beginning of the Cold War (though this weakened a bit under Pres. Bush II), it’s an area of politics that can just be read for the merits of the policy. This article presents two views on what to do about Afghanistan, by two brilliant people:

How the iPhone, for example, actually contributes to our trade deficit with China, when we INVENTED the damn thing.

On the potential of the Tea Party to take over the Republican Party:
This article is on a blog called the Frum Forum, started by David Frum. David Frum was a speech writer for Pres. George W. Bush, and later worked for a conservative think-tank called the Heritage Foundation. He was fired, effectively, for holding views that challenged a Republican. I really like this forum because most of the posters are free-thinkers. They have a distinct Republican tendency, but they’re THINKING republicans. It’s hard to find people who actually think through things (see my posts on Objective Christianity), and many of the posters on here do so. Further, the commenters spread the ideological spectrum, so you get some good, intelligent debate.
This article is an excellent description of how to respond to the (dumb-as-hell) Tea Party, if you want my .02. Further, I think it takes the Tea Party as it actually exists, and not the caricaturization that one sometimes sees in the Media.

Religious Stuff:
Finally, a series I’m enjoying: Advent and Christmas with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

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